Member Monday: Sleepover from Walks with Thurber: A Memoir by Jennifer Levens

Welcome back to Member Monday. Today we feature a piece by Writers Forum Treasurer, Jennifer Levens. Welcome, Jen.


from Walks with Thurber: A Memoir

by Jennifer Levens

Author’s Note: This is all from the dog’s point of view, so the misspellings are his and on purpose.

I had a sleepover at my house. I know, it has been a long time since I got to talk to you. Mom has been busy, whatever that means. I have been going for more and more walks. But I have to tell you about my sleepover. You know I like white fluffy things and purple things. (That’s because Mom likes purple things. Sometimes she is a purple thing herself), but anyway about my sleepover. Mom brought my friend over and he stayed here. He got to sleepover at my house!!! Mom took us both for walks but not at the same time.

His name is Stan, but Mom calls him Sweetie Pie. Is that a food? Mom and Dad get pie a lot. They don’t let me have it. I get bananas and apples and grapes (not many of those) and a cracker at the morning and a cracker at the night and fish oil pills and then sometimes if I have itchy places or I sneeze a lot I get other pills. Sometimes I fake sneezing, because Dad wraps pills in meat. I like meat a lot too.

About my sleepover, the car smelled funny after Stan was in it. He wasn’t in my seat, but something happened. Mom brought him home and my blue thing for my seat wasn’t there again. I have another thicker blue thing. It is softer and more fun. Anyway, Stan stayed for a long time. Why does he get a bowl of food all the time and I only get two bowls a day? I wouldn’t eat his food. It is hard and in really small balls. He throws it up and catches it. I can’t do that with my food only the apples and bananas and grapes.

Anyway Stan slept in a cage. Mom would never let me sleep in a cage. I couldn’t even fit in Stan’s cage, but Stan says he likes it. It is like a cave and it smells like him and he sleeps real good in it.

The first night Stan woke everybody up. He grrr…d and he woofed and he was real loud. I only do that when there is danger like from that gray thing that crept along the fence and hissed at me and made mean faces at me. I don’t really know what Stan was grrr…ing about. I mean, I guess I am used to the stuff that happens around here. When I go to Stan’s house he says he likes it, because he gets out of his room for a while and my Mom walks him. He says she rescues him from the smelly place where there are all sorts of us and other people like, eeuwwee, cats and stuff. I don’t think I would mind a snake. Snails live at my house and I don’t mind them. They are really easy to catch. Anyway, back to Stan and me. Mom didn’t take us to Dog Park. She left us all; me, and Stan, and Dad all the next day after Stan got here. She came home smelling of woods and trees and why didn’t she take me? I would have really liked that.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Shadows by Jennifer Levens

Welcome back to Member Monday.  You deserve a little more poetry in your life and Writers Forum Treasurer Jennifer Levens is here to give you your daily dose. Welcome, Jennifer.


by Jennifer Levens

I walk the dog in the early morning, the sun barely risen

And it catches me low on the back and makes me fifteen feet tall

And so slender that I wish I could stay that way, thin and shapely an

Almost girlish in figure, lithe and agile striding along with dog in tow.


I go for a walk in the early morning, the sun barely risen

And it catches me on the hill as I walk into it and I can not

See behind me, so I miss the tall long slender person who is following me;


And the dog walks in front of me, sniffing here and there

For messages from his fellow dogs, unconcerned that his walking partner

Is longing for a younger slimmer self to match her thoughts and feelings as

She breathes the morning air and pictures herself loping with the dog over field and stream.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Success Story Saturday: Ken Levens

Welcome back to Success Story Saturday.  As often as possible, we’re featuring Writers Forum members who have been published, won writing contests, or have otherwise found recent success as writers.  

Today we celebrate playwright and Writers Forum member Ken Levens for his recent play As You Wish, starring Writers Forum Treasurer, Jennifer Levens.  Writers Forum Program Chair, Sharon Owen, and Writers Forum Membership and Hospitality Chair, Jennifer Higley, are here with all the details.

Shakespeare’s Wife Sets the Record Straight in As You Wish

 by Sharon Owen and Jennifer Higley

Riverfront Playhouse was recently the scene of a laugh-a-minute production of As You Wish, starring Jennifer Levens and Chad MacFarlane.  The two-act, two-character play was written and directed by Ken Levens and ran as a fundraiser during the January 10-12 weekend.

In the production, Levens portrays Shakespeare’s wife,  Anne Hathaway, sent forward in time to set the record straight about her marriage. MacFarlane is a contemporary young American man who fancies himself an expert on Shakespeare. He is simply referred to as American Guy.

Sparks ignite quickly when Mrs. S and American Guy meet and begin a dialogue about The Bard.  The play is a delicious repast of clever one-liners, salted with literary allusions and peppered with zinging puns.

Mrs. S confuses her anagrams, referring to Americans who go “driving around in gas-guzzling STDs.” She berates Walt Whitman, saying his work is “just one long run-on sentence,” and attacks opera, calling it “Italian for death by music.” And the female half of the audience was partial to her quip, “If the world were a logical place, men would ride side-saddle.”

A good quote to describe Mrs. S in a nutshell is, “I don’t cause commotions; I am one!”

The American Guy has his share of keepers, too. Such as, “All you need to know about love is that women are crazy, and men are stupid.” And he refers to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as a play in which actors portraying Latin-speaking Romans, actually spoke their lines in perfect renaissance English.

Other quotable quotes:

“Love is not like Bingo–you can win at Bingo.”

“King Lear is a warning about not growing old before growing wise.”

Some of the literature, entertainment, and modern issues discussed by Mrs. S and the American Guy were:  Monty Python, Doctor Seuss, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the bees vanishing, GMO’s, fracking, and Lemony Snicket. Other references included Swift’s A Modest Proposal and the classic movie, Soylent Green.

Mrs. Shakespeare’s period costume was beautifully rendered, with décolletage that left little to the imagination where her ample bosom was concerned. By contrast, American Guy’s casual surfer dude costume looked just right for his character. The actors both projected their voices at ideal volume, neither too loud nor difficult to hear at any point in two hours of speaking.

Altogether, As You Wish  proves that playwright Ken Levens knows his literature, from its birth up to the present day, and knows how to serve it up with humor and wisdom.

Writers Forum members, we want to celebrate with you so please send your success stories to  

Leading Ladies at Riverfront Playhouse

Writers Forum is hosting our annual buyout night at Riverfront Playhouse.  The featured play is Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies, directed by our very own Jennifer Levens.  The play is February 7th at 7:30pm-just in time to take your sweetheart out for Valentine’s Day or to treat your own heart to some hilarious theater!  Tickets are $15.00 each.

Last April we had an absolute blast at Lend Me A Tenor, also written by Ken Ludwig and directed by Jennifer Levens.  I can’t remember ever laughing so hard at a play!  I’m laughing right now just thinking about it.  While I take a moment to compose myself, here’s a little more about the Leading Ladies:

“Leading Ladies is a comedy about two English Shakespearean actors, Jack and Leo, who find themselves so down on their luck that they are performing “Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that an old lady in York, PA is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long-lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. The trouble is, when they get to York, they find out that the relatives aren’t nephews, but nieces! Romantic entanglements abound, especially when Leo falls head-over-petticoat in love with the old lady’s vivacious niece, Meg, who’s engaged to the local minister. Meg knows that there’s a wide world out there, but it’s not until she meets “Maxine and Stephanie” that she finally gets a taste of it.”

Then gather your friends for a great night of local theater.  Here’s what reviewers said about author Ken Ludwig’s Broadway production of Leading Ladies:

“Ludwig’s newest comedy is so funny, it will make sophisticated and reasonable men and women of the 21st century cackle till their faces hurt.”
The Houston Press

“Leading Ladies is consistently funny – indeed, increasingly hilarious as it progresses.”
The Houston Chronicle

“Leading Ladies is a highly combustible and continuously hilarious new comedy by Ken Ludwig, Broadway’s reigning comic writer.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer

In case you’re still not convinced to join us, here’s a short clip from the actors at the Greenville Little Theater:

All ticket sale proceeds go to the Writers Forum Scholarship fund.  We hope to award at least one $500 scholarship to a local senior who excels in writing and is continuing their education at a college or university.  It’s only because of ticket sales that we’re able to make this scholarship possible.  So thank you for supporting young writers and local theater.

Tickets can be purchased at our January Writers Forum meeting.  If you’re unable to attend the January meeting and would like to purchase tickets, please leave a comment here or contact the Writers Forum at (530) 515-4828.  Checks can be made out to Writers Forum and mailed to:

Writers Forum

P.O. Box 492282

Redding, CA 96049-2282

See you at the theater!

Member Monday: The Occasional Rose by Jennifer Levens

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature Writers Forum board member and treasurer, Jennifer Levens.  She’s an actress, a published author, an accountant and, as demonstrated by today’s submission, she always sees things in a humorous light.  Welcome, Jennifer!

The Occasional Rose

by Jennifer Levens

The subtle glow of peach peering out of the corner of an undeveloped lot;

the shot of red exploding in the middle of an unplowed field;

the white beauty draped over a barbed wire fence.

It is always a surprise, when riding shotgun to see a rose appear outside the orderly garden setting.

Maybe it’s time to thank a bird!

A Note from the Webmaster: Writers Forum has the author’s permission to publish this work. The author retains full copyright ownership and protection. This work may not be reproduced or used in any way without the permission of the author.  If  you’re a member in good standing, please consider submitting a piece of your work to share.  Essays, poems, songs, articles, excerpts and any other stand alone pieces are welcome.  Pieces should be 75-750 words.  To submit your piece, please e-mail it to webmaster, Alicia McCauley, at   Members featured here are guests in our Writers Forum house.  Treat them as such in the comments section and enjoy this beautiful thing we call writing.