I had the pleasure of teaching a documentary theatre workshop at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in February, which I enjoyed immensely. My theatre company partner and I got to guest lecture at Emerson College about our documentary play Big Work, which was a real treat. We toured our play, Big Work, to Portsmouth, NH and it was absolutely magical to get to reunite with our cast and reflect on how the play has changed for us and changed the way we relate to work six months after our most recent performance, and a year since the original debut. To top it off, we went to a recording studio in Boston with our cast to record a radio play version of Big Work, which will be available to purchase later this spring. It was so exciting to document the play in a more permanent way and think of getting to share it with anyone who wants to listen!
I also acted in a staged reading of the Vagina Monologues for the first time, and met an incredible group of women with whom I had a special theatrical experience with. And can I say how amazing it was to go from fearing saying the word "pussy" in front of people to relishing performing the Angry Vagina monologue in front of a packed house?
After these experiences, I was ready to downshift and break for a bit. In addition, I was taken by surprise (as we always seem to be) by the death of someone in my life whom I loved very much, and have taken even more of a step back from writing for the moment to be able to be with family and friends that have helped me to mourn and celebrate his life simultaneously. I've also taken some time to be alone lately, and this quiet time has given me the chance to really feel and reflect on my life and what it is that I do and why I do it.
One of the realizations I have had recently is about my style as a blogger. Many bloggers are able to keep churning out new material week after week, sticking to a regular schedule, and establishing themselves as reliable sources for consistent, timely posts. I love writing, especially about a life in the theatre, but I don't know if I'm one of those bloggers. Here are the facts.
I'm inconsistent about when and what I am posting.
I can go a LONG time without posting. I can also post several blogs in a short period of time.
I often post about creativity, but have started to talk a bit about my health and the food I choose to eat, too. Am I breaking the rules? Do these topics go together in one blog?
I have no idea how many people even read this blog. The age old question, "Is there any point to this?"
I have no way of knowing how many folks discover my blog only to get turned off when they see the wild variance in how often I post and the topics I write about.
This is not much of a plug for my blog, isn't it? It's funny how "wrong" it feels to type these things in this space. After all, this is a blog about creativity, and I'm admitting that I am not always motivated to be creative or sometimes want to write about things other than creativity, like student debt or eating gluten-free. Gasp! What will happen now? Will my blog self-destruct? Will I be kicked off the internet? Will the Gods strike me down with thunder, lightning, and shame showers?
[Take a moment.]
No Lear-like storm. I have written these things and my blog still exists. So do I. So, what's the big deal with confessing that I'm consistently inconsistent? That my creativity has a hard time staying inside the box, sticking to the rules? Why have I been terrified to admit these things?
If I am honest, my sporadic or varied writing is not a matter of feeling blocked as an artist, feeling unworthy, or unoriginal, or afraid. It's not about some deep seated psychological fear I have--at least, I don't think so.
It's much simpler: sometimes I get tired and I need to take a break. Sometimes I want to write about something other than theatre. Or sometimes I get interested in something else altogether, like reading a really good novel or binging on the Great British Baking Show while munching on some homemade cake. That's it.
I'm an artist, but I'm also a human being with other likes, interests, curiosities, and passions. I think there's often a subtle but harmful message that gets passed around like a virus in the artistic community: that if you spend any time doing anything other than creating, making, musing, or imagining, that you have failed. You aren't as dedicated as the others who can manage eating, breathing, sleeping, and living ART. How dare you turn your focus to anything else?
There's so much pressure to strive, to build you resume, to gain followers, likes, shares, web traffic, and lately I'm feeling like I don't want to keep up with this impossible race. I love writing and sharing here in this little corner of the internet, but my desire to write comes in waves. Sometimes I want to write, write, write, and other times? I want to rest. I've fought it for so long and there is something to be said about speaking a truth out loud and letting it just be, to not have to try to change it or deny it or make it go away. There's also something to be said about creating for yourself, as a means to explore your own world and experiences, and not to meet the expectations of anyone or anything outside yourself.
I tell you these things here not because I think they are a revelation or that they are particularly profound or original or even riveting as a blog post, much less organized. I type them here for the reason that I share any kind of story: in hopes that in speaking (or typing, as it were) my truth that someone else who is feeling the same way might be able to say "Me too." After all, isn't that the power of art, and of stories? To share something that might build a bridge to someone else's experience, helping us all feel a bit more connected?
I'm off to a book, a bath, and whatever else this sunny Saturday might hold for me. Do what you want to do today, no matter what box it falls into. As one of my favorite makers Rob Bell says, "It all belongs."