My first time on stage, I performed during a black history program at my elementary school. My mother gave me a bouquet of pink carnations at the end of the show.
For years, I would make excuses of “when I” or “I need to do _____ before I go” and I never pushed forward with attending the National Black Theatre Festival, the largest theatre festival in the country for African Americans. I knew I could be in attendance as a playwright, poet or actor… I felt I could, but I never believed in myself enough.
When I feel I am in a creative rut, I go back to my roots of theatre. From the stiff chairs, to the fluorescent tape on the stage, to the curtains or the hanging lights… I come alive in a theatre setting! This is where my love for the arts started. I go check out a theatre production and my wheels are turning with ideas! (yes, even if it’s a bad play. I imagine how I would’ve written or casted differently)
I didn’t know what I was going to write. I just knew I needed to get lost in my art and escape reality for awhile. I sat down and outlined, “Hope’s Return“. Three months later, I had a full length play that I began submitting to contests and festivals. And what do you say? My lil ‘ole play got accepted into the theatre festival I have been wanting to attend since I was in college!
A play about a female soldier returning home to her southern roots after her first tour in Iraq. Her family wants her back in the church, she wants to pursue her dreams as a teacher but flashbacks from the war are calling her back across seas. Her family has always trusted “giving it to God” to fix things, but will it be enough to deal with her bouts of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
So in the midst of promoting my debut novel, I am relaxing on a four day excursion with my first love, theatre. And yes, I still like carnations 🙂