Thursday, September 20, 2012

To Dream or Not to Dream

I am at a crossroads and my soul is torn. Should I stay or should I go? Am I living in a fantasy, or am I just like every other person in the world trying to make ends meet while trying to fulfill their dream?

Tennessee Williams' play "In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel" is finally returning to NYC for an Off-Broadway production in October for a limited engagement at New World Stages, and I am proud to say that I have an opportunity of a lifetime to be production assistant and assistant to the director on this amazing production. It is a dream come true.

I still have to ask myself though, "Will this be the moment that I finally start believing in myself?"

I wrote a children's book over 10 years ago and to this day, it still is not published. I always struggled with the fact that either I was a horrible writer, or that my manuscript had just not landed in the right hands yet. A few months back, my mentor had sent my manuscript to a former student of hers who is now a publisher of children's books and of the ever popular YA genre that is taking over mainstream. The response I received was that the story itself was charming, but my words were flat.

I felt crushed. I took that response and sat on it like a chicken waiting to hatch an egg, but not quite sure what to do. I have had many rejections in my day, but this one was a hard pill to swallow. In spite of this, I have always been able to take constructive criticism and was able to re-evaluate what I wrote over a decade ago, and tell myself that there was truth in that knowledge, but I still felt paralyzed.

Hearing that my words were flat resonated with me and triggered my mind to think of Tennessee Williams. Over many years of studying the works of Williams, I learned that he would sometimes, if not most of the time, slave over one particular word for days if not weeks. I started to think to myself that I have always known the stories that I have wanted to tell, but to relay what is in my mind to paper is an entirely different thing and I have never slaved over ONE word for days ever, let alone weeks.

It was something for me to think about. Williams is a legend in my mind that can never be duplicated, and one should not ever try, but he is an inspiration and someone who I am learning great lessons from, even though only his spirit remains.

My children's book is only one hurdle that eats away at my perseverance. I am a journalist and a former actor who began performing when I was 5 years old that is still consumed with the chase of my dream. I also live in reality. I have two children that I love more than life itself and work tirelessly every day to provide them with the best quality life that they deserve.

This is the dilemma I see many artists face. How do we continue to pursue our dreams when have no choice but to live in the reality of every day life to provide for our family? How do you keep going when so many people in your life tell you to get out of fantasy land and live in reality, when you fully realize the reality, but something so strong inside you is telling you that no matter what you cannot give up your dreams?

Maybe my children's book will never get published and maybe it will. Maybe I will never act again and maybe I will take that leap. Maybe I will work an office job, or be a waitress for the rest of my life. One thing I do know, is that as many times as an artist that I have been at this crossroads, I have never given up and I never will.  I feel truly blessed to be the person that I am.

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