Monday, September 10, 2007

Diary: In September 1995.



June 1995 - June 1996 (Year 18) was one of the most momentous years of my life, but I didn't realize it as early as September. The whole summer had been swept up in one massive project, the second Flint Youth Theatre production of Trace Titanic which had toured to Minneapolis in early August. Because of the rehearsal schedule, I was unable to attend training sessions for the Michigan Renaissance Festival Academy. I was allowed to participate at the Apprentice rank for the second year, and for the first year there I wasn't used in a play.

Once Festival started, it pretty much dominated my schedule to the exclusion of all else. I didn't really take school very seriously – in particular, I refused to spend much time on Chemistry and Algebra III-IV almost on principle – I hadn't been cast in the FYT production of The Fall of the House of Usher, so I could focus my full attention upon Festival.

At Festival, I focused less on the program itself than I had ever been before, which was unfortunate since the workshops were more serious that year than ever before or after. I had a huge crush on a girl named Michelle, the "girl with the blue shoes," who had absolutely no romantic interest in me whatsoever. Meanwhile, a girl named Lisa told me that she liked me, and I did not reciprocate. I was very stupid about these things, as Lisa was pretty awesome: kind and reliable and trustworthy and interesting and inspiring, whereas Michelle was "mysterious" and "spritely" and just a little "haunted." While new and old friends – Mike, April, Melissa, and Brandi – helped me woo an increasingly exasperated Michelle, it rained day in and day out. I remember once standing in a tentful of rain while we all bobbed our heads to the Digital Underground. On another night, Brandi sang a beautiful rendition of Disarm that haunts me to this day. Once, my tent flooded and I slept in the backseat of a friend's truck. Another night, I slept in the trunk of my parents' Saturn (keeping the seats open so I wouldn't get shut in). We'd usually go out for Subway after the Festival, but when it rained, we ended up at Denny's instead.

Now writing this today, I feel bad that I remember less in detail about what was going on in my family (as opposed to, say, 1985, when that's all I remember, or 2005, which is more of a balanced mix). I also have to feel a little chagrined that I remember little about school either. I've almost lost track of the classes I was taking (Algebra, Chemistry, Concert Band, Spanish 1, Creative Writing Independent Study, English 11... okay). College, for being only two years away, and Northwestern, for being at best a stretch just then, was an eventuality I ignored. So when I say that "this September was different," that it launched me into such an amazing year, I can't think that I was necessarily more mature or realistic than before. I had, however, somewhere along the line at FYT and the Renaissance Festival, surrounded by friends and family who thought I was talented, charismatic, empathetic, fun, picked up a greater poise and ease in interaction then I'd ever had before. Here's my indulgent hypothesis: Poise and ease kept me from being distracted by trivialities that had always bothered me before. Now, I was able to build my maturity and sense of responsibility. In September, though, I was still pretty selfish.

I lobbied my mom for permission to hold the end of Festival party at our house in early October. Despite her very frustrating experience with the 1992 cast party for The Hobbit she agreed. I ended September by developing a crush on a cute girl in my Spanish class who kept staring at me each day, and by getting ready for the party. The girl, as it turns out, was only staring at a poster on the wall behind me. The party, as it turns out, went off without a hitch.

Where were you in September, 1995?

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