It All Started on a Napkin

Jennifer Butler

  • OnStage Massachusetts Columnist

As we think about everything going on in the world right now, it really goes to show that tomorrow is never promised. As I sit here, I write this and think about how my life is going to change. Something that I have had every Friday for 3 years is coming to an end.  Change they say is good, and in order to move forward, you must make a change. 

I have been struggling for the past two years trying to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. I volunteered and interned in several different places and everything I did there came back to me writing. I discovered that putting pen to paper made me happy and feel the most complete.  

Within the past year, I discovered that I was hardly close to where I wanted to be and I had to make changes in order to propel my life forward. You know the phrase: “The straw that broke the camel’s back”.  Yes, I had one of those moments.  I had finished working at a particular work place and knew when it was time to move on. I did not know where I wanted to go but I knew that I couldn’t stay where I had been. The moment occurred about 6 months after I had been re-acquainted with theater and became involved again.  It was then when I felt happy there and that the theater was my home away from home. 

People will often ask me “When did you become a writer” and I respond with “I have always been a writer.” It’s in my blood and part of who I am. From creating stories as a child, to winning awards in college, I really blossomed when I started getting involved with theater, which lead to me writing this blog. I feel lucky with every word that I write and am fortunate that it leads to pieces of mine that get posted online. Writing for this blog allows me to combine the two things that make me the happiest. Writing gives me a sense of peace when I feel like the world is turning upside down and theater gives me a place to go when I think the world is spinning out of control. 

The only unfortunate thing is that it doesn’t supply me with an income. Yet I write because I want to get better at it and because I feel the need to. Gloria Steinem once stated it best when she said “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else” and that describes completely how I feel about writing.  Although I still need to find a day job to help pay the bills, I have come to realize that money isn’t everything. It is hard sometimes because I know I should be writing cover letters but want to write these blog posts about theater instead. 

Believe it or not, the first draft of this post was written on a napkin. That goes to show that writing is in my blood and that both theater and blog post ideas may pop into my head at any random moment. Lucky for me I have the opportunity to write for places such as this blog and doing the publicity for my local community theater. 

I have finally accepted that fact that I may be a struggling artist for the rest of my life and that I may never get a “day job” and that is okay too. However, whatever happens and no matter what tomorrow brings, there is one thing I know for sure. That whatever path I take, pen, paper, and Community Theater will be with me as I travel.  Right now I am at a good jumping off point in my life and it can only get better from here.