That's not to say that I have any interest in running for office. It goes deeper than that. I can remember being a kid, and becoming aware that I had no power to overrule decisions made by adults, even though it was my life and my interests that were involved. At one point I realized that my relationship with my mother bore more than a slight resemblance to a line in a Billy Joel song - "...a constant battle for the ultimate state of control."
When I got into college, I started out as a religious studies major. During my first year, I switched to major in communications/theatre. I acted in a play, but more important, I got interested in the idea of directing. Once I started to direct in the second semester of my sophomore year, I never acted again, except in a class. What was interesting about my directing was that underclassmen did not direct. However, I wanted to direct an original musical written by a fellow student. One of my theatre pals who had graduated advised me on how to approach the one-man theatre department, Mr. M. as we called him.
Mr. M. told me no when I first asked him if I could direct. I've always been stubborn, but there was something different about this. I knew that if I really wanted to do it, I had to keep trying, and to come up with a compelling reason for him to change his mind. It was a carefully orchestrated presentation, and I was successful.
The picture above is the Little Theatre, now known as the Leone Marinello Little Theatre. The black walls, when I directed there, were the warm, light brown color of natural wood. The carpet under the chairs was red. And the stage under the black plywood box was natural wood with steps the width of the theatre that led down into the house. Mr. M. designed it himself, and it was both challenging and rewarding to act and direct on that stage.
That whole move, from religious studies, to theatre, to directing was also about power. During the years I spent in meditation at San Francisco Zen Center, one of the things I learned was that I felt powerless most of the time. We all spend much of our lives walking a tightrope of power - what we have, what we don't have.
I don't know how tonight's election will turn out. The power I had there was to cast my vote for the candidates and issues of my choice. Everyone else had to do the same.
I don't know how my writing or either of the workshops will turn out either. There I have a lot more power, to focus my attention, pursue my goals and my dreams, and speak/write the truth of my understanding. Words have power. If I wield words, I wield power, or at least, I do if people read them.
How do you feel about power? Does it make you uncomfortable, or do you enjoy it? Think about it. We all have it...
Be well, my friends.
Carol (Doc) Dougherty
An avid reader, writer, and student, with a penchant for horse racing, Shakespeare, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wake Up and Write Writer's Retreat Workshop