Thursday, April 25, 2013

From Sprout To Gardener

I was lucky enough to stumble upon A Crash Course on Creativity taught by Tina Seeling at Stanford University.  I've read and seen some of her work before, but a fortuitous glance at Twitter told me about the course and I enrolled.  Lucky me.  First assignment for me and my 17,000 or so classmates: "...create and share the cover of your autobiography, including the image, title, subtitle, and a 200 word bio." I set about it like an anxious schoolboy.  Had to get some help with design on the computer from the very talented Thomas Holton.  I knew what I wanted but not how to execute it.  Then I got to witness yet again what working with a real professional is like working with a dexterity I can only dream of.  

Here is what I wrote, my 200 words:  In the most basic way, I make my living as a storyteller.  I delight in being told, dreaming about, reshaping and retelling the tales that make our culture; tales that outlive their tellers.  I spend much of my time with theater students learning to decode, compose, illuminate and narrate these tales.  My great good fortune is in getting to play alongside those I teach.   I’ve repeated the exercise of putting together a play many, many times.  In many places.  It never ceases to delight me. 

I am happiest in the rehearsal hall and in my upstate New York garden.  Both allow me the chance to meditate, to dream, to ponder, to contemplate life, to form it into a more satisfactory vision.  My life has not gone by without ample opportunity to ponder.  Life has posed challenges to health and happiness, to the head and to the heart.  The theater and the garden are sanctuaries where I repair to take up against the world.

A high school history teacher taught me the price the gods demand at the Gates of Excellence is sweat.  The garden, the rehearsal room and the classroom are where I pay my dues.
And here is the cover of my autobiography:


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