Imitating Life

Oh the undefinable and amorphous artifact that is art.

I want to be a snob. When I was young, playing “House” with the neighborhood kids, I always had my own separate mansion (the jungle gym) and made petits fours out of sand. While my so-called peers did their domestic bourgeois duties, I was engaging in lavish declarations of my superiority. I kind of always dreamed big. Or perhaps it’s just delusions of grandeur. Whatever the case, since I was very young I aspired to escape from the tribulations of poverty and the cliché burdens of a man with talent. I could never imagine the simple things in life through my bouts of Julius Caesar complex. I miss the days of playing pretend.

So here I am again, on hiatus it seems. I had my first showing of “Training” (two months?) ago. I was happy enough with it and hated it fiercely afterward per usual. Right now I don’t know how I feel about it. It is usually difficult for me to change my style drastically while staying myself. I’ve had so many conversations with artists about doing what you want versus what the audience wants. The only difference between the two is money.

Some botched attempts at balancing the two have proved to be prosperous, both monetarily and artistically. If a new band puts out a new album different from the style of their first two albums, and it sucks, people will still buy them anyway if it is marketed correctly. We’re all putting ourselves up on blank white walls and putting ourselves down on stark white paper and spread out on multi-pixel white background websites. Our music reverberates from the shoe scuffed white linoleum floors of the churches and bars and concert halls. We are all teachers as much as students, forever. We’re all trying to make money even if we say we don’t care about it but need it to keep the next thing going – sometimes we get lucky enough to have to turn something down whether morally just or not.

I never know when I am at my best. I will sometimes veil the inspiration behind my work by throwing in a few tricks. Luckily, most of my works have several pieces in it, so you can throw in something fun and charming. It never slips my grasp that people are paying money to see my shit and it needs to be entertaining. If it’s weird and good, that’s good, but weird for the sake of weird is never good. And it happens a lot. I like weird.

It’s not my job to teach the audience anything but learning is fun. I want to be innovative but I’ve learned so much from the past. I want everyone to see it but I think there are only certain people who will enjoy it. I want to go big but I want to stay home. Am I writing like a drunk person?

Anyway, I am waiting for a million things to happen or get finished or started before I go back to Slutty Berlin. I am afflicted with little time to tie up the loose ends. So many things are untied. I just need to bend over. Forwards, backwards, hither, tither, to and fro and all over again. One day I shall have minions, I mean, a staff.

It is impossible to forget that my stint proved way too many things. Again I am drowning in the American standard of work work work and no play. I really try to play between naps and starting and/or ending another shift.I was looking for the possibility of possibility. What I really want to do is write, but the performance stuff is more in my grasp right now and I fucking enjoy it.

Writing takes a lot of time to do. Even the most disciplined writers have bouts of sheer inability to write whether it’s coerced by environmental or internal factors. The mind is a crazy thing, and quite finicky as well. Creating is something people are born to do, but some days there is not enough time to be truly yourself. I wanted to make time for my profession, not the job that was supporting it. I was getting paid for things, and didn’t need a lot, but I was granted with all these precious hours to do DeVo.

Thanks to meager requirements for the cost of living (whatever life you can afford to live) Slutty Berlin afforded me the time to do what I needed to do. I went back and final edited (again) all of my scripts. I remembered what my true calling was, despite the cutting-edge nature of most of my work. I showed it to a certain program director and he sent me a lengthly, scathing review of one of my signature plays. I never finished reading the last few paragraphs of that email.

I have all this shit. It’s weird. And good. But I am not the next Aeschylus, or Tennessee Williams or David Mamet. I am just me. I should be sending them out and joining the masses of self-struggle laden playwrights who are almost there. I want to make a baby but I want to stay pregnant. If I’m going to give it away, it has to go to a good home.

I am clogged and I haven’t started anything new in a while. I have many ideas to start that are written down (that I’ve been really good about doing, using the Evernote app on my iPhone). Now all I need is, say it with me…

Soon I hope I will kick myself in the ass and just get on it but life keeps getting in the way. Despite the laissez-faire learnings from the Yerps (yes, I like making up words), I have been better with planning not to plan. I’ve started taking days off from work and cutting down on my double-shifts at my two tray slinging gigs. I have filled my time with the usual pop-culture research that any writer loves/has to do, spending time with my friends, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, watching sports, and leaving ample time for superfluous periods of masturbation. It is nice to breathe on some days. Sometimes I will slide into tending to the untied, it is rare that I go a whole day without pushing myself a little further.

The struggle brings about some doubt. As aforementioned, I want to be a pretentious, status-seeking, power whore, like any good American. When I was in That Beautiful Bitch Berlin (everyone who has never been is sick of hearing about it) I tried to leave my money hound at home. The city is so full of poor, happy people – people happier than they never imagined that they could be. The lifestyle of being broke but never so alive was a double edged sword stuck through my heart and up my torso cavity and out my brain. The dichotomy of wanting to be big while needing to stay small is wreched. The bowels of Berlin are not plagued with a hyperactive marketing environment. You are not constantly bombarded by what you should buy, you can make that decision on your own. At first I missed my stuff, and then I forgot that I needed anything, and now that I’m gone I miss the stuff I never got to have.

Sure, I can live on fine, cheap cheese and wine and cigarettes and some meat I can’t pronounce. And bread. They’ve been doing it for hundreds upon hundreds of years. It’s so cheap! I do crave decadence though I am not quite sure I am ready for it yet. Humbled by the past that I somehow survived, I know not how to feel worthy, except through the cost of my hard work.

I am obsessed with the high road, too afraid to cut corners, and I know that it will be worth the ride. I am much less materialistic than I used to be and I’ve learned to live way below my means, not matter how not sexy it is.

A friend of mine recently suggested I read “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway. He too has been to Whore Berlin, where he fell for the city, and aches for the day he will return. The are so many of us! The novel talks about the expat experience during 1920s Paris. It was a lovely read and drove me to emotional extremes that have been seething since January 3, 2011 around 8:30pm. I admit I am depressed due to the reverse culture shock. How could I not be? This town is suffocating me, in so many ways. It was nice to be reminded of why “we” do what we do – and the worth of the price we pay.

It was not only great to be re-introduced to the simple beauty of Hemingway, but I haven’t read an entire novel in about a year (ironically enough, I barely read during my brief albeit important career stint at the library). I am already onto my next novel and nothing inspires me more than a good book. It reminds me of what I should be doing.

When I am with the loves of my life, I feel like I am in a movie and I think “I couldn’t have written it better.” Maybe I should start thinking differently. Perhaps I could use some of that imagination I bore when I was using my big wheel as limousine while the other kids were arguing over who got to play Mom.


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