Thursday, February 19, 2009

What makes me happy?

Being in my body: practicing yoga, elliptical, massage, breathing

Doing things with my hands: crochet, sewing, writing with a pen, folding laundry


Acting; specifically, performing for an audience

Food: cooking and eating

I've noticed that when I'm following a path that leads me away from these things, my cranky alarm goes off. This becomes especially evident when I'm hungry, as anyone who's spend a lot of time with me has probably witnessed.

In San Francisco, I'd exercise for an hour first thing every single morning. It helped me focus, energize, and feel healthy and pretty. These days, I spend 9 hours a day sitting at a desk, answering a phone and doing my thing on the interwebs. I make it to yoga or the gym a few days a week, but always in the evening when I'm exhausted from sitting (How is this possible? It's the same thing with travel) or weekends when my brain is distracted. I've started to develop pain in my lower back and hips that is made worse by sitting and better by moving around. Coincidence? No! Psychosomatic? Entirely possible! This morning I woke up obscenely early (5:45... with the garbage men) and got myself to the gym before work. And wouldn't you know, today I feel great. Yes, still some pain from sitting down, but I have energy to spare and even a bit of joie de vivre at this boring, mind-numbing job. It's an obvious solution nearly every time I have a problem- not just literal exercise, but listening to what my body needs.

There is no self without body, but sometimes there is body without self. And it totally sucks.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What is deep, as love is deep, I'll have
Deeply. What is good, as love is good,
I'll have well. Then if time and space
Have any purpose, I shall belong to it.
If not, if all is a pretty fiction
To distract the cherubim and seraphim
Who so continually do cry, the least
I can do is to fill the curled shell of the world
With human deep-sea sound, and hold it to
The ear of God, until he has appetite
To taste our salt sorrow on his lips.

- Christopher Fry

I've been feeling very uninspired lately. Nine months out of school, the longest I've ever been away (and no return in sight). I've never had so little structure, so few projects, so few demands made on my time and energy. I have a day job that, though it pays enough and asks little of me, is sucking the life and creative spirit right out of me. I sit here and surf the internet, and read, and do crossword puzzles. I want to write. I want to act. I want to take advantage of this time captive at a desk and DO SOMETHING. But I'm an actor, and an actor needs a play. I don't know how to start a project on my own. But of course I do, I've done it before. One just... starts.

Sometimes I worry that I'm not really an artist. I don't know that I have the
need to create that so many others do. I love it, yes. I love the detail work, getting lost in my imagination, being in the same room with someone who is pretending the same thing that you are pretending. I love getting laughs. I love being on a roll and new ideas are just streaming out, because I'm "in the moment" and out of my head. I love the satisfaction of a job well-done. I even love the struggle and the frustrated feeling that comes after, that it could have been so much better and I'll never have the chance again to do it "right."

But as much as all those things are true, there are other truths as well. Like laziness, shyness, lack of motivation and ignorance of how to start. They say not to wait around for work to find you... you have to make your own. But then there's the desire for a comfortable life... marriage, babies, home-improvement projects and nice meals. My "art" doesn't pull and tug at me the way it must for those who sacrifice everything to create. To fight the demons or appease the angels... I just don't have that.

But I know I have some "human deep-sea sound." Everyone does. I have something to say about something, I just know I do. And as Fry says, it's a crime not to say it. I have an obligation, a reason. It seems that the world needs to hear the specific thing that I have to say. And no one can say it but me.