Growing up as an only child of working parents, I spent countless hours on my own---reading books, listening to music and watching movies. Somewhere in the midst of all that multimedia stimulation, I found a place where I belonged.
I fully envisioned and formed friendships with characters from Nancy Drew to Scarlett O’Hara. I harmonized lyrics with Julie Andrews and Joan Baez. I dressed up in my mother’s satin wedding gown and made dramatic entrances down the stairs channeling Vivien Leigh and Bette Davis. And all of it was made real within my imaginings.
While my imagination helped filled a void in my latch-key life, it also helped me develop a storytelling skill that made me stand out---in the hallway at school, in time-out at home---where ever adults would banish me to try and help me understand that, unlike fictional performance arts, not every story in real life needs to be told!
The thing is, telling the story of my life is second nature to me. While I have learned that there are boundaries, people who read my newspaper columns, blogs and books have clearly let me know that sharing my story details, both joyous and painful, are why they connect to my writing. Why my words have meaning.
I’ve been thinking about the evolution of my storytelling skills as I am preparing to do something which, before now, only happened amid the privacy of my adolescent bedroom in the recesses of my mind. One week from tonight I will step on stage at The Cell Theatre, located in the mecca of all performance arts, New York City.
No, I’m not taking a behind the scenes tour or interviewing the theater’s manager. In fact, I have been invited by theater producer, Charles R. Hale to perform in his Artists Without Walls Showcase on this Manhattan theater stage. I will be reading from the pages of my newest book, Beauty & Grace.
Needless to say, I am practicing and editing my reading and praying novenas to Mary Mother of God that I don’t screw up this momentous opportunity. I’m also putting together different outfits every night to try and figure out if I’m going glam or classic author.
Most importantly, I am doing my best to fully embrace and celebrate this moment in my life, understanding that storytelling is part of my DNA. And, as I learned at a very young age, it is a place where I truly do belong.