Monday, July 27, 2009

What do I believe?

The above is an intriguing questions. What do any of us believe? As a writer, actor and teacher I am exposed to many differing beliefs. There is the belief in self, belief in ones abilities and belief in something outside out oneself. There is also the perceived belief of others.

For myself, I believe that anything is possible. It may not be in my lifetime, but things do happen if there is a great enough belief.

When we decide to make a change in our lives, we must believe that the change is possible. If there were not some kernel of belief we would probably not attempt the proposed change. I also believe that I am sometimes too serious. Is that a bad thing? Probably not, but people might think that I don't laugh or have a good time. Perhaps I don't find the current humor all that funny.

So what do I think is funny? Not humor at the expense of another. To me practical jokes are just a way of making people feel bad and another think they are better. Humor that is a play on words, that is funny. Physical humor can be funny.

I do believe that the human spirit is a special thing. It is to be cherished and supported. There are many communities that can help. Each person can help. Not do it for anyone, but to give the individual the courage to try on their own until they succeed. Many people mistake the idea of helping as giving advise and answers. Advise is worth what we pay for it. If someone ask your advise, know that it is just a suggestion that you think may work for them, but don't get so attached to your ideas that you get hurt if they are not followed.

I believe that each persons pain is just as horrible to them as the next persons. One persons headache to them is just as important as the person who has a broken leg. We try to put a value on each person that makes them more or less than someone else. When we go to judge, we are really judging by our criteria, not theirs.

I believe that we all have possibilities and each and everyone of us have the potential to make a difference in someones life. We just have to be willing to try.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What will we leave?

I truly believe we are all creative in some way. Whether we are writers, bakers or candlestick makers we all have something to contribute to life. The trick is, who do we affect and what are we leaving behind.

As historians we are looking at newspapers, diaries, letters, any first hand information we can find. Writers use that same information to ask 'what if'. For me there is nothing so exciting as to hold a piece of paper that someone a hundred years ago also handled. Perhaps they were writing a letter. Maybe they were just jotting down the grocery list. It is a tangible reminder of their lives. When I hold a quilt made by my great-grand mother, I remember her and my great-grandfather. Their faces become familiar again. The stories they told and lessons they taught are remembered. As long as I live so will their lives be remembered. When I am gone, what will be left? Sure someone could read this blog and perhaps it will trigger a memory of their own, but not Ertie and Oliver.

Perhaps in the future, there will be no paper. Good for the trees, perhaps not so good for those who follow. Cyber space is great, we all use it and they benefits are amazing. Still, where are the letters we no longer write? Where would we be if the founding mother and fathers had not written those wonderful letters? Will we be leaving anything? How will we be remembered a 100 years from now? What will be our legacy?

When you write that book, crochet that shawl or create that new banana bread recipe, perhaps it would be wise to also note why you created what you did. Leave a message for the future. It may make a difference in someones view of who we were.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Observation, Opinion and a Leap of Faith

We all have opinions. Even when we try not to we do. As an actor/writer and some say historian I work to make peace with the various aspects of the crafts. Why? Because in my opinion they don't always work together. When they do it is great, but many times it just doesn't happen. I shall use a couple of current projects to illustrate.

I will soon portray a woman who was on the board of directors of a half-way house here in Colorado Springs in the 20's. Not a lot is known. As the actor I will take what I can find, use that as the basis for my character development. Then I will make use of my opinions of what she might have said and why she said it. My leap of faith occurs when I make my choices about what I will actually say when speaking and answering questions. The historian takes the facts and make assumptions for the actor based on the available information. The actor then takes what is observed from the facts, makes opinions based on those facts and uses that to create the person that no longer exists, but needs to be as accurate as possible.

The second example is a fictional novel based on an event from the 1870's. There the information about the event is clearly stated in newspapers and others sources. As the author I take the information and create a world based on the events. I observe how people may have spoken, what they wore, how they acted. I then create an opinion about what I think may have occurred with the secondary characters in the event. My leap of faith is that I am creating a real world that may have happened, it simply was not recorded.

As writers, performers and historians, whatever label we place on ourselves we always observe, have an opinion and take a leap of faith that what we are doing is right. For the actor and the fiction writer it is easier. For the historian and non-fiction writer our opinions and leaps of faith take on a more important meaning. If we err to far from the truth we call into question our ability to perform our jobs. Still I would not follow this path if I did not feel that I have something to share with the world. The need to bring the lives of those who have preceded me and left their mark is more important than fear of making a mistake. If I can get one person to questions or feel the need to find out more, I have done my job.

If you wish to leave a comment, for those new to this means of communication, just click on comment and follow the prompts. For additional reading click on the second edit me to read additional bloggers.