Curtain

Curtain: (n) a hanging piece of fabric

I can’t think of an occasion when the word “addicted” can be used in a positive way.

Yet I will tell you, there are certain things to which I am addicted.

One of those revolves around a curtain.

I couldn’t have been more than twelve years old the first time I stood backstage at a theater, right next to the beautiful velvet curtain that swept its way across the stage to close the production or open up to new story possibilities, encouraging the audience to use its imagination.

No matter where you are, there’s always that small space where the dressing rooms and the gathering areas empty out onto holy ground, where the actors, singers and musicians stand and wait to enter the stage and share their best.

I remember at age twelve, putting together a song with three other guys to sing at the school talent show. We had searched all over Columbus, Ohio for just the right ties. We all went to the same barber shop to get our hair cut two days earlier. My singing buddies had come to my house to dress and prepare for the evening. We had rehearsed our song over and over again, trying to fine-tune the musical excellence to the greatest extent of our pre-adolescent acuity.

There we were.

The small-town audience sat waiting, as we stood nervously backstage.

I remember being so close to that beautiful red velvet curtain that I laid my head over, resting it on the soft fabric. It was comforting.

Yes, it was at that point I knew I was addicted.

I wanted to spend the rest of my life backstage somewhere, waiting for the curtain to open so I could come and share the better parts of myself, hoping that the audience could find the better parts of their hearts.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Chuckle

Chuckle: (n) a quiet or suppressed laugh

He drove me crazy (even though that would not require many miles of journey.)

He was a theater critic who came out to watch my show, and even though I settled my inner being by insisting that I would not glance his
way, my left eyeball seemed to deny the commitment and wander over to view his reaction.

I was hilarious–at least as hilarious as I ever get.

I was on–which is merely the opposite of off.

The audience was with me–though you’re never quite sure how much of it is sympathy.

He just sat there. He didn’t smirk. It was like someone had bet him that he could remain emotionless during the entire affair.

I had never met him before, but I hated him. Not with a ferocious anger, sprouting a rage of violence–just a normal, temporary, human hatred, which could be assuaged merely by the introduction of a simple compliment.

After the show he came backstage to see me. I was surprised. I thought the next thing I would receive from this fellow would be his review, in which he used as many synonyms for “mediocre” as possible.

But turns out he thought I was hilarious.

I had to ask him, “Did you ever laugh?”

He frowned at me as if concerned about how much I might have hurt myself falling off the turnip truck.

“You don’t have to laugh out loud to chuckle inside,” he explained. “I am an internal chuckler, who simultaneously admires the material that amuses me.”

I stared at him, but decided not to pursue the conversation, since at this point, the outcome was in my favor.

But as I considered his insight, I realized that I often watched things on television or at the movies, and would tell people how funny they were–yet I wasn’t really sure my face exuded anything other than a death growl.

All I can say is, you can feel free to chuckle, even if it’s done inside your closet of appreciation.

But thank God–oh, thank God–for those who spill and spew their laughter.

 

 

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Bunting

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Bunting: (n) patriotic and festive decorations made from cloth or paper, usually in the form of draperies,

I was only eighteen years old, and I drove to Columbus, Ohio, to see President Nixon. He was passing through town.

I wasn’t a particularly political teen, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity–to see a President of the United States. It also gave me a chance to get off school so I decided to go.

The atmosphere was festive. They had a band from some high school, a female singer to do the national anthem, and hundreds and hundreds of feet of bunting–red, white and blue as far as the eye could see, draped over everything in sight.

From a distance it was very impressive. But being the curious type, I inched my way forward.

As I got closer, I realized that since it was a hot day, the band members had unlatched the top buttons of their uniforms and unfastened their hats, losing some of the magnificence of the visual.

So I moved a little closer.

In no time at all, I wiggled my way within twenty-five feet of the girl in the prom dress and the tiara, who was about to sing the national anthem. She was dripping with sweat–I assume from a combination of heat and nerves. She didn’t look nearly as lovely.

Somehow or another, perhaps because of my honest-looking face, they let me get all the way up to the stage, standing two feet away from the colorful bunting. I inspected it carefully and saw that it was held on by staples, scotch tape and was wrinkled in many places due to being put up in haste. It was not very attractive.

The backstage area, where the President was to come through to give his speech, smelled like sweat with a hint of alcohol. And because there were two or three dogs wagging their tails nearby, there was a whiff of the woof.

I thought to myself, the closer I got to the experience, the less impressive it was. I registered that deep in my soul.

For perhaps the whole secret to our journey on Earth is realizing that the closer people get to us, the more real and genuine it should be.

The bunting was put up in minutes to last for a few hours, to be ripped down and thrown away.

It is frighteningly symbolistic of our political system, and the way we sometimes regard the important values of our culture.

 

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Belittle

Belittle: (v) to make someone or something seem unimportant.

Dictionary B

Those who belittle be “littler” than them belittled.

More and more as I age, in a season when conversation is salted with pepper, I realize that the absence of legitimate talent causes us to attack contributors out of a fear that we, ourselves, are nothing.

Even when I find myself being cynical, I realize it’s because I am jealous of those who have received attention, while my efforts have been relegated to the position of backstage storage.

We belittle because we be “littler.”

That’s the truth of the matter.

There isn’t a great idea ever hatched in the mind of a mortal that has not been forced to endure the ridicule of the ignorant.

It is why we suffer from a dearth of inspiration.

It’s not because the inspiration is unavailable. Those inspired lack the emotional armor to survive the gauntlet of the unrighteous condemners.

It is too bad that goodness is plagued by sensitivity–because for it to gain voice, it needs to escape temporary damnation.

I swear to myself that I will never belittle again. And then, because of my insecurity, I attack in order to protect my ego.

When it’s over, I feel bad.

But unfortunately, the moment has passed, and the chance to embrace beauty has been scared away … by my beast.

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Backstage

Backstage: (n) the area in a theater out of view of the audience, especially in the wings or dressing rooms.Dictionary B

Everyone who ends up onstage has to spend some time backstage.

Matter of fact, you may feel that you’re cursed to that arena, never to gain spotlight.

But I have been backstage many times in my life, and I will tell you, there was never one single occasion when I failed to learn something.

I went through a season when I warmed up the audience for national acts, who were much more famous and adept at the art form than me. So being backstage was a mingling of realizing that no one in the large audience knew who I was–or cared, for that matter–and that if I was to gain any traction whatsoever, I would be required to arrive with my running shoes.

I’ve also been backstage during talent competitions when it was obvious that the person performing center-stage before me was equally talented, or even more blessed, and I needed to refuse to criticize them, but instead, just give my best.

Backstage is where we learn to listen and prepare instead of perform and mug for the audience.

It’s where we take inventory of what we are about to do and eliminate foolish choices.

It is the location for the introspection that causes us to become viable to those around us instead of just becoming jealous no-talents.

 

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Auditorium

Auditorium: (n) a large building or hall used for public gatherings, typically speeches or stage performances.

dictionary with letter A

I love auditoriums.

I think anybody who performs looks forward to being on a big enough stage that it provides for a backstage.

Backstage is fun.

It’s where you sit or stand and wonder about how many people are coming to the concert, or you slide into a side room that’s been provided for dressing and make-up.

When I graduated from high school I started a music group, wrote two original songs and actually built up the courage to raise some funds to record them.

I made a 45 RPM.

I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but in that era it made me nearly a god. Having a record made you look like you were not only prosperous, but talented.

So I was able to get a gig at a large auditorium on the Ohio State Fairgrounds. I loved that building. I had been to concerts many times in the facility, and now I was going to get to play in the auditorium.

I dressed everybody up and we even hired a drummer to come in and perform with us. I thought we sounded pretty good.

Unfortunately, the gig was for a religious church group youth rally, so there was an air of stuffiness surrounding the event, and a lot of rules and regulations laid on us, which honestly, I just didn’t listen to.

I found out later that:

  • We weren’t allowed to have drums, which we had.
  • We weren’t permitted to be loud, which we were.
  • And there couldn’t be any rock and roll in the sound, which there definitely was.

So we were halfway through our song, jubilantly sharing our talents, when suddenly the curtains started to close in front of us.

At first I thought it was a mistake, so I ran forward while the band still played and tried to pull them open. But they continued to close, because there were two austere men of dark countenance pulling on ropes, making sure that our sound and appearance were terminated.

I was furious.

I demanded they reopen the curtains, but they refused.

So the young audience booed for a second, and then were rebuked by their elders.

We still sat in the lobby offering to sell our 45 record to anyone who might have enjoyed the 16 bars of the tune we were able to pump out.

Only one girl of the 728 present was brave enough to come to our table and see us. The rest of the kids avoided us like we were an unwelcome leper colony. The young lady bought our 45, told us that she thought the grown-ups were assholes, and as she left, she raised her fist and said, “Rock on.”

I did.

And I’ve never stopped.

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