The Receptionist, Manbites Dog Theater Company

The Receptionist by Adam Bock
Manbites Dog Theater Company, Downtown Durham
2/12-2/28/09  Yes, you already missed it.

I received the flyer for The Receptionist about 2 months ago and was instantly intrigued by the woman at the desk with pens, phones, and staplers at her command.  I felt a kinship with her as most of my post-college career has been in similar positions.  So I asked Ben, “Can we go?”  He said, “Fine” but qualified it with a loud sigh.  Undeterred, I bought tickets and we went Friday night.

The acting was fantastic.  All the main actors were masters of facial expressions and while I still have no idea why the audience found his opening monologue about fly fishing hilarious, Carl Martin, who played Mr. Raymond, did just fine though he was not quite as appealing as the other three.  Marcia Edmundson, who played the receptionist, Beverly, definitely was the star of the evening.  Her little “hmms” and other noises were essential for conveying the judgmental, yet good-natured character.  She maintained a believable aura of ignorance until the very end, even as she found herself in the harsh light of the central office.


As I glanced at my kitchen calendar this morning, I noticed I forgot my cousin Daniel’s birthday last week.  Sorry Daniel!  I usually like to send cards to people for their birthdays but have recently found myself settling for leaving messages on a Facebook wall or sending a super poke full of balloons.  If I’m feeling really industrious, I might seek out an e-card with songs and animation.

Strength of Character

Caution, for those not up-to-date with Battlestar Galactica, you may not want to read this.

I’ve been browsing through my copy of Writer’s Market, marking the listings for magazines that might be a good fit for my work so I can research them to find out.  A good number of the magazines that publish fiction stress the importance of well-formed characters.  Of course, any creative writing instructor will tell you that and I have been instructed in a number of techniques for creating characters in the past, mostly doing free writes on their background or conducting an interview with the character in your head.  I’ve even forced groups of junior and upper high schoolers to complete character free writes and questionnaires while prepping for drama group practices back in the day.

Small Plot Curiousity

Reyn Bowman, director of the visitor’s bureau for Durham and author of the Bull City Mutterings Blog, posted a piece about the family cemeteries that dot the Durham landscape.  Apparently,  I haven’t been imagining things; there are an awful lot of small cemeteries in this region.

Small cemetery on Ocracoke Island, NC

Small cemetery on Ocracoke Island, NC

I’ve always been fascinated by graveyards.  I love to spend a quiet afternoon in them, though I rarely do.  The last one I frequented with any regularity was a little Jewish cemetery within walking distance of The Archer House, where I spent my last two years of college.  I don’t remember how I know it was a Jewish cemetery but I do remember that a cat used to jump in and out of the headstones occasionally, which was obviously a big draw for a pet-starved college student.

Busy, busy, busy.

I’ve often wondered, while plugging away at a computer under the fluorescent lights of doom, how businesses can be successful and only stay open during the daylight hours. I’ve always thought that most of us consumers are chained inside buildings at work or school from first light until the sun has set. But just while listening at my window this past week, I’ve determined that, strangely, about half of our neighbors are also home during the day.

Assisted Suicide: Act of Mercy or Cutting Life Short?

I was listening to “The Diane Rehm Show” on NPR this morning and her guest was John West, author of The Last Goodnight, a book written about helping his parents commit suicide. His father had terminal cancer and his mother was falling into mental decline and both asked him to help them meet death on their own terms when they felt their times had come.

I don’t know what I think about assisted suicide. I absolutely believe that life is precious, a gift from God that should be lived to its fullest. But I can imagine how it would feel to come to a point where life no longer seemed to serve any purpose but misery and/or great physical pain. Of course, death would seem attractive, an end to one’s struggles that I can’t claim I wouldn’t want when my own quality of life fell to some undetermined breaking point. If someone I loved asked me to help them leave this life with a little dignity, would it be too much to ask for?

Financial Dependence

As I sit on my deck, delighted to be able to spend the day doing work that holds meaning for me rather than cooped up in a cubicle, I am confronted by my first dilemma.

Where will my next paycheck come from?

Growing up or growing inward?

Lately, I have been feeling nostalgic. What, Becca nostalgic? I know, I know, stop the presses. But what I’m missing isn’t anything and everything, but one small, specific ability that seems to have disappeared from my everyday life. It’s the ability to just drop by someone’s house, unannounced, and spend time just chilling. Whether that be playing card games on the floor of the Ruth’s with Jennie and Casey, or watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the Archer House crew, or even sitting on Paul’s bed, reading an assignment while he’s “studying” at the computer.

Free Will and an All-Knowing God

Free Will and an All-Knowing God

In discussions, I’ve often heard people claim that free will cannot exist in the same world as an omniscient God. This argument generally poses the question, “How we can truly make our own choices if it’s already a given what choice we will make, as the presence of an omniscient God indicates?” If you have other thoughts about why an all-knowing God and free will cannot coexist, please comment below!