A week goes by quickly. I'm getting ready to head to the Big Easy, and realized that I'd meant to comment on Roger right after his show, and now it's a week later. So, back a week! Last Thursday, Roger Lopez, a friend of Shayne and Bryee and crew, made his first appearance on stage as at the Improv in Coconut Grove. I was very proud of him, first, just for getting up there, and living a dream, and secondly because he held his own. It reminded me of how hard it was to take a chance. Any time anyone goes into any of the arts, they are taking a chance. It's put yourself out there. Hope for the best, believe you can provide what someone will like and hope that you'll be good at it and grow and grow. But be ready for the slings and arrows. Let's face it, rejection hurts. For a comic, the lack of laughter is painful. For an author, it's a bad review. Roger did just fine. He was nervous; but he was there. It's the stuff you grow on. Taking a chance is strange and hard and often painful. But here's the thing, too--if you don't take the chance, you're throwing yourself a curve ball harder than any you'll ever have thrown out at you by someone else. The more chances you take, the more often you'll dare, and the more often you dare, the better you'll be at what you want. I realized that the audience out there last week was not out to attack, they were out to enjoy. And they did. Well, let's face it, some audiences will be out to attack. But most of the time, they want to enjoy. So you have to think "Rocky Horror." Don't dream it, be it. Roger was good. One day, he'll roll with the audience in every direction, and he'll just get better and better. He'll go out with confidence, knowing that he's done it, and survived, and not only that, he had a taste of the stage, so he knows he can go on and rule it. He won't please everyone--no one ever does! But he'll garner more and more of an audience every time.
From Roger onto Mystery Writers and Sleuthfest. I hadn't been to speak to our local group in a long time. I was actually a little nervous, and I've spoken hundreds of times. They were kind of a new audience. I was doing a seance. Because I'd written a book called the seance. And because I'd been to a seance. Not because I was really capable of having a seance. So I decided to do an historical view of how spiritualism came into being, and how many people used the beliefs of others as a scam. A wig, a costume. Back to the basics of a theater education. Become another person. Then you aren't the one taking the risk.
But people were ready to play along. They were great, and we had a wonderful time. Britin had a marvelous reaction to her "spirit," and it became a venue of "Ghost" meets "When Harry Met Sally." Not only that, but we had a real psychic there, and she was totally gracious when I introduced her and she spoke. She was truly lovely. (Not only that, but she later "bought" a character name from me at auction, and I think we formed a very nice friendship!)
So. On to the Renaissance festival, in Deerfield Beach as well. (Sometimes, it's good to let a week go by. I'd almost forgotten the hour and a half it took to get the forty miles from Miami to Deerfield!) But the festival is in the same city, just blocks away. So Bryee, Piks (Kathy Pickering) and I headed out to see Zhenia's booth. I loved it! Lots of cool artists out there with their wares--taking chances. Costumes, activities. I won a letter at archery for hitting the heart in the bullseye. It wasn't actually my bullseye, the one I'd been aiming at, but it was a bullseye. On a rather frightening vein, I discovered that I do have an amazing ability to throw knives. I'm even darned good with a two-handed battle-ax.
Back to our cocktail party by the pool, where I discovered just how wonderful and friendly all the folks were in the slightly-different-venue that had caused a few of the old shivers to run down my spine. Onward to the Coconut Creek casino, a new venue of a known venue as well. A new result of the old result--I walked in and won, only to play it all back.
Sunday morning and I went to hear Lee Child speak. He's the ultimate gentleman--and the English accent doesn't hurt a bit. I've gotten to hear Lee speak many times, as we're often at the same functions, but he's always clever, honest, earnest, and entertaining. He has trouble choosing names for his characters. His main protagonist is Reacher. The man's name is Reacher because he was in a store and a small woman kept asking him, as a tall man, to reach something for her. Definitely, the man is amusing. And his words of wisdom are always . . . words of wisdom, well worth hearing!
Sunday afternoon, back to the fair. Faire. I'm not sure which! More knife throwing. If I could actually do that once a week, it would be a great stress breaker! Ah, well. But I may take up archery and find out if I can actually hit my own bullseye.
Down to South Beach to pick up Chynna at a friends; their class had been paid to a performance art piece for a movie premiere. However, the phone we had just taken forever and a lot of trips to actually replace was not charged--I sat around a long time, huffing and puffing, waiting for her to call me. I needed to run back to the fair and throw things--knives, battle axes, whatever!--but that wasn't to be. Eventually found Chynna, and we headed home, where the dread cold being nursed eternally by other members of my family finally sniggled its way into my being. Swilling vitamin C. I'm hoping the soy chips I live on will help fight it off!
Tomorrow, back to the Big Easy. I do love it.
The moral of the story is this--there are certain things we're all comfortable doing. I can actually speak at the drop of a hat, I'm very accustomed to it. But no matter how far we go, we're all a little afraid to put ourselves out there, to try to tell others what we have to believe ourselves--that we have something to give, that we have a talent, one good enough to share. I always decided that the one really good thing about having been a theater major/in theater was that I did learn how to be good at rejection. But you'll never garner the prize if you don't get in the ring. Adage--we only go around once. Do it. Don't just write it. Mail it. Get it to where you're happy, you're proud, and get it out there. Let that baby that's in your inner soul fly from the nest. That's the only way it can really take wing. And soar.