Jude (Nugget #2) and I had an epic Friday morning.
We took Noah to farm school (that’s what we call his barnyard preschool.) Here he is petting a chicken.
The world would be a better place if we all went to farm school.
Then Jude and I headed to his favorite place: Dunkin’.
The other day Jude told Melissa and me that he wished Dunkies was his home.
We’ve gone all in on our New Englander identity. 🍩
There’s a crew of retired folks who congregate at our local Dunk’s, and Jude’s cultivated a deep friendship with one couple in particular, George and Ann.
After a breakfast sammie and half a strawberry sprinkle donut…
…we headed off to the Market Basket.
Normally, I brace myself for Market Basket. It gives me Costco intensity in a more concentrated environment with pallets-full of to-be-stocked marinara making aisle negotiation super high-stakes.
I regularly want to yell, “Calm down everybody!”
But, Friday with my 3-year-old personality bomb sidekick sporting a Deadpool/Hulk cape, I might as well have entered the store with a talking Golden Retriever and Dunkies’ gift cards for EVERYBODY.
Jude and I changed the atmosphere wherever he shoved the carriage. (He pushes, I steer and try to keep my heels out of trajectory.)
I mean, look:
But I did find something out. My biased Southern self who judged these New Englanders as too brusk realized that most people enjoy a friendly hello and some commiseration.
Jude and I were like the dynamic duo of friendliness up in that store.
We picked up the coconut milk for the woman whose Goya eyes were bigger than her arms. We worked out Jude’s superhero identity with a gent by the English muffins. And we said hola to Virgilio stocking the marinara.
I left the store proud of Jude and how he helped. Also thought about my Papa Basil Jessup (Jude’s so much like him) who possessed the same powers of atmosphere shift; he could walk into a depressive, suffocating space and dispel the darkness with a simple, “Well, hello here!”
This Dunkies/grocery trip also reminded me of our privilege as singing storytellers.
There’s no better opportunity to shift the atmosphere than the chance to sing a song and tell a story.
When you prepare with excellence and show up with skill and warmth, the chance to elevate the room is huge.
I want you to remember this wherever you find yourself — in an audition, in a meeting, in rehearsal, in your own practice, in a class, in line at the grocery store. The environment of your soul affects the air around you.
If you’re cultivating love, seeking the most generous interpretation, and holding a quiet vigil of kindness toward yourself, folks feel it. You brighten a day and lighten a load.
A lot of times, you won’t know, and that’s terrific. Warmth and generosity are their own reward.
But remember your superpowers when you start to believe you’re at the mercy of something — a grocery store environment, a toxic work situation, or an entire societal construct — you have influence in your immediate sphere.
And the person next to you will be grateful for the reminder about their own influence.
So, use it!
Whose day could you make more beautiful with a kind word or hello? (I mean, be smart and use your Spidey senses 🕸️ — some folks you wanna love from a distance, it’s true.)
But I’m here to remind you that you have more agency than you realize.
Walk in like you’re partnered up with the world’s most charismatic, strong-willed 3-year old in a Deadpool/Hulk cape and say to the world, “Well, hello here!”
After all, there’s only one you, and folks need to hear the story only you you can sing.
PS Keep an eye out for me on the Instagram, Facebook, and YouTubes this week — I’m gonna lay out some straightforward videos about how to prepare audition packets.
If you missed last week, I talked about choosing songs for auditions. And oh, make sure you hop over to my YouTube channel and subscribe — I’m gonna be talking about more theatre singing tools than you or I will even know what to do with.
I’ve also been cooking up a pedagogical alter-ego who may be making a debut appearance in the coming weeks.
PPS Please tell me you’re on the Ted Lasso train. The good news is that the last episode of the latest season airs tomorrow evening, so if you’re late to the party, you won’t have to wait for the weekly drip. I may go back and watch from the beginning myself.
PPPS Do you know about Brunch with Babs on IG? I love her! I’m making her BLT Potato salad for the Memorial Day cookout we’re going to today. (High of 69 here in Mass, and I am HERE for it. This mild New England spring has fulfilled my New England dreams.)