Nancy Murphy writes memoir and essays, poetry and short plays. Her poems have appeared in literary magazines including The South Carolina Review, The Louisville Review, Eclipse, The Baltimore Review and Thirteenth Moon. She is also a former actor/writer member of First Stage Theater in Hollywood. Nancy recently read in Wendy Hammers’ Tasty Words show titled Poetic License. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmNCd2tTY2g)
During daylight hours she underwrites high risk insurance, and she still pines for her 20 year old daughter who is usually on the other side of the country.
Nancy will be performing in Expressing Motherhood here in LA in 2 weeks!
Don’t try this at home: The story of my creativity is the story of my divorce.
After my husband and I had our daughter, I continued to work full time in business, which required being at the office, or traveling somewhere, every day all day. So I was obsessed with spending as much quantity of time with her as I could when I was not working, even though all the experts at the time said quality of time was more important. I thought I could achieve a work life balance and that everything would fit if I just put myself last. Well the balance was more like a seesaw and some things fell off occasionally, one of these being my marriage. The early baby years were full of joys but also stresses, and they exacerbated deep differences and conflicts in our relationship. I know in the end I was immature and he was unimaginative, or maybe it was the other way around, but we couldn’t see our way through all the anger and loneliness.
When my daughter was five, my husband and I had an amicable though painful divorce, and an agreement to co parent. I found myself in the unwelcome and devastating place of too much time on my hands when she was with her dad. That is when the arts became my vehicle for healing first and for fuller self expression eventually. I had been drawn to occasional writing, acting and dance classes in the years before I had a baby, but never developed a confidence in my own creative life.
A personal midlife renaissance began with acting classes which then led me into writing classes. Poetry was a natural fit for me with its emotional density. Over the next few years I took classes in every genre, joined a theatre company at one point, and then found some small successes in publishing and now some public readings. Having always been a writer of some form or another, from journalism in high school to a humanities major in college and then years of business writing, the nuts and bolts came quickly to me. Then my long running journaling habit provided the fodder. I was hooked!
As my daughter grew, her needs changed and I found myself with more time on my hands as she became self entertaining and preferred friends over parents. So I often had the luxury of time but still found it hard to write as much as I set out to, partly because I found myself “on call” frequently as the parent of a teen. I was often either making a phone call or waiting for a phone call and this was distracting.
She is off to college now and work has risen as the biggest competitor for time to write. But I do have more time and I am older now and feel more of a sense of urgency. If not now, when? Frankly there is just always something else to do when it comes to writing. Starting it always feels like work. Doing it always feels grounding and self illuminating. And having written always feels fantastic!