“I’ve wanted to be a writer my whole life, and now I’m not writing,” I wrote in a frantic email to my playwriting professor Tina Howe, one year after graduating from college. “What if I’m not supposed to be a writer?”
In Tina’s class, I worked for two years on a play in which a young woman named Eddie secretly slept at a used bookstore at night. The play, then titled Izzy Gold Drops Dead, explored questions of sexuality, meaning, and loss, in a quirky romp I dubbed a spiritual, dark, coming-of-age comedy. Izzy Gold Drops Dead won awards and had readings, but I didn’t understand why Eddie was hiding—or how to get her out. After graduation, the play went into a drawer for four years. Eddie wasn’t the only one hiding: I was, too.
The play is now called Stranded. I’m proud to report that through the progression of recent drafts, Eddie learns the lesson she needs to learn to leave the bookstore and enter adulthood. I’m ready to emerge as well, and am excited to continue work on this cathartic story about heartbreak, faith, and living with questions that can’t be answered.
Tina’s reply to my email was a gentle push. “Writers don’t write because they want to be writers,” she said, “They write because they have something they need to say.”
Excerpt from a cover letter I wrote this year. Thankful today for support from mentors, and for the lessons that come with time.