Writing comes easy for me. It’s not hard for me to put sentences together, turn them into paragraphs, and eventually into a coherent and informative body of work. Since I was a little girl, the world of words enchanted me. It wasn’t the princess gowns or the dashing princes that stole my heart when my mom read me fairy tales. It was the story. I was so taken by the characters in these stories, and throughout my adolescent years, I spent many hours ignoring my math and science teachers, and daydreamed. Not about the possibility of a future prince, but by putting myself in dramatic situations and creating dialogue, conflict, scene, setting all in my head. Now that I think back on those daydreams, I so wish I had written them down!
I have a confession: I also used to dream of being an actress. What better way to put myself in a story setting than putting myself on the stage? Every time I imagined this, I was in extremely dramatic situations. I’m talking the works: crying, wailing, falling to the floor in grief with the back of my hand on my forehead. And of course, I was always wearing the most beautiful costumes. Long shimmery gowns, my hair in ringlets, and glitter eyeshadow. That was “beauty” in my adolescent mind. As I got older, I realized that this wasn’t what I really wanted. I was more interested in how the stories came together. I didn’t necessarily want to be on the stage. So, my daydreams changed. I dreamed of being a writer. Of creating these dramatic situations and putting characters in them. Of being behind the scenes.
This past weekend, I attended the Central Valley’s 6th annual Dance Festival as press. It is part of my research for a story I’m working on for one of the magazines I write for. I got in for free. That was all very nice. But for the first hour or so, I wasn’t even given a seat. I sat on the floor, in the very back, where late guests went in and out of the swinging doors, letting in an obnoxious amount of bright light from the foyer. It wasn’t the most comfortable seat in the auditorium. I watched dance group after dance group perform. I took notes in the dark and hoped I would be able to read my handwriting later. The show was great, and I was getting the experience I needed, but certain parts of my body were going numb, and if the rather large man in front of me stood up one more time to take a picture… During the intermission, I found the man at the door who was collecting tickets, and told him I had not yet been introduced to the coordinator of the event, who had promised to give me a statement. Of course, I waited for him to finish participating in the communal dance lesson with the rest of the audience. When he was done prancing around, he told me to follow him. We got lost a few times, but he finally came to a large gray door and said, “Aha, here we are.” He opened the door, and suddenly, I found myself backstage. We shuffled through sweaty dancers and security guards, and when the music died down, he introduced me to the coordinator. I did a short interview, and then she told me to stay and watch until the end. The music started up again, the lights came on, and men and women in costumes ran passed me and onto the stage. It suddenly hit me that I was on a stage. I could see the faces of the dancers before they ran out into the bright light from behind the curtain, nervous, focused, and determined. I was on the inside, where I’d always dreamed I would be. I imagined myself directing the dancers, giving them cues, and encouraging them. I couldn’t help but smile.
I looked down at my notebook full of notes about my story, and felt like a real writer for the first time.
My dream of being on stage as a writer had come true.