So it’s that time of year again, where the awards season is drawing to it’s ultimate moment, the Academy Awards. I’ve always loved the Oscars, although with the invention of social media, and real time “spoilers” the sense of “who will win” disappears seconds after the winner is actually announced.
I remember in the time before social media, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and cavemen were known for a rather blunt courting ritual of a club to the head, where I used to make a game out of avoiding the newspaper and the TV until the show aired. These days, that’s really not possible, and I’m more likely to simply watch the winners I want to see on You Tube.
My dream of writing a movie was born on Oscar night eleventy hundred years ago. I wanted to be an actor but I was pathologically shy and couldn’t bring myself to go to acting classes, let alone be somewhere I could be seen acting. So I’d sit in the dark and watch movies and dream of a parallel universe where my courage was stronger and I went after what I wanted, seeing my face super-imposed on all the winners.
As my passion for writing began to grow, the idea of winning an Oscar for a screenplay took shape. And was instantly knocked down, because Australian’s didn’t win Oscars, only American’s did. Frankly back then, that was a pretty accurate thought.
One year, Whoopi Goldberg was hosting the ceremony and in her closing monologue she looked to the camera and talked about her own journey, from the projects to the winners podium. I can’t remember the words, I can remember the feeling. I can remember her saying something like “to all the boys and girls watching, dreaming and not believing this could be you, I’m telling you now, it can. I’m proof of that” or words to that affect.
It was then, in that moment I truly believed I could win an award – not necessarily an Oscar – but I could write and have my career dreams come true, just like she did. If I ever win an Oscar, I’ll have to remember to include that story in my acceptance speech.
As I may or may not have mentioned in here a time or two before, life has a way of happening to you, rather than you happening to life. Life happened and I found myself with shifting priorities, writing always at the back of my mind, but never taking centre stage.
Every year around this time I make sure I do something to celebrate the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. I usually make it to one show or another during the festival. I rarely go to the parade anymore. It’s too crowded, too noisy, and too expensive. This year Megan Mullally came to Sydney with a one woman show. I knew her as Karen Walker from Will & Grace, I knew she’d been on Broadway. So when it was announced she was touring, I bought tickets for opening night.
Opening night was last night. I loved the show. She has a very dry wit and such a conversational air about her that the 90 minutes or whatever it was flew bye so quickly I didn’t have time to notice my bum had gone numb sitting in the chair.
I had never heard her sing before, and was blown away by her amazing voice, and her range. The songs she sung were pitch perfect and I walked out of that theatre on a high.
She talked about her efforts to make her career, the close but always slipping away moments that happened in the lead up to Will & Grace. She talked of roles that got away, and her determination to never give up. When she mentioned that she had been 34 before she first starred on Broadway it was a surprise. Given how amazing her voice is, it makes you wonder just how many people never break through who have an amazing gift.
She talked about how she’d been in this series or that pilot every year but the “big break” never materialised. She talked about landing the role of Karen when she was 40. That surprised me. I hadn’t realised she was my soon to be “age” when she finally made the “big time”. Nothing like a 14 or 15 year journey to being an overnight sensation I guess.
It was while listening to her speak last night that I had another of those in the dark moments, just like the “Whoopi Goldberg Oscar moment” so long ago. I recognised a strength in her, a determination to not stop, to keep trying and to basically say “to hell with this I’ll get to wherever I get to and enjoy the journey on the way.”
It reminded me of the sense of power I felt when I was a kid, and the moment I decided I could do it too. It reminded me of the Light Bulb Hypothesis I pondered a couple of weeks ago. It reminded me that I have a well of power and potential I rarely touch. It reminded me that the only thing stopping me from having everything I want is a misguided sense of time running out and an inability to fly on a broom.
I had such an amazing night last night. I woke up this morning and not only was I refreshed and energised, I felt more like the old me than I have for a very long time.
I guess the point to this post is that no matter how many times you forget your true essence the universe will continue to give you the gift of putting your dreams on display whenever you are open to allowing it too.
If nothing else, I have another person I’ve never met to thank for reminding me it’s the journey not the destination that is most important aspect of life in all it’s forms and colours.