Friday, February 27, 2009

Why I Write

This post is inspired by something my wonderful and quite perceptive new friend Christie shared with me and I recognized the truth of it right away. Thanks Christie!

"I wrote stories from the time I was a little girl...but I didn't want to be a writer I wanted to be an actress. I didn't realize then that it's the same impulse. It's make-believe. It's performance."
Joan Didion quoted by Betsy Lerner in The Forest for the Trees


My earliest memories occurred on stage. I danced atop the ledge of our fireplace, the xylophone mallet as my microphone. I always had the lead in the elementary school productions and had my own performance troupe on hand to promote our plays to unsuspecting, and only occasionally, willing neighbors. In the sixth grade, I began a series of acting classes. Living in Southern California, there was an ever present undercurrent of budding talent and I happily obliged.

Then, horror of horrors, puberty struck. My acting partner inquired as to what the red things all over my face were and my modeling instructor informed me that I had the right height, but I was too painstakingly thin. I began to laugh through my auditions and my confidence was kidnapped by a cruel self doubt…and I stopped. No high school musicals, no college dramas, but I did participate in Road Shows. Remember those? I miss them. Perhaps there was some safety in a church sponsored production for me.

And all the while, I wrote. More precisely, I released. The shine I had dreamed of making on stage was unleashed in the twinkle of my soul I left on the page. I found there was beauty there. It is the reason I write. I am a performer at heart, albeit an imperfect one. That is my life and my truth. I write as a means to perform and I perform to have something to write about after all.

32 comments:

Jeana said...

Beautiful story, Rachel! Acting has never been anything I've aspired to--I was downright too shy, which is the reason I like to write. It's one way that I can shine without calling too much attention to myself.

Kristina P. said...

I think that this is a great reason! Thanks for sharing!

Becky said...

I was never an actress, or anywhere close, but I'm with Jeana - I write because it's a way to let go without calling to much attention. People always tell me I'm very different in real life than I am on paper...

mindij said...

I totally think we should do our own roadshow!! I miss those, too! I wouldn't want to be in charge but, in case you didn't know this about me, I love to ham it up so I'll take the goofy part you can do the directing! :)

I hadn't thought about it that way before but that totally makes sense! I'm with you on that theory!

annalisa said...

Rachel, I can't wait to read what you write!
I'm with Jeana. I was more of the sets and background type person. What do I mean was? Am.

Christie Gardiner said...

I love this post. I find myself dialoguing with my characters in all of my comings and goings throughout the day. It's a great replacement for the long lost days on stage.

rubberbandgirl said...

Yes! This is what I was just talking with you about...dangling participle...I'm really looking forward to this thing.

Lara said...

So interesting. Mine went the opposite way. I wrote and wrote all the time as a young and very shy girl. Then in Jr. High I discovered the stage, even though I was shy, I could always just be someone else, or hide behind my singing voice, and I haven't really left it since. I only started picking my love of writing back up about 5 years ago.

Loved reading this.

Sue said...

Great blog!

I'm a writer, too. In high school English, a teacher once told me that I had a "need to be heard." At the time, I was insulted, but now I realize that she nailed it.

=)

Donna said...

You're a great writer, at least on your blog. I'd like to read some of your other writings sometime!

Lara said...

I didn't know you were an actress?!?! You certainly are a talented writer! I keep waiting for that "too skinny" thing to be my problem, sigh... By the way, you look great! It was fun to see you again. I can't wait to start reading!

clan of the cave hair said...

I love your perspective on this.

trish said...

Rachel has always been able to whip a poem or a story out in about 5 seconds.

Amelia said...

"The shine I had dreamed of making on stage was unleashed in the twinkle of my soul I left on the page. I found there was beauty there."

Beautifully put!

Robin said...

Delightful and very perseptive.
No one is so complex as someone who is trying to appear simple.
None of that here........ reading what you write has so much "inner deeper secret meaning" as an old college professor once put it.

R Max said...

And we are all the better for your career choice!

Great job!

Kerri said...

I think you are a great writer and I wish I had your talent. Thanks for sharing that!

in time out said...

I thought that was the same Christie I know. Nice post, and tribute to being all the many things we are meant to be. About the Green Eggs and Ham, yes, delicious...much better than normal eggs. Hugs. Hope your day is great..

How do you know Christie???

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I love this post, Rachel! And I totally get it. :)

Tink said...

I think if we all could go back and do things differently, there would be things we would change. Like you, I shied away from acting, too, and from speech competitions. Dangit! Thanks for this introspection! I enjoy reading your blog and your honesty.

SECRET DIARY said...

Heya! My first time on your blog. I love your blog. Its fabulous. Stay sassy & fabulous. It keeps 'em guessing. I will be back. Ciao.
~ Secret Diary
http://RFourBiz.Blogspot.com
http://Twitter.com/TheSecretDiary

rubberbandgirl said...

Are you proud of me for giving blood...or giving up Facebook?

david cecil leach said...

Rachel look at ceci on my blog..the bottom pic i like the best

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Such lovely insight into your past, Rachel. I love knowing that your talents extend beyond your wonderful writing ability.

Although I should have probably have suspected... :)

-Francesca

Kate said...

That is awesome. Roadshows were the best. I too love to write but I am sure you are far more talented. Great blog, I will be back.

Shauna said...

Awesome! L♥ve and Hugs to you my precious friend! Hope you have a beautiful weekend!

R Max said...

I write so I don't hit someone.

Love your new photo - it's awesome and you look really good!

Kimberly said...

I like the new family picture, but I'm pretty sure that's our cat (Arky) Tony is petting...

Melissa said...

I never thought about writing like that until I read your post, Thanks for sharing that. Love your new family photo on your blog header...you have such a cute family!

susette said...

Will you be a dear sweetie and help me win a trip back East? go to www.becausemomsaidso.blogspot.com and vote for Susette at All Good Things Come...

susette said...

Thanks my friend, you're great!!

Mina said...

Beautifully expressed! I'd never thought of the connection, but I agree that it is there. It is for me, anyway. Let's do a bloggy play.