Did I ever tell you about my Mom’s best girlhood friend, Lee? As a kid, I used to go to Lee’s house with my parents every Thanksgiving. Often her then-twentyish son David would show up there with some of his ”kooky theatre friends” in tow. “Kooky” is a quote from the predictable conversation between my parents on the long ride home afterwards, every year.
While we kids listened silently from the back seat, Dad and Mom would discuss with the best of intentions what a shame it was that such a bright young man as David had embarked on the misdirected road to becoming a playwright, when in fact he was so smart and talented that he could enjoy real success as a doctor or lawyer.
We all know that theatre is a tough career road. And that the concerns of my folks were probably legit… the odds of success were totally against the guy. But it was his dream, and he was following it. Later it became apparent to us as teens that David was enjoying some modicum of success when he began an association with Chicago’s Second City Theatre, which my parents were not familiar with at the time. Still, those late-night discussions continued every year in the car. Eventually, however, they stopped, and with good reason.
Have you ever heard of David Mamet? He’s arguably the most successful living American playwright… has written numerous hugely successful plays like American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross, along with screenplays for many major films like The Verdict, and Hannibal. David Mamet is Lee’s son. The childhood memories of those auto rides home, and the outcome of their subject have totally shaped my perceptions of the validity of people’s dreams.
Every time I hear of an aspiring young person like Alex, I return to the long-ago back seat of that ’63 Lincoln, and savor the possibilities. As we have from the long-distant past, society is going to revere poetry far into the future. May Alex achieve fame, success, and most importantly, personal satisfaction as a poet – no, make that the poet of our time. Kudos to you, Mike and Lisa, for standing firmly behind him. Put me on the list to buy Alex’s first book! ©2010 Gregory N. Brown