“The Fierce Vexation of a Dream”

Readers, perchance you wonder at this blog, but wonder on ’til truth makes all things plain!

Throughout the entirety of this semester, I’ve had the amazing privilege to be a part of a remarkable theatre production with the LMU Players: William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream! Months of preparation peaked toward the end of November with an open dress rehearsal and a series of four performances. Seeing as I have never acted in any actual productions in my life (I have a feeling church plays I did in elementary school don’t count for much on a theatre resume) this entire process was a completely new experience – and a wonderful adventure of fun and self-discovery as well.

It all started with the LMU Players’ meeting early on in the semester that I attended partially out of curiosity, partially out of the promise of free pizza. There I saw that many of my friends, some from from the Honors Program, and a few new faces from my classes were interested as well, and many of them had been in past productions. When our directors, Hayley Townsend and Professor Mark McGinley, mentioned the possibility of the Players putting on one of Shakespeare’s plays, I knew without a doubt that it was something I wanted to be a part of, if only to give it a shot and broaden my horizons. (And, you know, act in a Shakespearean production!) Soon after the meeting that piqued my interest in auditioning, tryouts for A Midsummer Night’s Dream were announced, and my friend Chelsea and I resolved to audition. Continue reading

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What’s Your Talent?

Prilla is a relatively inexperienced fairy, eager to try new things – just like us!

Nearly everyone who knows me on even a minimal level knows that I have many passions; check out my About Me page for nearly the entire list!  With all these different things I’m interested in, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park to decide what I was going to study here at Lincoln Memorial University.  I suppose if I had to summarize why I chose to declare as an English major, I would do it best with an analogy from someone else’s story:  Gail Carson Levine’s Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg, which follows the story of Tinker Bell and the other fairies of the magical nook within Neverland, Fairy Haven.  Yes, I know what you all must be thinking:  a collegiate-level writer, using children’s literature to prove a point?  Stranger and far worse things have happened, readers.

In Fairy Haven, each fairy has a special “talent”, what she or he is innately good at – their passion, their craft, and essentially their purpose in relation to the fairy community as a whole.  When a fairy is born, they will make what is called “the announcement”, where they reveal their talent to the others.  This announcement is effortless and intrinsic, as natural as breathing or flying.

Of course, us college students aren’t fairies (unfortunately, as I’d love to be one) – our purpose in life isn’t always so clear.  Many students choose their “talent” – their major, for all intents and purposes in this comparison – based on passion, but many also choose based on economic necessity, what their parents or friends want them to do, or what will lead them to the most success financially.

I almost chose my “talent” based on what I thought would bring me economic success – while I was still in high school, Mass Communications was originally my choice for a major, after I realized the career choices that would open to me with a Communications degree.  However, the longer I pondered on it, the more I wondered whether I was starting out on this path for the wrong reasons, and eventually gave up on the idea.

When I finalized my decision to attend LMU, I still wondered what I would study, since I had pretty much abandoned my first plan of action.  As I continued thinking about what I could possibly do (buying into the myth that my major would determine my career for the entirety of my life), I began agonizing over the impending choice; I was figuratively driving myself insane.  I felt much like Prilla, the main character of Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg, a fairy who arrives in Fairy Haven seemingly without a talent, and feels very lost and unsure of herself for a good majority of the story. When I went to my mother to vent about the issue (I am immensely grateful to be able to do this without reservations), she offered me wise advice, as she always does:  “You’re a writer, and have been for years.  You can do a lot with that, and you love it. Why not go into writing or English?”

Now that got the ball rolling.  I thought back to my earlier years and realized that through all of them, I had loved reading, and excelled in my literature classes.  When I was in middle and high school, I spent the good majority of my free time writing; I took my favorite characters and put them in situations that hadn’t happened in their original stories, and then began to create characters of my own and craft their stories.  In school, I looked forward to writing assignments more than anything else, whether it was creative or informative. Perhaps, I thought, this was what I was meant to do after all.

When asked to confirm my major at the LMU New Student Registration over the summer, I replied “English”.  It was effortless, intrinsic, as natural as breathing or flying.  Just like Prilla, my “talent” had been there all along; it only needed a little bit of a push to bring it to the surface.

Stories are one of my talents – what are yours?

Keep in mind that – I’ll keep saying this – college students aren’t fairies.  Our “talent” doesn’t necessarily determine our purpose in life, nor is it the only thing we can do well.  My major may be English, but that doesn’t stop me from participating in the various music ensembles of LMU and being entranced with the fascinating study of Sociology.  I’ve met Criminal Justice majors who can’t get enough of creative writing classes, English majors who excel in biochemistry – the possibilities are endless.  This is, in a way, what our college experience is all about:  expanding our horizons.  Even if you love your major, don’t let it limit you.  Prilla, even after she found her talent, still enjoyed joining her friends in the activities that went along with their talents!

Perhaps it’s not a walk in the park or a fly through Winter Woods to choose a major, but with a lot of thought and a little help, anything is possible! Have you discovered your “talent” yet?  Have you always known what your talent was?  Are you still searching, still waiting for the push that will reveal the right talent for you?  Or do you have more than one talent?  I look forward to hearing your stories in the comments!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to overanalyze more children’s literature.  If you’d like to know more about my literary antics at LMU, feel free to follow my blog – I’d love to share my adventures with you!