"- don't be so quick to knock it. People don't usually part with the weird shit they personally know because they know how easy it will be to punch holes in. Now I'm tellin you somethin. It's for you to poke through the soup and find the meat." John Patrick Shanley's 'the dreamer examines his pillow'

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

in light

Before all these acting classes, I had always thought of myself as a pretty moderate person when it came to emotions. I tried to keep them under control, for better or worse. I thought I was different from those who lash out, those who say “I’m in love” two weeks into a relationship, those who need to lean heavily and often on others because they can’t handle life on their own.

I am not different.

I have to admit, it’s hard going to class every day and hearing “Where are you today? Tell us how you’re feeling. How do you as the character want to respond to that?” We become so self-aware, it can become hindering in every day life. We’re taught to be hyper-aware of what’s going on in our bodies and emotions so that, hopefully, we’ll be able to give convincing, unpredictable performances. But in life it’s important to turn that awareness off sometimes, even if it’s just to get homework done.

Moderation in passions must be a good thing. To know what to be passionate about, and to allow it to fly full blown into the world, I say that is good. But to be randomly passionate, to respond to every tickling of my spirit with a cry, can not be good for myself, as I will lose a sense of self-control and priorities, and because one of the heart’s deepest cries is to be understood, and how can anyone attempt to – and why would anyone care to - understand a heart full of meaningless passions? Which certainly must be a contradiction; I’ve always thought of a passion as something of a noble thing, so to have one or many that are meaningless must mean they are no longer passions. They must have become self-indulgent. The kind of passion I want is focused on the outside world, toward an art or a person or idea. The wild emotion I speak of is focused entirely on self. And it can not be good for the world around me, for how can anything that’s in the habit of imploding possibly be of any use to anything outside itself?

But aside from all that thought, it is so beautiful outside, the air must be porcelain, and the trees made of fine glass and woven silk… I wish you could see it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

the dark

i don't want to think tonight. headphones. drown it all out. effective. temporary. will i be able to sleep tonight? stairway to heaven is beautiful.
emotions go crazy - how far should i let them take me? will i allow them to rule my living, or just affect it?? that's important to discover. emotions vs. will. will i be able to separate what I want from what I need? will i be able to stifle this storm inside and move along? or will i allow it to carry me outside the place of recognition in my own heart and others' minds?
of course i know i'll wake up tomorrow morning with that vaguely empty feeling again. and i'll eat my bread and feel unsatisfied and walk to class and appreciate the leaves and remember how good life might be. step into class and forget. and the storm will be generally at rest, until night, and then who knows what might happen. night is a mystical, shadowed area i've never been able to tackle in myself. night, and me in it, extends far beyond my understanding. I don't know if it's as simple as the fact that animal instincts come out at night, our defenses are down and what matters at that moment is truly what matters in your mind and body, but i have to think it's something else too. we truly do transform at night. i remember when i was dating luke we would hang out all night. fun, real, vulnerable, often shitty. excuse my language. the next morning he'd pick me up for class, and i was a different person entirely. very... cool. the temperature, not the social description. calm and controlled. but just as much real and me as eight hours ago. i remember he'd always ask me what was wrong. my changes drove him crazy, but at night i need things i can stifle with a shake of my head during the day. a mystery.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Can't sleep again. My body is tingling with light, and I can't force it to want to lay in my warm, soft, cozy cotton sheets under a memory-filled, fluffy comforter for a night of much needed rest... nope, didn't work. Still here.
I'm listening to one of the best songs out there, In the Arms of the Angels. "There's always some reason to feel not good enough." You know what? I am tired of thinking, of deliberating. I believe that tonight I will stop all thought, and all judgement. I give up.
One day in acting, our teacher made us aware of that little voice in the back of our head that tells us we're not good enough, that makes us second guess every action and most words, and that presses us down sometimes almost imperceptibly, but which is nearly always present. The Critic, she called it. The few time the Critic is ever truly gone is perhaps when you're too tired to think, or under some other influence. She told us "here and now, I want you to tell the Critic to got to the store for some milk, and come back in half an hour." I know, sounds hokey, huh? But I did. And it left. And I went crazy. Started laughing like mad, it just felt SO amazingly good to not doubt my every move. I laughed out loud for ten minutes, and there was nothing in me to say "um, hey. maybe you should stop freaking out." The professor said the reason that works is that you can't get rid of the Critic forever, it's part of who we are. (It's also one of the worst enemies of acting. And living and relating.) You can, however, make it leave just for a while, knowing that life will return to normal.
How much easier would life be if we could murder the Critic?
You know, relating to other people is one of the most fascinating attempts we will ever make. There are those you can relax into, stay in their flow of words and thoughts and what comes into their face and body as they talk, and there are those that are like strikes of lightning in your day; you just bounce off one another, but having a drawn out conversation is not considered or pursued. There are those you have to think like mad when you're talking to - "am I doing the right thing to make them comfortable?" You just can't read them or discover what the heck it is they want. I hate that. But that type of person is nearly always someone I find fascinating or hurting, someone it's absolutely worth getting to know, as frustrating as it is. And there are your old friends, you sometimes feel guilty for not being able to relate to, but mostly just enjoy their presence. Lord, how I don't deserve those golden ones. That's real love.
My roommate Catherine and I talked yesterday about how rare it is to listen or be listened to. How long has it been since I've really listened and cared, and thought only about the person I was looking at or hearing? It happens far too seldom. So I've been trying just that, and I've been realizing how many of my conversations are focused on getting through, having a good time, bouncing off one another, making the person feel good, making sure my sense of self is preserved in my eyes and in their eyes. When I allow myself to really just hear their words and care, no matter how deep or shallow the conversation, and no matter how well I know the person, I find others opening up far more, and I find myself being ok with those few awkward moments when I don't know what to say. They're no longer awkward because I'm trying to make things not awkward. They're only there because I feel my response is insufficient to what I'm hearing, and I'm waiting for a new inspiration from my mind or theirs, and it does always come. God, people are amazing. We can all be real buttholes, too, and incredibly self-centered. But I love us anyway.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Tired and Jumbled Mess

It's 4:00 in the morning, I have to get up at 8:15, and I have a performance tomorrow night. naturally I decide to update my blog.
What do I want to write about? It's all too personal. I want to write about how I'm worried about Jennifer. About how I gave God an ultimatum today, and about Spencer Gotter. Luke's laugh and his sadness. My work! I'm proud of my work. I'm growing. I want to write about the Merchant of Venice and about boys and why are they so flirtatious and driven by sex? My goodness. And the bags under my eyes and the starving children in Africa. And my superhuman roommates. And my doubt. And Molly, and oh dear. How I love taking walks.

Things I would be happy doing when I die:
1. Breathing in the ocean air and being enveloped by the vastness of it all
2. Walking along the side of a silent, secluded, green pond
3. Doing the downward dog in yoga
4. Smelling fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies
5. In the middle of a leap of pure elation
6. Embracing a dear friend
7. Feeding a hungry person
8. Sharing breath with one I love

I wish I could tell you more about my life in general, but I have no energy.
In the words of my current monologue,
"Sometimes all I want it to be looked at, admired, soothed, and caressed. I still want the power. I still want to make money and go mountaineering. But the thing I want most right now, God, Santa, Gloria Steinem - is some person to love me and sleep in my bed."
So that pretty much sums it up - I am in a pretty good place right now, sans the private daily struggles we all see different angles and degrees of. Keeping it real.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A death in the family

wherever you are
to August Wilson, who has recently left us.
please observe a moment of silence. (seriously)

A phenomenal playwright, Wilson passed away in Seattle last night, fortunately not before finishing his cycle of ten plays, one for each decade, depicting the intimate struggles of African Americans in the 20th century. Theatre is forever indebted to him for the history-through-theatre he provided, the fabulous venue for African American artists, and the raw, beautiful and human way he portrayed his characters and stories.
Thank you, August Wilson.