Thursday, November 17, 2011

About a girl, about art.

This is a story about an artist.

Once upon a time, there was this girl.  She liked to sing and she wanted to be an actress, but she was very shy and didn't want anyone to know that she had big goals.  She was afraid people would laugh at her.  So, instead of singing in front of people and those such things, she decided to find other ways to amuse herself, like studying hard in school.  She was very smart, so this worked well.

As she grew, so did her talent.  By the time she was 18, she could sing opera without any proper training.  She decided to go to college and pursue a career in musical theater.  As the program progressed, she let her inner critic tell her that she wasn't as good as the other students, and she eventually dropped out, blaming her failure on a bad case of mono. 

The girl met a boy.  He lived in California.  She moved there with him.  They moved to Los Angeles together.  She decided that she wanted to be an actress again.  She got headshots and took classes, but every time an audition came up that she was interested in, she'd get scared and talk herself out of it.  Who did she think she was?  Everyone was prettier than she was, they were all more talented.  Sometimes, she'd get to the door of the building where the audition was being held, only to turn around and get back in her car.

She blamed Los Angeles for her failure.  She'd say that it was too difficult to live in a place where she was always the ugliest person in the room.  This wasn't actually the case, but it was hard for her to see this at the age of 22.  9/11 happened and she and the boy (who was now her husband) decided to move far away from Los Angeles and start a new life together.  A normal life.  Maybe they'd have a kid or two.

As the two settled in to their new life away from Hollywood, the girl couldn't help but feel pulled towards the arts.  She answered an ad looking for a singer/songwriter, even though she'd never written a song in her life.  The producer liked her.  She began writing and singing original songs.  She wasn't interested in being a famous singer, but she very much enjoyed creating music. 

The girl worked a lot of odd jobs.  She shined shoes.  She worked in restaurants.  She was a nanny.  She interviewed prisoners.  She took photos of newborns.  She dispatched trucks.  All these jobs were fun, but she wasn't passionate about any of them.

Maybe she needed a baby?  Maybe that was her purpose?

She and the boy tried to have a baby.  And tried.  And tried.  And tried, until one day, the test was positive. They were both ecstatic.  They told everyone.  They started choosing names.  She started bleeding one day, and at the hospital, they told her that the baby didn't make it.  She cried.  The boy cried.  They were sad for a long time after that.

The months went by and they tried again.  Finally, the two lines were back on the stick, and this baby stuck.  Nine months later (four of them on bed rest), a beautiful baby boy was born.  He was lovely.

The next two years were a blur for the girl.  Raising a baby was hard.  She and the boy loved him more than anything.  He was wonderful.  She watched him grow and she saw him learn and she was fulfilled, but she no longer had the time to devote to creating music.

By her thirtieth birthday, the girl again felt as if she was being pulled in another direction.  Motherhood was wonderful, but it wasn't the only thing she wanted.  She needed a place to write, a place to record her thoughts and share her feelings.  She started a blog.

At first, she was alone.  Then, about six months down the line, a man began commenting.  Then another person began commenting.  Before she knew it, she had around 25 readers.  Then 60, then 100.  She was excited that she was being heard.

As she began to read other blogs, she got to know other bloggers.  She followed their lives and looked at their careers and considered them for herself.  Should she work for a newspaper?  Should she write a novel?  Should she write a film?  Bingo.  She was going to write a film. 

All of a sudden, her path became clear.  Her penchant for watching the same movies over and over no longer seemed pointless and silly.  The way she tried to live vicariously through films suddenly seemed like a job skill rather than a mental condition.  Her love of writing and her love of movies finally combined to make perfect sense.

In the evenings, when the boy was home to watch the smaller boy, she began to close herself in her room and write.  And write.  And write, until one day she had completed a screenplay.  After that was finished, she began another, and another, and another.  She continued to blog, but all she really wanted now was to see on the screen a movie that she'd written.

And it will happen.  One day.  She is certain.  Even if she has to move back to the land of the pretty people who make her feel bad about herself.

And she still loves to sing.

Art is not a thing; it is a way.  ~Elbert Hubbard
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