Archived from the former firedocs blog. 22 November 2005
It's a matter of HAVING to.
A long time ago, I read something where stage actress Helen Hayes said about acting: If you can do anything else, do it. At the time, about age 13, I thought she meant, if you have any other skills. Yet over time I saw that actors were very often incredibly skilled at many different things. Surely it couldn't be that. Later when I hit adulthood, and the dichotomy of "responsibility vs. my music," for the first time, I fully understood. She meant: if you can do anything else without wanting to throw yourself out a window, without feeling like your soul is dying from the inside.
Because statistically, almost nobody succeeds in the acting field. The business is merciless, the conditions are ruthless, the work when you get it is insane, the people are treacherous wolves, and it is a business without a future for nearly everybody who pursues it. Whether they are working small town dinner theatre, religious musicals or on broadway, in TV commercials or film dramas, the self-expression through dramatic experience is at the core, and in the end, people pursue serious acting not because it is fun, not because they casually might as well, but because they cannot fully live unless they do.
Some time ago I decided to take six months off my "non-work work" so I'd have time for a life. And to view, but having "a life" is first. Then viewing. Then everything else. For about 10 days prior to the due date, I viewed like crazy. A few days into the official vacation, I turned a 90 degree turn into politics, and spent two weeks catching up on a world I might rather have not known about all things considered. Dragged my sorry butt out of that and have been sleeping long and spending more time with my little girl since then. Mellowing. Petting the cats. Pretending I don't have anything to do but work.
Working hard to NOT work hard for once. Trying not to view or anything else, not to feel like I HAVE to.
And damn if it doesn't just call to me. That state of mind. That flow through my middle. That offbeat internal surprise. That vulnerable inner feeling of delight on feedback. That sense of body-understanding when feedback fills in the holes. The need for it. It's like some Vitamin-B of the soul that my whole personality starts to crave when I don't get enough of it. I was going to take the rest of November off -- just to try and "de-focus," since I always tend to be obsessively focused on something.
I'm not sure I can stand it.
It wells up inside of me when I sleep. It calls to me in half-precog dreams that wisp away before I'm fully conscious. It tugs at my guts when my friends are grieving. It dances just outside the edges of my consciousness. You could know me, it whispers. I am part of you.
The world wants to be known. Wants to be felt from the inside. Wants to be experienced. The world is as alive as we are. From the shorelines to the cloud cover, our experiential reality is a shifting kaleidascope of consciousness. You can hear it if you listen: Come play.