We came back from the High Atlas Mountains about a week ago and it feels like a year has gone by since then. We made it a short holiday in order to afford all the luxuries of the best form of travel, since quality has always been more important than quantity in the Captain and my books. We secured Business Class deals on British Airways to Marrakech and we were picked up by the hotel’s car. An hour later through the sunset, and acres of argan and olive trees, we wound through the mountains with a stream below us into the paradise of the hotel. This was land originally owned by an Italian designer called Luciano Tempo who was behind the Marco Polo brand. He was based in California and Morocco, and had collected global treasures, which were placed throughout the gardens and buildings. Metallic male torsos, Sanskrit/Thai carvings in teak, modern curved figures in repose in bronze; there were fireplaces for the cool nights, an infinity pool that permitted a view of the terracotta villages and mountains opposite .
There was an indoor pool with spa that was the temperature of a bath, in which I wallowed on my first early morning. I shot out of bed at dawn, walking from our luxury Berber tent through the rosemary and lavender to come across my second humming bird in my life. The last one was in Ojai in California. This one was just a bit larger than a hornet, with a similar pattern on its back, but a tiny little head and pointy beak. It was drinking as much of the rosemary nectar as it possibly could and seeing it felt massively spiritual to me.
I also had the pleasure of greeting tortoises who were ambling around the tennis pavilion, which was a large carpeted Berber tent layered with rugs, jugs of iced water, tennis rackets and balls in good supply. I introduced myself to the camels, goats and donkeys belonging to the hotel later in the stay, so you can imagine it did feel momentarily very biblical. The hotel and its extraordinary Berber staff had been trained and educated by Eve Branson, who had created an entire foundation for the Berbers, so that they benefitted from the hotel, in terms of their own personal industries and growth. That is all I will say about the hotel, because it was the best experience I have to date, and therefore, if you want to stay there, there are enough hints in the blog for your discerning abilities to discover which one it is.
As a result of the holiday, the rude shock of returning to wintry conditions has not gone unnoticed by me. I have been toying with the concept of stopping writing. I have written a few things, over the years. All unfinished and unpublished. Some, in my opinion are finished, but I see no way of improving them. My recent play, for instance, will, even at best, be something audience members may receive with a few comments such as, ” I love a short play.” or, ” She’s definitely drawn on Shakespeare for some of that.”. But they probably will not say, ” Oh, my God, this is extraordinary. I think we’ve found the female version of Harold Pinter.”. Regarding the little sitcom pilot I’ve written, people will say, “Oh, that’s quite funny. “. In other words, while I think I have some talent at it, I find the experience of putting it out there really unrewarding. It particularly plagues me since like all of the arts, any attempt I make will only be superseded by a more connected individual who is likely to have more practice and talent in that direction.
I therefore return always to my first love and the discipline in which I believe I shine, and wonder, that despite my self-belief, I cannot seem to conquer all the battles in this field either. I refer of course to acting, and all the ensuing paranoia. It strikes me that I have been trying to convert auditions for twenty-five years. Despite that, I continue to see, with exceptions of course, many mediocre talents strutting on stages and prancing across our screens and my patience is ebbing. I feel it might just be a much more fun life for me, if I abandon all dreams, and just enjoy the earth and the world. I even wonder why I bother to write this blog. I don’t get paid for it. While my parents and some good friends love it, what on earth is the point in it, seriously?
I now realise that perhaps after a year of the Captain and my trying to further our professional status without taking any breaks, that we should have taken a longer holiday. Because the holiday was beautiful. I wish we had taken 10 days but we took five days because both he and I had pending dates for jobs we were shortlisted on, so we thought it safe to be back in time for them. Need I say we did not get either of the jobs? Oh, I know that you must think I am sounding bitter. That is because I am. I know that makes for unpleasant reading. Don’t bother to read it. It makes absolutely no difference to me. That, I suppose, is my point. That whatever my artistic endeavour, it makes no difference to you, the reader, the audience, and to me.
Maybe this is yet another mid-life crisis. I will be turning fifty in December. But I think it is a more than reasonable disappointment. I was under the impression that after a decade in acting, it would be too early to assume there would be anything to show for it. After two decades, I thought it was going to be evident that I would have some power to wield. After nearly three decades, my assumption was that those who had stuck at it that long would merit success merely through the sticking power. It is the latter point where I now stand corrected. It may be sometime before you next hear from me. But since it makes no difference anyway, who cares?