Half the Man I Used to Be
Before anybody think that I say this in search of compliments and pats on the back, let me add this: I’m happy to know this.
I came home after a challenging class at The Actors Center one day and was forced to concede that I couldn’t do exercises I once was able to. But rather that get down about it, I was elated that I was back at work on the craft, ready to challenge myself anew. For years I spent my time doing exactly that which I was already capable of doing. In the process I made a few bucks and padded my credits, but in truth I was growing smaller and smaller as an artist, as a creative, and as a man. And it all became clear to me during a five minute exercise in front of my peers.
In the last few days the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves” has been rattling about my brain, despite my not being too convinced about the existence of any god. But that’s another matter. Indeed, I’ve tried to live by a similar creed in recent times, jettisoning a flawed pattern of victimization for a more active role in the creation of my life, and the results have been startling. Never would I have imagined that the discovery of weakness and failings could be a good thing.
We who choose to work in a public forum, offering our faces and bodies for entertainment, tread a thin line on a daily basis. The delicate balance can easily tip to the irascible habit of bemoaning the fools and the ignorant all around us. But there is no shelter there. Only a feeding frenzy of bitterness.
Actors beware. The craft is a muscle. It will atrophy quickly. You may be working, and you may be earning a good sum for your labors, but the muses are fickle mistresses and like to be seduced regularly. I suggest you buy some flowers and champagne the first chance you get. You may enjoy what happens next.