Tuesday, March 18, 2008
When I was in college, I wanted to be a playwright. It seemed like the best way to merge my two greatest loves, writing and theater. I earned my undergraduate degree in a dual major, English and Drama. I never could decide between my two loves. In graduate school I studied English, all the while working to put myself through school as what we called in those days a “techie.” I worked behind the scenes in theaters building, painting, and sculpting scenery; running lights and sound; moving walls and furniture around. I worked as a techie for about a dozen years all told. I loved the magic, the ritual, and the spiritual journey of theater. As a techie, I was privileged to make the magic happen in many ways. Secretly, I still wanted to be a playwright. I wrote drama late at night, but never showed it to anyone come morning. Looking back over it all, I think what I really wanted was the power of the master creator. I wanted to write a place and people and objects and have them become real. I wanted to write a red wagon on the stage and then see a red wagon on the stage. I have been thinking about this youthful desire lately. After ten years as a successful grant writer, I see myself as that master creator. I have used my words to make that wagon appear—the wagon I make appear is therapeutic services, programs for children and families, medicine, education, empowerment for people in distress. I am the playwright on the real stage. It was hard to give up the glitter and imagination of theater. But my talent was for another use. Still behind the scenes. But I am proud I have not squandered it. I always tell young people when I go out on author tour “Figure out what you love and what you are good at and pursue it with a passion.” I am walking the talk.