Wednesday 18 September 2019

Stage Fright

When I was young I was a member of an amateur dramatic group. I think I was an ok kind of actress - some say I'm still a bit of a drama queen - but I dropped out because of stage fright. More recently I've cut down on my talks about The Children's Book of Richard III for the same reason. Logically it makes no sense because I have never had to face a hostile audience - except for one school assembly when I finished my Richard III talk at a rate of knots, grabbed my stuff and ran - but on the whole most audiences are lovely and once I begin my talk I'm always perfectly fine. It's those hours beforehand that slay me.

Fortunately not everyone is as wimpish as I am. Last Sunday good friends from way back came for
lunch. They were booked to play at an acoustic afternoon in our local micro pub. Lunchtime consisted of wall-to-wall reminiscing about the good old days when we were teenagers hanging out at the Maccabi Youth Club, but then there was a lull in the laughter, just a slight one, and they excused themselves an hour before the gig to go and set up. They admitted to me afterwards that it always takes the first few songs before they can settle into a set. I was blissfully unaware, tapping feet, singing along and thoroughly enjoying their performance. Their act is called Cherry Tree and they play a wide range of music, including some good old nostalgia songs from the 60s and some bluegrass blues played on a converted cigar box.

I'm not implying that Cherry Tree suffer from stage fright. Far from it. They're experienced enough to know how to channel those nerves, along with the resulting adrenalin, into a successful performance. Before Cherry Tree began their set they were approached by a very talented young girl who asked if she could perform a few songs during their interval. Until last Sunday she had only ever played to her mother and now she was ready to perform in public - brave girl - but as her turn to perform approached her face became almost contorted with fear. Her legs visibly trembled and when she started singing I didn't think her voice would make it to the end of the first song. But it did. She performed four numbers and with each song her voice grew in strength, she handled the guitar with more confidence and her talent shone out. One day she will make it big - once she has learnt how to channel those nerves.

In the meantime I will continue to play my piano when nobody else can hear me and - I'm going to let you into a secret - a new purchase has just arrived in the post. It's a mouth organ. I haven't played a mouth organ since I was 14 so I will have to start from the beginning but I can promise you one thing. You'll never hear me play it - unless you happen to be Mabel the cat!

Wednesday 11 September 2019

My Blog has a new name

Today I have given my blog a new name. It was almost ten years ago that I began writing this blog. As I've explained in the above strap-line, I called it 'Writing in the Rain' because life was not so good. With Mr A starting chemotherapy the future looked bleak and I thought this blog would be a way to meet other people who were going through similar problems. It turned out quite differently. Thankfully Mr A is in remission and long may it last. As for this blog, it has introduced me to lots of lovely writers and helped me to keep in touch with friends and family. It took me from the negative into the positive and so it was high time the blog got a more positive title.

I was prompted to do this today by Facebook. Sometimes I am irritated when Facebook reminds me what was happening on this day many years ago. Today it came up with a lovely, but bitter-sweet, photograph. It was a picture of me having breakfast in Venice overlooking the Grand Canal. I loved Venice. One day I will go there again but hopefully not for the same reason. We booked that holiday when Mr A was first diagnosed with Amyloidosis. We knew that the prognosis could turn out to be bad and Venice was one place that neither of us had visited - it was on our bucket list and so we went.

Thank you Facebook for making me turn to the positives of life. In fact, this has given me an idea for a poem and so I am Writing Again...