Public speaking is number one on many peoples’ list of things that most terrify them.
And yet there are people who seek it, yearn for it, live their lives to do it. And these people are actors, singers, poets who yearn to share their writing in public spaces….
People who crave it, become JLo, Taylor Swift, Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Sarah Bernhardt, Colin Firth, 50Cent, Eminem, and countless other celebrities whose names have become household words in our lives. And there are countless others whose names we will never know but who yearn for the freedom of performing in public no matter how awful it makes then feel: butterflies in the stomach, dry throat, and countless ofter symptoms of true misery.
And yet these people yearn for this discomfort, and if they’re lucky , they will have a lifetime of it, and that is if their careers are successful and long.
I taught at NYU for a dozen years, and i told my students that if they were lucky, they’d have a career filled with both delight and total misery.
Countless opportunities to put yourself and your talents in front of people who will judge you, people who hold the fate of your future in their judgmental hands….and that is if they have a long career.
I told them to gird their loins and get ready for combat, because the thing they will be battling will be their own fears…their own need for security and approval.
And that is true if you’re career is long and fruitful one.
A lifetime of auditioning, being judged worthy…a life time of the rehearsal process that is both wonderful and terrifying, as is the creative process always, and then the opening nights, when critics get to judge the fate of the show you hope will run for ever and ever. Then the agony of a long run, when entropy and boredom set in, but, hey its a paycheck and the show is fun to do anyway, but one wonders, when will the next job come up to make me more secure and more famous?
Holding both misery and excitement in the same grasp, tolerating pain and excitement: that is the lot of the actor, the singer, the performer.
And this agony, this chance to be both excited and terrified on a daily basis, is what makes up a career in the business they call “show”…..it is an agony and an ecstatic way of life, and for many years, i lived it, and am now glad to relax and let go of it.
Go figure: the agony and the delights of a creative life…….I am glad i had it, and am now glad to relax and let my writing take me here it will….with no one to judge it. Only the joy of sharing it.
With the people i love.