Monday, 26 March 2007

What's in a Name- Part Deux

Corresponding exactly to a friend's claim that I neglect my blog until a day I have too much time on my hands and then post prolifically: Here is my second post of the day. Though the first was an email written by someone else, so I do feel that this blog is owed some of my own effort, rather than simply my copy/paste abilities.

So the career question is ever looming. As I sneak this blog entry into my ninth hour of a shift at the video store "Today is Boring" I can't help but think how this whole thing would be different if I'd chosen to call it "Confessions of a Video Store Clerk." In fact, considering that this is the seventh year and fifth video store, I am definitely as qualified as anyone to write or title such a blog. Just as Michael Stacey pointed out about my name, both Debbie and Deborah are principally about promise- in fact, most of these entries have been about the future. Who I am and what I aspire to be. So the "young playwright" title refers not so much to what I am, as to what I hope I am, or what I hope to be. And the internet is certainly the ideal place to decide who you are based on what you hope to be.

But it's a funny thing- this video store identity. I sometimes wonder, since seeing MacIvor's "Here Lies Henry" what kinds of surreal things could be in store for us when we die. One thing I picture is a list of all of the positive and negative things that have ever been said about you. You would have to read through it at length to understand how you affected other people's lives. Or imagine having to watch films of the part you played in other people's dreams and nightmares. But mostly, I think that there will be a list of "fun facts." Unexpected gobbets about yourself. On my list, I may just be reminded that I've handled more DVDs then 90% of the human population, and that to most people I have met in my life, I will forever be "That girl at the video shop."

I think about this quite a lot. An old video store co-worker friend of mine moved to LA last year to work as an assistant at a screenwriting agency. He sent me a pilot he was working on about video store clerks. In the script, one clerk comments that she is actually a musician, the owner is actually a writer, and the other worker is actually an artist. She says, "Everyone here is actually something else." And here I am, Actually a Playwright. According to my Blog.
The same is never said of bankers, or consultants, or lawyers, who may very well write, play music or make art on the side. It's one of the few pros of working for minimum wage in an artsy and therefore acceptable customer service role. You get to actually be whatever you want to be. Perhaps I could offer to do a friend's taxes once a week and claim that I'm actually an accountant. But probably not. This is not an insult to the many artists working as something else, it's merely a curiosity. One of my closest friends is actually a video store clerk. And arguably the best video store clerk I've ever met. I suppose it all comes down to whether you are doing what's in your gut. And whether you're doing it well.

I suppose that's why I will never call myself a video store clerk. I may always be a video store clerk. And perhaps that's also why I fear well paying jobs in consultancy or banking. One of the nicest things about being in your twenties is that you are always actually somewhere else. There is something so beautiful about a promise- even when its reality pays 5.50 an hour.

1 comment:

Mary Pearson said...

Of course these are questions, I as your Mater had to consider when selecting a name for you. I was deeply affected by the responsibility of the choice- What to name my child?
In fact I was unseemingly reluctant to make a definitive choice for several days after you were born.

I'd study your infant face and try to discern what name would suit you for a lifetime. Unlike other motherws who had a choice planned before they went into labour, I felt I needed to meet you before naming you.

There were several candidate names at the time such as : Caroline- Your brother's choice because he didn't want his sister to have a name with the same first letter as his D- for David) In fact David went to his kindergarden class the day after you were born to announce that he had a sister called Caroline. It wasn't hard for him to do, as I was still in hospital with you and hadn't yet named you. The pressure to settle on Caroline was enormous.

Then I thought of Sara, a name I liked, that didn't end with "ee"- only problem was that I had a friend whose baby daughter was named Sara (I lost touch with this friend, so it wouldn't have mattered anyway at this point), but at the time I didn't want to seem as if I horning in on her territory. Sara was for her daughter.

Then there was Katherine, but then you could have been called Katie, and then there was Laura. That was too serious for Dad. How do you call a toddler Laura? It just wasn't fashionable in those times.

I did think that Debbie might be too American cheerleaderish...but then consider Debbie Reynolds and her success. Dad and I thought of Deborah, as in Deborah Kerr, classy beautiful and you.

So Deb... I hope the choice was right. By the way... I struggle with Mary...