Our speakers at the Phoenix Writers Club on Saturday were Wyatt and Terry Earp.
They are two wonderful people who have touched so many lives.
Terry is a playwright who has 36 plays to her credit.
(Why the fish? We meet at the Bluewater Grill in central Phoenix.)
Wyatt is related to the "original" Wyatt Earp and if you've ever seen photos of Wyatt in his retirement years you will see that the contemporary Wyatt looks just like him. They were at a function with Hugh O'Brien a few years ago. Hugh played Wyatt Earp in the television hit of the 1950s. He asked Terry to write a play and after thinking on it she decided an elderly Wyatt looking back on his younger years and especially the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral would be a good idea. O'Brien didn't go with the play because of other commitments so Terry got to thinking again and her husband began performing "Wyatt Earp: A Life on the Frontier."
The play has been performed 635 times since then. Wyatt has performed all over the Southwest and in Alaska, Boston, Edinburgh and Budapest. Amazing. Terry went on to write "Gentleman Doc Holliday" which Wyatt has performed 372 times. Terry also wrote and performs the parts of the women in the Wyatt and "Doc's" lives.
As Terry talked about her writing career the one thing that stood out to me was that she just did it. She said she wrote plays, submitted them and had them produced before she heard all the warnings about how difficult it is. She said, "I didn't know any better." In other words, knowing what the pros had to say didn't hold her back. Terry just did it. As writers, or anything, we should remember that.
Wyatt talked about promotion. He said to focus on people and groups where people have a common interest. He showed us Cowboy magazine, the Wild West History Association and the Tombstone Tumbleweed as possible outlets for people interested in their plays. He also talks to everyone. If somebody says they live in some little town he says he has always wanted to perform there. "Magic happens," said Wyatt as he told about performing around the world. Opportunities open up if you let the universe know you are out there.
These are important things for writers, performers, artists and anybody who wants to get their work out there. Wyatt and Terry have long inspired me. As writers, performers, Old West history buffs and as fantastic people.
For more about Wyatt and Terry Earp visit their Web site here.