Last night, I did a storytelling show. It went “okay.” I’m not going to exaggerate, it wasn’t horrible. But I will say, it didn’t turn out the way I’d envisioned. When I was writing it, and practicing it, I had a feeling it was going to be something jubilatory. I thought it was going to be like the end of Lucas where Corey Haim goes to his locker, finds the letter jacket and everyone does the slow clap and chants “Lucas, Lucas, Lucas,” until he puts it on and triumphantly lifts his arms in the air (roll credits). My night was decidedly less than that. I got a few “that was sweet”s and that was pretty much it.
Today, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why last night bothered me so much. It wasn’t an all-out failure, and goodness knows, I’ve seen my share of all-out failures. Still, I felt confident about what I wrote, I thought it was craftily woven together. There was a Fred Gwynne reference that I didn’t explain and I arrogantly thought to myself, if they don’t know who Fred Gwynne is, I don’t want their (blank)-ing laughs. As it turned out, I did not get them.
Me being me, I stewed about it all day and then tonight, I had a little a-ha moment. It’s possible that everything really does begin and end with Sex and the City because I remembered Michael Patrick King talking in an interview about the cream pie, how whenever any of the girls thought they had something figured out, they got a cream pie in the face. And on some level, that’s why we loved the show and them.
I remember many years ago, I was in Miami doing a play and had met a guy and we’d had a few dates. And at the play’s opening night party, he was there. Also in attendance was (surprise!) my on again, off again (his choice) boyfriend from LA. I felt like Archie Andrews having to juggle Betty and Veronica. And of course, it all backfired. It was the last I saw of either one of them. And I thought then, just like I thought last night, will it ever be my turn to just be the king? When will it ever be my turn to be Charlie Sheen back when he was cute? I was Lucas at 16 and Lucas at 26 and guess what, I’m still Lucas. Would it have killed the universe for me to have sauntered onto that stage, brimming with hubris and unapologetically kicked ass? Just once?
So now, I sit at my computer, a little buzzed from all the Maker’s Mark I drank while watching Burt Lancaster wear a Speedo for 97 minutes in the The Swimmer. He was 53 years old when he made the movie and my body has never looked like that. HE was the king. I, on the other hand, write about kings, dreaming that still someday, somehow, I will be one.
Also coming from a theatre background, I think storytelling is different than the scripted pieces we are used to. You tried something new and you weren’t brilliant like you know you can be. Don’t beat yourself up. And don’t ever stop dreaming! Great from-the-heart post.