I’m tired. It’s 4:14 in the afternoon and I am really fucking tired. I am valiantly fighting the urge to take a nap, to sleep, to mayhap have a nice dream, to then awake refreshed and go back to doing … nothing. And that’s where the desire to sleep is really coming from methinks. The doing of nothing.
OK, so I’m not really doing nothing. Clearly, I am writing this. Of course I’m sure there are certain people out there, some of whom may be related to me, who would argue that this “writing” is, in fact, “nothing,” and yes they may say so by using those annoying “air quotes.” But let’s say for the sake of argument that the writing of this blog, the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard, the un-spooling of my confused thoughts, crafting them into words and transferring those words onto the screen is me “doing something.”
And, to be fair, before I started this post I was doing things: preparing a monologue for an audition; scheduling a hair cut; reviewing and submitting for future auditions; researching whether I should see a doctor or a chiropractor for this annoying pain in the right side of my upper back; and, of course wasting time with emails and Facebook posts that really could have been done without. But I tend to want to label these “things” that I am doing as “nothing” because, especially with the actor and writer stuff – I’m not getting paid to do them. I am required, however, to prepare monologues for auditions and seek out auditions if I do want to shed my current role as “unemployed actor.” And, arguably, if I were to finish this “script” and do something with it, I could get paid. But it’s hard to keep myself on the clock when the paychecks as of late have been anywhere from slim to non-existent. It’s my discomfort with this that makes me desire to seek comfort in my comforter. Yep, just used “comfort” that many times.
To be an actor or an artist of any kind (I imagine) requires a lot of self discipline because, when you aren’t earning a pay check, there is rarely anyone there making sure you keep yourself prepared. It’s easy for me to use the down time between jobs as do nothing time – and if my jobs were those financially lucrative jobs perhaps doing nothing would be acceptable. But that’s not the case right now, and hasn’t been for about 2 years, so my down time needs to be “work time.” I’ve discussed this with friends, contemplated why it’s so easy to become lazy about those things we need to do in order to pursue this lifestyle, this career, this dream. It has often been said that it is “fear of success.” I understand that, but I don’t believe that I have a fear of success. I do have the fear of working very hard at something that never pays off – and feeling like an idiot for doing so.
But isn’t that what it is to be an artist? To be an artist for art’s sake and not your own. Stanislavsky said “love the art in you not you in the art,” or something to that effect. If I love to prepare monologues (I do, though I hate auditioning with them) and if I love to write (but fear it being shit) and both of these things also have the potential to keep me from living on a park bench, should I not pursue them with vigor, with gusto, with other appropriate five letter words? I should. Regardless of the fear of failure, the fear of being ineffective, the fear of wasting time and energy and passion and love.
That’s the thing about fear and passion and art and love: if we don’t put in the time and effort and heart we can’t achieve anything. At least we can’t achieve anything worthwhile. And, if I truly think about it, doing something I love just for the doing of it is pretty fantastic. A gift really. An end in and of itself.
Have I just convinced myself to put on some tea and get back to work? Or have I just provided my doubters with more evidence that this “work” is really “nothing?” Perhaps I’ve just done both. You’re welcome.