Saturday, February 18, 2012

No Business Like Show Business!

It's hard to believe it's been four years since I've performed on stage in a play.  Four years since I got my real estate license and decided that I needed to focus on making money at the age of 50.  I'd been eking out a living as an actress and songwriter long enough!  I remember bemoaning my choice to my friend, Nancy, at a women's support group, and I'll never forget her words of wisdom:  "But you're still an Actress.  You're just acting like a real estate agent right now."  Truer words have never been spoken.

When I got my real estate license, I imagined a flexible lifestyle where I would incorporate all of my various creative interests:  Acting, songwriting, creative writing, fitness, home renovations and dog wrangling.  But somehow, I found myself always working (I believed I had to be available 24-7 to succeed in real estate).  That is, until I broke my femur last March.  Nothing slows you down like not being able to walk!  

Over this past year, being slowed down by the broken leg turned out to be a blessing (cliche, I know, but these things usually do turn out to be blessings in some way, if you choose to figure out the way).  It allowed me time to soul search, and while I was searching I realized I wanted to find my way back to doing what I love.  Fortunately, Steve, my "spousal equivalent", prefers to be around me when I'm happy, so when I announced that I was "auditioning for a play, and after I finish the play, I'll work hard at real estate again, " he cheered me on.  And, as if the Universe were supporting me too, the audition was one of those rare instances in my life where I went in expecting to be hired.    

So, it's been three weeks so far of reporting to rehearsals at 9:00 a.m., working with a group of professionals who share passion for the theatre, memorizing lines and stretching emotions, all under the direction of Maryanna Clark, who has built an impressive theatre company, The Tennessee Women's Theatre Project.  I haven't been this thrilled to get up in the morning since I had to be on set at 6:00 a.m. when I was a series regular on a short-lived soap in Los Angeles (with my very own trailer!).  
I've been hiking most days after rehearsal (for my femur) where I run lines, and soaking in the tub most nights (for my femur), where I run lines again.  I love the process of figuring out how my character walks, talks, and feels.  I'm obsessed with my role, it's all I can think about.  And, as if the Universe couldn't be any more on my side, I'm getting real estate calls, referrals and leads without focusing on real estate at all!

The play, "The Disappearance of Janey Jones," opens in one week, and I will get to "play" for three more weeks of glorious performances.  There's no business like show business, like no business I know.....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Famous Last Words

As my father was approaching his final days in this world, he told my sister Beverly and me one evening:  "You two have done all right for yourselves; "Holly, you never got what you wanted, but you've done okay."  Beverly and I exchanged looks and laughed, but I didn't know what he meant by the comment.  Was he talking about my failed marriage, my not-so-illustrious career(s), the fact that I never had children, or that I wasn't financially successful?

I didn't ask Dad to clarify.  He was tired, over-medicated, and dying, after all.  But now, two years since we lost him on February 3, 2010, I wish I could tell Dad that I'm better than "okay."  I always wanted him to be proud of me.

When I was a teen, Dad would often say, "don't worry about getting a boyfriend at your age, there are so many fish in the sea."  Late one night my freshman year, he showed up at my friend Tina's house, (where I was supposed to be spending the night) and sat in her drive-way until I rode up in a car with Tina's boyfriend at 3:00 a.m.  My dad grounded me for two weeks, but believed me when I told him that NOTHING happened in that car.  

When I was suspended from school my senior year for calling my band teacher a "prick", Dad met with the principal, and sided with me when I explained that my band teacher had ridiculed me in front of the class. 

Dad believed in me.  When I was jealous of Beverly in high school because she was prettier, more popular, and head songleader, he'd say, "yes, but she can't play the flute! You're the first chair flute player!"  And, when I got my first professional theatre job at Disneyworld, it was my dad who received the call, came down to the Modesto Junior College, and pulled me out of class to excitedly give me the news.  

There were so many times when my dad was there to pick up the pieces when I crumbled emotionally, and many more evidences through the years of my dad's support of me and my dreams.  Oh, how I wish he could've been around this past year to watch me overcome a broken femur, and see me slow down enough through the healing process to realize that I can choose to spend more time doing what I love.  He'd be thrilled to know that I'm performing again in a professional theatre production!

As I sat here writing this, I had an epiphany:  What my dad was trying to convey with his comment was that he still believed in me, all the way to the end.  He was trying to tell me that not only have I "done okay", I am okay. 
 Dad, joking around while making pancakes!