My name is Morgan Evans. It finally dawned on me that my life was deteriorating into a Harold and Maude film noir. Conforming to what everyone wanted me to be was driving me nuts. Half the time I didn’t know if I was Harold or Maude. And being both at the same time was like sticking my finger into a light socket and flicking the switch to on.
I tried camouflaging my life by playing the part of Vivian Pickles, Harold’s mother, but that didn’t work very well. I don’t have her joie de vivre.
Conforming to those around you is a slippery slope with an uncertain ending and usually not a good one.
I wanted an outlet for expressing my true self without being redressed by all my relatives, especially my mother. That’s when I got the idea of becoming an actor. The stage was the perfect place to be outrageous, to be sad, to be happy, angry, to express both the masculine and feminine aspects of my complex being — all the things I was afraid to be in my everyday life.
I soon discovered, however, that was not going to be my career avenue, after I overheard some friends confess in hushed tones that I couldn’t act my way out of a wet paper bag.
I checked my dwindling horizons and was drawn to the possibility of writing for the stage and screen. This, I was relieved to discover, was actually the perfect place for me to be outrageous, a terrible liar, sad, angry, loving, snooty, murderous, oversexed [especially oversexed], to be all these things and much more, and to be able to get away with it. It was the ‘getting away with it’ that propelled me forward into the abyss of fictional reality, whatever the hell that means.
And, as someone infamously said, “If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.” I found this encouraging.
As for the rules of writing, I’ve been told there are three rules, but no one seems to know what they are. So, I plowed ahead undiscouraged.
I knew from the get-go I would need a stage name or a nom de plume to avoid detection by my mother who would manage some kind of a guilt trip on me to give up my writing nonsense and assume her chosen career for me, i.e., a doctor, never. Can’t stand the sight of other people’s blood. A lawyer, can’t stand the sight of my own blood. I suggested an undertaker. She was not amused.
If I yielded to Mom, the next phase of my salvation would be Rivka the matchmaker. But then I’d be forced to tell Mom I was gay which would have brought every yenta she had ever known out of the woodwork to rescue me. Death by a thousand cuts seemed a logical and more attractive end, having learned long ago to never underestimate the formidable power of old Jewish women in large groups.
I finally settled on an alternative I knew would work, provided I could get out of town before mummy discovered I was gone – San Francisco, as far away from New Jersey as I could get without treading water. I could survive there and explore my writing acumen and only have to lie whenever she called or came out to visit.
“Mom, I’m 24 years old, I don’t need your permission.” I decided the less I said the easier it would be. “Of course I love you. Now, don’t pull that guilt crap on me. I’m on to you. Yes, I received the box of one hundred condoms. It was very thoughtful of you. I especially love the pack of rainbow colored ones. Sounds like something Aunt Blooma would pick out. She did? No, I’m not giving you my address. You’re lucky I gave you the post office box number. You can be very overbearing sometimes. Yes, you are bossy and no, you don’t know what’s best for me. No, I’m not an ungrateful son. It’s just that I don’t want you showing up on my doorstep unannounced. Ma, gotta go. Yeah, yeah. Right back at ya. Goodbye.”
I was going to give her my email address but decided [email protected] would only create another conversation I did not want to have. I tried creating an email address just for her but someone had already taken [email protected] Just my luck.
“Hi, Dad. I’m fine. No, I was on the phone talking to the bane of our existence. When are you coming out? Not soon enough. You can stay with me. It’ll be crowded but we can catch up. Ok, see ya. Bye. Love ya.”
My dad, my friend, and sperm donor. What more can I say? I’ve often wondered whatever possessed him to sleep with my mother. He’s a gentle unassuming soul who was probably devoured whole by that irrepressible woman in our lives. I must ask him what the attraction was. He doesn’t drink so it had to be something I could maybe write a horror story about.