Eat Pray Love thoughts…you are a ROCKSTAR…are you ever too old to dream?
I started this blog on the first day of fake spring…about a month ago…just for context…it was sunny and I was filled with hope…I love those days. Rather than the grey and filled with doubt ones. But balance, am I right?
It is quiet here today and I am filled with thoughts.
The sun is blazing…thank god and the bunnies…and the temperature led me to sit my ass on the deck out back and just turn my face to the sun like something out of a female driven “Eat, Love, Pray” kinda deal.
And yes, believe it or not, I AM having some “Under the Tuscan Sun” kinda thoughts…which I feel way too young for…but actually, much to my friggen chagrin…I am NOT too young for… as it turns out. So…ya.
Days like this…when the sun is out…and spring seems like it might show up eventually (yes, before you write me am email I KNOW IT IS ONLY February…but Mother Nature gives us days like this so that we don’t lose all hope during the Canadian winter…like how the universe makes a baby smell good so that when it is crying for the millionth time a mother (or a father…let’s be fair here) won’t be tempted to do something rash…please don’t send me emails about that either….god, that sentence was so long I had to go back and check to make sure that this is still in the bracket…it is)…it is days like this when my mind wanders to the past…and through the moment to the future.
I tend to remember past hurts with deep melancholy and immediacy…I think of big dreams with the fortitude of one who will achieve them…I feel grateful for being alive.
Yes, it is that kind of day.
And on a day such as this…today…I am surprised by a number of things.
That I am 48. I had to check…with George…I thought I was 49…and for a moment I thought I was 42. 48 sounds a: young b: old c: both
That I still totally believe in my dreams. Sometimes I think they have become quaint fancies…BUT then there are moments when I let the quiet of a sunny day surround me and I can almost physically feel that I still have solid foundations attached to my dreams.
That some people might think I am too OLD to have such dreams. I had a older gent tell me how cute I was when I confessed to him that I hoped that I would do my cabaret on a Broadway stage someday. Cute. Huh. BUT the truth…to number 3…is probably the “some people” I imagine might think ANYTHING about me actually don’t think one damned thing at all about me and this is all just in my head and I need to file it away in the folders of “useless thoughts”…beside the worries that I don’t cook and “do I look fat in this”.
I had the good fortune to do a couple big shows this past month . No doubt I have been in front of large audiences during my musical theatre years on tour…5000 seat theatres in Atlanta and St. Louis…but till this past week my biggest house that I had ever done my cabaret or comedy/cabaret for was about 1500 in Cape Town.
At the Alterna CrackUp Festival in Ottawa last week I did two separate sets for about 3500 people each show.
I walked out onstage as just me.
What a wonderful thing.
Before I walked out onstage the first night a number of thoughts passed through my mind…I was always convinced that I could make my work fly in front of an arena type deal and I was getting my opportunity to prove it to myself…then I thought that maybe I was crackerdoodles to have such a dream…then why would anyone do this to themselves on purpose…and then I wrapped up with, “Sharron…you are a rock star…you are totally capable of this…you have been building to this…you can do this…just have fun…”.
AND it was with that ROCKSTAR affirmation that I walked onstage…because think me full of myself or not…and to be fair, I strive to not care about what others think….BUT PEOPLE!!!…. A gal DOES NOT walk onto an arena stage successfully WITHOUT thinking they are a rockstar. THINK ABOUT IT!
So many thoughts.
I was on the bill with some brilliant comedians… Deb DiGiovanni…Mark Forward…John Wing…and I sat backstage on a black road box…waiting for my turn…before my ROCKSTAR moment and clocked number 1 from above…and I lost my breath…I felt a bit old…a bit hurried…a bit behind.
Because I am based in Canada and a lot of people still don’t really get cabaret (I call myself a comedy/cabaret artist a lot of the time…people list me as a comedian…or a funny musician in their programs) I am a woman trying to fit her art form into as many different kinds of groupings as possible. And my set really worked in a comedy setting…people love music…they just do…so that simple fact works in my favour. AND many years ago…when I realized that almost no one who saw cabaret wanted to see more than one ballad per set (if that…and you had to make it work really hard for you to justify it…HARD, people) I started to arrange more and more medleys and mash ups that were funny…so that has also helped…and I did love it. And here I found myself standing there…at 48…backstage with all these high level comedy artists of different ages who travel North America perfecting their sets (some who have been traveling for over 30 years)…which is not totally different than myself. I DID follow this path, starting in small rooms…moving to larger theatres…appearing in front of thousands…from my three seasons in Edinburgh to runs all around the world…and yes…still, I felt a bit like I was playing catch up. These comedians had a sorority and a fraternity that they opened the door to…but I am still a guest. And that is okay…it is okay to be doing something on my own…and I was VERY thankful for the warmth with which they accepted me…and they really did. They are a wonderful group of artists. I stood there thinking about how I fit…and realized that it didn’t matter. What really mattered was that I got to be included at such a high level…and that I made it work…it was a pretty joyous week.
And the audience was amazing. And the sets were magical…I was thrilled. My inner rockstar was sated. My 48 year old adventurer was filled….filled with happiness…relief at work well received and joy for a job well done.
I know this sounds earnest as fuck…BUT there is so much I want to achieve…so many things to learn and places to go. I feel like I HAVE done so many things BUT I still feel just at the beginning. Though I have spent the last 15 years acquiring better tools for PR and the administration of my arts business I still have to sell the fuck out of myself and my shows. The fuck. And every once in a while…once in a while…when it is quiet…on the “grey and full of doubt” days I ask myself if it is truly worth it. Just to be honest…I do wonder sometimes….
(TIME PASSES…just for your information I did not sit in that melancholy thought for the whole month…I had some good times…some crap times…it was a month, after all…)
And here…one month later…I find myself rehearsing my new show out in Calgary. I have to tell you…I am more excited about this cabaret than I have been about anything in a while. Like, “I can’t wait” excited. How effing awesome is that?
The day is sunny as eff….the snow is white as eff…and I am still a filled with thoughts and notions…as one can be in rehearsal.
This show is different for me. There are no crazy, 6 minute disco medleys…the aim of my writings is not comedy….the story is a simple story…with songs I love…with a strong message…and that message basically is:
“Celebrate who you are right now…with all your bumps, bruises, indignities, past hurts, muffin tops, embarrasments and injustices…because your time is short, we have work to do and you are awesome the way you are.”
Oh, sure…there are laughs (god, I hope there are laughs)…but I am not writing solely for comedy purposes.
This week (after doing a lot of workshopping over the last couple years I have come up with a schedule that works better for someone who is singing and speaking the whole show…I sing no more than 4 hours a day…and only one to one and a half hours full out…and I try to do no more than 2 -3 days of rehearsal in a row and then have a day off…YES it seems very specific but I have spent a lot of time figuring out what keeps me going during rehearsal without exhausting myself vocally and mentally…longest BRACKET SENTENCE EVER) I did my first two days in a row…and I had that moment we all enjoy so much…that “what if this is shit” moment. Even if we have done the show a couple of times before…there is still that “what if this is shit” moment, lets be honest here. But I turned to my guitar player and breathed and continued on. Because I actually recognized it’s appearance…and nodded hello to my “what if this is shit” moment…and continued on…because…well, things are gonna be shit sometimes…rehearsal is figuring how to not make it shitty…among other things, of course.
It was a pretty excellent moment.
I realized that “what if this is shit” moment is an integral part of life and art…fanciness, I know. That is one of the things that this frigging show is about, actually. Perfection is overrated…learn from the shit…and find the way to the gold.
WHICH…if I may go in a bit of a meandering circle…which I guess I can because it is my blog…is why no matter what age you are you are still allowed and should be encouraged to have dreams. Success (whatever your idea of that word is) can happen at any time…in any situation…at any age. It is NOT like we are working hard, building knowledge, and having life changing experiences towards a friggen BEST BUY (or BEST BY…both work, I think) date.
BABY!! WE can be an emerging artist no matter what age we are.
TAKE THAT FUNDING BODIES!!!
So, I still have dreams…and I am lucky enough to pursue them.
AND THIS is the EAT, PRAY, LOVE…UNDER THE FUCKING TUSCAN SUN of it all…
THIS year when our accountant looks at the amount of our income that gets put back into our businesses I am going to do my best to smile. Because…even during the fucking grey days…the really fucking grey days…it is worth it. It is.
Oh…and never forget..you are BAD ASS!!