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 Not Throwing Away My Shot

12 Feb

If you are a Hamilton fan (and let’s face it, who isn’t) then you instantly recognize this lyric. Hubby and I saw this amazing production a few days ago in the Victoria Palace Theatre in London, where the acoustics were tremendous, the cast was superb, and the whisky was reasonable, which was nice since the legroom was not.

crowdedTheatre

This post is not about Hamilton, per se, but I will say that the production lives up to all the hype – and then some.

It’s about the fact that I bought the tickets 16 months in advance.

16 MONTHS IN ADVANCE.

This is a record-breaking event in my life. Not only because I have lived my life according to my “Cadaver Metric” (patent pending) by which I measure my current overall health by considering what kind of cadaver I would make, but also because I live with the assumption that someone will have to make that decision sooner rather than later.

skeleton_thinking

In short, I don’t commit to anything more than a year out because I assume I won’t be alive then.

Relax. I don’t actually think I am dying. I think we are ALL dying, simply at different rates. The PTSD and anxiety that accompanies the survival of a terrifying illness means that I find it impossible to imagine my life 12 months out from wherever I am right now. So purchasing FECKIN THEATRE TICKETS more than a year in advance raised quite a few eyebrows indeed.

Have I conquered my fears? (Nope.)

Am I growing as a person? (I doubt it.)

hamilton.JPG

Simply, I love the theatre. When I was younger, I even had dreams of being on the stage, but was told by a director that I was a girl who “should not be in the spotlight.” (Yes. They actually said that. In front of the whole cast. Then made me sing my solo mic’d from backstage.)

really bitch giphy

It was a little traumatizing. But with equal parts stubbornness and stupidity, I continued to audition for everything anyway (one time I was dismissed mid-audition without reading because the directors were so sick of me).

I continued to sing (in my church choir, in my car), stage managed in community theatre, directed/produced plays in college, even did some (very briefly!) stand up in Los Angeles. Karaoke moment? Sure. Intense poetry readings? Yup. Musical drag numbers, Hell Yes. But after high school I never again auditioned for theatre.

shelley BW

Shelley Berman, a veteran comedian and performer – you probably remember him as Larry David’s dad on Curb Your Enthusiasm – and an amazing human being, was the one who encouraged me to do stand-up. I had never been so frightened in my entire life. It was an open-mic type affair in a place in Burbank, California and I am still amazed that I did not wet myself on stage, but Shelley helped set it up and I would never let him down. Shelley also gave me great advice. Humorous, whimsical, practical, actionable advice. So instead of pointing out the exact spot where I didn’t belong, he helped me craft the humor in occupying it anyway. He was lovingly brutal.

We had countless conversations about life and love and family. He loved my imitations of my grandfathers the most, even asking my permission to borrow a joke about the chauvinist one who (according to me) “lost a part of his soul the day the WNBA was formed” and the other, who advised me not to bother with ancestral research because “I’m sure you know enough assholes already, dear.”

strong line of lunatics

Shelley was never convinced that I belonged in academia, and had mixed feelings about me having a Mid-Life Crisis that involved me pursuing more of it. But he also knew that it was time. Time to write my truths and shoot them out into the Universe. Time that I finally took my shot.

Hamilton was a personal milestone for me in a weird and wonderful way, a commitment met from 16 months out. Go me. Although, I will tell you what I told Shelley 20 years ago (and Cubby, and Aram – who were not nearly as amused) – that being a writer suits me, because I consider it a sport like bowling – one must really want to wear those shoes, which is probably why one is encouraged to drink while doing it.

drinkandwrite

Here’s to small successes.

#keepwriting #keeplaughing #teamshrop

writewell_editoften

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 12, 2018 in BLOG DEPOSITS

 

One response to “ Not Throwing Away My Shot

  1. jbsparrow1971

    February 21, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Derelict Deb,
    I wrote a long and thoughtful comment about how proud I am of you for pushing your normal twelve month time horizon based on the cadaver metric (patent pending) out an additional 4 months beyond its normal duration.

    I was very proud of you and of course, also proud of myself for such a thoughtful response. The response was partially about it being great that you had stepped outside your normal limitations on life plans being restricted by the aforementioned metric.

    I went on further to say that I am inspired by you doing this because I also cannot imagine planning much beyond twelve months for something like buying of tickets, not because I am particularly worried that I will not be around in 16 months or twelve months, although I acknowledge and agree that we are all dying (and add – also, dying all the time).

    My anxiety and reluctance to go that far out in time has more to do with the fact, that after purchasing the tickets to take the ride, that for 16 months or death if that comes first, I will carry around anxiety about whether I purchased the correct tickets; the event and venue will still exist; that I will wind up in the correct city at the correct place on the correct day with the correct person; that the show will still be running; that the tickets will not be counterfeit and that I can present them to the proper party in the proper manner to get in to the venue and even more importantly, that I will arrive at the appointed place and time with tickets at all.

    I am currently having anxiety of this type over some Paul Simon tickets that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I now have two for my father, but only in an electronic wallet through ticketmaster, accidentally bought through a reseller. I also have Two physical tickets, that I may have to give to my father if the app he has to use his phone to show the other tickets he got for he and my mother proves to complicated for either of them to use and also two other electronic tickets that I may or may not get sometime around three days before the show. If I get them, I will have to sell them. If I can’t sell them or If I don’t get them, I am probably out several hundred dollars.

    This concert is only in June. This is June anxiety. I cannot imagine June 2019 anxiety, so again, I am very proud of your stretching out the time frame of how far you are comfortable planning into the future.

    So, I am inspired and as usual in awe of your ongoing evolution.

    As I said, I was very pleased with my earlier, but now lost comments, but before I could post them, I had to log in to Word Press. To do that I had to recover my password to post, but by the time I did that, the terrific post of which I was so proud and I thought really hit the nail on the head, somehow disappeared. I almost quit entirely, but I was still so pleased with what you had written, that I had to give it another shot, even though it is not the same and I needed to go to the office about an hour ago.

    You are, as almost always, hilarious. I am also incredibly impressed by the way that you are able to write a piece about pushing beyond your rolling cadaver metric (patent pending); bring in deathly illness and the related PTSD; childhood theater dissappointments caused by adults insensitive to the great heart and soul of a sensitive and talented child, add in Shelly Berman and Burbank open Mic Standup along with subtextual allusion to an Eminem anthem and tie all of that up into a tiny box with a bow on it without the wheels coming off – even for a second.

    I wish I could have sent you what I originally wrote, but having not even been able to hang on to that for an hour this morning makes your 16 months of planning to attend Hamilton seem even more impressive, so I am a little glad that it worked out that way.

    Thank you for your words,
    JBS

     

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