Guest Blog – Once … Upon A Time …
As we celebrate the one year anniversary of the Tony winning musical Once, we have a guest blog from a fan on how seeing the show changed her life.
Once … Upon A Time …
There was a musician that happened to be visiting New York City. And a chance encounter with a stranger in a hotel lobby lead this musician to the Broadway show of Once. And what this musician wanted was a sign, something blatant, that would push her through her insecurities and the safety of her home in Seattle, to take the risk and stay in New York.
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Sitting there in the balcony section of Once, even from a distance and with not-so-perfect vision, it was obvious that Steve Kazee was quietly handsome and Cristin Milioti funny and strong-willed. I sat there, half-watching the story (already knowing how it ends) and half-asking myself “Can I take the risk he takes? Can I believe in myself that much?”
I’m not sure how much of Once is based on facts and how much is written in for dramatic effect, but it doesn’t matter because the overall story is what inspires us, causes us to wonder “Could I do that too? Could I risk it all?” To say that New York City is full of artists and visionaries is an understatement. The hugeness of the talent-pool is overwhelming, and the number of people who resign from pursuing their dream is heartbreaking. It is this hugeness and the fear of failure that intimidates so many of us – while inspiring others – to take the plunge and allow ourselves to be a small fish in an ocean of drive and talent.
It is this internal/external battle that makes this story so beautiful (besides the music, of course). It is the typical tale of a guy with a dream to become a songwriter that meets a girl who loves his music, and how she pushes him to pursue his passion. She encourages him to leave his bag of insecurities behind, journey from Ireland to New York and risk it all. He is the yin and she is the yang; they need each other. Her intentions are sincere and from a place of love: she helps him record a demo CD, refashions him, and believes in him ¬– something he seems to have forgotten how to do for himself. She has little to gain by helping him, she just loves his music. It’s as if she serendipitously falls in love with the music, and then him. As an audience member, you can’t quite put your finger on it. You just know truth when you see it, when you feel it.
When the two sing “Falling Slowly,” something beyond words happens. It felt like the room stopped breathing, not because we wanted to miss the moment but because the moment was there, in front of us, and we had to feel it.
And that was it. That was the sign. Gurus tell us “listen to your body … listen to your intuition.” During this one song (and almost every time I hear it) little hairs on my neck stand up. It’s cliché, but perhaps when our intuition speaks to us, it speaks to all of us in a similar way. It hits us in the same place.
I’m happy to report that I’m still here in New York! Instead of boarding the return flight back to Seattle, I found a place to live in Brooklyn. Every day I am here in this magical city, every moment spent working on music, writing songs, performing shows, or practicing guitar, is a blessing and much less monster-esque than my imagination made it out to be. I want to express my gratitude to Guy and Girl for the unforgettable performance and for “the sign,” to Glen Hansard for writing such a beautiful song, and to Markéta Irglová for her strength and faith …
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It’s time that you won
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You’ve made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I’ll sing it loud
– Lijie Yang