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Play That Funky Keyboard, White Girl

I must admit it--I've always wanted to be a diva. I wanted to sing like Aretha Franklin, paint like Georgia O'Keefe, act like Bette Davis, and dance like Isadora Duncan (or, at the very least, Betty Garrett). These women, though they came from very different backgrounds and lived very different lives, are the epitome of divahood. They live truthfully, create with passion, and push the limits of what it means to be human.

I've spent the first 33 years of my life trying to find my passion, trying to discover that truth that makes me alive. I'm still looking. I can't say it's been easy, though. Somehow, the Goddess found it amusing to send me into this world as a basically mild-mannered, upper-middle-class white girl from a small town. No major obstacles to overcome, no scandals, no tragic love affairs. Just plain old me with my plain old life.

Can one be a diva without a larger-than-life existance? This is a question I've been pondering for a while. It seems I've spent more time creating obstacles to overcome than I have overcoming the naturally-occurring type. Perhaps I feel tragedy, chaos, and furor are the elements necessary to a life of creativity.

But must one destroy in order to create? Is it possible to be a perfectly normal, healthy human being and still be an artist? 'Cuz I'm telling you now, this white girl is not going to cut off an ear for her art.

I look at this weird conundrum--whether it is necessary to suffer in order to create--and I think to myself, "Self, this is foolish. Life ain't about what you don't do. It isn't about the wild things you do manage to do. Life is about what you are. Art is about what you are."

So I'm an upper-middle-class white girl with a computer and keyboard, typing away at 10:52 pm on a work night. I am the center of the universe, my own little universe, and I create for the joy of creating. I can't sing like Aretha, or act like Bette. I can only be Debbie. I can only write Debbie's words. And when I touch that keyboard, suddenly I'm Chaka Khan, Sheila E., and Sarah Vaughan all wrapped up into one.

Play that funky keyboard, white girl. Lay down and boogie and play that funky keyboard till you die.