I am a writer and art fanatic whose debut novel, Oil and Marble (historical fiction about the creation of art during the height of the Italian Renaissance), is due out in Spring 2016 from Arcade/Skyhorse. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, a BA in Fine Arts from Vanderbilt University, and have studied art history and Italian at the Universita di Pisa. In my spare time, I produce television. At this alternative gig, I celebrated a birthday with Candice Bergen, helped Sandra Bullock navigate a dark, cable-snaked floor in three-inch stilettos, and recreated 1776 Philadelphia in a white-walled conference room so a comic could sign the Declaration of Independence. I have talked world affairs with Salman Rushdie, had Maya Angelou console me with stories of tigers under her bed, and asked Barack Obama if he could please jog to the set because, honestly, we didn’t have time to walk. I was also married--to the greatest, most supportive man in the world--on Leap Day 2004. So, while we don't have an actual anniversary every year, next year, in 2016, we will celebrate our 3rd Anniversary 12 years later. You can also find more information about me (in addition to my book blog listed above) at https://stephaniestorey.wordpress.com
Art. The creation of it, the beauty of it, the struggle with it. I love painting, sculpture, graphic design, architecture, filmmaking, music, dance, poetry, fiction, acting... Any ART. Travel. I've spent Christmas Eve in Notre Dame in Paris, danced in Venice's San Marco Square during a flood, and snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef. Skiing--snow and water. There's nothing quite like zipping along a glassy lake just before sunset, when the rest of the boats have docked for the night... unless you compare it to speeding down a mountain of fresh powder in the Rockies... I also love W(h)iney Wednesdays, when my best friend and I drink wine AND whine. We talk about our strengths, our failures, our strange personality ticks, and the funny way people relate. We talk about parenting, the way we were raised, and what it means to be a woman. We talk music and travel, and more often than we like, cancer.
When I was eighteen years old, I was raped. I always hated it when people told me that one day I would "get over it." I imagined a giant pile of excrement in front of me. How exactly did people think I would GET OVER it? Did they think I would just jump, fly right over that mountain, and leave it behind me while I skipped through the rest of life? I couldn't do it. There was no getting over it... But somehow, I have found my way THROUGH it. I've cried, crawled, scratched, and pushed my through that pile of crap... Now, I'm on the other side, but it isn't behind me; it still clings to me in places. I face it at night when panic still sets in. Or on the stage when a fellow actor reminds me of him. I face it when a young woman breaks down and tells me her story--and I tell her mine, so that she can see that there may be a way out the other side... I also struggle, every day, with being true to my own voice. I am a woman, raised in the south. I was taught to subvert my own wants and needs to take care of everyone else. It has taken me until the age of 40 to figure out that my wants are valid, that my point-of-view and opinions matter... I will continue to fight to speak my own mind, even when others don't like it.
Not knowing what's ahead. I am embarking on this new career as a published author, and although I am excited by the journey ahead, it scares me. I don't know how it will go. When I was young, I was always excited by jumping off such cliffs, but now that I am forty, i realize that cliff-jumping can go horribly wrong. I am leaving behind a steady, successful career as a television producer to give full-time writing a go. It's the greatest thing I've ever done--but also keeps me awake at night and gives me heartburn... Many other things also make me anxious: I'm claustrophobic. Sometimes I'm a hypochondriac. I'm scared of snakes, tornados, and earthquakes (I have nightmares about all of those things). I used to be able to ride roller coasters, but now, I'm too afraid. Oh, and being 40 makes me anxious. Yeah. There's THAT.
I'm having a book! I've wanted to be a published author since I was seven years old (when I wrote and illustrated a book called Horty the Hog Goes to School). I am finally at this moment. It is, truly, awesome. Acting also brings me joy. I just started taking acting classes a year ago, and it's a whole new playground. I never thought I would be a performer; I'm an introvert. I don't like to draw attention to myself. I'd rather hide in a corner and watch other people. But as an actor I get to escape fully into my imagination and pretend to be someone else... and that is a wonderful, beautiful, joyful gift.
Fear - that I'm not good enough, that I will become my mother, that I'm not as good as my mother, that I am my grandmother (who was manic-depressive). I guard myself against the pain of being raped. That scab still bleeds.
As a writer of art historical fiction, I bring art to life for the masses. It is my goal to make art and history exciting and relevant to contemporary readers. Art is important - to all of our lives. If I can give the love art to one person, my life will be worth it. As an actor, I give myself, and I hope that by revealing myself--my pain, struggle, fear, hope, heart--on stage, I can help one person feel less alone. I believe honest, empathetic acting can change the world... one performance at a time.
Too much chocolate. But it's so good, it's worth it. Too much wine. Ditto.
People who don't do their own work and expect others to do it for them. (Probably really annoys me because I'm the one who ends up picking up the slack). Talking too much. Shhhhh. I like quiet.
My husband. Alone time. The worlds in my head are my vacation destinations. I need time to visit them.
My friend who kept a smile on her face even when she was homeless. Another friend whose husband is divorcing her while she is battling recurring cancer... and yet, she can still laugh. My dear family friend who was paralyzed last year while riding his bike to his daughter's swim meet. This year, he had a new bike retrofitted, and he's riding once again...
I trip all the time. If you aren't tripping, you aren't running fast enough. I have been rejected from schools, had countless failed manuscripts and screenplays languish in my filing cabinet, and lost out on great jobs because I didn't act fast enough or hard enough... One instance that still stings? A boss stole a script from me. I wrote it. He put his name on it. When it aired on national television, it said, "Written by..." HIM. I should have reported him. i said nothing. EPIC trip up. Lesson learned.
Feeling-reader. I can't read minds, but be careful of your feelings. I can see them.
I am giving. I am calm under pressure. I am passionate about writing and art and history and movies and television and love...
I stood up and cheered when Patricia Arquette spoke out about equal pay at the Oscars. I hate it when young women refuse to embrace the word feminist. It disturbs me when female interns come into my office and ask me how they are going to balance a career and family when THEY AREN'T EVEN DATING ANYONE YET, much less married or pregnant! Why do women undercut themselves at such a young age?!
...Getting a book deal. ...Having a happy, stable marriage. ...My Chilli recipe. It's really, really good.
When my grandmother was alive, I thought she was crazy. Now, I realize I am just like her. I should have learned more from her. She could've taught me so much about art, life, and myself... But it's too late, now. I hope she forgives me.
Anyone who speaks their truth.
I have been a successful talk and news producer for 15 years. I may return. I may not.
Every bar surrounding Vanderbilt University (I still wake up wishing I could roll out of bed and go get a bucket of beer and chips and cheese at SATCO). The Tam--a dive bar near the Commons in Boston. The Coach and Horses in LA... a lot of bars, huh?
Muhammad Ali showed me a magic trick and kissed me on the cheek. An hour later, he did it again. I pretended like it was the first time because who tells Muhammad Ali they don't want another kiss???
I will be on the forefront of making art accessible and relatable to the masses.
Openness. Truthfulness. Acceptance. I love the range of topics, the range of people, and the heart in all of them. I want to sit at the table.