I haven’t been able to write very much in the last several months. So much has happened that getting meta about talking about it actually isn’t as interesting to me right now (which should be quite startling to anyone who knows me).
I keep meaning to write and then I don’t and so all kinds of things fly by me, experiences and realizations, losses, wins, connection and destruction have all been going on, all suitable for blog entries. But for whatever reason, things are actually happening at the same time that I don’t feel up to raising my voice about them.
I’ll tell you one thing and maybe ramble on from there. Today I went to a memorial for Paul Backer, one of my college professors. Paul passed away very suddenly less than a week ago. It was deeply shocking to me and to the rest of his students and of course to the USC School of Dramatic Arts faculty.
Today I listened for a few hours as a stream of students recounted how Paul touched their lives as one of the warmest, most supportive and generous teachers anyone could ever hope to have. I got up and talked, well, rambled and forced my voice to stay on despite the deep sorrow that made it shake terribly, mentioning how seeing Paul could improve my day in an environment (college) that could be, by turns, bewildering and frustrating. How he knew so much about seemingly everything and when he couldn’t solve something with words and wisdom, his hugs were the perfect cure-all.
And I had to tell everyone there, which included his mother, that when I was looking into voice over Paul was one of the people I got in contact with, asking for advice. This was only some five-ish years ago, well over a decade since I’d last seen him at my graduation. I wasn’t even sure he’d remember me. He remembered. He not only took the time to write back to someone who only bothered to write because she needed something, he answered my questions, pointed to professionals he knew and wished me well.
I had to tell them because I had to tell Paul, his vacant body in a casket, his mother in her chair, that I have a career because of him.
Right now I am spending my days creating Spanish narration files for online videos. I’m still in the earliest of early days as a professional voice actor. I am constantly fretting that I’m going to ruin this job, that this is a one-off and I can’t expect to ever find work like it again, that this work is meaningless when it comes to what I ought to be doing with my life…
The one person who could always convince me that I could take on the challenges ahead was Paul Backer. I am such an idiot for never considering contacting him earlier or for staying in touch. I didn’t even ‘friend’ him on Facebook. I can’t believe that I squandered that connection. And now I can’t ask him for one of his hugs that made everything okay.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much, Paul. Fare you well, wherever you may fare.