I’ve been struggling this week to figure out what to talk about. Not a lot has changed since last week and so what to do? How do I keep this fresh.
And then it occurred to me: this is an achievement problem.
I was thinking about creators I know and respect and they always seem to have something to talk about- some project to tout. And it isn’t as though I have nothing: Check my film’s new imdb listing, for instance. It’s called WoodMan in case you’re having trouble googling. I mean I could hot link it here but whatever. You know how to go to imdb.com and search for my name, right?
Also, I finally got some new (long overdue) headshots taken. My photographer friend WendyD snapped a bunch of pics of me this past week and I can’t wait to see them and show them off! My on camera agent will be pleased. Perhaps I’ll get cast in things again with a more accurate photographic representation of myself to- you get the picture (GET THE PICTURE? GET IT!? (terrible)).
But despite that, there’s always that lingering sense of ‘I got nothin.’
Perhaps all creators feel that. Perhaps even the most prolific generators think they’re kind of between projects, spinning their wheels. Perhaps that feeling, more than most others, is what motivates a creative person to generate something. The problem occurs when one finds oneself thinking, what can I promote today? One has this weekly blog, and one feels an obligation to discuss the exciting things one is doing with oneself but the most consuming activity in one’s life is the painting of one’s room and the (likely futile) attempt to score Alcatraz tickets last minute for April 13. Super. One feels like one is uncreative, unproductive, dull. And everyone else is a nuclear space fire ablaze with ingenuity and charisma.
But I don’t have nothing.
WoodMan is set to meet on Sunday evening to discuss our festival year, so hopefully I’ll have more news about that in the weeks to come, and I’ve been generating a lot of new ideas for scripts, so I’m hoping, too, that several new stories will emerge from me over the next half year. It’s been a week of solid auditions, which I know will inevitably lead to exciting work, if not this week then next, or the next or the next.
So I suppose what I was feeling today was the space between all this stuff. The space can feel like a void. You can see everyone else’s book, or film, or script, or painting and think, “what the hell? All I have going for me is some blog and a proclivity for Bubble Witch 3,” successfully comparing, in other words, everyone else’s public achievements with my own private anxiety. It’s clear, again and all of a sudden, how unfair that is to myself.
So with the burden of that false comparison lifted, and eyes wide to the possibilities and wonders before me, I shall set out this week to begin. To pursue the wisps of creative filament that wink on and off in the periphery.
Regular readers may have noticed a gap in my posts of one week. So briefly, before we proceed, I owe an explanation.
My computer is quite old and it misbehaves. Its most recent malady is that it, upon waking from sleep, had decided that various keys on its keyboard should no longer work. I had this idea that I would type a kraftily konthtrukteg blog thit uboigeg the eppekteg keyz (though I see now just from this sentence that that would have been murder to read, so perhaps it’s for the best that it didn’t work out), but the affected keys included more than one key required for my password and thus the whole notion of blogging last week was scuppered.
Happily, as a lovely gift for Christmas, I received a USB keyboard and I’m therefore able to continue upon my journey, and if you’re still here reading this then I’m delighted to have you along.
It’s time for that year end stuff. This was a year of great turmoil for me; of many endings and new beginnings. Some endings were personal, such as the death of a beloved relative and the collapse of a long-standing relationship, and some were professional, such as the recording of the final episode of Littlest Pet Shop, which has served as my largest and most consistent income stream for the last three years. In either case I haven’t discussed them much – the personal for I believe there exists a line over which I ought not to cross with regard to my personal life, and the professional because most of what I do is governed by contracts that may or may not exist and if they did exist they might or might not prevent me from legally discussing things until they’re publicly known. It makes blogging reasonably difficult.
The great lesson I take form all of this is about moving forward.
The stresses and tragedies one experiences that really knock you to the curb are in actuality quite few and far between. Lounging in the pain and difficulty of those things, grief and loss and the stresses connected to them, is like staring too long at an old photograph. One will feel the pain and the stress and the loss regardless – and it’s important to honour that – but why sit inside those feelings and remind yourself unnecessarily of them all the time. It’s a trap we all fall into. It feels good to feel hard done by. But to do this is turning your back squarely to the future that is barrelling towards you, and it’s wasting the present in an effort to stop that photograph from fading, which, if you’ll excuse my pre-digital metaphor, the photograph shall inevitably do anyway.
The better option is to move forward. Place your back toward the loss and heartache and whatever difficulty. Allow it to inform and instruct you as is useful, but not more than that. And step towards the unknowable mess of whatever comes next openly, joyfully, bravely and eagerly.
2016 holds much promise for me (and for you too, I’d hazard, if you choose to seek a positive vision from within the mists of the unknowable, as opposed to a negative one). I have love anew, and I have several professional prospects at every stage of possibility awaiting me in January, from promising auditions that may or may not mean a thing, to possible casting that may or may not come to fruition, to jobs I already have but don’t know how frequently I’ll be used. For the moment I choose to feel like I have them all in the bag (Joy!), and move forward from the disappointments if and when they ever occur. After all: I could be right!
There will be travel and laughter and, I can only hope, a steady fading of all that has made 2015 an exhilarating though somewhat uncontrolled ride down the rapids. I look forward to a more peaceful journey in the months to come. I hope that by choosing joy in all the moments between tragedies, and facing forwards in their wake, we can all find harmonious paths through the rocky stream of time yet to pass.
Happy New Year!