Leading Ladies

I love movies. Old movies, new movies, horror, action, comedy. I’m not really a chick flick kinda girl but I can be swayed under the right conditions. Oddly enough, my favorite movie may actually be a chick flick… I think. I’ve always been kind of hazy on what makes a movie a chick flick.

My favorite movie is very old, and wouldn’t you know it, Jimmy Stewart is in it. The Philadelphia Story [1940, not to be confused with Tom Hanks’ 1993 Philadelphia] is actually a good story, but more importantly, has characters that I love. Funny thing, I rarely like movies for the storyline/plot. I love characters. I’m a character whore. When I tell someone about this movie, I skim the storyline and go right to the characters and how they interact. The little sister, Dinah, is probably my favorite [With lines like “Nothing ever possibly in the least ever happens here. Mother, how do you get smallpox?” how can you not love her?!]. But I’m more than a character whore. I’m a secondary character whore. After all, I watch Will and Grace for Karen and Jack.

I was thinking about that, watching an old movie with a great quirky cast, and realized that my friends and family and life in general is all about the characters. I don’t adore someone because of the setting or the atmosphere or the storyline of their life. I love the people around me because of their complexity, their quirks and their overall characters. I love how they interact—with each other, with me, with strangers. I commented on this attraction to quirky when a friend and I were discussing something I debated writing into a character. We agreed that it was a side character trait, but it was something from my actual life. I laughed and said I was a living, breathing, quirky secondary character.

And promptly got yelled at.

Quoting a chick flick, she admonished me with, “You’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, not the best friend.”

Ok, so it wasn’t a direct quote, but you get the idea. And more importantly, I got the idea. I’ve been the quirky best friend and the asexual friend and the tomboy and the token chick and on and on and on. It’s about time I stopped taking roles that highlight those around me and start getting the good lines. But even back in school I didn’t audition for Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, or Josephine in HMS Pinafore. I was Glenda and Buttercup. I’ve never taken center stage, I’ve never known how. After school there were boyfriends and a husband that I could stand behind, and then children that I could put up front as a handy shield. I’ve done what so many women have done through the ages. Taken a backseat in my own life.

It’s my life. It’s time to start living it. I’m taking charge and doing what I want, when I want.

If you follow my twitter you may have noticed the word of the day on Friday: indecorous. I decided to go against the norm, or the oddly accepted/wrongly perceived norm, that says that you can’t go out and do things by yourself. Bah! I went to a movie that night all by myself, “one ticket for whatever is playing at 7:00.” Me and my red licorice laughed and giggled and had fun. I followed it up with a little Mexican dinner at the new restaurant. It was delicious. I laughed, I ate and I stood alone. A leading lady with no support cast whatsoever. And it wasn’t as scary as I thought… I went to Country Kitchen by myself Saturday morning and brought the laptop. I chain-smoked and sucked coffee and had a lovely egg & bacon wrap and edited my novella.

Indecorous and productive, I like that. I’ll probably do it again. No… I will do it again. Viva la leading ladies. [Ok, I don’t know Spanish and made that up, so forgive me if the syntax is all wrong.]

“Make up!”

5 Responses to Leading Ladies

  • What a great post!! See, now you need the sparkly ruby slippers for your red shoes. (and by the way, I was the Wicked Witch of the West in our high school production. People claim I was type-cast.)

    The good thing about you setting off on this yellow brick road adventure? You already know who’s behind the curtain which gives you room to explore.

    “Weeeeeeeee’re off to see the wizard…”

  • Lauren says:

    *claps* Amazing! Take a bow! :-)

    I’ve gone to see movies by myself. Sometimes it’s better that way. And it’s silly but sometimes something that simple can make you feel empowered. “I don’t need a man to take me to a movie!”

    Of course, now you’ve got me trying to remember what movie that line is from. :-)

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  • Cassandra says:

    Yay!! I’m so proud of you! And the words you wrote here are so true and so many women forget it. We have to be the leading ladies of our own lives or the plot gets decidedly befuddled.

    I’m sending you a director’s chair next Christmas….becuase what’s the one thing better than leading lady???? DIRECTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!! hehehe

    And yeah, movies and dinner alone are awesome. One of the few things I still miss from my single days. Also fun is going to the park and sitting on a bench alone, watching the scenery and being creative (drawing, writing, whatever). I also liked to take local adult ed. courses – basketmaking, jazzercise, whatever looks good….just something to do to feel adult, strong, confident….(and bonus becuase you learn something!).

    Keep it up! I’m tipping my imaginary hat to you now (because in my perfect, yet to be written, movie I can actually wear a hat and look good…LOL!)

  • Susan Scofield says:

    Hi Kelli!


    I linked here from your “obligatory spam” link on Brian Keene’s forum (the only forum-type thingy I belong to, incidentally). And I am so glad I did. I have seen your name in association with Brian’s site many times, and have seen you on Twitter, and of course, I recently read your excellent stort in A New Dawn (see my post on Brian’s board, my forum name is Qweequeg).

    I could have checked out your site at any time in last couple of months, but I didn’t. I linked to it today. And I found this “Leading Lady” post. It really hit home with me, especially this week, as I have been struggling with much the same. I believe that most things happen in a particular order for a reason, and it usually has to do with moving us along our path.

    Your post has inspired me to start seeking out my own spotlight as well, an idea that was muddling around in my head, but hadn’t found its form yet. You gave it a form I could relate to. Thank you for posting it.

    (aka Qweequeg)

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