My name is Allison. I was born in Jackson, Mississippi and grew up in Dallas, Texas. I have terrible eyesight. During the summer before second grade, my parents discovered that I had memorized the eye chart to avoid getting glasses and the jig was up. Getting glasses was both the best and the worst thing that happened to me. On one hand, I could see every leaf on a tree. I had no idea that leaves could be so many different shades of green. I had been living in a French Impressionist painting. The world was suddenly crisp.
On the other hand, I entered a new school and, not being used to wearing glasses, was totally lost and had no confidence. Looking like Harry Potter was not cool back then. So, I fell deeper in love with reading. I would spend hours perched high in the branches of the pine tree in my parents' front yard reading novel after novel, checking off summer reading credits like a ping-pong ball in a wind tunnel.
I eventually found friends beyond the pages of books, but nothing took the place of a good story. My father is a legendary storyteller. He can capture a room so completely with humor and attention to detail. I grew up listening to story after story. About the time when my great-aunt made him eat a sandy SPAM sandwich on the beach. About the time when he narrowly escaped from a bear during a camping trip in the mountains. About the time when a poisonous snake from the zoo wrapped itself around his orthodic shoe. About the time when ... About the time when ...
While he was telling stories, I was finding my voice. I sang. I played the piano. I wrote plays for my cousins to perform at our family Thanksgiving. I went to Vanderbilt University and majored in music. I fell in love with musical theatre. I picked up a second major in English and a minor in French. I met a boy. I studied abroad in France. (To this day, nothing makes my mouth water like a serious cheese plate. Or a Nutella crepe.) I came back to Tennessee to finish my degree and was graduated with honors.
After graduation, I moved to New York City and lived in a studio apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I worked as a writer for a major financial firm's marketing department. I edited an incredibly boring investment magazine and wrote radio advertisements and press releases. I loved every second of living in the energy of New York. I threw snowballs in Central Park and bargained in Chinatown. I tried Indian food for the first time and listened to new bands in Greenwich Village. The boy proposed. I accepted. We planned where we would live. Then I watched the Twin Towers fall two seconds before it was on television. I performed in a production of "Godspell" after work, while we were all still breathing ash. My apartment flooded in an unfortunate plumbing accident. I moved to Chicago.
The boy and I got married. After a couple of years working in other positions in finance (none of them creative), I quit my job to become an actress. I performed in small theaters around town and in a children's theatre traveling troupe during the day. (If anyone is looking for an adventure, I highly recommend traveling around in a minivan with four other actors and a complete set of "Charlotte's Web" in the trunk.) While most actors see children's theatre as a stepping stone to bigger things, I found that I loved it. I adore making children laugh. Or, really, making them feel so invested in a character, that they open up a piece of their soul to the story. I realized that I got the storytelling gene, but in a different way. I also got to experience first-hand how important it is to keep art in schools.
The boy and I had a baby, a boy. I kept acting. We had another baby, a girl. I tried to keep acting. The little boy was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and I moved into a new mode of juggling therapist appointments. We moved from our two-bedroom loft in the city to a house in the suburbs with a yard. We had another baby, a girl. Acting wasn't a reality anymore. So, I sang at church. I danced in my kitchen. I bought a minivan.
And I thought of a story that needed to be told. A voice that needed to be heard. I wrote it.
I created this website.
We had another baby, a boy. Our family felt complete. But I didn't. I had things to say. And, even if no one reads them, I need to write them. So, now there's a blog.