“If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realising that you are the author.” Mark Houlahan
I saw the film “Can you ever forgive me?” last weekend at the Glen Art Theater. It costs $5 for the ticket. My bottle of water and Milk Duds cost more.
I’m no movie reviewer but I will spoil this one so beware: The gist of the story is Lee Israel is a gifted writer who writes other peoples stories. Israel is too afraid to write her own. There’s a cat, cocaine, and forgery making for a good film. The best part? Melissa McCarthy playing Israel, whose anger shouted “I have a story to tell” but her drinking shrunk her confidence to tell it. Israel found a voice by parroting the lives of others. After she was busted she found the guts to tell her own.
We are all cut from different cloths. As I write this I hear melodic voices from my daughter and her girlfriends who are in the basement. They are singing something. I am not sure what it is, nor does it matter. They are signing. They are comfortable in their own skin, in this space, in our home, to sing. And that’s awesome.
Sometimes it takes us a long time to be that comfortable, to be that awesome. Like Lee Israel, I was angry for a long time. My journals recorded it. My life was a series of broken records replaying the same problems, the same sadness, the same bitch. There were no solutions.
I periodically thought maybe I can write through it?
Maybe I will write through it?
Maybe I can write for the joy of it?
Maybe I will write not out of angst or obligation?
Maybe I will write because it makes me happy?
Maybe I’ll be so dedicated I’ll even write when I’m sad?
Maybe I’ll treat writing like a good run?
Someday, I’ll always feel better when I’m done. I started my blog last year. There was a confluence of other events and simultaneous actions. Starting Improv classes was one of them. With my blog, I made a commitment and I followed through. I found joy and sadness. But most of all I found joy. Every blog I wrote, brought me joy. Two of the blogs were published in two books. And I felt great about that. But not as great as I did today.
My friend, Steph, texted me early this evening. I was on the train heading home. She was nervous. She planned to perform tonight. She sought out one of the blogs I wrote about Improv’s joy and trepidation. And it helped her.
This is what awesome looks like. I am humbled. Something I wrote about my life helped someone else. That’s the bee’s knees, the icing on the cake, and more. And, I think that’s the point of Houlahan’s quote.
- You have a voice.
- Own it.
- You have a story.
- Tell it.
Last year when I started to write again for the joy of it I didn’t know if anyone would listen or care. I stopped accepting my own excuses, dismissed my fears, and dug in. And it changed me.
Steph did that tonight. She joined her fellow Players Workshop players and she got on stage. She told a story. Her story. And people listened and laughed. The arts, whether film, theater or writing are just one of a plethora of outlets that entertain us and illustrate the generous and creative nature of human beings. We have so much joy to share. What a lovely and awesome world it is when we are brave enough to do it.