Welcome to Writer’s Cup Of Tea, my own little corner of the universe. My name is Kate Santos, a writer with no talent for writing (yet). If you’ve been here before, you might recognize that this is yet another introduction post, a fresh beginning for the page. I’ve done many an introduction, all of them under the same name, but written by a different person.
This plethora is due to the multiple identity crises I’ve faced, as one going through middle and high school often does. A majority of middle school was spent hating who I was and longing to create the person that I wanted to be. As far as career choices went, I was more lost there than ever, and since I’ve always been a huge planner, I had a new career aspiration every semester if not every few weeks.
Right before sixth grade, as a little Zazu fresh out of Anna M. Glazier Elementary’s production of Lion King Junior, I decided that I wanted to be an actress. Even so, I chose a medical and forensics magnet school because I was intrigued by the model of a cow eye. After that, I wanted to be a doctor. That lasted for a few months until I got to registration and picked up a beginning drama class. I continued the dream of actress, at the time only knowing that a career on screen was the only option.
It wasn’t until the second semester of seventh grade that I had even begun to think to become a writer. It was just a normal assignment, assigned to us by our beloved language arts teacher, Mrs. Summers. We had been reading when she called for the class’s attention and told us that our next assignment was to write a short story, possibly the best assignment I have ever received.
Initially, though, I just thought of it as another english assignment I’d have to knock out the night before it was due. Mrs. Summers continued to explain the assignment, telling us that we needed to write a fictional story, in the style of any type of folklore, that explained how something natural came to be, at least three pages long. We could write about quite literally anything. Wind, fire, plants, animals. Anything was up for grabs.
So, sitting in front of the computer the night before the story was due, I decided that I would write about fruit trees. I planned a simple story that would be good enough to get me the A that I wanted and started typing away.
I was a few paragraphs into the story when little ideas started popping up. I typed them in, adding more and more, launching it into grow past the page. Words started flowing and my fingers were typing faster. I was getting so excited that I stopped writing to crumple up the storyline and throw it away.
I wrote of run down houses with peeling vinyl siding. I created a goddess of harvest that wore a long, deep blue flowing gown and had long and wavy jet black hair held down by a gold crown. I told the stories of characters she helped, whom she created the seeds of fruit trees for, whom she had taught how to fish and plant.
I made these ideas sound like living breathing things, and by the time that I had finished, I was filled with complete joy and confidence. I read it over and over, adding little things in awkward spots, fixing grammatical errors that I could spot, making it completely perfect, without a single error. I added a picture of a peach tree and printed it out in color. I ripped it out of the printer and stapled the pages together, all ten or eleven of them, and rushed to the dining room table to present the pages to my mom.
I sat there and stared at her while she read it, until finally she was done. She turned to me, smiled, and told me that it was excellent. I read it to my sisters that night as a bedtime story, showed it to my brother, and when I got to school the next morning, held readings for my biggest fans, my friends.
When I walked into third period and turned in my story, I got really nervous. What if Mrs. Summers didn’t like it? What if it wasn’t as good as I thought it was and I had just embarrassed myself in front of all the people I shared my story with?
The next week felt like torture, right up until the last second that our assignments were handed back to us. On mine, in green, inky cursive it said “Absolutely excellent! Great Job!” My heart danced.
I got home and told my mom, my dad, my siblings, my dog, and anybody else that I stumbled into. This feeling was brand new, it was exciting. I created something that I didn’t know that I could, realeased a world I didn’t know I was keeping.
From that moment on, good or bad, I was a writer through and through. I continued to write for myself, saving all of my stories to a google drive folder and not showing anybody but for the few occasions that I showed my mother, an amazing writer herself, and my friend Mariekel, also a great writer and one of my dearest friends. Up until the summer that I began to volunteer at the library, I was the only one who really read my writing.
The summer before freshman year, I volunteered at the Norwalk Public Library’s summer reading program, to help kids and restock books. I had a lot of downtime and made great friends, but because I often had shifts alone, I read a lot of books. I practically devoured them, knocking two out in a shift and at least twenty that summer alone. Pulling from the great authors I found inspiration. They published their writing, and I wanted the world to see mine. So, I started this blog.
I started writing short stories, snippets of scenes. Anything I thought up, I posted. I consistently uploaded a story once a week, right up until the beginning of freshman year. The workload hit me, the changes in my friend group nearly killed me, and out of weakness I made one of the biggest mistakes I have so far. I stopped writing.
Writing has become an outlet, a necessity. But I put the blog behind me, whittled it’s value down to something stupid I did in middle school, and revived a passion I hadn’t touched on since sixth grade: theatre.
I joined the beginning drama class and I felt the theatre bug bite me again. Performing was a rush I forgot I could get and tech was a new adventure that I fully immersed myself in. I acted on stage, co-hosted the improv shows, and eventually I was invited into the advanced drama class for the following year.
That invitation felt better than anything ever had, and I took it right away. I completely forgot of all notions of writing, assuming I had found the only outlet that I needed: theatre. I decided that I wanted to be an actress, forever and always.
It worked well for a bit, until it didn’t. While I was thrilled with how theatre was working out for me, part of me was missing. By nature, I am a storyteller. Whether I write one out or perform it on stage, I love to immerse myself in an environment fit for sharing different perspectives and experiences with other people, and doing it well. So I decided to revive the blog, but I wasn’t as dedicated as I was before.
I always missed promised post dates, and when I did post, the stories were rushed and unwillingly so. I started tackling subjects out of my ability to try and cover up for my lack of effort and I got careless enough to the point where new ideas failed at every turn. And so I disappeared from the site, and it’s been sitting and wasting away ever since.
I continued with theatre, but I had stopped writing again. The new year started and I felt better about a lot of things. My grades from the last year weren’t so bad, I had exciting classes for sophomore year, and though the state of my friend group was still something that bothered me, I had managed to make new friends and strengthen the relationships with the ones that I had.
Everything felt great until my performances started to get sloppy. Little scene assignments here and there were some of my worst yet. They weren’t well rehearsed, I wasn’t getting the best results from putting in my all, and mentally, things started to go down hill.
I had robbed myself of two outlets now, neither giving me the outcomes I truly desired. So I started to write again. At first it was snippets I’d write during math and edits of the stories I had hidden in google docs while we did a chem lab, but slowly and surely, I got back into the groove of things.
Even though I wasn’t posting any of it, the fact that I replenished my creativity and could show my writing to friends again gave me a new confidence, on stage and on the page.
As my writing improved, so did my performances. I took more risks and gave more passion, something I hadn’t done in a while.
I didn’t realize how much growth I had done until we reached musical audition day. I had been through the process before and I sing all the time in front of anybody, but this was my first high school musical, and with how casting had gone for the play the semester before, when I wasn’t putting in my all, I was a nervous wreck for how casting would go.
I picked a song I loved, rehearsed it over and over again, and then auditioned for a part I wasn’t fit for. But I got a callback for it. Eventually, the list came out, and I didn’t get the role that I had wanted, but I got the one I needed. The director had gifted me with Penelope Pennywise, badass public amenity manager that threw me in front of the most challenging vocals I had ever faced.
After I received the role, I gained a brand new confidence, one that made me so conscious of my mistakes and my achievements, made me want to do better and pushed me far out of my comfort zone.
It wasn’t long until I decided that I needed to prolong this feeling and work off of this motivation. I applied to two theatre programs, got accepted to both, and chose the one that was based in my dream place, the beautiful New York City.
I was extremely excited and as opening night for Urinetown, our musical for this year, came closer my excitement grew. I hadn’t truly performed in front of an audience in almost four years. Opening night came and went, and we absolutely crushed it. The next three shows were gone in a flash, and after each I took the time to write all of it down. Every single bit.
Writing like that made me feel whole again. For the first time in a long time, and especially in those few moments to myself after the shows, writing in my journal, I felt truly happy. It cleared my mind and inspired me in a way I never thought possible.
Closing night was a whirlwind, and in true tradition we met up at Denny’s in full stage makeup to have a well-deserved family dinner. While I was in a little booth of the huge section we needed for our cast, talking to and joking with the people I loved most, I realized something.
This, all of this, was what I wanted people to know. Yes, I wanted to tell and create other people’s stories, bring fiction to life, but I also wanted to tell my own. I wanted to document and share every moment like this, all the unforgettable experiences, the hard lessons learned, and the great people met along the way. In that instant, I wanted to tell the world everything.
And so, almost three weeks later, here I am. I want this to be a place where both of my passions can truly flourish. I want to tell you about my fight towards a broadway stage and my creation of fictional lives page by page. I want to share it all, right here, right now, and from all points forward, because I want to be someone to remember.
Whether I write of the things I do or share the stories I invent, I want it to be in a place for people to experience it with me.
So I hope you’ll come with me. Read the posts, watch me build who I want to become, and share with me your stories. I want to create, experience, and grow, and the place to document it all is right here, in my little corner of the universe.