Ash Sanborn, Playwright/ Activist

Ash Sanborn, Playwright/ Activist

Hi. I’m Ash Sanborn. It’s a pen name, created from the initials of my given name, placed with the last name of my super-courageous, ahead of her time great-grandmother. I can’t create in a bubble. I’d love to know your stories, too. You can connect with my page on Facebook here.

In 2006, I felt hopeless. Yes, that hopeless. As horrible as anyone can feel, and I hope you are never faced with that level of unrelenting darkness.

I was in a very bad place in spite of the fact that I was blessed with a loving husband and wonderful children. I was in that place in spite of the fact that I witnessed a miracle to do with eternity and the afterlife at a very crucial age. I wanted to die in spite of the fact that I was loved, had a good mind and genuine talents, and was normally a warm, thoughtful, gregarious, funny individual. It didn’t help that I have bipolar disorder. But let’s leave that for a moment. It doesn’t define who I am, and if you have something in your wiring that holds you back, it doesn’t have to define you, either.

I went through some things years ago, and I’m going through some things now.

But one crystal of time can change it all. This was mine seven years ago: I ordered some books on writing. You know that feeling when the Fedex driver brings you a box you’ve been waiting for? I pulled out the books I’d been expecting. One, two, three…and a fourth. The fourth was The Big Book of Women Saints by Sarah Gallick. It’s a day-by-day biographical entry, one for each day of the year. In addition to a brief biography of each woman’s life, there is a capsule summary of each saint’s special genius plus a biblical reflection that captures her spirit and/or the crucial lesson of her life.

I was drawn immediately to Maria Giovanna Bonomo, a 17th century Italian saint who wondered, “Does it seem right that we should give the worst to the poor? She stepped off the page, frozen in history, and a still, small voice inside me said, “Bring her here. Breathe life into her now. Make her move. Urge her to speak. What does she say to us now?”

Statue of 17th Century Maria Giovanna Bonomo, Asiago, Italy

Statue of 17th Century Maria Giovanna Bonomo, Asiago, Italy

She wonders the same thing now that she wondered in the 1600s. “Does it seem right?”

Does it seem right that economic inequality is growing in the U.S.?

Does it seem right that in a nation of great opportunity and possibility that so many live in poverty?

Does it seem right that the first thing many companies do in a challenging time is hemorrhage people?

Money growing tighter is a common source of our collective pain. The consumptive economy as it has been operating doesn’t work anymore, does it? Why would we keep doing what we have been doing, that has led us to a growing pit for 30 years? I had a personal pit of suffering. But I opened my eyes and saw that the pit was much larger than I had imagined, and many people are trying to climb out of it — just to hit solid ground again.

How do we make it better?

Here in the Lakes of Iowa (that’s where I live) we’re starting with the Spencer Okoboji Time Bank .

A miracle happened in New York in December with the production of “The Feast of Jovi Bono.” That’s almost indescribable, but I try to capture it in the video I made.

“Clarity” is coming together, and so is “Brigid Kildare’s Steelworks.” Have an adventure with me. I walk into my stories. Each time I start typing, it’s a new dare to myself to step up — to do what I was created to do.

That’s the short answer. It’s my goal that no one leaves a performance of my work without committing to make a difference in the world. 

The next step is you — whether you attend in the audience, join the cast or crew, support financially or with your time and moral support, none of this will happen without you. This isn’t my creation; it’s our creation. 

Will you have an adventure with me?

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