It's official, I'm healthier than I was a year ago. I had my annual physical today. Even so I'm still closer to being dead by one year. Of course with the improved overall health it's not unreasonable to assume I'll have extended my life-span by more than that. Of course, if I'm wrong and it's a predetermined date and time, I'll just enjoy myself more in the time until then. I've been working on Hamlet's soliloquy, so I'm thinking of "the undiscovered country," at least with regards to his speech. Once we're there, and blink out of existence or blink into a different existence, what will this mortal coil matter? I don't know. I think I'll just live in the hedonistic moment for now, and not try to explode or implode my brain with these kind of questions.
A casual (and very attractive) friend of mine scolded me for considering myself past having children. My mind hasn't changed, but it's churning. I'm not about to do anything rash so no need to lock up your daughters yet. Monday was my last day with this year's 4th grade class, so the enjoyment I get interacting with children is front and center. I arrived about five minutes early, to give myself a few extra minutes to chat before and after the reading. The kids were already sitting, waiting for me. Not only that, both classes were together.
I was presented with a stack of cards the kids had made for me, and a generous gift certificate for ACT
. I'm thinking David Hare's piece. It's about Iraq, and last year I read another of his plays for an audition piece. So if any of you local readers are interested in his play, Stuff Happens
or the long running Late Nite Catechism
let me know. I'm getting excited about seeing one or the other, or both. I do go stag to shows on a regular basis, but a gift is much better shared. This is an important gift to me, as along with the cards it shows the kids had fun too. I'm rationing the cards, reading only a few at a time. They are that great to me.
I got all teary when they presented me with the gifts. I told them it took me a long time to read the cards they made for me on Thanksgiving. One boy said, "Oh, we're sorry!" I had to laugh at that, "No I had no problem reading them. Does anyone ever get a bag of candy they like and gobble it all right down?" Lots of hands went up. "How about some that you like so much you only eat a little at a time so it lasts longer?" Hands up again. "That's how it is with your cards. I want them to last longer so I only read a couple at a time."
This has been a terrific reading year. In the past I've been quite circumspect about using character voices, and just jumped into it this year. Using several accents and some really distinct voices. To the point where the voice actually drives the character. I'd always kept voices like that to myself, often using them for running lines, as they always help me discover different things in the text and different ways of treating the text. A grouchy cartoon voice, a southern accent, Russian, Irish, English North Country accents, or whatever pops into your head. I've used all those and more for all the audition pieces and most plays. I've found running monologues that way just before an audition is a great help.
So, fairly early in the year I started really working on and using character voices. Some books they aren't needed or appropriate, but other times they add so much to our enjoyment. I journalled here several months ago, that adapting the voices my Dad uses for Winnie The Pooh, to capture the character instead of the exact sound was a watershed for me. My Dad's reading of Winnie The Pooh is a much loved tradition in our family, and I was really worried. They were still talking about the voices from Winnie The Pooh the last couple weeks. Like my theatre pursuits, I've not had a big desire to outdo my Dad. Rather, I want to honor, cherish, and share what he has given me.
So, right now I'm missing the kids already and looking forward to next year's kids already.
The last couple weeks have been really nice. I've had the blues since mid-winter, another thing I've mentioned in earlier entries. It took me a while to realize it, as when viewed from above, I realize it is closer to my 'up' periods in decades past. That is some comfort. And knowing it will not last forever. Sometimes I get to feeling I'm pretty alone. Silly, as I really have a large group of friends. Sense memory I suppose. I have been seeing my blues fade away the last few weeks. The brand new car may have helped with that a bit. However, even a brand spanking new Prius is nothing when measured against feeling the wonderful gifts from my folks, the kids, and friends.
I'm enjoying the cussedness of life again. Those dichotomies and contradictions I revel in. There's some people who consider me kind of aloof, because I don't often hit the bars after class or shows. It is not an environment I care for. I've never been good at understanding people when there is a lot of ambient noise, so I just avoid those situations. I'd rather spend time with people
, so sitting around pretending you can understand what they are saying doesn't do much for me. I love hanging out with people, not sitting around in trendy dens of cacophony.
Other people see me as a very outgoing person. I love that one. I'm basically very shy, and for the last eight or so years I have worked continually to overcome it. I still feel just as shy. Like after work today, I am looking forward to alone time at the house. Maybe watch Tron
or some other old sci-fi or fantasy film. Since I was a kid I remember just feeling my skin was crawling in crowded situations, like when I was packed in the back of the Drew's station wagon for too long with our friends. When we finally got the the picnic site I'd unload everything as fast as I could making everybody comment on how helpful I was. Then I let everyone else do set up, and would escape into the woods or down the beach, which were the most common destinations for those get togethers with other families. Just a little time to kind of rinse the soul. To go from that, to a point where some people see me as outgoing is pretty cool in my mind.
I've been hoping for a response to a service request here at work. Nothing yet, so I'm heading home. I'll read a few cards, and maybe scrounge through my old movies...