An imperfect circle

April 27, 2010 at 11:23 pm (Uncategorized)

As usual, I have things to do, and as usual, I’m putting them off. Not too surprising.

The whole Grease process, and the run especially, has gotten me to thinking. Why do I act? It’s certainly fun, but that seems a superficial reason. There are only so many times in our lives that we can truly feel. I don’t mean to say that life isn’t real, the present moment is perhaps the most important thing one can focus on. No, I mean that for the most part we stay within a normal range of human emotion, small peaks and valleys. It’s like a seismometer when there isn’t any seismic activity. Sometimes, though, we have an emotional earthquake. Something that rocks us, makes us scream or laugh or cry or whatever. Those moments are temporary, and though they may leave marks on us, they fade over time. Theatre lets us live in those moments as many times as we would like. We can dive into the ocean of emotion stored within ourselves and swim around, and then get out when we like. In “real life” when one feels emotions, it is often as though someone had tied a block of concrete to your foot and tossed you in the water. You don’t have any control. Acting is jumping in, but having control. You can come and go as you please, in your little boat of normalcy.

And it is exhilarating, jumping in. Once you start, you can’t stop. You feel the metaphorical waves beneath you, and the temperature is always just right. It’s a little scary, really. I couldn’t stop acting if I tried. Most of us can’t. And even for those who perhaps do not act in the conventional sense, we all play out scenarios in our mind that all of a sudden become real. Guess what? You just jumped in. You pull yourself out again and wonder how it happened. On stage, though, you can become someone else, something else…you can feel all the feelings you’ve ever felt before and ones previously unknown. All it takes is a little imagination and a whole lot of heart.

So where am I going with this? I guess it’s to say that I have “the acting bug.” I don’t really like that term…though the insinuation that acting is an incurable disease is not without its merits. I love politics…the drama, the intrigue, the implications for our future and the thrill of prognosticating about what policies will do, but somewhere in my heart will always be a quiet call to stand front and center in front of a packed house. Do I regret switching to political science? Never. Sometimes at night, though, I close my eyes and there is nothing but cheers and a spotlight on me, as I pour out emotions in song.

The best feeling in the world is singing a song, being in the music, and finishing to find that the audience is crying. I have never found anything more gratifying, and I doubt that I will. There is something base, something very primitive, about connecting to other human beings on such a strong level. It’s comparable to a sporting event, where one can feel the energy of a crowd, a 100,000 people united in a common purpose. The only thing about that is that passionate anger is easy. People gathered together in appreciation of the beauty of life…that’s a little more rare.

I am slightly envious of those who choose to make theatre their life, for I know it will be one that is in search for beauty and truth. The rest of us seek the truth as well, but in ways I feel are less direct. All roads lead to the self, and to know the self, to swim into the depths of that ocean and understand the currents…that is to know enlightenment. There is so much talent and so much truth in the people I work with that I am impressed and edified every day.

Grease!

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El Futuro

April 11, 2010 at 11:42 pm (Uncategorized)

Grease is the word…the word that opens in less than 2 weeks! I’m so excited, it’s going to be a great show. We’ll definitely be ready for it. I think sometimes I’m a little too hard on myself, but I don’t know. I don’t want to suck. I want to be able to keep up with all these wonderfully talented people who are making theatre their life. How can I let them down? That’s the last thing I ever want to happen. It’ll be good.

The last couple of days I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. For various reasons, really, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t influenced by a couple of friends (I’m looking at you Camille and Chelsey). I mean, I’m getting old, but not really. Assuming I live to be 80, I’m a quarter of the way done with life…though that means I have 3/4 left, realistically. I’m certainly not ready to settle down, but it makes you think. I’m still young, though, and unsure. Who knows what I’m going to do with my life? I know probably least of anyone. I’m slightly envious of people who are so certain.

I am  a beat, a rhythm. My family and friends are  a melody that is playing constantly, weaving up and down, crescendoing and decrescendoing as my life unfolds. The people I love are interspersed as harmonies, hopeful or melancholy depending on the situation. It is a beautiful symphony that is constantly playing. I can replay the sweeter notes and know that even the minor chords are teaching moments.

I might not know where I’m going, but it certainly seems worthwhile to try to enjoy the ride.

  • There is a Ben Folds song for every situation.
  • Chuck Norris/Bruce Campbell/Robb Akey Jokes are always appropriate.
  • Puns are the best kind of humor.
  • Psych is the best show on television. That doesn’t mean I don’t love Glee or House or the Daily Show, but nothing else is quite the same.
  • A Capella music is awesome.
  • Writing is cathartic. Listening to music is cathartic.

(I’m doing both. Who would have guessed?)

Game: First word that comes to mind down the alphabet:

Arithmetic

Bed Bug

Cooler

Dank

Everything

Frog

Giraffe

Hippie

Igloo

Jalapeno

Kangaroo

Lamination

Mongoose

Nicaragua

Omnipotent

Procedural

Questionable

Rain

Salad

Tunisia

Umbrella

Vinyl

Walrus

Xylophone

Young

Zebra

Psychoanalyze that! Ha

Do we build our own bridges, or do we walk upon bridges that have been placed in front of us? Does it matter? What are these bridges, anyway? And where do they go? Is it a bridge to nowhere? Perhaps a musical bridge? Get out some cards and play bridge? Adjective or noun?

Above is why I love English so much. There are a million meanings to everything. It helps actors out, I am certain. You can find a lot of humor in things that are out of context. Humor, deep philosophical meaning, whatever you want, really.

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A brief essay on torture

April 8, 2010 at 1:36 am (Uncategorized)

Welcome to Political Science 338: American Foreign Policy.

So, it’s 1 in the morning and I should be writing a 5-7 page paper about the torture of terrorists that is due at 9:30 tomorrow morning. However I am here, stagnating, and feeling just angsty enough to blog. Spellchecker doesn’t think angsty is a word, but it doesn’t really know anything. I know how I feel about torture, personally. I find it abhorrent and wrong, not to mention the fact that it doesn’t work. Reading through 15 journal articles to find someone more credible than myself to agree, though, is not a job I relish. Oh well, I’m 1/3 of the way through a 24 ounce amp that should keep me up all night.

The most difficult part of Buddhism for me (you’ll notice I write about it a lot, because it’s something I think about a lot) is controlling myself. Because all things are transitory, especially emotions, you can’t hang on to them. The emotions aren’t yours, they just are something that arises in response to an outside stimulus. You hurt yourself trying to grab at something that isn’t there. It’s easy enough to understand letting go of anger, obviously that can help. The harder part is letting go of happiness, knowing that it too will soon pass and you will have to deal with whatever the present moment of emotion in your life is. I deal with anger well enough, generally. Sometimes I get upset, but I’m usually able to calm myself down. Dealing with elation, though…that’s much trickier. Especially when I try to combine Buddhism with theatre. In acting, I need to feel emotions, be emotions, and the thing about acting is that most of our pain comes from trying to hold onto emotions. So to act I have to cause myself harm. It’s an interesting concept. Perhaps slightly masochistic, really, but it’s hard to say. Physical pain and psychological and mental pain are different animals. I would argue that physical pain is relatively easy to deal with. You can have terrible things happen to your body, but a strong mind can overcome. A weak mind, though…it can break you. Thus, I seek to cultivate in myself a strong mind. To be on the path at least, with the thought of one day perhaps nearing the goal.

Speaking of goals, I do wonder sometimes where I’m headed with everything I’m doing. Frankly, I would prefer to be doing theatre this summer, IRT, Couer D’Alene summer theatre, whatever. For career advancement, though, it would be prudent to find a political internship. So that’s what I’m doing. It’s not that I won’t enjoy the political stuff, I really do. It’s just hard to know that I could be doing something more enjoyable. I wonder sometimes if I made the right decision, leaving the theatre department. Leaving is a sort of loaded word, though, because I certainly didn’t make it very far away. Does it feel like I always write about the same sorts of things? I certainly feel like I do.

Always swimming in circles, somehow ending up in the same place again and again.

I think my biggest problem is that I still don’t really know what I want to be doing with my life. I like theatre a lot, I like political science a lot, but I don’t obsess over either, they’re both enjoyable in their own way but I feel a sense of lacking. Like Avenue Q…I don’t have my purpose yet. Though if I took anything away from that show, it’s that I might never find my particular purpose. And apparently people can be happy with that. Maybe it’s making other people happy. I certainly take more stock in humanity than I do in anything else. The well being of each individual is much more important than how well Congress deliberates or me singing on key. Though perhaps doing either of those things well will contribute to the greater happiness of humanity in ways that I am unable at this time to fully appreciate.

I’ve been told I’m a good writer, and my scores in school have generally backed this up. I’ve always been interested by the disconnect that often occurs between people’s writing and their thought process. When I write, I just take the things that are in my head and put them down onto paper (or the electronic facsimile of). I feel that it must be the same for everyone else, though it isn’t ever something I’ve ever talked about at any length with anyone before. It’s not a general topic of conversation. I see people that write poorly, or use a million abbreviations and misspellings, and I think that they must have these brilliant thoughts in their head…so why are they not communicating them? Perhaps they have difficulty doing that through writing. It’s just difficult for me to wrap my head around.

I suppose there are trade offs, though. I often find it difficult to communicate exactly what I want to say when speaking. Often, the things that come into my head would be somewhat ridiculous if they came out of my mouth. Sometimes I’m just filled with love for everyone around me, and I want to tell everyone that they have value, and that they are wonderful, and they should stop thinking so little of themselves and recognize that they are so important to me and everyone around them…but how do I go about saying that? So I try to compliment people in little ways, when I can, and hope that they understand what I mean. Do they? I don’t know. I’d like to think that the people in my life know that I love them, or at least understand it at a visceral level.

Things I like right now:

  • Caffeine
  • Serenity
  • Calmness

Things I do not like right now:

  • Being upset
  • Torture
  • Lack of concentration

For a buddhist, or someone who is at least endeavoring to be on that path, I have terrible concentration. That’s not completely true…I have concentration on the wrong things at the wrong times. I suppose I need to meditate more. I really don’t do enough of it.

If there is a God, or god, or dog, or whatever, I’d like to make a little prayer. That the world grows a bit brighter each day, that we are all moving towards the understanding of a universal harmony, and that we show each other how we feel a little more.

To all the people who have been in my life, centrally, or peripherally, I care about you deeply. I think about all the people I have known, from grade school, family, everyone I’ve ever played sports with, the people who I’ve acted beside, the people who I’ve sung with, and some who I’ve done all of those things with.

We’re all just in one big web. Six degrees of separation, right? Not so far. Someday, maybe I’ll know you all. Maybe I already do…you’re just a part of me, and I don’t know it.

In conclusion,torture is bad. Don’t do it. To yourself or others.

The end

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