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BWW Blog: Regaining Creative Power

The process of growing up to create like my younger self.

BWW Blog: Regaining Creative Power

Before I loved performing stories, I loved writing them. My earliest memory of writing goes back to the third grade when I would write sequels to the Chris Van Alsberg books we read in class. These grammatically flawed and barely legible stories on notebook paper evolved into typed attempts at a real narrative in the fourth grade. By fifth grade, I touched a form of writing that I would fall in love with later in life. My first play. "The Dust People '' is a play about a family of dust particles who live on a speaker in a fifth grade classroom. Their trip to "Mount Dustmore" is delayed when the school bell rings and knocks them off the speaker. It was a wild nine pages of dialogue that even George B. Shaw would be proud of.

I have never been good at school, but third through fifth grade was unquestionably the hardest test of suppressing my creativity. While some teachers celebrated my writing and knew how to deal with my new ADD diagnosis, most did not. Reminiscing on my elementary school days, I notice an odd contradiction. While I was depressed, newly medicated, and constantly reminded to stop daydreaming, I was also the most creative I have ever been in my writing. Many voices in my life told me to put writing to the side and focus on school, so I resisted for as long as I could. I didn't want to be a terrible student, but writing made me happy. I cared about making good grades, but not at the expense of my joy.

In junior high, I stopped writing. The frustration of my dropping grades and inability to understand basic concepts in math pushed me to my edge, so I gave in.

When I stopped writing, my grades went up and I had all A's and I graduated high school with honors! Right? From fourth grade to senior year, I had a math tutor help me keep my grades above a C. In high school, I added a chemistry tutor, physics tutor, Spanish tutor, and biology tutor. School did not get any easier for me despite my efforts. While I was heavily involved with theatre and film throughout high school, my desire to write did not return until college. I had a professor who might be the wisest person I know. It's a true shame that I was only with him for one year before graduating. Among his many talents, he writes plays. Several of them have been published and made their way to off Broadway stages. I spent a lot of time in his office talking about acting, plays, music, theology, Ireland, and writing. Listening to him describe the art of playwriting relit my desire to create with no boundaries. No other art form is as free as writing when you create the world, the people, what they say, what they do, what they like and dislike, and who they love.

Now in my second year of college, all I want is to write like I did in the third grade. I want to write silly things like dust people going on vacation, but I'm too stuck in "theatre student" land. The land where everything must be a deep reflection on smartphone usage, "Time: now, Location: on the palm of your hand," or a musical that has no score because the music is in your mind. I want to write but my mind is getting in the way. If I kept writing through school and didn't accept the false reality that I had to choose school over art, what would I be doing now? What would I have written and what would I be writing? I am not one for new year's goals but I have one for 2021: write a full length play. Far easier said than done. Every time I sit down to write, I am greeted by characters I still don't know who have relationships that are still cloudy in my mind. Until I can get out of my own way and let elementary school Macy back in, I'll continue reading beautiful plays and writing silly little stories, exercising my creative writing muscle back to strength.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Macy Mae Cowart