Yesterday, I attended a Puppetry workshop with John Tartaglia (of Avenue Q fame.)
When I signed up through the Children’s Media Association (CMA) I did not expect to be thrown into a situation where I had to stand alone before a group of twenty strangers, in front of a television monitor, with a mop of rags on my arm.
But there was no time to think. I had to come up with a voice (I took a cue from many of the cooking shows I watch: low and slow) and a character (I decided, in the 30 seconds I had, that his name was Mo) and just…go.
Many of you know I write at a snail’s pace. I wait for words that never come. I sigh. I stare at blank pages. I dream. This is not to say I don’t finish things. I do. But, while everything else in my working life is now, NOW, or yesterday, my writing life is much, much slower.
All this to say, when it comes to imagining words and character, I am not accustomed to improvisation, to winging it. This was a stretch for me. I stumbled and sweat and worried. And when my minutes of ‘fame’ were over, I couldn’t even tell you what I said.
But there’s something about not thinking or over-analyzing. I had to remain unedited and both undone and done at the very same time. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I don’t think I stopped smiling for the two hours I was there.
If ever in your life you are faced with the question: Should I take this puppetry class? Say yes. I know you’re thinking you will never be faced with this question. But you never know. I was. And I’m thrilled I answered correctly.