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September 2013 Archives


October's Hot Writer: M Shelly Connor

My genre: Literary Fiction; playwriting
My literary influences:
Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Edward P. Jones, Zadie Smith, Sharon Bridgforth, E. Patrick Johnson, Lorraine Hansberry
My favorite literary quote:
"I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and sword in my hands." --Zora Neale Hurston
My favorite book of all time: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison and I really want to add Pym by Matt Johnson because it was just so refreshing to read as a Black academic/creative writer.
I’m currently reading: Re-reading Her by Cherry Muhanji for the Intro to Gender, Sexuality and Literature course I'm teaching (which also means I'm re-reading Middlesex, Rubyfruit Jungle and a whole hosts of essays). Since my critical research and reading informs and influences my fiction writing, I've been drawn to Beth Richie's Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America's Prison Nation.  Perhaps it offers balance for my addiction to Orange is the New Black.
My guilty pleasure book:  Sarah Waters novels... and almost anything gratuitously queer + black + female...  Even okcupid works.
I can’t write without: Unlined moleskin notebooks and I probably should add bourbon (which isn't entirely true but it can come in handy with future bar patrons of the arts).
Worst line I ever wrote: The unwritten ones.  The hours, days, weeks that painfully pass without touching pen to paper or fingertips to keypad.  That's worse than anything that I've ever written, I think. But I'm sure I've written some pretty bad prose and have long purged it from memory (digital and mental).
Brief Bio:
M. Shelly Conner is completing her PhD in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She is a proud southsider and hosts Quare Square, an open mic for queer women of color and allies every second Tuesday at the Jeffery Pub.  Her comedy stage sketches have appeared on the stages of The Second City Training Center and The Black Ensemble Theater, where she is currently revising her play Jump at de Sun (based on the life of Zora Neale Hurston). Shelly recently completed her dissertation novel, everyman, and is shopping it around to publishers while simultaneously querying premium bourbon distilleries to sponsor a book-signing tour once the novel is published.

A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for sites like Pop Matters and Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," was called “poetic and heartrending” by ALA Booklist. Sarah is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
IMPORTANT: the official Our Town site doesn't support comments. Join in the conversation by following and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez
and Facebook.

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So what if there's an age difference? Love has no boundaries and lord knows neither do I. Meet October's Crush!

October's Crush: Pidgeon Pagonis
Hometown: Chicago
Profession: AIC's Youth Leadership Coordinator / Teen Dating Violence Prevention Coordinator / Graduate Student at DePaul 
Hobbies: Photography

What have been some highlights of your work as Youth Leadership Coordinator for Inter/Act, an intersex/DSD youth project, at Advocates for Informed Choice (AIC)?
Speaking to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights' Special Rapporteur on Torture on my 27th birthday this year in D.C. It was my first time in D.C and it made me feel like, yeah--intersex people and our autonomy are finally beginning to receive the respect we deserve. It was also just amazing to realize cities outside of Chicago actually experience spring in March. Also, I got to meet and hang out with Huey Lewis at an Interface Project fundraiser a few weeks ago. When we took a picture together, he said “Pidgeon and the Crow.” I don’t know why he said that, but it made me feel closer to him. 

"They" is your preferred pronoun. Why?
I like to confuse those in my life who specialize in grammar. Just kidding, I just recently decided upon this because it's the start of a new academic year, and with that comes check-in's (check-in's are queer and/or justice minded folks' way of making sure everyone's feelings are acknowledged), and with check-in's come the questions: what is your Preferred Gender Pronoun (PGP)? I decided to make it easier for people by just finally choosing one. He doesn't feel right and she is starting to lose it's appeal--so 'they' it is. 

How have things changed for intersex children over the last decade?

OMG they have changed so much, and sadly, they have changed so little (They, in this case, refers to 'things' ;) When I was born in 86, the doctors quickly moved in and performed 2 "normalizing" surgeries on me before the age of one. My clitoris at the time was measuring just over a centimeter. What would have been a bonus for me later in life, instead became a source of intense pain and debilitating shame. When I was 11, the surgeons at a local Children’s Hospital decided their work wasn’t finished so they hacked away some more. Their other goal was to make sure I could have “normal sex with my husband.” That is a direct quote from one of the doctor’s when he was explaining to me what their surgery would provide. Little did they know (or care to know) that I would figure out that penetrative sex with CIS-men isn’t the be-all-end-all. Today, I have an opportunity to work with youth from all across the world and am pleased to say that things are slowly changing. Thanks to wonderful support groups and advocacy organizations such as AIC, ISNA, OII, and the Inter/Face project to name a few, more parents are making the decision to allow their child to wait until they are old enough to decided what they want. I’ve had the opportunity to work with kids as young as 8 and 9 who are learning how to write disclosure letters to their best friends to inform them about their intersex/DSD diagnosis. Each time one of these letters is written it’s akin to a tiny chip being made in the historic wall of secrecy and shame that my community has been forced to live with. With that said, things are not perfect and I’m still hearing stories of little babies like me being scheduled for non-medically necessary normalizing surgeries at hospitals in this very city because they don’t look like other little girls or little boys. In any day and age that is completely unacceptable.

What's your favorite thing about Chicago?
Number 1 would have to be a tie between The Bulls and the people. Maybe I’m biased because I was born and raised here, but we have some of the coolest and cutest people. Next would be the food. You haven’t lived until you’ve been to Mr. D’s on Diversey [and had] a char grilled shish-kabob in a french roll doused in special juice with a lemon squeezed on top made by on old-school Greek guy who doesn’t even have to look at the grill anymore while he makes your order. Third is the Lake, a big beautiful blue magnet that I can’t move away from. 


Artists Lauren Levato Coyne and Rory Coyne kind of kill me. A couple whose art informs each other’s? Who are mutually supportive and push one another to achieve? Plus they both cook? Sign me up. The duo spoke with Our Town about Symbiosis, an exhibition of new work based on the mutually beneficial nature of their relationship and their shared studio practice, as well as a nod toward the animals that influence their work.

Our Town Two artists, one marriage. Discuss.
Lauren Levato Coyne It seems like it should be a recipe for disaster and, in fact, when we first started dating we did say "oh this could end in flames" but pretty quickly we realized we are kind of seamless. We have insane chemistry and we're a couple of bananas, plus we both really like each other's art. 
Rory Coyne  Best relationship I have ever had with any person, and for Lauren as well, otherwise we wouldn't have married each other. Lauren had dedicated herself to being alone actually, but I messed that all up for her. I was always warned by professors and such not to date and especially not to marry another artist, but clearly they were wrong. I win!

OT How does your work impact one another’s? 
L We like to say we speak the same language just a different dialect. Plus it's like a think tank around here - our home is our studio so we are immersed in it all the time. We will be out for dinner or something and jump from a totally unrelated topic into the current drawing or next painting sketch to flush out ideas, color, etc. He's directly influenced my work with color, but I think that has a lot to do with my level of happiness versus two years ago when I was dedicated to black and white. He's also a walking encyclopedia of painters and tattooers, so I've learned some things in that regard too.
R Since we have been together I have become a better painter. I work more without worrying if I'm ignoring Lauren, and that type of guilt it something artists usually have to deal with from their partners.  We completely understand the necessity of being in the studio doing work, and that sometimes studio work takes precedence. We both have similar artistic influences and inspirations, so we basically speak the same language (she's just a bit more eloquent).  This allows for great conversations about our work, which in turn makes for better and more interesting work. Besides I want to impress her, so I work harder in all ways.

Lauren Levato Coyne

OT Is there any truth to the stereotype of ‘an artist’s temperament?’ 
L You mean do we do drugs and fight all the time? Depressed mopes? Existential freak outs? No on all three. We are generally awake between 5 and 6 a.m., running for him, Pilates for me, we always have breakfast and coffee together. Then we work until 11 or so almost every night. Food is basically our hobby, so we eat well. We hang with the dogs. We are happy, and our work is better because of that. Unhappy drama does not equal good work. I've been unhappy, and I hated the work I was doing then.

OT You’re both influenced by animals. How do those influences differ and how are they similar? 
L We both do much different research for our work, though we both enjoy the starting points the other comes from. He's more interested in epic tales and Joseph Campbell and I'm into Victorian and Russian fairy tales. Plus we have different interactions with animals. For instance the fox in the belly in "Self Portrait as Thief in the Night," one of my drawings from last year, is a direct reference to seeing a red fox for the very first time on the day our nephew died. And that fiery furred critter and I seem to have some things in common.
R We have different histories for each animal, so even if we use the same kind we have a different meaning for them.  Of course as our history intertwines more deeply the more similar our animals become. Swans appear in the work we are doing now but my swan is Zeus in his form as a rapist and Lauren's swan is cancer. 

Jeremy's Dream

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Like Fantine, writer/actor Jeremy Menekseoglu dreamed a dream. His dream; however, was to create Dream Theatre, a point of connection for diverse audience members and a source of strong roles for actresses. Menekseoglu spoke with Our Town about his new play, Women! A Comedy and how Dream Theatre continues to strive to achieve its goals.

Our Town How did Dream Theatre come to be?
Jeremy Menekseoglu The four original founders met going to school at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1998. As you can imagine, we were all filled with these lofty hopes and expectations of the great things we were going to bring back to America. Originally the idea was to create a company called the Theatre for Humanity that dealt with the psychology of the world instead of its politics. There were so many political theatres out there shouting their rage into the world, but very few focused on our own personal psychology. We wanted a theatre in which the Audience became a part of the story. A real part. We needed a way in which everyone related to one another, that all of humanity could understand. One night, in a dream, I realized that it was in dreams where we all could relate. No matter who we were or how different we were, we all could relate to one another in our subconscious. We had all flown together. We had all been terrified together. We had all loved passionately together. We all had killed. We all had experienced the taboo. The company’s name was changed to Dream Theatre.

One of your company rules is ‘no superfluous roles. How does this manifest?
JM No maids coming and going in the background. There would be no pop in parts where the actor spent an hour in the dressing room playing solitaire waiting to enter. Any roles that would appear for only a moment would be removed and replaced by the actual audience. We would direct our attention to them and speak directly to them. This was another way in which to break the 4th wall.

OT As a writer who are your influences?
JM I would say that I was pretty lost until I read Ibsen. Back in ’94 I was in a writing class where you were pretty much told who your influences were. You will be influenced by Church and by Mamet, dammit! The thing that was so odd about that is that we never learned just what Church and Mamet were doing. We were taught more or less to copy them. After graduating, I read Peer Gynt, and my mind was completely blown. Here was the type of work that I had always craved. I went out and bought every translation of it that I could find just so I could keep reading it. Only now do I feel like I have the courage to even attempt something as grandiose as that. But that won’t be until next season.


Floral designer Keith Eric Davis is a delight to interview. Upbeat and enthusiastic, he’s as excited reminiscing about past projects as a bride or groom might be on their own wedding day. He spoke with Our Town about his inspirations, methods and how he’d love to design Miley Cyrus’s wedding.

Our Town What led you to pursue a degree in horticulture?
Keith Eric Davis One of my earliest memories was of my mother and I sowing tomato seeds in styrofoam cups early in the spring to grew in my bedroom window sill.  We would later plant them in our garden on our farm in Brookville, OH, and enjoy the reap of fruit starting in late July. Something about the way plants grow has always interested me, and my parent’s love of gardening, along with my grandmother's and great aunt's love of ornamental plants was the basis for my love of nature. 

OT How did you decide to transition from designing for retail to working for yourself?
KED After interning at Walt Disney World in their Interior Landscaping / Design department, I moved to Chicago and started work in a retail garden center and florist. As well as being a floral designer, and photographer, I'm also a member of Actor's Equity Association, and the Screen Actors Guild.  Maintaining a design career, and meanwhile also working in the other creative field I love, theatre, it became harder and harder to keep a "normal" schedule to work for someone else. Being an actor, I found myself connected to a whole network of friends who were getting engaged, and so I began advertising myself as a wedding florist.....soon I was off and running! 

OT How do you go about bringing a client’s specific vision to life?
KED For me, it's all about listening and being completely open to their creativity. I prefer to meet the client over coffee, or dinner and just relax and get inspired by their thoughts.  I always ask clients to bring anything to the meeting that gets their creativity excited, whether in a positive or negative way, so that I can better understand them. Then it's a matter of taking those ideas, running them through my creative energy and we go back and forth till all are deliriously happy.


OT What have been some of your favorite events?
KED I always enjoy weddings.  It's such a special occasion in the life of a couple and the excitement about the event, the family and friends who all jump in to make the day perfect; the love that's shared by those people is palpable.   I love helping give that particular day a beautiful backdrop and focal point to always remember. 

OT Any wedding design horror stories?
KED Ha!  I remember a bride's father knocking down a 5' tall cylinder glass vase filled with water all over his gorgeous daughter--that's a LOT of water!! Since her own father did it, she forgave him...luckily! I also remember me and a hired friend, on our hands and knees, moving lit candles along the aisle to make room for the bride's train, which she failed to inform me about.  The guests were already seated and waiting for her to walk down the aisle, and here we were, crawling at their feet. It was quite the hilarious scene, but a thunderous success! 


Blogger and essayist Mark Brennan Rosenberg loves to make people laugh. The best fodder? His own life. Now touring in support of his book of essays Eating My Feelings, Rosenberg spoke with Our Town about body image, the publishing industry, and his unexpected love for Hugh Hefner.

Our Town What’s your writing process like?
Mark Brennan Rosenberg A pot of coffee, a pack of Marb Lights and a laptop. I'm one of the weirdos who can sit on a bus and write. Whenever the mood strikes me, I will drop everything and start. You can never let a good idea go to waste, so I will literally leave a party if I get a good essay idea or write all through the night so that I don't forget anything. 

OT Who are your influences?
MBR Hugh Hefner - which I know is odd - but the man is a genius and changed the game by creating a product that not only offered good material but gave the world something they didn't realize they were missing. I love historical non-fiction, so Erik Larson has been a huge inspiration. His books are so eloquently written and take years and years of research to finish -- I would love to know his process! I also love David Sedaris. He is a comedic genius and if it weren't for him, people like me would never get a chance to do what they love.

OT In writing about your life, how do you deal with the issues surrounding using your friends and family as characters?
MBR Carefully! I never want to hurt anyone's feelings. When you're writing comedy and you are using people who are close for material, you tread a very fine line on what they will find funny and what they will be offended by. Luckily, most of the situations I speak about in "Eating My Feelings" are things that happened so long ago that my family members can look back at a very tumultuous time in all of our lives with laughter. 

OT We’re used to women writing about overeating and their relationship with food. Not so much men. Why?
MBR Everybody has a relationship with themselves when they look in the mirror - male or female - and what they see is always different than what the rest of the world sees. Men, particularly gay men, like women, have a certain look that they strive for. Whether it be a six pack of abs, or more defined chest, men have a love/hate relationship with food and body image.

OT As a man, why did you feel it was important to address the subject?
MBR Because the media always focuses so much on women's body issues but men have them as well. As time goes on, more and more men are striving to become this perfect male specimen because, just like women, we are trying to always look our best and are now more willing to try new fad diets or workouts to achieve that perfect body than every before. 

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Photos by Brett Beiner

Director William Osetek has his work cut out for him with Next to Normal, Drury Lane’s new musical production. A rock opera dealing with mental health issues, Next to Normal asks a lot of the artists who choose to breath life into it. Vocally challenging and emotionally fierce, the musical is gut-wrenching in its honesty and compelling in its urgency. Our Town spoke with Osetek who also serves at the company's Artistic Director about his approach and how the show challenged him.

Our Town How would you describe your style as a director?
William Osetek Very difficult to answer... I would say foremost, I consider myself a story teller.  My ultimate mission is always to honor the characters and the story they have to tell.

OT To direct is it necessary to find a connection point with each character? If you don’t relate to a character how does it affect the show?
WO I don't think it is as important that I have a point of connection with the characters as that I understand them and why they make the choices they make.  I am fascinated with figuring out the character's drive and why they do what they do- good or bad/ right or wrong.

OT Why did you choose Next to Normal?  
WO Many reasons, including the fact that it won the Pulitzer Prize (only 8 musicals in history have done this). It's original score--how often do we encounter a new body of work with such an amazing score that is not a juke box musical? And because of the incredible story.

OT The show combines powerful rock style songs with a serious family drama. Not your standard musical. How did the show’s style influence your direction choices? 
WO The show's style influenced many choices- from the actors to best represent these characters (and their vocal abilities) as well as the designers who were hired whose particular abilities would best bring this challenging piece to life.

OT What unique challenges does a rock musical present?
WO The biggest challenges have to do with mastering the sound quality as well as finding vocalists who could conquer the nearly impossible vocal gymnastics required to accomplish it.

OT How did your lead protect her voice?
WO When she's off stage, she rarely speaks out loud in an effort to preserve it.

OT What sort of research did you do into electro-shock therapy and psychiatry? 
WO Of course there was extensive Internet research (there are YouTube videos demonstrating the procedure).  In addition, we had a specialist come to our rehearsals, advising the cast and watching run-throughs to insure we were being accurate.

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Name: Mariano B. Lising
Age: 37
Day job: Nurse, Consultant

Why do you run? On July seventh 2012, I went to the ER, was admitted and had emergency abdominal surgery with complications.  For a month or so, I was in and out of the hospital. The post-surgical recovery time I spent in the hospital was life changing.  It’s amazing what being confined to a bed will do.  You really reflect on the life you have lived, you find out who your true friends are, you think about all the simple things you took for granted, what really matters in your life and you become uncertain of everything.  For a while it seemed as if I wasn’t going to get better.  Those were dark days.  It wasn’t until 9 months later that I slowly started to get active again…beginning with light jogging and yoga.  After some coaxing from friends, I decided to sign up for the Rave Run with the goal of crossing the finish line regardless of my time.  I did it under 40 minutes.  Crossing that finish line was extremely emotional.  If you asked me before the surgery if I would have run a 5K, I would have laughed.  Now every time I run, take a yoga class, go on a hike or cross a finish line, it reminds me of how far I have come.
What makes someone a runner? I never considered myself a runner.  I thought that “runners” were those special breed of people that I would see running at 7 a.m. along the lake while I was stumbling home from a long night of 20-something debauchery or more recently, a night shift.  However as a fellow runner, Shayna X once told me, you are a runner every time you put on those shoes and run and that it doesn’t matter how fast or how far you go, what matters is that you are running.
Miles per week:  5-10 miles/week
Mile time:   Average- 11:30 and getting better everyday.
Races you’ve competed in:  A couple of fun runs.  Rave Run. Race Against Hate. Pride Run.  Also walked and volunteered in the NYC AIDS Walk and will do the same for the Chicago Run/Walk and Wisconsin Run/Walk.
Favorite running route(s):
  Evanston is an awesome place to run.  I love to follow the lakefront trail from Rogers Park through Northwestern, and up to Gilson Park and Bahai Temple in Wilmette and back down through Downtown.  I mix the route up so I am exploring my town while I run.  Plus on those rainy and lazy days, it’s nice to know that I can always hop on the purple line if I don’t want to run back!
Best run:
My first 5K- The Rave Run.  The lights, the music, the energy, the people, my friends and all the support I received made for it to be the most amazing run ever.  It’s what got me to take running seriously.
Do you run with music? Why/Why not? Music is the soundtrack of my life and my runs.  I need my tunes to motivate me especially when I’m not necessarily wanting to run.  I learned quickly though that safety is important and I choose to just have one of my earphones in so I can hear what’s going on around me.

Top Five Running Songs:   Too many to list.  As of now: New Day (Alicia Keys).  Clarity (Zedd).  Hit or Miss (Odetta).  Apache (Michael Viner).  I Love It (Icona Pop).  Vipassana (Macklemore/Ryan Lewis).  Anything Bjork, Gotan Project or uptempo and catchy.  Just no Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus or One Direction. 


Photographer AJ Olson creates photo-manipulated artistic portraiture. Provocative and vivid, his work uses the nude female form to deal with topics of: humanism, creativity, and personal growth. Our Town spoke with Olson about his craft and purpose.

Our Town What attracted you to photography?
AJ Olson I have explored various artistic mediums however I gravitated towards photography and photo manipulation because it felt most natural.

OT Describe your training.
AO I have both an associates degree in art and a bachelors in fine arts, majoring in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics. I have been using Photoshop for over 12 years. 

OT What influences you?
AO I am inspired by all forms of art, books, music, and cinema.

OT What’s interesting to you about the female form?
AO I feel the female form is sensational, provocative, beautiful, and a symbol of legacy.

OT How does your work use the female form to foster self-awareness?
AO My work elicits thoughts and emotions that a viewer may not normally encounter. These experiences can test viewers' moral boundaries, encouraging reflection.  


OT As a man, what are the feminist implications of your use of the female form?
AO The female form has been depicted in Western and Greek art for thousands of years. My art carries on that tradition by allowing the liberation of the female form through artistic expression.

OT Take us through the process of creating a piece from inspiration to final product.
AO It varies from piece to piece. Some are premeditated, others are more impulsive. Overall, I take nude photos of women, and I alter the photographs in Photoshop, using various tools and layers, until achieving what I feel to be a desirable piece of art. 

OT How would you say your work has evolved over time?
AO The amount of Photoshop layers I use has progressively increased. As I develop as a person, so does the meaning behind my art. 

OT Any advice for other photographers?
AO Focus on creating quality work with the intention to inspire others. 

A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for sites like Pop Matters and Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," was called “poetic and heartrending” by ALA Booklist. Sarah is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
IMPORTANT: the official Our Town site doesn't support comments. Join in the conversation by following and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez
and Facebook.


The Crush Blog is back and better than ever. Well, maybe it’s worse, but let’s try to be positive here. Anyway, after a year’s hiatus (read: jail term) I’m back on the hunt for crushworthy Chicagoans. This time however, I’ll make sure to stay 300 yards away.

September's Crush: Emilie Syberg 
Hometown: Greenwood, Indiana.
Profession: Elementary school office manager/school nurse/runner of Drama Club/stern-but-loving taskmaster in regards to Untucked Shirts, Running in the Hall, Illegal Wearing of Nail Polish 
Hobbies: Writing. Reading. Weighing my options. Dancing like no one is watching. 

What drew you to working in an academic environment?

When I started my current job, I had just started teaching a high school poetry workshop through After School Matters, so it all dovetailed nicely in terms of general schoolishness. And at this point, it's hard to imagine not working someplace where, at any given moment, a five year-old could wander into my office and require my assistance with anything from a nosebleed to heartbreak. I love them bunches. 

Are the children really our future?
Are they ever. So be good to those babies. 

What's your favorite thing about Chicago?
Aside from its perennially friendly Midwestern vibe, my favorite thing about Chicago is the Nature Walk in the Field Museum. Where else can you gain access to so many delightfully strange examples of taxidermy?

What's your least favorite thing about Chicago?
Years ago, I read an article about how scientists had calculated the most depressing day of the year using a variety of data points; I believe they came up with January 8. The picture accompanying the article was of a woman waiting for the bus in the winter. In Chicago. So. That. 

Describe your perfect day:

I had the perfect day once, and it involved a snow day, my best friend, and the viewing--in its entirety--of the Anne of Green Gables PBS miniseries. 

Relationship Deal breaker? 
It's such a simple thing, and the good Lord knows we can all work on being better listeners, but it is a-m-a-z-i-n-g when I'm on a date with someone and have an entire evening's worth of conversation where it literally doesn't occur to them to ask me a single question. They deliver themselves of a monologue, I listen? Yaaaay! Gotta have some dialogue. 

Who was your first crush? 
I can’t remember his name, but everyone in my first grade class was crazypants into him. Dreamboat city, as I recall.

Why are you crushworthy?
Legs for days.

Any questions for me?
Is this call being traced?

Bio: When she's not dealing with nosebleeds, Emilie Syberg writes very small plays for her blog, Pocket Plays, and items of literary business for Gapers Block. Once a year, she remembers a vow she once made to memorize the name of every country in the world. One of these years, she'll do it. 

A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for sites like Pop Matters and Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," was called “poetic and heartrending” by ALA Booklist. Sarah is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
IMPORTANT: the official Our Town site doesn't support comments. Join in the conversation by following and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez
and Facebook.

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