Little Beacons

My 12-year old daughter has decided to be a professional actress. Seriously. Nimaya has joined a theater academy and dedicates herself to learning lines, connecting with her character, taking direction, being scrupulously on time and collaborating with her actor counterparts. Two months ago she applied to the prestigious and highly competitive Denver School of the Arts (think “Fame”) and is about to audition for her first call-back. She is working harder than I have ever seen her. She is working harder than I have ever seen me work, actually.

What’s more, I have been supporting her: going over lines, preparing audition monologues, putting together her resumé and head shot, driving for hours, waiting while she practices and performs. I love it. She is in training and I am her coach. The excitement of watching her pursue her dream is completely contagious.

As much as I adore supporting her, a question arises: what do I love? What do I love so much that I would give it my all even if my chances of being successful were remote? What do I love as much as Nimaya loves to act? That, of course, is easy. I love to write. So what keeps me from going after a writing career the way that my daughter goes after acting?

I love that Nimaya’s heart has chosen acting because, from a conventional perspective, it is one of the most outrageous things she could pursue. The chances of being a professional actress are perhaps the only thing slimmer than that of being a professional writer. And yet, I watch myself in awe of her persistence, stamina and utter devotion to her calling. She is delighted with every step of the process and uses her fears and set-backs to improve herself. I couldn’t be more supportive or optimistic. I even think, hell someone has to get into DSA, someone has to become a famous actress.

The truth is that I haven’t pursued a career in writing because I haven’t had the support that Nimaya has. I don’t have me behind me, like she does. It’s easy to support her because she is young, talented, devoted and I have few expectations on her. I suddenly find myself challenged to bet on myself—to take my talent and devotion while I am still comparatively young, let go of expectations, and give it my all. I mean, hell, someone has to be a famous writer.

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