Thursday, November 19, 2015

     One year ago, I gave my first one-woman show speech to my Toastmasters club. I played the role of George Sand, author, political activist and Frédéric Chopin's lover. It was well-received, and I went on to perform before well over 200 people. I was scared to death, but I followed my passion and am so glad I did. Lessons were learned, barriers were broken, friends were made.

    Tonight, "Arkel" will debut with me as we give a preview of my second one-woman show before the same club. "Arkel" has never performed before a group of people, and I know he is extremely nervous. I told him that these people are our friends. They want us to succeed. He's not convinced. Tonight I will play the role of Emma Bardac, second wife of Claude Debussy. "Arkel" played a role in the Debussy story, and I will help translate his part, as he only speaks French.

     Some of my friends ask, "How do you have the courage to stand up in front of people and perform like that?" They say, "I couldn't do it, nor would I ever consider putting myself up there for scrutiny."
Their questions are justified. Last night, I watched a video delivered by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love." She discussed following your passion. These one-woman shows are my passion, and that's why I write and deliver them, complete with playing the somewhat difficult classical piano compositions in front of various audiences. She calls people like herself and me "jackhammers." When we get an idea and it gels into a passion, we are willing to risk anything to realize it. Yes, I am a "jackhammer." I am driven, obsessed, thrilled and eager to share my passion with others. My performance is never perfect, but that's all right. I created it, I own it, I deliver it with courage and conviction that this experience will enlighten, educate and, hopefully, entertain my audience. Do I pay a price? Of course, but it's worth it.

     So what's the point? My point is to show that no matter how old we are, we are still active, creative, energetic and worthy of being in the mainstream. If we are no longer able to be in the working-world mainstream, we can create our own and still contribute with positive energy.

    Elizabeth made a crucial point in her presentation, however. She said that not everyone is a "jackhammer." People like her who identified her passion at age 5 and followed it throughout her life represent only part of the population. The other part is made up of what she calls, "hummingbirds."
If you are a "hummingbird," and you are intimidated, put-off by or just annoyed by "jackhammers" like me, then stay tuned for the "hummingbird" blog tomorrow.

     Yours truly,

                 Emma Bardac