Saturday, July 26, 2008

To be or...

I define myself as an actor but what is the definition of actor?

Actor (n)
1: one that acts: DOER 2 a: one who represents a character in a dramatic production. b: a theatrical performer. c: one that behaves as if acting a part 3: one that takes part in any affair.
(Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary)

An actor, actress, player or rarely thespian (see terminology) is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity. The ancient Greek word for an actor, ὑποκριτής (hypokrites), when rendered as a verb means "to interpret";[1] in this sense, an actor is one who interprets a dramatic character.[2]
(Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Trying to define as well as refine my acting is not only my favorite activity but it encourages me to live actively. It's a way of exploring the world with a specific perspective and purpose.

After trying (and failing) to get into graduate school right out of undergrad, I've had to think a lot about what it means to me to be an actor. Are you an actor even during the times when there is no audience or director? Are you an actor even when you aren't doing the act of acting? It kind of trips me up a bit but I have decided, yes!

I like how the first definition uses the word "doer". In terms of being an actor I think the actual "doing" is extremely important. Taking what you've learned or created and doing it! (As opposed to just thinking and talking about it). But this is especially tricky in terms of acting because unlike some visual art forms, performance art requires, at the very least, an audience.

Part 3 of the first definition kind of makes me smile to myself. If an actor is "one that takes part in any affair", then we are all actors right? It kind of brings you back to the whole, "world is a stage" idea... It's sort of trite sounding but also very true. We put on little plays and scenes every day. Anything from walking down the street to the act of seduction can be a kind of performance.

My favorite concept here, however, is found in the Wikipedia definition. And although the source is not exactly credible, I like the idea of an interpreter. Instead of just someone who "interprets a dramatic character" what if an actor was just an interpreter of the world? Someone who's job it is to take in all that is abstract and mysterious in this life and create something digestible out of it? That would be a cool job.

In any case, I am an actor and I will always be searching for a deeper understanding of what that means.

After I started working on this post a few days ago I flipped open a book on my nightstand and it happened to be on this very relevant page! I came across this excerpt from a Spiritual book called "The Golden Present". This book is a collection of talks given by Swami Satchidananda, a Yoga master and spiritual teacher. If you aren't bored by now, check it out...


Question: Is it possible to develop spiritually while working in a highly competitive and hectic field such as show business?

Sri Gurudev: We call it show business. Why? Do you think that show business is to show somebody else something? No. Show business is to show you something: yourself. It will teach you about the worth and the worthlessness of things in life. Yes. Show business means it's all just made up. It's all superficial. And when you learn that lesson, then you can use that same philosophy in your life. The whole of life is show business. What am I doing here? I'm acting my part. We're having a show. There is no superior and inferior cast in this. We are all needed to make the show. You have taken a part, so play it well. We are all one in spirit, but I am playing the part of the teacher today. You are playing the part of being a little ignorant. Behave that way. Don't get up and say, "I know more than you;" the show will collapse. When the curtain falls, we are all one and the same.

The whole world is superficial; it's constantly, constantly changing. Our relationships change, our situations change, our positions change, our names change. I was a baby, then I became a young boy, then an adult, then an old man. Changes, changes, changes. So what is the reality? The spiritual truth. We are all essentially one. That never changes. Where can you learn this truth faster than in show business?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sometimes You Just Know

At this point in my life most things are up for questioning.

I don't have anything solid to preach or teach but rather a collection of swirling, changing thoughts, questions and ideas.

Part of what makes everyday so amazing is the fact that the imagination is boundless and there is always something new to learn or create! However, it becomes overwhelming when your mind gets too open. All of the swirling and questioning and changing can make a girl dizzy! And every once in awhile it feels good to know something and feel sure of it.

Something clicks, something is clear, something shakes you to your core, something wakes up your entire body and every single cell is screaming "yes!"

These are the moments I live for, these are the moments I would like to create and they can occur in life and in art. Some people would call it a "moment of truth", others might just say that it's "being present" but whatever it is I want more.

It's great to be able to question and ponder and I'll never stop, but it feels so amazing to connect.

Sometimes you just know.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

If Strangers Were My Family

I love people and all of their neurosis!

Maybe it's because I definitely identify as "crazy pants" or maybe it's because I'm an actor and therefor obsessed with behavior in general. But for some reason I'm just tickled by peoples' strange habits, delighted by the awkward and absurd, and fascinated with the freaky! And living in a city like San Francisco there's definitely a lot of crazy to drink in.

One of the milder versions of crazy can be observed right from my work (at the front desk of a hair salon!) Not only do I get a chance to interact with the eleven totally different stylists every day but I've come to know all of their clients on a personal level and sometimes I get the feeling that I'm this kind of mom and they are all my crazy kids...

My eldest (and possibly favorite) daughter would be my dear:
"Blow Out and Set"
She comes in once a week with her long flowing gray hair and tells me about her most recent adventures. Her last trip to India, an exciting estate sale she attended the other day, she always has something going on. She's tall and broad with eclectic style. One time she even wore a silver belt as a necklace and it suited her beautifully!

But it's the way she tears up when she's laughing at her own problems that that really just breaks my heart in the best way possible. She tells me about the 110-year-old house that she lives in, stuffed to the brim with all of the things she's collected over the years; artwork, clothes, trinkets and knick knacks. Her daughters and therapist are making her excavate the basement and get rid of things because they say her collections are "linked to some childhood trauma". She scoffs it off with those brimming eyes and I see into her. I feel her. I love her.

My crazy middle child would be:
"Early Morning Color with Brow Tint"
She comes in every 21 days to be precise. She has this conspiracy theory thing going on where she's always saying, "see you next time, unless of course I get picked up". What is this "picked up"? Who would be doing the picking up and why? She rambles about things you see in tabloid magazines as if it's a part of her life and she tells me she's a very important part of a very important case, some kind of witness or something. It's all very secretive except for the fact that she talks about it all the time! Aside from the crazy, she always has good restaurant recommendations and she always shows up early. Maybe one day all will be revealed...

My youngest little neurotic would be:
"Late Night Blow Dry Switcheroo"
She books these 7pm appointments every week to blow out her mass of unruly hair and every week, without fail, no matter what, she changes the appointment to another day. Why would she even bother to book it in the first place? I don't exactly know, but it's something she's compelled to do. She makes it, breaks it and then comes to the new appointment. It must be some kind of OCD I swear! But it gives me something to count on, something constant. And of course she is my youngest, so maybe she just needs the attention.

These are people in my in my life. Little parts of my world. I'm a peice of their world too, and maybe I'm a peice of yours.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Let's Talk About Text, Baby!

Thanks to a popular little YouTube song, many of us have heard the phrase, "you don't text message breakup!" But what about everything else you should or shouldn't do via texting...
Text messaging has become a huge part of my daily routine, and it seems to be the same with everyone I know. I used to text once in awhile just to convey the simplest of messages, but it has morphed into something so much bigger! And I'm not sure I like it.

When it comes to socializing and dating it's all about communication and communication can happen on many different levels; however, due to our constantly (and rapidly) evolving technology our means of communication keep expanding.

What we're workin' with:
-There's straight up talking; something that can be unpredictable and hard to control, but also spontaneous and natural. Talking seems to be pretty honest because in person and there's also body language to take into account. When talking over the phone there's rhythm, tone and inflection to listen for. All of these factors tell us more than the words alone.

-With letter writing we have a chance to collect our thoughts and be a little more selective with what we want to convey. And as a letter recipient you can look at the handwriting for more clues into the meaning. E-mail can seem slightly less personal but is used ALL the time for little updates, work, invites, and keeping up with family and friends.

-Now we're getting down to the other forms of social networking that take place online; we have facebook and myspace, online chatting, blogging and a million other ways to express ourselves to the world and to our friends. With these methods there's a lot of control over how you choose to present yourself. Creativity can be involved but the appeal seems to be in the speed of it and in the fact that many of us spend hours and hours at a computer every day. Since we aren't always out and about meeting new people or hanging with our friends in person we can talk to each other, look at each other, learn about each other and and build relationships that we may not otherwise have time to build...hmm, this is where I start to feel a little weird. But here I am blogging, so on I go...

-What I'm talkin' about: The Text Message.
It's fast and frequent because we have our cellphones with us at all times. It can be silent and unobtrusive so you can do it in almost any environment. It's ambiguous and due to the limited word count it forces us to be concise.

So, about a year ago I started (sort of dating) this guy who was just text-happy! It started off as playful banter, flirting and plan-making, but as time passed I realized it wasn't just something we did when we were busy. Other than sex, it became the basis for our entire relationship. Now, trust me, there are many other factors to this particular story and I certainly wouldn't call it a healthy relationship in any way, but it's a relationship nonetheless, and as much as I hate admitting it, our dialogue is mainly through texting!

At first I was just going along with it because that's all he seemed to know, and I didn't even really become aware of what a big deal it was until I found myself wanting to lie to my therapist. When recalling some recent drama between us I was doing the old, "he said this, and I said this", and she stopped to ask me (in her lilting therapy voice), "was that in person, or over the phone?". Ha! "Um...", I just felt so stupid telling her it was through texting! This is when I realized it might be getting extreme.

One of my close friends has also been involved in some texting relationships, but she uses it as part of "the game". It reminds us of chess, you're always planning your next move. Choose your words carefully and fill it with as much meaning as possible, wait a long time to respond if you want to build up tension, but don't wait too long or the textee might get mad! Even text interpreting can drive a person crazy because sometimes there's no way to know the tone. It's too easy to waste hours digging for meaning in some stupid message. You know you've done it.

Yesterday I received a long e-mail from a lifelong friend asking for relationship advice. She went into detail about everything that's been going on with her and her man and in the final paragraph, in the middle of "what do you think? Should I fucking rip out of this one?", she changed gears and said, "He just texted me- JUST NOW so I have to tell you. First though, let me explain that fucking dealing with a relationship in text is so fucking retarted and juvenile. The text says: 'Do u think we are getting 2 normal?' Is that the problem?"

Girl, I have SO been there! So what is this!? It's not just me, it's happening everywhere and how do we deal with this issue? Is it a problem? Or do we need to adapt to this new text-filled reality? I think we can all agree that "you don't text message breakup", but do you text message process? Text message converse? Carry on text message relationships?

Hi, my name is ______ and I'm addicted to texting.