Friday, August 29, 2003

Friday Five

The Top Five Most Profound Moments in My Life (topic suggested by Colleen)

1. 1973 / 1974, Learning to read - I vividly remember the moment when I was looking at a copy of One Fish, Two Fish and I realized that those blobs of letters had meanings which corresponded to the words of the story, which I had memorized. Some switch flipped in my brain, and I was reading like crazy in no time. Books, reading, writing and language have been one of the most important aspects of my life ever since.

2. 1980, Watching a production of Brigadoon - This was the first play I saw that wasn't an elementary school production. It was a "grown-up" play with real scenery and costumes. I felt immediately that there was something different going on here, something completely unlike going to see a movie, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that. Because I saw that play, I ended up going to a fine and performing arts high school, majoring in theatre in undergrad school, and getting an MFA in directing. I'm not currently doing theatre, but I feel certain that when my life circumstances change, I'll drift back into it, even if it's only as a hobby.

3. 1988, Meeting Adam - Like Adam, I feel like it's. . .inadequate to describe the day we married as one of the most profound moments of my life (I always worry about people who describe their wedding day as "the happiest day of my life;" so what, it's all downhill from there?). Our wedding was simply a public acknowledgement of the relationship we'd already had for some time, and which continues to grow and evolve.

4. 1995, Getting pregnant for the first time - I always knew that I wanted kids, but it was hard to imagine when it would be the right time. When I unexpectedly got pregnant in the middle of graduate school, with no money and no insurance, I knew that despite all the difficulties of our situation, it was the right time. When I lost that baby, I was devastated and determined to have children as quickly as possible. That unplanned pregnancy cemented for me that I definitely wanted to have kids, and that even if circumstances were less than perfect, I wanted to have them sooner rather than later.

5. 1996, Facing off with Michael Bloom - After I directed my thesis show, a new faculty member chased me down to give me a lengthy and detailed critique of the show, focusing on all the things he felt I'd done wrong, and all my failings as a director. He ignored the obstacles I'd had to work around and claimed that if he had any authority in the matter (which, thank God, he didn't) he would keep me from graduating and kick me out of the program. Although I'll admit that the show was flawed, I was deeply invested in it, and felt good about what I'd been able to accomplish virtually single-handed. To have someone ravage my work so heartlessly was like being kicked in the gut. I could tell he was trying to get a reaction out of me, dragging the discussion out and latching on ever more obscure and outlandish criticisms, in hopes that I would break down. So I refused to give him the satisfaction. Despite my instinct to curl up on a ball and sob, I listened to all his points calmly, responded in the coolest tones and refused to let him see that he'd gotten to me. I was hurt and upset by what he'd said, but I also felt incredibly in control of myself and my emotions.

Honorable Mentions:

Seeing the Nike of Samothrace in the Louvre - I walked down a staircase, and there it was on the landing, with sunlight pouring down on it from a skylight. It was, quite literally, the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

A particular dress rehearsal of my undergraduate senior directing project, when everything clicked and came together exactly as I'd imagined it in my head. It was at that moment that I knew I wanted to be a director.

Driving through the English countryside and feeling like I was coming home - I've always been a huge Anglophile, but I didn't actually get to visit England until I was 32 years old. It was everything I'd dreamed it would be, and I can't wait to go back.

Other participants: Adam, Will, Dave, Merideth, Chris, and Gina

By the way, I've decided not to try to catch up on the Friday Fives I missed - the moment has passed, and besides, I've got a lot of writing to catch up on. My September column is due on Monday, and I've been holding a major revision in my short story in my head for days - if I don't get it down soon, it will evaporate.


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