That Stage Though
This post-Oscars post is almost one week late, and that is beautifully in keeping with the theme here…
The guy who won the Oscar this year for sound mixing has been nominated 21 times for the role and never won until this year. That’s more nominations than Meryl Streep, who celebrated 20 this year.
This seems like a good time to jump to my punchline, which is goodness it can take a long time to get the things we want.
They all say it: I’ve worked so hard for this, I’ve dreamed of this since I was six years old, last year I watched this show from a bar across the street…. (that last one belonged to Maren Morris at the CMAs this year, not to an Oscar winner, but the sentiment is the same). I watch them say it from the couch in my pajamas, and I raise a glass, because I hear ya, sister friend. There are way more bars across the street than there is room on that stage. I’ve made my peace with that for the most part, but I still feel very, very happy when any person makes it from the one to the other and tries to convince the rest of us that if we just keep going, dreams come true.
On my Oscars ballot this year, I struggled with the best song choice, because one of them makes me happy every time I hear it, one is haunting and powerful and by Sting (though I had never heard it before Oscars night), and no fewer than the remaining three are on a continuous loop in my day because are you shining just for me, here’s to the ones who dream, and the call isn’t out there at all it’s inside me – are not just lyrics from the three remaining songs but the lyrics to my soul. The song from Moana is so good, I continued crying even after the pretty, young singer got hit in the head with the dancer’s props. It doesn’t matter which two words Miranda wrote into those two notes – calls me, find me, inside me, blinding – the notes themselves are so beautiful and “super, super everything I need in my life right now.” I circled City of Stars on the ballot, because the buzz told me that was the way to go – and it was – but to me, you know, you get an Oscar, you get an Oscar, you get an Oscar – there was winning all around.
The Oscars felt farther away from me this year than most other years. It was a combination of things, mostly the fact that the artistic career of my dreams is nothing like a career yet, and it strikes me lately how very long I’ve been sitting in the bar across the street and nowhere near the stage. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sad at all. The stage I dream of is way easier to achieve than winning an Oscar. Stage is a nice, poetic word for having accomplished the giving of the thing we’re meant to give. That’s all. And I’m as optimistic as ever, singing I am Moana at the top of my lungs every day as Jake sheepishly escapes from the car in the drop-off line at school. It was just noticeable, that’s all. I wear pajamas eating ice cream with my girls. Emma Stone wears the gold dress where red vines fall from the sky. The pajamas, the ice cream, and my girls is its own brand of perfection, but I feel so grateful for the consistency of art, that year after year people will still be making things, celebrating the dreamers, insistent on our potential to become the best of us. If I don’t get my finished books into the world the way I want, or onto a screen the way I sometimes dream, next year or the year after that or ever at all, I will still be counted among the people who make things. And I will still dearly love the breathtaking stage (seriously that stage though) and the beautiful music and the powerful stories that don’t just win at life but win the golden man and the right to tell the rest of us, keep writing, keep acting, keep going. There’s room for you.