Life A Little Further West
By Alan Winner (Performer, Writer, Director)
It’s been a year since making the decision to take some time away from life in the big City and begin to build a business out in Tulsa. I have been to and from New York, either on a 20 hour road trip, or a plane ride if we’re pressed for time. I have to admit, I’m a little surprised that I don’t miss New York more than I do. It must be because I’m on the path that makes the most sense for me. This may be my last post for a while, as I will be taking a break to focus my time more intensely on our film studio. As well as wish you Happy Holidays, I want to leave you with the top five qualities that make Tulsa the ideal city for my artistic future:
5. I love having my own wheels.
I haven’t owned a car in over a decade. In Cardiff, I could walk most places in under 30 minutes. London had the Tube, and after midnight, the night buses. Once in New York, I appreciated the cost being less than what I spent on my Oyster card and the 24 hour train service (theoretically), but I would be perfectly happy if I never had to ride a subway car ever again.
I much prefer the guarded bubble that gets me to and from wherever it is I need to go without having to navigate the moods and emotions of the thousands of strangers I passed every day. Blasting my music, I recharge myself for my next meeting or engagement.
With our car sitting out in the driveway, I know that it is possible to pack up and go camping, or visit my friends up in Colorado. And I can choose what time I hit the road. I couldn’t sleep the other night and drove the 6 ½ hour drive to Tulsa from Lubbock at 3:00 am. Admittedly I got right back into bed and slept a few more hours when I arrived home.
4. Closer to my family.
Some of my favorite memories are from when I lived thousands of miles away from home, but as the years inch on, I felt a strong urge to be closer to my family. I am fortunate to have a good relationship with my mom, dad, and both of my brothers, and as we all get older, we aren’t able to take as many tomorrows for granted.
I’m now within a ten-mile drive of most of my immediate and extended family making holidays.
Our Christmas plans alternate each year between Lubbock with my parents and Tulsa with Drew’s. This year we’re in Tulsa for Christmas day and before and driving down to Lubbock the day after Christmas to do it all again with my family. Not having to deal with the major airlines is the best Christmas gift of all, if you ask me.
3. More for your money.
One of the most maddening aspects of New York City is how quickly your bank account depletes. You’re dollar goes a lot farther in Oklahoma. This map of the country shows how much your money is really worth in each state.
2. The Sky
I’ve been challenged with an inner calling to write. As I explore this new facet of my art, I have learned to be very aware of the way I feel in certain places. I knew I would never be content without living in London and New York. Having been in both big cities, where buildings block out the sun, I realized how much I yearned for the horizons of my childhood. What I used to consider boring and dull, is now the very source of my inspiration to create stories out of thin air. When I was younger, my eyes were fixed below the horizon. Now they are aimed higher. The sky changes constantly and gives signs of what is to come. So many metaphors wrapped up and packaged into one canvas keeps my mind turning for days. Without the oppressive structures surrounding me, my mind gets more oxygen, and exhales with vigor onto the page.
1. The less saturated, yet expanding Art scene.
Each day I spend in Tulsa, I become more aware of how much is happening here year-round. With around a million residents in the Tulsa-Metro area, there is enough of an audience to support productions far more challenging than those at your typical regional or community theatre. There is a standard of talent build into this city and you only have to spend a little time here to notice the opportunities at each juncture. I’ll leave you with this VIDEO about the wonderful city of Tulsa.
ALAN WINNER co-wrote and starred in his one-man show The Boy Who Loved Bassey. He is currently writing the screenplay for Kitchen and adapting a new version of Timon of Athens. Alan is also currently directing Coney Island Christmas by Donald Margulies at Lubbock Community Theatre, Lubbock, Texas. www.alanwinner.com
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