Last week was a roller coaster of bad news/good news. One day in particular made my head spin.
My stress level was through the roof due to trying to wrap a story that was already late. I only had a few hours to write that morning as I had to work at the library later that day. I stopped at one moment to check my email. This is the good news part. Abby, my editor at HQN, had sent me a PDF of my cover for ALL ABOUT EVIE. It was so striking, so clever in concept, it moved me to tears. I'm bursting to share it with you, but the art department is tweaking a couple of things and I'm not in possession of the finalized version. But soon, I promise. Soon.
Seeing that cover provided me with a burst of confidence and energy. I plunged back into ROMANCING THE WEST and typed away, thinking, I'm living my dream.
Thirty minutes later, I got a call from my entertainment agent. He started the conversation with, "I have some bad news."
I thought long and hard about how much detail I wanted to put in this post about losing the last of my singing gigs here in the Atlantic City casinos. A place where I performed regularly for the last seven years. I've decided, not much. Mostly because I could really get on my soap box about ageism in entertainment and I fear I'd just come across as bitter. Sour grapes and all that. I'm not here to bitch and moan. I'm here to inspire. So let me take this angle...
The hard ugly truth is, in the eyes of the execs now running the AC casinos, I'm past my prime. Not just me, but almost all of my performer friends. Anyone my age or older. "Beth's had a good long run," one of the execs said. "Time for fresh blood." Young blood, he meant. But I'm not going there. The thing is, I have had a good long run. I've been performing in the casinos for twenty years. I have been blessed. And just because they (the casinos) don't want me anymore, doesn't mean that my talents wouldn't be appreciated on 'the outside'. I could explore other venues. The question is, do I want to? The answer, after a few days thought, not really.
I'm a master at juggling jobs, projects. For the past year I've been singing, emceeing, working at the library, and writing. The library is now my steady gig. The one that helps to pay the bills. I'm fortunate to have landed a day job that I actually enjoy. I still have the emcee gig. I'm behind the scenes so age/look doesn't factor in. It's only once a month and just around the corner. I'm grateful to have it for as long as it lasts. As to any other kind of perfoming, as I said, it would have to be outside of AC. That means travel. That means devoting time to learning new songs or scripts, whatever the gig entails.
I examined the pros and cons. I listened to my heart. I only have so much creative energy and I'm no longer willing to spend it on anything other than my true passion. I used to burn to perform. Now I burn to write. So that's what I'm going to do. Write. I'm still entertaining. It's not like I've retired. I'm simply moving on, striving for new adventures. And you know what? It feels good.
"The best is yet to be" ~~Robert Browning