Friday, April 09, 2004

Well, here's another fine mess you've gotten me into...

When I was 17 years old, all I wanted to do was act. I wanted to act. I wanted to act. I wanted to act. I got into show after show after show. My favorite director back then was Richard Habib, an incredibly nice guy who coined the phrase, "I'm an actor and I'm in a rush." (You've all heard that one.) As far as I can remember, he only directed me a couple times but I think I learned more from him than any director I've known before or since. During my seventeenth year, I did several shows and thought that this was what my life was going to be like, an in-demand actor working his way on up.

Then, adulthood set in. The combination of having a director publicly belittle my acting ability, the discovery of my talent for writing, and a shift of focus to Rosa (you want reasons? here's one: sex!) changed everything. Once into my twenties, I foresaw a bright future in writing as I pumped out one novel after another.

Things changed. I lost Rosa and could no longer work on my novels. In fact, I could no longer work at all. All I could put together were autobiographical monologues. Performing these dropped me back into acting and, before I knew it, I was back on stage again.

But my life has never followed a straight line. Within a couple of years, I was back at my keyboard, this time writing plays. And, so, the last couple of years have been split between writing and acting.

Now, one thing I've said since this play started was that, once it was done, I'd be writing again. Names like "This They Call Freedom", "Falling Together", and "Happy Landings" littered my plans for the next few months. In fact, I insisted to everyone that I'd be writing again once this show was over. I was unyielding to any offers that came along. The Improv group wanted me. No, I'm going to be writing. Teri wanted me to play the lead in Blythe Spirit. No, I'm going to be writing.

(Anyone who knows me, knows what comes next.)

So, last night, I'm at the theater and ask Teri how her auditions for Blythe Spirit went. Fine with the women, she said, but she couldn't find her lead man. I'm sorry, I said to her and walked away.

But not that far away.

I turned around. "So, what are you going to do?"

"Well, I have a couple men in mind."

"You think they'll work out?"

She paused. "Why? I thought you weren't interested. I thought you were going to be writing."

"Right. I am. I was just curious."

"Well, hopefully they'll work out. If they don't..." She let the unspoken syllables hang in the air.

"You think you might still need me?"

"You want to do this?"

"Well..." I couldn't say any more. I was torn. A voice in my head asked, "Ken, what are you doing?"

Teri smiled. "Tell you what, I've got two people in mind. If they don't work out, you'll be the first person I talk to."


Meanwhile, I caught myself on the drive last night saying to some slow-moving vehicle, "Outta the way! I'm an actor and I'm in a rush!"

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