Experiments in Life

I love this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson and yesterday I used it to make myself do something that I wouldn’t normally have done.  I think I have said before that I never wanted to be in the spotlight.  When I was younger I was always uncomfortable doing something if there was an audience.   As a young child I learnt to play the piano and I was quite good at it, but as soon as there an audience I fell apart.  There was this loud voice inside my head telling me I couldn’t do it, and so of course, naturally I couldn’t.  The final straw came when my music teacher entered me into a local music festival playing in a trio.  It  was a total disaster and when the piece was finished (I think I was at least two bars behind the other two at the end) my two partners hated me for messing it up and I never played the piano again.

After that I never wanted to do anything that put me up front with people looking at me.  And that attitude governed my life for many years, I just wanted to do things in the background and be unnoticed.

Fast forward many years and with a small group of friends I set up the local history group, it was a great success.  Then something happened and the chairman resigned suddenly and unexpectedly and the group was in serious danger of folding.  The only way to save it was for me to step up and take the lead.  At very short notice I had to stand up and talk in front of a packed room of people to tell them what had happened.  I was shaking and my voice was breaking up, but I did it.  Ever since then year after year I have been voted chairman of the group and I am now much more comfortable speaking to large groups of people.

Yesterday we held an event in the Heritage Centre in our local cemetery, we had exhibitions of historical interest, research folders, an historic tableau with a sea-side theme and lots more.  I know lots of information about the people buried in the cemetery and I have become used to leading groups around and talking to them about the people and the part they played in the history of the town.

Yesterday we tried something different, we had a ‘Meet the Residents’ character walk.  This meant that one of our members led the group of people around and gave some background information.  Then as they came to interesting graves they met a ‘character’ in costume who told their story.  I was Mrs Cradock a wealthy socialite and prominent person in the town.  We had had no time for rehearsing or even learning our scripts and all of us were nervous and worried about doing it.  I am so glad we did it though, we had such a lot of fun.  It turns out we are all quite good actors, it was comical and informative and the audience enjoyed it.  We are doing it again today!

So anyway, the spread above has lots of layers of paper, stamping and acrylic paints, it was getting very dark and grungey looking so I decided to lighten it by gessoing through a paper doiley over the top and then I added the wonderful quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

4 thoughts on “Experiments in Life

  1. Congratulations AJ! I’m so familiar with the shaking and the voice breaking up when you have to speak in public. (Not working has it’s good points!) Your stories are as interesting as your art work! Love the colors you used on these pages!

  2. Way to go and leave that comfort zone! Did you 2nd go smoothly? Was it even more rewarding? I wish I was in your neighborhood because that sounds like an amazing event!!!!!!!

    • Hi Carolyn, both performances went very smoothly and we had great fun. A severe storm was forecast for the second day, but fortunately we had sunshine all day and we had a bigger audience for the second day. I can see this is something we will be building on. It was great to do.
      Big love

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