Growing up, I knew that my uncle was a well-known playwright in the UK. When I was a teenager, I was able to understand the importance and brilliance of being a Booker Prize-winning writer.
But, it wasn't until his passing earlier last year, that I understood the profound significance he had on theater in the UK and the US during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
I share this with you all, as my uncle is also the reason I write today. He was the one that originally encouraged me to chase my imagination and document the stories bounding through my mind. He was always low-key whenever we spoke about writing, and was also incredibly encouraging and patient with a writer such as myself who has about one one-hundredth of his talent. He wasn't a person you'd naturally point to as a inspiration and influence... but he was to me.
I bring this up, as there was recently a celebration of his art and stories at the Royal Court Theater in London. My mother shared with me the program, as I wasn't able to attend in person, as I live out in Seattle.
It's funny, that we often don't know a great deal about those closest to us, in terms of their impact on those outside of the family. Wonderful to see and understand his legacy. All I can do as a writer and his nephew is do my best to honor his memory in the only way I know how... by writing.
He's joined my father now, joyfully drinking a glass of wine together, and looking down at their brood with a wry smile. I'll continue to chase down the stories in my imagination and hopefully somewhere out there, he and my Dad are watching and silently cheering me on from the auditorium in the sky.