I’m adding something new to my “repertoire of writing skills.” I’m writing a one-act play from selected scenes in a book. And not just any book, mind you, but from my very own “Just Joshin’, A Year in the Life of a Not-so-ordinary 4th Grade Kid.” (See sidebar for ordering information)

At first I was more than a little hesitant to take this on. Starting with the fact that it wasn’t my idea. And when someone else tells me of their vision for something they’d like to see written, my first instinct is to run like hell.

But my friend Candace is quite persuasive. She pitched her idea, which sprung from her desire to see her 9-year-old son do something larger than bit parts, and she even said she’d direct it. All I had to do was write the play.

Piece of cake, right?

Well, getting back into my beloved “Josh Book,” has been nothing short of unbridled joy. It’s a very good book, if I do say so myself. And since the setting would be a simple classroom, and the characters could be limited to two speaking parts and using cardboard cut-out “extras” as in the Peanuts cartoon strip for the rest, it’s easy to write the dialog. After all, I lived this story!

The hardest part has been to go from the 63 stories in the book to a representative 10 short scenes for the play. As with the book, the play will be “A Year in the Life…” and therefore it follows the school calendar, September through June.

The more I get into this project, the more I like it. I expect to be finished with it after one more intense edit/polish. Then all that will be left is to see it produced onstage, and there’s actually an opportunity or two for that to happen this summer. Keep your fingers crossed!