WELCOME to my new cyber-column!
Introductions are in order:
> My name is Kevin Keelan– always has been. I’ve had more than five decades to get used to it.
. The first thing I ever wanted to be was a writer, at the wise young age of six. By eight, the lure of the Theater seduced me away for a decade. When college came, I studied filmmaking. Then, for some unfathomable reason, I decided I was a poet, writing one poem a day, every day of 1980. At the end of the year, I had a massive tome to showcase my poetic urges. I was also sick to death of poetry.
. That winter, finding myself housebound by a rainstorm in my big old mountain cabin, I began work on a massive project that I hoped would bring some semblance of order to my universe- help make some sense out of my chaotic life. I began to compose a long litany of ‘I Remembers’, laying the groundwork for my lifestory. But why memoirs, at 23? Isn’t this the height of self-obsessed delusion, the blind arrogance of youth? Yes, but a worthwhile endeavor for anyone who lives. Every decade or so, it might be good medicine to reexamine the events of our lives, to take inventory of how we’ve evolved, and get a gauge of who we are. Already, I began to sense that the immediacy of my youth was fading. Things that had seemed so important before now faded into irrelevance. I had always been so in touch with the wonder of childhood and the joy of being alive, but all that was beginning to evaporate with the new pressures reality heaped upon me. How was I going to pay rent next week? Even more paramount, how was I going to eat until then? Before spring had sprung, I had reams and reams of paper, hundreds of sentences on a long ledger, all beginning with those nostalgic words “I Remember”. Fleshing-out these notes, I began to rearrange them into some semblance of chronological order. It was a struggle. I had to become a detective, investigating my own past. My first typed draft weighed-in at almost 1000 pages, and I knew I had barely scratched the surface! The real pearls lie deeper- so deep, they are often painful to excavate. It seemed a futile effort.
. Then dawned the computer age. A friend gave me access to his early Apple desktop, coupled with an early version of Microsoft Word. Freedom! I felt as though I had spent my previous writing years as a caveman chiseling pictographs on granite slates. Now, I had joined the information age. O! Brave new world, where the impossible became nearly effortless!
. To my great good fortune, I became director of a local children’s theater. It was the most satisfying job imaginable… until Ronald Reagan crusaded into the White House. His first act of office was to sign the: “Get Rid Of Kevin Keelan’s Best-Job-Ever Act”. One month later, I was homeless and wandering the streets. With time, I landed a job and found a home and life became more about commerce than art.
. And then something happened. Something good. America’s premiere storyteller Spalding Gray brought his newest monologue to town. He came out on stage and slammed a big, heavy box onto his desk: the first draft of his memoirs, what he called his “Monster in a Box”. I glowed in recognition and nudged my friend John, whispering: “That guy could be me!” And the longer he spoke, the greater this awareness became. Dear God! Who would have thought it possible to be a successful, full-time Storyteller in the 1990′s?! And yet here was this pioneer- simply sitting behind a desk and telling the truth about his life, to a sold-out house! Yow!
. Clearly, I was in the wrong line of work.
. That night, I revisited my manuscript, reading it aloud to see if it could be a series of monologues. The first thing I discovered was how awful it was. The second thing I learned was how wonderful it was. Contrary to my own high opinion of myself, I was not a very good writer. The mechanics were clunky and leaden. I had not yet discovered the Soul of the Truth. But another awareness took me: The stories themselves were delightful. I did indeed have something to say, and perhaps more importantly something to learn from telling my story. So I began testing the waters at a weekly open mike. And people responded! In time, I made over a hundred 8 minute offerings, rarely repeating a story but always pushing myself to explore new material. In time, the work coagulated into distinct monologues. I took my first show on tour to Ireland. I began to make radio appearances and produce my own shows, videotaping them for local television. The Road of Life spread before me.
. Now, I have come full, circle. I consider myself a storyteller for our times, a raconteur if you will. In my work, I strive only to “tell the absolute Truth, absolutely… (to the best of my puny ability as a human)“. I have no need to resort to fiction. The most amazing stories, come from the evolving tapestry of life. Join me on the journey!
NEXT WEEK begins the twisted chronicle, starting at the beginning with:
ONE OF THE FORTUNATE BILLIONS (Chapter 1): I am born!
© Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.