In the summer of 2019, I was working in a medical office, the opposite of where I thought my creative writing degree would lead me. My enthusiasm for a manuscript I’d been writing was wearing off. I knew I had stories in me, but my creativity was stagnant.
During an especially difficult week, I was watching the Tony Awards on TV when I saw a performance of “Wait for Me” from the new musical Hadestown. The raw desperation of Reeve Carney’s Orpheus calling after Eva Nobelzeda’s Eurydice as he followed her into hell sent shivers down my spine. I cared about these characters. My heart broke for them. I needed more of this story. All within five minutes.
It had been several years since I was moved by a story like Hadestown. I longed to experience it firsthand. I overpaid for orchestra seats to see the musical on Broadway and I cried as soon as the overture started. I loved how Anaïs Mitchell reimagined characters from Greek mythology in a mysterious, post-apocalyptic setting.
I walked out of that theater changed: this ambitious and masterful show filled my creative soul. It reminded me that stories can be told in strange and wonderful ways. Perhaps my own strange and wonderful story I’ve wanted to write since I was 16 would find a place in the world. Later that year, I signed up for book inc’s Novel Incubator and wrote that story. I wasn’t looking for inspiration, but it had found me.