Elizabeth Peavey is an award-winning writer, performer and educator. Her one-woman show, My Mother’s Clothes Are Not My Mother, has played to sold-out houses since 2011 and received the Maine Literary Award for Best Drama. She is the author of three books, most recently, Glorious Slow Going, a collaboration with renowned landscape painter Marguerite Robichaux. In 2015, through a series of grants, she launched a memoir-writing program for older adults that spanned five groups and culminated in a participants’ reading to a packed house at Portland Public Library’s Rines Auditorium. In 2016, she developed and offered an online version of the workshop for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s Senior College that included participants ranging from Caribou to Machias to Central and Southern Maine. Based on the success of the first unit, a second was offered in Spring 2017.
Peavey has served as a lecturer of public speaking at the University of Southern Maine for over 20 years and has taught creative non-fiction at UMF. Her popular memoir workshops have been presented by the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance since the days of quill and parchment. Her humor column, “Outta My Yard,” can be found at thebollard.com, and she has appeared in Down East magazine since 1993. She currently works with corporate and private speech clients and is a frequent guest lecturer and speaker at schools, libraries and associations across the state. 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.