I've been getting a lot of really nice feedback on the essay from people from all parts and points of my life -- old friends, former co-workers, actors, family. I'm really touched. Not just by all the nice words, but by the fact that so many people actually went to the trouble of listening to it.
Good lesson. If you can't bring people to the show, bring the show to the people.
It makes me a little self-conscious. Partly because it's all very personal. I think my family learned more about me in 16 minutes than they have in the past 10 years. That's just the kind of family we are.
Also I was concerned that it was truthful. And most of all, not self-aggrandizing. The hardest part about writing something from your own life is sometimes divorcing yourself from the facts, which can be the enemy of a good story.
I got to a place where I could do that with some of the plays I wrote based on things from my own experience, but for this I felt a little higher calling to the truth. I keep thinking of Lionel Hutz: "Do you want the truth or the "truuuutthh?"
So I think I achieved something like 95 to 98% accuracy, with just a little shaping of the edges of things. Some compressed chronology, some slight overdramatization here and there. Especially the big climactic moment at the end.
But I stand by it. Anyway, I learned a long time ago that there actually is no such thing as the truth -- at least, no such thing as an objective truth. I guess in the end I would say the story was honest. Which may be an even higher standard.