Mise en place—this French phrase describes the first step a mindful chef or cook takes in preparing a meal. Many cookbooks instruct those who follow their recipes at home to do so. When preparing ingredients based on taste, experience, or the tyranny of a recipe, a cook will sort, wash, chop, dice, mince, julienne, measure, sift, or melt each item for the intended dish. She also will ensure that all pots, pans, cutting boards, knives, stirrers, sorters, and smashers are in place before preparation begins. My go-to mise en place for nearly every hot dish I cook (yes, even pancakes) … Continue reading Fragrant Things
An essay delivered May 17, 2021 to the Chicago Literary Club, a venerable institution founded in the late 19th century. My Life in Puppetry: ©2021 Susan Bass Marcus Where Did It All Start? Have you ever invented a caption for … Continue reading Who’s in Control Here?
With a glass of red wine in hand, I paced the two rooms of my apartment and puzzled over her remarks. Brave and together? Me? Continue reading If You Aren’t in Over Your Head, How do You know How Tall You Are? Attributed to T.S. Eliot, source unknown
As a puppeteer I’d been telling stories to young audiences at private parties, schools, and other venues for many years, but performing as an entertainer was wearing on me. I wanted to stretch myself, create work that would appeal to … Continue reading The Sixth Sense of a Story
From a series of essays on my life in puppetry Puppetry is an art form and I wanted to perfect it. I knew I would never perform in public unless I trained with a professional. I found Hans Schmidt who … Continue reading “I Know How You Did That!”
“Hello, Susan Marcus? “Yes, who’s calling, please?” “This is Karen Smith. [name changed to protect myself!] You’re the puppet lady?” “(Clears throat) Yes, I am a puppeteer.” “And you do birthday parties?” “All the time, but I’m booked up for … Continue reading A Bizarre Birthday Bash
My career in puppetry had its roots in a childhood fascination with puppet shows and their characters, stages, props, and sets. Long before the 1969 premier of Sesame Street, Chicago-area children like me could watch a bevy of puppets on … Continue reading She Becomes a Puppeteer