• Benita Garvin

I KNOW YOU!!!

Without ever laying eyes on you or speaking to you, I’m going to characterize you. I don’t want to sound as if I’m putting you in a box when the whole point of this piece is to liberate you from fear and self-doubt. I know you because I know me!


You’re female. A professional. Love to read. Writers like Meg Mason, Margaret Atwood, Caitlin Moran. Favorite podcasts are Brene Brown, Elizabeth Day, Emma Gannon. You watch shows like “Bad Sisters” and “Normal People.” Politics are progressive. You have a good job and, possibly, even a great job. But you’re restless. You want more. You always imagined you’d do something creative. Write a novel. A memoir. Play. Script. Something. BUT who the hell has time? Between work, family, friends, social media, eating and sleep, you can barely take a deep breath!


Now I’m going to tell you the actual reason you haven’t. Fear.



Obviously, you have no time. That’s a given. I don’t say that to be flippant, it’s a reality of our world. The demands for our time are staggering. But like everything else, you must prioritize. You must ask yourself a very tough question: where do I fit into the equation? As your “elder,” let me tell you something: You’ll never have more time than now or more inspiration than now. Life doesn’t work that way. It only works when you grab it by the throat and take control of it.


I didn’t have time either when I started writing. Had I done so, I would've made time the issue as well. Then there was my "self-image" issue, as my then therapist labeled it.

I had zero confidence in my intellectual abilities. I already wrestled with imposter syndrome (long before it was trendy) and felt lucky to have the good job I already had.


Fortunately, I never had so much as a fantasy about writing. I never worked less than a ten-hour day, and that included weekends. The idea of writing something would’ve seemed laughable to me. If I had the desire, I wouldn’t have had the discipline. I had the ideal job for my attention span as publicist for a professional theatre. The productions changed every four weeks.


Besides, what would I even write about? Everything I knew or experienced had to be kept secret. My mother reminded me repeatedly I was never to reveal the inner workings of the Garvin family.


By the end of the course, I not only burned through countless reams of paper, but I had also completed a full-length play. I never experienced a feeling of personal accomplishment of that magnitude before. I created something entirely from my imagination!


At the urging of my professor, I entered a the most prestigious playwriting competition in the U.S., the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Festival, and became a finalist. It was then and only then did I consider I could become a writer.


I didn’t have a clue how to write anything, let alone a play. The most I’d written were press releases. It never crossed my mind writing anything more than that, let alone playwriting. The other students had been writing from the time they came out of the womb. They had aspirations of becoming the next Harold Pinter or Lillian Hellman. Knowing nothing

forced me to rely on my imagination. I quickly discovered my “head” got in my way. It kept asking me "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU KNOW ABOUT WRITING?!" But I’d been making up stories and creating scenarios my entire life. I suppressed my natural to think (overthink, if I’m being honest). Once I took my “head” out of the equation, my “voice” emerged.


It was like opening a vault. The words poured out of me. It was as if I’d become a conduit through which the words flowed. I never stopped to consider whether they were good or bad. I loved doing it and that was reward enough. Even if I came home on an opening night at 11:00 PM, I’d work on my play, staying awake until dawn. In those computer-less days, it meant typing and cutting. I had to scotch tape all the various sections from multiple drafts together to get an actual working document.



There’s nothing special about me. Trust me. NOTHING! However, my one talent, if I have one, is to get you to find the creative force in you. Absolutely certain of it. It’s not magic. It’s having lived in the trenches and knowing how to climb out.


I want to do that for you. Give yourself an end of the year gift and spend six weeks in STL.

It sounds cheesy to say money-back guarantee, but if somebody took the class and didn’t benefit, honestly, I’d return their money. My experience has been quite the opposite. Most people want to continue seen what they’re capable of. That’s why they’re now in Storytelling Lab Part Two! The thing about discovering your voice, you want an opportunity to use it!!

That chance is on knocking on your door. Join Storytelling Lab. I have one remaining class that begins November 5th. I hope to see you there.











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