On the Irving High School parking lot I would park my 1953 blue Chevy convertible every morning and pealed out every afternoon; I bought the car with five hundred dollars I earned at Safeway. Not many kids my age owned their own car, even fewer paid for it themselves. As I sped down the streets to work my radio blasted the new sounds of Rock and Roll. The boy in the car knocked a hole in his muffler on purpose and replaced custom hubcaps with spinners, all to attract attention and girls. For me this attention seeking was serious business; my buddies, to attract members of the opposite sex, had far less to work with. And yet I don’t think I was ever satisfied: Larry was a football star; Cecile was smarter; and A.J. led the clique to belong to. Feelings of inferiority often attracted ridicule in my case. And when I wanted to be a member of the clique and the star of the football team and obviously couldn’t be either one, my self-image plummeted. I was a junior; I felt excluded; but I had to become famous.
On Friday nights during football season, I always took off work to become a keeper of Big Irvi, the school’s mascot. Big Irvi, the most beloved stuffed tiger in town needed someone like me. Sure. All I know is that standing on the sidelines during a football game in my orange overalls suited me more than sitting in the stands. Actively participating in the event rather than watching it satisfied a basic need I had then. The first grader, who as I remember played Santa without a suit in the Christmas play (see the YOU BETTER WATCH OUT blog) also had the same drive. The drive was the same that led me to write my first snippets of dialogue; each time I had an audience. Playing before an audience seems important to me, as does the theater. For most of my life I have had a strong need to perform, and yet until recently I haven’t felt comfortable performing.
Self-consciousness, starving for attention and writing became intertwined in me. From my earliest exaggeration to my most recent creative attempts, including my motivation for creating El Ojito Springs, I have sought the limelight…the limelight that so often corrupts and leads to compromise. And my writing has been part of that. And luckily as I’ve aged I’ve become less driven and more self-effacing, and more often than not, I have sought fame vicariously; this has led me to showcasing other people’s work before my own.
These past two years have been good to me. I have helped many artists, musicians, and writers by providing them an outlet for their work. Now, as this evolves, I’m very happy and satisfied with what I’ve done.
Good night, Randy Ford