Elizabeth Peavey is a Portland-based writer, performer and educator. Her one-woman show, My Mother’s Clothes Are Not My Mother, just debuted in New York City and has played to sold-out houses across Maine since 2011. It won the 2013 Maine Literary Award for Best Drama. Her latest book, Glorious Slow Going: Maine Stories of Art, Adventure and Friendship, was a Maine Literary Awards finalist. She is also the author of Outta My Way: An Odd Life Lived Loudly and of Maine & Me, which was awarded the MLA for Best Maine-themed Book. Her writing is frequently featured in Down East magazine, where she has been a contributing editor since 1997. Her humor column, “Outta My Yard,” can be found at thebollard.com.
She taught public speaking at the University of Southern Maine for 20 years and now coaches private and corporate clients in the field. She was a guest lecturer of creative nonfiction at the University of Maine at Farmington and has taught her popular memoir workshop for the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance since the days of quill and parchment. She is a frequent speaker at schools, libraries and associations around the state. She served as writer in residence at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA, in 2014.
All of which is to say she's never been able to hold down a real job.
And now, a little background...
Back when I was a blushing college coed, seesawing between the English Department (take me seriously, I’m a poet) and the Theatre Department (look at me! look at me!), I was given an ultimatum by my then-writing mentor: It’s us or them. You can do one or the other – be a writer or be a performer – but you can’t do both. The gist was I was breaking the rules, and I wasn’t going to get away with it. On my part, the decision was easy. If you were going to make me choose, I choose them. Besides, the theater people were more fun.
Fast forward 30 years, and here I am today, proud to say that every one of those years has been spent integrating my love of both the written and spoken word. In addition to my long career as a print journalist and a celebrated author, I have taught public speaking at the university level for nearly 20 years. I have competed on a national stage as a slam poet, performed my work in venues spanning from New York to Montreal and have served as a keynote speaker at corporate and educational events – all the while supplementing my income as an award-winning copywriter. I have coached writers and other professionals to feel comfortable and confident in front of an audience. I have done the same with a group of resettlement refugees and immigrants (none of whom spoke English as a first language), as well as a classroom full of prepubescent boys. I’ve been a guest lecturer at Master of Fine Arts programs and have taught writing to library groups, seniors, kids and women inmates. In 2010, I coauthored and appeared in a two-woman show, Finding ME, and had unexpected overwhelming success with my one-woman show, My Mother’s Clothes Are Not My Mother.
I guess you could say I’ve made a career of breaking rules. As I like to tell my students, sometimes the best way to get something done is to be told that you can’t.
So, thanks for stopping by. Bye for now.