Wednesday, March 03, 2004

I'm not sure if Maxwell took my post of yesterday to mean that I believed she was navel gazing. On the contrary.

I am in awe, truthfully. Maxwell may be two, three years younger than myself (what is it Laura? I'm fuzzy on the details.), but she's in NYC, making a go of it as actor/ director/ creative professional. And she appears to be in a stable marriage as well.

There's a narrow window, even for the stout hearted, in these professions. Narrow windows of opportunity, of time between college and realizing the temp job is now your real job, of getting knocked up and having kids and going back out to the suburbs. Narrow windows in which we look back and say "How did I get here?" (Thanks, David Byrne).

But she's out there. She's actually walking the streets of NYC and trying to get from being the little blonde girl in the black sweater who used to bum rides home after Drama Club meetings, to being a name that passes on the lips of folks talking about putting shows on Broadway. She's somewhere between halfway there and a million miles from the passing fancy of most high school drama kids. And she's working at it, too. She's not some producer's daughter, and she's not some indie actor's model girlfriend in a walk on role. Step by step. Bit by bit.

I wonder how that happened? We were in the same program. I remember the folks around her age from that group (anyone else remember Trucker?). Something in that dusty, yawning maw of a stage made her want to try it in college. And even those bastards in UT drama didn't break her or make her throw up her hands and give Psychology 301 a shot (and from what I hear, it's the goal of the program to shatter the undergrads, but not to build them back up again).

So yesterday I catalogued a little. And I tried to pinpoint, because there was a point at which we were all churning out screenplays, and we all had ideas for stories, and we could see them in our mind's eye from beginning to end. Some of us went so far as to cast the projects, dreamed of composers and the gracious things we'd say when they mentioned our genius in print. But that's not how it works. Not most of the time.

Maxwell's right. Read her posting. She is electric. She has to be, or she'd be back in Spring, Texas wondering whether it was Chili's or Arby's tonight for dinner. Or maybe she'd still hanging out in Austin, wondering why that Third Coast thing hasn't taken off quite yet (but maybe next year...!).

So i get to do something. I get to lean on Maxwell and I get to tell her: Hey, Maxwell. A lot of us didn't even start to give ourselves a chance to be stars of stage and screen, or rock gods or poets or writers or whatever the hell we were supposed to be. So it's up to you, kid. We don't even care if you ever get your name in lights, but you don't get to quit. Not yet. You just remember that as things come to pass, and those lights start to lose their luster, you got all of us pulling for you. Go out there and do it. We all know you're electric.

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