The inspiration that is Janis Joplin

3 Jun

Janis first came into my life while I was a junior in college. I happened to be in the Honors College at my university, and one of the offered courses revolved around acting, and the literature used to inspire such performance. An assignment we were given towards the end of the semester required us to pick an interview with anyone from the past, and perform a monologue as that person. I stumbled upon an interview with Janis Joplin, and felt a strong, immediate connection to the woman, her words, and her way of life.

I did my research, listened to her music non-stop, tried Southern Comfort for the first time, and even dressed up like her when it came time to perform my monologue for the class (no, you don’t get to see that picture!). Things I learned: I am NOT an actress. But that’s ok, because now I get to write for a living. More importantly,  I learned what it means to be true to yourself. To love, respect, and do for yourself what YOU know is best.

I didn’t identify with Janis because I lead a similar life. Or because I wanted to run away and sing for a living. Quite the opposite. But everyone has that side to them that’s different. That calls out from the inner depths of your consciousness to be YOU. And I think it’s Janis’ raspy, sexy, bluesy voice that’s calling from inside me.

Fast-forward three and a half years, and there’s a play about her! “One Night with Janis Joplin” hit the scene earlier this year, and I knew I had to see it when it came to my city. I brought one of my girlfriends along with me, who also loves Janis’ music style, and we had an amazing, hippie-inspired evening this past weekend (again, no pictures for you!)

I don’t want to join the 27 club. I don’t want to get wasted and high. But I do want to embody the natural beauty she exuded; the transparency she had; the desire to live how she wanted to. And to always remember these wise words: “Don’t compromise yourself. It’s all you’ve got.”


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