Published: Jan 08, 2012 02:00 AM
Modified: Jan 07, 2012 06:17 PM
After growing up in poverty in Harnett County, playwright Cornelia McDonald traversed a rocky path to self-acceptance. She traveled the world with her first play and came back to North Carolina weary but wiser.
McDonald, who now lives in Holly Springs, will debut her second play in Fuquay-Varina on Jan. 13.
"Calling to the Village" uses a variety of women's voices to show the search for love. The resolution features McDonald's message to women who seek love in others instead of within: "Have you ever seen a woman who is fierce? ... She no longer chooses to be small ... she has the audacity to embrace how truly beautiful she is. ... She is deserving and worthy, loving and lovable."
The playwright, who was abused by her father as a child, also volunteers with the Interact Speakers Bureau, talking to men and women about domestic violence.Q:
How did you find inspiration for "Calling to the Village?"A:
I came back to North Carolina so tired from traveling. My brother passed away from sickle cell (anemia). I was kind of lost, because he was my rock. I said, "God, what is my next project?"
I was a nurse for 24 years, and when you nurse, you get to know the patients. Over the years, I found a common thread - all of these women wanted to be loved. I worked at a housing project in Durham and in the NICU talking to moms (of babies in intensive care). A lot of these women were at the bottom of the barrel; they were in trouble. I wanted to tell their stories.Q:
How did you find your own self-acceptance after such a difficult childhood?A:
It has taken a long time. Travel has informed me in many ways. I have gone to Japan, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany, France, Italy, Jamaica ... I lived in Los Angeles for a long time. I met the most amazing people who told me who I was, and after a while I finally believed them.Q:
After nursing for so many years, how did you become a writer?A:
Everyone in L.A. assumed I was in "the business." After many years, I decided I wanted to do something that made me jump out of bed in the morning.
My advice: Don't ever say what you want to do. There are always naysayers who will say it can't be done.Q:
What is the central message of "Calling to the Village?"A:
The voices of women ages 15 to 85 tell about wanting to be loved. I know now that love is an inside job. Once you love yourself, the world takes on a different hue.
And also, forgiveness is powerful. It lets me open up my life and heart. I look at my father now with a different slant. He was wounded, and he wounded me. But I gave it all back to him; I have forgiven.
When I was younger, I was emotionally blocked. But now I want to share what I know.