When reigning Artistic Director David Greenham invited me to spend my summer with Maine's Shakespeare Theater, I wasn't sure who was wooing who. Clearly I was enamored immediately with the theater and desperate to be likable enough to warrant an invitation to join the company. When I received an email for a phone interview my heart went pitterpat and I said okay, Joe, this is game time. Put on the charm for this one. Get a job. You can do it.
On the phone, I was so stinking charming I believe I even chatted with Dave (who is himself charming and hilarious, with bone-dry sarcasm and a lifetime of theater experience to pepper his conversation) about house additions and contracting companies - which I know next to nothing about. And then he offered me a job, and our roles seemed to reverse. He said humbly, courtingly, "Are you SURE you want to step out of your life for 10 weeks and come to Maine?" I remember how smiley my voice was. It drew my roommate out of the kitchen to make sure I was alright (normally my voice is not exactly smiley). "David," I said, "I would love to step out of my life for 10 weeks."
|Calamity isn't gunshy|
Gunshy. Listen to this song and you'll know what I mean:
I've stepped out of my life for 10 weeks and into...still my life. As my father likes to say, "You always take yourself with you." Usually I'm pretty good with the confidence and risk taking, but sometimes I feel less like a sexy beast and more like a hot mess. Leaps of faith can be hard to make and wisdom is hard to come by.
How do you know what - and who - to let in? As artists I know there's an eagerness to be open, to live dangerously and fully and impulsively and I am ALL ABOUT THAT - for about 3 weeks. Then I start feeling feelings and I'm afraid to pull the trigger. How does one do all that, and still have a home inside oneself to rest in - a home that goes with you wherever you lay your head?
I remember in my second year of graduate school I had the "Say Yes to Everything and Everyone" phase, where I let so many people and things into my heart I could no longer hear my own voice in my head. After about 6 months I was dizzy and heartsick, but not very sorry. It took me about a year to be sorry. Now, sometimes I miss the extreme peak experiences I had back then. Life out of grad school is a little more about surviving, which sometimes isn't as fun...but I'm a little hesitant to toss myself to the winds. There's an element of maturity that wants to control and monitor a person, a performance, a self. My pendulum doesn't seem to know how to fall to center: I'm always a freakish uber-marionette or a wanton will o' the wisp. Was my mother right? Are all things really moderation?
Honestly, I kind of hope not. Ultimately, what do I got to lose by taking a chance? It's just one small human heart. As Beatrice says in Much Ado About Nothing, "Poor fool (heart), it keeps to the windy side of care."
|with the skeletons|
|It's just one small human heart|
What if...what if this time...
Today, I'm a bit embarrassed to report, I'm hiding in the closet. You can come in too though. We can share my flashlight and listen to this beautiful song again, and try to muster the courage to open the door.
For the record, since this was written several weeks ago and published last week, I DID manage to get up, open the door, and toss myself into some adventures. More on that later... :)