I have a secret passion that I’ve been pursuing for about two years now. I have been studying improv comedy. Heck, I’m funny! Sure. Of course originally I started taking classes to deal with writer’s block, because when you’re standing on a blank stage with no idea what you and your scene partner are going to say, it requires you to get out of your head and say anything. I have been hoping to tap into this spirit of “there are no mistakes” as a carry over into my song writing.
I gotta tell you, it is utterly scary for me, getting up on stage without script or props or a guitar to hide behind. I spend a lot of time feeling like a dweeb, but there is something compelling about it that keeps me going back for more.
In spite of my nerves, yesterday I started yet another a new improv class at a place called Impatient Theatre in Toronto. My teacher, Jess Grant, is fabulous! My fellow fourteen or so classmate are also amazing, bubbling with energy and openness.
One of the first games we played is called “I love…” Using a stop watch set at two minutes, each person in the class got up and listed things off the top of their head starting with the phrase “I love…” Meanwhile, the rest of the class applauded and hooted uproariously in support. It was magical! A room full of strangers opening themselves to each other. An incredibly vulnerable thing to do. There were some overlapping themes, but each person’s list was unique to themselves, and fascinating to hear. Sometimes as a person spoke their loves out loud, they would surprise themselves. I discovered that I love cleaning my glasses! Heh.
I recommend you try this game sometime… or many times… maybe as an ice breaker at a party.
Today I did an adapted version by writing it down instead of saying it out loud. (Practical note: I made the time a little longer to compensate for the fact it takes longer to write.)
Here’s what I wrote (completely unedited, except for paragraph breaks to indicate breaths):
I love mint chocolate chip ice cream. I love the end of an ice cream cone when the cream has melted into the tip and it’s like a miniature ice cream cone, cuz you nibble it down.
I love my red plaid pants, I love how their pockets fit on me. I love wearing my soft turtleneck sweater with stripes on it. I love shiny things. I love collecting oddibles, oddities like junk from the curb that nobody wants. little curious knickknacks – figurines and my lite brite, and I love putting up different pictures next to each other – different colours. I love cleaning counter tops.
I love after the dishes are done and they’re stacked in the drainer. It feels tidier than when they’ve been put away. I love sleeping on the couch.
I love walking down Queen Street in Parkdale and making eye contact with people and smiling at them. I love when I take the TTC, and every transferring bus or subway arrives exactly 10 seconds after me, so that I can just hop on without waiting. I love when I’m on time.
I love coffee, like tasty dark roasted coffee, first thing in the morning (which means 10 or 11am on a good day). I love writing a satisfying sentence. I love finding four leaf clovers just by glancing down. I love my snow boots, my big brown sorrels that are so warm.
I love running into a friend at a live music show. I love singing at a concert. I love fingering CD covers and the surface of smooth books. I love getting shiatsu and how soft my muscles are afterwards.