Today is my father’s birthday. I called him this morning, with the subway clanging overhead (I live in a part of NYC where the train resembles Chicago, I love it). If pressed, I can tap into the “missing my family” vein very easily. It’s not any kind of homesickness, this is my home now, but it’s this realization that my family is more than just the people I see at holidays. They know about my life and are as much a part of it as we can create while living hundreds of miles away. And when we speak on those special occasions outside of our usual chats, it always chokes me up a bit. I want to be there, going to dinner or in this case I think it’s the Cracker Barrel near the airport because my sister is flying to visit them. Have you eaten there? It’s really good, well for giant portions of brunch, and who doesn’t enjoy that?!
So, my dad. He’s this incredible blend of brilliant pragmatism and overwhelming compassion. The skillful analysis and insight of a lawyer and politician (both of which he’s been/is) but never forgetting his history as a farm boy and a big band crooner (intrigued, aren’t you?). He’s the one who really taught me to drive (I took driver’s ed with a bunch of foreign students from the local university because I had play rehearsals after school and couldn’t do the normal program) and the one who let me pick out a family puppy on a whim (which is a funny story because the little puppy was so stinky and we took her home with nothing, no food, no supplies and my mother almost killed us). He told me stories about Vietnam even though he probably didn’t want to talk about it and he always stops at Sonic for cheesy tots and Cherry Limeades, I don’t even have to ask.
As I have often referenced here, I have really easy access to my emotions so it’s no surprise to hear me talk about laughing or crying. My dad danced with my sister at her wedding to the song “Sunshine on My Shoulder” and tears were flowing down my cheeks. Not only, or not really, because my sister had just gotten married. It was amazing but hardly a new revelation. I think I was so overwhelmed because there are lines in that song that so clearly echo my father and his attitude. “If I had a day that I could give you, I’d give to you a day just like today.” He always wants the best for us. I know, a pretty usual parental attitude, but still… He doesn’t really come out and say it, not in the note-writing and singing-voicemail way of my mother (which I absolutely love, so never stop doing it mom!) but every now and then he hits you with a zinger. After one show of mine he calmly and quietly said to my mother, referencing my college acting training, “Well, that was money well spent.” When my mother shared it with me, it felt like a validation of both my career choice and my talent. It doesn’t get any better than that.
So I don’t think I can write about that anymore, nothing left to say. I probably will never be able to adequately express in writing how I really feel. It will always be fragmented, a pale shadow of my heart’s emotions.
In other news, if you’re still reading, the gallery opening for Talking Back was amazing. I am so proud to be a subject, to support Leslie Lyons’ amazing vision and raise awareness about The West Memphis Three. And it was just cool to be in a picture hanging on a gallery wall. It’s open through tomorrow (Friday) at the Art Directors Club. I think it might journey elsewhere or possibly become a book in the future.
I’m also going to be part of Maieutic Theatre Works’ upcoming one night only benefit performance. I’m excited to be able to support this amazing company that has given me so much in 2009. There are doing this cool 4 way split of Charles Mee’s Big Love, each of the 4 sections are given over to a different director and cast. I get to play Lydia (dare I call her the protagonist) when she is confronted by her intended, Nikos, and finds her seemingly well thought out resolve crumbling around her. It’s so sweet and romantic, I can’t believe my luck. I am playing opposite the amazing Mark Emerson and he definitely makes me better simply by working in his proximity. If you’re in New York on October 18th and want to check it out, all the information is here.
Thank you for reading, now call your family and go see a play or a movie, and report back!
Dream Project: Sisters by Stephen Sewell (trying to find a way to do this play, it’s lovely)