I thought my last TTT post was really well-written. And I was rather proud that I came up with a topic that both fit the requirements of the assignment, while also having some greater merit in terms of "discussing values" and "revealing character" and so on. But so few comments! When I don't get comments it is like getting a bad grade on an essay. Depressing. Anyway...this time my TTT post may have less literary value.
A few years ago I casually let slip in conversation something which apparently startled my listeners a great deal more than I expected. And what was startling? My brush with fame? My wild past? That I had any past that didn't quite "fit" with my present? (Don't we all have pasts that don't quite fit with the present???) Here are the two points to be considered:
- William Hurt
- skinny dipping
Which aspect of this sparks more (any?) interest?
Someone brought William Hurt up in conversation...in such a way that it didn't seem at all braggy or weird (I don't think!) for me to offer "I once went skinny dipping with him." But, woweee! That put a screetching halt to the normal course of the conversation! Then later I referred to him as "Bill" and that added a bizarre level of fuel to this particular fire. How intimate can you get? "Bill" indeed!
I was once a professional actress. I don't talk about this much now and didn't when it was actually my career, because the really dreadful thing about being an actress (or artist, or musician, I suppose, too) is that when people ask "What do you do?" and you answer, "I'm an actress." they expect you to be able to tell them that you are in a) a movie, b) a sitcom or, at the very least c) you are in a soap opera. NOW. Not last month or last season, but NOW. If you are not working NOW the look you get is that you are a pretender. And in this country we don't even have that lovely British conceit that a non-working actor is "resting".
So, revealing that I was a stage actress, and usually working in a) a show touring to schools and community centers, or b) in a Shakespeare Festival, or c) in a regional theatre....and that (as often as not) my show had closed a few weeks ago and I wasn't sure what I was going to do next....well, that elicited looks of pity from my listeners! Since pity is not a nice thing to be shown, I kept my career path as mum as I could most of the time. I continue to do this now, because, frankly - the response is usually the same. "So, what were you in?" Saying I toured the western US doing childrens theatre by Brian Way leaves blank, yes blank expressions - the same expressions on your faces right now. What if I said, "I played Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit at the Idaho Summer Rep." Right....same expressions. Uh, huh. Worse is when I mention something that (to me) has a bit of sheen... "I was a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Fesitval company the year they won the Tony Award for Best Regional Theater." (Doesn't that sort of mean I won a Tony?) Nope. No excitement generated. It is the really, from my point of view, the stupid stuff - commercials, a stint as an extra in "The Shining" that gets people excited.
From my own point of view, one of the brighter points in my theater career was a season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and while there Mary Beth Hurt, Bill's wife at the time, came to visit someone she knew....a director we'd both worked with, as I recall. [Wow; I'm amazed I found that link!] Bill came, too, and one afternoon someone suggested that a group of us go on a picnic. So we went up in the hills, and had a fun picnic by a lake, with lots of theater gossip....all very pleasant, but it got hot, and the lake was inviting. Of course, we were adults. We were not anxious to drive back to town in wet clothes...and someone stripped down and jumped in for a swim and we all did, and we got out eventually and modestly dressed and got ourselves back to town in time for the evening performance... And that was that. Except that, apparently, mentioned in passing at a family lunch after church, many years after the fact, it makes more of a conversational bomb than I ever would have imagined.
All very innocent. Really.