Monday, March 7, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action


The first time I stepped on a stage with the intent to pretend to be someone else, I was in church. My Aunt Shirley belonged to the Nurses' Guild, and every year the Nurses' Guild put on a play illustrating the biblical story of the virgins whose lamps were threatening to run out of oil. I was one of the virgins - although I can't remember if my group was the one it all worked out for, oilwise, or not. I only faintly remember having to carry an oil lamp out in front of the congregation, wrapped up in white sheets from my mother's bed.

I eventually graduated to more complicated costumes. I spent years in constant anticipation of that one moment: me, offstage, listening for the cue that would prompt me to walk out and spend time being someone else. I loved it. I used to immerse myself in characters so much that I'd unconsciously adopt their affectations into my real life. Pattie Mae Wells had a habit of flirting with men by looking at them from the corners of her eyes, and soon after, so did I. Miss Reardon crossed her legs at the ankles when she sat, and now, so do I.

Lately I've been thinking about acting again. In general, I always think of it during the Oscars craze; I can remember when my list of future goals included "Achieve Top Billing", "Achieve Oscar Nomination" and "Achieve Oscar Win". I wonder where that list is. How different it is from my goals for today, which begins with get ready in time to leave the house in an hour and ends with not being late to let our sitter go home today.

Life presented other roads to travel, and I took them. I don't regret taking them. As I traveled these roads, my dreams morphed, my desires shifted. I now have four people in my life who are literally my dreams come true; my reality has as many heart held splendors as my previous dreams promised.

And yet, I wonder.

I know I am not done being an artist, that I have not fulfilled my destiny, that I have not adequately used the ten talents ordained for me by the master Art Director. The road I am traveling now has signs on it, all asking the same question:

What's next?

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