I met Cedering Fox at a party in the Hollywood Hills. She had just arrived in Los Angeles and was ready to make this city stop and take notice. I guarantee everyone at the party took notice of Cedering. She was – in the vernacular of the day – hot. Big hair. High heels. And a sparkly, blue miniskirt.
Note to Cedering: Even if I remembered this evening inaccurately, let it go. Especially the sparkly, blue dress.
As it turned out she did make the city take notice. Not as an actress on evening soaps, but as a voice over artist who quickly rose to the top of the profession. Even though we never worked together, we were always friends.
I don’t know when Cedering started WordTheatre. But one afternoon, she came over to my house and gave me a kick in the pants. She said, “Stephen, I want you to write something for WordTheatre and
perform it at our next show.”
“Sure,” I said, confident that my promise would remain safely in the realm of fantasy. Cedering caught my subtext and said, “No. I mean it. Start writing. Now. I want to hear what your working on by the end of the week.”
You don’t say no to Cedering.
So I wrote. I finished a story. Cedering was thrilled and I performed at WordTheatre. It went better than I expected. I even had a passing police siren outside the theater at the exact moment when I read about how I was held hostage at gunpoint in a grocery store. When God provides the special effects you have to listen.
Since that day, I have performed at WordTheatre events dozens of times. I have written The Tobolowsky Files – about 83 hours of stories on iTunes that have played on NPR and PRI radio stations. I have two books of stories published by Simon and Schuster. None of it would have happened if Cedering hadn’t given me a kick in the pants. She helped me find my writer’s voice. I will always be grateful for her guidance, her encouragement, and her energy to make things happen.
“The Spider and the Telescope,” is part of a larger story from my second book, “My Adventures with God.” It is a tale from my childhood about my introduction to science through a wonderful gift from my aunt – a telescope.
My brother and I loved the stars. They were the first things we knew that were eternal. We later learned stars die like everything else. At first I was disappointed. Then I decided that the birth and death of a star only makes it more miraculous.
Today, my aunt’s telescope sits on a shelf in my study. We don’t use it for stargazing anymore. It only serves as a remembrance of our first efforts to understand where we are. I’m currently looking for a new tool to find something that is forever.
You can see Stephen Perform one of his stories at WordTheatre’s ‘Astronauts & Falling Stars.’ Brunch & Performance on Sunday May 6th, 2018