Not emotional drama (although that is usually part of every Salon gathering). Not psychic or intellectual drama (although both those happen, too.) No, this was the real deal.

We have staged Salon exercises around writing (the 5-Word short story); around instantaneity (Exquisite Corpse drawings and poetry). Last night, we tapped a channel that was part of the past province of one among us, Glorious K: acting.

Kristina chose monologues for each one of us. And there began the wonder of the exercise. The deep thought was evident in each of her choices: St. Joan for Mel. The Invisible Man for Blake. Contemporary playwright Walter Wykes for herself and me…and, for me, the added bonus of a second selection: Isak Dinesen. There was something so apt, so well-considered about the choices that, not knowing us, simply seeing the selection brings you that much closer to knowing something essential about each of us.

And the next wonderment, the drama of the drama.

Most of us are not trained actors. I had training a long time ago. But most of us, no. Even for an actor of experience, facing an unknown monologue is a challenge. Especially without the greater context of the rest of the play. And especially, especially, with only minutes to prepare. The exercise itself was meant to be a challenge to our discomforts, our uncertainties…the necessity of finding ourselves in a character—and, in the revelatory choice that had been made for us, an acceptance and embrace of another’s ideas about us.

Then, of course, there was the challenge of standing (or sitting) in front of others—even beloved as these folks are—and digging deep, past anxiety, to truly act the thing. That was, perhaps, the greatest revelation of all.

My monologue was emotional. Ironic. A meditation in outward language about a very inward thought. I played it that way. Mel (who delivered standing) was St. Joan in all the ways she might be: heartfelt. Complex. Brave and vulnerable and daringly frank, all at once. K (who also stood) was all attitude, saucy and who-cares, with a deep underpinning of caring—the woman exactly. And Blake…

Blake was perhaps the most uncomfortable of us, going into the exercise. Full of feeling when he discusses an idea, the revealing of his heart in a monologue was not as comfortable for him. But once he began…oh my. Soul. And conviction. A touch of menace. The hero and villain of his own life. Extraordinary.

I’m using this post to share my pride and delight in these wonderful people, and the evenings with them that never, never seem long enough. It is a relationship that never stops delighting me. To Kristina, my wide-eyed gratitude for the thoughtful, deeply felt, sensitivity that informed her choices. And to this Family We Choose, my enduring love.

A Side Note: I hope you’ll join me Saturday for the next installment of  The Spiritkeeper on