I finally got to Burke’s, the bookstore around the corner from the intern house. I bought three books and blazed through one in a few days.
Gene Wilder’s memoir, kiss me like a stranger, was an open and honest glimpse into his life. I’ve always loved Gene Wilder in everything I’ve seen him in (not much as I found out) and I was excited to read about him.
Growing up I first saw Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which I was incredibly surprised to learn was considered a flop at the box office. It only earned $4,000,000, one million more than its budget. I also discovered that Wilder was a writer having many ideas turned into movies, most well-known to me being Young Frankenstein.
Reading about Gene Wilder’s stage days were particularly interesting because I hadn’t known about them. He auditioned for and became part of The Actors Studio, here he was mentored by Lee Strasburg. In those early days Gene had focused on being dramatic instead of playing to his comedic strengths, and Strasburg called him out on it, saying:
“I got news for you: If you don’t know how you’re going to act some part of the script–work on what you do know. Build up your confidence a little bit. That will help you find what you don’t know.”
I was struck by this statement. So often I focus on what I need to be doing and learning and working on that I forget to play to my strengths. I spend too much of my time and energy worrying about how I’m doing compared to others. My biggest competition is myself; as long as I’m doing better than I was yesterday that should count as a win.
I loved this book. The flow was easy and made me want to read way past my bedtime. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, specifically theatre people and those interested in Gene Wilder.
When I was a little girl I was far from the most well-behaved child. I would throw temper tantrums…just terrible screaming and crying fits, and my parents wouldn’t know what to do with me. I think their general reactions were to try waiting it out or threatening me: with a spanking, time-out, having a toy taken away or otherwise.
These tantrums could happen at any moment, but were most guaranteed when we went out to eat at a restaurant. My most famous childhood story starts “Hey Kelly remember that time we were in Waffle House and you wanted pancakes…” I actually don’t remember that story.
The point is that eventually my mom wised up. She noticed that I took forever staring at the menu, going through every dish before I could choose one. Soon she started giving me a smaller selection to make a choice from, and I got better at restaurants.
To this day I am one of the last people to order at a restaurant because I have to read the whole menu.
This inability to make a choice without knowing all my other choices affects more than the time I spend at a restaurant. I put off starting on projects because I get pulled to other projects. I have more blog post drafts than I should. I have a to-read pile that’s about 20 books long at any given point in time. The amount of clothes I want to make would triple the size of my already packed closet.
Sometimes I get a little disoriented and panicked when I’m over-stimulated. I dislike the mall and big stores for this reason. I am a slow walker because I like to notice things.
I want to say that this behaviour will stop now…but I don’t want to lie. I will challenge myself to finish more projects than I start this year and I think that’s a start.