A few days ago, the folks at Screencraft sent word via email that because of the intense competition among the submissions received, they'd need another couple of days to decide, and then announce, the semifinalists in their 2018 Stage Play Contest.
Author: Christopher A. Kess
Writer, et. al.
I was happy to receive a couple of notes in my email yesterday, informing me that I was a semifinalist in the 2018 ScreenCraft Play contest.
As usual, I have a long story about the subject, but the condensed version is that I have been given a challenge, a mandate to share more of my work, just for the sake of doing so. I’m exploring my creativity again, for its own sake, ars gratia artis, and just putting it out there. Hence, I posted a few poems.
I was an adult when I learned about Kess Circle.
I’d learned a ton about my mother’s side of my family growing up as I spent the majority of my time around them. While there were mysteries and gaps and tales that more properly should be known as legend than history, I at least knew about it. All I knew about my father’s family was about our specific branch starting with my grandparents. My father and his numerous stories (he should have been a writer. His Baltimore stories were awesome). My uncles and their love of boxing. And obviously, family drama. But not much more. Even as I developed a deep love and study of Black history while I was in high school, my own origins were still vague and even more mysterious.
Some time around 1997-1998, I received an email from someone claiming to be a relative. He’d been online looking for other Kesses and had come across my then-website. We struck up a conversation over email and as it turned out, he was indeed a relative, part of the extended Kess family that I knew pretty much nothing about. Kevin shared information with me about the larger family, our origins, how many of us there were. What seemed like a smallish family, centered around Yale Heights where my grandparents lived, was just a small part of a much larger family with a rich history.
This eventually lead to a meeting.
I was able to convince my grandfather to go down to Glen Burnie with me to see Kevin’s immediate folks. PaPa, one of my uncles, and I piled into my grandfather’s minivan and made the trip where we met Kevin and his father. The two older men were cousins who had not seen each other in a very long time. They talked about so many things — our history, our ancestors. We made plans to get them back together at some point, but unfortunately, we never did that. I fell out of touch with Kevin. His father passed. My grandfather did.
Fortunately, the family history hasn’t. If anything, it’s spread more. A lot of the extended Kess family is online. I don’t know them well, but I’m at a time in my life where I can change that. I plan to. And not on online, but in showing my face some down Route 100 soon and wherever else we may be.