So I missed yesterday, but I was very tired and I went to bed at 8:30 last night. This morning I swam, of course, and made a picnic and went to Stratford with a friend (who is a good driver) to see Love's Labour's Lost. (Why is there an apostrophe on Labour's?), of which more anon, like tomorrow.
Well, yesterday morning I spoke to a breakfast meeting of WEN (Writers and Editors Network) and I described my professional beginnings. Looking back over my early history, I wonder how I did what I did: I made a living for me and my 4 children by free-lance writing, no day job. No one told me it couldn't be done. Even if they had, I couldn't have afforded to believe it.
I think I was play-acting. I was pretending to be a brave, hardworking widow who refused to take no for an answer. I think we all do that, to a certain extent: game-play. We present a persona to the public and as others accept us as we are - or seem to be - we begin to believe it ourselves. The Canadian-born sociologist, Erving Goffman (1922-1982), wrote some fascinating books dealing with this, among other things. This idea was what caught my attention and I bought and studied two of his books. The titles indicate what they are about: The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1956) and Behaviour in Public Places (1963). I later discovered that these were useful reading for students learning to be directors at the National Theatre School, or so a director told me. But what makes sense to me, looking back on it, was that I was able to put on an act and sell myself, and my writing.
We go on we go on. We all act differently in different settings, with different people. Sometimes we do what people expect us to do; we're trapped in expectations. Other times, we have to change in order to survive.
And me? I'm different now.