An Interview with Clayborn Benson

At the intersection of 27th & Center, there’s a historian who is generations in the making.

“My name is Clayborn Benson III. I’m proud of my name, I work hard to make sure I’m not called Clay. I am Clayborn.”Continue reading “An Interview with Clayborn Benson”

StorySlam: What’s in a Name?

Our non-competitive slam “What’s in a Name?” brought another crop of first-time storytellers to Good City Brewing Company on Farwell Avenue! Our emcees were Leah “Pia Diarrhea” Delaney and Elaine “Good Golly Miss” Maly…

Continue reading “StorySlam: What’s in a Name?”

Women Work For Change. All Kinds.

Ex Fabula came up with a great idea for two blogs:  Interview and write about two women who have worked or fought for change.  This is about the first.

I’ve been trying to come up with a woman, someone I can reach by phone or invite for a cup of coffee, who works for change.  I’m stumped, but not because I can’t find someone who does great things.  The problem is there’s another woman I cannot get out of my head.  One who really, truly works for change.Continue reading “Women Work For Change. All Kinds.”

We don’t usually blog about Secret Fabulas. They’re secret…

Contributor: Sue Schoeppel

We don’t usually blog about Secret Fabulas.  They’re secret… and saucy and bawdy and occasionally downright erotic! Being of high moral fiber, I only stumbled on the latest, “Secret Fabula: Afterdark”, by accident.  Piously trekking toward the Christian Science Reading Room, I spied Nicole placing a Secret Fabula poster in the window of Freight 38 ( on the corner of Walker & First.  Yes, I often walk 15 blocks and under a major highway on frozen Friday nights. Continue reading “We don’t usually blog about Secret Fabulas. They’re secret…”

Love on The Ex Fabula Stage!

Ex Fabula board president Meghan Koven is engaged! Just so happens that her love, Michelle Daavettila (AKA Shel Daav) popped the question onstage at the New Year Spectacular. The proposal was a first at an Ex Fabula event. I interviewed Meghan and Shel so we could learn more about their relationship to each other and to the Milwaukee community.Continue reading “Love on The Ex Fabula Stage!”

A Rebirth of Wonder

It’s Friday. That’s when I join Tammy – the research assistant – in the waiting room. We work in the Yellow Clinic at the Zablocki VA Medical Center. When I arrive, she’s already set up – with the folding table, foam board sign and plastic bowl of mint Lifesavers.

The TV’s in the corner – on all the time. What’s on today? Cops? An HBO documentary about UFO sightings, a golf tournament? I think about Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem from the Beat era: I Am Waiting.

 I am waiting/for my case to come up/I am waiting/for a rebirth of wonder 

Everyone here is waiting – for lab results, a blood draw, for their appointment, a prescription…for pain relief… Spouses, sons and daughters wait too. There’s conversation. My wife always tells me to drink more water … I can relate! I nag Maurice about hydration constantly. Once our Labrador retriever stole chocolates from under the Christmas tree … I can relate… I know what an unsupervised Lab will eat.

A couple arrives – the husband on foot, his wife in a wheelchair. She wears a teal-colored wool coat. He goes to the desk to check in. She wants to get up, to use the ladies’ room, but finds that her coat’s gotten bunched up in the wheelchair somehow. Tammy and I study it. Tammy’s a nurse, with wheelchair skills. She figures out how to free her. She has the woman lift up, and we tug at the fabric. The woman thanks us. Smiles.

While she’s gone, Tammy sits by her husband to explain our project to him. The wife comes out, sits back down. She sees them talking and turns to me. Smiles… I can’t leave him alone for a minute. When he turns to her, she tells him about her small adventure with the stuck coat.

Eventually he’s called and they both go in. It’s a while before they come back out. She comes out ahead of him. She rolls up by us and Tammy asks if they were able to help her husband.

She tells us they took X-rays, will see what they can do. He’d been wheezing and not feeling well at all. She smiles at us, again, says: He forgets that he’s 93.

Meanwhile, he comes and stands behind her chair, holding her scarf and beret. Smiles over here at Tammy and I. He’s 93 years old? Just now, he could be a high school boy, who looks at his date and can’t believe how lucky he is!

He could say here’s your hat, hand it to her. But he drops it lightly, backwards onto her head, goofy and winking. I can hardly breathe! I think about Maurice. We have over 35 years behind us already. Yet – at 62 and 69 years old, we could be their children! What will two, three more decades bring? We already know how time will have its way with you.  Those two must have seen plenty of losses by now. But affection that deep…that’s the stuff of poetry…

and I am perpetually waiting

for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn

to catch each other up at last

and embrace

and I am awaiting

perpetually and forever

a renaissance of wonder

-Sue Blaustein


“And Our Next Storyteller Is…Sue Schoeppel!”

Oh, God.  I am a MORON.

Well, not a classic moron making epically bad decisions like driving drunk, buying cute shoes that hurt (um, just one pair but they’re really cute), working at a publishing house and turning down Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (twelve did!) or going into an abandoned house alone to look for my missing friends when Michael Meyers had escaped yet again – it’s like eleven times now, right?  Okay, I did buy an iPhone X, but it wasn’t my fault; I was lured.Continue reading ““And Our Next Storyteller Is…Sue Schoeppel!””