Last year about this time, Scarlett found out in the same week that she had landed the roles of Helen Keller and Ramona Quimby.
The very wise actress who played Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker sort of IS a Miracle Worker herself. Hearing about young Scarlett's coup, this actress said to the Matron: "Your job is to worry about the no. Because it's coming. It always is."
The Matron immediately recognized the wisdom in that statement and ever since, has been parenting to the No. Indeed, during the entire run of The Miracle Worker and Ramona Quimby, the Matron kept that upcoming no in mind and tempered all attitude, opinion and actions toward that No ahead.
It's a very Buddhist stance actually. The upcoming No allowed her to enjoy the moment and her child's joy all the more, knowing its brevity. The upcoming No reminded her that too much emphasis on or praise over success meant failure would leave a tremendous vacuum in Scarlett's psyche and life. If everyone is all about how great it is that you're the star of the show, what happens when you're not?
So the family kept it low key. Indeed, Stryker has made it his part-time job to moan, eye-roll and otherwise cry foul whenever anyone mentions Scarlett + Acting. While his intent was nowhere even NEAR the remotest region of Scarlett's best interest, Stryker's anthem--a nifty tune entitled Scarlett Better Not Be the Center of Attention Because that Role Belongs to Me, was a nice salve to the daughter's spotlight.
The Matron was reminded of the No when a local agency called and signed Scarlett and turned that No over in her hand again while the agent in L.A. auditioned and signed the child as well.
Now the No has leapt from her hand and asserted its rightful place at the hearth of the home. Scarlett has repeatedly faced rejection -- for two Disney sitcoms, a handful of commercials and three shows. Scarlett has sweated it out at callbacks in which it was clear that the director was choosing between two -- Scarlett and another and the other prevailed. Having an agent means your ten-year old competes among hundreds -- maybe even thousands for that Disney stuff--of talented little girls harboring the same great big dreams of acting.
While there have been some successes in the 2009-10 theatre line-up--one at the History Theatre and a reprise of The Miracle Worker, here-- the No is definitely first at the finish line these days.
And the Matron has learned something, well, surprising.
Scarlett--as far as her mother can tell and trust her, she's queried -- is genuinely fine. This is, honest to Buddha-Oprah-Allah-God-Universe what that child told her: "Some people get all upset about rejections because they're not real actors. When you're a REAL actor you get some, you lose a whole bunch, you get some and you just keep on going. It doesn't matter."
Indeed, Scarlett auditioned for a commercial this morning and ended up inviting the competition (who played Susan in Ramona) home to play, afterward. The girls are at a laptop critiquing various things Entertainment Industry, as she types.
And the Matron? Of course, once again, parenting has forced Insight Into One's Own Self and Neuroses. Scarlett's graceful acceptance of No as part of ordinary life sort of floored the Matron, who realized how that word conjured up Toddler Like behavior and emotion in her own crusty little heart when the NO was NOT directed toward her daughter -- but for her own fine self.
You see, it took her nearly THREE YEARS of feeling sorry for herself when her literary agent didn't sell her two award-winning very fine manuscripts before she could start penning pithy prose again. Three years beating the brick wall of No before she was able to think one creative thought. Indeed, this blog was her inroad to that artistic well again, her return to the Word.
Shockingly, the Matron realized that she never fully embraced, understood, examined or accepted her own No. Indeed, she shrugged off No as the mistake fate made while waiting to award her Success. She has been--still is---waiting for the yes without an appreciation for the No -- the VERY OPPOSITE of what she just spent the past year teaching her daughter.
And finally learned, herself.
She'll keep working on manuscript number three. And think -- maybe. And let anything that happens, be fine. That's life as a writer.