No People Like Show People.
Updated: Apr 23
The last time I posted, I was writing a novel. I didn't mention that I had also started a play. Object Relations captured my imagination, or, some might say, possessed it, and I put the novel down. (Hot take: It also will be a play!)
I lead a writer double life. My writing is professional: I tell stories for corporations and non-profit organizations. I craft books and speeches filled with words for other people to speak, while I hide behind a tree, Cyrano. I disappear; I am, literally, a ghostwriter. I love my work and my business, my colleagues and clients. I get to write about the good non-profits do in the world. I get to inspire through language I craft for CEOs. I get to script and produce videos and events. I am grateful for all of that.
And, my writing is personal. Like Sam, the protagonist of Object Relations, I majored in creative writing and then went into business. I've written poetry and plays since I was a kid. To paraphrase Joan Didion, I don't know what I think, or feel, until I write it down. To see my poems published in journals or up for prizes now is a kick after decades of never submitting. I wrote plays for many years, too, satires about high school and later my workplaces, and this is the first I'm sharing with an audience.
A psychoanalyst might ask: "Why now?" "Why this play?"
I would never have written a play at this moment in my life, in a pandemic, if this story hadn’t demanded to be written, out of, among other things, fury. I needed to get my arms around it, wrestle it to the ground, and pound out the emotional truth. What feels miraculous is that tomorrow night three brilliant actors, Susan Derry, Anne Tolpegin, and Liz Shivener will share it. It can't be in a theater. None of us can watch it together. And readings are, by nature, spare. But, the actors' beauty and talent and hardcore work ethic and creativity shine so very brightly, it won't matter.
I hope people see the play and like it, or feel something, or see themselves. Or don't like it. Or don't see it. That's okay, too. (No. That's not true. In fact, psychologically-speaking, it's a defense mechanism, and something the play's analyst, Mimi Rose-Marcus, would surely call out. The reading is Saturday. I feel vulnerable. It's uncomfortable.)
From your vulnerabilities will come your strength.
This year, we've been required to embrace our own vulnerability. Let's also embrace our own duality and each other's humanity. Embrace plays and poetry, actors and their magnificent artistry; embrace the person inside the professional in all of us. So many things have been difficult and sad and terrifying. We've been training for resilience. We're strong now.
And if you can, embrace a night of theater that's also a fundraiser for equity in mental healthcare. It's so important, especially at this time of great suffering, that everyone who needs care receives it. People in our city are hurting, and we can help. Join us April 24 @ 7:30 pm, for the live-streamed, staged reading of Object Relations, benefitting the McClendon Center. Get your tickets here.
Founder and President