acting on it

Talking with a friend on the phone the other night she said to me, “I’m trying to figure out what this desire (to write) is about.” I responded by saying, “it’s just what you’re supposed to do.” She laughed. I’ve gone through many desires, baking, traveling, but at the core of all of these were my words. My mother loves to rearrange furniture. My grandmother loved to quilt and sew. I have friends that love food, and work with others who are beautiful tattoo artists or poets. Whatever calls to you, whatever has always called to you is a part of you, it’s what you’re supposed to do. And I don’t think it’s the “supposed to” in the negative way. It’s your way of knowing even when you don’t know. Last night I had the immense pleasure of working an event with Alan Arkin. His new book, An Improvised Life is just out in paperback and he came to share some of his insights with a room full of strangers. In chapter one he describes how he came to acting,

“At five, acting was already a fever in my blood, and somehow I knew, even then, that the decision was made and there would be no turning back. My father took my declaration with a grain of salt, knowing that children change their minds a dozen times before committing to something.

He goes on to say,

But my fate had been sealed before I had any notion of what I was letting myself in for, and my father bit his tongue.”

The conversation with my writer friend continued and I said the hard part isn’t knowing what to do, it’s acting on it when the knowing won’t go away.

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