Standing Up and Owning My Birthright

I just told my work in progress idea to the most perfect person I could have imagined, because he was a teacher at HSPVA. When you know people that are HSPVA quality students, when they come at you with a creative idea, they don’t say “where’s the money?” Matt Mullenweg created WordPress. Justin Simien created “Dear White People.” Mireille Enos starred in “The Killing,” and has had roles in “Good Omens” and “Big Love.” She won a friggin’ TONY for an Edward Albee where she played drunk. She won a friggin’ TONY and SHE GREW UP MORMON. Today I stood up an owned my birthright. This book is going to be fantastic. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. I auditioned to the same school they did and I got in. Sit on that.

This was my Facebook post yesterday that got me going.

I feel like I should lay out a full analysis of what I’m currently dealing with and why…. not for you. For me. It’s my thing and you’re invited, because I’ll need it later. I’ve been delving into past writing to figure out where I’m going, and how the information about my gargantuan leaps in emotional growth that I see on these pages is informing my direction.

Romance is fine. I’m settled in myself. You can read all about it just by scrolling the home page for a few days’ timestamps. Sam was a loss, but everything else surrounding her departure prospered me. It wasn’t a good relationship, but it produced good content. I am never trying to be more popular and writing in that direction. I can’t. People aren’t logical enough to predict what’s going to be hot and what’s not. They’re emotional. If something grabs them, they’re going to share it. If it doesn’t, they won’t. There is no point in time at which I want to take on the burden of caring whether this web site gets a huge, international audience.

If I don’t keep my head down and be absolutely indolent about my need for validation, I won’t get successful. There is a direct line between caring how much people think and willing to be vulnerable enough to get people to read a blog in the first place. Most of my friends do not understand this, but strangers do. If you’re already here, I can guess some things about you that will resonate. But again, I’m just talking about likelihood, not fact.

If you’re into reading blogs, you have been since 2003. You are familiar with Mrs. Kennedy, Anil Dash, Heather Armstrong (and Jon by proxy), Jenny Lawson, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Gordon Atkinson, and most importantly, Ernie Hsuing. little. yellow. different. took off like a rocket. Oh, and how could I forget Wil Wheaton? My friend Chason and I have known about and interacted with Wil as a blogger since Jesus had our pager numbers. I wish I had taken a screenshot of his comment on Clever Title Goes Here, my old blog that was equally popular. I was talking about auditions or juries when singing, that they fill me up because when I’m singing hard rep and doing well, it feels like flying over the mountains. He said he felt the exact same way with acting. It made my day.

Later on, we met up at a book signing for “Just a Geek.” I introduced myself and when he put a name to a face, this is what he wrote in my book…… “Dear Leslie, Clever Inscription Goes Here. Love, Wil.”

To back up in time a little bit, I went to the High School for Performing and Visual Arts. I have known about Matt Mullenweg for years because back in the day, we were both in the Houston jazz community. That boy who went to my high school created WordPress, and here we are.

I went to high school with stars like Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Chandra Evans, Debbie Allen, Mireille Enos, Justin Furstenfeld, and Beyonce was three years behind me. I’ve met her once, but I’ve never paid attention to her because back then, we were in high school. Seniors don’t normally take freshmen seriously, and the day I met her I had ditched school at Clements to take my girlfriend, Meagan, back to PVA to have lunch. There was a Happening (lunchtime concerts in which different Art Areas took over the common area to showcase).

So, we were all in the cafeteria and mingling. You think it was cool in retrospect for me? I haven’t talked to Meag in years. Wait until she reads this web site and finds out she met Beyonce and didn’t even know it.

Though Beyonce is cool and everything, I was in love with Miranda Bailey the moment I found out everyone called her “The Nazi.” Then Shonda Rimes gutted me emotionally by stretching the Hippocratic Oath to its limits and having to watch her wrestle with those decisions. She had to save a white supremacist, an ACTUAL Nazi.

The fact that Chandra Evans and I went to the same high school is way more important to me than Beyonce, and remember since Beyonce wasn’t Beyonce back then, she probably feels the same way about Chandra that I do. In terms of HSPVA legends, she’s always going to be starstruck at her birthright rather than promoting herself…. she’s just projecting that she’s hot shit as a marketing strategy, because the real girl is as quiet as me.

Starstruck at her birthright.

Yesterday, I stepped outside The Matrix and owned it. I nearly blacked out when I thought about the fact that I auditioned for the same school they did.


I am editing this entry to add something important. Here’s what HSPVA did to inspire this level of confidence. I listen to the Argo soundtrack on repeat every single day when I write so that I can tell you where every single note goes, along with chord structures because I took music theory. That music teacher was an anti-vaxxer and I lost someone crucial to my development to COVID. I got the idea to start doing that from another HSPVA student, the creator of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, during his interview with Tim Ferris. He was a tenor sax player and had the same jazz director I did. I borrow structure from Jason Moran, the jazz pianist, all the time, because I wrote to “Ten” for a year. He was stunned and told his entire band that in front of me when we were laughing and joking after one of his concerts at The Kennedy Center. He had the same jazz director I did. Robert Glasper nearly came unglued the last time I saw him at The Reach, because back in the day he was just the goofy dude who sat behind me in history. He had the same jazz director as I did. I am addicted to “The Suffers.” Jon Durbin sat next to me in Jazz Band for two years. Moral of the story? Dr. Robert Morgan is directly responsible for making me a drooling fangirl over all of them, and he owes me money because it’s getting expensive.


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