Thursday, December 22, 2016

A pendulum swings

In July, my eldest nephew and I took a road trip to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We were looking for adventure with an eye on bungee jumping down a gorge. Though we didn’t find bungee jumping (confounding, I know) we found other thrills like white water rafting down the Colorado River and visiting an amusement park built on top of a 10,000 foot high mountain cliff. There we rode a swing that flung us out over the edge of the cliff, going higher and faster with each hydraulic push. Though we were strapped in with seatbelts, we were flung out high above the Colorado River that rushed thousands of feet below. It was a tremendous, heart shaking thrill to be thrown out and back over and over again. We rode this swing at least five times.
This ride is the most apt metaphor for my 2016. This year has been like that swing, like the pendulum of life that has no other choice but to swing from one extreme to another. This has been the theme of my year and a mantra that I have repeated to myself as my year has vacillated between the crushing lows to ascending highs that I couldn’t have even imagined at the year’s beginning.
As the year began, I was hustling for freelance work and working as a valet for a condominium on the country club plaza. In the evenings, I worked on a play that I came to hate and eventually burned it in my backyard fire pit. I know—and don’t worry, I saved it on my computer but then (THEN) my computer was hacked by ransomware and my entire laptop and its contents were obliterated-my creative work and identity lost. Cue existential crisis. In those days, the only mail I received was either rejection letters or mounting bills. I felt like a creative failure. To top it off, I had to be fitted for adult braces.
I had just gotten my new grill installed and was working a shift as a caterer when I snuck a bite of flank steak. Not yet adjusting to braces, I swallowed the meat whole and began to choke. Literally, I was choking and couldn’t speak or breathe. I stood in the kitchen and flailed my arms about without sound before one of the other caterers gave me the Heimlich and I spit up the steak. It was several minutes before I could even muster the breath to whisper ‘thank you for saving my life’ to my co-worker, Susan. It was scary for sure but even more frightening were the looks of alarm on the faces of my co-caterers that reminded me that I’d come close to death and cheated it.
Literally the day after receiving notice that I wasn’t hired for the job I’d spent three months interviewing for, my colleague at my former job called. He offered me the chance to return to the job I’d previously spent nine years before I finally quit due to petty and ineffectual leadership for which I have no words of kindness. In May, I returned to my former job to find a vastly different office culture than the one I left in the fall of 2014. Those who made working there unbearable had all been removed from their positions and seen for that which I knew them to be. It was validating certainly, but moreover, the office culture now is brighter, lighter, and I was welcomed back like a prodigal son.
After my Dad’s open heart surgery in the Spring, he gifted each of us three kids with notebooks containing our family history complete with pictures and newspaper articles of and about our ancestors.
It’s a gift I hold dear and it was only amplified by a trip on Memorial Day to our family cemetery where the ancient headstones sit in the back acreage under a large tree—a family tree.
I traveled a fair amount: Colorado, Seattle, Provincetown, Tampa, Wichita, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. From the top of the Space Needle to the glory of riding It’s A Small World After All at Disneyland, travel continues to be my greatest love and my most generous muse.
Notable events:
I wrote a couple short plays that were produced locally: Peggy and Paul at the Post Office in Provincetown and Sequoia.
I shot a print ad as a disgruntled pilot for Garmin and an infomercial as a delivery driver schlepping a dolly/cart.
I won a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 in a raffle.
I spent a good amount of time behind a microphone. I officiated a wedding. I eulogized my beloved Aunt who died on Father’s Day. I hosted the 18th Street Fashion Show and an International Awards luncheon for my job.
I received an Inspiration Grant from ArtsKC to seed my newest project, Shelf Life. It’s a live storytelling show—an update on the idea of Show and Tell. So far, I’ve produced three shows and the response is overwhelming. Shelf Life (and storytelling) reminds me time and time again of the power of the first person narrative and how unifying it is and can be. That which is most personal is often the most universal. It gives me hope that maybe in my small little corner at the Brick, I can enable enough people to share their own stories, and create a space for people to actively listen to each other without judgment. Storytelling is an incubator of empathy and compassion and in these divisive times, it seems not only like a subversive act but also like the salve we so desperately need.
My beloved truck died and I was forced to buy a new car. Let me tell you that going from driving a 1964 Chevy to a 2015 Toyota Corolla is like an Amish kid going on Rumspringa (Seatbelts! Power steering! Power brakes! Radio! Bluetooth!). Also, I’m due to get my truck back from the mechanic tomorrow. (Merry Christmas, Me!)
On Election Day, I closed on my first house-an adorable bungalow in Northtowne.
I finally move in on Monday, December 26 after the past two months of home renovation that have consumed me wholly. I’m ecstatic at the thought of finally nestling in where my kitty, Neely and I will make a home.
Where my year began and where it ended are two very different stories and this reminds me that a pendulum has to swing—often from one stark extreme to another. That’s the rollercoaster of life and the thrill of living. Though at times dire, it reminds me that anything can change at any time and often does. That’s the good news and the bad news. In the meantime, though, I’m holding on for dear life, just a’swinging.
Thanks friends for being on this journey with me.
Happy Holidays and warmest wishes to you and yours.
xo
DWR

My copy of A Prayer for Owen Meany



At the last Shelf Life, I shared a very personal and tragic story about suicide, alcoholism, and faith. Thanks for letting me share.

https://soundcloud.com/shelflifelive/dwr-and-his-copy-of-a-prayer-for-owen-meany


Shelf Life Website Debuts!





Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sequoia

As part of a 24 hour playwright challenge at The Living Room. I wrote and directed a new short play titled, Sequoia (in 24 hours!).  

Sequoia: A suicidal squatter is interrupted by a young Christian couple looking to buy a foreclosure. Below is the video:

Starring: Curtis Smith, Marianne McKenzie, and J. Will Fritz.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016





There's a white elephant in the room and we want to talk about it! 

Just in time for the holidays, SHELF LIFE returns with UNWANTED GIFTS. 

Clowns, an EZ Bake Oven, a three-ring notebook, a cigarette pen, and more. These are just some of the unwanted gifts. 

Featuring this all-star cast: 

Jose Faus, Charles Ferruzza, Jen Harris, Mark Manning, Sarah Beth Mundy, and Annie Raab. 

Shelf Life is a live themed show and telling event featuring an array of unique objects from the region and the people and stories behind them. Hosted by David Wayne Reed.

Also, everyone who buys a ticket is entered into a raffle for a really cool SURPRISE MYSTERY OBJECT to be unveiled at the event. Ooh, ahhh!

Doors open at 7 p.m. and show begins at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10.

Shelf Life is made possible with support from Arts KC.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Vote Shelf Life!


Just in time for the ELECTION, Shelf Life returns to the Brick on November 5th with objects and stories about Election Season!
Stories include:
Harry Truman's handwritten electoral predictions
A tete-a-tete with Vladimir Putin
Accidentally working the front lines of the 2000 presidential campaign
A retired NFL player campaigns for a touchdown in the Missouri House
Mt. Rushmore in song
Political DNA
Teeny tiny Mitt Romney.

Storytellers include: Former NFL player Martin T. Rucker II, Lisa Cordes, Ry Kincaid, Benji King, Lynn Gardner Hinkle, Samuel Rushay from the Harry S. Truman Library, David Wayne Reed, and Kate Haugan as "the Gifter."

Shelf Life is a live event held at The Brick (1727 McGee, KCMO).  Doors open at 7 p.m. and show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door or in advance at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2566948.

Save the date:
December 10, 2016--Shelf Life (Unwanted Gifts)
2017 Dates TBA.

Shelf Life is made possible with support from Arts KC. Reed was awarded an Inspiration Grant from the Art Council of Metropolitan Kansas City to launch this new ongoing series.

Storytellers are curated from an open call submission and are selected to tell a story inspired by, or featuring an object within the context of the events chosen theme. (Upcoming themes: Unwanted Gifts, Idol Worship, Wanderlust, and Cotton.)  Have a great object/story?  Tell us about it at yourshelflife@gmail.com



Sunday, October 30, 2016

How To Be A Winner


I never pass a raffle or chili cook off without entering. Simply: You have to enter to win.

Tomorrow I once again enter the chili cook off at my work. I have already won twice and also won the inaugural Rock Out With Your Crock Out at the Fishtank last fall.  I just want to be transparent in sharing my seasoned (ahem) background.  Like, I have some serious chili cred.

To be utterly transparent, I'm sharing my ingredients (left) and my winning story (link below).  Enjoy!

The Secret Ingredient

Shelf Life-Election Season is Saturday, November 5, 2016 at the Brick (1727 McGee, KCMO)

I want to come to Shelf Life! How do I get tickets?


Friday, October 21, 2016

A Teeny Tiny Mitt Romney, Political DNA, and Mt. Rushmore in Song






Shelf Life Returns for Election Season


Kansas City, MO- “Think ‘The Moth’ meets ‘Antiques Road Show,’” says Host/Executive Producer David Wayne Reed of Shelf Life.  Shelf Life is a bi-monthly live ‘show and telling’ event featuring an array of unique objects from the region and the stories behind them.

Just in time for the ELECTION, Shelf Life returns to the Brick on November 5th with objects and stories about Election Season!
Stories include:
Harry Truman's handwritten electoral predictions
A tete-a-tete with Vladimir Putin
Accidentally working the front lines of the 2000 George W. Bush presidential campaign
A retired NFL player campaigns for a touchdown in the Missouri House
Mt. Rushmore in song
Political DNA
Teeny tiny Mitt Romney.

Storytellers include: Martin T. Rucker II, Lisa Cordes, Ry Kincaid, Benji King, Lynn Gardner Hinkle, Samuel Rushay from the Harry S. Truman Library, David Wayne Reed, and Kate Haugan as "the Gifter."

Shelf Life is a live event held at The Brick (1727 McGee, KCMO).  Doors open at 7 p.m. and show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door or in advance at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2566948.

Save the date:
December 10, 2016--Shelf Life (Unwanted Gifts)
2017 Dates TBA.

Shelf Life is made possible with support from Arts KC. Reed was awarded an Inspiration Grant from the Art Council of Metropolitan Kansas City to launch this new ongoing series.

Storytellers are curated from an open call submission and are selected to tell a story inspired by, or featuring an object within the context of the events chosen theme. (Upcoming themes: Unwanted Gifts, Idol Worship, Wanderlust, and Cotton.)  Have a great object/story?  Tell us about it at yourshelflife@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 13, 2016



Shelf Life: Like Adult Show and Tell

"We all have those stories, we all have those objects. The objects are the lens through which we view and live our experiences."  

"Children don't have the social constructs we adopt as we get older. We have a primal desire to share our stuff, our stories." 


--From my interview on Central Standard on KCUR. 

I talk about Shelf Life and share my 'winning' story about being a Chili Cook Off champion. 


Full Interview: http://www.tinyurl.com/jrs582z






Shelf Life Debuts Saturday with Winning Show

Shelf Life is a bi-monthly storytelling event featuring objects and the stories behind them. 

Hosted by David Wayne Reed.

Shelf Life proudly debuts on September 17th at the Brick (1727 McGee, KCMO) with objects and stories about WINNING! 

Stories include: a guy who wins EVERYTHING, a teen finding early victories in high school forensics, a fortuitous mishap with the Stanley Cup, a Guinness Book World Record holder, winning by elimination on a reality tv show competition, an IRON (wo)MAN, and winning as a way of coping with a family drama. 

Also, everyone who buys a ticket is entered into a raffle for a really cool SURPRISE MYSTERY OBJECT to be unveiled at the event. Ooh, ahhh! 

Doors open at 7 p.m. and show begins at 7:30 p.m. 
Tickets are $10 at the door or in advance at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2566948.

Shelf Life is made possible with support from Arts KC.

Follow us at Shelf Life!!

Have a storyful object you'd like to share? Send a picture and 100 word synopsis to yourshelflife@gmail.com.

Save the dates:

November 5th--Shelf Life (Election Season)
December 10th--Shelf Life (The Gift)