Tag: fear

She Belonged On Stage

At least those were her words when Becky returned to an audition after years of being away. I’ve changed her name and productions to protect her anonymity. I was first introduced to Becky in a production of Mary Poppins when she played a significant role. She was someone who came out of nowhere, they usually do and found herself with a significant role, one that she would present with a fierceness a director may only wish a student would bring to a program.

I remember her having an edge with the cast immediately. People looked upon Becky and knew she was serious about her purpose in a show. She had her lines down early and was even helping the younger children find comfort with their roles and acting abilities. I remember being able to give her any direction and she always took it a step further. She one time told me she didn’t really get along with anyone else and she was just here to do her job. Though I wanted to disagree with her I could see in her dynamic she did stay close to the chest and it was significant to see her become close to anyone in the production. That wasn’t a bad thing I decided, she was actually so talented I let her do whatever she wanted. Off stage she may not have been everyone’s best friend but when acting and working on her role, there was no question of her commitment.

And then she disappeared. The production ran its course and suddenly Becky didn’t return for the one acts or later the spring play. In fact she vanished from the halls of the school. The next year came and went and no Becky still. I was puzzled because she was so good I was actually mildly planning my season around her (a taboo admission by a director). As I did find out she transferred to an ALC, an alternative learning center. I wouldn’t know the reason for a couple of years but once I did discover her there she did invite me to a couple of poetry readings, so I knew it was evident she wanted to perform. Turns out her angst toward other members of the stage was more likely anxiety, and she just couldn’t maintain a comfort level working with the school productions. I always encouraged her and she would give me a maybe look and be on her way.

Senior year came along and Little Shop of Horrors was our fare for the fall musical. Suddenly on the list of auditions I saw Becky’s name. I was beyond delighted. Here comes a monologue story. Students were mandated to have a prepared monologue for the audition. When Becky got up to do her piece it was one of the most heartfelt pieces I had ever heard – a story of a young woman that knew she belonged on stage but was afraid. She finally decided in the caveat of the reading she needed to take a chance and would go for it. I loved it. It fit her swimmingly. I asked her where she found the piece I would like to see it myself and maybe use it in my classroom. She looked at me with a pensive glance and said, “I wrote it.” In that moment I cast her in the show.

There is something about anxiety and students finding themselves on stage. They may walk the halls of school in a meek manner not wanting to upset the cart, their insides churning with fear the entire walk. Put them on a stage and that persona can change, I have seen it occur time and time again. In Becky’s case she belongs on stage, and to confirm this feeling I had, she continued to excel on stage in her post-secondary studies. I am delighted to reference such a wonderful human being and actor in my theater classrooms.

There is an illusion we all try to reach when performing our realities in the scheme of a stage. When we can lives may also become more complete and validating. For Becky, she did find a zone and embraced her opportunities.


© Thom Amundsen 4/2022

On Being Scared

Stepping within the shadows of our curiosity

one man might settle

world around him suggest a normalcy

only this man without conscious

effort

cannot really untangle from his mind,

caught up in the doings

of his rotational reality.

~

Like a circus we might imagine our world

in a constant thrust of

soft display,

the reality is elsewhere

for now live upon the fiction,

I applaud you,

and appreciate you,

I’m grateful to be caught up in

nothing,

nothing, at all

rather.

~

Isn’t that it then,

are we so secluded in our lives

we haven’t taken the time

to know

anyone,

any one at all,

outside our own circle of deceit,

that quiet melody of a mundane existence

allows us to never have to think about ..

never think about …

think

never think.

~

Oh for lack of ever being afraid

would we laugh, oh the fuss we made.


© Thom Amundsen 9/2021

Sifting Through Fear

A candle burns nearby

a reminder of some peace of mind,

tranquil is the flame

out of the corner of his eye.

Speaker beware,

someone might reveal,

their reveal,

that word causes headaches in some circles,

those afraid to look in the

mirror.

© Thom Amundsen 9/2021

First Moments

When doubt begins to wonder

and all the souls that gather around

suddenly want to splinter off,

an edgy sort of raw scrape upon our

own fragile sanity.

~

We might think we know,

protest the moment,

rather respond with a reaction

that only suggests we are

as fucked up as we believe ourselves.

~

What happens when we really cannot

our bodies, our selves

an old adage we once called a title

seems now so profound only wants

to speak to the here and now.

~

I remember one time,

I could clearly see the grain of a wall,

having looked so long

a blank slate of never ending worry

just across the room, just there.

~

Have we ever wondered why

each of us operates by our own set of rules,

despite knowing otherwise

fall on my sword

before I ever imagine something wise.

~

Seems a song playing on the radio

helped me know who I was,

know what pain felt like,

when a strung out heroine addict

was found dead in a seedy restroom.

~

Somebody cared about that moment,

they came and rescued his soul,

there was some reason to know why

yet the questions would always

far outweigh that sad reality.

~

Those moments when we suddenly

find our way,

when through the quiet of a morose

state of mind,

we ride the crest of that initial pain.

~

Those first moments we’d rather never explain.


© Thom Amundsen 2/2021

A Certainty is Rage

When at wit’s end this identity does unravel,

the spirit, the mind, that epicenter of our brain

begins to take its own journey

while the body will always forever remain.

Hard to know where the mind goes

when stuck in idle unable to let go.

~

There is a response to fear and anxiety

a shutting down of the factory,

all working parts forcibly placed on leave

in order to comprehend the nature of this pain.

Watching the year end,

yet knowing our lives are not over,

we are meant to go forward

an unprecedented commitment lay ahead.

~

I once told a kid, a student, a young man,

while crying in my classroom,

‘this is a brief moment in your life’

when he wailed about losing

a privilege to walk with his peers

with their heads held up high

and a diploma in hand.

~

I looked him in the eye

and said those dark moments will not

ever defeat him, he will move forward,

and make a life of his own.

~

I told him with a passion, a compassionate plea,

do not give up, you must please set yourself free.


© Thom Amundsen 12/2020

A Stirring Conversation

So, I have been feeling poorly recently – what an exciting start right? A real grabber. My point is though I was feeling bad for myself because any type of illness I immediately imagine Covid, and I go through the motions of the test and it comes back negative – well that is my assumption this time around. Chest cold, flu, earache, swollen glands, sore throat – every ugly combination. So I complained about that to my friend.

She asked me to take a minute and think about it. Imagine being homeless with no shelter knowing the cold winds are ahead with winter looming, little to eat, no fresh water. Go a step further and live the life of a displaced refugee stranded without food and medical care and essential living needs. Think about anyone that feels their lives are in jeopardy due to a chronic illness, terminal diagnosis, and then reflect back upon my common cold. Please do not imagine I diminish the tragedy of Covid in people’s lives in any manner. The words were just rather humbling, and did make me step back and feel a pang of embarrassment, guilt, remorse. I’m turning those toward more reflective ways to ponder upon our lives. Someone out there will say quickly, life is relative, don’t try to measure it.

I do live a fortunate life. I think I will step out briefly today and pick up some Tylenol and tissues.

I’m sorry.

Stepping Inside

I found this enormous chasm,

walls beyond my reach,

a dank stream of sarcasm

flowing in between broken lives.

I have had a fear of this place,

a very long time,

ever since once in a moment,

I felt a silence in my mind.

Sorting through shuttered windows,

imagining teeming lives outside

while perception stand alone

enabling now the shrinking walls.

A certain tightness in this acrid air

give a visionary a repulsive response

to wondering just why, tell me how

we lost contact our wandering sky.

Discovering there really are limits,

vaporous form sans freedom emits.


© Thom Amundsen 10/2020

Distance Learning

So, I imagined this happening,

the wave of the virus,

would shut us down,

remove our access to the classroom.

 

A part of me appreciated the break,

I could still with students,

have a dialogue in the distance,

never contemplated the reality.

 

Then the news,

the overbearing sentence

of every teacher, every student,

we were suddenly thrown a ball

 

and we missed, no one could grasp

the nature of our loss,

of their loss

of a world of we miss you.

 

Here we are now,

a beautiful day,

one would say,

grasp the sunlight’s rays

 

We are a positive group,

this humanity,

we will endure

like wars and 9/11.

 

Oh you will not rule us,

please COVID 19,

know we’d rather not assumptions,

we wish everyone to know you.

 

Wear a mask,

stay at home

wear a mask stay at home

we cannot deny your influence.

 

We will overcome the nature of this fear,

We must stay together, live our sphere.

11 AM

It is when I read the news,

the WHO

releases numbers

some refuse to hear,

yet I am curious,

if not a little scared.

 

I looked outside tonight,

used to live on a quiet street,

maybe three cars an hour,

tonight,

on a busy highway,

a couple of cars, blocks apart,

8 PM,

not even bar time,

not close to rush hour

just a traffic glut

on a regular night.

 

I stopped in the grocery,

crossed paths with masks,

curious eyes,

downcast glances,

not a lot of conversation

when avoiding

human interaction.

 

I’ll go to bed again tonight,

I’ll be alone tonight,

the new me,

getting used to an isolation

without a cabin nearby.

I’ll think about those I love,

I miss,

I yearn,

my double life,

has become

a singular challenge

waiting on

tomorrow,

the news.


© Scott F Savage 3/2020

The Sudden Nature of Touch

I am in my quiet,

the fortress of my own

 

isolation.

 

I’m doing everything right,

six feet apart,

wash your hands,

clean your countertops,

do the laundry,

wear gloves at the gas station,

(wait I didn’t, a week ago, what if … )

 

So many, wonders, what if,

thank God I have my dog,

the only issue though is when he reaches to

 

 

touch me,

 

 

it usually ends in an abrasive

scratch,

I’ll rather have you close than

catching me in full gallant leap.

 

I can think of other times in my life when that

unconscious leap occurred

into the arms of one we love,

 

of those we love,

 

of the beauty and grace of a hug

of knowing we were consciously

being held.

 

I no longer imagine my friend

who was in her own faze

 

of the healing nature of a hug

 

asking for a constant hug

to such a degree,

would I take a turn

a distant hallway,

find a stairwell,

a corner to escape this moment

 

of discovery.

 

I would like that moment back,

or maybe let’s wait a week from now,

I promise,

I will shower,

wash my hands,

wipe down my countertops,

keep a six foot distance,

until no longer

do I need to repress

 

my own desire,

 

a need to be held,

 

a wish to hold

 

a screaming irony to avoiding those hugs

throughout the entirety

of my own

chosen

 

isolated life.

 

COVID 19 rant


© Thom Amundsen 3/2020