Five Points, Vol. 16 No.2Spring 2015
From Meg Pokrass, "During the start of our spontaneous collaboration (there was no plan) I kept wondering if I were dreaming."
Memoir of a Soon-to-Be Star
I first began acting, I’ll tell you when you ask, in dress-up games I played with my sister Mol till I was—body-wise—a woman. Till, that is, Easter Break, 1977. The week Mol and I broke up. Something I never thought could happen between sisters. Our last game, like all our games, was my inspiration. On our ratchety Brownie camera, we’d shoot the pig-blood prom scene from CARRIE. Pretend-directed by Mol; starring fourteen-year-old me. Showcasing my range: wary shy-girl joy at being crowned prom queen; knew-it-all-along shock when—splat!—John Travolta’s girlfriend dumps a bucket of pig’s blood onto Carrie; purest fury as Carrie, with only her telekinetically electrified eyes, zaps her whole hateful high school class dead. BamBamBam! See, though you’d never guess it (here I’ll give a wry actress-looking-back laugh), my Greenville High School self was as bad off as witchy, spit-upon, tampon-pelted Carrie. Only I didn’t have telekinetic––but I’ve got some other kind—powers.
Me: Em O’Moore. Whom you and the world will know as Emmaline Moore.
And when did you first sense your special powers, you’ll ask. Your talent, your—(you will hesitate, shy like I used to be)—much-celebrated sex appeal?
That last Saturday night of Break. When we—not Mol and me but a new “we”—finally shot that pig-blood scene. (Uneasily, I’ll re-cross my long legs; avidly you’ll scribble on your pad.) The night I stood in my old cardboard Miss South Carolina crown and my new spaghetti-strapped prom dress under a wobbly bucket of Hunts Tomato Ketchup, lit by our Brownie camera lights. Hidden on the lowest level of our split-level house. My shyly widened prom-queen smile shone with the same LIPSMACKIN’ lipgloss that makes the mean mouths of Greenville girls look as drooly as my big brother Kenny’s mouth. His thick lips. Which, when he’s watching something too hard, he forgets to shut.
But, see, I don’t want to talk about that night.
Oh? you ask, pen poised. Sometimes, after that night, I picture you not as a big-time magazine reporter but as an altogether different kind of interviewer. A shocked-faced principal from my brother’s Special School. Or even—please God, no—a scornfully slow-voiced Greenville cop. Either way, you want the history of my game-playing. How it all started, where it all led.