Georgia-born writer Shay Youngblood grew up with what you might call an alternative family: Eight mothers. Make that at least eight.

Her birth mother died when she was 2 years old, and she lived with her great-grandmother and great-aunt, with other relatives and friends in the housing projects raising her. Perhaps that’s why she has never done things via the usual route.

Journey to Jubilee

For instance, when she wrote her first play in the mid-’80s — it became Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, which Fort Worth’s Jubilee Theatre is currently producing she hand wrote it and sent it to her favorite actress in Atlanta, who agreed to be in it should it ever get produced. With that encouragement, she walked the manuscript directly to the artistic director of the Horizon Theatre Company.

“I didn’t know much about theater,” Youngblood says. “I didn’t know that if you have 21 characters in your play, it won’t likely get done.”

But she persisted, and a few years later, a dramaturg read it and saw something there. The show was reworked through collaboration with the director and ensemble. For about two decades, it has been produced around the country.

Read the entire article on Youngblood here.