I was elated to be asked to read my first short play at a writer’s workshop amongst my friends and colleagues.
This play has been in the works for almost two years and, finally, it is one step closer to getting to the stage. I was so nervous the moment I stood up and began to speak. It felt awkward, but given the circumstances, I was told to use it to my advantage. After all, the leading character is positioned into a cringe worthy state. I was on my feet reading with Julia (the producer hosting the workshop)and as I stumbled through the lines trying to commit to being dead letter perfect while trying to manage my nerves, everything seemed to flow surprisingly okay - even the other playwrights who stepped in, at the last minute, to read the supporting roles caught onto the comedic timing!
Then this happens...
Right at the climax of the play, I look down to see that I'm having trouble reading my lines. I lean in closer to the page and it doesn’t get any better.
I cannot see.
I paused, which brought the reading to a screeching halt. All that could come out of my mouth was:
I’m sorry...I’m so sorry...
One of the playwrights immediately handed me her reading glasses and I was back in business. But it doesn’t last. My vision went out again and I had to give back her glasses before the end of the play. However, being that I was more familiar with my last four lines, I navigated through the rest of the play without having to look down at the page.
After the reading, I sat down feeling so embarrassed by my failed performance. Everyone was nice about it and seemed to understand how uncomfortable it is when one finds themselves discovering that the eyes are not as sharp as they once were. My vision has been somewhat of an issue since 2016. I’ve tried corrective lenses, reading glasses prescribed by an eye doctor, but I’m sorry to say, none of these have consistently worked. And never has it ever affected me at the time of a performance up until now. A couple of days later, I went to the pharmacy and grabbed some eye drops and some $20.00 reading glasses and voila! So far they seem to be doing the trick.
My condition might have a lot to do with CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome) or also known as Digital Eye Strain and since I stare at screens, on average 14 hours a day, It's hard for me to imagine how I am going to be able to change this structure since my job, my creative development, my writing, and editorial submissions depend on it.
Or this could be a sign of aging. My stepdad once told me that his first sign of aging came to him the moment he realized his 20/20 vision no longer existed when he picked up an Aspirin bottle and couldn't read the back of it.
Regardless of age and/or CVS - I now know not to take my eyes for granted. I did receive some feedback from friends and colleagues who were concerned that I was working way too hard so I did take a couple of days off away from my smartphone, ipad, ipod, and laptop. It felt good. Whether it was the break or my new cheap reading glasses that are helping me get back on track, I cannot say. All I can do is continue to keep taking steps toward protecting the health of my vision. I don't know what that looks like, but what I do know is that the loss of eyesight is not for sissies. And fingers crossed that I will have better luck, during Julia's next writer's workshop which will be opened to the public on April 21st. Here's to hoping that I break a leg!
- Click here if you would like to attend An Evening With Julia and Friends