Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"...just a fond farewell to a friend"

New country, new hair. I leave in less than six hours.

See you guys soon!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

“…they don’t understand that to remain alive is more difficult than to be alive in the first place.”

The title comes from a letter Bukowski wrote to William Packard in 1979.

Flipping through some London guide book Central sent us with our final registration paperwork, one phrase catches my eyes: “Be Prepared!” Written over and over again. All these cautionary tales, read too late, appreciated after the fact : “If I had only known” “If someone had told me”—it’s bullshit. The information was there, readily available to you, only you never did take advantage of the fact, did you, just kept your head above water only just enough to pass for a respectable, clean cut young woman. Keep your nose clean. Do what you have to do to get through the day, and the next, and the next. Things run together. Days happen all at once. The summer’s over, did it even happen? Did your whole life happen, or was it just something you mimed through until you got to this point? Why will “Windmills of Your Mind” not get out of my head?

These are the things I think about sometimes. I process things better when I’m alone, I just haven’t been by myself enough lately. Too many voices, and mine hasn’t been loud enough lately. But it’ll come back—my voice will come back.

This one’s a little more revealing than usual. I am disabling the comments, because I don’t want a response to this. I wrote this entry for me.

Friday, September 26, 2008

“Why did summer go so quickly/Was it something that you said?”

I’ve been wandering the city the past few days like a living ghost—haunting places I used to know, almost knew, will never get to know. I see people who will disappear out of view soon, who will haunt me while I wander the streets of a new city, getting lost, being confused, asking myself why here, why again, will any place lead to contentment, to peace? Then I’ll ask if I really mean these things, or if I’m only posturing, the way artists do: amp the tragedy and authenticate the experience. Why do people believe that things only really matter, only really happen, when the price they pay is in their own suffering? Why isn’t celebration more celebrated? We get so caught up so often looking for the truth just below the surface, the ugliness behind the glamour, that we can’t take a moment out to enjoy ourselves. We need to see the happy people in pain to appreciate what they don’t have—it brings us ordinary folk closer to their level.

But what do these musings have to do with anything? Nothing, really. But listen: the summer has been light, airy, not full of too much responsibility, and consequently I have not been my typical “intense” self. Now, “intense” does not mean depressive, or sad, or-Hamlet like in any way. It just means I ponder, I dwell, I tend to look closely, sometimes too closely, at aspects of life I think other people forget about while they’re out there living. (Okay, it’s a little Hamlet.) Basically, I stopped being an observer this summer and started living. I had an acting professor in college who once advised us that each of us was going to have to take some time off from our work at some point and live a little; just so we knew what the fuck we were talking about when we were acting those experiences on stage. I hope that I don’t cut myself off from experiencing things for the sake of watching, for the sake of observing so that my approximations on stage can come close to the genuine article. But I’m a little too realistic to believe that I succeed in that wholly. I’m an only child, what do you want? The problem with being a watcher is that you really don’t understand what it is people get out of certain experiences (falling in love, staying out all night till dawn, being wasted, being high, feeling like an utter failure, feeling totally alone, feeling like you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread) unless you experience them for yourself. You can’t. It’s utterly impossible to analyze those things. You can categorize, devise a chart of cause and effect concerning the events, but it’s not the same. “I’m older than I was when I came here,” to paraphrase Odets. So I took the summer off, off from sitting just outside the action, and played a little. And I had a great time. But I’m ready to sit out again, I’m ready to philosophize, I’m ready to exclaim about every piece of art I see, “It was A-MAZ-ING!” and run off on tangents about the human condition. Because this is who I am, and to deny my nature is the worst I could do. Needless to say, this blog is going to get a lot more emotionally driven. Sorry kids, but objectivity is only so interesting anyway, right? “Of course ‘right!’”

The other thing is, in response or reaction to my angst-ridden opening paragraph, I still feel nothing. I sat down with Kate the other day and asked her if she was excited for her upcoming wedding, and she said that she was honestly apathetic. She just wanted it over and done already. I concur in that sentiment to my own travels. I’ve been keeping this blog since March, and I feel like the suspended limbo is just about all a girl can take. I leave in five days, and still haven’t opened a travel guide (though I did buy a map today).

I am writing this entry on my MacBook (because I am obsessed), started to on the subway, and now in a movie theater in my old neighborhood, waiting for Righteous Kill to start, and really hoping it won’t suck. With Pacino AND De Niro, you expect more, always. With London and huge life transitions, you expect more. You hope, anyway. I will miss New York, but I am ready to leave—still, not eager, not (overly) sentimental. Just ready. But that doesn’t feel like anything more than it is. And that’s okay.

I will probably forgo posting until I get over—too much to do, and limited Internet access over the next couple days. So I’ll check in with you guys when I’m on the other side of the pond. It’s a big ocean, I know, but if you kids are in town, please look me up. I’m sure by then I’ll be “feeling” homesick.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"I'm not that small an actor."

I’ve been bouncing back and forth between New Jersey and New York like a commuter with a mistress I can excuse easily to the wife (if only I was getting reimbursed for transit by my company). I was grounded for a while last week with a four day fever that finally let up the morning of my birthday. The day before the first day of my 24th year, I hopped myself up on Motrin and did a reading of a new play, All is Always Now by Robert Wray, the most acting I’ve done since my little stint as the most helpful of modern tools. It was jarring, but exciting all the same.

My one complaint was that I didn’t have too much to do—in a developing script that only stands at about 38 pages, I was in about the last three. It’s difficult for an actor to know what they’ve done when they have a small part. People mostly connect gripes regarding a mini-sized role directly to an actor’s ego, but it is, in a strictly practical way, difficult. I’ve had leads and parts that were practically walk-ons, and they’re all difficult—acting is hard—but the tough part about the smaller ones is that it’s often hard to see how your character fits in with the action, most of which has been going on without you and independent of what your character wants or needs. This is not always the case and it would be a lie to say so. But it was true in terms of this reading, though I have been told that Margo, the actress that I portrayed for the last three pages, is more developed as the story goes on. So while I think the reading went off well, and I hope Robert got some meaningful feedback to help him finish—and I assure you, my part is supposed to get bigger—I have no idea how I did personally. I can’t even make the usual self- deprecating, humbling assessment of my work, which has become my habit (though secretly or in great moments of inebriation, I do think I am the shit). I truly have no idea. But I do know that it made me hungry and ancy to get back to it—I’ve been in hibernation too long, and I’m ready to play again.

My visa came today! Hooray! One less thing to have a heart attack over.

Other than the visa and the reading, not too much else is going on here, except that I have one week left in the country. And I still haven’t packed my brand new luggage. Not one iota.

Denial, denial, denial…

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sometimes it's like that.

Obsessed with my MacBook, I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning to make this video. It's footage I took sometime last summer ('07) of a mouse with a broken foot. I came across it in Central Park with a coworker when crossing from a meeting on the Westside to my studio on the Eastside. It kind of epitomizes how I feel sometimes with this whole move, and I'm proud of my amateur film, so here it is. Enjoy!

(The song is from Modern Times, PS.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

This new technology

I got a Mac!

And I have no idea how to use it.

"what they wanted I didn't have/and what I had/they didn't want."

Wednesday I received a UPS package from the British Consulate. I had assumed this was to be my visa. I was wrong. Apparently I was supposed to send my physical passport to the consulate, not just a color copy which was what I had sent off--in this day and age, the idea of letting my passport out of sight is frightening. So today I'll be getting a certified check made out for $12 (the mailing fee for the next time the BC tries to send me anything) and returning all of my paperwork, complete with actual passport, back to the BC. I'm concerned about how long it's going to take. I'm concerned about having my passport out of reach. And I'm concerned that I will get neither back in time to get on the plane at 9PM on the 30th.

Other than that, I have been trying to decide what to pack. I've talked myself into taking only five books with me, and only five movies, however I may ammend the latter and allow myself those five movies and all my seasons of Battlestar Galactica. Because, let's face it--I'll be lost without it. Here's what I have thus far:

1) Julie Taymor: Playing with Fire
2) History of the Theatre by Brockett
3) My copy of The Little Prince, circa 1943 (I like the older translation better)
4) The Pythons: Autobiography by the Pythons
5) TBA

The thing about choices 1 ,2, & 4 is that they are all weighty coffee table books. So one asks if there's much point in bringing three books that each weigh a little over a pound each. And now, the movies:

1) Trainspotting
2) Amelie
3) Withnail and I
4) Finding Nemo
5) TBD

Number five is going to be a really hard choice. Not as hard as trying to get on a plane without a passport or a visa. But I'm sure you understand.

Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!! Why can't life just fall in place already?! I am D-R-O-W-N-I-N-G here, damn it!

I've also become terribly curious of all the hits my blog has gotten lately from out of the US visitors. Who are you people? Make yourselves known, please!

Monday, September 1, 2008

"The soul intention is learning to fly/Condition grounded but determined to try"

The Central paperwork came in while I was home last week, informing me that I needed to be in county to register for classes on the 2nd of October. After some juggling of paperwork and phone calls to STA, I was able to change my flight to the 30th of September. So I'm leaving four days earlier, and missing my best friend's wedding consequently. I find it interesting that huge life changes are happening to the two of us at the same time, even though they are vastly different happenings. I'm sad to be missing Kate's day though, and my first chance at bridesmaid-dom, though I am certain this will not be my last opportunity. I got word today that I would be able to check into my housing earlier, so I'm all set those extra few days, which was a relief.

My biometrics appointment for my visa was the other day, and was done in about ten minutes. I showed up, got finger-printed, and went on my way. Later in the afternoon, while running into Jim True-Frost at the post office, I mailed the following items to the British Consulate, all support documents to my visa application:
  • A passport sized photo (that I had taken earlier in the morning at a Walgreen's)
  • A copy of my current passport
  • A copy of my expired passport
  • A copy of my bank statement
  • A copy of my acceptance letter
  • A copy of a second acceptance letter, specifying the hours I'm to spend in school
  • A copy of my plane ticket
  • A copy of my completed visa application (10+ pages long)
  • My stamped biometrics appointment confirmation paper
  • A copy of my college diploma
The sooner my visa comes, the better, and one more weight will be lifted from my mind. Also, I hear they're awful pretty.

Still, missing Kate's wedding reminds me of a fear I've had all my life: that I'll have to sacrifice people, or significant events in my friends' lives because of my commitment to my work or my life as an artist. Maybe that's just me "seeing the red lights," as some one put it to me recently: identifying my artistic sensibilities as the problem when it's really just that sometimes a person's life conflicts with another person's. But because of the significant amount of self-examination and introspection that comes with this kind of lifestyle, there is always a question of how to balance art production as a career (something that is hardly "stable") and that other thing, what some people refer to as "real life." This somewhat mythic "real life" includes things like marriages that actually function, having and raising children, some kind of mortgage or property management, possibly a 401K, and maybe even a traditional yearly vacation. This "real life" is the American dream--did I mention there's a pool?--and comes with hard work, small sacrifice, and more easily with a typical 9-5 job with an annual raise than with hocking clown pieces and doing a tap dance. (If you don't believe me, ask my mother.) So how do you do what you love and feed your soul, and still make rent, and put away for that college fund? And can you get to all those weddings in the meantime?

I have no intention of compromise. I will have my life, and maybe a mortgage too (though out right ownership is always preferred). But sometimes living your life means missing a wedding.

Take lots of pictures, Kate. I'm sad to miss it.