what am I?

Busy day yesterday, no time for blogging.

I went to a memorial celebration of a life in theatre yesterday afternoon.  The introducer called it a celebration-slash-roast. I called it a canonization, albeit a  profane one.  The profanity came from the deceased,not the mourners. They were just quoting things that had been said to them. I actually workshopped a play once with this much revered mentor. I guess I didn’t pass; no swear words.  No production either, for a favourite play (of mine), still never produced, though frequently read and tweaked and semi-staged. Always a bridesmaid, the play, not me.

Maybe I’m an outlier:  outlier |ˈaʊtlʌɪə  |noun    -a person or thing situated away or detached from the main body or system: a western outlier in the Andaman archipelago.

New Yorker  (and Canadian) writer Malcolm Gladwell wrote his third book titled Outliers: The Story of Success (2008) in which he considers among other ideas the singularity of successful people, and also - more important, actually - the 10,000 Hour Rule, that is, if you work at something for 10,000 hours, you’re bound to be good at it (though not necessarily successful). Remember that joke about the stranger in New York who  went up  to a person standing at a bus stop, and asked, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” to be met with the answer, “Practice, Practice!”?

Well, I guess I’m not an outlier. I’m singular but not very successful. More of an outsider, I think, still a little kid with her nose pressed against the glass of the candy store. Definitely, an outsider, being two years ahead of my contemporaries in school and  being the only kid in my neighbourhood with an absentee father (during World War II; I guess he was younger than his neighbours, and he was a doctor and wanted to help). Then, too, I lived outside the school district where I went to high school, again because of my father; he couldn’t afford to send me to a private school with my peers. Anyway, my singularity gave me a third-person point of view, valuable to a writer, I think.

Maybe I’m  a mugwump:   mugwump |ˈmʌgwʌmp noun    -a person who remains aloof or independent, especially from party politics.  (Several friends have accused me of being a-political.)

I remember a more colourful definition: a mugwump is a person who sits on a fence with his mug on one side and his wump on the other.

Anyway, I sat in a theatre yesterday afternoon listening to immensely talented people pay loving, emotional tribute to their mentor, profound, apparently, as well as profane.  Well,bless them.

" Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be."  (Shakespeare - remember? Ophelia)