Looking back, it seemed like three lifetimes ago, me and tom Wegner and Joey Karas and Big Daif and Telle Jarboe and Michelle and Kevin Williams and Jamie Wedow and John-O. That was our click, our crew, our small little band of lost souls banding together for safety through the rapids of high school. We were the best of friends and now, ten years later, I hardly talk to any of them. But that doesn't mean that they're not in my heart and in my dreams every night, dreams of back in the days when we ruled that high school simply because we didn't give a shit about how anybody else saw us, the ultimate pride in ourselves, pride in who we are, the eventual basis of Woodism which started in the dark, dank, navy blue halls of Deer Valley High School, a school nobody cares about in a suburb that nobody remembers.
I was a theater geek, a theater fag for those who don't have a knee-jerk reaction to someone using the word "fag" in a negative sense. I loved theater. I loved being on a stage and being my own silly, stupid ass self and gaining applause from it. I loved being the center of attention. I loved the thrill, the rush of the stage, being something, being SOMEONE, being on that stage that gave me life. This was before I realized that I hated actors, all actors, 95% of which are self-centered pricks, before I decided to unofficially give up on all my dreams of the stage, dreams of the spotlight, dreams of all those plays that I secretly kept in my top secret dream list of plays that, before I die, I wish I will be cast in. My dream parts.
And on that list, ten long years ago, was the musical "Pippin."
You got a problem with that?
Now, ten years later, I live in a different state with a different family and a different life. I work as the manager of the children's department of a bookstore, a job I excell at due to my becoming a dad to a wonderful daughter named Emerald and, later on, becoming a father to a one month old named Isabela. I sometimes will be in the kitchen eating eggs or drinking coffee and I'll have an out of body experience and look at my present self and wonder with awe what happened to the idealistic young boy who loved cartoons and Snapple and theater. He;s long gone now, replaced with this innocent yet asshole-ish young man, a man now, who finds himself worried about bills and work and deadlines and other pointless shit like that. I know now that it was the dreams that mattered, the dreams I've long since forgotten about, that make up the core, the essence of a life. The dreams I had forgotten about, those are the dreams that mattered.
Yesterday, at around midnight, I decided to resurrect those dreams long since forgotten. Dying dreams are frightening things to resurrect, but I resurrected them. I gave them another chance, a rarity in a world obsessed with cell phones and cars and looking good for other people. So, in the middle of the dirtbar, the most redneck dive in all of Sacramento, California, I sang the one song from the one play that I always dreamed of being in.
I sang "Corner of the Sky" from the musical Pippin. And nobody cared, not the drunk rednecks that populated the bar, not the strangers whose faces I'd never seen, not even my own brother, not even the people that I went with. Nobody really seemed to care. My wife seemed to care. I would occasionally see her eyes, see her smile. She knew how much the song meant to me. But she was also upset and distracted. She was somewhere else.
But I cared. I cared about the dream and I didn't let it die. I was my only real audience member and in the end, that's the only audience member that matters. I kept the dream alive, acted out my fantasy, lived my long lost dream, a dream that I've secretly kept hidden inside myself for well over ten years now, a dream that one day I will be on stage singing "Corner of the Sky" to an audience. That was it. My dream. I took my long gone dream back the dead dream, the dream that society robbed from me, and I made it live again. I got up and had the courage and sang that song and lived out my innermost dream.
And you can, too. You just have to hang on to your dreams, water them, feed them, make them survive. And eventually one day you, too, will be on that stage in the center of the spotlight living your dream.
(WRITER'S NOTE: this piece was written at two in the morning under the influence of five beers. Despite the buzz, I still feel that the message of this piece remains clear. Thank you. Stay tuned for GVWA Deviance later today ...)