What if you weren’t playing your character?

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by Mary Nepi & Christopher Shelley

Try that again — slower in pace, but faster in speed.

Are you comfortable with heights? You may or may not be suspended high above the audience for the entire show.

You’re still giving me something… I want you to give me absolutely nothing. Make me believe you do not exist.

Do the scene as if there’s a bird on your head, but it’s actually your mother trapped in a bird’s body, and she’s reminding you that you’ll never be good enough.

Your mother just called: she says you’re not good enough.

How do…


Mother Nature has a history of violent weather events

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Ladies and gentlemen of the court, today we will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, Mother Nature, is solely responsible for inciting the snowstorms that have killed at least 31 people and has left millions without power.

Mother Nature has even inflicted her wrath upon states that up to this point had only heard about snow in books or more likely movies, states like Texas and Alabama. Ladies and gentlemen, the people of these states can barely spell the word blizzard, let alone figure out how to continue driving…


How do I love thee? Let me count the — hold on while I just send this text…

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Dinner Out

Single: Book a reservation for two at a romantic candlelit Italian restaurant, arrange for a violinist to serenade you at a table surrounded by rose petals. Somehow you score a view of the Eiffel Tower, even though you’re in Des Moines.

Married: Oh god: the traffic, the waiting, the bad service, the non-gluten menus. What a hassle, especially when you’re both working two jobs to pay for the In Vitro. …


Your niche is out there

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Writers need to experiment with forms, styles and genres to find their niche.

Writers need to focus on one form, style or genre to gain the necessary 10,000 hours of experience to become masters of their chosen form of writing.

These conflicting things are both true and unfortunate in being true, as they can work against each other. How can you tell that one kind of writing is your niche if you haven’t ruled out other forms of writing? How do you know you don’t have a poet living inside your creative non-fiction body? …


I’m now brain-damaged, but I don’t have COVID.

Written by Jennie Young and Christopher Shelley

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Contrary to what my girlfriend says, I’m not a “maniac.” I just take reasonable precautions to keep us safe during the pandemic. For example, I’ve always taken a multi-vitamin, but recently I added separate Vitamin D and zinc tablets to boost my immune system — reasonable stuff like that.

I also eat seventeen fish oil caplets a day so that if I do travel and my plane crashes in the ocean, the fish will think I’m part fish and I’ll have a fighting chance at survival. I mainline Vitamin C three times per…


This year I’m taking no chances with facts

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This year I’m going to get serious about losing weight. I heard that people can lose fifty pounds on the Covid diet, so I’m going to RSVP ‘yes’ to that secret 10,000-guest Hassidic wedding.

This year I won’t just get thin, I’ll get ripped. That Mirror Home Fitness thing is super-cool, but the next big thing is a hologram where pro athletes train you to look just like them. …


By this time tomorrow, our towns will be covered in snow, but our indoor areas won’t be

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The biggest snowfall to hit the northeast in twenty years is due to hit the region beginning today at four pm. Experts agree that the snow will be primarily outdoors, and that those people who are indoors will not be affected unless they lose power, in which case they’ll still be un-snowed upon.

“Covering your face and also the rest of your body with a building or other indoor-type space is the safest way to protect yourself from snow, which occurs primarily outdoors,”…


A Hallmark/Vivid Entertainment/Liberty Films Christmas collaboration

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A week before Christmas, Lucy Van Pelt, who by the way is a dead ringer for Emma Stone, leaves Los Angeles and returns to her quaint childhood home in Seneca Falls, NY. Lucy is not looking for love.

She’s not looking for love because she’s too busy helping The Grinch run MeanOne Inc., which automates digital advertising inventory for all the important companies in an area just outside Los Angeles called ‘ARealWho’sWhoville.’

She’s also not looking for love because she’s cynical about monogamy after having an affair with the managing director of a design…


Your past is a real buzzkill.

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At the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, as snow fell outside my window and I contemplated how I couldn’t possibly improve as a human being, the Ghost of My Former Assistant, I Think His Name Was Jacob, visited me.

He warned me I’d be visited by other spirits. I said, “I hope one of them is Jose Cuervo.” He shook his head and vanished.

But darned if the ghost wasn’t right: as the clock struck one, I was visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past. He showed me scenes of my younger self missing opportunities to improve as a…


Prepare for death by being very alive

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2020’s global pandemic has been good for one thing: perspective.

It’s also been good for people who make facemasks, supermarket floor direction signs and vaccines. Okay, it’s been a good year in a few ways, but mostly it’s been a dumpster fire run over by a train and washed out by a flash flood.

But look at it this way: it’s a great excuse to be hyper-focused on the good things in life. Some call it mindfulness; I call it paying attention to good stuff.

When I watch the news each night at…

Christopher Shelley

Humor in Slackjaw, Little Old Lady Comedy, Points in Case, The Haven, Sex and Satire. Weddings: www.IlluminatingCeremonies.com

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