The Apron Stage


This week marks the one-year anniversary of this, The Apron Stage.  On November 1, 2008, we went live.


To commemorate this sort of ridiculous and awesome passage of time, I (Sarah) thought I’d pull together a sort of unauthorized history of the origin of The Apron Stage.  (Unauthorized because I’m pretty sure that the other writers will think it’s way too long and navel-gazing.)  I thought it would be good to revisit the beginning–to see what we were hoping for, what we were worried about, and who should get credit for what.  (Levi, turns out, gets a lot of it.)

I thought you might enjoy it too.  Yes?  Because, let’s be honest, we were nothing but girls emailing each other before you joined us.  (Except Louise, who was already a literary rockstar.)

So thank you–thank you for reading, for commenting, for guest posting, and for putting up with the next 1200 words of history.

You deserve congratulations too.

s (and r, l, and l)

P.S. If you didn’t know it already, the blog was Rebecca’s idea.  She started it all–first by knowing each one of us; second by harassing us to write for her, which we successfully procrastinated talking seriously about until August 1, 2008.  Open curtain.

NOTE: The following emails are all true, real emails sent among us in the months leading up to the debut of The Apron Stage.  Not all of our emails are below–a lot were sheer logistics–and even those presented below are HEAVILY excerpted.  So you’ll think we’re pithier than we really are.

Except Louise.  She really is that good.


Conference email

Rebecca Smylie to Louise, Lisa, me



Are we ready to talk about the blog? Sarah, you’re finished with the bar and that’s what we were waiting for, right?

Just wanted to get the conversation started. Here are my thoughts–amend and skip and delete as necessary.

–Each of us writes one post a week.

–On the fifth day of the week we have a guest writer OR we do a conversation between the four of us. A flurry of us.

–Mostly funny, sometimes serious. Mostly uplifting, sometimes frustrated.

Premise? Not sure, unless we did something like all sides of woman. Louise is the older and “wiser” grandmother. I am the stay at home young mom. Sarah, you’ll be jumping head first into the corporate world, Lisa, you’re single and have more crazy boy stories than anyone I know. That sort of thing? Open for discussion (obviously).

Name? No clue. Unless we call it “Better than a kick in the knee.” I learned this phrase from Louise herself…

Still to be discussed: design, launch, end game. Oh yes, and whether we really want to do this at all. Back out now, I say.

Much love-



Sarah Olson to Rebecca, Louise, Lisa


1. I’m totally for.

2. I really mean that.

3. I’m in Ohio for a moment (the second time in one week), on my way back to NY (the second time in two weeks), and my brain has fallen out of my head.

4. My brain has fallen out of my head.


5. I’m hopeful it will return.

I think the four regular plus one guest/group post rotation is a good one.  I’ve been thinking and I can’t decide which day of the week would be the least fun to write for–Monday?  Friday?  Wednesday?  I say we give that one to our guest blogger.

These are my thoughts.  It’s 1:03 am here in Fremont, Ohio, and my brain has fallen out of my head.  Please don’t judge me or my long-winded prose too harshly.  I’ll try to be better when/if our blog goes public.




Louise Plummer to me


I agree with everything Sarah wrote including that my brain has fallen out of my head.



Rebecca Smylie to Lisa, me



I think you and I are on the same page. Mostly. I wonder if stylistically we should make our posts fit some parameter. (Between 200-600 words?)

Your text “buy the premise, buy the bit” was dead on. I still don’t know what our premise is. The best I’ve come up with is the different sides of a woman, but I don’t want to pigeon hole us. Lisa called and said she didn’t know if she should be offended or flattered about me saying she should be the one with the boy stories. I laughed and said I could expect the exact same call from you.

In actuality, the premise, at least for me, is four women who can write and say things that are interesting to read. Entertain. And be happy.

And FINALLY, I didn’t copy Louise on this because I think we’ll start to bug her.

Love you dearly and hope all is well!



Sarah Olson to Rebecca, Lisa


200-600 words.  What you’re saying is you want me to be pithy?  How on earth do I do that?  I’m willing to try.

I think the purpose is just what you’re saying, RM.  All Sides of Woman.  Except we’re not really all sides of woman, yet.  We’re still distinctly LDS and white, educated, upper middle-class, etc.  That’s why I don’t think we should go with that as a name.  But within the constraints of that, we’re just trying to communicate the mostly uplifting, sometimes frustrating, mostly funny, sometimes serious life experiences of people like us or of people who like us.  Us being likeminded people with commitment to humanity, to sanity, to verve, wit, and self-improvement that grows out of our desires to be a little kinder, enjoy life a little more, and be like God.

Like Crazy.



Rebecca Smylie to me, Lisa


My purposes:

1. Have fun.

2. We want people to feel happy and their souls to swell.

3. And i think I just want to be forced to write something, for a real audience, once a week. And I want to read things, by writers I adore and admire, four times a week. So that’s my personal purpose.

Okay, I love thinking about this. I want to have a business meeting that we dress up for and discuss this sort of detachedly at first, and then very very passionately.

Talk soon


Lisa Piorczynski to me, Rebecca


Wow, wow, wow. I’m kinda behind here. Sarah, hi. I like you already. Bex, hi. I made it home post-road trip.

Amen to 200-600 words. Amen to Shakespeare. Brevity is, indeed, the soul of wit.

Amen to having fun, to lifting souls, to forcing ourselves to write.

That’s all.



Rebecca Smylie to me, Lisa


Yes yes. That Title. We need help. We definitely need help. Levi says it needs to be something that people can say easier, one word, he says. He says it should be a literary term. Perhaps an obscure one. Is there an obscure literary term having to do with four?


Rebecca Smylie to Lisa, me, Louise


Sarah found this:

APRON STAGE: A stage that projects out into the auditorium area. This enlarges the square footage available for actors to walk and move upon. This feature was not common in the days of classical Greco-Roman theater, but it was a common architectural trait in Elizabethan times and remains in use in some modern theaters. An apron stage is also known as a thrust stage.

And then she said this: “I like that it has a sort of domestic feel, that it has actual meaning, and that what it represents is our attempt to extend our lives out a little bit, to have a bigger stage to play on, so to speak.”

While I’m definitely not the domestic “type” I do think I like it because it’s a title that suggests we’re women–



Rebecca Smylie to me


Levi says our title needs to be somehting that people say. “Do you read Apron Stage?” I think he’s right.


Rebecca Smylie to me, Lisa


Heard some encouraging things about the money people are making in this world. Also heard some discouraging things. I love you both regardless.

–The Apron Stage #3.


Lisa Piorczynski to Rebecca, me


Tell those discouarging people to shut up. We’re smarter than they are. And we’ve got your kick-ass ancestors on our side so we’ll be fine.


Rebecca Smylie to Lisa, me



The best part of all of this, is that I’m talking to you guys. And brainstorming with you guys. And being creative with you guys. It will sound lame to say this, but last night I was all sorts of wired and had to watch a tv show to calm down. That doesn’t usually happen to me. It was just fun to be working on something. I hope it always feels that way. If it ceases so to be–let’s quit.

Love you–




Which of the following actually proposed alternate names for The Apron Stage (that’s right, we discussed/briefly considered each one of these) was inspired by one of Levi’s ex-girlfriends–and why?

  • Of Good Report
  • Pickled Beets
  • 4 Rivers
  • Pishtigites
  • For the Fat Lady
  • For the Joy
  • Blevity
  • Apostrophie
  • You Do Realize
  • Litotes
  • The Cotton Library

We’ll reveal the answer at the end of the day.  We’ll even name a winner.  Whoop whoop!