Dread and Cover-Diving

Phyllis and I settle into the sound studio and I remember our list of stories for the day, suddenly overcome by dread.

"Oh, no--I can't believe I am going to tell some of these stories with Paul listening in the next room." I try like crazy to be present through the hard parts, even though part of me is praying he will magically step out of the room during my most embarrassing confessions.

Some of the stories have unfolded recently in these last winter months--some are the kind I don't expect to ever tell on stage. Even this morning I don't know how much of what we told will make the final cut.

My love for storytelling is like an addiction to truth serum--if you want to be good, I mean really good, you have to leave the bullshit and your ego at the door. You come toe-to-toe with your own unreliability as a source, even about your own life. It's tempting all the time to try to look good--or just a little better, more attractive, more charming or sexy or confident than you really are. It's so hard to hold the bruised and battered apples in your hand and offer them to the audience without even polishing them first with your shirt.

The story can be crafted and tightened, but who you actually are in it cannot be polished and shined without shaving away at the ring of truth in your tale. And if you lose your audience's trust, you've lost everything.

After the leap it is to tell such things, there's still a trembling feeling that lingers even after landing safely. I'm feeling that way today after laying so much bare for so many hours behind that microphone. The only remedy I know is to rest and ground myself in love, which is my plan for the next several days. That, and a good amount of time under the covers.