Untitled Writing

There it is again.

That knock in the back of my head, when I look at the blank page and that little blinking line starts to mimic my heartbeat.

Breathe.

I tell myself. Before I start. Before I place my fingers on the keyboard and just hover. Breathe. It’s all going to be okay.

But it’s still there.

The voice. The familiar voice, that doesn’t sound mean or scary or angry. The voice that sounds soothing and comforting, warm. Like all it wants is to protect me. Keep me safe. Let me know, it’s okay to close the computer and get something to eat, or go for a walk, or sleep.

I’m still here though.

I don’t move. From my keyboard. From the desk and the computer. It’s still open and the page is filling up with digital ink and the cursor is moving and I am writing.

It’s going to be okay.

I tell that to the voice. It’s going to be okay, because I’m writing and nothing bad has happened. You can go find something to eat, or go for a walk, or sleep.

This is going to take a while.

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.

 

It Will Pass

Being an Actor is… interesting.

We live in a cycle.

We want the job.

We get the job.

We’re glad we got the job.

We rehearse.

We feel like we’re not good enough for the job.

Someone tells us we’re great for the job.

We feel better about the job.

We love the job.

Job ends.

Repeat.

We’re Creative. We’re constantly thinking, “I could’ve done that better.”

Art is never perfect. It’s never finished. There’s always something that could’ve been added, taken away, rewritten, painted over or adjusted in some way. It drives us a bit bonkers to think this way. But we’re Artists. It’s what makes us so darn lovable.

What’s important to remember in the cycle, is it’s perpetually in motion. Things in motion, will always keep moving. Totally not the right quote, but you get the idea.

Give it time. Something will click. Something will fall in to place. You will find your flow state. You always do.

That funky feeling that everyone in the room is amazing, and you’re Ringo? That will pass. It always will. As long as you stay in motion.

So keep moving. Make Stuff.

 

 

 

 

We Just Don’t Play Anymore.

Hey! Don’t do that!”

“Be careful! That kid might be a biter.”

“She might pull your hair.”

“He might be a bedwetter, and you just stopped doing that.”

These were the well meaning, but confusing, voices of our parents and guiding mentors while we were growing up. When all we wanted to do as kids was to play outside with our friends, or the new kid next door.

But we can’t totally blame them. They grew up. They thought they knew “better”.

Call it Fear or Maturity.  Somewhere between childhood and becoming a smart, dignified, stuffy Adult, we lost the ability to take a moment and just play. We tell ourselves,

Don’t make friends with the new guy. He probably wants your job.”

Don’t sing in the car. It’s dumb.

Don’t dance in the grocery aisle. You’ll look weird .”

You know what’s weird?

  • Not laughing at a fart.
  • Seeing a can of Play-doh and not feeling the temptation to open it, smell its distinct aroma and getting your fingers all up in it.
  • Not singing along to this.

If we want to have better lives, there’s no self-help book or seminar that will make it clearer than the fact that we simply need to play.

From Play comes Joy. When we’re Joyful, we’re more likely to be productive.  We’re more creative and better at solving problems. Basically, we’re better humans.

Find that kid again. I’m not talking about your “Inner Child”. I’m not suggesting you crawl on the floor, poop your pants and throw tantrums.

Find the kid that remembers what it’s like to use Imagination. Then use it to lead you.

From there you’ll find Purpose, Potential and you might have a little fun while you’re doing it.

Go outside. Unless you’re already outside. Then just look at the sky for a minute or two. See how many people begin to look where you’re looking, wondering what you’re looking at. Even though you’re not looking at anything but the sky. It’s hilarious!

Create worlds. Rescue the Princess. Or Prince. Dance when there is no music. Color. Sing.

And when you begin to hear those “Adult” voices in your head telling you to stop, tell them they’re no fun and you’re playing with the new kid. You.

Granny Wendy: So… your adventures are over? 

Peter Banning:  Oh, no. To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.

HOOK 

Shaking The Tree

You know that feeling.

You’re making progress. You’re moving forward, upwards, in your day, life, career.

Your numbers are adding up and matching. Your art is a cleaner. Your word count is in the triple digits. You’re in a state of Flow. Birds are singing. The sun is brighter. Your kids are well behaved. Your spouse wants to eat where you want to eat, and has even taken the garbage out. Everything is groovy.

You’re climbing that tree of success joy and happiness.

Then something comes along and shakes the fricking tree.

Suddenly you’re falling. Down you go. Grasping at branches. Trying to hold on to whatever you can. Only to keep falling, tumbling, twisting. Until finally, you crash to the ground with a thud. Breathless. Scratched, bruised, battered and torn. Staring up at the tree.

It’s not the first time.

You’ve been on that tree before. You’ve fallen before. And it hurts. It sucks to fall. It makes you sad. Angry. It makes you think about hating trees and moving where you’ll never see another one again.

But that’s too easy. It’s too easy to never try to climb again. It’s too easy to never think about trying again. It’s way too easy to walk away. Put the paint brush down. Press ‘Delete’ on the keyboard and erase the pages.

But you can’t do that. Neither can I.

So we stand up. Brush off the dirt from our clothes. Pull the leaves and broken twigs from our hair. Give the tree a great big hug. Then we reach out, grab a branch, and climb. Because one day, despite all the tears and bruises, we will climb to the top and see the view.

There’s a great song by Peter Gabriel called Shaking The Tree. Listen to it. Watch the clip in the link. Although written for a different purpose, some of the lyrics have helped me keep climbing. I hope it hits you and inspires you to not only climb your tree, but not to fear the shake.