Sunday, March 22, 2009

Murky Milestones 3/22/09

By the time I'm 90, I hope to have it together.

Herbie Mann
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Greetings Dear One.
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Well now, at last, I'm 20, independent, with my whole life ahead of me, what shall I do with it? Let's see. I've been learning music and playing drums here and there. I can be a musician amd spend my life fussing over drum skins. But then I really enjoy drawing and painting. I should go to art school and be a painter, making sure I always clean my brushes. But I also love the theatre and people say I'm good at it. I could play great Shakespearean roles. "Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear." Then the captain asked me if I wanted to join the police force here. A life in law enforcement isn't a bad life, chasing and arresting bad guys and rescuing little boy's puppies. My father was a ranking Army officer. I could join the Army. He'd be pleased if I did that. Maybe I would go into battle and become a hero as he did. I don't know. I've also written a couple of short stories. Maybe I could be a writer, with a bottle of scotch, an Olivetti and be like Kerouac. Oh well, I guess I'll hitchhike to California and think about it.

Now I'm 30. Married, with financial responsibilities. Working as a radio announcer isn't bad. The pay is good. Of course, it's fairly boring work compared to theatre. But I get to meet interesting people and interview them, "Tell me maestro what brings you to our fair city?", and every now and then I get to do a show that uses my creative abilities, a little bit. I guess I'll just settle down and live out my life as a broadcaster. "At the tone the time will be...."

Now I'm 40, in the prime of life. No longer married. On my own and wishing I had something more interesting to do. I'm an excellent broadcaster, everyone says so, but for some reason it isn't enough. I keep bumping my head on the ceiling and I keep looking for love and not finding it. Everyone around me seems to be troubled, wishing things were different and wishing they were some place else. "Some people sit on their butts, got the dream, yeah, but not the guts" I think I'll move to New York and get back into show business.

Now I'm 50. My acting career is going quite well. I'm not rich or famous but I work all the time and make a living at it, much to the surprise of my brother, my sister and a lot of other people. I feel as vibrant and alive as ever, no vitiation or abatment of my talent and abilities in spite of a less than circumspect life. I've had a few brief but interesting love affairs along the way. "So long D, J, K, N, H, it's been good to know ya" But I've lived half a century, where is all the wisdom I thought I would have accumulated by now? Well, maybe by the time I'm 60 I'll know something.

Now I'm 60. I'm still a busy actor, but I've also discovered that I'm a fairly good painter. I've had some formal training, as I had wanted for many years, and I enjoy painting when I have the time. I've won some awards and even sold a couple of things.
along the way. I found someone I thought was the right woman for me and settled down for a few years. I was wrong. I moved on. She got married. "It was great fun, but it was just one of those things." I travel all over New England and the east coast of America now, acting, and I enjoy it, most of the time. But I'm getting tired of this vagabond life and "these vagabond shoes.". I wish I could settle somewhere.

Now I'm 70. I've retired and settled down in a small town. There's a theatre here I used to work for, but they don't want me anymore, so I have nothing to do. Besides I got a few illnesses that prevent me from working anyway. It's quite painful to stand for a long time or to walk any distance. So now I sit and write everyday and occasionally do some painting. I have no social life here. My housemates are nice, particularly Patrick, but I seldom ever see them. No one visits me or invites me to their home. It's quiet and lonely, but I still have urges. Maybe if I got healthy again I'd go back to the stage. "This old man came rolling home." Who knows?

By the time I'm 80 I will expect I would have more paintings to sell and that some of my stories would have been published, maybe even a novel. I certainly plan to keep writing some more. I enjoy writing and will gladly do much of it if I don't go back to the theatre. I will love to read and listen to music. I will be wondering still what life would have been like as a musician, a policeman or a soldier, what it would have been like if I had done anything but be an entertainer "there's no people like show people," I will be wondering if my life could have been anything else but the life of a vagabond.

By the time I'm 90, I hope....

DB
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Laugh, and I'll laugh with you.
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8 comments:

Gerry said...

Hmm, quite a life. It sounds like whatever you got into you were better at it than most people I know. I decided I would become a writer when I was 6 years old and I never really wavered from that goal. I was always practicing. But I thought some writers developed a style that publishers liked, that the New Yorker liked. It was a style. I would imagine when their stories were accepted they felt a great thrill and afterwards even more so when they developed fans and got more stories published and then novels and became celebrities, so now the phenomenon of fame got intricately involved in the writing. Writer seems synonymous with publication. Well, at least a few people should be reading you if you are a real writer. But some writers never catch on for one reason or another. So there you are blooming in the desert with no eyes to see as the simile goes. It is as though you passed a spotlight over your history and said what do we have here. I am sure you could mine your history more for richer ore, for golden insight. I feel at any moment as you write that you are going to uncover gold, and you will become excited again about what you can find by minng the past that will be very valuable for your future.

Big Mark 243 said...

Sounds like someone looked back and has a gleam in their eye!

Ally Lifewithally said...

I so enjoyed reading this ~ I saw your life flashing past you far too quickly ~ Ally x

Bohemian Cowboy said...

I enjoyed this entry--I used to teach an acting class where the first class's assignment was to reduce their lives into a ten minute story--this reminded me of that...

There was an article in the Times the other day about the publishing of Samuel Becket's letters, (some, not all of them), in the letters are a mention of him doing the final gallies of Joyce's 'Finian's Wake'. Joyce had no money, but paid him a paltry sum, along with five used ties. I also read an article about Cheever's poverty, even when he was a fairly known writer. We forget, after the fact, that so many artists struggled along in obscurity and poverty most of their lives, but something kept them going, yes, the 'life'. The 'life' is worth it. So many don't understand the beauty of something austere and lean. The treasures are in the 'doing', and the long and spirited debate with others in the 'life'. When I leave here, I'll be fairly broke, but today I have last night's show, and tomorrow, "who knows?"

DB, I so enjoy your writing and your struggle. I've been thinking lately about taking up painting. All I really have of 'the form' is years of painting sets, but there have been some wonderful ones over the years. Thank you for your fine perspective, not unnoticed by this actor.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

The years do seem to come and go at an ever increasing rate. Thanks for sharing this journey with us.

Beth said...

This entry made me smile, but it brought tears to my eyes at the same time. (Damn, you're good!) Not sad tears, though. More like joy that you know you still have things to accomplish, jobs to undertake, and adventures to unfold. That makes me happy.

Love, Beth

Arlene (AJ) said...

You have indeed had one very diverisified life with many wonderful and intereting chapters to it DB. Glad to see you are still adding more chapters to it daily with your painting and exceptional writing that keeps all us waiting to read your next words. I'd be honored to say I know the DB, the publisher of this wonderful book....you all need to go out and get a copy, it's indeed a cherished, best seller that you'll never want to put down.

Coy said...

Great entry ... plenty of time left for lot's of adventure