The Past, Present, And Future

18 03 2008

Sometimes it’s tough being me. I try to be very aware of certain things, like when an opportunity for growth or change presents itself, but I don’t always act on it. Lately, I’ve been trying to be better about that. It’s almost like I’ve been working on the outline of the story that will eventually be my life. Right now, I’m trying to add character development, maybe even get an arc in there.

A couple of days ago, one of my managers at the Bookstore asked me if I would join him and some people for a table read of a script that one of those people had written. I wouldn’t be reading any of the parts, I’d be reading the stage directions. Well, normally, I would have thanked him kindly, declined, and been on my way. Thing is, I found myself saying something like, “Well, let me check my schedule,” and actually meaning it.

Why this change? Well, part of it was due to the fact that a friend of mine recently told me about this thing called iscript, which basically is a thing where a writer or writers will send in his, her, or their script, and then iscript will choose readers to read the script aloud, record it on a thing, and then send that recording to the writer or writers. Cool idea, except they don’t have actors read it, and no direction is given, and it seems that a lot of it doesn’t even involve the readers responding to the other readers’ performances; it all feels kinda stiff and bland. To me! I don’t know, maybe it makes sense for some aspiring writers. Anyway, because of that, I’d been thinking of doing a similar thing, but with a small group of actors, and recording a performance, instead of just a bland recitation. So, part of why I said I’d think about the invite was to get a sense of how a table read works, and also to be a part of one, albeit in a stage directions capacity.

But really, the bigger reason that I said I’d think about it, and eventually agreed to do it, was because I’m at a point where I really do want to try new things. I want to do things that are outside of my comfort zone, things that I normally would just say no to without ever really considering them. I mean, how am I going to fulfil those actor-y dreams if I can’t even say yes to anything I’ve never tried before?

Another thing I did, just yesterday in fact, was to go to my old high school. I grew up in a city called Covina, and I don’t know if any of you have ever seen the movie IT, but if you have, then you’ll understand that Covina is a lot like Derry. For those who don’t get that, Derry is basically a town that you can’t ever really leave. Not in a weird, force-field kind of way, more like, you either never really move out, or if you do, you find yourself back there at some point, probably permanently. It’s that kind of place that just kind of feels like home, you know? It seems simple, easy. When you’re growing up there, you believe you can do anything, go anywhere.

So, I went back to Covina, because we’re having a picnic in the park reception after the wedding, and we wanted to scope out the Covina Park, the park I grew up going to. Afterwards, I wanted to visit my old high school, and visit “that special teacher”. You know the one. Everybody had one, or if you didn’t, you knew somebody who had one.

Anyway, I’m sitting in the parking lot, and I start freaking out. It was a mixture of a freakout. There was the sweaty palms kind of I-was-a-total-geek-in-highschool-and-I-still-am-and-yet-I’m-willingly-going-back-in freaking. But there was also this one, which I didn’t expect: what if that teacher didn’t recognize me? Or, worse yet, what if he did, but I hadn’t grown into a person that lived up to his expectations. So, I almost turned around and left.

I’m glad I didn’t.

I walked through the school, probably looking like a kind of creepy guy who shouldn’t be allowed to roam a high school hallway. My hair was messed up, I didn’t have a back pack, I was wearing sandals, I recently sprained my ankle, so I’m walking with a limp. To a casual observer, I might seem like I fit in, since I still look really young, but if you looked closely and paid attention, I clearly didn’t belong. And that’s almost creepier than like, a guy dressed in black, wielding a knife. Because that guy, you just get outta the way, but the subtle guy might be upon you before you ever notice. Sorry about this tangent. Those were just the things floating through my head as I was walking to the teacher’s classroom. Like I said, I was freaking out.

So, I finally see him, only his head is now shaved, and he has two kids, so I had to look really hard at his face to make sure. “Mr. Kearns?” And do you know what happened? His face lit up, all smiles. “Hey! I was just thinking about you the other day. Somebody had your year’s yearbook out, and we saw your picture! How’ve you been?” And we talked. Only for about five minutes, but still. I’m engaged, oh! to who?, you don’t know her, I’m an actor in L.A., that makes sense, I also write, I always thought you would, you always broke down movies really well, well, it was great seeing you, yeah, come back soon.

Immediate recognition, no disappointment. Thank you.

So, in the past couple of days, I’ve looked ahead to my future, when I’ll be a person who regularly considers new things. Hopefully. I’ve also looked back at my past, and seen how far I really have come.

I may not know what’s next, have all the beats worked out, but for the first time in a long time, I’m really excited to find out where this story is going. And that’s something.

— ldi