This is the first article he wrote for MinnesotaPlaylist. I defy you to read it and not laugh out loud, many times.
If anyone has the brain power to heal himself, it is Tom.
Read this article. And this one too. Read them and learn how to write criticism: detailed, exuberant, happy to be at the show without becoming soft about it yet critical without becoming a downer--and always most of all alive to the experience, alive to the possibilities of language and thought, and so sensitive to the community of the audience, to what is truly relevant.
And then, you should start reading the blog posts Tom wrote for us in 2010 about whether there was a "Minnesota Style." Go to Tom's author page here. Underneath that black bar in the middle column on the page are six entries. Just dive in. This one is one of my favorites.
And his plays are better. I don't have any of those archived on the website, but I do have more than a few lines memorized. In fact, I think that if there was a flaw in his last produced play Safe as Houses it might been that there were too many funny lines to hear them all. . . Here's just a taste from this play about a piece of real estate from hell: The prospective buyer returns from a brief tour of the house with a dazed look on her face. "Is that a walk-in furnace?" she says. And the real estate agent replies, naturally, "Yeah, you don't see that very often."
(Forgive me, Tom, if I paraphrased wrong.)
Sometimes I read other writers and get angry because I think, "I could do that better!" Other times I read them and get green-eyed envious and think "I wish I had thought of that."
Tom belongs to that third category of writer where I just nod and smile and say, "Thank you, Sir." because I know that, even on my best day, I can't do it that well or make it look that easy.
Please get well soon, Tom. There's so much more to write.