Now, about the play. I saw it twice – front row, back row. The audience laughed and cried. One night I turned to the woman on my right and saw tears streaming down her face. The power of words. Sometimes the lines I thought would draw a laugh, didn’t. And lines that were more enigmatic, did. Go figure. I also got to hang out with the actors and my favorite director and playwright. Everyone was psyched about this show. Well, not everyone. Read on.
The power of words. That’s what this blog is all about.
Did I tell you that my daughter’s a writer? The Muse came to visit when she was just a toddler and decided to stay. This has been both a blessing and a curse. It’s a bit like Tree’s amazing talent. It’s a gift that keeps on giving and never lets a person rest.
Jenn’s mind is usually on overdrive. She is constantly thinking about Life (capital “L” again) and its many manifestations. Add to that, kids and dogs underfoot, a narcoleptic and loving husband, and a house that is constantly in need of attention. I’ve decided to treat her to the cranberry storm door, but that’s another story.
The play seemed to be going well but Jenn seemed anxious all week. Just like good drama, she was waiting for the denouement – the passing judgment of the local critic. This guy supposedly has some credentials and knows what he’s doing. Is being a theatre critic like going to med school? I think not. At least in med school you take the Hippocratic oath and promise to do no further harm. If there is a school of film critics, I think they teach the hypocritic oath – find the most tender part of the writer’s anatomy (usually the brain) and stick a needle in. The power of words.
Jenn lives by words. As an artist, she is so sensitive of what she writes and what she reads. Her energy and ideas are transmitted through the painstaking crafting of words. She is invested in her product. She is, actually, her own worse critic. She cannot not write. The power of words.
The review was not good. Jenn read the first line and would not read the rest. I, in super-protective mother mode, ventured ahead and read the entire piece. My heart sank. The power of words.
Even if she were not my daughter, I would have disagreed with this guy’s point of view. But he’s on somebody’s payroll and has credentials and is entitled to his opinion too. The power of words.
I wanted to make it better, but could not. David and friends consoled her but I knew the review had an impact; hopefully, it was just a glancing blow. The power of words.
This is her craft, her art. It takes courage to write and then to have what you’ve written displayed onstage. It requires a giant leap of faith. And Jenn, who is a kind and generous spirit, is a trustworthy soul. She is also a trouper, my kid. She believes in her work and was so happy with this show’s cast and the beautiful and funny and poignant ways they brought her words to life. That’s why the review seemed so unfair. The power of words.
I am always in awe of her gift. She tells stories of the common man and woman. They sometimes make you squirm and wince, but the dark humor always leads to naked truth and, if you look hard enough, you will see yourself or someone you know in Jenn’s funhouse mirror. My girl never takes the easy way out. She goes deep. And I’m proud of her for that. Jenn makes you think. She’s definitely not a 30-minute sitcom, “slam, bam, thank-you ma’am” kind of gal. The power of critical thinking.
Jenn’s writing reminds me of Flannery O’Connor. I had to read some of O’Connor’s work in a college lit class, actually it was a religion course. At first, some of the more outrageous characters seemed so strange and shocking but, slowly, I tuned into their struggles. They were (like all of us) seeking redemption of one kind or another. There was grace to be found among the ruins.
So, on this Mother’s Day and on this blog, here’s to you my dear daughter. I watched you scribble as a child and later begin page after page of stories and pictures, always telling such imaginative and colorful tales. You were born to write, Jenn. You have stories and characters yet to be conceived. And those you've already birthed have been lovingly tended. You’re a darn good mother!
The show was terrific.