The time came for us to go into the Peace Corps. We ended up in the Philippines instead of somewhere in Africa because the Peace Corp foiled an attempt by my draft board to get me by accelerating their selection process. My wife and I lived the next two years of our lives in Manila, teaching, and, for me, also working in a theater in Fort Santiago, a national shrine. To say the least, it was a very busy time in our lives; but no busier for me, as a self-professed workaholic, than I have been all of my life. Then the question arises why in the world, after a very productive time as a writer at the Dallas Theater Center, I didn’t write at all during my stint in the Peace Corps (or for that matter while we traveled throughout South East Asia and around the world mainly by bicycle.)
That has been my story, that creatively I have gone through stagnant periods when I lacked the confidence to write. Yes, confidence, it takes confidence to write, and in my case, after losing contact with Mr. Eugene McKinney and Paul Baker at the Dallas Theater Center and the kick of an audience, I had to find the impetus to write within my self. After many failed attempts at writing over an extended period of time (I don’t know how many years it was now), I became discouraged and honestly thought I couldn’t write. I would go around telling people I was a writer, but basically I was lying, or was I? Didn’t I keep trying to write? Didn’t I put in the time? It’s kind of a blur now, but it seems I as if did.
Every time I responded to the urge to write by sitting at a typewriter, with pen and paper, or at a computer and actively commenced work…let me repeat “and actively commenced work”…something creative came out of it. Every time? I think so. Not finding the motivation to start seems to have been my biggest hang up. (I wouldn’t call it a writer’s block, because at all cost I try to avoid them (blocks), by not thinking in that way.)
Mr. McKinney, what was happening here? Why have so many of your students stop writing? What happened? Maybe all of those people are still writing, are closet writers, but no longer have the desire or whatever else it takes to put their work out there. Perhaps they have been told they’re not any good. Or they’ve told themselves that. This can all be true.
All of this was true for me. But now I’m writing. To me, I’m a writer, and that makes me happy. Though I may not be any good…published, produced or not and with all the complex baggage of writing without recognition brings…I have to think I can write before I can: here I have to not listen to myself when I tell myself I can’t. And if I don’t do that, or not pay attention to other resistance out there, then I’m open for a joyous ride, which sometimes when I think about it makes me sad because I ain’t getting any younger. And on that said note…
Good day, Randy Ford