The Real Thing

The other day as I was getting ready to go to work, I hesitated whether to bring my camera bag. I lug a lot of bags to the theater: at a minimum a lunch bag, a backpack for my laptop and script, and a purse. Adding the camera bag means trudging in from the parking lot with enough luggage to pay airline fees.

I started to leave the camera at home, and then I heard the voice in my head:

“If you were a real photographer, you’d take the camera everywhere you go.”

So I took the camera. Just to prove to myself that I’m real. What’s up with that?

I remember a time when I used to sit in the dressing room, getting ready for a show, thinking I wasn’t up to the task but I’d just have to do my best until a real actor took over. You know, from New York. Where the real actors live.

It’s the same with singing, writing, teaching, you name it. I want to do something, I try it, I might even succeed at it, but in my mind I’m not the real thing.

So who decides? Who gets to say what’s real and what’s not? I write a blog, but am I a real writer? I’ve put enough time and energy and money into singing lessons to consider myself a singer, but not a real singer. (I do consider myself a real actor, after more than twenty years in the business, so that’s something.)

Enough is enough. I don’t know what external forces are at work here, but I’m ready to face up to the internal one. I don’t want to listen to the voice in my head any longer, not if it’s going to shame me into believing that my passions are hobbies, that the arts I pursue – acting, singing, writing, photography – are beyond me. That I will never be more than a talented dilettante.

It doesn’t matter whether I take the camera everywhere I go. When I pick up a camera, I’m a real photographer. When I sing, when I act, when I write, I’m really there, practicing my craft. Nobody is going to show up from New York and take over my artistic life. It’s mine.

I am real.

Hamlet Rehearsal, Sept. 2013 116

6 thoughts on “The Real Thing

  1. I’ll say you’re the real thing! Magnificent photo. Lacy and I talked today about going to Hamlet (with our spouses). I can’t wait!

  2. A real photographer (whose name I forget but her words… never) said, “I take my camera with me everywhere I go because, well, it is easier to take pictures that way!”

    • So simple and so true! Sort of like carrying a notebook and pencil because it’s easier to write that way. I am seriously considering getting a good compact camera for that very reason. But I do love my big heavy DSLR. Decisions, decisions. Wow, what a great problem to have. 🙂 Great to hear from you, Bud!

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