Thursday, January 29, 2015

Legend In My Mind

I seek neither fame nor fortune: but if lots of people knew of me, said nice things when my name came up, I'd be happy.

Not having to worry about cash would be nice, too.

When I think about what I wanted to do with my life, when I was a young kid and my future was a blank slate, ready to be outlined and shaped, my career paths tended toward a spotlight.

I wanted to be a writer from the time I was in the fifth grade, when I wrote The Hiccuppy Monster with a couple of friends and our teacher had me read it to kindergarten classrooms; in grade six, when our teacher, Mr. Townsend, focused on creative writing, would always have me read my short stories to my classmates.

It's no wonder that, when I've taken those silly Facebook quizzes that ask, What Career Were You Meant For?, I've learned—twice—that I was meant to be a writer.

I love writing, and as much as I am a shy person, I love reading my writing to whatever audience cares to hear it. When I was in Toastmasters, I enjoyed writing a speech and presenting it to a roomful of people.

I love acting, and hamming it up. And while I'd love to perform in a play, my shyness draws a line at putting myself out there. But that isn't to say I haven't done it: in high school, some friends and I put on a rendition of Monty Python's Restaurant Sketch for an end-of year drama night. It was fun (I played John Cleese's character, Mungo), but I never pursued more acting until much later.

Again, it was in Toastmasters.

Because the main goal in this public-speaking organization is to encourage people to go outside their zone of comfort, I decided to follow a path that took me to performing. I delivered a passage from my novel, Songsaengnim, taking on the role of Roland as he describes the five stages of grief. I spoke in Roland's voice, Scottish accent and all. I got angry. I cried. I went into a rage—literally throwing a chair halfway across the room. I brought fellow Toastmasters to tears.

I loved every minute of it.

On another night, I returned to Monty Python, and performed a one-man show of The Holy Grail. In 15 minutes. I re-wrote the script to fit the allotted time. I played several roles. I had back-and-forth dialog with myself. I even sang some of the songs.

I loved every minute of it.

Someday, I may try my hand at acting. Maybe.

I love to sing. I do it around the house, when I'm cleaning or when I'm in the shower. Sometimes, when I'm cooking. In high school, I wanted to be in a band. I couldn't play guitar or piano, but I could sing. And yet, I never pursued a career in music. I would sometimes sing at parties, belting it out along with the records that played.

I've gone caroling at Christmas. I will sing in public, if asked: the volume at which I project depends on how much liquid courage I have in me.

For more than a year, I've gathered with friends for an evening of Karaoke at a downtown pub on various Saturday nights. I've been told my voice is good. It's as much as I'd pursue on my own, though I've toyed with the possibility of doing more. Not for fame, nor for fortune, but for another word that begins with F.


I'd like to become more serious with my photography. This year—within the next month—I will have a new camera. I would like to sell some of my work, perhaps hanging some of it in restaurants, or pubs, in the hopes that someone would find value in them. Perhaps I'll publish a coffee-table book, with some of my best photos.

I do these things because, more than a writer, or an actor, or a singer, or a photographer, I'm an artsy old fart, perhaps some sort of Renaissance Man. If any of my interests and passions bring me fame or fortune, I will, indeed, find myself fortunate. (Obviously.)

For now, I'm just a legend in my own mind. And I'm okay with that.

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