Two weeks after I survived my stereotypically large / stressful Indian wedding, my friend Marijana picked me up to take me on a Saturday morning excursion to the public market. The public market is one of the more diverse places to be in Rochester—you interact with people of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities over shopping for produce, cheese, honey, meat, clothing, plants, and knick-knacks. Everyone needs to eat; many of us need to browse through random stuff. There’s also a bakery, artist studios, and food stalls.
Marijana dragged me with her, I think, because of my post-wedding slump. We had a beautiful ceremony, but I had hated wedding planning. I have never in my life watched “Say Yes to the Dress” nor bought a bridal magazine. So it surprised me to find that my wedding was the happiest day of my life thus far—and that we felt sad and depressed after our friends left town. We assumed we would feel only relief to have made it through the madness. Our friends, writers Holly and Matt, who married last year, described the experience as passing through a crucible. We didn’t understand the metaphor until we were in the thick of it ourselves.
At the public market that day, Marijana and I briskly wandered (Marijana is brisk; I wander) through different stalls of vegetables. I found myself drawn to a table, which had no produce and no colorful Indian shirts to sell. “Storychick,” the sign announced. The woman behind the table, Storychick, aka Aprille Byam, explained that she asks Rochesterians who approach her to tell her a story, which she then records. I instantly agreed, and spilled a story about the wedding. Marijana took a pass and returned to the produce stalls. Before I rejoined Marijana, Aprille asked for my zipcode / neighborhood and gave me a pushpin to find and pin my location on her map of Rochester. I hesitated before deciding where to pin (although we were paying rent at the new place, we had not yet packed up and moved).
I loved Aprille’s idea of recording these individual personal histories, and was thrilled to learn she included my story in the show she created. Aprille directs actors in interpreting the stories she’s collected. I am not a playwright, so I wonder how it will feel to hear my words (which were spoken and not written) recited by someone else. Am I nervous? A little. Rochester Stories is part of the Fringe Festival, and will be performed at Writers & Books (where I also teach writing) on September 20, 2015 (3:00 PM) and September 26, 2015 (6:00 PM). I’ll be in the audience at the 9/26 performance and hope you’ll join me to see the show. For more information about Rochester Stories or to buy tickets, click here.