I will never forget when I discovered my love and passion for telling stories. It was seventh grade, and my Writing teacher gave us an assignment to work with a partner to create an original short story. I immediately fell in love with the project. After my friend and I turned in our completed story, The Adventures of Period Eleven, I immediately began work on a sequel which I read to her over the phone each night as I wrote it. By high school, I always carried the current story I was working on in a special binder, one which I would slip under my notebook when I was in class so I could covertly work on my stories while my teachers thought I was taking notes.
While I knew this probably made the difference between me being an A/B student instead of an A student, I didn’t care. Working on my stories, and soon after poetry, fulfilled me in a way I had never felt before. Once I completed the Creative Writing elective that was offered at my high school, I wanted more. Joining the Literary Magazine and one day becoming its editor wasn’t enough. I wanted to go deeper. I craved mentorship. I longed for a place where I could continue to cultivate my voice in a community that was safe space to take creative risk, but I never found one.
The longing I felt in my early days as a writer is what sparked my passion as an educator. It’s what founded my fundamental beliefs that each of us has a creative voice and a story that the world needs to hear, and that each of us deserves a safe and supportive environment to discover and cultivate that voice. It’s what fueled me to focus my time as a director on the work of emerging playwrights and theatre artists. It’s what inspired me to change the bulk of my focus as a theatre professional to theatre education. It’s what led me to impact hundreds of students a year, and it’s been an absolute honor to mentor so many writers and artists of all ages. To date, my work with and emerging artists has been focused in the greater Philadelphia area, with periodic reach to writers in surrounding states. My greater dream, one I am just beginning to embark upon, is to connect with budding storytellers across the nation, both virtually and in the flesh.
My own writing has been focused on examining the choices we have, the choice we make, the choices seemingly made for us, and the interplay between each. It’s focused on how we relate, how we communicate, and how this shifts from moment to moment depending on the circumstances that surround us. Most of all, it’s focused on the moments that force us to grow, whether we’re ready or not, and my faith that even the hardest challenge is always for the best. I find great joy experimenting with these ideas in worlds made of magical realism, toying with symbolism, myth and meaning on the way.
(Photo Credits: All images on this site are also my own, captured on my various adventures.)