Enlightened’s Mike White on How He Started Writing
Mike White began his love of entertainment at an early age. Now he’s using his passion as the co-creator and writer of HBO’s Enlightened.
White talked about his initial inspirations to NPR, saying, “My second-grade teacher was [playwright] Sam Shepard’s mother. I really loved her, and she was this cool teacher…and [Shephard] had written that play Buried Child. And I was maybe 8 years old or something, and I wanted her to love me. And so I…had Buried Child, and of course I didn’t understand it really, but I remember walking around with it and looking at the way the words were laid out on the page, and I think that was when I first started writing little dialogue between characters.”
“And then, like, I got into Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I remember I was at a record store and I saw a recorded version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And—I honestly couldn’t have been more than 10 years old—I insisted that my parents buy it, and I recorded it on a tape, and on, like, long drives I would follow along on the script and then listen to the actors say the words. I would perform it with, like, Matchbox cars and stuff. Even when I was little I would write these plays about people having cocktail parties and talking about adulterous affairs…way more pretentious than anything I write now.”
Enlightened just wrapped its second season.