Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guest Blogger Joelle Charbonneau on Being A Klutz

Skating into a wall.

I’m a bi-polar klutz.

Ha! Yes, I totally made up that term and I’m sticking to it. In my professional performing career, I’ve sang and danced and been hefted into the air by big burly men and never did my butt hit the ground. Well, unless you count the time I was Cinderella in Into the Wood. But those butt-smacking moments were written into the script, so I’m guessing those don’t really count. In my professional life, I might have had nightmares about plunging into an orchestra pit or flying flat on my face, but those terrifying moments from my psyche have yet to infiltrate my moments on stage.

My personal life? Well that is another matter.

If there is a stair to fall down, a crack in the sidewalk to trip over or a table to whack my hip against, I find it. Half the time, I don’t remember that I even tripped or smacked my leg against something because I’m so used to doing it. Which means I’m often left wondering how I got the enormous black and blue mark on my thigh.

So, I guess it isn’t a surprise that the sleuth of my roller skating mystery series, Rebecca Robbins thinks she’s a klutz. Emphasis on the thinks. And sure, she lands on her backside once in a while. Even the best skaters managed to find themselves in rather undignified positions while they are zooming around the polished wood floor. The thing is, while Rebecca assumes she’s the world’s biggest klutz she’s really not. (I’m totally vying for that title!) Her roller skating mother was graceful to a fault.Hmmm…mine is, too, which is probably due to my mother being a World Champion Artistic Roller Skater. Are we seeing more connections here? Unlike my childhood where my mother taught me to skate and then left me to my own theatrical devices, Rebecca’s mother wanted her daughter follow in her footsteps. Trying to live up to that kind of expectation made Rebecca hyperaware of every moment she smacked her backside against the ground.

And now that her mother is dead, well, Rebecca remembers every fall and every less than graceful move far better than she remembers the praise and the encouragement.

I guess she has some issues to work out and I’m happy to go along for the ride as she discovers that she is stronger, and smarter and, yes, much more coordinated than she thought possible. It mighttake a while and she might frustrate her grandfather and her sexy vet boyfriend as she makes the journey, but I’m looking forward to seeing where life will take her. And hopefully, if I’m lucky, some of her graceful maneuvers will rub off on me. My poor black and blue legs could use them.

Joelle Charbonneau has performed in a variety of operas and musical theatre productions across the Chicagoland area. She now teaches private voice lessons and uses her stage experience to create compelling characters in her books. The first of the Rebecca Robbins mysteries, SKATING AROUND THE LAW (Minotaur Books) was called “Sexy and funny” by Kirkus Reviews. The second book in the series, SKATING OVER THE LINE, will hit shelves on Sept. 27th, 2011. The first of her newest series, MURDER FOR CHOIR, will be published by Berkley in July, 2012.