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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

What is my next step?

Today was another day of trainings at work, which were fantastic, which had me thinking–what is my next step? Will I be an admin until I get married/pregnant/win the nobel award for blogging? Will I find a bizarre new job title at my company and do great things in PR?

Then tonight, I read at my synagogue’s storytelling night. Some of you, few of you, might remember two nights in winter of 2003 when I performed Little Revolutions. Once at CCPA and once at Single File Chicago. Little Revolutions is a 15-20 minute one woman show about my steps and misteps during college, when I tried to find my path.

You know how the story ends, as of today anyway, me becoming a jewish writer who nine to fives in PR. When I reread the piece earlier this week, I was worried. Wasn’t this good in 2003? This is so trite, so naive. But I didn’t have time to write something new and I know it works on stage.

Then tonight I got to dinner at my shul. Shit! What was I thinking? I can’t tell my whiny college kid story to a room full of people where the median age is 68. (and maybe higher, we have a strong contingency of women in their 80/90s). Not only do I have a naive story about good over evil, but a whiny story written when I was 26, meant to be performed to an audience of 22 year olds. CRAP-O-LA.

Not crap-o-la, not at all. The storyline holds strong, everyone seemed to enjoy it. Even my 89 year old Rabbi and his 90 year old wife were moved by it. He said, “You had the room, from the minute you started talking, you had the room.” If I can impress a rabbi who has seen and heard almost everything you can see and hear in a full lifetime, things are in good shape.

In the piece, I talk about Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky. It is a book that had a huge impact on me in college, but I never considered that he did his work in Chicago. I never considered that he would have worked with folks from the Reform movement when he did his work in Chicago. Members of my congregation came up to tell me personal stories about working in Hyde Park with Saul Alinsky and how happy they were to hear me mention him.

Another woman told me that she related to the parts of the story about being an RA, that she had been an RA. She was an RA at Kent State. Yes, that Kent State and yes, even that year. She was an RA the year of the shootings at Kent State and she related to my stories of being an RA at Millikin, where nobody ever saw a real gun–certainly not as the result of a campus protest or wielded by the national guard.

People asked me at the end, “Did you find your passion?”

So… Have I found my passion? Have I seperated my work and my passion? Yes. Yes.

I found that I’m a writer, although after tonight I REALLY WANT TO BE PERFORMING, and that in order to write, I can’t write at work. I can’t have a job that really taps into my skills, because then I won’t have skill left to write. That was the decision I made when I became an admin and didn’t go the account route.

Writing. Writing and performing. And performing. God I want to be performing.

What is my next step? Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

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