When I was a kid, a scene played out in my imagination countless times. In fact, for a while it became the paramount dilemma of my young life (which, as you’ll soon discover, is a testiment to just how good my childhood was). The scenario was this: if I received a letter in the mail from Kids Incorporated asking me to join their cast, how long would I wait before accepting to see if I got a similar letter from The Mickey Mouse Club? Of course, I would be honored to join Kids Incorporated (“K-I-D-S! Yea!”), but my dream was to be on The Mickey Mouse Club.
My pre-adoloscent mind contemplated the possibilities. If I waited too long to accept the Kids Incorporated gig they may decide they don’t want me anymore and ask someone else. But if I said yes to Kids Incorporated and then the MMC letter arrived… Oh the regret if I missed the opportunity to rock the house with Fred and Mowava and the Mouseketeers. Afterall, I knew I was a perfect fit for MMC because they told me they liked me while saying goodbye at the end of every show.
The question led to more than a few sleepless nights. I believe I concluded, after much consideration, that a waiting period of 2-3 days was the appropriate amount of time.
Now I had reason to believe I might get a letter from Disney asking me to be a child star. My resumé of starring roles in children’s church musicals was unparalleled. I played Mr. Jackson, the benevolent father, in the foot-tapping retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son called “Barbecue for Ben.” I played Ramsey, the wise old Ram in “We Like Sheep,” a sentimental adaptation of the parable of the Lost Sheep. I also starred in “Super Gift from Heaven,” “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” and “Down by the Creek Bank.” But the pinnicle of my young thespian life came when I was cast in the coveted role of Psalty the Singing Song Book. They do not give that role out willy-nilly. I had to sing and dance and impart Christian values with a painted blue face while donning a body-sized blue with yellow trim book. The range I had! How could Kids Incorporated or the MMC not want me!?
I’m now in my mid-30’s and I still haven’t received that letter. But that’s okay. I’ve learned you cannot wait for the letter. You cannot wait for Ms. Perfect to knock on your door. You cannot wait until it becomes just a little easier. It’s all work. And it’s all hard.
So I write. I write because I have to. An idea finds me. The “what ifs” woo me. Characters move into my imagination and refuse to leave until their stories are told.
And I write because the waiting hasn’t gotten me anywhere.
A WRITER AND TRAVELER KEEPING THE FAITH IN LOS ANGELES