Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dramas Annoy Us and Ruin Our Nights

All I'm gonna say is I saw a play the other night that everyone else is saying is really amazing and is getting great reviews and has incredible actors and I fell asleep.

Like not 'asleep' asleep, my eyes were still open, but I would leave and venture so far off in my mind that every time I returned to the play I was surprised by what the characters would say, because there had been simply no precedent for what they were saying. Although, there probably was, I just was sleeping through it.

'Whoa! Where did that come from? She sure is angry. Oh well. Off I go again...'

I wrote monologues and thought about my own plays, and my own life, and watched more entertaining scenes involving myself and the life I wish I lived in my mind. Practically from the beginning. I'm sure it's a really great play, I just was totally not there for it.

I feel like I probably have no right to say this. All these critics who know so much more than me are loving it and other people in the theatre seemed to be having an all right time. But the facts are, officer, I was bored.

Monday, November 19, 2012

I Got a Rock and Roll Girlfriend

I've been reading Patti Smith's Just Kids lately. I have developed this habit of rereading books immediately after finishing them. I'm finding it hard to feel 'done' with things, I finish something and feel there's more to be mined. There were a few plays I couldn't put back on my shelf because I felt I had to have them around all the time. So I'm in the middle of my second read of this one.

Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe have this amazing relationship that fills me with envy and romantic longing.

And because they're artists, and he became a photographer, there are all these amazing pictures of them that I just love.

They are so the cool kids. I wish I had pictures like this. I find them really inspiring in a melancholy way. 

Apparently Robert Mapplethorpe would look at all his pictures and say, 'That's the one with the magic'. I think these all have the magic, but I mostly just love the idea of looking at things that way. And having the confidence to know which one did have the magic. He was right though. His stuff is amazing. And magic.

There's something about all these pictures that is so lovely, so artful and yet so unposed. Easy edgy. I think this is what 'cool' is, although having never been cool a day in my life I don't know if I'm qualified to judge. 

Don't you wish you had a friend like this?

Don't you wish there was someone who understood that doing things like taking amazing pictures of yourself is equal parts cool and goofy, and loves that?

Patti Smith talks about how they could work together, on separate projects, so happily. And how PROUD they were of each other, how giving, artistically. 

I'm trying to learn to be less jealous and intimidated, to be more loving of other artists, because obviously I know how hard it is, and we all have to be held with so much grace. I wish I had nothing but joy for everyone else who I was competing with, for everyone who is trying, like I am, to do something incredible. But it's hard. It's hard to be fully behind someone else when you want what they're going after too. It's hard to not feel jealous. For me anyway. 

It's frustrating that the community feels more like competition than community. I don't want it to, but I'm perpetuating it with the way that I feel. 

I said to someone a while ago that I think I want a creative partner the way most people want a romantic partner. The idea of finding someone who loves your work and pushes your work and creates things with you and makes you better and understands and is your little armour to the world, the thing that wraps you and protects you and lets you go into battle. I'm very in love with this idea. It's never happened for me. 

There's also something, to me at least, about the friendship being the work of art in itself. I'm writing something about that right now, but there's something about the creation of yourself as you're working on something, the falling in love with who you are because of the amazing people you've managed to get around you, that are working on this thing too. You work on a project and you fall in love with the people who are also working on it, and it makes you feel cool for a second too. The reflection of your love makes you beautiful. And that in itself is an artistic creation.

You create yourself in the work you do and the relationships you cultivate, and the self you create is the artist you want to be. 

I don't know. 

But there's something here that's beautiful and rare and intended and mysterious and of a moment that stays with you, and I think those are all things that great art should be. 

'Where does it all lead? What will become of us? Those were our young questions, and young answers were revealed.

It leads to each other. We become ourselves.'

This is my favourite picture:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pick Your Left Foot Up When Your Right Foot's Down

This is an interesting read.

I'm doggedly applying for some grants right now, even though I don't know what projects are really valuable and I should keep working on and am generally feeling a little eek. I love Angels in America, and the scope of it is so incredible (I've said the same thing about my ongoing lover, Sleep No More), and I wish my work didn't feel so small and insignificant. But then if I write something for more than three people, it might never see the light of day.

This balance between how to make art and then how to get ahead and be business like so that you CAN make the art you want is very tricky and I don't know how to balance it. And of course, just thinking like that makes me frustrated because shouldn't I just create, create all the time, huge things and do it for the sake of themselves, and if no one sees it it doesn't matter?

I can't think that way. Because it does matter. Like Roy Cohn says in Angels in America, 'clout'. You need to be noticed. You can't push into a vacuum. It will suck you right up.

Anyway, that was one of a few inspiring things I've been surrounding myself with. Reread Angels last night. I will finally see a version of it next summer because a theatre company here is putting it on and I'm so excited. It really is a thrilling piece of work. So exciting to see something so big, all those ideas be chewed on like that. Ugh, start small, get big? Go big or go home?

My friend Jenna and I saw a play the other night that wasn't the most inspiring, but we were both kind of wracked with desire to be up on stage. And then we talked about whether it's better to just throw caution to the wind and throw something up and if it fails oh well, or if something has to be good, has to have a certain value or it wasn't worth it anyway. This kind of relates to this big/small debate. Do you do what you can just because you can, or do you wait until you can do something huge, but risk that that time will never come?

Of course, my feeling is to do something impossible immediately, but I get in to trouble an awful lot.....

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's a Quiet Thing

Here's the anatomy of my rejection. A break down (how appropriate!):

1. A blow. Punch. The air is pushed out of my stomach like you're stepping on a balloon. I get that winded feeling where everything sinks, the whole of me reels in to my stomach and then evaporates in all directions. Like that camera shot where things simultaneously move closer and farther away. That's also the visual image I've had when I've experienced the worst of my panic attacks. 

It's a gasp of air that doesn't make it. A chunk of bubblegum that has been rotting in you for years, and you never noticed it til right now, all of a sudden there is a rock inside of you. 

And stillness.

2. Immediate depression. Low grade, kind of petulant sadness. Little kid sadness. Not the sadness of children, which I think we all know is unending and would melt you if you saw it, but the sadness of little kids, when they cry and no tears come out, when they fall and look back to you to know if they're hurt or not. Sometimes solved by ice cream or a lash of whiskey. This doesn't last very long, this one. 

3. That amazing part of me, of all of us, that survives, the part that is not destroyed by the fire, but purified, kicks in. 'Oh well'. A certain resilience. This is the part of me that keeps me from falling off tall buildings. I dont' give it a lot of credit, but it is there. It, again, doesn't last long. It goes, 'There will be others. It is their loss. Oh well. Who cares?'

4. Immediately silenced by the hideous hose beast who lives in my heart and says, 'I CARE! I SUCK. I HAVE NO TALENT AND WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO CHANGE MY LOT IN LIFE. GIVE UP GIVE UP EVERYONE IS LAUGHING AT YOU. FALL OFF  TALL BUILDING!'

(We know who this is, right? This is Madam Mim as a dragon from the Sword in the Stone! It's amazing how much she looks like me!)

5. Then, I get a kind of numb quiet feeling. Empty. 

A huge part of being rejected (as an actor, but even more so as a writer, which is the current rejection I'm dealing with), is the feeling that no one cares what I think. No one feels the way I feel. No one is interested in what I have to say. This becomes terrifying as an artist and makes me think that I'm not an artist, and then it goes deeper and makes me think I'm not a human being. I look at stuff that goes on, or is accepted, and am flummoxed (an excellent word, that, excellent). It makes me think that I don't get what everyone else likes, so of course they don't get me. It's what loneliness feels like. It's that moment at the part where everyone is having so much fun and you start to cry. 

Numb numb numb. Something vibrating so intensely that you can't see it moving at all. 

I flip back and forth between this numb feeling and total despair. Occasional rallies from within of 'you can do it', or whatever. The most effective of these are when I pretend that I'm being interviewed after a great success, and I say these places that didn't support me, and look where I am now, fuckos! Does that make me petty? Probably. I am not getting better at handling rejection. It slays me. It slays me. 

And then, I guess, there's the carrying on. At some point I won't carry on. At some point it will be the end. I'm never sure if I'm at that point. I always think I am, but then something happens, I do something, and even if I remain distinctly not a success and distinctly frightened and confused, I do something. Right now I feel that I'm not carrying on, but I am. I think. Still angry and hurt. Still so frustrated. But I'm reading Patti Smith's 'Just Kids', and listening to Joe Tex, and watching PT Anderson movies endlessly, and reading about theatre that's being created elsewhere in the world, and I feel that these are a part of carrying on, in some way. The fuelling. The wondering and wandering. Maybe? I dont' know. It feels like a not-low grade depression, but it's also full of stuff that is beautiful and inspiring. Even if I can't be inspired right now, it's there. I'm absorbing. I hope. I really hope that this is a calm, this is an ebb, but there's something else that I'm just gearing up for. I'm not sure though, honestly. 

I feel as if I might be quitting but I also feel as if I've just begun to fight. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Though You Sometimes Do Come By The Occasional Black Eye

We are having a rejection supersale over here!

Rejection over here! Rejection over there! Rejected from things I don't even know if I care about (BUT I DO!)! Rejected from things I wanted very badly! COMING OUT MY EARS!

It comes in such amazing waves somehow. Bam bam bam.

Anyway. That's great.

This is mostly writing rejection, because I haven't been on an audition in ages! Hooray! I had a few auditions in the later part of the summer and didn't get anything! Yippeee!!!

And now we have this wonderful fall look of not being able to move forward in writing.

It's really hard to keep going and find motivation when you just feel like you're being slammed. Some are just unfortunate (you send a play that you spent weeks on, three days before the deadline, and then they say that they reached the quota that night and your script won't even be read. THANK YOU SO MUCH!), and some are just, 'but...but....why don't you like me?...I did everything right....'. They suck equally.

If I were a cool person I would embed a .GIF here, BUT I'M NOT.

I had a relatively fecund creative period, of creating a lot of stuff and submitting it. I have a lot of projects now at varying stages of development but absolutely no where to put them and no one to work on them with. Hmmm. That thought has me pretty  much bone dry, in terms of both ideas and desire to work.

All I want to do is watch movies allllll the time. All the time! The work that others have already created is somehow much more fulfilling than the angst my own work causes me.

There are three more things I should hear back from in the next two weeks, and I'm pretty sure they'll all be 'no's'. Two more will come sometime after that. In the meantime, I can either keep applying for other things, or I can watch 'GoodFellas' for the fifth time in three days.

Who knows what will happen???