Did you know that “cirqueophile” isn’t a word? Weird, ’cause I’m pretty sure I am one.
Okay, so I’ve been to the circus before. But my inability to speak to strangers, especially super exciting amazing talented performers I envy a little a lot. Umm, I always find some reason to not actually interact with them.
Not this time though.
A serendipitous turn of events, involving coworkers that are not cirqueophiles, led me, my business manager Yasmeen, my research assistant Courtney, and my niece Emily to receive free tickets to the Shrine Circus. And my research assistant wasn’t going to let my excuse of helping Emily enjoy her first trip to the circus stop us from meeting the cirque folk.
Arriving, Yasmeen and I were naming off characters from my book – “Hey, that looks like Phoebe!” – and ideas for my book – “We need more fire acts….” Little did I know these people that were inspiring my story might actually speak with me, to me, tell me their story.
That’s right, I’m the aunt that lets the kiddoes stay up late after a circus show to meet the performers. If that’s not “the cool aunt” I don’t know what is. Courtney told Lola that I was writing a book set at the circus, and asked if we could have a brief interview after the show. She arranged for her sister Julie to meet with us. Julie’s story was amazing and had us remembering that the wonder of the circus extends past childhood.
Julie has grown up in the circus, training for all the acts she wants to perform. We got to watch her ride the elephants and perform aerial silks, but she does even more than that.
The dedication of performers is exceptional – it makes me think of adrenaline junkies, only more nitch to crazy dangerous beautiful acts of spectacle. Always a little stronger, a little faster, a little farther. And it’s all for the gasps and applause of a worldwide audience. Only circus performers aren’t like a celebrity, they don’t get the glory, their names aren’t known. If there is any glory, it is all passed on to the idea of circus.
A while ago, Julie was injured during an act. She wasn’t expected to recover, was in crutches for about 6 months. She couldn’t imagine what she would do without performing, without this life she’d been so dedicated to. She pushed and trained and here she was, performing, living her dream and awakening ours. I was so blessed that she opened up about that time of her life, which gave me an idea for my story, but more importantly gave me a glimpse of her and motivated me to move forward.
Consider me obsessed – I fully intend on going to the circus and meeting as many performers as possible. And uhh, maybe Courtney can tag along to arrange the meeting. And uhh, while we’re at it, maybe Yasmeen could tag along for photography. And uhh, while we’re at it, I might take my nieces too 🙂