I Watched Myself

The other day, I was scrolling through social media. That was my first mistake. My second, was I happened upon a video of a show I was in not too long ago. It was a great show. Unique and fun and widely received as an instant classic. But my mistake wasn’t being in the show. It was watching the video of my performance.

There I was, on a stage in a professional and well respected theatre, doing my thing. But what I saw was something I didn’t even think was possible.

I sucked so bad!

No joke. It was so, SO bad! My pacing was off, my walking was lumbered, my projection was lacking, my accent was horrid. A lemur on crack could’ve turned in a more convincing performance in the dark and underwater. I watched in shock and sadness as the video rolled on. Fortunately, the section I watched was only about a minute long. Any longer and I could’ve thrown my phone outside the window of my third-story apartment and then run downstairs to step on it and let my dog defecate on it.

It was that video, and the embarrassed and sad feelings after, that clearly put me in the company of those performers who are always saying they never watch their work.

But then it hit me.

If I had never seen it, and felt the way I did at that moment, would I have learned anything?

Sure, there was the feeling of wanting to quit this Show-Business thing and finally take that job as a railroad brakeman somewhere in the Southwest, smoke unfiltered cigarettes and drink White Dog to fall asleep and drown out the memories.

But then I got an idea. Learn from this.

You don’t know it all. You’re not as amazing as you think you are, but you’re not as bad as you think you are also. You are on a journey and not every step is going to be perfect. In fact, no step is going to be perfect. But you don’t leave the journey. You just keep going.

Since that day of watching that video, I’ve watched it again several times. Because I am in the mindset to improve. Maybe I wasn’t as bad as I think I was. Lots of folks said I did a great job, and I don’t think they were just being nice.

But I want to get better. To be the best Artist I can be. So I watch and learn.

Try It

Just try.

I don’t want to.

Please.

Why?

Because I’m asking you to.

That’s not a reason.

Because I think it will help.

Help, what?

Help you.

But what if it doesn’t?

Maybe it won’t, maybe it will. But how will you know until you try?

I don’t know how.

I’ll show you.

You’ve done it?

I have. Lots of times.

And it worked?

Most of the time.

What happened the other times?

I just tried again.

And?

And then I did it again… You’re still thinking about it?

I’m worried it won’t work. I’m worried I won’t like it. What if it hurts?

Some times it does.

It does?

It does. But when it does, you keep doing it and then eventually it doesn’t hurt so much anymore.

What if I like it and don’t want to stop?

Would that be a bad thing?

What if I can’t stop?

Would that be a bad thing?

But… I don’t remember how.

I’m here. I’ll help you.

….

Okay, I’ll do it.

Are you sure?

If you’ll help me.

I will. I’m here.

… Okay.

Ready?

Ready.

Close your eyes. Breathe In… 2, 3, 4. Hold for 4.. 2, 3, 4. And, Out.. 2, 3, 4.

Again, In… 2, 3, 4. Hold for 4… 2, 3, 4. And, Out… 2, 3, 4.

How do you feel?

I think I want to cry.

Okay.

I feel… like I want to do it again. Is that okay? Will you do it with me?

Of course. I’m here.

Thank you, Heart. I missed you.

I missed you too.

I’m Writing This Because

This is how I want to end 2019.

Typing away on my keyboard and letting thoughts flow out of me like, what I wish was water from a broken dam, but in reality is like sap from a tree in the dead of Winter.

But the words come out and flow and drip and play with my cursor and keep going because that’s how I want to end this year. Writing. Typing. Flowing and moving and earning them ‘writing gains, bro!’.

I’m writing now because I didn’t yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that. But I did my journal, and my One Question A Day journal and I typed word on this computer but for someone else, not me.

These words are for me now. Because this is how I want to end 2019 and start 2020.

Writing.

So I type and try not to think about the words that are on the page and worry about what the meaning is or how they’ll be interpreted and taken and thought about. I type and let my fingers flow onto the little black keys with the little white symbols that, when struck, will turn in to some meaning and some words or paragraphs or stuff.

Because I want to write. This is why I’m doing this today.

2019 was a year of successes and failures. Hard ones. Both of those. So now it’s coming to an end, but the forward movement won’t. Because I’m writing this. Today. Right now. At the end of 2019 and in to the beginning of 2020.

Writing my New Year into manifestation, existence, purpose, being, doing, happening. Adelante!

So with a tip of my hat, if I was wearing one, and a nod of my head I lift my Christmas gifted Glencairn glass of Hibiki Japanese Harmony whisky and say,

‘Thanks 2019. For all the love and pain and Art and laughter and lessons. Thank you for pointing out to me the things I still need to work on in me, my Art, my heart and mind. Thank you for the time.’

And this is why I’m writing this. To say ‘Goodbye’ to 2019 and ‘Hello’ to 2020. But I’m putting it in writing. With my fingers and keys and cursor flying across the white plains of the pixeled paper.

Writing it. Doing it. Because it’s time. Time to write these words and many more to come. Because 2020 is almost here and there is no better time to write than now.

This Work Is Real

The glitter and shine of Christmas decorations are up all around the county and people are smiling a little brighter at one another. Letting the pedestrians cross in the crosswalks, tipping their baristas, keeping spoilers to The Crown and The Mandalorian to themselves.

Life is moving forward. Shopping is being done, plans are being made to visit families and Bad Romance plays through the speakers in Phil’z Coffee on Bristol Street.

I’m watching experiences happen because I’m on a break before I start my next performance tonight. I’m closing out this year working as an Actor. Professionally. That’s right, getting paid to play dress-up and pretend to be someone else. Actually, pretending to be two other people. From another time. Another place.

Earning a paycheck, adding to my pension, paying my taxes, social security, buying groceries, putting gas in my car. While I’m doing all of this, it makes me think about all those people who look at us doing this work and ask us about “Real Jobs.” And I just laugh.

I laugh, because the creative work I do  feels more ‘real’ than any other work I’ve done. This work is my truth, my art, my heart and soul bared onto a page for others to read, on a stage for others to see. It’s the only work I’ve done where I feel most like myself. Even when I’m dressing up in costumes and pretending to be other people.

This work is real because it exposes truth, feelings, love, dreams, heart and soul. It’s real because others can see themselves in it. Their lives. Their reality.

And isn’t that what we want? To be seen? Someone to see the ‘real’ us and say, ‘me too’.

This work is real. This staged pretend work brought forth from imagination and suspended disbelief, under lights and choreographed and sung and dressed up. This glorious work. This heartbreaking work. This beautiful reality of ours. We Creators.

 

Don’t Avoid It

I did a show, years back, and met a lot of people. I was young and full of ganas. I met a guy, who had the role I actually wanted, and I was a bit jealous of him.

But we became friends. Years later, we still know each other. We’ve done several shows together. He even recommended me for a role on a T.V. show he was on. I got to do that show and had a great time.

Another time, I did another show. I met a guy, I meet a lot of people, and he was cast in the role(s) I helped originate in the show. A part of my brain was jealous, even started comparing what I did to what he was doing. You’ve done it too, don’t lie. As time went on and rehearsals became performances, we talked and laughed and he found out I want to play a Firefighter someday.

He said he was happy to know that, because that opportunity will come up someday and he will be there to help make it happen. More importantly, I found out we had a great connection and I gained a great friend.

The point is, I could’ve played the typical Actor and pretended I had it “all figured out”. That I didn’t need anyone’s help and I didn’t need to make friends. I would have been so wrong.

Don’t waste time in this business not making friends. I don’t mean, and this is important, friends you can use. I mean friends that matter. Friends that make you better.

I’ve been able to help some friends I’ve met in this business. Recommended them for jobs, or put them in touch with other creatives who they should know. I know they will continue to help me. Because that’s what friends do. They celebrate each other’s success.

Find some friends and celebrate this great business we’re in. Because it’s too much fun to enjoy it alone.