Monday, May 6, 2013

Life Lessons to Git-R-Done!

I can't believe it is already May 6th!  It has been a busy couple of weeks preparing and performing shows in a variety of different formats, which the artist in me truly enjoyed not only because of the challenges I faced as a performer but the lessons I learned as a result of the process.

On Tuesday, April 23rd, I was an actor in an Old Time Radio Show play that enabled me to use a variety of character voices that I don't usually get a chance to use in my library shows.  I was reminded of how much I enjoy not being me.  It was also fun not to be in charge of the production.  Or the PR for the show.  I didn't even have to memorize the script since it was a radio show performed live on stage!  All I was responsible for was showing up and making sure the four characters I was playing would be entertaining for the audience.  Plus I finally got a chance to wear the Typewriter-print outfit I had made a few months ago since we didn't have costumes. Not only did I make some new friends in my fellow actors, I had a blast just being a member of the cast!

The cast of Fragile Fate, an Old Time Radio-style play.
As I have already mentioned in previous posts, the next night, I performed at McCurdy's Comedy Club down in Sarasota in honor of World Book Night. This was the performance of the week I was most nervous about.  I hadn't done a comedy club in over a year and it was also somewhat of an audition since the owner had never seen me before.  I wanted to make a good impression so I could come back for future shows.  While I only had to do 12 - 15 minutes (which seems like nothing compared to my hour-long set at my library events), it was the pressure to be instantly funny telling literary jokes to a non-reading crowd that scared me.  What if they didn't laugh?  Or worse yet, shush me?!  But the audience ended up being so supportive!  I also got some great advice from club owner Les McCurdy on how to better my act for the clubs, plus an open invitation to return to McCurdy's so I could continue to develop my act.  I learned that even with my years of experience in performing, there is always more to learn if you are open to hearing it.

Performing my literary stand-up comedy
at McCurdy's Comedy Club.
On Friday, April 26th, I was back in my comfort zone doing one of my library events performing for the Leesburg Public Library staff. On arrival, I was instantly approached by a group of friendly librarians on how excited they were to have me there.  One in particular I had met the year before when I performed at the Florida Library Conference where she had been one of the first people to buy one of my purses.  I later learned she also recommended me for this event - a prime example of how just one librarian can make a difference in employing another.  Thank you Alicisa!  This was also the first library event where I kind of hung out with the staff before I performed.  As a result of that personal time with my audience, I was more comfortable and less nervous which I think made me funnier and certainly better able to interact with them during the show.  They also showed their support in purchasing some of my literary purses and going on my Facebook page and telling me how much they enjoyed themselves.  I don't know if it was my brand-new pink Librarian outfit that I wore or the fact that I was 100% myself at that show, but I felt on top of the world!  Like I wasn't just performing for librarians, but entertaining friends.  Thank you Leesburg Library Staff for not only validating my work as the Stand-Up Librarian but for making unemployed librarian Meredith Myers feel like a member of your staff!

The Stand-Up Librarian with the Leesburg Library staff!
And finally, on Saturday, April 27th, I participated in ARTpool Gallery's Crafty Fest.  While I have been making and selling my literary purses for over a year at my shows and my Etsy shop, I had yet to do any type of craft fair so I thought it was about time I tried it out since I am an artist on residence there and could get a free space.  Thank God it was free because I did not sell a single thing in five hours of sitting in the blazing sun!  Now I don't know if was the lack of people in attendance at this thing or that the ones who came didn't buy a single thing from any of the artists making their own stuff, but soon began to dislike being a craft fair vendor!  It's like being homeless and begging for money that you already spent. Seriously, people walk right past your booth without even an acknowledgement of you or your homemade items.  Or if you are lucky, they stop and touch everything on the table making the once organized display now a heap of colored objects and then walk away. Once in awhile, someone will tell you how much they love everything and must have it but then walk to the booth where the girl is selling ripped-up Levi cutoff shorts and buy those instead.  Oh well, so I learned that I still don't like working retail even when it is my own stuff.  The one perk?  Lots of reading!

Stand-Up Librarian Designs being a vendor
at ARTpool Gallery's Crafty Fest.
I often talk about my troubles with letting go of my past and the person I once was or could have been today had I continued working as a publicist.  Or I had focused all of my energy on being just a comedian or just an actor.  I also admit to imagining how different my life could have been if I had hired as a librarian right out of grad school!  But then I stop myself.  Life didn't happen that way for me.  Instead I made a choice to listen to my heart - which stupidly resulted in me trying to do all of the same time! Exhausting?  Yes.  Regrets?  Not a chance.

So after a week of playing a variety of different roles - actor, stand-up comic, Stand-Up Librarian, designer - I have finally learned the very important lesson that the role I created for myself - The Stand-Up Librarian - is the one that brings me the most joy (and surprisingly, also the most profits!)  Like in my favorite book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho that I gave out to the audience at McCurdy's for World Book Night, it is often through the long, difficult journey that you find your treasure...within yourself.

Celebrating MY success with Larry, who I first met over
15 years ago in a Chili's. Create your own opportunities.