Sometimes watching the Oscars makes me panic a little bit. I sit and watch and wonder what decisions in my life I should have made differently so that I might have ended up on the red carpet. I watch Jennifer Lawrence and am torn between how much I admire her gumption, think we would be great friends, and jealousy that she’s already “got it figured out”. I feel pressure that I might never end up on that red carpet. Then I feel stressed that by the time I might get my act together enough to end up on that carpet, I will no longer have my youthful physique. And then I start thinking about how I should plan a red carpet party so that everyone can experience the joy and excitement of being on the red carpet. (I might actually do that one day…)
When I am done putting stupid and ineffective pressure on myself for things I am not and might never be or want to be (sometimes I wonder if the sacrifices would be worth it to move to Hollywood away from my favourite people), I watch Ellen hosting. There are a lot of funny people in the world, but Ellen is a shining star because her humour comes from Joy. Many people find humour in poking fun of others, or belittling. Ellen finds a lot of it in just observing the silliness of life and enjoying it for what it is. And she dances – always a bonus in my books. Sometimes when watching the Oscars, hosts can look like they are trying too hard, or the audience is ready to laugh while internally cringing and praying that they are not the butt of the joke. When Ellen is hosting (or Tina or Amy or Hugh or Neil), it’s more like she is on your team, rather than the opponent. Either way, she does it with class, energy, and yes, Joy.
One can’t watch the Oscars without watching the speeches. Some are beautiful (Lupita), some are less awesome, and some are downright ridiculous, but I love how many people acknowledge the many, many people involved in getting them to this place in time. And that got me thinking…
Originally I thought it would be an interesting exercise to write my Oscars speech and in doing so thank people in my life. But then I changed my mind. Though I still really like the idea, today was just not the day for it.
However, even without a formal draft of the key people and a few surprise people that would make it on that list, it did get me really excited and jazzed to think about the people I do get to create with. While we might not be in Hollywood or winning critical acclaim, we are making ourselves happy and our audiences happy and that brings me great joy.
I don’t know why my brain does this, but for many years I have “pegged” people that I think will be my good friend. There is just something about them that my brain responds to and immediately decides that I need them in my life in a fairly significant way. Some people get this with their soul mate, best friend, or true love. I had it for that too, but I also get it with random people as well (My apologies to my random friends…. I say “random” with great love and appreciation). Many times of the years I have pegged a person and while they don’t always become the most frequent person in our living room or closest friend and confidante, they do end up being a source of great enjoyment and inspiration to me. Sometimes it the conversations they pull out of me. Or maybe it is the fun adventures we have together. Random projects or parties that we plan together. Often times, they are friends I probably email more than anyone else would assume.
Generally, the people I peg are ones who within minutes of meeting me have exhibited signs of joy in my company or our conversation. Their joy in me makes me joyful of myself and pushes me to higher levels of whatever we are doing: creating, storytelling, inside jokes that go on too long, arts and crafts, games, whatever… Whether I see them once a year or four or talk to them once every day or 4 months, these pegged people are people who I would want to thank in my speech. They are usually some of the best cheerleaders I have known in my life and their joy in me and my company has bubblewrapped my heart against the harder parts of this industry.
Some of these pegged people have joined the illustrious ranks of my Dependables and I get to see them, love them, and enjoy them every day. And some are more like caped Superheroes that I rarely get to see but swoop into my life to save me from villains, boredom or something – I still don’t know what each person has given me (some pegs have moved on) or continues to give me, but my heart/brain clearly knew they had something special just for me.
But those people who are so critical to the inner life of my brain would probably never make it into an Oscars speech. While absolutely essential to my internal development and creativity, they are not necessarily so present externally, if that makes sense?
That’s the thing about life though; each of us in a collection of the many people in our lives and experiences they’ve inspired or contributed to. Whether is it my family, friends, pegs (also friends), fictional characters (also friends), enemies, random person on the subway, students on a school trip, bank manager, teacher, coach, marketing slogan, cereal jingle, love of my life, childhood trauma (always hyped up to be more devastating than actuality), if I have any skill as a writer or creator it is because I am blessed with three key abilities that greatly contribute to my genetic makeup:
1. A good memory to remember all the very important and insignificant nouns (people, places, & things) that have shaped me.
2. To remember these things joyfully (Even moments where I was at my absolute angriest I still get great joy in retelling)
3. Peg people who my brain says “Yes! That person right there! I must be friends with that person! Best tell them this right away!”
Some of my pegged people just circle into my life for a while and then circle out again. But it is always ridiculously exciting to me when people who seems like maybe they are on their way out come circling back in again. That was how I ended up working with Lynne and Sean again on Alice two years after Move Over Mrs. Markham. And in very exciting news, my stupidly talented friend, Jake, wants to come home (from Juilliard!) and make theatre with ME! Exciting! Just anticipating the new possibilities available because of his wicked skills makes me want to start writing something.
Perhaps if I can keep pegging these extremely talented people and showcasing our mutual joy and admiration through our creative projects, maybe I will get to those Oscars one day after all… but will it be for acting or screenwriting or producing or….
*music cuts her off as clearly she has rambled on too long…
Make new friends
But keep the old,
One is Silver
and the other Gold (statues)