Sunday, May 05, 2013

Grace's Dilemma -- Hollywood or New York?

One of my friends (Phyllis) complained that I never blog anymore -- not about the interesting stuff like embarrassing situations or my kids getting into trouble, etc... All I ever write about is books and book reviews and France. Of course, I am obsessed with books and France, but my kids are still a major part of my life. So here's a blog about one of my kids...
In January, Grace stayed home rather than going back to her college in far away New York. I want her to finish college, but having her home was so nice. She took classes at the local community college -- theater, ballet, communications, nothing too strenuous. She got a job at a local French restaurant and has learned that she gets bigger tips if she speaks English with a French accent. The tight black skirt also improves tips. She performed in the chorus of a local community theater production.
As April bloomed, it was time to find another college where she could attend and finish. She applied to four colleges and was accepted at all of them. We visited Ohio State where she could continue with her French and languages major. The campus and the program just didn't win her over.
She and I together visited one of the campuses about 15 minutes from home. As we walked onto campus, I commented that it reminded me a lot of her college in New York. She agreed.
"Why didn't we look here?" she asked.
Mostly, cause they don't have a swim team and at the time, Grace was planning to swim in college.
Grace, now 21, has decided to change her major to theater. That has been a big struggle for me -- not that I have that much say in it. But I think majoring in theater is like sowing dandelions in your green lawn. It's going to be a lot of work for something you may or may not succeed at. I have no idea whether Grace is a good actress. I have no idea whether she can succeed on Broadway or in Hollywood. But who am I to say don't go for your dreams?
I always wanted to be a writer, but  I can write after the bloom of youth has faded. For actors, youth is pretty much a necessity. So I gave Grace my blessing to major in theater but asked her to pick another major too, like communications. She agreed.
 My cousin, who was a successful actor, appearing in movies like Oh Brother Where Art Thou, and  television shows like Seinfeld and Malcolm in the Middle, cautioned that having a back up means that you won't throw your heart into acting.
I didn't change my mind about the double major though.
So as we toured the campus, they said the tour didn't include the Communications building which was a little way down the road. We said we'd like to see the building and they called ahead to alert the secretary we were coming.
The secretary took one look at Grace, 5-foot, 10-inches before her platform pumps, an insouciant scarf draped around her neck, her brown hair falling in a curtain down her back, and said, "Oh, I see you're here for Broadcast."
Grace and I both looked at each other.
Grace said afterwards that she felt like saying, "Well, I am now."
The chair of the department came out into the hallway to talk to Grace and was explaining some classes then said, "But that's really for the writing side of things, not Broadcast."
"Grace is a pretty good writer too," I threw in there. After all, Earl and I are both writers and pride ourselves on the fact that we may not have passed along math skills but our kids can write.
Then as we continued on the tour, one of the broadcast professors came into the hallway to meet us.
"I'll take over from here," he told the secretary. "I can see she's here for broadcast."
After we walked out of the building, we looked at each other and said, "Why didn't we ever think about this before?"
Theater and broadcast journalism seem like a perfect match. Grace will have to learn how to operate the cameras, to edit, to direct, to read the news, to covers sports and other stories. Hopefully she can find a fabulous internship in New York City that allows her to work on news during the day and try out for shows in the evening. The auditions alone would be hugely helpful.
So now Grace is registered to attend a new college only 15 minutes away and even closer to her work. She's still debating whether she'll live on campus or get an apartment for the school year. She's taking some more classes at the community college this summer, and I'm praying she can finish by the end of next summer, but in the fall of 2014, I'll have another kid headed off to college.


Lovable Derek said...

Fascinating account. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Have a good week.

Life after 60 said...

Its so nice to have your blog to read again. I have always enjoyed it with my coffee in the morning. Good luck to Grace, sounds like she might have found exactly what she was looking for.

Anonymous said...

A singer I like once said that whatever you make as your backup plan will become what you do. Then again, a writer I like once advised ones to have a way to earn a living outside of their passion. I would hope that if a person believes enough in her dream, she will persevere whatever advice she follows. And just as importantly, that person should be happy with their life's choices. Some people who gave everything to their dream have seemed unhappy; others seem on top of the world. All the best to your daughter!

Book Dragon said...

Good luck to Grace!

love the post

Linda said...

That is fabulous! I'm so happy to read it. It sounds perfect. On the acting front, for some reason although I've never acted, I loved to watch Inside The Actor's Studio. I was just watching a video of it the other day featuring Alec Baldwin-the early one when the show had just started. He was so impressive and I loved what he had to say about acting. One thing was about working as an actor, making a living at it. Watch it. Fascinating to me.

Just Me said...

Great Story and Wonderful Post.
Thanks Phyllis.

Note to self: Start somewhere and the natural twists and turns will happen. You'll make decisions all along the way. The whole path need not be mapped out perfectly.

Thanks Grace - always providing inspiration to an old girl like me.

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

Good luck Grace! You've got to follow your dreams!!

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