Am I a playwright?

by Jennifer Bobiwash

I mean, I am a playwright?  I know.  Strange title to start off with LA FPI, should this be one of my first blog posts?  Especially on a playwriting blog.  To me the term/title playwright is just that.  Something that identifies you to a particular segment of the population.  What’s in a title?

ThePlaywrightHeader

When I was approached to contribute to LA FPI I happily said yes.  That’s what I do.  I say “yes” then after it sinks in I wonder “what the heck have I done”.  Trust me, if you knew me, you would know that saying yes first and asking questions later is so not in my wheel house.  Most decisions are well researched with lists and talking to people and several lost hours on the internet.  I need facts before I make a life changing decisions.

Where is this going you’re wondering?  For me it begins with the title of Playwright.  You see, after saying yes, THEN doing my research on the other women of LA FPI, I felt out of my league.  I am still playing house-league hockey, the ladies of LA FPI are truly NHL material (yes, I’m a hockey fan).  I have a problem with titles.   When you’re a college student you are dreaming of the big corporate job you’re going to get after graduation, you do job searches based on the title the job carries and once you get the job, you are defined by that title on your business card.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted a big fancy title and a stack of business cards to hand out to say “look at me”.  But it wasn’t until I went to work for a non-profit I realized how difficult and pointless a job title can be.  I was listed as Director.  That meant that I was in charge.  Ok.  But what the people I was talking with didn’t realize that I was also the Executive Assistant, Public Relations, Fundraiser, Social Media Manager, Volunteer Wrangler, and IT.  I was a staff of 1, reporting to the President and Founder.   Knowing this secret, I always smirked when someone asked for my card, like I was part of an inside joke they would never know the punch line to.

Networking events are the worst for me.  The inevitable question “So what do you do?” is a tough one.  I’m not trying to be evasive you see, I do a bit of everything, so it takes me a minute or two to decide what to say (I really need to work on my elevator pitch).   Ever have that problem?  But, the addition of playwright to my ever growing resume is a hard one for me to wrap my head around and I am always forgetting to tell people about it.  I love to write.  This past year has been filled with “writer” me.  My play was chosen to be workshopped, where I got to sit back and just write.  An actor performed my words.  I had conversations about the theme of my play and how people related to it.  When I began writing my show I never thought of the ramifications of it.  I just wanted to write.  Now, I’m an artist-in-residence (another interesting title) and working on my next show that will be workshopped next year.  What does it all mean?  I guess for once I just don’t feel worthy of the title.  A playwright to me is this deep thinker of a person, they know stuff (oh, I am sensing a theme in my life).   I’m just a perfectionist and I want to make sure everything is perfect before I send it into the world.  Structure, storyline, character arc, all that writer-y stuff.  I guess that’s why it took me so long to finish my one-person show.  That and after awhile I just wanted to complete something.  I had to let go of all the crazy thoughts in my head that were stopping me from writing and just write.  I am a playwright?  Yes, yes, I am!

How many titles do you have?

4 Comments

  • By Rose-Yvonne Colletta, December 17, 2014 @ 9:03 am

    Thanks for sharing this, Jenn. I can relate! I’m going to count my titles now…

  • By Robin Byrd, December 17, 2014 @ 10:34 am

    Love this, Jenn. I was in the room with you once when a piece of yours was read, from that I know that you are a playwright; it was the way you told the story – as only a writer would. After your piece was read you lowered your head. I did not comment on how your words enveloped the room so profoundly that I could feel them but they did and here’s what I thought, “…You’re good. Why are you hiding?” Odd thought – the hiding part… The title of playwright is really something you have to give yourself once the light bulb comes on and you know that you know that you know that who you are in full…in part…however you need to slice it. We must say who we are at least to ourselves…so that we act accordingly. Congratulations on knowing… and being more than just one part of yourself…!

  • By jenniewebb, December 18, 2014 @ 8:56 am

    So glad you’re adding your PLAYWRIGHT’s voice to LA FPI, Jenn!

  • By Jennifer Bobiwash, December 21, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

    Thanks Robin and Jennie, so glad to be hear.

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