Pennsylvania Banshee | Skillshare Projects

Johnny Ventimiglia

Writer, economist, baseball fan



Pennsylvania Banshee

6/24 Update: Thank you for the comments everybody. I took your suggestions and revised it. Second draft is up. I changed the title, reworked the dialogue and punched it up. Comments are appreciated.

Hi all. For my project I selected "Judge Somers" of Edgar Lee Master's Spoon River Anthology. It is a lament of an acclaimed Judge who lies in an unmarked grave, regardless of his accomplishments in life.

Log line: Stuck writing an obituary for a recently deceased judge, a new-in-town reporter for a little Ohio newspaper finds a disturbing truth.

Click here to read the first draft!

Second draft is up.

This story does not use the judge as a acting character, he's more like...just there. The story follows a young reporter Joseph Wheeler who is stuck writing obituaries for a little newspaper in Spoon River. For this project I've placed Spoon River somewhere in Eastern Ohio, technically the Midwest but close enough to Pennsylvania to add a certain Eastern country feel. I set the piece in the early 20th century, right after World War I.

Our hero, Wheeler tries to find out more about the old judge, but most folks just say something nice and brief; it's a real puff piece. At the same time, there is a young woman murdered by her boyfriend. A series of events juxtapose our hero with some new information that forces him to act. 

I look forward to reading yours and will read and comment on anyone who asks.

"Judge Somers"

How does it happen, tell me,

That I who was most erudite of lawyers,

Who knew Blackstone and Coke

Almost by heart, who made the greatest speech

The court-house ever heard, and wrote

A brief that won the priase of Justice Breese-

How does it happen, tell me

That I lie here unmarked, forgotten,

While Chase Henry, the town drunkard,

Has a marble block, topped by an urn,

Wherein Nature, in a mood ironical,

Has sown a flowering weed?


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