I think I’m ready to start writing again. It’s been awhile, and quite the whirlwind adventure for me thus far, but I’m ready to start creating again. So if you see updates on here pertaining to my plays, feel free to read and critique or just ignore. :)
In the midst of completely re-writing one of my plays. A huge undertaking, but I’m actually kind of excited to do it, especially because I’m hoping that this time around (with proper editing and story telling) I will be able to send it off to competitions next school year. And then eventually have it be complete enough to include it into a playwright’s portfolio for grad school.
I’ve been struggling with the whole existential dilemma of, “What the fuck am I going to do with my life after college?” A common existential crisis all graduate students face, yet one of more pertinence if you’re say a graduate of the Arts or English -because what the fuck are you going to do with a BA in English (or Theatre)? But I’ve been mulling it over the past month, because I have to start being both honest and realistic with myself about this, and realization knocked me right in the god damned face.
I love acting -more than most things in this world - and I’ve grown accustomed to it’s long and tedious hours, how it constantly compromises my health and sanity, and what it actually does for me mentally. And while it does a lot of great things for me in all those areas, it’s also done a lot of damage. How so? (You may ask if you bother reading this post). I’ll tell you:
When I started in theatre when I was about four it was hobby, something that I just loved doing because it was fun and different from sports (I hated sports). As I grew up in theatre world it became more of a focus, something that I genuinely loved doing, as well something you had to literally tear me from kicking or screaming. But growing up in theatre I had this ludicrous amount of confidence in my craft (that I didn’t even know what my craft yet). I could literally go into an audition and come out knowing if I had it or not, and even in the times where my confidence over stepped its bounds I still had confidence. I think I actually annoyed people with how much confidence I exuded on a daily basis because it borded on arrogance and narcissism. So with this exorbitant amount of self confidence in my passion, how could one go wrong? Well, it’s easy to be confident in something that’s just a passion because you have nothing to lose. It’s the moment that you invest more than just your heart into it that it becomes a contingent for failure - for complete loss of self. And that is exactly what happened.
The moment I got into high school and I wasn’t pegged for leads or even a contendor for them, I started feeling the ground beneath my passionate foundation crumble, and I started becoming hungry, but in the worst of ways. I started lashing out at people, trying to take them down from the inside, instead of taking them down with my talent. I lost tact with my talent, I lost the spark that made me “talented” and I became too focused on my newfound craft that I lost what I loved about it. It got worse in college due to the amount of pressure I felt put on me to succeed (from both professors and my parents), and while I learned an ass crap of technique, I could no longer hone my passion anymore, causing me to be “in my head” and “critical” and “hungry for critique”. Instead of learning how to apply technique to passion I just learned to “hone” the lessons I had been taught but forgetting my heart in the process; making me methodical and far too analytical of an actor. Worse yet, I found myself over comparing myself to my peers, something I’ve grown so accustomed to that it’s really hindered personal relationships on a number of occasions, but I literally couldn’t stop myself (I was driving myself crazy). I wanted to be than _____ or more loved than ______. I wanted to be looked up to, and admired for my acting talents. I wanted to be revered and awarded for my efforts. All the while I lost my love for it and it became a job, instead remaining my craft and career. And so I realized something very important in the last coming weeks: I love theatre, with my whole heart and I will never stop performing, but until I can treat it as a passion and with the respect being passionate about it entails (not worrying about awards or compliments), I should focus these energies into something else, something I am inherently good at. What you may ask (if you’re still reading)? Writing.
I’ve been a writer longer than I’ve been a performer. It flows from my mind to my pen (or keyboard) almost effortlessly. While I’m not a flawless story teller I am remarkably talented at creating real people on stage, and telling their stories through their characters. This is where my confidence is. This is what I am good at. This is what i can be revered for (since that means so much to me for whatever godforsaken reason. So when I start knocking on grad school’s doors this is the talent I am going to present them with, and will gladly obsess and mull over to my heart’s content, because it does make my heart happy, and soothes my ever rapid mind. Does this mean I will stop performing though? Hell no. I love the stage, and it would take a mighty strong hook to keep me away from it, but playwriting is also my own sort of contribution to the stage. I get to be apart of the magic from it’s inception. I get to be the creator of thoughts, actions, words, dreams, and magic - which is really freaking cool if you think about it.
My life has had many unexpected twists and turns - not excluding this one - and I really never thought I’d take my next-to-final bow so early in the game, but I need to find my love of performing again. Away from all the pretense and my own neurosis of self confidence. But I definitely need to take this time away from the limelight and be apart of magic making for awhile, because there is nothing like watching your words leap from page to stage, and I can’t wait to see where my words can take me (since they’ve taken me on some pretty cool adventures thus far).
I’m going to find my grip again guys, so I’m not so unbearable to be around. And so my head can spin in lovely fashion again sans evil horrible thoughts. But mark my words: I am going to find my way in this crazy business. I have only yet begun.
As I prepare to step onstage my body starts to slowly catch up with my racing mind. Racing to remember lines, remember intention, remember movement, remember moment-to-moment, remember the person inside the character I am playing. My mind is racing - high speed, at a ridiculous velocity that’s only meant to be matched by space shuttles that are “go for launch”. Yet as my mind races, and my body races to catch up with the speeding train of thought, my heart is ready.
My heart is always ready. Ready to feel the lights, ready to capture emotion, ready to live in the moment - something I admittedly cannot seem to do in my every day life. It’s ready to embrace theatre. Wholly and freely, in all it’s beautiful intricacies and subtle nuances. In all it’s ridiculous gestures and rituals. In all it’s spectacular costumes and spectacle. It’s ready. And it’s waiting for the rest of my nervous and psychological systems to catch up to it. It’s ready.
And when everything finally catches up - the mind to the body to the spirit to the heart. I feel the adrenaline manifesting itself in a kind of whirling peace that can only be attained by knowing the glint of a spotlight gracing you face (completely ready to hit your first moment, and make it happen.) It’s when you know you’re born to do this, and only this, and when you know that you are truly (wholeheartedly and sincerely) ready.
First off, I’m sorry about your ovaries.
Secondly, I like writing stories. It is pretty much my favorite thing to do. Hopefully I will write many, many more books—so many that you become tired of them and all become Hipster John Green Fans and say, “His early stuff was okay but after TFiOS he just became a hack.”
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
“I still get paranoid that you’ll find someone better, more worthy of your time.” she confessed, her eyes so lost, so sad. I wanted to reach out. I wanted to take her hand in mine and show her how my world had changed since she came in, and how it’d never be the same if she left. I wanted to open up her lidded eyes, which were fighting back tears - the thing I dreaded most in human emotion - to show her all the wonderful colors and perceptions she had awakened within my in the past few hours, and eventually show her the new world she helped create in my soul. I wanted to reassure her mind, to ease the doubts from it, and swaddle her in the warmth she had given my cold heart and tired bones. I wanted to promise her that I would never find someone as perfect for me as her. I wanted to, I really did. But all I could do was sit inside my thoughts in my own head, and watch as the doubt grew in her eyes, for she knew - as well as I - that such promises, such reassurances, could be made in good, honest, conscience. That they were merely words, and words held no more weight than the thoughts they came from. Even though I was sure of myself, sure of my admiration for her and the world I saw within her, that even if I could console her it would not bring lasting realization.
Eventually those doubts would creep up again, maybe even more fervent that before, sparking an endless wildfire of doubt and self pity, that might eventually consume her. For even the sincerest reassurances eventually unravel at the seams of their good nature inception, and tangle themselves up in the lies we tell ourselves are truer than those sincere gestures, making them distorted, and uglier than ever before.
I wished there was a way to stop those thoughts from ever being thought at all. I wished I could just tell her straight out my own thoughts, but I didn’t want to taint her perception, I didn’t want to manipulate thoughts into feelings - that wasn’t fair to her. She was special. She deserved more than promises that were weighted by balloons. I wished I could change the flighty disposition of the entire human race and just remain immobile with her forever, but that would do nothing but make us both miserable - in the long run.
So I said nothing. I did nothing, but nod - which was entirely the most inappropriate gesture for the situation. But it was all I could do, because I knew that eventually she may be right, even though I wished her sentiment to be the most wrong she had ever been. Yet that was the problem. She was never wrong, about anything. So we sat, and she forced back tears, and I was silence like dunce in the corner of the classroom trying not to offend her anymore than I needed to, and we each other’s thoughts together.
I caught her glimpsing at me from time to time, wishing I’d say what she knew was in my head, just so I could make her feel better in that moment, but that was not the nature of our relationship - and she knew that too -, even though I wished it were sometimes. So we sat together, until she got up to leave. She waited for a moment though, seeing if I’d follow her, if I’d grasp her hand affectionately, or at least in a way that was comforting to her, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that either and I heard her walk away. I couldn’t even watch her, because I knew if I had I would’ve stumbled over myself trying to catch up - which was, in fact, the very nature of our relationship in a nutshell. So I sat there, doing nothing, knowing I had made a terrible mistake, but too stubborn to correct it, too stubborn to admit defeat at all. I watched as the stars started to paint the sky, I watched the moon rise, and I cursed the beauty of it all because I knew it was only because of her I could see it at all. But so I sat solemnly, with the will to do nothing at all, and I silently prayed she’d return - even if to slap me across the face - but she didn’t .
She didn’t return for the next two weeks to our secret spot, and I doubted she’d ever come around again. I’d come there every day wishing to catch that glimpse, to hopefully apologize for my imbecilic tendencies around her, but she didn’t come for two weeks and I’d just about given up all hope that she would. Until the last Friday of the second week. “Did you find that person then?” she asked as she stood next to me, her patent leather Mary Jane’s kicking up dust in my lap. I all but nearly scrambled out of my position to meet her eye to eye - or really eye to chin, since I was about a foot taller than her. But I didn’t say anything right away, her laughter at my actions cut me off before I had the chance and I found myself lost in the moment of that sound for a bit. I had to come back down to earth though, when I looked down to meet her gaze, I noticed the doubt from before and it snapped me right back into reality: It was now or never. So I did something, something stupid. I brushed a piece of hair out of her face, “Yeah, I met her today.”. She didn’t say a word, her face didn’t falter one bit, but I could see the tears in the corner of her eyes. “Well I’m happy for you.” She started to walk away, and I couldn’t let her do that again, so I did something braver, or stupider depending on who you talk to. “Wait.” I commanded, which surprised even me. “Why?” she commanded right back. “You didn’t let me finish.” I could tell she was holding her breath as I stood there holding her hand, taking the other one in my other hand as well, but not saying a word. We stood like this for awhile, as she held her breath the entire time, before I worked up the courage to continue, her eyes pleading for me to continue so she could make a break for it. ”I met her today, a few minutes ago actually, and I can’t promise her the world. I can’t promise her anything that she wants from me, or from us, but I can promise her this: No one is more worthy of my time than her. Never has been, never will be.” As soon as I saw the first tear spring from her eyes, I knew she got it, so before she could run or do anything, I brushed another hair from her eyes and smiled, and she smiled back.
“Sometimes people talk too much, but never really manage to say a damn thing worth listening to.” This was the only thought that crossed through her mind as she idly eavesdropped into conversations she had no business being even a passive listener to, but she couldn’t help it, even the idle dribble that spilled from those around her fascinated her to no end. It somehow stimulated her own thoughts, as she listened to the lack of tack or real thought that was put into each conversation she listened to. For instance, she once spent a good thirty minutes passively listening to a girl dribble on and on about her the impact her outfit had on her day. In some instances the girl found her outfit - which was truly an atrocious mixture of Zooey Deschanel and 70s coke fiend mixed into one - and how, “like,people would not stop looking at her because of it” and about how, “it even, like, managed to, like, get her a few free drinks…like.” The entire thirty minute pander, went on and on relentlessly to the point where she literally wanted to turn around and say, “You seriously look like a train ran over you a few hundred times, people were probably just astonished that you survived.” But instead she kept her own commentary to herself as she sipped her Thai tea in unobtrusively that afternoon, trying her hardest to keep her snickering as much to herself as possible. This proved to be especially hard when the girl started to give her friend, who, by comparison, looked about ten times more put together than she did, started to give her fashion advice; when this occurred the passive listener had to all but bite her tongue to keep her drink from coming out of her nose, which she was almost successful at until she snorted - albeit a bit too loudly - at one of the suggestions. (To be fair the suggestion was: “You should totally wear lilac eyeshadow and with pale pink lips. It’ll totally bring out your complexion.” Neither of which was either true or valid, just horrendous) But to the passive listener’s dismay the snort was heard and merited a sound, “What is funny?” To which the passive listener keenly lied and moved a couple of tables over.
This, of course, was only one of many stories she overheard on a day to day basis. And while she found most of the stories truly inane and self-centered, they somehow always caused an odd sense of self reflection on her part. After that specific conversation she encountered she found herself going home and examining her own appearance to the outside world - carefully holding up each and every article of clothing she owned to see if they too could elicit any sort of response as that girl’s attire did. Of course, after the fifth outfit she realized what she was doing and laughed at her own ridiculousness for a good twenty minutes. Yet she still couldn’t believe she had done something so inane herself, but that was the terror of human nature: No matter how inane a topic of conversation is it tends to have an affect on the listener - whether it be adverse or conducive is completely dependent on the listener. Which is why she so avidly found herself passively listening to conversations, because she knew she would garner something from them, even if she wasn’t sure what that something was. So she continued her adventures in eavesdropping, silently commenting, and observing by the by, knowing that somehow it could be the conversation to change her life.