Riding the Dragon: Balancing My Life On Paper
I took Alan Watt's writing class because my therapist suggested him. I was looking into all kinds of writers groups but I intuitively knew that joining Alan’s class was exactly what I wanted to give myself for my b-day. Writing has been a primal quest I embarked on long ago. It eluded me. Like a dragon I had to find and slay I searched for it for a long time.
Over the years the stage was my personal, sacred and creative story telling space. As an actress I was the vehicle for Shakespeare and Pinter. I knew how to get inside my character and do what it takes to bring her to life but when I picked up my pen my mind froze. I endlessly searched for a writing partner who would promise to show up and hold my hand when the dread and panic set in. It’s something I could not face alone! I created a writing group called Moms Write when my son was born in the hopes that I would find a way to the page through the support and kinship of a circle of women. I needed safety. It was a wonderful reprieve on my journey but I felt lost.
Shortly after I married Mike Merell, an animator, we made the feature film “Desert Vows” (www.desertvows.com). We co-wrote it, I produced and starred in it. We spent a long time rehearsing but ironically we never wrote a script. Mike utilized Mike Leigh’s film making approach in his directing, and we improvised. I learned that we each have our own story to tell and mine was still un-penned. I saw glimpses of the dragon. I tried to sit still.
My parents inspire me and continuously infuse me with strength. Witnessing my mom’s process of writing and publishing her novel “Seeds of Neoplanta” gave me hope. Her novel, documenting our family history during WWII Serbia, has a healing power that united estranged sides of our family from around the world. My father, a documentary filmmaker, wraps me in his funny and original anecdotes every day. I know I can’t give up. I need a mentor. Sitting still was excruciating. I began to meditate.
It’s remarkable to be writing my ‘Act I’! Alan activated our subconscious every day for the past five weeks. I was centered, open and ready. I answered stream of consciousness questions every day and bit-by-bit stuff poured out onto the page. My right brain got jump started. I don’t have a title yet but for the first time I’m not afraid. I found the dragon…I’m riding the dragon!