Audition

As most of you know, I’m nearly finished writing a book called Long Ride: Cycling 4,000 miles with stage 4 cancer. That title sounds a bit sad, but just like my daily conversations, my writing has a bit of humor, at least some attempts.

I’m working on a different version of the story in my book. I’m going to audition for a solo performance, and I hope you can share some thoughts about my audition.

The overall performance is part of Tell Us Something. That’s an almost-quarterly performance at a theatre in Missoula, Montana. For each performance, staff at Tell Us Something select 8 people to present based on a theme, 10 minutes per person. Some recent themes have been: It’s the Little Things, Waking Dreams, and Letting Go. In the show I’ll audition for, the theme is The First Time.

To audition, I will leave a 2-3 minute voice message giving a sample of the story I’d tell. The list below contains 3 options for my audition. At the moment, I’m asking a small number of friends to give comments on each.

 

 

 

You can give comments on each however you’d like. They could be in person, in email, in the discussion below, or in any other way that works for you. I hope you can give me comments by the end of January. After I get comments, I’ll improve the 3 options and ask many more friends to pick the one they like most.

Thanks for any help you can give!

1 thought on “Audition

  1. I comment of each option separately, cutting down to the premises and logical flow with a surgeon’s knife. Of course, these reflect my personal viewpoints.

    Option 1: The first time butterflies passed me on my bicycle.
    (GREAT LEDE, CAPTIVATING IMAGE. I MUST LEARN HOW THIS COULD HAPPEN)
    In the Appalachian mountains the road got steep, I (HAD TO slow down, and a group of butterflies, without much effort, blew right past me. I kept cycling to Oregon (FROM THE APPALACHIANS). A tough ride, only a few hundred people do it each year, and they have to dig deep to find the commitment to bike 4000 miles.

    My reason was cancer, discovered as Stage I, the good cancer, I had surgery, everything went well, and my cancer jumped to Stage IV, the worst kind. (CRUSHING) I decided to cycle across the US while I still could. (I REMEMBER HOW DEVESTATED, HOW DESPONDENT, I WAS WHEN AFTER 45 STRAIGHT DAYS OF RADIATION I WAS SO WEAK I COULDN’T WALK UP A THREE DEGREE INCLINE FROM THE PARKING LOT TO THE LAB WITHOUT STOPPING AND PANTING TO CATCH MY BREATH. HOW DEMORALIZING TO BE SO WEAK BUTTERFLIES COULD BLOW RIGHT PAST YOU WITHOUT SEEMING TO TRY.)

    A lot happened on that ride good and bad.

    I finished that ride, and I learned it’s ok to think about dying. Most importantly, I learned to make the best of this short life, and one way I do that is by turning tragic moments into fun little moments, like being passed by butterflies. (A BEAUTIFUL LESSON)

    Option 2: The first time I could have been killed by a turtle.
    (ANOTHER GOOD LEDE, RAISES CURIOSITY, BUT DARKLY, WITHOUT NICE IMAGES OF BUTTERFLIES.)
    I was moving at 51 mph on my bike, riding down a mountain.
    Had I hit a turtle, I’d have died painfully.
    It’s not wise to ride that fast, but I was in a bad mood.
    A bad mood because my cancer got worse.
    We caught it early, My surgery went well, and after surgery my cancer jumped to Stage IV.
    But then, good luck, a new drug put my cancer in remission,
    And that’s why I was riding faster than I should have.
    (WAIT, THIS CONTRADICTS THE EARLIER STATEMENT YOU WERE RIDING FAST BECAUSE YOUR MOOD WAS BAD DUE TO WORSENING CANCER)

    Overall, I learned it’s OK to think about cancer, even good.
    I’m much more serious about living, about making the best of this very short life.
    One way I do that is making the best of fun little moments, like cycling so fast I could have been killed by a turtle.
    (NO, YOU DIDN’T DESCRIBE THAT AS A FUN LITTLE MOMENT; IT WAS AN UNWISE MOMENT WHILE YOU WERE IN A BAD MOOD.)

    Option 3: The first time I appreciated my cancer.
    (COULD BE A GOOD LEDE, RAISING CURIOSITY TO WONDER HOW OR WHY ANYONE COULD APPRECIATE HAVING CANCER. BUT THAT IS VERY IFFY, FRANKLY DOUBTFUL, A RISKY APPROACH.)
    Of course I haven’t enjoyed cancer, but sometimes I appreciate it.
    I have the good kind of cancer–Stage I, surgery goes well and everything looked good, until my cancer came back as Stage IV, the worst kind.
    I had every reason to think I might have only three years to live.
    Then a new drug, and remission, and I decided to ride 4,000 miles on my bike,
    And I appreciated my cancer because I wouldn’t have done that but for the cancer.
    (ONLY A FEW HUNDRED CHOOSE TO DO THAT RIDE EACH YEAR, SO THE HUMONGOUS MAJORITY OF PEOPLE DO NOT CONSIDER SITTING ASTRIDE A SKINNY BIKE SEAT FOR 4000 MILES AS A REASON TO APPRECIATE HAVING CANCER).
    I cried a lot on that ride, I met a lot of wonderful people, had fun moments like being passed by butterflies going up a mountain, and riding fast coming down a mountain . (YOU FORGOT COMING DOWN FAST WAS ALMOST GETTING KILLED BY A TURTLE AND NOT A FUN MOMENT)

    I still have Stage IV cancer, I still get scared, I still cry sometimes, more often I appreciate many moments of this wonderful life, and that’s why I sometimes appreciate having cancer.
    (IT DOESN’T HAVE THE RING OF TRUTH TO SAY YOU SOMETIMES APPRECIATE HAVING CANCER. THIS SEEMS TO BE THE ESSENCE:
    I STILL HAVE STAGE IV CANCER, IT SCARES ME TO TEARS BECAUSE IT CAN KILL ME AT ANY TIME.
    KNOWING I HAVE THIS TICKING BOMB INSIDE ME MAKES MOMENTS WHEN IT DOESN’T KILL ME SEEM MORE WONDERFUL.
    THEREFORE I APPRECIATE HAVING CANCER.
    WILL THE AUDIENCE BUY THIS?)

    IN CONCLUSION:
    Option 1 sounds to me as a polished, effective audition. It flows lyrically, and contains a wonderful twist on the lesson of perspective, of finding the silver lining in a cloud by adjusting one’s viewpoint.

    Option 2 seems to suffer contradictory statements, which will necessitate a rewrite.

    Option 3 sounds to be the most declarative style, approaching a Socratic statement, but with questionable premises.

    All three options offer intriguing possibilities, but I think Option 1 has the most impact and is the most polished.

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