It would be so much easier if life was actually a song: tuneful, harmonious, open to all the senses, logical in a musically mathematical manner. I can think of a hundred show tunes to set me tapping along my way, as i got to know myself throughout my life….or at least to THINK iwas getting to know myself:
From OKLAHOMA, “OH, What a Beautiful Morning”, loud and clarion as I come easily swooshing out from between my mother’s thighs….of course, there is no easy birth, and no swooshing…..just lots of pain and bright lights….I’ve never gotten over those bright lights….
From PETER PAN, “I Won’t Grow Up!”, as i struggled to get away from my protective parents’ rules….somehow thinking i had achieved that get-away no matter how much i didn’t….
From GIGI, “The Night They Invented Champagne”, as my teenage self delightfully discovered the night I invented champagne, and thought i would live forever on its bubbles…..midnight came so fast….that surprised me….
From FUNNY GIRL, “Don’t Rain on my Parade” as stumbled and mumbled my way through a misguided but energetic young adulthood, this song screamed at the top of my formidable lungs as i flung myself about achieving all I could as fast as I could…..
From JESUS CHRIST SUPER STAR, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him”, to tearfully accompany and explain all
the many men i constantly kept stubbing my toe against as i fell for them….so much falling…..
From THE KING AND I, “Getting To Know You”, as i taught hundreds of young actors in NYU acting classes, and imagining myself some sort of refuge for all their multiple stormy voyages, i was their Statue of Liberty, their passport to how to be a successful actor in a difficult business….my costumes were less elaborate, though….
From CAROUSEL, “When You Walk Through a Storm”, a classic showbiz tune for every conceivable stage of life, and one that actually played at my high school graduation….little did i know…..
From GYPSY, “Everything’s Coming’ Up Roses”, an anthem i have so desperately clung to through my maturating and aging into later years….a song like a chant, no matter what or who died…no matter what dream died or person succumbed ….dammit, the determination to end that first act with a strong optimism….thinking there might be a second act….we seem to always count on a second act….
And finally, though we leave an entire body of countless songs to draw analogies from, the thing about knowing oneself as one ages is reaching the goal of being an actual embraceable someone…i don’t know what show that particular Gershwin song EMBRACEABLE YOU is from, but if we are going to talk about knowing oneself, i would like to end it all, one day, as Nature permits, by feeling myself lovable and embraceable.
Because I have sent far too much time feeling thoroughly UN-embraceable, Un-loveable, Un-worthy, which probably explains my 50 years onstage around the world…a life in show business, looking for thousands to tell me how actually embraceable i am and have been.
This is a provocative topic.
For we are many phyllo layers of thin delicate dough, and it may be impossible to get through all the infinite layers of self…..to taste and know them all.
I’ll let this rumination end here, and hope to hear from my partner this week.