Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Waiting for Elizabeth: a Love Story" by Ben Bryant

I want you to know about him and this accomplishment of his, so let me introduce to my blog followers, my husband, Ben Bryant. He recently completed an autobiographical Trilogy from  his early childhood in Bristol, Tennessee, to arriving on another planet called Hollywood at age 13, to relishing the delights of being a busy singer/actor in NYC after college. (Three Stages) Ultimately he became involved in film and video production and editing and enjoys that to this day. (Circumstances Beyond My Control) His final book, which reveals life from 1990 to the present day is entitled Waiting for Elizabeth. Many of these years were arduous for me/us and I didn’t want him to write about them, but there was no stopping his need to do so. Then, he had the audacity to ask me to write the Foreword. With part of me kicking and screaming, I did so. Hope you enjoy.

Foreword to Waiting for Elizabeth

I was shocked when Ben asked me to write this foreword. Truth be told, I didn’t even want him to write the book. Who wants to resurrect life’s painful chapters even if they ultimately deliver the players to peaceful conclusions? Not me! But the determination (bordering on bull-headedness) and dedication of this man to tell his story, was non-negotiable. So here we are.

Much to my dismay at times, he read every chapter of this book to me. And though it was often “not a day at the beach”, it wasn’t as difficult as I’d anticipated. Toward the end of the reading, I was struck by an unlikely image. It was of the phenomenal documentary Winged Migration, where we got to witness birds of every conceivable variety, leaving their nests and flying thousands of miles over oceans and mountains and continents – flying it seemed forever – to their “vacation homes”, where they hung out and mated and re-grouped. Then with a seasonal shift, there they were flying back from whence they’d come. It was extraordinary, thrilling, inspiring, and to me, exhausting. I couldn’t imagine flapping my wings for such a long time. What a tough gig for these beautiful creatures. 

And somehow, as I listened to Ben’s story, I had a similar reaction. It wasn’t exhaustion, it was amazement at the resiliency he’d brought to his personal journey. From childhood he was clearly a gifted boy. His singing was remarkable and he easefully moved into a theatrical career in California after college. Broadway beckoned and he became a busy singer/actor the first week he arrived in The City.

Theatre, as it turned out, was not his calling and his interest in film production took over. Being a born leader (Someone said to me recently: “Ben doesn’t suffer fools gladly.”) his powerful voice served him well as a Producer and First Assistant Director in film, commercials, and live musical events. An innately curious man, he was always willing to jump into the deep end of the pool, often conquering very steep learning curves. From film he moved on to video production – shooting, directing and editing. All of these disciplines require much study and practice. And in our relentlessly shifting technological age, there’s no end to the ever-evolving tools. Ben just keeps embracing it all.
Furthermore, and perhaps most significant, through many of his most stressful periods – even our separation and divorce, as devastating as they were – Ben maintained his equanimity. The vicissitudes of life seemed to be no match for his innately positive perspective. And I was amazed as he shared his rendition of our most arduous times, that I wasn’t more upset. I could hear that his love for me had remained despite the anger and hurt, and that the love ultimately eclipsed them. Moreover, given that his ground of being is firmly ensconced in his steadfast sense of humor, laugh-out-loud-funny was often the result.
So I emerge from this scrutiny of his/our passage with great admiration for him. Having to move himself and all his gear to new locations to accommodate whatever was developing in his work life; and constantly needing to address and conquer unfamiliar equipment and challenging projects seems not to have drained but to have buoyed his robust energy. It seems he could flap his wings forever. I salute that. 

I’m very proud of him and his indomitable and adventurous spirit. By the way, I love him.