The past year has given me a lot to think about, where I’m going, what I’m doing, who I am. Or in my case, who I used to be and how do I get back there?
So many things have changed, the kids growing up and moving on to middle school and college. It’s been hard for me to transition from the ever present, omniscient being that my offspring used to believe me to be, into the one on the sidelines. They are making their own choices, and although I am a participant in their discussions, musings and final actions, I am only a bystander.. I am no longer their planner, their supplier of snacks and bandages, the skinned knees easy compared to the teen angst and mood swings.
We closed the family business, leaving yet another gaping hole in my semi-structured life. No longer necessary to help keep things moving, I find myself wondering what do I want to do. Essentially, what do I want to be, to make of myself. I want to leave an indelible mark for my kids. Something they can be proud of in years to come. So I sit here, with writers block, thinking. Way too much thinking. In fact, the thinking brings me back to my youth and the ever present question, “What do you want to do with your life?”
So my past life: Always Art and English. Since I really needed to decide, I applied to various art schools in Manhattan, only to realize that I was good, and there were many other candidates auditioning who were great. So what now? Writing. Nothing epic like a Hemingway novel, but it was my one strength, the one class that excited me, that got me through high school and college…but what to write?
Enter Muffy Josiah and Ted Rawlins. The fateful question/statement posed, ” There’s an opening for an intern and we’re desperate. You love the arts, you love me (Muffy), so what do you say?” And my internship, then short lived career at the American Stage Company began. Perhaps the most exciting and fulfilling chapter of my life.
At first, filling out forms, listing the interns for equity points, helping with props. Soon, driving actors from NYC to our New Jersey location, and assisting in the box office. Long hours, lots of coffee and laughter. This was something I really enjoyed. The melange of students, actors, directors, columnist, playwrights…so exciting at every turn. A brief spell for me as I studied abroad, then the job offer. Literary agent! I was beside myself. I won the proverbial lottery, I mean, how many fresh out of school graduates land their dream job, and with such amazing coworkers. I began immediately, still working a few days in the box office and answering phones. Then, magic. Richard Nash was directing his play The Bluebird of Happiness at ASC. time for me to begin in earnest. Playbills needed to be organized, so first, on the phone to get sponsors and advertisers. OK, so I wasn’t writing, but this was marketing. My degree was in Communications as well as English. Before long Rosemary, sweet lady, took me under her wing and taught me the art of promotion – the press release. Now, I was writing.
Once the theater lost its funding, and I was unable to obtain another job even remotely close to what i wanted to be or do, I let my family of educators convince me that I should be a teacher. So off to grad school I went. Now, I will tell you my teaching career was short but rewarding, but I never felt that drive, the passion that I thought I should have. My mom, she’s a natural born kindergarten teacher. Me, I’m a writer. I’m happiest with a pen in my hand and a notebook on my desk, though I suppose my new medium of choice is a keyboard.
So back to that new start. And my writer’s block. As the middle of my life creeps up to meet me, I find myself longing for the writer that I was. Not the published short stories and poetry of my childhood, but the newer, sharper more biting kind of writing. I want to write for marketing, write for advertising, write for business, press releases, write for myself…just write. So now, I have taken the plunge. The first steps towards my new, old career. Classes underway and I feel energized. I’m hoping the block in my head starts to unfurl, leaving my mind more open, so the creative process can once again flow. I’ve dipped my toes in the water, but soon I’ll be able to jump right in. Just you watch, wait and see.