There is no shortcut to Glory!
That’s one of my favorite stories – I try to work it into every performance. One of the reasons I like it is that the meaning (if there is one) is open to interpretation.
Of course, some days I think I know exactly what it means …
One of the reasons I am out here doing this tour is that I thought it would be a good way to learn and to grow and to practice and to get better as a storyteller. Abner says that’s four reasons, but I told him to go write his own blog.
The point is, I came out here for a lot of reasons, but one of them is to gain experience. I wanted to leave my comfort zone and go tell stories out where nobody knew me, just to see if I could do it.
I was really looking forward to the Milford performance, because this is the first one that wasn’t set up by a friend of a friend. This one involved convincing complete strangers that I had something worth bringing to town. It was definitely a step beyond the friends-and-family network, and I wanted to do everything I could to make sure the event was a success.
I stopped the day before in Amherst, made a dozen copies of the flyer that Kirsten had created, and posted them all over town. I did the same in Milford the next day. I stopped people on the street and told them what I was doing, and asked them to come to the Toadstool Bookshop for an amazing performance (okay, that last bit is an exaggeration. I didn’t talk to everybody I saw – but I did talk to one guy who was out watering his lawn).
Of course, I could have done more. There’s always more that I could have done. It would have been better to get the flyers up at least a week or two in advance – but that wasn’t possible, since I didn’t arrive in town until yesterday.
I thought at least some bookstore regulars would drop by. But the place turned out to be pretty quiet. Kirsten was there (thank goodness), and our AirBnB host had brought a friend out to watch the show. And that was it.
Three people. No dogs.
The performance wasn’t bad. Could have been better. I felt like I was shouting – and considering the size of the audience, I definitely should have dialed back the decibels. But I had it in the back of my mind that all I needed to do is talk a little louder, and maybe the stragglers would hear me and come drifting in.
It was a good lesson to learn: focus on the audience you have. I’ll try to do better next time. Other than that, I think I did okay.
An audience of three people, though … that was disappointing.
But there is no shortcut to Glory. You’ve got to walk every step. That includes all the detours and blind alleys that weren’t on your original map. As long as the path you’re on remains the right path, you’ve got to follow it wherever it takes you.
I think I’m still a long way from Glory. The path is still muddy, and it’s a hard slog, sometimes. But I’m fairly certain that it’s still the right path.
At least on my path, I don’t get attacked by fire demons. Not yet, anyway.