When I was a child, most of the stories I encountered were written from a male point of view, so when I began writing, I too wrote stories from a male point of view! Remarkable to think about now, at that time it was the default setting for fiction.
Default settings do change and not always for the better. These days if you order coffee with milk you are asked if you want skim. When did skim become the default? That has to do with dieting trends and is perhaps a subject for another day…
But the shift from the inevitable male narrator must be seen as auspicious. What a breakthrough that in our times we don’t have to take a male pseudonym or masquerade as men in a fiction. When we do, though, it still helps, which feels sad. Yet at least today we have the privilege of airing and hearing a rich variety of female voices.
Wendy Wasserstein was my mentor for seven years, and before that I was her assistant for seven years. I admired how she approached the page without hesitation, even as she frequently repeated the Zen koan, “Plays are hard.”
I must confess that answering a question like “What is the one thing nobody knows about you?” is utterly confounding: there are so many.
Other things you are unlikely to know about me:
I adore social, emotional, and impersonal math — the adding and subtracting of items that actually can’t be quantified.
Against the advice of close loving friends, I wrote a full-length play in verse.
For a long time, I harbored fantasies of having a pet turtle.
In a recent interview, I revealed for the first time my early use of boy narrators. The interviewer, upon hearing this quirk of mine, responded that she had done the same thing. I wonder how many voices have developed by trying on other voices first.
My guilty pleasures are vintage port and vintage humor.
Jenny Lyn Bader co-founded Theatre 167, serves as Director of Artistic Development and co-authored the Jackson Heights Trilogy. Plays include Mona Lisa Speaks (Core Ensemble), None of the Above (New Georges), and Manhattan Casanova (Hudson Stage). A Harvard graduate, she contributed frequently to the New York Times “Week in Review” when it existed. jennylynbader.com.