I still think of September as the beginning of the year, the falling leaves and the burnt colors, like an opening curtain on the first Act. Everything behind me never stays in the shadows; my bristling past is like a rubber ball, just bouncing into view but not real enough to slow me down, not threatening enough to keep the play from going forward.
Once an actress, always an actress and I was an actress so I still see everything in terms of intension. What is my intension for this year, what does my character want? Standing here on the stage alone about to say my lines, about to step into the soul and the skin of someone who is not me, but is also very much me I speak the words of a world within a world. I’m in the vibrant color of a flower and the buoyancy of the marigold but I am also the leaf that falls, carrying, with its dying dive to the ground, its history of being green and young and proudly clinging to a branch. I am in the words that form my character; I am in the actions justified by being outside looking within.
I have discovered on Ancestry.com and My Heritage that my grandfather was the General Manager of an Advertising Agency and lived in Seattle, Washington. He was an Ad Man and here I thought he was a bootlegger. Before the depression hit he was high on the hog, as my southern ancestors like to say, and then it all went down hill. The Great Depression had a profound effect on my family, my grandfather, grandmother and my mother. It has even affected me. We are shaped by the histories that define us as we are shaped by the people who raise us. We were all once the color of a beautiful vibrant flower and then fall comes to take it all away. The first Act begins and the words and intentions and actions spill forth to create one massive wonderful journey forward. If my ancestors only knew I am searching them, looking for them, seeking to understand them they’d be amused, maybe even pleased. If they only knew that they are in my journey, peaking my curiosity.
So I tie this all together this way: the curtain goes up and the actors’ reveal something about yourself you never knew. The play ends and you go home and dream that your solitary road is suddenly rich with characters. The playwright has written that autumn is a revelation, like the past, it’s the most magnificent act in the play. You applaud loudly for your life is a hit.
Vera Jane Cook
Riveting, Emotional, Unexpectedly Funny Award Winning Fiction
Author of Pleasant Day, Where the Wildflowers Grow, Dancing Backward in Paradise, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Lies a River Deep, Marybeth, Hollister & Jane, Pharaoh’s Star, Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem.