Saturday, July 24, 2010

'Actor Sean Thomas Arrives'

Wow! Did I get some reaction to my last entry. I've gone over it, trying to figure out what got such a reaction. Please don't read to much into my entries in the way of sub-text, I write honest assessments of what I'm going through, sometimes in a day, and sometimes collective. Someone ask me yesterday why I do this blog. Why would I want to share personal feelings with a public? Above anything, I suppose, it sharpens my writing skills and gives me an out let to examine what's really going on inside of me. Further, it’s a testimony of my journey as an artist, and what that's like. I don't presume that what I have to say will always be interesting, sometimes my days are not that interesting, just like anyone, but when there are days like that, there is still a thought process going on. When action subsides, there are still thoughts to be had, and I guess that is part of my character, to always be thinking and observing. Its also a way for me to connect with people who are out of my jurisdiction. For example, My mother lives 400 miles away, but because she is a writer also and reads my blog, it has created a means to have a powerful relationship with her that is very different from what we have had in the past. For both of us, I think, it gives us a way of expressing ideas and exchanges that are valuable tools for living. I think being the sibling that is most like her, because of our correspondence, I get great insight into who I really am. There was a time, like most of us, I wanted to create a separation from this kind of access, part of the individualization process. Now, I want to know the things she thought and things she did that I would not accept. In doing so, I now understand WHY she did things she did that I resented. For me, the 'mother complex' is a truth that I have accepted rather than denying that it exists. I therefore have access to a vast knowledge that make sense to me historically as well as metaphorically.

Blogging also enables me to keep up with the years I spent teaching. I don't presume to write a teaching blog, but that does come out. I'm not so sure my former students follow what I say, but I do know that even if they don't now, there may be a time when what I have to say will continue to make sense to them, especially those who have chosen the very tough path of being an artist. The other day, I had a call from a student who is going to a very wonderful art school in NYC, and she wanted to tell me about her summer job on a farm. I was so bolstered by her excitement, and so pleased that I became a small part of her world in a continued way. I had another call from a student who just finished his Masters Degree in Acting. He has a tough road ahead, but it was great to talk to him about his journey. I'm very practical when it comes to the vast array of information and choices that we all make on a daily basis, but over a process of time, I've notice the increase in readership, and know that someone out there is listening, and at the end of the afternoon, isn't that what we all want? Just someone to listen to what we have to express? I do think it’s a frightening process for some to let out what is going on inside of them, but to me, its more frightening to not let something out.

Finally, my friend Sean from LA is here in Boulder— somewhere. (I haven't found him yet) Here is someone who was willing to leave LA and come to Boulder to do a play up on a mesa. I'm excited that he is here, because he 'gets' what I am doing, and is a willing participant in the journey that is before us. As I said yesterday, I don't exactly know how it will be funded, but I do know that I have been here many times before, and further, I know that the struggle is always worth it. Life itself is a struggle, how fortunate that I can struggle and have some profound knowledge and a different viewpoint on life during this process and at the end of it. I am fortunate in this regard, but I am also willing to let this manifest. I'm getting better and better at not caring so much about what people think of me, when so many times in my life I became so hurt by the prospect of being unaccepted. Some of it is from age and experience, and some of it is becoming more and more firm in regard to my convictions. I had a great teacher (one of the very few) who said to me once, "Raymond, no one really cares whether you do a play or not… Oh, they might come to your play if you are willing to pour gasoline over yourself and light a match, but they don't really care whether you are suffering to do a play for them." I sometimes have to be careful with my words that sound like I'm somehow being martyred for my work, however, in my most selfish moments, it sometimes feels this way. The point is, no one makes you become an artist, no one is really asking you to at all, it may be the only choice you have. I know in my life, the choice was not really one I had any control over, I was conditioned this way, as well as finding someway to process who I was a creation, and to be frank, I really think it kept me alive. So, in some way, the choice for me was a necessary one.

So, although it may sound disturbing to say that I have always had a can of gasoline and a match, I've also been able to find a way to facilitate a controlled burn, so that there are people who can help me process and put out the fire at the end of it. Its an apt metaphor, I think, to express what is necessary.

Saturday July 24, 2010

My friend Sean arrived yesterday morning, and we had a wonderful day with non-stop conversation. It was such a relief to have an experienced actor and thinker to come and visit with me on my porch. Things I've wanted to express in a conversation came pouring out of me, I was surprised at the veracity of the exchange. Finally, at 11 o'clock last night, we were to tired to talk anymore. I was telling him about Kurt, who I often times have to just say, "Kurt, I have to stop, I can't take anymore ideas until I have eight hours worth of sleep…" I've never seen anyone who can talk with such density for so long except maybe my mother. Anyway, it was a great day, and a couple of bucks trickled in.

I got up early and made the biggest pot of chicken soup you've ever seen, from leftover festival food, chicken soup IS good for the soul. I can't write much today because of a busy schedule, but wanted to let you know that survival is imminent.

I'll soon begin reports on the new play rehearsal process…

Hello, Diana…


Gerry said...

I was able to get my review done today of 'the Women' complete with some of Connie's great graphics, despite not getting much sleep last night. We have been discussing it to some lengths on the family site as everyone who has read it has gotten excited about it. Cheryl also said she refunded my check of $30 to you, and I wrote that I would commit $100 dollars to your play production in August. I do believe that creativity does keep us alive and so it is valuable medicine for the human spirit. Found this entry to be very interesting. I am sure now Sean Thomas will get out of the trip to Utah something worth coming for. Great theatrical events must keep coming in order to galvanize all the talent we possess into a form of action. That renews our zest for living and makes the world look like an exciting place to be in. Artists do that for us, which is why I believe in the artist.

DB said...

Raymond, I read through your journal entry twice. With almost every sentence you write I want to say "Yes! I know, I know!" like some sycophantic youngster. We are artists because we have to be. It is much more than a moral obligation. There is a siren song and we are tied to the mast. In a way every performance is an act of self inflamation, or self evangelization. I used to say at performance time "If I die doing this, it's all right with me."

I applaud your vigor and committment, even though I know you have no choice. The lack of money is a sneering, scornfully laughing phantom. There are spirits on the montains, at the shore and in city streets that grapple with that phantom every day.

I recently went to visit the Actors Home in Englewood, NJ with the thought of possibly moving there. It would be very easy at 71to give up everything and relax into the soft bed of assisted living and nursing care. I decided not to do it, much to the dismay of a couple of friends. My life is too active to quit. I write every day, both my journal and my stories. I paint almost every day. And if I regain enough of my health I would go back on the stage if I could.

Your words and the encounters you describe with the work that you do are an inspiration. Thank you Raymond.