Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spin The Top

The real teacher is endurance.

Lawrence Durrell
Some wise person once said that we shouldn't complain about old age because it's a privilege denied to many. I say, if someone asks you your age. tell them, but start by saying "I'm only...." Thus, I'm only 71. I have a lot to learn. But I also have accumulated 7 decades of learning.

Some folks get bored after they retire and go searching around for something to do to keep them busy. Others are so glad to retire from their hum drum jobs they immediately seek adventure. I spent my life in show business. There are many things one can say about that world. It is aggravating, difficult, insecure and filled with irascible people. But the one thing no one can say about it is that it's boring.

I must write again about the first major influence in my professional life, Edward. When I first met him I realized that, even though we were quite different personalities, he really understood theatre. So I went to work for him. Edward's teacher was Maria Ouspenskaya, a Russian actress who had been trained at the Moscow Art Theatre under the direction of the famous Constantine Stanislavski. She eventually came to New York, appeared on Broadway and then went to Hollywood.

One day Edward told me that Ospenskaya had said to him she was going to screw into him an energy cell of enthusiasm that would last the rest of his life, and she did. And then he said to me. "I'm going to do the same thing to you." And he did.

Through his teaching, his directing, his spirit, personality and grasp of life, and through what he demanded of me and expected of me as an actor, I started to grow, and I've been growing ever since. I have learned to see the vibrating life in the color of the rose, to hear the elemental earth song in the strings of the cello and to feel when the tide changes.

The first thing he said to me, as director to actor was "Can't you find something to do?" That remark set a top spinning inside of me that has never stopped, and that was about 50 years ago. As a result of that simple question from the person I respected more than any other, I have had and still have an enduring enthusiasm for art, ideas, people and events. Though circumstances have deprived me of being a performing artist, I've translated that enthusiasm into writing and painting.

Another remark that has kept me going over the years is this famous quote from Winston Churchill, "Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never give up." You can try giving up, you can moan, gripe, scream with rage, kick the dog (no, don't do that) and feel sorry for yourself. But no matter how much trash life throws at you, if you don't give up you will withstand it, outlast it and endure your way through it. And endurance is the real teacher.

Activity is a way of life for me. I don't have to discipline myself to be busy. I don't feel any obligation to do anything, except something I've put off for too long because I was busy doing something else. And all because a man I trusted set my top spinning many years ago with an energy cell of enthusiasm which has lasted, as he promised, the rest of my life, so far. But I'm only 71 so there's a lot more growing to do.

Thank you Edward.

(People say they like my weekend puzzles and look forward to them and then they don't do them.)

"What's in a name?" Your challenge is to give me a humorous name beginning with the same letters that matches a persons career, work or major activity. For example:

The Russian Cosmonaut - Boris Blastov
The French cabdriver - Henri Honkalotte
The Irish mechanic - Tommy Tinker
(Come one folks it's fun and easy. The Irish puppeteer Mary O'Nett.)

Enter as often as you wish, be imaginative, have fun and good luck. The decision of the bucolic judge is final.

2 entries so far

DB - The Vagabond


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

Having someone to inspire us so is a treasure. Glad you had Edward to kick it up a notch for you.

Linda S. Socha said...

Wonderful lesson from Edward. Wonderful gift for you. Since illness about 4 years ago... I am still working at recovering the normal energy that was mine. I was a high energy gal and into a bit of everything. It is harder today than then.
Thanks for the post DB

mrs. miss alaineus said...

asian male adult film star: wang hung lo

sorry i had to go so lowbrow but it's the best i can do. ps my husband helped.


Liz said...

Time is the only teacher I will acknowledge.
We stand in the present curtesy of the little we have learned in the past.
If we have graduated this far we can then adequately teach in the present our children how to learn for the future.

Time will tell all.