Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

I was a writer before I was a playwright.

I wrote because I was more interested in the inner lives of other people than of my own. Like many people, I wrote to be anywhere other than where I actually was. Of course it is only now, at thirty, I realize that in doing so, in trying to get away from myself, I learned who I really was. In the, oh say, twenty-four years that I’ve been writing, I have found myself in a fiftysomething British woman with an open marriage, in a politician’s wife on a national campaign trail, in a 1960’s housewife desperate to feel something, and of course in my timeless depiction of a motley crew of concession candy who formed their own legendary rock band in my mind when I was seven – man, did I relate to that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup/bass player.

Then, on January 21st, 2017, I stood in the middle of Constitution Avenue, freezing cold yet melting into the million who stood alongside me, and screamed in the direction of the White House until I could no longer hear my own voice. And though I was literally one of a million, it was as if none of us existed at all. As if we were screaming into a void. I began to think of all the voiceless women shouting to be heard, those around me and those before me, and I knew that a change was going to come. I knew that I needed to become a different writer than I had been. I knew that I was a different writer. One whose job it is to write about Her, to specifically and emphatically write about Not Him.

As a first year playwright at Ohio University, it has been my task to rediscover who I am as a writer, and uncover new pieces I had yet to find. I have spent my twenties focusing – unintentionally, but quite naturally – on the inner lives of fiftysomething married couples and the challenges, negotiations, and sacrifices innate to their experiences. And though that direction served me quite well, as I leave my twenties behind I have been working, in this new course of discovery, toward new goals. After a string of successes on the festival circuit with my play And Vaster, what I had interpreted to be momentum revealed itself as a plateau and I found myself in a very definite slump. It was those few years of maddening writer’s block that steered me on a path to graduate school, where I have mercifully broken through. My tenure at Ohio has offered me the chance to reinvent myself as a playwright.

Among my many facets is a love of history, and for years I have wanted to swirl together that love in with my work, and write a historical play. I have felt for a long time that I have perhaps a trifecta of plays in me revolving around the year 1968, one of the most pivotal years in our American political history. I succeeded some time ago in writing a period piece set in 1963 and 1969, though none of the characters themselves were historical figures. The most important pathway, in our time, into more deeply examining the significance of the past is through the stories of the women who bore witness, who had massive influence on the players, who were trying so fervently to simply be heard and considered and understood. Who were screaming into the void only to hear the lingering echo of their own voices.

This is precisely what I am now working toward as a writer, as one of those voices. To write about her. To write about not him.