Road Taken

Spring 2016
Geoffrey Craig '65

Geoffrey Craig ’65

Banker turned writer/director

After Colgate, I earned an MBA at Harvard Business School. I then spent two years in the Peace Corps in Peru, consulting with small businesses and teaching. It was a transformative experience. After traveling for a year, I went to work for a company in California that consulted with small businesses in the Bay Area. Then I went back to Latin America with a boutique investment bank. I returned to the United States and joined Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco. In 1983, I joined Credit Suisse, where I reached the level of senior vice president. I stayed on after the merger with First Boston, retiring from Credit Suisse First Boston in 2002 as director.

Because friends frequently ask me whether I wish I had started writing sooner, I want to emphasize that I enjoyed my first career and found it eminently satisfying. (I’d say the same about the second one.)

In 2000, a friend e-mailed me some poems (based on famous poems) satirizing the Bush/Gore electoral recount in Florida. I wrote one using Robert Frost’s Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening and sent it back to her, saying, “If Robert Frost could read this, he’d turn over in his grave.” She replied: “You’re obviously wasting your time as an investment banker. If Robert Frost could sit up in his coffin, he’d be applauding.” That’s all it took. I wrote a book of historical, narrative verse. I wrote a novel in verse for my then 11-year-old daughter. With The Brave Maiden as its title and central character, the book borrows (OK, steals) from the Robin Hood legend. An online literary review published it in installments and subsequently serialized my novella, Snow. I also began writing short stories, a number of which have been published in literary journals.

I wrote my first play, about a World War II veteran who never received the medal for which he had been recommended. Approximately 50 years later, his wife was determined to get it for him before he died. I had read about this in the local paper. The play was produced at the Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, N.Y. The veteran’s widow attended a performance and told me that she loved the play. I attended all the rehearsals and enjoyed the collaborative effort, so I wrote more plays. I’ve now had four of my full-lengths (one co-authored: a series of fictional Civil War monologues) produced and 10 of my one-acts.

An off-off-Broadway theater in New York accepted one of my full-length plays — inspired by my outrage at stories of harassment and racism on college campuses — for a festival. This festival required the playwrights to bring their own productions, and the director of my first play agreed to do it. He had to back out, so the theater suggested that I direct. I was a neophyte, but I had been a longtime manager and had watched directors of two of my plays. So I gave it a shot. It was an amazing experience. The actors (recruited by the theater) were so understanding and helpful, and I learned. I’ve now directed eight of my plays and hope to do more, including other playwrights’ works.

Prolific Press has recently published my first prose novel, Scudder’s Gorge.

This second career happened by accident. I’ve matured as a writer and am especially proud that I’ve learned to assimilate criticism in my work. It’s not always an easy thing to learn; it takes effort and humility.

I’d like to acknowledge and thank my wonderful daughter, fabulous girlfriend, and the many friends who’ve taken the time to critique my work (and there was a plentitude of critiquing needed) and help me progress in my second career. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity.