that I became better at what I love. Even though of late I am known more as a comic, if I had only one word written on my gravestone it would be the word ‘writer’. I have written for the stage and the page for thirty years and taught and mentored stage writers and improvisers. So on my 50th birthday (seven years ago) I wanted to find a symbolic way to honour that vocation.It’s something I’ve done almost daily since 1994. I’ve written a novel, three books, a movie, many hours of monologues and volumes of narcissistic journal entries that would have Virginia Woolf turning over in her grave. These writings have been done for money, for love, but mostly to keep the crazy at bay and so in my 5th decade I finally felt qualified enough to own what I know and do my first retreat in my beautiful home on Amherst Island.
On that first summer day, I went across on the boat to the mainland to meet the students. As the ferry pulled into the dock, there were ten nervous writers standing on the platform looking like they were about to board the Titanic. As I shepherded them into the passenger car, they obsessed about having their lunches and their lawn chairs and to calm them down I said it was my 50th birthday, which seemed to bond us because in the fear of aging seems to be on par with the fear of starting writing.
It would be hubristic to think it was solely to do with my mentoring for weather, the magic of the island, and being together in community allowed both new and experienced writers access to the side of themselves they hadn’t heard from in years.
After six hours of writing in seven minute increments,(this is where the Seven Minute Writer was born) the tired soldiers were shipped them back to the mainland armed with inspiration to keep them working for weeks.
What happened was writers who were frustrated for years reported that they started writing Blogs, newsletters, memoirs, finishing their books, or got work writing on newspapers or launched one-person shows. Both professionally and on an amateur level they started to take their place as a creative being.
Do what you love to do. Share it. See if it enriches you!
Do what you love and within a few minutes a faint voice within pipes up and says, “Thank goodness you’re here- I’ve got so much to tell you.”
Like what I write?