Wednesday, January 11, 2023

How I Came To Write a Memoir

So I've written a book. It's a memoir: not the story of my life, but stories from my life. The fun ones, about indie theater. It's called Indie Theater Guy.

Ever since we shut down nytheatre[dot]com and The New York Theatre Experience, Inc. and Indie Theater Now I've pondered what I might do to hold on to the two decades of my life that they encompassed. There are a couple of tangible markers: the sixteen play anthologies that live on in libraries and on book shelves; and the League of Independent Theater. But what about the rest of it?

It seemed to me, for a long while, that the way to process my experiences was to collect all of my reviews into a book. But eventually I realized that while those thousands of reviews comprise a lovely kind of history of New York theater, they don't tell my story at all. 

And I came to understand that it was my story that I needed to tell next.

A chance occurrence gave me the inspiration for how the book could be structured. It took me about three weeks to write the first draft, and those three weeks flew: I was more productive and satisfied doing this work than I have been since the heady days when we launched our website, our podcasts, our play anthologies. When I came out the other side, with a book that I thought might be worth reading, I felt validated, energized.

I recently learned about Erikson's stages of psychosocial development. The basic idea is that as people grow and age they progress through eight distinct phases. In the final stage, which happens around the age of 65 (I'm 61), you reflect on what you've done in your life and ask the existential question "Is it okay to have been me?"

It turned out that in writing this book I was asking that existential question. And I was well pleased with the answer.

The memoir is an account of the journey I took, from being a theater-loving kid (and then man) who decided to make a website about New York theater as a way to learn how the Internet worked, to becoming, well, Indie Theater Guy. It's a collection of adventures with a community of artists who enthralled and inspired me. It's reminded me how much all that happened in those two decades meant to me. And it's made me eager to come back for Act Two.

Indie Theater Guy is going to be available first on Kindle, for release on March 8, 2023. It's available for pre-order now.

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