Living Large in Small Places

Sometimes Evie Taloney veers away from movie and TV reviews and saunters off into butting in on advice columnists.  Now everybody knows in real life you don’t want somebody offering you unsolicited advice.  “Can I give you some advice?”  “NO!” (you scream in your head as you politely listen to some critique of your persona).  So don’t read any further because Evie’s got some “Opinions Worth Ropin'”.

“Evie Taloney’s Opinions Worth Ropin'”

There are some ideas that have prodded me through my life sometimes with a gentle nudge and sometimes, yes, like a cattle prod, jolting me into my next life phase. My journeys have taken me through the thickets of living large in small places.  “Small places” can occupy spots in large cities or in the wide open vast spaces of Big Sky Country in Montana.  You can inhabit a beautiful bubble in Manhattan where you live and love amongst your own kind.  Or  here where the plains meet the mountains you run into a fair amount of”can’t see the forest for the trees” “nose to the grindstone” kind of folks who predominate in the human species. They are sometimes referred to as “small minded” but they keep the gears moving in our social systems.  They are guardians of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.   So they aren’t prone to color outside the lines much.  And they have a tendency to look askance at any kind of uppity outside the box behavior from women like me.

Recently a gal I know said that her philosophy was  “to go where the love is”.  Sometimes the love involves more money, but flattery and wooing helps.  When I thought about it, I guess I  have gone where the love is some of the time.

I was supposed to be a theater/film professor.  But just when I was supposed to dive into work on my dissertation and apply for teaching positions, I flew the coop to New York City.  Since several of my friends had proceeded me there,  surely that was where some love was, I reasoned.  It wasn’t a boring choice and it couldn’t hurt to learn a thing or two about New York theater before teaching a crop of aspiring actors, designers, and directors to make their way in the professional world of story telling.

When I moved to New York, I was asked over and over again to become a talent agent.  But I wanted what I thought was the freer life style of acting and directing not sitting in an office.  But auditioning for parts  was often not where the love was.  Nor was it freeing. When it was, like doing comedy at Lew Black’s club on 42nd street with Margo Martindale, Wayne Knight and Andy Matthews, it was group hug time. Running around in a red corset and slamming doors in a Feydeau farce was my idea of heaven and the closest thing to Lucy and Ethel hilarity that I encountered.  But going in to audition for a Joy dish washing commercial was not hugalicious especially when you didn’t get the gig.  And so it came down to  paying the bills and passing on rejection and going where some love was.

Over the course of ten years my former roommate had asked me to join him at his very well regarded talent agency.  Another friend of mine worked there and asked again to give it a shot. And so, at last, I took them up on it. Turns out I could sell other people much much better than I could sell myself.  I was a natural.  Who’d a thunk? Not my graduate adviser certainly.

After four years, they transferred me to Los Angeles. This time, I was taking a risk.  I wasn’t sure there was any love there, but I  thought I’d try.  Turns out there wasn’t much love or like.  I was not meant to sit in corporate style meetings of 30 some agents. And so I “misbehaved”.  Behavior that was perfectly acceptable in our little world of 5 agents in New York, was no way  to behave in corporate Hollywood.  Time to part ways.  So what to do?

Simple. When a good looking cattle rancher walks up to you and asks you for a “twirl ’round the dance floor”, do it and don’t look back.  Problem solved.  I literally went where the love was again.  But the very conservative community I moved to was not sure of what to make of me or me of them.  But I jumped on to that moving train and didn’t look back.

So here comes my caveat to my advice.  Sometimes you have to take a risk and jump off the deep end instead of wading in. Sometimes you have to go where the love isn’t.  You know, take that path less taken. I wouldn’t recommend it as a norm. If you live in hostile territory all the time it means you are kind of nuts or a war correspondent or probably both.  I do feel at times like I am reporting from behind enemy lines sneaking my dispatches into routine blog posts and missives to Mom.

Bottom line?  There is none. So take that fork in the road, but look where you’re goin’.  Make hay while the sun shines, but stop to smell the roses.  Don’t put your eggs all in one basket because the road less taken has a bunch of ruts.  Don’t judge a book by its cover, but a rose is a rose.  In short, embrace contradiction.  Oh and don’t take any advice from strangers.

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