Exactly one year ago on St. Patrick’s Day, I returned to Los Angeles to make a new home for myself. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around this length and passage of time; so many major losses, markers, and events have occurred in these 12 months that I still find myself perceiving the world around me as though I’m hanging upside down. It reminds me of being on the monkey bars on the school playground, swaying to and fro while feeling a mixture of freedom and mild discomfort as the blood rushes to my head.
I have been silent for a bit where this blog is concerned, partly because of my suddenly jam-packed schedule as one of the recent additions to the fantastic Echo Theatre Company. Joining a club that would have me as a member has meant the world to me, acting as a lifeline which guides me through grief and provides focus and groundedness, something which had otherwise all but eluded me.
The other reason I haven’t written is simple: I haven’t known what I wanted to say. Not that I haven’t tried; there are multiple posts in draft form, a pattern which has taught me that the writing will come when I’m ready and not a moment before. Also, alone time has been a struggle for me, a hazy, in-between space that quite possibly cannot (and should not) be chronicled – at least, not at length.
The one thing that saves an actor during hard times is the part scary/part liberating practice of remaining vulnerable – pouring the essence of those life experiences into one’s work. Now that I finally have an artistic home, I have a place to regularly channel all of the emotion and struggle from my eight years in Portland up to the present. As a result, the wreck that is my personal life has become fodder for a new level of excellence in any creative endeavors. Woo hoo – let’s hear it for trade-offs…er, I mean, balance!
I suppose there is an ebb and flow to writing, too. Sometimes I am prolific, cranking out thoughts and passages, and at other times like now, I’m like a recharging battery, plugged in and waiting for the green light. During this dormancy, I’ve been reading voraciously – everything from new plays and screenplays to poetry – as well as catching up on all the films and TV shows that slipped past me during the first months after my Mother’s death.
I’m especially fascinated by this sudden surge of interest in poetry. What meant nothing to me in the past now moves and comforts me, the passion-infused imagery providing a conduit for this block of emotion which has been pent up and difficult to express. As if to perfectly illustrate the relevance of this new-found appreciation, just yesterday I came across the below poem by Robert Graves.
A Time of Waiting
A moment comes when my sound senses
Warn me to keep the pot at a quiet simmer,
Conclude no rash decisions, enter into
No random friendships, check the runaway tongue
And fix my mind in a close caul of doubt -
Which is more difficult, maybe, than to face
Night-long assaults of lurking furies.
The pool lies almost empty; I watch it nursed
By a thin stream. Such idle intervals
Are from waning moon to the new – a moon always
Holds the cords of my heart. Then patience, hands;
Dabble your nerveless fingers in the shallows;
A time shall come when she has need of them.
Its a little shocking to me how perfectly this poem articulates my current experience. It feels like a response to the call of my open, wounded heart, the sign I have sought regarding how to proceed – if at all – with the securing of these loose ends which make up my inner emotional life. It is a great relief to me to be reminded of the wisdom of waiting, of holding still. This seems to be the first thing forgotten when I’m in the middle of a grief-filled bout of crying, or a panicked imagining that I’m somehow being left behind by those I love, or I’m focusing far too much energy on people who seem too busy or simply not interested in cultivating or even maintaining a connection with me. Even so, I can’t help but note the uncomfortable truth that I do not have much to offer in return anyway; a relationship with me would be lop-sided and unfair to anyone who would even consider making the effort. And so, I remain mostly alone, reserving my energy for those occasions when I need to be social and around others.
It’s times like this when I wonder if there is anything in this blog which is of value to anyone other than myself. I can’t imagine sitting down with a nice cup of tea and enjoying this post, for example – it makes me laugh just to think of it. Earlier this evening I heard someone describe blogs as narcissistic, which prompted me to ask myself if what I am writing would be considered self-indulgent. I suppose to some it would. However, I realized early on that I do, in fact, write this blog primarily for my own edification, and consider any benefit it provides to others to be icing on the cake. I guess that’s my way of saying that I’m going to write it regardless, for as long as I find it worthwhile. Hopefully you consider that to be good news.
On that note, I think I’m out of material for the time being. Time again to rest and recharge, possibly to return in better spirits, but to return sometime soon nonetheless.