This Friday is my birthday, and I thought I would commemorate it with some profound, some sentimental, and some plain joys of life from my first 23 years of existence. I’m be breaking in into four parts, so check back tomorrow for the last installment!
13.) The Nutcracker ballet – when I was little I used to watch The Nutcracker Prince almost on a loop. I identified a lot with Clara, dancing with her wooden nutcracker and imagining what it would be like if he came to life. So, when I was six or seven, my mom took me to see The Nutcracker ballet, which is always in our city around Christmastime. I remember I wore this green velvet dress with gold buttons and my tights and my buckle shoes – a very fancy occasion. I was entranced by everything — the costumes, the music, the movement, the fact that adults were as willing to play pretend as I was. It turned out to be a life-changing first impression of theatre and performance.
14.) Being on stage – I know that the assumption tends to be that writers are quite introverted, prefer to stay in by themselves, away from the centre of attention. Well, years before I was a writer, I was a dancer. I danced for fourteen years, taking jazz, tap, ballet, modern, Highland, and hip hop. I also acted in the school drama productions through junior high and high school, playing everything from the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass to Lisette the floozy French maid in On the Razzle, to Valerie in the Shel Silverstein one-act “Click” (if you enjoy your fond childhood memories of innocent Shel Silverstein poems, do not – DO NOT – look up “Click.”). My favourite thing about it was getting to have that interaction with the audience, especially when being a character so far removed from my own personality. I love the construct of the performers and the audience submitting themselves to make believe. It’s probably no small wonder that my love of live performance storytelling led so easily to book-based storytelling. Plus, I will take any opportunity to do a kick line.
15.) British/Irish comedy – Fry and Laurie, Monty Python, Black Adder, Russell Howard, Dylan Moran (his standup and his series, Black Books), Bill Bailey, Dara O’Briain, Ed Byrne, Richard Curtis, and so many more. If I knew how to make a supercut of all of my favourite moments from them, it would probably be fifty hours long. I know it seems like I go on about morose things a lot of the time, but I really am a laugh junkie. If I have to pick just one, I will offer Bill Bailey’s “Two Bloke Joke/Surrealist Ramble.”
Also see Dylan Moran’s brilliant metaphor abour your potential.
16.) Getting parcels in the mail – I can’t tell if my love of getting things in the mail came first, or if my love of online shopping came first. Either way, it leads to a happy Amanda who, as of writing, is waiting on the following: tropical wardrobe from Yesstyle, The Lords of the North audiobook which I had to order as a CD from the UK (way to drop the ball, iTunes), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly from Amazon, and two slightly geeky/very sweet keychains for me and Chris.
17.) Cardigans – Really, how can you go wrong with a cardigan? I divide my own cardigans in a Venn diagram of “Cardigans I Can Wear in Public” and “Writing Cardigans,” with very little overlap. As they are mostly for my own warmth and comfort, my writing cardigans aren’t exactly fashionable, and it got to the point where they were upsetting Chris’ stylistic sensibilities. For Christmas he got me a big, beautiful cardi from Free People to usurp the other overlarge, black, pilled monstrosities.
18.) Mint chocolate chip ice cream. But only when it’s green. I had white mint chocolate chip ice cream once and found it very disappointing. Is that strange?
Okay, I know I said I would pick just one. But I have to include this gem by The Narrator of the Harry Potter Audiobooks and Dr. Gregory House (a.k.a Fry and Laurie).