I am a writer.
For 41 years I have paid the bills by teaching middle school, high school, community college, and graduate school. I have acted in industrial films and recorded voice-overs. I have consulted in corporations using Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and met with clients to assist them with hypnotherapy. I have run an evening alternative high school for troubled youth, and coordinated gifted and state assesment testing programs for an affluent suburban public school.
Throughout all of these diverse activities, I have been a writer. My novella, Death of the Poet King, was published in 1975 and sold for $4.95. Copies have found their way somehow to places like Yale and Oxford, and Amazon is hawking copies for up to $281.62. That makes me laugh.
In 1990, while on an industrial shoot, I met an actor, Vicki Giunta, who wanted to start a nonprofit, children's theatre company. She wanted to bring original, issues-based, musical plays to children, especially those who had never experienced live professional theatre. She could produce and her sister, Carmela Guiteras-Mayo, a New York choreographer, could direct. All they needed was a writer.
I am a writer, and Stages of Imagination, Inc. (http://www.stagesofimagination.org/), was born. Now, 20 years later, 250,000 pre-K through 6th grade kids have seen our plays, heard our CDs and watched our film, Wooden Heart. We have been fortunate to receive two Silver Telly Awards, a Parents' Choice Recommendation and Award, endorsements from Newberry Award winner, Lloyd Alexander, and Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Coles, and corporate and state grants. I based my dissertaion at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education on one of my plays, and educational support materials follow each teacher who attends our plays back into her classroom.
I am blessed that throughout all of my work experiences, I have been able to sneak in time at night or during the summer, to write. This past June, I retired from public education. The stories that have been dancing through my head during cafe duty and grading papers and driving to schools before the sun came up, can now come spilling out.
Ray Bradbury wrote to me once: "Throw up every morning, clean up every noon. Do and then think. DO first. Get it down and done, with joy. Then think about it."
So, it begins.
Copyright (c) 2011 by James Hugh Comey