"The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them." Anton Chekhov
I am Cory Skurdal. a writer based in Columbus, Ohio.
I was born and raised in Williston, a small and very Norwegian-American town, in North Dakota, a rural and very Scandinavian state, where people spoke to their families, friends, and acquaintances, but they didn't always say very much, certainly not when it came to emotions and feelings, and where fitting in with the flock was highly prized and strongly encouraged. Individuality, originality, and singularity made you peculiar... odd... queer. As a young gay person growing up in Williston in the 1970s, I learned to conceal myself, protect myself, and to live less truthfully.
I graduated from the University of North Dakota. I moved to Seattle to complete my Masters Degree at the University of Washington. I moved to Columbus, Ohio where I worked in higher education. In Columbus, I met my partner. I came out at the late age of 27. I began the long process of NOT concealing or protecting myself so that I could live truthfully.
I'd always thought about writing, but self-doubt meant I never got started. In the late 1990s, I told myself that it was now or never, and I sat down and wrote my first play - just to see if I could pull it off. I wrote a mystery/thriller, because I love them, and that play, "Catspaw," was a finalist in several national competitions, and won the Jewel Box Theatre Playwriting Award.
Looking back on my first play, I realize that, even while writing within the confines of the mystery genre, I was exploring the themes of alienation, concealment, and untruthfulness that my later plays address:
"The Present Moment" explores living truthfully, finding contentment and satisfaction with the life one has, and recognizing the humanity and frailty in oneself and in others;
In "Sticks & Stones" two women battle barriers of age, gender, culture, and politics as they try to comprehend one another, their very different lives, identities, and values, and what it means to each of them to live openly and truthfully;
"Abundant Life" is about living a life that is truthful, open, welcoming, compassionate, empowering, and inclusive.
The several short comic plays I've written also explore, to varying degrees, issues of alienation, untruthfulness, and recognition of the humanity of others. I've also written a half-dozen short stories, two screenplays, and I have a novel in the works..
When I'm not writing, I volunteer as a Board member 'for Evolution Theatre Company, the only LGBTQQIA theater company in Central Ohio. I've also been active with the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Ohio, and Stonewall Columbus.