Bitten by bugs

9 Nov

I feel so strange. My creative outlet has always been acting, so why has my creative mind been wandering lately? (Does that sound dirty to you too?) I was bitten by the “acting bug” at age 11 while twirling around in our fifth grade class play. I played one of the sisters, and I remember it had to do with a stranger knocking on our door and a lantern. I remember the twirling specifically because it was such a profound experience for me. It was the light bulb, the big moment, and the clicking into place feeling that most people don’t get until AFTER they’ve declared three different majors. I was so young yet I was so certain that I was going to be an actor for the rest of my life.

My Uncle tapes each of us grandkids every year at Christmas and has since I was little, and when we turn 18 we get to watch our videos…all of them. It’s both fun and scary to see my haircuts over the years, my glasses disappearing after I got contacts in 6th grade, and my fat year of high school- junior year was brutal! The whole family gathers around the TV and we all enjoy watching the lively Q and A. As the eldest grandchild, my videos were the first to be watched, and I think it’s an understatement to say it took awhile. My uncle tends to ask the typical questions like who’s your teacher, who are your friends, and what’s your favorite book? But he also asks important questions like, what do you want to be when you grow up? Every Christmas up through my 10th birthday I answered, (and I wish this was a joke but it’s not) that I wanted to be a cashier. I just wanted to beep items across the scanner at the grocery store, a simple yet attainable goal. But starting at age 11 and up, my answer changed to “actress.” That’s pretty early on to decide the rest of your life, I mean, it never even crossed my mind to be a doctor, or a teacher like my mom, or even a ballerina. So when I was recently bitten with the “Writing bug,” a few years ago, I felt taken aback. This didn’t fit into my life plan.

This past year I was forced to quit a show for the first time ever because of my back surgery. PS Never have back surgery. And suddenly I was forced into a theatre hiatus that has turned into a year-long break. And even though you can’t seem my face as I write this, I won’t pretend that I’m OK with that, because I’m not. I’m embarrassed and I feel like a phony. I call myself an actor, and I trained in a conservatory-based program at a great school, but I haven’t been in a show for so long that I’m beginning to feel out of touch. Our professors at college told us we’d be auditioning more than we’d be on stage (which is extra true for me now), and I still attend shows as much as I possibly can because part of being an actor is watching good art as well as participating in it, but I can’t seem to shake this dejected feeling. I explain it to friends and family as being artistically dry. Therefore, I’ve decided to do something about my creative desert and tap into this other passion that has been courting me for the past few years. I’m re-directing my energy and focus to writing, hence the blog (insert happy music here). And it’s not just starting a blog, it’s applying for editing and transcribing jobs to gain more experience. It means reading more books and watching less TV. It means revisiting the novel I started back when I was 23 and fresh out of college. I’ve always thought about pursing publication at some point, but the question is, where to start?
These are my ideas:

A memoir (duh, I like talking about myself)
A book about communication (the key to any successful relationship)
A quote book compilation (I collect them, why not share them?)
A book about the life of nanny (advice from a veteran)
A book about being an artist (it’s a unique life and it’s a poor life)
A children’s book (fairy-tales and animals, what’s not to love?)

I won’t ever stop acting, I can promise that. But sometimes you gotta hit pause in one area to nurture another. The quote this time is from my high school theatre teacher, who told us all one day during a rehearsal, and I paraphrase: “You should only be an actor if it’s in your blood. If you have to do it. Don’t do it if you don’t have to.” Mrs. Potter

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6 Responses to “Bitten by bugs”

  1. Miss A November 9, 2011 at 5:33 PM #

    Mrs. Potter is so right! Theatre can be a cruel mistress, but – once that bug bites you – you are infected with something more powerful than anything a real bug can carry.

    • Stephanie November 10, 2011 at 9:24 AM #

      totally!

  2. Matt November 15, 2011 at 4:30 PM #

    People say I should write, and then I think … wow, that’s an awesome idea … and then that’s as far as that goes.

    • Stephanie November 15, 2011 at 8:49 PM #

      You should write, I agree! You can tell writers on facebook because we like to leave lengthy status updates….

  3. Kim December 1, 2011 at 5:16 PM #

    I wanted to be a cashier too when I was little!!!! Nobody was ever supportive of the idea. If fact, really made me feel bad about my “dream.” Ironically my first job in high school was a cashier at a grocery store. Worst job of my LIFE.

    • Stephanie December 1, 2011 at 6:36 PM #

      Hahaha, really? Awesome!

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