Five words can change the direction someone takes in life. Words are that important.
On a whim when I was 27, sitting at the entrance desk in an outfit right off a Goodwill rack, pre-contacts, stamping guests forearms, I asked someone at the old HALO (Homophile Association of London Ontario), “Do you think I could do something in one of your shows?”
He paused with a look of surprise on his face.
“Take off your glasses.”
Luckily his reply was five positive words.
“Yes, I think you can.”
If he had said, “Nope,” who knows? I might have ended up a missionary, or God forbid, a politician. Either way, no doubt, I would have still ended up selling “something”.
Even so, yes, didn’t mean I actually could. I can’t believe I had the wherewithal to even ask as my schools, my family and most of all my religion were all anti-make believe.
In fact, there is not one moment or one person in my first quarter century of life who encouraged, suggested or would have dreamed this quiet, country kid would spend the next quarter century doing anything in any shape or form having to do with theatre, writing or performing.
Indeed I risked being a soul-crushing flop.
But shock of shocks, instead of falling on my face, within months of that whim I won Mr. Halo with an impersonation of Marilyn Monroe. A guy who never even tried on a dress, let alone wore make up.
Imagine. Five words and one pink dress led to twenty six years of performing, writing, producing, creating.
It is unbelievable to me the coincidence of transsexual, drag queen Hosanna falling in my lap in the year that began with my first thoughts of making this announcement – yes, my full circle, aha moment.
One friend posted on Facebook, “Can’t wait to see how you reinvent yourself.”
Nope, my announcement is not about reinventing. Been there, done that. It’s about deconstructing a public life.
Thought you might appreciate this exchange I saved from correspondence this past summer with a good friend I’ve only seen once in 15 years – because I’ve been too busy.
“Donald, on a serious note you have done well too…”
“I remember,” I replied, “one important exchange we had saying goodbye at the York Street bus station 25 years ago. You talked about fame. Well, I’ve had my 3 minutes of fame and you were right. It means nothing.”
What means something to me now is realizing what I have missed.
I lost my mother to dementia (while she lived and continues to live with us). I wasn’t there to say good bye, but I’m sure as hell going to make sure I’m here to say hello.
A quieter life, stillness, sleep – all things that have eluded me. But no longer.
This week I’ve given myself my own pink slip at both eatdrink magazine and my web site donaldsdish.ca
Publisher Chris McDonell replied with the most positive email one could ever hope for. McDonell and his team have proven to be a class act from day one so no surprise at the response.…as have my web mistress Lisa DesGroseilliers and my DISH team of reviewers. A big thank you to Lisa for the design and to my reviewers for all their time and effort.
Maybe I’ll finally get to start writing my next memoir, clean my own house, or read that book I’ve been putting off for ten years.
Perfect timing I’d say. I can continue to enjoy the process that is Hosanna. My mood and spirit now reminds me of earlier days when we’d go, “Let’s put on a show and fuck the critics.”
Ha ha…guess I just fucked myself!
What means something to me at this point in life is…well, that’s the point, isn’t it? I’m looking forward to finding out.
How appropriate then that the final post at Donald’s DISH is a new review of Death of a Saleman.
Ironic, isn’t it…