Do you ever have a moment when you realize something about yourself? I’ve been having those moments a lot this summer. Mostly recently I have come to the realization that I really enjoy comedians. Specifically, I enjoy hearing about their process of creativity and have been reading various books by comedians. Miranda Hart. David Sedaris (not labeled a comedian, but definitely teeters on the line in my mind). Mindy Kaling. Steve Martin. This was not intentional, but just sort of happened. And this week I noticed the trend.
I’ve been on vacation this week and on Friday I made it out to the library. I picked up Steve Martin’s book “Born Standing Up,” First, Martin is a spectacular writer. He is not cliché with his words, yet is able to beautifully describe a moment in a way that captures you. I knew he was writing, but didn’t know how gifted he was with the pen/typewriter/keyboard (you get what I’m saying). He only covers the first part of his career, that of a stand-up comedian…
“In a sense, this book is not an autobiography but a biography, because I am writing about someone I used to know…I ignored my stand-up career for twenty-five years, but now, having finished this memoir, I view this time with surprising warmth. One can have, it turns out, an affection for the war years.”
As I became increasingly engrossed in the book, which I read in one day (the gift of being on vacation), I found myself fascinated by the development of his act. Later, as I drove home, I wondered what it would look like for to be a comedian, or a comedic writer. In reading Martin’s book, I realized that being a comedian doesn’t just mean being funny. It takes an exploration of what makes people laugh, connecting with the audience, and understanding how to play with their expectations. I began to dream of experimenting with comedy. If I enjoy this so much, why has it never felt like an option (I think I know the answer to that question)?
Last night I performed at an open mic night as part of my friend’s 30th birthday party. It has been a long time since I have performed anything and the prospect felt enlivening. I had planned to sing a song about “Pride and Prejudice,” but decided to add some comedy before singing (nothing like Jane Austen themed comedy to get a crowd rolling). I really enjoyed crafting what I was going to say. Creating points to cover, while allowing for there to be flexibility in what I said exactly. I practiced in my car, in the shower, and as I got ready. I really enjoyed myself last night. It was messy and not everything I said elicited a laugh, but it was fun to experiment and try something new.
I’ve been wondering what it looks like for me to welcome in more of my creative self into daily life. I don’t have a lot of answers at this point, but I do feel freed to experiment. Perhaps it’s time to find avenues to sing more? Maybe I’ll take an improv class? Sometimes I just wait for things to happen, but today I feel oddly empowered to step out and try something new. And I think this all started last spring when I began to blog more regularly.
So, here’s to continuing to unleash creative me even more! What within you might you need to unleash upon the world?