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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:336
  • eBook ISBN:9780984804917

The Living Wills

by Rick Kaempfer and Brendan Sullivan

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"The Living Wills" is a story about a split-second decision made 30 years ago and the ripple effects it caused. Can the man who made that decision and the people he affected maneuver their way through a world of baristas and Army veterans, bowling teams and exploding port-a-potties, cartoon pirates and young love, to find the strength to heal before it's too late?
A decision made in two seconds can change, damage, save or even end a life. Henry Stankiewicz made such a decision and he is still dealing with the ripple effects over 30 years later. Can he and the people he affected now maneuver their way through a world of baristas and Army veterans, cartoon pirates and exploding port-a-potties, Canadian cowboys and bowling teams, office politics and young love, to find the strength to heal before it's too late? The structure of this novel is influenced by the improvisational theater form called the Harold, created by Del Close as a member of the San Francisco theater group the Committee in San Francisco in 1967. On stage, a Harold is a long-form improvisational piece inspired by one audience suggestion and created in the moment by a team of improvisers. In the strictest sense, a Harold contains three separate 'scenes' inspired by the audience suggestion and a theatrical opening. Ideally, as a Harold develops before the audience's eyes over thirty minutes or so, the three scenes begin to connect and reflect one another, coming together in the end to create one coherent performance piece, never to be seen again. Entire books have been written about the essence of the Harold. Our short explanation does not do justice to it. As they say, "You gotta see it for yourself." When it works, it will blow your mind. This novel is NOT a Harold, only influenced by the form. It wasn't improvised on a stage in thirty minutes, although we did use some improvisation techniques in our process. We do have three interweaving story lines, but this novel was written, edited, rethought, rewritten, and rewritten again. Therefore, the end product of "The Living Wills" doesn't strictly adhere to the Harold form. Still, we would be remiss if we didn't acknowledge the debt we owe to Del Close.
About the author
Rick Kaempfer has written for magazines, newspapers, radio, television, advertising agencies, websites, and/or blogs for the past twenty five years. In 2007 his satirical novel "$everance" was published by ENC Press. The Chicago Sun Times called it "whiplash fast, choke on your coffee funny." He also co-wrote "The Radio Producers Handbook" with John Swanson in 2004 (Allworth Press), and contributed to the book "Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting 'til Next Year" (Can't Miss Press, 2008). Rick currently writes two weekly parenting columns ("Father Knows Nothing" and "Suburban Dad"), a humor column for Shore Magazine ("A Fine Mess"), and is editor-in-chief of the Cubs history website Justonebadcentury.com. When he's not writing, Rick is a full-time chauffeur for his three boys Tommy, Johnny and Sean. Brendan Sullivan is a creativity coach, helping organizational teams, leaders and individuals to realize their potential to be creative, innovative and collaborative. His clients include Kellogg's, PepsiCo, Harley-Davidson and many others. He is a renowned keynote speaker on the topic of collaborative creativity. He'd be happy to talk to your company, association, school, writer's conference, organization, etc. (www.creativitycoach.net). This novel is a living, tangible example of the power of collaborative creativity. Don't tell them, show them. Brendan's also been a professional improvisational actor, a radio producer, a commercial/film actor, comedy writer and lots of other stuff. Mainly he's Susan's husband and the father of Charlie, Mac, Harry and Rose.