I am not sure exactly what my expectations were when I turned up for my appointment at the Astrology Shop, but one thing is for sure, I had absolutely no idea then of how that morning, and those next two hours spent in a bright airy loft would change my life in the way that they did.
For the first hour it was as if someone had held a mirror up to me and pointed out all the good, the bad and the ugly bits about myself. It was as if this person knew me better than I thought that I knew myself. In some ways it was quite shocking, it was certainly very revealing. I was there for a bit of fun really and though having gone to the appointment with an open mind, it soon became clear that this was something way beyond anything that I had previously understood it to be. I didn’t ask any questions initially as I didn’t want to give away any clues as to what I might be doing with my life. I wanted to wait to hear what the planets in the sky at the time of my birth had lined up for me. Whether I chose to go with their gifts was my choice I was told. As humans we are born with free will and although the planets are there to guide us, we ultimately make our own decisions, whether for better, or for worse.
‘So Lottie, you are an artist. Your chart is packed with creativity. Your art can take the shape of many things but there are two special talents that you have been given; either as an actress or as an artist working creatively.’ ‘What do you currently do?’
This was the moment that I had been dreading, but I decided to answer the question frankly as I felt it was better to be honest than to pretend ‘I spend a lot of my day weeping whilst pushing a hoover around, and kicking Lego out of the way’
‘Well, you can stop your weeping now and put away your hoover because you have other much more exciting and wonderful things to do with your life. You should either be on the stage, or spending your days in a studio. I hope very much that you are spending some of your time doing these things?’
In that moment I suddenly felt myself grow about a foot taller. AN ACTRESS! Visions of my name in bright lights flashed into my mind, huge billboards advertising my next movie, adoring fans queuing up for autographs, red carpets, my face splashed across magazines and newspapers the world over as I took my place on the podium at the Oscars. This was a revelation indeed. I even invented a stage name for myself ‘Mitzi Malone’.
I was swiftly brought back from my reverie, by having to talk about the actual reality of what I had made of my life so far. The choices that I had made and how I had eventually got to the point of weeping over the hoover. I confessed that I had gained a place at a prestigious art school in London when I was 19 but had stupidly, and very arrogantly turned down the place as I felt I would rather pursue my art alone. I told her of how I had regretted it ever since, and how impossible it had been for me to combine creativity with domesticity whilst bringing up my children. How my every endeavour to paint or draw had been thwarted by a babies cry, or another meal to prepare, or a school run to do, or the never-ending mounds of washing and ironing. In short, how I had given up with the idea of ever pursuing anything creative, at least whilst I still had young children.
The two hour appointment drew to an end and the Astrologer urged me to consider all that we had spoken of. ‘Make some phone calls Lottie, you can do it. Start small and build up your confidence. I know that you can do it, it’s all there in your planets’.
The following morning I telephoned the theatre in Harrogate. If I hadn’t been living 250 miles from London I would have beaten a path straight to the doors of the National Theatre and demanded an audition but I remembered the advice given to me about starting small. Anyway I thought to myself as I dialed the number, Harrogate Theatre will be delighted in years to come when I am world a famous name. They can boast about how once Mitzi Malone had trodden their boards. My telephone call didn’t exactly go as I had planned. ‘Sorry ducks, what did you say your name was again? Mitzi Malone? No, I’m ever so sorry Mitzi, but the Theatre Manager is not here at the moment. You are talking to the cleaner; the theatre is closed for 3 months and will be re-opening at the end of the summer. Perhaps you’d like to call back then dear?’
I was absolutely crushed. How could this have happened? I was plainly going to have to put stardom on hold for the moment, however devastating the thought of it was. If this was the case, I had no choice but to resort to option 2.
I telephoned the Art College and asked if I could enrol for classes. ‘Admission is by interview only and you need to bring an up to date portfolio with you so we can assess whether you are eligible for entry’. ‘Interviews start in a weeks time’.
A portfolio in one week?! Holy shit, that was going to be pushing it a bit. I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush or a pencil for? I tried to remember when, yes it was when my first baby was about a year old, and she was now 13. By now I had 5 children so it was a long time ago. This was going to be a struggle. The most creative thing that I had done for years was arrange fish fingers and peas in nice patterns on the children’s plates at tea time or make stripes on the carpet with my arch enemy, the hoover.
(This is going to have to be continued. It is all leading up to something so please bear with me!)