Every now and again I see a friend write something and think I should do that.
To clarify, it’s not just that I should jot down any old thang. More of a harnessing intentionality in the direction of a cohesive self-contained piece sort of thing. My girlfriend and I went to see a friend/acquaintance/amicably known gentleman’s one person show. It’s Fringe, a one man show is one in many. It was neat, relatable and also showcased his personality pretty admirably. I think. As you could tell from two sentences ago, it’s not like we’re close enough to drive one another to the airport. I enjoyed myself, while also sitting in the audience thinking a combination of I could/should do that. Not “that” exactly (I’m having fun with italics today. Just go with it). Even in some Infinite Monkey Theorem paradigm, I doubt I’d produce an identical copy of my amicably known gentleman’s play. I don’t know any of the details.
Cliché as it is, I adore one person shows. It’s so gratifying to enter a room to see a stranger talk across a stage, then leave with intimate snippets from their past. In a way, a piece of the performer leaves with everyone who watched. All those attendees smuggling elements of them out into the world. It’s marvellous when someone puts their otherwise ordinary life under a microscope to find the theatricality therein. They’re often funny, sweet, self-deprecating and appreciative at once. They’re the summation of an individual looking for lessons within themselves to share with others. It’s storytelling from the heart, and good storytelling takes a little soul. Some of my favourite comedy sets of all time have come from pain. Chris Gethard’s Career Suicide, Hasan Minaj’s Homecoming King, Hannah Gadsby’s recent triumph Nanette. Finding purpose and value in a life lived. It must be the most powerful sensation to have an audience so wholly absorb you as a person.
I can talk (I do, often verbosely). I write about myself most every day. Not every day, occasionally I’ll create monolithic lists of puns. I share some insanely intimate details amongst the overwhelmingly inane ones. I have the spare to open my heart for strangers. Still, it doesn’t feel the same. Not to imply that I don’t find this whole project incredibly valuable. The format (let’s be real, my attitude) doesn’t lend itself to neat, well-edited pieces. I don’t have the mental, emotional, or creative wherewithal to produce quality on the daily down-low. If I were a different person, maybe it would. However, if I were a different person, this likely wouldn’t exist. Count your #blessings, folks.
The problem being: I want to. Not the fancy writing everyday aspect, but something substantive. I want to funnel my brain into words on a page, then rearrange those words until they’re cohesive, insightful, thoughtful and relatable. I want my words to do more than sitting idle, looking cute. I want others to read or hear them, see them channelled through a different medium. Sure, it’s scary. Fear is likely my no. 1 demotivator now, in the past and likely forever. Nobody wants to listen, I’ve got nothing interesting to say or just another white dude talking about himself on stage. Why would I deserve to be there? Where would I even start? What central themes and metaphors could I wring from my 30-odd years on Earth? Thankfully, fear is at least asking the right questions. There needs to be a purpose and unless I know it, there isn’t one. I need to know what I want to say, what stories to tell and how to best represent who I want to be. If I can show others that I am someone with interesting stories to tell, maybe i’ll believe it too. My life isn’t a script with some grand call to action. This isn’t my “O Captain! My Captain!” moment. I’m just planting seeds. It’s something that’s worth thinking about, because – once more – I want to.
I want to prove to myself that all the “shoulds” and “coulds” have the potential to be “cans”. Still, there’s more to it than that.
One day I want to see a friend write something and think I did that.