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BETWEEN THE LINES

In praise of pivoting

Learning about writing plays!

I'm easily bored.
 
That might be why, over the course of almost 60 years of adult working life, I have held positions ranging from switchboard operator to art teacher, from early childhood educator to abortion counselor, from nurse practitioner to novelist. I like learning new skills, taking on challenges, pivoting from one career to another as part of embracing the seasons of life.
 
When I started seriously writing fiction 21 years ago, and especially when my first novel was published ten years ago, I thought that I had found my forever-work. I love the process of creating a new world on the page, inviting readers to join me in exploring and understanding these made-up lives in a fantasy universe. My fifth novel, The Lost Women of Azalea Court, set on the grounds of the Northampton State Hospital, will be published in late 2022. I love books and reading; how could there be anything else?
 
So I was surprised when this year, during the isolation and sadness of the pandemic, I discovered playwriting. It was serendipitous, as these things often are. My first play, GRIDLOCK, is 'in development' with Silverthorne Theater Company and the LAVA Center and I'm having so much fun learning another set of writing skills and experiencing the deeply collaborative process of writing for the theater. I was also reminded of how much I enjoy being a "newbie." There is a freedom in not having to know the answers. In trying new things with little fear of failing.
 
GRIDLOCK is another look at some of the themes explored in my 2020 novel, Her Sister's Tattoo—family secrets and political activism—in the context of a massive regional grid failure and environmental activism. There will be a free public reading on June 11, both in person at the LAVA Center in Greenfield, MA, and live-streamed on Silverthorne Theater's YouTube channel. Please check it out at https://silverthornetheater.org/event/gridlock/. Maybe you'll even join me in this new adventure.
 
 
 

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