Lesley Grigg

Traveler + Writer

The Road Les Travelled

How did I get here? The road was winding and not always paved, but that just makes the creative journey even more interesting. Here are a few highlights that led to this life of storytelling.

1980s:

Dinner and a show? Yes, please! At an early age, my sister and I would entertain our esteemed guests (parents and grandparents) after dinner in my grandmother’s living room dressed up in her scarves and costume jewelry. There would be jokes, magic tricks, singing, and of course, dancing.

Did I think of it as telling a story through dance? Probably not at five years old. I was more excited about getting to cartwheel across the stage in my mini tutu and tappity shoes.

1990s:

I published my first short stories in 5th grade. These fictional accounts were set on a deserted island where my friends and I lived without parents, only pet dolphins. There was always drama because—well what else is there to talk about in 5th grade?

The acting bug started biting in middle school as well. Teens in Tinseltown was my stage debut and promptly followed by summer stock, high school plays, and community theater. Flash forward to the future: Once I honed my writing craft, I tried my hand at playwriting and directed a one-night-only, script-in-hand performance of Table for Two in the early 2000s.

Journal pages are filled with entries about middle school friends and those who were not currently on speaking terms. Even if the topic wasn’t exactly positive, each ended with a wish or a prayer—usually about the well-being of my pets.

I also wrote every single day of my freshman year in college to help with the transition. It definitely wasn’t a smooth one. From the highs of first dates and parties to the lows of workload and 8 am classes, there was plenty to fill the pages.

Besides my lucrative babysitting business, the entertainment department at Sesame Place was my first real job. The summers were spent hosting theme park shows and frolicking with some famous muppets.

1990s:

I published my first short stories in 5th grade. These fictional accounts were set on a deserted island where my friends and I lived without parents, only pet dolphins. There was always drama because—well what else is there to talk about in 5th grade?

The acting bug started biting in middle school as well. Teens in Tinseltown was my stage debut and promptly followed by summer stock, high school plays, and community theater. Flash forward to the future: Once I honed my writing craft, I tried my hand at playwriting and directed a one-night-only, script-in-hand performance of Table for Two in the early 2000s.

Journal pages are filled with entries about middle school friends and those who were not currently on speaking terms. Even if the topic wasn’t exactly positive, each ended with a wish or a prayer—usually about the well-being of my pets.

I also wrote every single day of my freshman year in college to help with the transition. It definitely wasn’t a smooth one. From the highs of first dates and parties to the lows of workload and 8 am classes, there was plenty to fill the pages.

Besides my lucrative babysitting business, the entertainment department at Sesame Place was my first real job. The summers were spent hosting theme park shows and frolicking with some famous muppets.

2000s:

After spending four years working on an Elementary Education degree, it was time to put it to work. Subbing wasn’t my first choice, but every day was a different adventure in a new classroom teaching another subject to unfamiliar young faces. This is when my appreciation for picture books blossomed—since storytime was usually a favorite among most classes.

Summers off? Hahaha. Entertaining children as a summer camp counselor meant making sure they had sunscreen on, changed out of their wet bathing suits, had ample rest and snack time, and participated in a range of arts, crafts, and other outdoor activities. For a few summers, I relived my drama days as the theater club counselor. We played improv games when we weren’t practicing for the camp stage production.

I’ve already been on stage, now it was time to try the screen. Interning with a casting director led to office managing for a talent agency which led to freelance production assistant gigs—one of the biggest for Celebrity Jeopardy in NYC. Then I worked as a children’s talent agent (not teaching, but close). More freelance production work followed, but this time I focused on feeding the on-set cast and crew as a craft service assistant.

There were a few acting gigs—mostly background work in feature films and supporting roles in indies. Work on set not only inspired the writing of my first screenplay and directing/producing my own film, Long Lost Life, but it also played a major role in writing my first novel, Remember.

My second novel, Aunty Says Get a Life, is inspired by my own aunt, her heartfelt advice, and other real events. Wanderlust plays a major role in this story as well as in my soul. Accounts of my travels are documented in countless scrapbooks, a travel blog, and in an upcoming series of books about two imaginative islanders named Peregrine and Beatrix.

Whether it was on stage, screen, or Grandma’s living room, telling stories has always been a part of my life. Now, with the books and blogs I’m writing, the audience has grown—thanks to the internet and social media. The journey continues to twist and turn, and hopefully inspire others as it inspires me every day.