“I was about five, and I was taking part in a school celebration. Dressed in a traditional costume like all the other members of my “troupe”, I was waiting to recite the lines of the poem I had painstakingly learnt by heart. At last, my turn came. But when I stood behind the microphone, my mind went blank and my mouth went dry. Tears welled up in my eyes. Terrified, I glanced over at my classmates who, grouped behind the wings and dressed in their own slightly silly costumes, were waiting to act their part.
I’m not sure, but I think that this was the moment when I felt for the first time the strange charm of being part of a small “world” inside this large one. I regained my lost courage, the words of the poem came back to me and I delivered them. As soon as I skipped off the stage, I was hooked, and couldn’t wait to get back up there somehow.
Since then, I've been back several times, each time seeking for the same sense of lost unity and “belongingness” I felt after recovering from that first moment of stage fright. I was only five, but I decided then to be lonely no more…"