26. Christmas, 2013

When I was young, I could never have imagined I'd be a writer of any sort or any sort of writer. It wasn't in the purview of the family I grew up in--it wasn't thinkable, not a consideration, not within the sight of a Don Quixote windmill, let alone a possibility. Possibility is my favorite word.

I grew up in the trades, so my life was well laid out. I don't know why, but in my mid-twenties, I began reading while winter's bluster made outdoor work impossible. I wasn't a fast or comprehensive reader, but once I began something in me changed. The first year it was Mark Twain; the second, Carl Sandburg's biography of Abraham Lincoln; the third year--Shakespeare! One year I went to Britain and Europe and kept a journal. I liked writing. I didn't do it all that well, but I kept at it the entire trip.

In my thirties, I gave college a try. First, a community college, then as my reading and writing skills improved, a four-year school. As an English major, I discovered my interest in reading plays and even though there wasn't a playwriting program at my school, other forms of creative writing held my interest. Before my first college class, I wasn't aware of the many opportunities out in the world, nor did I know there were richer possibilities within me. After graduation I sought out a playwriting workshop, which led to theatre classes, which led to working on a show, which led to more classes and more workshops and a playwriting group and eventually led me to a Master of Arts program in Theatre. I'm in my fifties now and much of my adult life has been taking me in the direction I'm now going. I can't tell you why I began reading or journaling years ago. I can tell you there was something inside of me that needed to come out. Something that seemed to exist, but was dormant or maybe unborn. There was some part of me that understood something I could not see or touch or articulate.

As I wrote the word purview in the first paragraph, I went diving for a dictionary. I can't remember the last time I used it. I couldn't have given you a clear definition of it, yet I knew it was the word I needed to use. I wasn't good at spelling when I was young, nor did I understand grammar well. I was good at math. Math made sense: two plus two equaled four, but with language, grammar and writing there were always more choices and more possibilities (did I say possibility is my favorite word).

My journey to being a writer has not been a straight line. However, I wouldn't change it. I welcome the struggle with the culture, with producers, directors and literary managers, with my plays and characters and with myself. I want to be who I am. I want to discover who I am. I want to viscerally understand who I am. If I viscerally understand who I am only Alzheimer's or death can take it from me. My life as a writer has not been handed to me and is only possible because for some unknown reason I began reading and journaling. Whatever my life is or will become as a writer--I've earned it. Most people see struggles as opponents preventing them from achieving what they want to accomplish. I see struggles as an opportunity--a chance to seek and discover something deep within. I see struggles as a gift. It is a gift to help me learn, grow, evolve and become--to help me better understand who I am. It is a gift when for some unknown reason life takes you in unexpected and challenging directions.

originally posted December 2013
reposted March 2018

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