Letter | Peterson: Chris Willard helped keep our creative sparks alive
September 17, 2018
I wrote some of 2015's "Curves Ahead" for the Backstage Theatre. I am also a worker bee in the Summit County community since I moved up as a Denver native in 2002. Chris Willard and I became friends through my participation in The Backstage's Children's Theatre. He thought I was funny, which led to "Local's Lounge" and then "Curves." But I married for love, and so I didn't really have the daytime resources to be the creative partner he'd wanted, because I was, and still am, (too) busy trying to support my family in a stable manner. My goals to be a creative force and to have a family (and an emotionally and financially supported one, at that!) are ever in conflict, and they are despite my more imaginative/open-minded and traditional leanings (Surprise! They can co-exist).
But Chris gave me an opportunity; and I know from reading the posts to his personal Facebook page that I am not the only one whose creative fire he encouraged (sometimes before anyone else did). Our community is better for it, and it has been able to etch its own unique stamp onto the community of theater, at-large, because of it.
While certain ideas are perceived as needing to be extinguished by way of apologies, they are often no more controversial than those on the opposing side of the fence. I know — because I happen to be a public proponent of some of these "opposing views" to my own "party" and these views are often hidden in the algorithms, squelched, trolled, or beat into silence by the almighty dollar, or by those that hold it. I think that sometimes we throw the baby out with the bathwater when we create a hostile environment for creative expression of the occasional view that opposes our own.
I am your working class, and I am part of your creative energy. We are in a precipitous place when we stop making space for either.
"A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean." — "The Lorax" (my children's pick for our weekly Friday Night Movie Night At Home, while I'm writing this). Maybe Chris, like the Lorax, speaks for the trees. Our community needs to keep a few trees.
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