Trinity Western University alumna M.J. Eden knows the life of a New York playwright is far from easy but, equipped with a supportive community and a strong work ethic, she is living out her dreams.
Last month, Eden, who graduated from TWU in 2010, returned to the Langley University to see As Little Children, the play she was commissioned to write by the School of the Arts, Media, and Culture’s theatre department, brought to life on the stage.
Inspired by a song about a girl building a boat to sail to heaven, Eden’s script explores the power of faith after tragic circumstances.
“This commission gave me confidence, increasing my conviction that I’m supposed to be doing this, and that other people care about the stories I’m trying to tell,” Eden said.
“I’m so grateful for TWU’s interest in developing me as an artist, even after graduation.”
Drawn to performing from a young age, Eden spent significant portions of her childhood in Maine, imagining little worlds, writing poems and short stories, and corralling neighbourhood kids into putting on shows with her.
Her family eventually settled in Seattle, where Eden learned of TWU through a friend.
At TWU, Eden said, her “faith grew in a powerful way.” Here, she found a network of professors who mentored her, fed into her passions, and encouraged her to tell stories.
“Angela (Konrad), Aaron (Caleb) and Lloyd (Arnett) fostered into their students, into me, not only creative growth, but spiritual growth,” she said.
“Aaron once took me aside and told me ‘You’re talented, and you will be tempted to ride on that talent, but it won’t work. You’ll have to learn how to work hard,’” Eden said.
“I’m just now learning what he meant.”
Living and working in New York is the fulfillment of her childhood dream. Currently, Eden works as a freelance writer for a fashion magazine and as an actor, but she hopes to write and sell screenplays in the near future.
“It’s a constant surrender to God,” she said, “but I feel like this will be a pivotal year for me.”
“No one can know the full impact of the choices they make,” said Eden. “But I have a hunch that TWU was an important one for me.”