Stories from the Circle
I love coaching creatives writing their first memoirs. The journey is full of amazing memories, perspective & the celebration of the life you’ve created.
My client, actor/writer, Susan Heyward (The Boys, Delilah, OITNB) and I have been working together for the last year & I’m super excited to share some of her brilliant work:I love coaching creatives writing their first memoirs. The journey is full of amazing memories, perspective & the celebration of the life you’ve created.
My client, actor/writer, Susan Heyward (The Boys, Delilah, OITNB) and I have been working together for the last year & I’m super excited to share some of her brilliant work:
Part III: Permission to Be A Storyteller
The teacher, after a few moments of stillness, really quietly said,
“Okay, now you can all let that go.”
We must have sat there in silence for 2 minutes.
I don't know what you call it. Orishas. Apollo.
We'd been visited by something.
And we told a story. A story, honey.
And our teacher asked
“Everybody remember what they did?”
As if we could forget. We all nodded.
And the teacher said,
“OK. We're going to present this improv at the Parents, Family & Friends Sharing at the end of the summer.”
I don't think I said anything out loud, but I remember feeling a flush of exhilaration & pride. And confidence; I knew whatever we found in that moment, we could do it again & we could share.
And we did.
I don’t remember rehearsing it again fully, but we had lots of staging rehearsals. We had sessions on blocking our positions on stage for each major moment, figured out our costumes & knew where the lights would be. The job was to let go, listen to each other & tell the story again, this time to the folks who knew & loved us best.
When we performed that improv for our family & friends night, the same inexplicable magic, intangible thing lifted all of us together. We worked as an ensemble, we told the story, our people’s story & I'll never forget the moment. When the group of escapees left the stage to ‘escape’ I felt the same upswell of emotion; grief. Joy. Hope. Faith. Love. As I watched these kids carry the spirits of the escaped slaves w/them through an auditorium of audience members in North Philadelphia, I could feel the audience's eyes on them, holding all this hope & watching them go. Watching me watch them go.
I felt that there wasn't anything I could do wrong.
Or any way I could mess up.
I was fully present with the audience; they were fully present w/us on stage.
And I think that's the moment. I knew I could do this. I knew that I could tell a story. If I knew nothing else, I knew that.
I could serve something larger than myself & work w/other people to serve something larger than us.
And I’ve been chasing it ever since.”
“I'm lucky. I had it so young.
I'm lucky, I've been able to feel it since
I've been trying to feel it again for a while.
So to all who have been searching for that intangible something that you’ve felt before, this goes out to you. This a reminder to
1. Stay curious & empathetic.
I know we are encouraged to read the room, but how many of us need a reminder to keep checking in? The world around us is constantly shifting, whether it’s one person establishing a rhythm we might want to join or some folks creating an escape plan that turns out not to be right for you. Acting class isn’t the only place we can practice being curious about others. Staying curious helped me navigate the culture shock of moving from Philadelphia to Charleston when I was a 13 year old know-it-all who suddenly knew nothing. It helped me find grace & closure when relationships ended. Sometimes it has kept me from cussing out someone who needs to be hugged. I’m still working on staying away from hugging folks that need to get cussed out. God’s not through w/me yet, LOL. So often we live in a reactionary mode, but if we take a little time to ask “Why is this person behaving this way? What is their goal?”, we can move through life w/a deeper understanding of the world around us & how we can thrive in it. Speaking of thriving...
Don’t be afraid to take. Your. Time. And when you move, be sure that YOU move
What is the difference between reacting & responding? Patience & self-knowledge. In that drama class improv, as soon as some classmates recognized the pantomime was in a field, a bunch of them jumped up immediately & did the same thing. No shade to them; sometimes there is strength in unison. Anyone who has ever sung in a choir knows that. But other times, there is a special magic in taking time to listen before joining in. That’s how you can make harmony. Did I want to even pretend to break my back? I did not. Not even for art, ya’ll. I wanted to bring comfort, sustenance, something that felt good. That’s who I am in life! I’m a Taurus rising! In our improv, I chose to bring water to the workers.”
—Actor/Writer, Susan Heyward
Learn more about TellYourStory ChangeYourLife @thedreamunlocked.com
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