Friday, April 15, 2016

M is for Movie Star #atozchallenge

I used to be handsome...

From an early age I knew I wanted to be a writer, actor, painter, musician.  I later learned we were called Creatives.  I did not want to be anything that required a suit or a nice haircut.  Or a tie. 
My father had a different agenda.  He wanted me to be a doctor, a money-churning professional.  I should have stood up for myself but I didn't want his disappointment.  So I gave up on my dreams, cut my hair and muddled through ten years of school to become a chiropractor.
It  didn't work. 

Hard science wasn't my suit.  While I should have been studying I was writing stories, drawing bones, writing songs and staging scenes for the school's talent show.  The post grad world of professional practice wasn't my scene, either.  Not to mention the current state of the healthcare industry.  

Note: If given the choice between miserable starving doctor and happy starving artist, you know where I'll be. 
While my practice was dying I took some acting classes to lift my spirit.  My father was so proud of Dr. Serafini that I couldn't tell him of my plans to jet to Hollywood where I'd instantly be cast as the next action hero and I'd make millions.  Then I'd tell him.  I was in a bunch of films you'll never see, did standup comedy and some street theater.  

Leave it to the professionals.
He and I were talking one day about how I was struggling with the practice and he started his whole macho shtick about toughing it out and being a man.  I'd had it and in a fit of adult rebellion I told him I was acting.  I expected the usual string of unprintable obscenities but it didn't come.  He looked at me and with genuine warmth said, "Hey, you got the acting bug?  That's great."  I didn't now what to do with that.  He thought I was going to ruin my life with my creative flights of folly.  I was ready to unleash years of pent rage at him shooting down my dreams and now here he is all happy for me.  Such was his dichotomy.  From then on he called me Hollywood.  All my uncles then called me Hollywood.  Suddenly, I was Hollywood.  I was a big shot.  

Cut to a few years later.  His cancer was inoperable.  He was in the hospital digesting the grave news that he had only months left. In the stunning silence he asked me if I was in anything lately.  I was in rehearsals for an indie film. I played, of all things, a doctor, a psychologist.  He asked me to do my lines.  I thought it was ridiculous.  I was sad and mad and on the verge of a breakdown but so was he and he needed this.  I ran the lines.  Midway through he held up his hands and said, "Stop.  You shouldn't do it that way."  I was ready to tell him to shove it again and caught myself.  

Thought: It is in the darkest of times that your angels reveal themselves.

My father ran the scene with me several times adding and subtracting bits and pieces.  He advised me on how to carry my body, how to hold my glasses and how to naturally evolve into the character.  He gave me instruction on pauses and beats, breathing and intonation.  He advised me to be mindful of the difference between my character and myself and to play that as I felt it.  

It was the best acting lesson I'd ever had from the best teacher I'd ever know.  My performance was very well received by the director.

I still use everything he taught me on the rare occasion I get out there.  That was our last true father-son moment, a moment so valuable that nothing in this life is worth it's sacrifice.  In those moments I knew it didn't matter if I was a doctor, an actor or even if I'd ever make it in film.  All that mattered was he gave a damn about my decision and helped me when he could have laughed.  He took the dwindling time from his life to make mine better.  That was him.  Despite his insanity I still say you'd have loved him

* I love  and answer all comments so please follow or subscribe to be part of the chaos here!  I also have a picture book blog about the life of Ollie Bug, an adventurous five-legged spider and the mischief he gets himself into at Ollie Bug's Blog , also part of the A to Z Challenge.  You can also find me on Facebook,  Instagram  Twitter
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  1. What a wonderful moment and memory that you have to carry with you now. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for reading. And saying. :)

  2. That's such a sweet moment with your dad. Some people never get moments like that.

    1. I never saw it coming, but I'm glad it did.