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Shall We Ukulele?

So many workshops, not enough time

I woke up, did a quick meditation, scarfed down some breakfast, and sat down in front of the computer to get on my monthly zoom creativity meeting at 10am. On Saturdays, I tend to glance over at the piano keyboard that my landlady kindly lent me to see if it will inspire me to play chords and belt out a tune. I rarely get around to it. I prefer singing in the shower. I decided to give my full attention to the meeting, with the video off, of course. No need to expose the class to my flannel pajamas. At 10:50 I got a notification alerting me to two other workshops I had previously scheduled; a follow up for a workshop a voiceover friend had kindly invited me to a few weeks before, and a how-to of visual storytelling. I had neglected to jot them down in my google calendar, otherwise, I would have realized I was triple booking myself. I left the first meeting and hopped on to the follow up workshop, only to find that it was just the two of us. After a productive conversation, we said goodbye and I went back to listen to the last forty-five minutes of the creativity talk. At 12:30pm, I received an email informing me that the visual storytelling video would be available to watch on facebook. My hand was just about to grab the mouse to click on the link when I stopped and took a breath. There was no disguising it; I was turning into an online workshop junkie.

I get an average of ten emails a week, alerting me to the next wonderful eye opening experience that will change my life. It can be anything: from finding your inner warrior for video games, Storyboarding, Happy for no reason, Artist's Way, finding love when you're not looking for it, etc. Granted, some, like The Artist's Way have modified the way I normally think of my creativity (or lack thereof), and given me some useful tools. Quite a few, however, resemble flirting at a cocktail party: someone catches your eye, they smile and casually start walking over and as they approach, you realize, uh oh--why did I make eye contact? But it's too late and suddenly you are forced to listen to a ten minute soliloquy from an individual you will likely never see again.

Well, the days of physical proximity to humans for more than a minute is a distant memory. Instead, now I flirt with appealing workshop titles on my laptop. Licking my lips with anticipation at the prospect of learning something new, my finger recklessly presses the enter button without thinking. Many of these workshops are free, and it's just an hour of my time, so what could be the harm? It's only once I'm in the zoom universe that I realize I want to flee but now I'm stuck in cyber purgatory.

Over the past nine months I've taken well over 50 workshops, with such varied titles as Learning Davinci Resolve, Healing your mind with Yoga, and Secrets from a Voiceover casting director. I take copious notes and save the videos I receive after the class but the big question--do I always use the information that I'm given?--remains up in the air. I finally managed to draw the line at 'Learning to play the Ukulele.' Over the summer my sister was taking the course through our high school alma mater. Mom didn't want me to feel left out, so she offered to buy me one. It was tempting and I almost said yes. I visualized my sister and I playing zoom duets and harmonizing with our baby guitars. I watched the replay of the first lesson, and quickly realized what I really needed to do was work on my voiceover auditions. I declined my mother's kind offer; the Spanish guitar she strummed on as a teenager sits in the corner of my room. I've opened the case exactly once since I arrived in LA a year ago. So much for learning an instrument during the pandemic.

Will I continue to sign up for workshops? Probably. I'm focusing more on my passion: voiceover. I wasn't a fan of school when I was a kid but now I love the anticipation of being with a group of people, even if it's virtual, to learn something new or practice expanding the creativity. Next week's agenda? Learning Accents, Part 2!


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