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.

 

It’s Your Story. Write It.

It’s really, really, frickin’ hard being an Actor.

That’s something most people won’t tell you. Teachers, Coaches, Managers, Agents, Your Mom.

They won’t say it, because… Well, they have their reasons. Some are based on finances. They want to get paid.  Some based on love. They are your biggest fans and believe in you. But they’re not really going to tell you if you suck. They’ll just tell you that you’re great and no one is better than their sweet-darling.  Some are more devious, because they want to see you fail as they did. These people deserve to have a personal “Fade to Black”, like permanent.

It’s difficult because you have to want to live in a state of some kind of fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of judgement. Fear of financial failure. Fear of Fear itself.

But there has to be a bigger reason you want to do this than personal. Something bigger than Fear. It can’t be about you. Because if it’s only about what you want, you won’t last past the Title Card in your own story.

When you find out what your “Why” is, you’ll be unstoppable. Because, like all the great stories from all those great movies, or t.v. shows you grew up watching that made you want to do this, you’ll find your own personal Hero’s Journey.  Your own story. Your own fight.

And when the End Credits roll, your story will live on. Because others will want to make it their story too.

 

Let’s Do This!

Sitting and thinking.

Waiting and anticipating.

Wondering what will happen next when the door opens and they call your name.

Preparation has happened. Choices have been made, while leaving just enough wiggle room for direction.

The work has been put in at home, in class, in the car on the way.

It’s time.

Don’t worry about any of the other faces in the room.

Don’t worry how many credits they have, how many times you’ve seen them on t.v. or on the Silver Screen.

When you’re standing in the room, in front of those people, know this:

You Belong 

What happens after you leave the room is not up to you. It’s out of your control.

So enjoy your moment.

Live it. Love it. Leave it all in there.

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling Like A Fraud? Same!

Lights. An Actor sits at a table in a rehearsal room with other Actors, a Director, a Playwright and others. 

It’s the first day of rehearsal.

They’re all excited, thrilled in fact, to be in the room. Out of many, they have been hired. Chosen. Handpicked from a multitude of other Actors to be the ones to take on these roles.

After the introductions, handshakes and hugs from those who already know each other, it’s time to sit down and, they begin the table read.

The first time all of the talented creatives gather together to speak the piece into being.

And then we see the Actor is struck with an emotion, a thought. It hits hard. The Actors breathing changes. It’s labored. Short.

The Actor is hearing everyone else read their parts. And suddenly realizes how good they all are. How talented. How skinny, buffed, well dressed, pretty/handsome.

The Actors mind is filled with thoughts of, “What is that accent?”, “How did they think of that character?”, “Can they at least *try* to make it look hard to hit that note?”

Then the Actor speaks the lines for their character and hears,  nothing.

Because thoughts in the mind are loudly shouting, “What the hell am I doing here?”, “They’re going to find out I’m not right for this.”,  “They’re going to fire me.”

Sound familiar? It does to me. Because I’ve been there.

So many times. In fact, I’m there now.

I’m currently doing a workshop and having the time of my life. I’m acting, singing, laughing and collaborating. Helping to create a brilliant new piece into reality.  I’m working with some amazing talented people. I’m right where I need to, want to, be.

And yet…. there’s still that feeling.

That feeling, is called Impostor SyndromeAnd every Creative, at one time or another, has felt the exact. same. thing.

Breathe easy. You’re not alone.

Impostor Syndrome has been defined as “a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalise their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud”. 

I’ll say it again, You’re not alone.

“The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania, and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh god, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud.”

 – Tina Fey

“I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'”

– Maya Angelou

“No matter what we’ve done, there comes a point where you think, ‘How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?’”

– Tom Hanks

See?  There are countless creatives who have the thought that one day, some how, some one will find out they aren’t supposed to be “in the room where it happens.” 

So what do they do about it? How do they, and more importantly we, overcome that feeling?

Well, Good News, you can get past it. Bad News, it’s always around. Because the more you create, the more you might feel like you’re a fraud.

But what’s the alternative? To quit? To stop creating? ¡Chale!

You,

Get over yourself – Seriously. If you’re in the room, you were meant to be there. You’re talented enough, smart enough,  you are enough.

Remember to have fun – There’s a reason they call them “Plays”.

Keep doing the work – Create a character. Make a choice. Listen to direction and spend every day, every moment,  creating the work.

There are a multitude of other things you can do. Meditation, Breathing, Goat Yoga, Dancing, Going to the Gym, etc…

But nothing will ever build your confidence more than continuing to Do The Work and Have Fun.

I’ll see you in the room.