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#9 Improv

When we started our journey together, she was the better actor without question. My training was further in the past, my craft rustier, and, well, I was too lazy to really compete. Except in one area: improvisation.

I joined Taproot’s Improv company and did pretty well for myself. She didn’t do improv at all – it scared her, to be honest. No script, no rehearsal – how could the perfectionist in her know that her choices would always be right?

Fast forward a decade or two, and she decides to go back to school for her MFA. Approaching fifty is the time to re-affirm that one should never stop learning, never stop growing. One of the things she decided to tackle in her own growth was embracing fear, embracing failure, embracing the part of her that said “jump” instead of the part of her that said, “be safe.”

And one step in that direction meant diving into the unscripted world of improv comedy. We both tried out for the improv team. I didn’t make it. She did.

Of course, she wasn’t as good as I was.

By that I mean she was better. A lot better. Spontaneous. Witty. Fearless.

Oh, she failed at times. A lot. Jokes that didn’t work. Choices that didn’t connect. If you know anything about improv, that is how it is done: the only way to get to the golden moments, when everything clicks and you have the audience eating out of your hands – the only way to get there is by trying to go further than you can go. Trying things out, flying without a net, not caring if you fall – because you know that that the gold is in the trying, not in the waiting for it.

And she spent more time in the golden moments than not; which meant the audience spent more time in the golden moments than not. Which means I (her proudest audience member, if I may so claim) spent more time in the golden moments than most.

Dang, she is fun to watch. And an inspiration to follow.

So, if I am ever fearless, not caring if I fall, going further than I can go – well, chances are I’m just trying to emulate her a little.

Gotta say, it’s a good place to be.

{originally posted as part of the countdown to our silver anniversary}

#10 Dents

Sanders Family

We know that rock beats scissors, and scissors beats paper. Did you know that spoon beats gold?

We learned that during rehearsals for Smoke on the Mountain. She was playing the sister who didn’t sing but signed. And played the percussion instruments – which for that musical style meant things like the washboard, triangle, and slapstick. And the spoons.

Turns out if you beat some spoons between your knee and the fingers of your left hand, your knee does alright, as do the spoons. The wedding band on your left hand? Not so much. You can still see the dents in her ring – even though she stopped wearing it to any rehearsals that involved spoons.

The rings, for those who’ve never attended a wedding, are a symbol of the marriage. The circle for never ending; the gold for value. The dents – well, most officiants don’t mention the dents.

They stand for the rough patches – the misdirected anger, the grouchiness, the miscommunications blown out of proportion. The frustration at the world taken out on the ones closest by; the loneliness of one partner growing faster than another; the jealousies that defy explanation.

While the wedding officiants may not talk about the dents, our pre-marital counselor did (thank you Van), so we weren’t taken by surprise when the years weren’t all honeymoon and roses. We also realized, in the long view, that the dents are part of the ring – not an aberration, or a mistake to pretend isn’t there. (As a current musical comedy TV show recently reminded us – true love is work).

We wear our rings with the pride of what they represent. The value; the eternal; and the dents. The dents show that the ring is real. They show that while the ring may be marked, it is not broken. They show that the buffets of life come to us both, together, and belong to the two-become-one.

And they remind us of the music that surrounds the dents; it is in the process of growing together, of traveling the road together, that the dents occur. Without making the music, there would be no dents.

And the music is always grander than the scars.

In fact, the dents are kind of beautiful in and of themselves.

She played the spoons a quarter of a century ago, and she still proudly carries those dents. How could I not love her all the more for it?

{originally posted as part of the countdown to our silver anniversary}

#20 First Call

My first meeting with her was over the phone. I was applying for a job at Taproot in Seattle and called the office to find out if my resume arrived. I ended up talking with the person that answered the phone (the person I was calling was out) for an hour, getting the skinny on the company, the city, the Pacific Northwest.

Apparently, she is very good at getting her personality across on the phone, because after that hour I called a friend and told him I was going to have to move to Seattle so as to marry that girl.

I was joking; but followed my own instructions anyway. And this is the voice I get to wake up to in the morning; hear throughout the day; and the last voice that sends me to sleep at night.

Good for me for following instructions.

(originally posted as a countdown to our silver anniversary)

#23 Voice Professional

My voice mail greeting on my personal phone is the voice of a professional voice over artist. I paid for the service by doing the dishes. Pretty good deal, I think. So those that don’t get me on a call think I’m a real professional – if they don’t recognize her voice.

Or they realize how above my station I married if they do.

Either way, it makes me look better than I am. Which is true outside of the voice greeting; in teaching, writing, or just plain being, she makes me better than I am. That’s the joy of collaboration; and the key is to have the right collaborators. The ones that make you better than you are.

[originally posted as a countdown to our silver anniversary]

Elderly Man River: “Keep in Mind the Tiny Tots” has Always Been With Us

I have a friend that recently was forced to change the lyrics to a country song because the grammar wasn’t correct – and the song was going to be used in kid’s programming, so we can’t have that. In King George and the Ducky Phil Vischer (while I worked on the story, the magic all came from Phil) was able to get away with Larry singing “more wronger” (rhymes with “stronger”) by having Bob point out the error.

To honor the ongoing battle of lyrics (and dialogue) that is less-than-grammatical by design, here is a link to YouTube and Stan Freberg and Daws Butler dealing with the issue in the era of classic radio. https://youtu.be/PLlTlYfqQV4

Faith / Culture Intersection Moment: Schmigadoon!

Well, the good book has something to say about that. True love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.

In others words, it’s a lot of work.

So it’s probably not something you find. It’s something you make.

                        Reverend Layton, “ Cross that Bridge,” Schmigadoon!

65 Insight: 3 Stories & A Quiet Place

Catherine and I are committed to walking 65 miles in six weeks as part of the 65 Roses 65 Mile Challenge. We are raising money for Cystic Fibrosis research in honor of our niece, Harper.

Each week we are also committing to posting an insight into movies, TV, theater or other aspects of our industry just as we finish our walks. Or if we need a break, during our walks. Mostly because as a couch potato, my favorite workouts involve marathoning with a remote. This is a sample we created as we try to get into shape for the challenge.

To donate: Go to my fundraising page, or Catherine’s page and click the DONATE button in the right column.

65 Insight: Black Widow

Starting August 1st, Catherine and I are committed to walking 65 miles in six weeks as part of the 65 Roses 65 Mile Challenge. We are raising money for Cystic Fibrosis research in honor of our niece, Harper.

Each week we are also committing to posting an insight into movies, TV, theater or other aspects of our industry just as we finish our walks. Or if we need a break, during our walks. Mostly because as a couch potato, my favorite workouts involve marathoning with a remote. This is a sample we created as we try to get into shape for the challenge.

To donate: Go to my fundraising page, or Catherine’s page and click the DONATE button in the right column.

CF Insights: Loki Exposition Finale

Starting August 1st, Catherine and I are committed to walking 65 miles in six weeks as part of the 65 Roses 65 Mile Challenge. We are raising money for Cystic Fibrosis research in honor of our niece, Harper.

Each week we are also committing to posting an insight into movies, TV, theater or other aspects of our industry just as we finish our walks. Or if we need a break, during our walks. Mostly because as a couch potato, my favorite workouts involve marathoning with a remote. This is a sample we created as we try to get into shape for the challenge.

To donate: Go to my fundraising page, or Catherine’s page and click the DONATE button in the right column.

Early thank you!

Here are some of Harper’s 2nd cousins thanking those that donated in the first few days of our campaign!

If you want to join this awesome group helping find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, it is easy! To donate: Go to my fundraising page, or Catherine’s page and click the DONATE button in the right column.