David A Gwilt | Entertainer 4 the Ages

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Hold The Pen

Good morning, my name is David Gwilt and this is another edition of Thoughts 4 the Ages. I appreciate you tuning in. If you have a comment or a suggestion for a topic, you can contact me, David at davidagwilt.com. That’s G-W-I-L-T. I want to talk to you this morning about holding the pen yourself when you’re writing the story of your life.

I thought of this today when I was thinking about opening night. I’m in a play and opening night is tonight. There are six performances and I am a part of the Union County Playmakers in North Carolina and this play is called Night of January the 16th. I play a Swedish bookkeeper- personal secretary to a character named Bjorn Faulkner. My character’s name in the play is Siegurd Jungquist So I have to have a Swedish accent. Yah. But but I want to talk to you about being involved in your life I’m gonna tell you my story and if you relate to it great, and if you don’t, well I appreciate you listening anyway.

When I was in high school, back in the 60s, I was an athlete. I played varsity football and baseball. And back in the 60s, I don’t know about today, but if you were an athlete, you were a big man on campus. Everybody knew who you were. Everybody that liked sports anyway. The cheerleaders, you know, hung out with you, the so-called nerds, you pretty much didn’t know who they were. They weren’t part of your circle. The point is that in football and baseball I knew what my talent level was which was okay and I was a starter on those teams and it never bothered me in a game that people might be watching me or that I might make a mistake because I was comfortable that I knew what I was doing with my my proficiency in those two sports. When it came to acting however that was not the case. I wanted to join the drama club because I thought maybe I wanted to try doing some acting but when it came right down to it I was too inhibited I was too self-conscious to get out on the stage.

So what I did was I worked backstage and I pulled the curtains in, you know, whatever folks needed me to do because I had this image of me as being this cool guy. And if I was on stage and I messed up a line or didn’t do a good job, people would laugh at me. And then I would go down in status, the pecking order, if you will. So I didn’t participate in live acting. So now years go by and I’m 60 I think or 61 something like that and I see an ad on the internet for a senior acting class. I think you know this might be something that I want to try to do because I’d never done it before and you know it was one of those things; there’s a Mark Twain quote I believe and I may be butchering it but it’s something along the lines of 20 years from now you will regret more the things you didn’t do Than the things you did do and I thought okay, so let me try this So the first night I go to acting class and the director, a lovely lady named Wrenn Goodrum, a dear friend and she was like okay pull down the magic from the sky and let’s laugh And I thought I can’t do that because I have this image of who David Gwilt is. This is my image; you know I’m I’m a bright guy I fancy myself you know somewhat worldly kind of a pseudo intellectual I can’t just let my hair down and be this you know goofy character and I almost quit after that first night. I don’t know if I ever told Wrenn this but I almost quit because it just, it was out of my comfort zone I didn’t want to go there. So I went home and I thought about it and I prayed about it I said, you know if you don’t do it now, you won’t do it. You’re always gonna wonder could you have done it?

So I went back on the second night paid my fee and fell in love with acting and I did a play with a good friend of mine Nita and We did something called Some Say Fire which you can find on YouTube. I do have a YouTube channel and David A. Gwilt is my channel. It’s real complicated. And you can find some of that stuff that I’ve done on my YouTube channel. So we did some kind of improv stuff. I did that play called Some Say Fire with Nita. Then I ended up doing Love Letters with a wonderful actor named Lindy Patten-Gura, who’s very talented and very gracious to have worked with me and now I’ve done, I’m in my I think fourth play with the Union County Playmakers and have fallen in love with acting. Now I tell you that because I was the self-conscious individual who didn’t want to make a mistake I was afraid what people would say people would laugh at me and my image blah blah blah which was all ego it was just ego. You know if you think about a baby learning to walk, simple terms, the baby learning to walk, they don’t have an ego on whether they can do something or not do something. They don’t have any ego about what people laugh at them. They’re not self-conscious about anything. You know they urinate, they defecate, they vomit, they do whatever comes natural to them.

They cry if they’re not happy, they coo if they’re happy. You know, they want love and affection, but they don’t worry about making a mistake, they don’t worry about failing. So when they try to learn to walk, they get up, they let go of the couch or the chair, and they take a step and they fall down. And they get up and they do it again, and again, and again, and again until they’re successful and now they know how to walk and isn’t it like that with so many things in life when a youngster starts out playing sports a young young man or a young woman or whether it’s soccer or lacrosse or whatever sport it is they’re not good right away most athletes are not gifted at their chosen sport they may be gifted athletes but they’re not gifted their chosen sport they have to learn the sport so it’s like a baby walking the more they do it the better they get and it’s the same thing with acting if I’d never tried if I’d never gone back for that second night of class I wouldn’t be where I am today which is a very fulfilling love of my life getting on the boards if you will and acting every every play I’ve done you develop a family of the characters, the cast of characters in the play.

And there’s 16 members in this play that I’m doing now, 16 cast members, along with a wonderful director and a producer. And we’re a family now. Now, that family came together, learned each other’s happy stuff and bad stuff, and learned personalities and how to get along. But everybody’s there working for one common goal. And that goal obviously is to put on a successful performance. So we’re all there for each other. At the end of the last play, we will have a cast party and people will go their separate ways. Some may connect again and some may not. But the important thing is that people got out of whatever their comfort zone was and tried something new. There are people in our cast who have never acted before. There are professional actors who have been doing this for 30 years.

And even the brand new actors. They may be a little nervous, but they’re not self-conscious to the point where they’re not willing to try to step out of their comfort zone. There’s a great line in Lord of the Rings, and I don’t remember it exactly, so I can’t quote it. It’s when when Bilbo Baggins is going out the front door on his great adventure because he wants to see the mountains again, “Gandalf the mountains” and he says something about you know You never know where life is going to lead you when you take that first step outside your door And that’s exactly the point of this try something new if there’s been something that you’ve wanted to try You’ve been hesitant to because you’re afraid you might not be good or people will laugh at you or you’re outside your comfort zone. Do it. Take up the pen and write the story of your own life. My name is David Gwilt. This is Thoughts 4 the Ages. Again, my contact information is David at davidagwilt.com. I appreciate you tuning in. 

Have a wonderful life.