After studying acting with Richard Seyd for the last six months (has it been that long really?) and having a tiny bit of success with film, both my own and others, I feel ready to shift gears into a new life.
The problem, however, is always economic. I have been on my own since I was sixteen years old, struggling to keep my head above water, to educate myself, to find work that was meaningful and worthwhile and still develop my talents and abilities that are challenging and certainly not economically easy: writing and acting. This is of course everyone's struggle who was not born with a silver spoon.
I have been reading about the famous Harvey Weinstein whose phenomenal success is legendary and was surprised he grew up in a coop in a New York City borough, not poor but certainly working class. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised since his drive to succeed is very aggressive and from what I can tell at times ruthless. We become desperate creatures when we wish to rise above the fray and leave our hard scrabble roots behind.
My life for the last 20 years has been teaching. Richard Seyd has said a few times in our class that we teach what we need to learn. I wanted to learn film, all aspects of it because in my heart of hearts I wanted to become a filmmaker. I am distantly related to Fellini so some of this desire is genetic, rooted in the Italian storyteller and commedia, yet ignored for generations by a working class family. I love movies, film actors and dreamed as a child of making and starring in movies. Now I find myself slowly integrating into that life. I ask myself is this all too little, too late? The film business is notorious in America for being geared to youth and perhaps rightfully so. It is a physically demanding occupation. I have to tell myself repeatedly "Better late than never." And it is.
I have a few years left before I retire completely although I have gone into a pre retirement phase which means less money, less work and more flexibility in my schedule for half the year so this is all good. My home has become a burden and I want to rid myself of it and the ties to the past life in a way that is respectful of the last 25 years, a way that honors the work I have done, the lives that I have affected and that have affected me. I am hopeful and excited about this relocation to the south because, truthfully,I am much happier down there. Everyone says it is so ugly, there are no trees, the air and traffic is horrible. All this is true. But beauty is where you find it and even though it is not nearly as pretty as where I am, it is where I belong. You teach what you need to learn and where can I learn about film except where the industry is? Every nerve and fiber in my body wants me there...but still it is sad to move on, leave behind an old life and find a new one. Leave behind the ornamental plum tree I planted in my backyard to honor my father. The Japanese maple that falls gracefully over the wise Buddha. The apple, fig, pear and lemon trees in the front yard. The stream that runs below on my quarter of an acre. The redwood. The ancient oak. How strong our dreams can be that they pull us away from such beauty. We teach what we need to know.