The Show Must Go On

This entry is inspired by some friends I spent a weekend with recently. Over dinner, I was sharing a story about myself in high school. Many years ago, I was a stand-up comic. It was my first taste of creative writing, my first love, and in my eyes, a stepping stone to an acting career later in life. In grade twelve, after about a year of writing and hole in the wall gigs, I got to perform at my school's Christmas breakfast. My biggest and longest set to date. I was about 15 minutes into a performance in front of my whole school when a lovely boy with Down syndrome, Sugar Shane, made a scene. It was no fault of his own, he was my buddy and excited when he had eventually noticed me on stage. It took several minutes to usher him out and for the crowd to calm down. When they did, I’d forgotten where I was in my set. Mortified and flustered, I stumbled my way through the remainder of it, had a good cry, and shortly thereafter decided to focus my energy on film writing. My friends, family, and teachers all praised the way I’d handled the situation, but I was devastated by the way things had played out. Fortunately, this failure led to my second and true love, writing films.

So, the same night I shared this story with my friends, I was incredibly fortunate to see and support my dear friend Christy Vanden, she’s a wildly talented singer/songwriter from Vancouver Island. Her and her partner Megan have always been such huge supporters of mine and I trust their invaluable input when it comes to my career. They even edit these posts for me!

I’ve been wanting to see her perform for a while, but our schedules could never line up. So naturally, I was incredibly excited when I finally had the free time to go and see her, and let me tell ya, she did not disappoint. My first night in town she performed solo on an acoustic guitar, singing her breathtaking original songs mixed in with a couple of classic covers. On the second day, she was shredding the electric guitar in a local blues band, and they crushed. Between shows, we went to dinner, and I shared my story about Sugar Shane with my friends. We laughed, we cried, we ate sushi.

Christy’s second show was with some old band mates of hers. All accomplished musicians, but they hadn’t performed together in a few years. I thought the set started off great, I’m partially deaf in both ears so I can’t differentiate between instruments unless I am really paying attention. Well, when it was time for Christy’s first epic guitar solo, the lovely guy working the sound board, who had already been working eight hours, forgot to turn up the volume on her guitar. A music novice like myself just continued to sway and enjoy the show, and I didn’t notice.

But the talent always does. The problem got fixed and the show went on and it was incredible. Afterwards while the band and my friend were getting praise and adoration from the fans, I thought of the comparisons between her performance and mine. Although I personally felt mortified and embarrassed, my friends, family, and teachers were very pleased with my performance and the way I’d handled it. Under the weirdest of circumstances, the show went on. We’ll always be our hardest critics.

Now I get to follow my dreams in the movie making business and not everything I write and shoot is going to be good, or ever see the light of day. No matter what I produce there will always be those who dislike my work and dislike me, and that’s just life. Nothing will ever sway me from chasing my dreams and doing what I love, because the show must go on.

Christy Vanden and I (2022)

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