Jun. 19th, 2017

jcsbimp01: my user icon taken in 2014 (Default)
I always do the long form first. Any real object I will send out will, of course, need a good bit of trimming. But something occurred to me tonight, something I want to do, and I'm recording how it manifest in writing here as the first fairly-obviously-too-long form of an open letter. I'll attach my heart's desire to an actual address later. I do plan to act on this. I'm saving and sharing this in my Google Drive, as well as on Dreamwidth and my Facebook account, for perusal and commentary.

Dear Sirs:

This is a moment where I feel I need to strike while the iron is hot. Or, rather, I should say while the fire is lit. My name is J. Calvin Smith, and I am an actor who has done mostly unpaid stage work, but also a little professional work and a tiny bit of film.

I am 60 years old, retired from a professional Department of Defense career (computers, analysis, secrets) where I struggled to keep the fire lit, but was able to maintain it for 33 ½ years and am able to keep my family and pets fed and happy. During my professional time, other fires burned brightly. I discovered the joy and the energy that comes from acting. I pursued a few professional jobs in that field, in the Baltimore/Washington area, after being inspired - nay, compelled - by a co-worker and friend who said, “I can’t understand how you could have missed your calling so badly.” I am not yet affiliated with any acting agency. I have worked with The American Century Theater and the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, and have been in a short independent DC/MD/VA film in a credited, speaking role.

During those years of Federal professional life I also became very fond of Twin Peaks, of David Lynch’s singular talent for capturing the mystery and secrets, along with Mark Frost’s brilliant writing and Johanna Ray’s inspired casting, that belong to the intersecting worlds of dreams and magic(k). The story that captivated me so then has once again captured my full delighted attention now in its return. Mr. Lynch, Mr. Frost, all the wonderful performers, and the amazing production crew have brought that world to life again, and it is the most exquisite present that I and so many others have the honor of giving ourselves every week, once a week. “A present. Like Christmas.”

And tonight, after some months of soul-searching about what to do with my talents and gifts this late in my life, I have decided I want (and, unlike Bad Coop, I also need) to go out on a limb and try to be part of that, or some similar world.

Before I married my second wife, she and I avidly followed that world. She was a fan-fiction-zine publisher, and I was a writer, editor, and sometimes cartoonist for that publication. Quite often that world was centered on our love for the characters, situations, and magic of Twin Peaks. We married, it was far from perfect - I found that our artistic interest, however great and inspired - still left our personal lives, or at least mine, with gaps. She tragically died in a fire a decade or two after we divorced, and it saddens me greatly, not least of all because I know she would have delighted in Twin Peaks’ return. That in itself is not wholly central here, but it gives a red-curtained backdrop to the journey I have taken, am taking, that has led me to write this. “There is no such thing as coincidence.”

I do not pretend for one moment that my extensive stage experience is any substitute for professional on-camera experience. However, I am a quick study, a fast learner, and I have learned that when a director sees something in me and sees fit to cast me in a role, I will not disappoint him or her. Between two worlds, my chanting out does not miraculously become a validation of what I want, nor is it a guarantee of validity of the path I would love to take. I also know that with time and circumstance and the creative life of making and sustaining entertainments for film and television and the creative visions of true masters of the craft, any achieved path may not itself be what I expected. I have had many fulfilling and unexpected turns in my own path as an actor. The surprises have been the best, for me and for those who have honored me with the ability to work with them.

I would love to be a part of some future world that David Lynch, Mark Frost, Johanna Ray, and/or whoever else will be involved has the vision and desire to get going, or continue, with my help as a performer. We live, my wonderful forever wife and I, not in the deep dark woods of the Pacific Northwest, with the wonderful fictionalized mythology created with names of real and unreal entities such as the Nez Perce, Owl Cave, Douglas Firs, Lewis and Clark, and good, hot, black coffee, but in the pine-filled mountains of land in Northwest Georgia that was likely trod by both Cherokee natives and American settlers. Bird and Bun’s Mountain River Chalet may have no perceptible connection to Lodges Black or White, except perhaps for weirdly unpredictable phone and internet service, but when I thought about these wonderful things tonight, it was as if I could feel something calling me to write what I am writing now, to do with it what I plan to do once I’ve saved this document to my Google Drive.

I am linking here to my acting resume (below) in the hope that what I am searching for, a way to push forward a meaning in joint creative effort, my acting and the writing, direction and production of people I admire, trust, and experience to an immersive, obsessive level, can find its outlet in a form that would be mutually beneficial and, I hope, equally satisfying for me and whoever chose to hire me in such an endeavor.

I think of those luminaries who are no longer with the splendid Twin Peaks team - Catherine Coulson, Jack Nance, Miguel Ferrer, David Bowie, Warren Frost, Frank Silva, and others - such a firmament, such strong and talented hearts! What will this or future Lynch/Frost worlds become in the absence of such greats? I know that I will love finding out at least part of the answer to that in the years I have left as a member of an immense and adoring audience, and I would love even more to be an active, acting part of it.

So I’m leaving this here, as much personal diary as public request, and I thank very much in advance anybody who sees fit to take it further than what it is now, the personal dream of a magician who yearns to see.


Sincerely, J. Calvin Smith

[resume and IMDb profile information appended to the Google Drive version]

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