I considered going to art school, but while the charcoal and pencil sketches in my portfolio had a style that were uniquely mine and showed evidence of fledgling talent, I lacked raw, unbridled ability and my drawings felt forced. If I was meant to be an artist, surely the pictures should have flowed from my pencils just as easily as I breathed air.
I’ve always had a passion for the stage, and what felt forced with drawing felt smooth and effortless with acting. On stage during rehearsal for the Spring musical, a fellow Senior informed me that she had been accepted to a large university and was going to major in Theater. I raised my eyebrows, truly impressed. How brave you are, I thought to myself. I’d been awarded a drama scholarship at a different university but still wasn’t sure if I’d accept. I tottered between Theater and Education. Obviously, I chose Education. I planned to eat after college.
Writing – it goes hand-in-hand with reading and books were always something I had to have, even as a very young child. I was reading on my own by the time I was four, but I didn’t read primarily for the story. I read for the challenge of expanding my vocabulary and for working out the logic and mechanics of phonics. That all changed when I was eight. Mom was reading Skeleton Crew, a collection of short stories written by Former IMen King. “I think you’ll like it,” she said as she handed me the paperback book with its pages folded back. I took the book outside and read in the sunshine on the back porch steps. “Here There Be Tygers” was the tale of a boy who was convinced that a vicious tiger lurked in the shadowy stalls of his grade school bathroom. I don’t remember exactly what happened at the story’s conclusion, but I do remember quite clearly that this was the first time that I was moved by the artistry of the written word. That story scared the shit out of me, and the realization that words could evoke such a reaction was like an epiphany. Ever since then, I’ve studied the writers’ brushstrokes just as much as I’ve followed the stories themselves, and I’ve wanted to find my voice and write. I’ve tried my hand at writing through the years. A short story here, a poem or two there, and a few brief periods of wide-eyed inspiration where I could churn out a piece of written work everyday. Then I’d hit a verbal flatline and not have anything to say. Or have something to say, but be unable to say it well. And they think I should write book? Yes, I’d like to, and of my creative facets this is the one that is most attainable; however, I lack direction, focus, and sufficient conviction in my ability. Write a book? About what? Who would read it?
I’ve always wanted to Be Someone through her art and craft. Someone who left grace notes of inspiration and profound ideas and smiles in her wake. Someone who could get away with wearing ridiculous get-ups like red and white horizontal stockings, an over-sized purple t-shirt, black corduroy short-alls, and combat boots all at once simply because they were her favorite items of clothing. People would turn and say, “See that girl there? She’s one of those creative types, and artistes cannot be constrained with such things like clothes that match. See how she sparkles? She’s a free-thinker, that one, and appropriate clothing might just suffocate the breath of the Muse within her.”
Widespread fame and world domination aren’t necessary. I just want to leave a mark, to be able to point to something and say I did that. Just to have someone outside of the local Cheers know my name and be glad that I came, because I did Something Amazing that many dream of but few accomplish – that would be enough.