Sunday, May 18, 2008

Practice

Sometimes a lifetime of preparation is necessary for just one sentence.

I started singing in choirs when I was 3 and was in at least 1 and sometimes as many as 3 until I was 20. I was a lead in the school play in the 3rd grade. In junior high, I played in the handbell choir and performed in The Orb of Khaladar, which was the 8th grade play, the same year that I won Chorister of Year Award. In high school, I joined the forensic speech team, practiced multiple times every week and competed every Saturday for 6 months of the year. Over the course of four years, I won over 20 tournaments in my events and advanced to compete at the State level in Dramatic Duet Acting both my junior and senior year. Also during high school, I began taking voice lessons and sang several solos in all of my choirs. I played Hodel in the production of Fiddler on the Roof my sophomore year and played one of only two female leads in Camelot my senior year. In college, I tried my hand at an improv in a Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind style production and took my first formal Speech class. I also participated in my one and only experiment in community theatre as part of the cast of Godspell. As an adult, I began to coach forensic speech with a fair amount of success for my students. I continue to sing in choirs when I get the time and I'm often picked to present group work at conferences and classes.

As a writer, I also started young, reading and writing short stories and poetry throughout school and majoring in English in college. I taught high school English for five years, which taught me the mechanics of good writing by having to analyse and guide editing of horrendous adolescent hack and slash emotive chicken scratch. I've written this blog for four years to a fair amount of positive feedback for my ability to communicate poignant emotions and experiences using words.
All of this is to say that I'm fairly poised, comfortable and articulate when I get up in front of a group of people.
When I was asked to stand up and give a toast for my baby brother's wedding, I thought about the years that we have spent together as partners against the world. I have no memory of life without him and countless memories of the comfort he has offered as the person who knows me better than even my parents do since he has spent a life kicking me when we used to have to share a hotel bed, fighting with me because there were no other kids on the block, complaining with me when my dad insisted that we should all play tennis at noon in August because, "the courts will be empty!", defending me to other kids in high school behind my back when my insecurity made me a bitch, helping me move from place to place as an adult, offering to rough up my ex-husband, driving me to my adventure on Orcas Island and every other possible experience two siblings can have with one another.
But, his bride is beautiful and a good friend and she makes him this happy:

So I raised my glass and said simply, "I am 20 months older than my brother and he has been my best friend for my entire life but I am so pleased to be able to give him to Meena so that he can be her best friend for the rest of her life."

Sometimes a lifetime of preparation is necessary for just one sentence.

3 comments:

rickshawdiaries said...

What a loving and generous sister you are - beautiful toast and moving entry.

May your brother & his wife be blessed with the companionship of deep and true love always!

Warmly,
Baraka

duckbill said...

missing rumpus... catching up on back issues now.

great post, btw. i wish i was as close to my sisters as you are to your bro. you have a rare gift.

sean

Christy said...

Looking back at this post during a compulsive-blog-reading session at my boring morning job, I am struck by the beautiful high school era photo of you, thinking of a longer-ago post about being a Smart girl rather than Pretty girl during those days. We were so hard on ourselves! You were so lovely!