Renaissance Woman or Jane of All Trades?
“Writers aren’t exactly people; theyre a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
In July of this year, I was fired from a job I had done for 5 years. With no real explanation other than, I’m not a good fit – the vague wording for firing that attempts to maintain some semblance of dignity, despite the utter lack of dignity with which it is accomplished.
After 5 years of blood, sweat and yes, even tears for that organization, I was dumped unceremoniously with not so much as a goodbye card.
So, here I am reflecting on how to re-invent my working life at this stage: mid 40s, single mother to a pre-teen daughter, with what feels like several lifetimes of back story. A former aspiring actress and waitress, writer, Realtor, CSR and administrative coordinator. A what?
First, I performed, and I was good. I was the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and an evil City Councillor in The Swinging Piper of Hamelin. I even performed when I was a competitive gymnast – or so said my Grade 9 coach for my profile in the local paper, “Amy always smiles and really puts on a show,” she said of my floor routine.
So, from school productions to creative writing, I discovered my flair for dialogue – according to my Grade 3 teacher, anyway. From my first novel at age 11 until much later, when she read my first stage play, she remembered, “Your stories always used lots of dialogue.”
I was a writer, an actor… a teller of stories, from a very young age.
When I was studying to be an actor, I attended a workshop with Uta Hagen – such a privilege for a young aspiring actor! Her focus was so singularly on the craft of acting – brilliantly so, but I struggled with my other side – the writer in me. Writers and actors can be so different, after all. Practically polar opposites.
So, I asked Ms Hagen, Ïs it possible to be both? A writer and an actor?
And she replied, “Maybe for some renaissance … people. But no, I think you have to pick one and stick to it.”
Yet today, I look around and everyone is a hyphenate of some kind: writer-director, actor-writer, writer-producer… or the original triplicate: singer-dancer-actor; and the mythical E.G.O.T winner.
Creatives are doing it all today: “Hi, I wrote, produced, directed and act in my new film!”
So, is it possible to do it all, despite what the great Uta Hagen told me? Well, I aim to find out.
I invite you to join me as I chronicle my journey to re-discover my Element and write the stories she could tell – as dramatically as possible.