Thursday, August 25, 2011

What are you?

It's strange how one feels drawn forward without knowing at first where one is going.

Gustav Mahler
There's the story of the man who became a nuclear physicist because when he was in high school he found, by accident, in an encyclopedia, the scientific explanation of rainbows.

There's the story of the South American Indian who found a guitar sitting alongside a remote trail, picked it up and discovered that he could play it and went on to become a well known musician.

And there's the story of the business man who developed a problem with his throat and, on the doctor's suggestion, took up singing to exercise it. Within a few years he sold his business and became a full time opera singer, something he never thought he would be.

Here's my story.

It was 1958. I was 19 years old. I had just left college prematurely because I didn't want to be a well rounded liberal arts student, or a well rounded anything else. It was the era of the Beatniks. My sister once said she thought I was probably one of the originals. That was probably so.

I knew I wanted to do something interesting with my life, but I couldn't decide what that was. There were several options, specialties of activity, roads into the unknown, sturdy brass hinges to hear scraping as they opened the door I would step through.

I enjoyed writing. I had written a short story and some poetry which a lot of people seemed to like. I had been a music student, learning violin, percussion and composition, and I had played drums for a jazz trio in the area. I had done some work for the local police department and was encouraged by the captain to go to the police academy and have a career in law enforcement. I had worked for a French chef, a wonderful man I admired, who wanted to teach me all about cooking and how to be a chef and manage a kitchen. I had done some acting in school and for local theatre groups and I enjoyed it. While in school I took a geology course from an inspiring teacher and became very interested in geology, an interest I still have. I had done some drawing, painting and design and wanted to get formal training in art. I really didn't know which direction I was going in, but I also didn't think about it much.

One afternoon I went to visit my sister. She was having a dinner party later that day. I was early and tired from something, so I lay down on her living room couch to take a nap. In the middle of the floor was her vacuum cleaner waiting for me to wake from my nap so she could vacuum the floor. She was in her kitchen preparing the dinner. The radio was on to a classical music station.

When I began to awaken the radio was playing the Symphony #2 by Sibelius, As it neared the end I, in my half sleep, was seeing a vision. It seemed that screens were passing in front of my face, each one replacing the one before it, back and forth, in and out they went. And each one had an image that represented one of the options of my life. There was a screen the showed me as a drummer, another that showed me as a painter, another as a chef, another as a cop, another as a composer, another as an actor, another as a poet, another as a scientist and so on. These screens just kept passing in front of my mind's eye as I listened to the finale of the Symphony which is a combination of march and hymn. When it was over I got up and stepped quickly over the vacuum cleaner and when I did one of those screens popped back into my head and on it was written "You're an actor." I knew right then it was true.

Everything else became a hobby or a special interest. From that very moment I became an actor and I never looked back.

Dana Bate
The True Vagabond
(Never give up.)

Summer is moving along, people.

It's a long, hot, sticky summer, so here's a hot, sticky question for you.

Same sex marriage. Should it be legal or not? If so, why? If not, why not?

17 answers so far.

You have until the last day of summer, but don't dally.
I eagerly await your answer.



Dannelle said...

Answer to summer question:
It is the commitment between two people that matters- true commitment deserves legality.

pacifica62 said...

I guess revelations can come in many forms, or not at all. Still waiting for mine.

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

A wonderful read. We all have interests, but usually only have true passion for one or two things.