Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Honesty & Daydreams

Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. ~Rabindranath Tagore

I just woke up from a nap and am crawling to the keyboard, a bit empty of hope and inspiration, but, like putting one foot in front of another, I'm setting one word in front of another, with the thought it may dawn by the end of this writing. I'm acting as if. My whole self craves to curl up in a bed with the blankets pulled over my head, to turn off the phone--and when I have this desire, I'm never quite sure when it's right to honor it and when it's better to play against it.

There are times one must say yes to grief, even if one doesn't know exactly what's being grieved. We live in a culture that says, "get over it," and "put on a happy face." Certainly, I can do that. I can grin and bear it. I can be useful. I can take contrary action. I use these tools all the time, every day. However, another tool I use is honesty. Where do I honestly stand now?

After writing two paragraphs, I can honestly say the bird in my heart is waking up. I'm no longer sitting in the darkness waiting for the song. The song begins, and it's a quiet song, with a beautiful melody, a voice of water, of a glass pipe.

I'm as honest as I can be with myself and with a trusted confidant throughout the day. The problem is, I've spent most of my life trying to figure out how to be who someone else wants me to be, so many times, I don't even know when I'm hungry or what I prefer for dinner. So, last night, when my acting teacher said, "afford yourself the luxury of knowing what you like and don't like," I realized I had my work cut out for me. My favorite color is clearly green, a medium color green, like a blouse I tried on this morning, like the wall in the spare bedroom. I can't stand it when the bedsheets are buckled or the blankets are askew. I go crazy when they aren't just so. If I don't put something in my stomach every three hours, I become incredibly cranky. I used to love cherries more than anything else in the world--I was known for my devotion to them, and I used to wait anxiously for their brief appearance in late spring and early summer. Now, for whatever reason, my love of them has waned. I don't hate them, but I can take them or leave them.

We worked last night in acting on revealing ourselves in auditions, in narratives and emotionally. The guest teacher, Sarah Kliban, used some questions from Marcel Proust's questionnaire as icebreakers when we each stood up in front of her. Here's some of my answers to the questions she asked throughout the night as well as some answers to questions I thought to ask myself:

A perfect date to me is a picnic on a blanket in the grass and a barefoot dance to music we sing to each other.

The quality I hate most about myself is I believe everything people tell me--I cannot understand that sometimes people speak without meaning what they say.

If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be Paris, where I would be a street performer and a children's book author.

My favorite journey happens every time I watch the movie, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." It's at the very end, when Wonka takes Charley and Grandpa Joe up in the Great Glass Elevator. It crashes through the glass roof and they look down at the small town identifying places. Then Wonka tells Charley he's giving him the factory. The movie ends with these beautiful lines,

"And Charly, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he ever wanted."
"What happened?"
"He lived happily ever after."

So, I'm living by Paris, playing upright bass on the streets and singing "No regrets" in French, with the love of my life beside me on piano. And I'm 30 years old, a baby in my belly kicking.

And even though this never happened, and never will happen, as I'm just shy of 45, I'm delighted to be a writer and actor, and to be able to make my living as a professional daydreamer, the hobby I loved most as a child which allows me to live every life I ever wanted to live (and even many I didn't) without having to close the door on other possibilities.

Back to honesty--I like my quiet simple life in the Central Valley, the ridiculous heat of the summer, the small creeks that weave their way through the center of town, the sounds of my footfalls as I run along them on the paved trails each morning, the silly little health club I belong to, mostly for the sauna and jacuzzi, and fielding phone calls to those I serve as confidant too, who tell me their fears and resentments, unravel their truths in words over the phone or over coffee each day.

Daydreams aren't lies, they're just little films I write and watch to keep myself entertained. However, untangling them from my honest hopes takes a certain amount of patience and determination.

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