Natalia Temesgen

Columbus series puts nationally recognized playwrights of color in spotlight

New Columbus series puts playwrights of color in the spotlight

"The Hampton Years” by Jacqueline Lawton will kick off a new play-reading series called In Other Words. In Other Words elevates the work of nationally recognized playwrights of color for a Columbus audience. This initial reading will be free at th
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"The Hampton Years” by Jacqueline Lawton will kick off a new play-reading series called In Other Words. In Other Words elevates the work of nationally recognized playwrights of color for a Columbus audience. This initial reading will be free at th

I’m sorry I missed you last week.

The election of Donald Trump and all that came with it (on the news, on my newsfeed, in conversations, and in my own head) left me right at my deadline with nothing thoughtful or cohesive to say. I was stunned, then overwhelmed by the range of responses from friends, church members, media pundits and thought leaders. And I have been parsing through said responses looking for the one that connects all of the dots for me. It has thus far been an interesting but fruitless task.

Take Facebook for example, where I have found myself both drawn in and repulsed since last Tuesday. I can appreciate where people are coming from with their posts and article shares (and man, they’re coming from every which way). I’ve gotten a few messages and invites to groups where social and political issues are being discussed. But I’m not ready to reply. I really don’t want to.

When times get trying or confusing for me, I take it inward and upward. Those who know me well know that I am a socially strained person (is that an introvert?), and as the years have gone by I am increasingly averse to engaging others when my emotions are running deep.

Instead of talking and emoting, my instinct is to “do stuff.” I don’t want to talk through a fight or hug through my grief. I want to make something or fix something or cook something or dance or sing. My mom used to go nuts when she would punish me as a kid and I would accept the punishment, then walk away humming. I do not like to wallow. More primal than that, I don’t want to spend any more time than absolutely necessary in a negative emotional space.

Since the election and all that has come with it, I have done some stuff. I’ve gotten with visionary Columbus-based artist Najee Dorsey and secured a location for a reading of the riveting historical play “The Hampton Years” by Jacqueline Lawton, which will kick off a new play-reading series called In Other Words. In Other Words is my brainchild co-founded with two of my students, Amanda Black and Faye Manselle, that elevates the work of nationally recognized playwrights of color for a Columbus, Ga., audience. This initial reading will be free at the Lofts at Swift Mill at 2:30 on Sunday, Dec. 4. I hope you will plan to attend.

All this to say, I have been lurking on the Internet for days hoping to find the article or the thoughtful post that will fully click for me and now I see it just isn’t there. It’s out in the world, somewhere, waiting for me to get after it. We don’t all have to read and write think pieces at the moment. Some of us just need to do stuff. If this resonates, maybe that’s you too. Let’s get to it - may your conscience be your guide.

Natalia Naman Temesgen is an independent contractor. Contact her at nntemesgen@gmail.com.

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