21 November, 2010

Things I would tell my 17-year-old self

Before the world lost Michael Silber and I lost Dad, before Scotland,
the 'glittering' West End,
Andrew Lloyd Webber,
Julie Jordan 
or 'Alexandra Silber'  —
     there was just Al.
With everything ahead of her.

Here are things I would love to tell her now... 

1. It is all ahead of you. . .

2. You are not fat

3. Enjoy the Interlochen magic while you can.

4. The friends you have right now? Yeah. They are incredible. And you will seriously be friends with them ten years from now. You will meet in many countries, cities, in many states of life, and in a few months they will all absolutely blow your mind with loyalty and resilience no 17-or-18-year-olds should rightly possess.

5. Never stop writing to Lady Chu.

6. Frizz-ease. Buy it.

7. You're going to get many many letters from people about how much you and your entire family meant to them.

8. Someday day, A and S will apologize to you. A will pour her heart out in a bar and S will stop you in the streets of London and look you straight in the eyes with her sincerity. But K will not remember. That is okay. All of it will teach you many, many things.

9. Wear sunscreen. ALL. THE. TIME.

10. Someday, you are going to meet Sheldon Harnick. And it will be magical. And for good. Then you will meet John Kander. And Chita Rivera. And Jason Alexander. And Tyne Daly. And Terrence McNally... and they will become your friends and colleagues. You will know the moment when you have arrived. You will be right where you belong.

11. Wear anything you want. Because you can.

12. Don't allow people to pressure you into dulling your colors (or colours) to make them comfortable.

13. You are not going to believe this but you do not know everything. Also, your parents are right. About a lot of things.

14. There is life after not going to Julliard. An amazing fracking life.

15. You are going to eat an omelet in one year. You will be alone. It will be four days before you leave for Scotland in an unfamiliar diner. There will be no need to let this moment haunt you because someday you will feel the thrill of overcoming it. Someday, this omelet will represent a great victory and be the symbol of serious growth and understanding.

16. Keep writing.

17. When your Mom offers to teach you how to sew, do not blow her off.

18. He will be unbelievable—he will exceed every possible expectation of what a young man of 17 should be able to handle. More people should be like him... Al? You have three months. Just that. Three months before your beautiful, tender romance that is currently bursting and full of every joy, every pleasure of spring and of magical, hopeful youth will soon turn very, very dark and serious. But he will stay, for years. And he will hold you, and stand by you, and you will grow up together. You will give to one another and advance through this crucial time in both of your lives. Never stop feeling grateful. Never stop thanking him. Never forget how you loved him or, indeed, how he loved you. And although he is not The One, no one else could have been better right at this moment. Forgive yourself. And never forget him.

19. David and Robin? These teachers are the real thing. They will teach you how to choose your family—and though you probably won't believe this now, that lesson is even more valuable than Shakespeare or Chekhov.

20. That thing you are all working so hard to prevent? It is going to happen. Soon. Enjoy this last year. Go on a lot of walks with him, ask for more stories, remember his eyes and his smell. What seems like always and forever will very soon be gone.

21. ...and seriously. Buy Frizz-Ease.

22. Fortune favors the brave. And you are. Braver than you think.

...as we liked it...in 2001...


  1. nice pic, there, friend! and good nuggets as well. xx

  2. You're beautiful and wonderful and I'm glad to know you.

  3. lovely, darling. very lovely.

  4. Al, you have a beautiful way with words. One day I may want to steal you from the masses just so you can help me pen a truth with your special blend of poetic sincerity.

  5. Well that is very interesting and wise. My list would be somewhat different:

    1. Keep your mouth shut and listen almost all the time.
    2. Get out of the military as soon as you've paid off your tuition. You're not cut out for it.
    3. That listening thing? Be sure to do it in college especially.
    4. Marry her.

  6. love. this. beautiful.

  7. what dm3 said.

  8. I enjoy #10. It was magical.

  9. Perhaps the most moving post yet.

  10. love everything about this.

  11. I still drive by that house, often wishing for a just moment we were 17 again and therefore I could stop and the 3 of you would be there...

  12. Thank you everyone. I literally cannot BELIEVE the overwhelming response to this post. My heartfelt gratitude to you all!! x

  13. Love this...may I share it with my current senior class?

  14. love this and you! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

  15. be careful not to create a time paradox....

  16. absolutely bloody lovely! x

  17. Al, I always love reading your posts; especially your Interlochen references–so nostalgic! (And Frizz Ease and sun screen are about the best pieces of advice ever...)

  18. You are so very special -- I am so happy to have you in my life! - R.

  19. The gratitude is all ours Alex. That such a talented stage persona would give her fans an honest and frank forum like this is uncommonly generous and much appreciated. It sets you FAR apart most of the elite talent out there.

  20. Seventeen was when I met you. My advice to myself. Get better at writing letters. Then we would have had even more time together. I love you so much and I'm so grateful for you.

  21. Perfect for an Interlochen senior to read with three months left to go and moving to scotland in septmeber! thank you al!



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