TueNight 10: Doreen Oliver
Quick bio: Doreen is a writer, performer and speaker whose work illuminates the beauty, heartbreak, and unpredictability of life, often through the lens of parenthood. Her award-winning, critically-acclaimed solo show about raising a child with autism, Everything Is Fine Until It’s Not, broke a record for the fastest sell-out of a run in the New York International Fringe Festival’s 20-year history; she’s working on a memoir and tour of the show.
Beyond the Bio: “I was very organized before kids. Well, not my desk. Or bedroom. But life: I had a plan, I executed it, then made more plans! Now so much feels unpredictable and out of control — my schedule, my kids’ needs, my thoughts, the layers of crumbs spread about my kitchen table. But all of this has deepened my art, my ability to see and understand others, my awareness of who I am in this moment in time. I feel everything more profoundly than I ever have in my life. Sometimes I’m drowning in messy emotions, but transforming them into a piece of writing that can make others feel or think in ways they would have never imagined makes it all seem worthwhile.”
1. On the nightstand: Kiese Laymon’s Heavy (I’ve already read once, but its brilliance needs to be fully absorbed with another read), Alyson Gerber’s Focused(my son read it before I could), kids’ drawings/documents, the errant piece of clothing I tossed aside before getting into bed.
2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Speaking up and daydreaming.
3. Jam of the minute: “Come Ye Disconsolate” by Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack. Discovered Donny in college but just saw a solo show about his life at The Apollo Theater and now I’m reconnecting with his music alongside my kids.
4. Thing I miss: Sleep. Consistent, restful sleep.
5. 80s crush: Lionel Richie, from his Jheri curl to his jowls.
6. Current crush: The actor Ephraim Sykes. He’s a brilliant performer with a sensual soulfulness. My dear husband has already blessed our potential union.
7. Will whine about: The abhorrent ways adults treat children in our society, whether it’s our government or the suburban class parent.
8. Will wine about: Can I say will “vodka” about? Or, since I discovered I now sneeze when I drink most vodkas, will “bourbon” about? Anyway, the answer is my loved ones – friends and family – who both energize and sustain me. And I hope I do the same for them.
9. Best thing that happened recently: Performing with my kids: my son with autism played “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars on the piano while my youngest and I sang, harmonies included! Joy, joy, joy.
10. Looking forward to: Getting all of my stories out into the world.
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