A dozen years ago, I sucked it up and auditioned for Shakespeare in the Park.

I remember late nights in late June finding my way onto stage, finding myself. People who asked questions, who praised my talent and loved me for who I was, not what I did for them. They embraced me, encouraged me. It was because of them that I discovered my love of poetry, as well as my inner poet. It was at their urging that I auditioned for the Tisch school.

When I smell a June evening, it brings me back. I can see the hill, the stage. I think about being rained out and traveling somewhere as a gaggle because of it. I remember walking to Hoyt Lake when I arrived early, and workshops on the green earlier in the day. I remember interacting with the audience as part of the Green Show and how much fun the characters could be.

It was where I learned for the first time just how painful unrequited love was. How bittersweet romance could be. How some people just weren’t meant for a traditional setting, and needed room to grow. How different people could be and yet still have some commonality.

I think about the starry evenings waiting for something to happen, because something always did.

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