I'll Never Write a Novel

The Memoir of a Personal Essayist OR Confessions of a Theatre Widow

Friday, April 21, 2006

Something to Believe In

Next time you are watching a movie or a TV show, remember the term “Suspension of Disbelief.” That’s the term that writers, directors and producers give to the necessary relationship between viewer and program that allows a car to blow-up without the guy standing next to it getting even a scratch, or the fact that a problem can be introduced, dealt with and solved in 22 minutes. None of these things can happen in real life, so you have to stop yourself from saying, “That could never happen,” in order to embrace the story.

Life sometimes hands us situations that require a similar response. Some might simply call it “belief.” Many call it “faith.” In any case, it seems to me that the power to believe in something or someone is the greatest power we have. It is a human power that actually can cause a transformation in what we empower. In a stage play, believing that the set is really a living room or a forest makes it so. And, more importantly, believing that someone can do or be something actually gives them the capacity to make it so. Unbelievable? Not so much.

Growing up Catholic, I learned that at the Great Amen, transubstantiation occurred. Amen roughly translates to the phrase, “I believe.” It is an incredibly powerful word through all Christian faiths. In transubstantiation, Catholics believe that ordinary bread and wine become the real physical presence of the Lord. And it is a real transformation that happens when we believe. It is the ultimate fulfillment of faith. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that it is this foundation in faith that shapes everything I do.

In my job as a talent agent I cannot count how many times I am asked the question, “Do you think I have what it takes to ‘make it?’” Of late I realized that what they really seem to be asking is, “Do you believe in me?” That’s a powerful question to be asked regularly. I don’t have any kids yet, but I imagine that a parent is asked that in a million ways, quietly and out-loud every day. For me, it is an odd experience that strangers are hopeful that I will believe in them. Odder yet, when I do believe in people, it can have the capacity to shape their life. One actress I work with, for instance, had never done any sort of film work before and had only worked in theatre. She didn’t think that she could just make the leap, but I told her she could, and that she should. She subsequently booked just about every audition she went on. After booking a pretty high-profile job, that will be taking her to LA this winter, she called and said, “Thank you for believing in me.” I hung up the phone and cried. If in my life I am never blessed to hear those words again that will still be enough. I touched someone’s life for the better because I believed in her. Unbelievable? For me, it was.

This is not to say that I am one truly special person. Quite the contrary, I would like to submit to you that we all have this little bit of “miracle” within us. Whether you just listen to the story of the guy next to you on the bus one day, or take a child under your wing as a mentor, you can transform the lives of others. It is the “Great Amen” of life. Letting others know that we believe in them, in big and small ways, is one of the few ways that an individual can actually transform the world for the better. It is how we are called to bless others, so to speak.

I am who I am because others have believed in me. That transformation made me know myself and believe that I could accomplish the extraordinary. Once upon a time, I would never have thought that I would have had anything valuable to put into print. But, here I am writing an article, speaking my mind, and sharing my belief, because someone told me once that my voice was worth hearing. Maybe yours is, too.

Unbelievable? Absolutely not.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

On Blogging

So, this has turned out to be quite the fun little adventure. I don't actually know if anyone is reading this, but I sure do like writing it. It's an exercise in internal monologue for the moment. If I were an actor in real life this would be informing my daily actions. I think that's what internal monologue will do for you.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fashionista Confessions Part I

In my spare time (insert uproarious laughter here), I like to expound on fashion, pop culture and the like. That's the confession part. In a weird way it is part of my job and sort of my obsession (maybe that's the confessional moment, actually).

Alas, here is my most recent Spring Fashion Preview I have running. You can find it on a Website I love, www.RedStarHS.com. It's a teen site that is a forum for self-expression. It's a place where girls and guys can safely talk to one another without trending toward petty stuff. And kids get paid to write articles and share their experiences and views of the world. Teenage girls need it more than they even know.

Look it, live it, feel it--Come alive with the newest trends!

Long, Flowing Skirts
This is a great trend that takes you right into fall. Skirts made of breathable, soft fabrics (like cotton) wear well dressed-up and dressed-down.

Polo shirts are still hot, and a great alternative to a regular t-shirt. You’re seeing polos at all levels from Old Navy to Fred Segal. No ponies necessary, by the way.

This shoe craze started last summer and is back and even bigger in 2006. Espadrilles are wedge heeled shoes that lace up the ankle. A big trend this year is embellished espadrilles with sequins or embroidery.

You might not even own one right now, but dresses—even for daytime—are a big. Maybe try a shirt dress. You can belt it with a hot, trendy belt and play with accessories.

With a dress and flowing skirt now on their way to your closet, you can probably see that soft and pretty rule this spring. Why not add a little lace, ruffles or satin to the mix? Maybe it's just a headband and heels that you need to complete the look.

Neutral Colors
Spring’s palette isn’t dark and heavy. There’s a lot of white, along with ivory, beige and other pales that great paired with many of the other trends. Neutral laces are gorgeous. If you feel like you need a dash of color, think of those found in nature: sea blue and leafy green make great accents. And don’t forget to keep make-up neutral and simple, too.

Long-Length Shirts
You’ve probably seen them, and you may already have one or two in your closet. Tanks and tees that hit at hip level or longer are huge right now. You can belt it or wear it alone, but this is a great complement to jeans or the knee-length trend in shorts.

Novelty Purses and Bags
Let your personality shine through with what you carry. Denim, buckles, patent leather, woven materials—they all do the trick. Look for something that takes you out all day and says a little something about you. A plain black bag might be fine for fall, but look for something with a lot of sass this spring.

Jewelry is pretty and a little flashy this year. Longer necklaces complement the long, lean silhouette of the season and can come in gold, beads or whatever you like. Wear a few long necklaces together and play around with your options.

Subtle Glow
You can put away the bronzer for now. With a paler trend to pair with neutrals, slightly tinted shimmers are the way to get this year’s subtle glow. With so many products on the market now you can find products that give you a hint of a sun-kissed tint without going overboard. Popular brands come in multiple shades so you can look like you glow all-year-round.

Editor's Note: This all feels a little "prissy" for a blog, I think. Take it or leave it. There really aren't hard and fast fashion rules. However, nothing wrong with knowing your Huaraches from your Stilettos, I say. And this really is sort of part of my job, so maybe it all makes sense.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Why So Lost?

I am addicted to “Lost.” It’s a TV series, for those of you who don’t know (yeah, right!). And it is addictive—like crack, or a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.

For awhile my husband and I thought that we could live without TV. Crazy! Everything was going fine, from about May to October. We read, joined Netflix, and watched our own movie collection, enjoyed CDs and radio programming. We talked to one another. Then, the season premier of “Lost” came sneaking around the corner, and WHAM! We got ourselves some cable again.

Well, we didn’t, at first: We thought, gee, why get TV for one show? Then, iTunes started carrying episodes for $1.99 (a steal of a price, I might add). And, it was also a great way to hang out with my sister Wednesday nights. She loves “Lost,” too, and has cable. So, we’d rendezvous to relive our jonesing. But, at the end of the day, we realized that it was about more than “Lost.” We wanted to reengage ourselves into the public consciousness. That’s what the big lummox of a glowing box does for us.

Don’t get me wrong, when I called to schedule my cable installation one Friday, setting the appointment for the following Friday my husband said, “Seriously, you couldn’t have gotten it installed before the next episode of “Lost’?” No, I couldn’t. So, we watched it on iTunes.

It really was about more than “Lost.” I realized that the universal history that most Americans share is TV. While ratings decline channel options grow and TiVo, iTunes, and OnDemand fracture the market, it’s amazing how many people still quote “No soup for you,” from Seinfeld, “You’re Fired,” from The Apprentice or countless other pop culturisms that have imbued our language. I may tell people that I HAVE to watch “America’s Next Top Model” because it’s work-related (I’m a modeling agent), but the truth is, I want to know what’s going on in the world. And, it’s sad but true, television is the common language that this world speaks.

It’s not all bad. I’ll never forget staying up all night during Election 2000 to see the votes come in and the toss-up of whether Bush or Gore won. It was amazing watching Schindler’s List completely unedited and commercial-free on network television a few years back. Sitting in a hotel room in Las Vegas as images from the Tsunami came in from Phuket in December 2004 made me understand the world devastation that had occurred. You could even say that we know more about the world, and maybe about one another because of TV. So many perspectives, so many stories and immeasurable shared laughs could be bringing this ‘global village’ together.

Oh, and I love “Lost.” And “Saturday Night Live.” And “Scrubs.” I love TV. I have been brainwashed and I am not complaining. I long to get caught up in the stories of characters and see what happens next. There is a reason that people are inventing better TVs. People will buy them—in HD and with DVR and lots of options. We’re hooked.

Hopefully, we won’t get too sidelined on our real lives. I understand that I don’t need to know if Walt is really in an underwater hatch or if Alvar Hanso is Locke’s dad. I just want to know. I hope that I don’t ever let TV substitute for the real experiences the actual world has to offer. At the end of my life I will not be laying in bed saying, “I wish I would have watched just one more hour of Comedy Central.” I’ll wish that I had spent more time with my family or been awake to watch one more sunrise. But, for now, I need more laughs and suspense and a break from paying bills. And “Lost” does that. Television gives me those moments that I share with my sister and husband and friends--and I like it.

For all the great moments and shared experiences, I get that a lot of programming stinks. It would be nice to take out all the infotainment, bloated pundits and TV trash. Only time will tell what the TV of the future will look like. Will it be a better picture of the world, with more joy to share? Or will it just be more opportunities to “set it and forget it!” The real question is, when will TiVo come out with a crap filter?

A Whole New World

So, the truth is that I have always been a writer, or at least a storyteller (certainly more on this later). Until a few years ago I thought that meant that you were supposed to write a novel or at least a short story to get published. Then I discovered the magic of Personal Essay. It can just be a few words, some random thoughts on a random topic. You can title it "On Blank," and fill in the blank with whatever you feel like talking about. It can be a page or five, funny or serious, intimate or broad. There's no commitment necessary, just a few minutes. I feel that this all befits the world of The Blog.

So, I will never write a novel, and that suits me just fine. I am officially a published personal essayist, whether anyone in the world wants it or not. Ta da! I might just be fulfilling my life's calling at 28. It's magical. Now if I could just get the rest of my life to be the same.