I’m finally home from Sewanee. I realize saying “finally” implies that I was anxiously waiting for the end, but that’s not it – it’s just that 10 days is a long time to be away from home.
I’m not really sure how to contain or document my experience, nor have I fully digested it yet. But I do know that it feels like I’m recommitted to being a playwright – to accepting that, speaking about it and not being embarrassed when people ask me “what do you do?”. I used to default to “I’m an aspiring playwright.” But you know what? I don’t need any qualifiers there. I am a playwright, dammit. Qualifiers be gone.
Everyone at Sewanee was so generous with their time and information. You really feel a sense of home being there. I forget how incredibly rare that is. It’s almost as if you arrive and you feel this burden lifted for a time being- you just feel this metaphorical sigh of relief.
It reminds me of something I heard at the first meeting for The Women’s Project 50/50 by 2010 (50% of produced plays by females by 2010), and Julie Crosby of TWP said something to the effect of “democratizing information does not diminish power.” We need to help each other out. Hiding and keeping opportunities and ideas for advancement from each other keeps us all back. This is a tough profession, seemingly impossible at times – so more than ever – we need to share what we know. We can find the best new model.
Anyhow – I guess that was all to say – that Sewanee was a very democratic, equal opportunity experience. They do tier the participants according to Scholar, Fellow, Participant and Auditor but it was rare to really feel the differences among your peers.
The readings were superb – especially Dan O’Brien’s play about the War Photo-Journalist Paul Watson. It was an incredibly honest piece and sort of blew me away in how autobiographical and probing it was. It really explored the relationship between a playwright and subject.
Overall, a beautiful green, cicada filled bubble I’d love to return to…