Friday, December 5, 2008

The Physical Process.

This afternoon, I rode the thirty miles north to Westlake for my first Yoga class in quite awhile. My friend, Kent is an excellent instructor, and the class was liberating. I have to push myself to keep up my physical being, lest I drop into depression. This was a great revelation to me given to me by Tom Jerome, the best physical therapist in the country. Tom changed my whole thinking about pain management and depression, which often go together. He very gradually got me used to the idea of long walks down the country roads of Boulder, which I consistently pursued for several months. Little by little, my depression started to lift,  and the routine felt really good. The hardest thing about being 'on the road' is that when your environment changes, the routine gets completely 'out of whack'.  I'll have to work especially hard to maintain my regime, with each new place I go there are a whole new set of parameters. Tomorrow, now that I've been here in Silver Lake about ten days, I'll chart my walking course and get to work. The Yoga class felt so good on my body, and several times, I thought I was going to break into tears. I've had that happen before with Yoga. I think our bodies carry so much emotion in our physical beings, and as we get older, the body manifests pain so much differently. I can tell you, however, it was not an unpleasant experience, in fact, I thought, well, I still have access to my emotional self--this was good to find out, I'll need each feeling, and I'll need to be able to distinguish between each one. Lately, I haven't been carrying the pain so much in my hip, (thanks to Tom), its more a general feeling that I'm carrying some pain throughout my body, arms, legs, and especially in my neck and shoulders. I'll need some physical endurance when I go into rehearsals. 

We have made a decision that Kurt will only direct the one play, 'Bohemian Cowboy', and so I've been on a director search for the other one. I know doing two plays seems like a lot to bite off, but with the second play comes the people energy that the whole project needs. I need the 'company' that a play like 'Blue Baby' can bring into the theatre. The woman, Marie, that I met last week as become invaluable, as she took my script and immediately send it out to some directors here in L.A.. She is also looking for space for me as well. I'm a little surprised at how willing she is to do these things for me, but I sense that she knows what its like to come to Los Angeles with the notion of doing a play. For several hours yesterday, I thought that I might cancel the 'Blue Baby' play, but Kent seems to want to bring energy to it, and I have it into the hands of another actor for his audition. For now, I'll keep both plays alive, and see where we are around Christmas time. Then I'll make the call.  When I was in my thirties and running my own company, I tried to put up every project, even if it meant pushing the 'forces of nature'. Over the years, I've learned to have a little more wisdom when it comes to deciding whether something is possible or not. There is always a point in time when the decision 'clicks', and then the show moves forward no matter the obstacles. But to get to the 'clicking' place, takes some time. For now, it stays. 

I'm having some trouble sleeping, which I know the exercise will also help, but some of it is just all of the adjustments--insomnia becomes an increasingly dangerous condition. I'm using all of my old tricks. My favorite trick is reciting Robert Frost poems in my head, and of course reading. The problem with reading becomes the excitement of the book. I can't read the Kerouac book at night anymore, as it keeps me racing. I have a book, 'Shakespeare's World' by Bill Bryson which is a more factual book, and less emotional. I've been trying to read that at night. I've also started memorizing the lines of the play, which is somehow very comforting. Its a mixed bag, this getting to sleep, I'll let you know how that goes. 

I wanted to comment on 'the comments' I've been receiving on the journaling of this event. Just short of miraculous, these comments. The support I feel from readers is overwhelming, and I so appreciate the things you are saying to me, the experiences you are sharing with me. They are touching and so informative. I want you to know that I am listening to you all, and I will gradually be able to reciprocate the action. I have my hands so full of re-writing and doing all the pre-production for the play, (lots of e-mailing and sending documents),  I find myself having to conserve energy. So, please be patient with me, and thanks again. 

I went out yesterday and bought a printer, as the one Cheryl donated to me fell to me not removing the cartridge when I travelled, the ink destroyed it, (sorry Cheryl). One of the biggest issues with L.A. is just getting out in traffic and getting things done. Driving here takes up lots of energy and time. I am, however, getting used to it as the days move ahead, and thank god the price of gasoline has gone down. My printer is set up and working for manuscripts, and that feels good. Another part of this process includes sending Kurt (in New York) the changes I'm making on the script. Last night, I read (out loud) the entire manuscript so I could hear the changes and the rhythm. I am excited about this play! I'm learning to be much more patient as a writer, and rely and trust in the drama of the story. It feels good to be learning these things as I find more of the infrastructure of the play. Its going to work! Now, all I have to do is get my body, spirit and mind working to deliver the goods. I hope you are planning on coming...

Lastly, I want to tell you about Michael. Michael was and is a student of mine in the early days of Metro Arts. Michael was a truly wonderful spirit, but we both knew there was trouble ahead if he didn't get control of his demons. Recently, Michael has been sentenced to two years 'hard time' in the Arizona Prison system, and I know that even with all the bravado he can call upon, it has to be a frightening place he finds himself in. I have his address, but it has changed, I'll post his next address as it comes to me if you feel like writing this 24 year old man a letter. Michael played the great role of 'Dracula' in 'The Essential Dracula' that my brother Dan and I wrote several years ago. He was probably too dedicated to his role, but he played it masterfully. Michael did several plays for me at Metro Arts and after, and was always a great joy to be around. To compound the sorrow, his baby daughter, Olivia, was born several months ago. I told Michael then as I have told him recently, he possesses a rare talent, if he can find a way to keep his demons from devouring him. The prison sentence begins, a new and difficult learning curve. Pray for Michael. 


Gerry said...

When I can't sleep I always check everything out on the Internet to see if there is not something there that is calling to me, and sure enough you were writing and posting this long informative entry. I am very sorry to hear about Michael. He is the one whose father put up money for movie, isn't he? I am glad you are considering every aspect. I am glad that you are willing to consider not doing blue Baby if the difficulties and stress factors seem too great. I have had the idea that you were thinking you might not get back to L.A. so had the desire to do Blue Baby, too, but I am concerned that with all that has gone in the recent past with your health more than one play might tax you too much. You might have to have faith that there will be a date with destiny for Blue Baby and you have had two great productions of it, to which your audiences responded very well. Sometimes that might be all you can get without jeopardizing too much. I just want to say this as you factor everything in for your decision. The new play sounds like it is coming, and a director might turn up for Blue Baby who will help you carry the load, with Kurt's energy to do the lead. Anyway, enjoyed reading more of your progress in this unusual journey. M.

Mojo Jocelyn said...

I would definitely love to have Michael's address. He was a dear friend to me as you know, unfortunately we lost contact with eachother over the years. I have many interesting adventure stories involving Mike from when we were both Metro Arts delinquents.

I had heard/read something about the prison situation on myspace a couple days ago, but wasn't sure if it was true or one of Michael's sarcastic jokes. I am deeply saddened that the paths of life unfortunately lead him to the place he's at currently.

Pamela said...

I think your decision to keep the second play on the back burner is a good idea. It might be too stressful. I feel bad for your friend Michael. So young.
I'm glad you are taking Yoga. I've never done that. I walk on my treadmill for exercise. It helps keep depression away, that's for sure. You seem to be a very strong man, dealing with such pain and pushing through it. I admire you for that.
Take care of yourself.

Larena said...

Hi Raymond testing

Larena said...

I am so much enjoying reading about your writer's journey and new environment.It all takes a lot of courage and energy to do what you are doing. It is good that you have such a great support system and through out your life you have cultivated love and joy with your music and just your personality. Of course you will always be one of my favorite 'kids'. Blessings to you and your friend Micheal.