Tuesday, May 13, 2014


"Maybe your body is trying to tell you to slow down."

Oh, Willy. You're sweet.

Willy, everybody, is my friendly neighborhood healthcare provider who I suspect is several years younger than me. Yes, he insists I call him by his first name, and no, his name is not actually Willy. (Yay, insurance!)

Poor Willy and I have seen a lot of each other lately. It's getting stupid. We may have actually started to form some inside jokes. Today, when he told me to slow down, I retorted with my usual zippy vim:

"You don't come to New York to slow down, sir."

This made us both groan. And then cry. Or maybe that was just me.

The thing is, Willy has a point. (See what I did there?) My body is - often - usually - telling me to slow down. I went through three years of MFA training so that I could listen to my body, dammit. I hear you, Body. I do. It's magical to communicate with you and all but you just don't seem to understand that I am trying to ignore you on purpose.

I don't know about the rest of you artsy lot, but I've realized over the years that I have a rather addictive personality. I over-do things. It's never just one donut hole with me, oh no. Just ask anyone who has supped with me or seen my closet; boundless enthusiasm and terrible planning. (This is why none of my clothes match any of my other clothes.)

Fortunately, I've been pretty lucky. Mostly the things I binge on are pretty innocent so far: work, wine, the occasional guilty-pleasure Netflix marathons, secret late-night Freddie Mercury Google searches...

But I wonder, is this bingey thing that I do realllllly innocent? So I'm not doing drugs, that's good, but is it ok that I have a file on my computer for inspirational quotes I've downloaded in moments of lonely, wine-sodden weakness? (Goals ARE dreams with deadlines. Wow. How did I never see it before?) Can I really justify writing a blog entry after midnight on a Tuesday? Is it smart to expect my body to do well rehearsing two full-length non-union plays at the same time while working all my dayjobs, after five months of hiatus?

Or are my self-soothing/bingeing habits actually detracting from my discipline in creating better art?

I totally stole this from the internet.
Here's what I mean. Fellow actor buddies and I have talked about the famine/feast thing, how work seems to come all at once and then not at all. The pattern seems to be echoed in our personal lives. I'll have a flurry interesting work and my personal life will sort of (necessarily, I tell myself) go on pause. Then, I'll have months of no acting work and I'll burst from my social cocoon and it's all champagne and experimental jazz until the cows come home (ok more like it's all Yellowtail and Bon Jovi until I get a headache, whatever, who cares! life is NOW!). Then, repeat.

Know what I mean?

Thing is, as artists WE ARE THE ONES CREATING OUR WORK. So...

I must be the one setting this bizarre pace. That's my astoundingly deep insight into myself for the day. Maybe I've been approaching my artistic career more like a junkie looking for a fix and less like a journeyman, but storytelling isn't a substance I can hit. I have to make it from scratch. There's a really petulant impatience at the bottom of my decisions: an "I want my artistic fulfillment and I want it NOW!" sort of nonsense, like a big moody baby with grabby hands. And, since that is impossible and actually meaningless as a statement, I guess I've tried to fill in that hunger with things that are actually real. Like wine. Wine is super real. But not necessarily art.

I take that back. Wine is definitely art.

I don't know which comes fist, the instability, the addictive personality or the binging. But I am starting to wonder: wouldn't Willy and I both be happier if we never met again? Nothing personal, Willy.

Oh look, cheese and wine and more not sleeping. How nice. I'll have some.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Loco De Mayo


Steps of How Not to Sleep on (Potentially) Your Only Night Off in May
  • End the evening venting about professional and romantic feelings with your witty German actress buddy, because THAT will be uplifting for BOTH of you. It ALWAYS is. (Sorry Toni. You're great. I brought us down. My bad.)
  • It's now 8:30pm, sooo....go home. It's time.
  • Converse with roommates. Be momentarily uplifted because they rock. 
  • Realize the Mindy Project rocks. You watch and laugh together with your roommate LIKE A FAMILY OR SOMETHING until the show seems all too painfully familiar and you need distraction from the pain. 
  • Wait. You just said you're in pain from watching a sitcom? What's wrong with you. Goodness gracious.
  • Existential crisis.
  • You need distraction. You are thinking too deeply into things, so you should waste time on Facebook. 
  • Waste time on Facebook.
  • Be disgusted with yourself for wasting time on Facebook and decide to do something productive.
  • Be productive. In your brain right now, 'being productive' somehow means sending a thinly disguised needy email to your boss asking for positive feedback without overtly asking for positive feedback but really actually just asking for positive feedback. Because, let's face it, you are feeling needy.
  • Admit you're feeling needy. Try to channel your thoughts in more positive directions. End up thinking about all the lines you have yet to memorize and all the dayjob stuff you have yet to finish.
  • Briefly think about studying your lines, decide not to.
  • Reprimand yourself. 
  • That self-reprimand was harsh. Feel needy again.
  • Existential crisis 2.
  • Call your mother because you are feeling needy. She answers the phone by saying she just sat down and is taking her first bite of pizza. 
  • Feel guilty. Say goodnight. 
  • Feel needy. Feel guilty for feeling needy.
  • Roll your eyes at yourself.
  • Repeat.
  • Start to really wish you were eating pizza with your mother and get all nostalgic, then suddenly get really, really hungry. 
  • Once the hunger beats the nostalgia, remember that you had a cookie for dinner instead of dinner. Feel both proud of/disheartened by your choices and decide that although you deserve to eat again if you want, you have already brushed your teeth and having to do it again sounds too hard.
  • The time is now 11:00pm, somehow. Try to account for the last 2.5 hours. Fail.
  • Take a sleeping pill.
  • Turn out the lights.
  • Check your email on your phone in case your boss wrote something nice. Aw, he did! Feel less needy.
  • Now you can't stop thinking about pizza. Try to channel your thoughts in a more positive direction.
  • Existential crisis 2.1: over-analyze everything in your life. Decide that if you are thinking so much, it means you must care, and being able to care is good, right? So, that's good. Maybe you're okay, since you care. But then, caring about something doesn't necessarily mean it's important, does it? Maybe you're caring too much about things that don't matter? So, that's bad. Also, why are you thinking about this now? Is it urgent? No. Can you fix anything? No.
  • Self-reprimand 2: WHY AREN'T YOU OFF-BOOK FOR STUFF YET!?
  • Ask yourself: what pizza places are open right now?
  • Try to sleep.
  • Try to stop thinking about pizza.
  • Pizza.
  • Pizza on a bagel.
  • The leaning tower of pizza.
  • Pizza pizza.
  • Oh my god.
  • Try to distract yourself from pizza, because it's now 11:30pm and there is no cheap pizza available, probably. Do anything/everything to forget the crushing desire for pizza. 
  • Examine your freezer. There's no pizza. 
  • Eat some cheese with nothing.
  • Identify the solitary late-night scarfing of cheese with nothing as an allegory for your life. Realize that thought makes no sense.
  • Roll your eyes at yourself. Again.
  • Go to bed. Again.
  • Think about pizza. Again.
  • Remember that it's Cinco de Mayo. Think about Mexican food. 
  • Remember that you forgot to brush your teeth again.
  • Give up. On everything, maybe. Or maybe just on your immediate desires. Just give up.
  • Feel suddenly better. Have you moved past wanting? Wow, is this non-attachment?
  • Achieve enlightenment.
  • Fall asleep. Dream of pizza.