Sunday, September 19, 2010

- untitled.

[This photo has nothing to do with the following entry.
That being said, I need to get out with my camera sometime soon]

I want to start a photo blog. But 1) Allison Hipple just started a photo blog. Do I want to look like a creativity thief? 2) I'd really have to challenge myself to get into a routine. I can't even keep track of updating THIS blog.

The neighbors are screaming. Possibly jumping.
Actually, it sounds like they might be herding elephants.

I must be back in Racine.

Why do people blog?

I just finished watching Julie and Julia this morning, a movie which I referenced well over a year ago in one of my first blogs. I believe that at that time, I was contemplating the usefulness of blogging as a means for developing my skills as a writer. Over a year later, I've finally seen that movie and, between then and now, have written a very unsubstantial amount in comparison to the type of venture Julie Powell undertook when she began cooking and blogging her way through Julia Child's cookbook over the course of 365 days. I guess I'm not the kind of person who can stick to any sort of regiment without some outside force breathing down my neck and making me feel more guilty than I usually do at any given time through my own self-demoralization. Oh well. I think most people are that way, until the day when some particularly ass-kicking event comes along and, well, kicks them in the ass, and then they suddenly realize: "By golly, I've gotta pick myself up and stop being so lazy or some loser is going to step all over my face and leave me on the sidewalk to die!"

I continually wait for that day to come, some kind of devastating "I told you so" circumstance delivered directly to my doorstep by the cosmos, but, here I am... still kind of floating without any real attachment to any concrete goals. And I seem to be just fine.

In answer to my own question: I don't know why people blog - I guess some people, in the dawn of this fantastical Facebook/Twitter/yesofcourseyourfriendswanttoknowwhatyou'redoingateverymoment world we've fallen into, think it's really important to let everyone on earth have access to their day-to-day collisions. I have a hard time writing that way, or thinking that way. I usually sit down determined to write about what has happened since the last time I blogged. Instead, what comes out tends to be some sort of repetitive, open-ended or otherwise rhetorical examination of my own ponderings about why I'm here (both here, and, you know... here) and what the Hell I want to do with my life. It makes me feel like I'm not making any progress, but, I guess I am. Both with this little blog and in the real world, too. Right? Either way, it's nice to be able to look back and remember what I was feeling on that warm July afternoon in 2009, rather than recalling some completed to-do list or activity. Give me the consequences of action to consider; I'll fill in the rest. Or something.

School started on the 2nd. Or the 3rd. It was one of those early dates in September at any rate. In that time, I've read enough history books to fill my personal quota (though there are SO many more on the horizon, it's actually a little bit daunting), played the role of Benedick in a two-weeks-of-rehearsal-production of Much Ado About Nothing - complete with post-rehearsal breakdowns in a dark and empty theater - I've settled into a new apartment, been angstfully torn between the past and present, and, of course, looked toward the future with (albeit positive) uncertainty.

I just invented the word "angstfully."

I went to The Steppenwolf yesterday with Karl, Maddie and Allison. The entire venture was executed on a whim, with hopes of snagging discounted tickets to a show called Detroit starring Laurie Metcalf, among others. Happily, the whim proved fruitful, and we had a pleasant afternoon in Chicago and, on top of that, saw a pretty great piece of new theatre. Detroit took some time to settle with me, but when it did, I just thought: Man, that was us. This play was onto something, both relating to the state of the world today and the state of theatre -where it must be headed in the decades to come. Seeing good theatre has a completely paradoxical effect on me. On one hand, it inspires me to great heights; it makes me feel like anything is possible here - that we, as people; as a community of human beings - are capable of achieving anything, of communicating, connecting, and living boldly in the face of so many terrifying outside elements which threaten our humanity every day. On the other hand, great theatre always serves as a reminder for the greatness I must achieve if I ever want to be a part of this community of artistic gurus. I am constantly reminded of the hard work and dedication that is demanded and required in the theatre and, as always, I feel terrified that I may not be able to stand up to that. I've never been capable of owning my own artistry. Granted, I'm getting better about it, but, there's still a part of me that always feels so hesitant to bravely state, "I am an actor." I often feel undeserving of that title - not that it's a title, per say, but you know what I mean - and shy away from that spotlight for fear of being called a phony. Why?

Pursuing Dramaturgy has been the equalizer for me. It's a form of artistry, yes, but there's something concrete about it - you can be good at it or not, and you can easily see what is a success and what isn't, and there's something about that certainty that makes me less afraid of tackling it. I can read a history book and I can analyze information. I can put it on paper and know immediately whether what I've said is useful or not. It demands a lot of work, but not in the way that acting does. I hate it when people assume acting is just some really easy pastime, because it can just be utterly terrifying (and beautiful and wonderful and completely mysterious and rewarding). I am always afraid. At least this summer I've had a chance to face those fears in a different arena. And that experience has given me more confidence, more understanding, and a better grip on myself than I had ever had before. Maybe returning to school just brings back old patterns of behavior and thought, and in a few weeks I'll get back into myself and let that new-found part of myself shine through. I can tell that this semester, serving as Dramaturg for two shows in a row, will leave me aching to get back on the stage for whatever inexplicable reason there is; but getting on that stage isn't guaranteed, and there's a lot to accomplish between now and then. As there always is.

Until then, though, I'll just keep thinking and (hopefully) writing, reading, watching, listening, and whatever else I/you/we do when caught in a sort of inexplicable limbo. I feel like I'm on the very edge of my next big self-discovery - just looking for the right combination of steps that will give me the courage to jump off.


  1. Ha. You're no creativity thief. You own creativity. Do whatever it is that makes your time worthwhile. No matter what, it will be unique because it is yours, even if it appears like it's been done before. (This is how I feel about much of the stuff I'm pursuing now---that is, yes, I'm not the only one working on this, but that doesn't mean I can't do it, too.)

    Also, you write incredibly well, so, write away, my friend. And keep your eyes/ears/mind open. I'll try to do the same.

  2. The whole acting career thing aside, I feel very connected to what you've written here.

    -Like- ;)