Friday, January 14, 2011

Dream a Little Dream

Dream and Luck, taken at the Salem homestead
I have a secret.  And since a blog is just as private as a journal on your nightstand (wait...what?) I thought I'd write about it.  And maybe, just maybe, it'll unstick all the stuck thoughts in my head.  So, here's the my heart of hearts, there are two things that I'd love to do with my life:

1.  I'd love to be photographer for National Geographic.  For. Reals. Now, I'm pretty sure this would require a personality change of some kind because I'm not a huge fan of not showering for extended periods of time, but that's not important.  I'd love to travel around the world and meet interesting people and see beautiful landscapes...and then capture them on film for all the world to see.  I have serious love for that magazine.  Not only are the images just beautiful, but I love the smell of it.  I always have.  It has this old world smell, like you are opening up a little window into another place, another time.  Now, this might just be the chemicals they treat the paper with so the photos don't bleed but I don't care.  I still think it is magical.

2. (and this one is the real secret, the other one I tell people often) I want, more than anything, to be a musician.  And I'm not saying I'm not one right now, because sure, I play the guitar and I sing so that "qualifies" me as a musician but I'm talking professionally.  For dollars.  This, I must say, is a terrifying thought.  Because, unlike being an actor on stage, this is something that is soul baring.  It's you.  And an instrument.  And words that you've written.  And that's it.  No script, no one else's words.  Just. You.  Sure, I'm a performer, but there's something different about this.  Because here is where the stuck part comes into play...I can't write a song.  Ok, can't is a little strong, it's not that I can't, it is that it is extremely hard for me.  Because as soon as I start I get bogged down in the details--"the chord progression is just like _________(name an artist)", "the words are a cliche", "the tune is repetitive"...on and on and on and then POOF, I'm still staring at a blank page.  

My favorite thing in the world is to collaborate with other artists.  As an actor, as a writer, hell, as a teacher.  But to bring voices together in harmony and let the cares of the world slip away is my absolute favorite thing there is. Seriously, I love singing with other people, especially in harmony.  To me, and this may sound cliche but it is true so whatever, but to me it is like praying.  It is like tapping into something greater or touching the void.  It is, to use a favorite word of mine, magical.  And when I do it, which isn't that often anymore, I feel my heart grow and I am flooded with joy.  And this isn't to say that there aren't other things that fill me with joy.  The work that I do as a theatre educator has moments when I am overcome with this feeling.  But it is different.  As a theatre artist, one who works primarily with children in primarily non-theatre settings, there aren't as many of these moments of connection with the universe.  Certainly it happens sometimes, but those times are few and far between.  Those moments are also the thing that keeps me coming back and continuing on the path that I'm on.

My mother explained sharing your art like this:  I was talking about how playing the guitar in front of people is terrifying and nerve-wracking and she said, "You think I don't feel that way when I finish a painting?  Finishing a painting and having people see it is like pulling your pants down in the middle of a crowded room and letting everyone see every part of you."  She explained that it's not fun but you do it because, well, you have to.  (though upon reflection I don't know why anyone would have to pull their pants down in the middle of a room of people...but I still like the sentiment)  And it's true.  I sing because I have to.  I literally can't help myself.

So...there they are.  My secrets.  Out in the world.  No longer secret.  I didn't think I would, but I actually feel...better, now that they are out there.  Lighter a little bit.  So, as Josiah Bartlett would say, What's next?

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