Friday, August 14, 2020

Welcome Home! You made it!

I don't usually start out with a quote, but unless you read this you won't have the foggiest notion of where I'm going in this post...

“In 2006, a high school English teacher asked students to write a famous author and ask for advice. Kurt Vonnegut was the only one to respond; and his response is magnificent: “Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta: I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances anymore because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana. What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow. Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.”

So, what was your first reaction after you read this? Honestly?

Did you scoff? Roll your eyes? Sigh?

Or for one brief second did your heart sing with hope? Hope that maybe this could apply to you?

Yeah, I know, you don't sing well. Remember that audition for the musical in elementary school where you choked on the notes and lost your place and the piano eventually stopped and you knew?

Or how about dancing? Seriously, everyone else can do it, why not you? In your mind you soared like Ginger Rogers, but in the body you looked like a drunk elephant. It would have been more merciful to be put out of your misery than continue on.

Art class? It didn't help that you sat next to one the most talented students in school and though you tried to imitate them, even up to how they held their pencil, the teacher never stopped by your desk. So instead you settled for admiring the works of others.

Oh, and the big one...acting! While others around you got the praise and accolades for their talent, the only kind of acting you perfected was putting on the mask you used to protect yourself...peeking out and watching others but never being brave enough to play the role of YOU.

I know all about these things. Because all of those things are me.