“I’m a middle child, which is probably why I chose to be an actress. I needed the attention, being sandwiched between an older sister and a younger brother.” — Nell Hudson
As the middle child, I was the one who was supposed to be different. And I guess I was and am. Both my siblings are in the medical profession, but I chose a different path, in spite of my love for the Nurse Nancy books.
As a child I wrote and put on puppet shows, using homemade sock or stick puppets. I did the same thing with plays, based on fairy tales and folktales, always performing them for my obliging neighbors and friends. I found I was very good at adapting material into different media.
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” –Kurt Vonnegut
I almost always involved my poor unsuspecting brother, three years younger, in my plays. My parents were entertained by my acting out the latest “I Love Lucy” episode from my favorites: Vita Mita Vegamin; The Chocolate Factory; and Stomping the Grapes, my brother playing Ethel or sometimes Ricky. I never had a great singing voice but that didn’t stop me from putting on musicals and operettas too. There’s always lip syncing. And back then I knew the words to the songs.
“Swan Lake died when the developers moved in.” –Anthony T. Hincks
After years of begging, my mother gave in and enrolled me in a ballet class. I thought a star was born! Our little troupe performed with the Charlotte Symphony and the Charlotte Opera. We got to pose on the lift and hold that pose as we rose from the pit. There were oohs and aahs of the children in the front row, who rushed to get the first glimpse of the ballerinas. And there I was, the ballerina with no turnout; loose,curled, unbunned hair; buck teeth; and winged pink glasses with sparkles. These were the days before contact lenses and before my parents took me to the orthodontist.
“They say there’s no harm in daygreaming, but there is.” –Charlaine Harris
In school, I must have daydreamed quite a bit, because to this day I know next to nothing about science. And as far as social studies went– I was very good at memorizing for the test . . . and then quickly forgetting. But when it came time to write a story about China, I wrote it through the eyes of a grain of rice, following it through to its unexpected fate in a Chinese bowl. Now that was interesting!
“You can be a singer and you can be a guitar player, but putting them together is another animal.” –Gavin DeGraw
How was I to put all this together as a grownup? It took a while. I studied dance, English, theatre and elementary education (satisfying the parents who wisely said I must have a job to fall back on). After graduate school, I became a dancer, a choreographer, and a teacher. . . but there was still more inside me.
“The value of history is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is.” –R.G. Collingwood
I found out I still loved to tell stories–with words, not just with motions. And I discovered that history wasn’t just boring facts to memorize, linking one war to the next. But history was storytelling–personal storytelling–stories of people’s lives and struggles. History is made up of what happens in between dates. History is made up of reactions to crises. History is made up by the choices that people make. History is made up of ordinary people having to make extraordinary decisions in extraordinary times. I was hooked.
“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” ―
I discovered the power of words again and was the silent dancer no more. My jump to storyteller, historical interpreter, actress, writer seemed like a natural progression. I had discovered my true niche.
So now in my senior years, I am doing what I was meant to do–writing creative non-fiction books with stories about people, the places where they lived, and the times they lived in. And as an actress, I get to BE those people and tell their stories. What a lucky person I am now that I’m all grown up.
This website is about my life as an AUTHOR and about my booktalks . . . in character.
But I have a whole other life as a wife, mother of three and grandmother of three adorable granddaughters. And as an in-school, curricular based performer and director of TATTLINGTALES PRODUCTIONS. That’s another story and a whole other website: www.tattlingtales.com