Tuesday, May 10, 2011
On the darkest part of my journey to be a writer, I worked with a personal coach named Breck Costin who assigned me the path of "voice." He said whenever you are on your path it will bring up the worst feelings, but staying firm on the path will heal your life. For me, the feelings were mostly feelings of worthlessness and fear of repercussions for things I said. Breck taught me that having an awful feeling about something was no reason not to do it. And what was even more remarkable was that it was not important to succeed at it. The important thing was to bring up the terrifying feelings that you were pushing away. That's all. In fact, Breck often coached people to fail. Play to Lose, he always said.
I am a good student and did what I was told and tried my hand at failing all over the place. One of the things I did to bring up my awful feelings was to take a voice acting class near the Warner Studios in Burbank with Bob Bergen the "voice" behind Porky the Pig. In class we had to get behind the microphone in the recording booth and audition for parts in front of the others -- I was terrified but astonishingly adept at all the animal parts, I guess because I could sympathize with dumb scared animals. Anyway, I got the voice of the dog in the class production. It was humiliating to never get picked the female roles, but I tried not to show it.
My willingness to fail, to feel the awful feelings that came up whenever I was on my path -- to play to lose -- finally opened up my creativity. Focusing on the path rather than the results, it came as a complete surprise when my friend Cynthia Wylie asked me to narrate the audio books for her newly launched online game for kids. You can hear my voice narration by registering to play and then going to the schoolhouse and clicking on one of the books at Bloomers! Island.
Incidentally, Cynthia is up for a 2011 Excellence Award from the Association of Virtual Worlds. Please support her efforts at teaching children gardening concepts and vote for her by selecting her name at the top left of her profile... and then tell me...
...what is your path?
For my picture, I chose a picture of Wolfie, the wolf dog I rescued in the Venice Canals where I lived with my son. Here he is hiding under my house. He was undernourished, flea bitten and absolutely terrified of people, but for some reason he came to me. I wanted to keep him but he kept jumping over my fence, so I found him a loving home in the Santa Monica mountains with an eccentric old lady.
I will always love and remember him.