“Bold” or “The Things I’ll Do to Share in the World of Robin Hood”

As I’ve done a darn poor job of making a secret of, around here, this summer was my first ever stint on the cast of the Bristol Renaissance Faire. As of Labor Day, the Faire’s 2012 season is over, but my time in a little pocket of Elizabethan England will long live on in my heart (…and in this blog, where my serial Bristol-themed whodunit has only just begun).

This whole Ren Faire thing has been huge for me, for a heck-ton of reasons – including, but not limited to: Frequent Robin Hood sightings; laughs had, friends made, laughs had, stuff learned, and even more laughs had; and the folks at the Dirty Duck Inn make several mean bowls of soup. But perhaps the biggest reason of all? Joining Bristol forced me to be “fearless and daring; courageous”, or at least to act as if I were. I mean, just look at all the things I had to do!

Get the Thumbs-Up from Caesar in the Gladiator Ring. Remember that long-ago audition I wrote about? That was terrifying. Well, writing about it wasn’t actually all that scary, but the audition itself? Eeek! You may not know it, to see me perform, but I get stage fright something major. My insides on audition day were a jittery mess. But I dragged myself before the panel sitting in judgment and hammed it up anyway, because I wanted in, dang it! And I obviously made somebody in charge want me in, too. (:

Stick Torture Devices in My Eyes. In progressively more dire need of glasses since the age of ten, I’ve always worn my specs with pride. (Even sported a snazzy glasses chain, for a while there. And when I say “snazzy”, I mean it sure seemed snazzy at the time.) Stylish as my frames are, though, they don’t exactly scream “16th century”. And so, once I knew I’d been cast, I got my first prescription contact lenses. For the first few days, getting the lenses on and off my eyeballs took about an hour roundtrip. It was a real morale-killer, but I stuck with it, and look at me today: Contacts in and out in under a minute! (Unless I’m dog-tired, in which case even spelling “contact” might take me a couple tries.)

Talk to Strangers. I don’t even have to exaggerate this heading; it’s a bone-chiller as it stands! They had me talking to fellow cast members. They had me talking to directors. And the lion’s share of that talk was in preparation to talk to the thousands of patrons who visit the Faire every weekend! It was never-ending, and it was about half-a-light-year out of my comfort zone. But by some miracle, it didn’t kill me.

That’s really the bottom line of my Faire experience: None of it killed me. Instead, it made me stronger.

Looks like Kelly Clarkson had it right all along!

Now when I’m lost on the way to grab pizza with the friends I didn’t used to have, I can pop into a sandwich shop and ask the nice strangers behind the counter for directions. (Done it!) Now if I ever have to walk 15 miles in a humid hundred degrees while wearing two full skirts and a bodice, I’ll know that I can, and smile and shout in a lower-class English accent while I do it. (Done it multiple times!) Now I’ve got my eyes open for more acting opportunities – (yes, my poor, much-abused eyes which, though perhaps no stronger in their own right, can see ultra-clearly through the strength of their new lenses!) – so I can continue to go through horrific auditions in the hope of theatrical fun on the other side.

I’m also going to learn swordplay, so maybe one day I’ll be hired to fight alongside Robin as a Merry Man. #DreamBold

“Networking”

This word makes me cringe. Something about the thought of interconnection with scores upon scores of other human beings… (Flinching. Cowering. Knocking it off and getting back to blogging.)

            I am not the first person to wonder how I ended up this way. Sociability was the name of the game when I was young. (“When you were young?!” everyone shouts at the almost-twenty-three-year-old. Fine, fine, “up until about age seventeen”, is that better?) I loved hanging around people – friends, strangers, strangers who I would declare my friends simply because they happened to be watching while I dug a giant sand pit at the beach… I don’t know where in the world that girl went or why, but wherever she is, you can bet she’s not alone. Meanwhile, the replacement Danielle goes into a quiet panic (or, ahem, not so quiet) at the mere suggestion of being called upon to engage with an assemblage of greater than five.

            It doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’ve never really considered myself shy… until I just now double-checked the definition:

Shy, adjective.

1. Easily startled; timid.

2.         a. Drawing back from contact or familiarity with others; retiring or reserved.

             b. Marked by reserve or diffidence.

3. Distrustful; wary.

(Thank you, my American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition. What I would do without you on my laptop, I shudder to think.)

            Okay, fine. So I’m shy. Confident, chatty, and in no way afraid to be the one asking everyone to please settle down at the top of her lungs, but nonetheless shy. Crowds intimidate me. Instigating interrelation (which my dictionary tells me is not a word; “interrelatedness” or “interrelationship”, yes, “interrelation”, no; that’s a shame)… yeah, that makes my innards tremble.

            Alas, no author is an island. Much as some of us would love to pack up our writing equipment, dash off a letter to our loved ones saying “See ya when I’m good and ready and not before!”, feel foolish for having packed our writing things only to have unpacked the items necessary to have written that note, pack everything up again, and hole up in some lovely hermitage with an inspirational view from the veranda, life just doesn’t work that way. People need people; deal with it, me. And I’m trying, goodness knows. I can do what needs doing, if I’m allowed to kick and scream and whimper along the way. “Noisily brave,” my tailor calls me. (You’ll be hearing much more about him in future posts, I feel I can safely guarantee.)

            The happy news is this: Thanks to lovely options like Facebook and blogs, one can actually “interact or engage in informal communication with others for mutual assistance or support” (official dictionary definition of the verb “network”) without ever having to technically step out into that great, big, chancy world.

            I can see it now, actually: What’s on your mind? “Loving the view from my hermitage’s veranda, insert cheery emoticon here!” Seven fellow introverts like this.