Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Am I Living My Life For an Audience?

Did you ever find yourself knowing the Right Answer to a Big Question, and then flat out refusing to write that answer in the space provided?

The question is: Am I living my life for an audience? (Sounds like something Oprah would think up, except of course, she lives in front of an audience, so I'd have to give her a bemused glance if she ever asks me this. You know, when I'm on her show. With Ralph Fiennes. And Stacy London. He asks me for a date. She gives me free shoes.)

I know what the answer to this one is supposed to be. Everyone has internalized someone--- mom, dad, college professor, religious guru, ex- boyfriend/girlfriend, super-critical driver's license examiner with badge that reads Officer Law---who WATCHES you. ALL THE TIME. And if you are ever to be rid of this scrutiny, you must name this watcher, and banish them, and live the rest of your life, free, oh so, free.

Except....I don't want to give up my audiences. I love them. When I was a kid, I had a floor-length mirror in my room. I think this was because it matched the furniture, which was way too nice for a kid and...holy crap! I'm just now realizing...was actually guest room furniture. Anyhow, I also had a long, purple, nylon nightgown, which could be stretched and twisted into a variety of costumes. In front of that mirror, I practiced being a belly dancer, a wicked witch, a nun, a beggar, a rock star, and countless other characters who could be conjured out of thin air. That mirror was my first audience. I have it still. Last week, I did an awesome interpretive dance to Paul Simon's Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes in front of it.

Later, I did some theater in high school, and for my church, but now, my performing is limited to reading out loud. Lots of times, I read out loud to myself. My favorite thing is the Cold Read. Attempting something I've never seen before, letting the words themselves cue me and carry me along, and I'm telling you, if the writing is good, very good, this works every time and gives me a solid buzz.

But, Sara, you're saying, a mirror? Reading out loud to yourself? There are no audiences there! But we're talking about the audiences in our heads, remember? I'm sure my parents are in there, and the grammar police, too, but there's also an excited crowd of fabulous art-loving, word-hugging, purple nightgown-admiring people in there too. And if they weren't there, writing or reading out loud or singing in the shower wouldn't be half as much fun.

So, do you have an audience for your life? Are you trying to get them to leave or to stay?


  1. My audience when I blog would be my friend and former advisor in grad school, Jinx (Dr. Jinx Stapleton Watson), who taught me all about children's lit and being a librarian for children. She rocks so hard that it must hurt. Or, wait, "rawk" if you're cool, right? Seriously, I really admire her. And her wise words about good lit ring in my head. Having her as my audience when I blog, though I'm 99.9% sure she doesn't read it, is a good thing, a guiding thing.

  2. What an awesome answer, jules. No wonder your posts "rawk" so hard. And she even has a cool name.

    Mind if she sits in my imaginary audience too? She can sit by you. :)

  3. I live my life for my inner cynic. I want her to stay, because constantly trying to prove her wrong makes me a better person.

    Also, one of my life dreams is to go shoe shopping with Stacy London. If I ever end up on What Not to Wear, I will refuse to buy shoes that first day and then blow all the money on shoes with Stacy at my side.

  4. Yes, you can borrow Jinx for your imaginary audience.

    Oh, and yes I love me some Ralph Fiennes, too. Ever seen "The End of the Affair" with Julianne Moore and Ralph, Sara (the re-make)? I'm sure I'd get made fun of a lot for saying it to most people, but it's one of my favorite movies (and the book's nothing to sneeze at either). In its defense, it didn't get one single bad review, as in even SALON.COM LIKED IT. That's saying a lot. Anyway, ooh la la. He's particularly excellent in that one.

  5. Jennie: I love that, proving your inner cynic wrong. What great motivation.

    Jules: Mostly, I just like looking at Ralph brooding. Did you see that my date with him was golf?? That was to make Robin laugh. I don't think she's seen it yet.

  6. I guess my mom has taught me to think, "what would the neighbors think?" I really don't care most days, but they sit in the back of my audience anyway.
    I think I wish I were Candace Bushnell or even Sarah Jessica Parker on others. I will reserve a spot up front for them.
    Thanks for putting the spotlight on the REST of us... jheeszzs.

  7. Yes, I still remember the neighbors commenting if I sat too close to my date as we drove by their house. :)

    Oh, and being SJP would be fun. Especially her shoes.


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