Clive Barker opens up his novel The Thief of Always with the line:
“The great grey beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive. Here he was, buried in the belly of that smothering month, wondering if he would ever find his way out through the cold coils that lay between here and Easter.”
It’s a great line and feels so very true for this month. Well, not entirely true for this month. I mean it’s nearly 60 outside this weekend. In Minnesota. In February. But, the core of the statement still feels true. The Great Grey Beast February …
This week was Valentine’s Day. I used to appreciate the spirit of the day and comment on the crass commercialism of it (not commercialization of it, since it is a commercial holiday to begin with). But these last two have been not easy. Last year, I shared the day with a new friend and a specially made “singles” Blizzard from Dairy Queen. This year, I generally avoided people and went to see John Wick Chapter 2. Even as I slowly rebuild my personal life, meeting new people and earnestly seeking out a fresh start, there is still a part of me that feels especially carved out. The day to day feels less, but it is definitely pronounced on certain holidays and anniversaries. That’s what happens when you finally open yourself up to someone else. And apparently, when I do it, when I decided that someone matters, they always do. Someday, I’ll find the right place to put this all, but that probably won’t really truly happen until I am fully able to open myself up to someone else.
Another thought that I’ve been having this week, as I ponder over the people (person?) who find this blog, is the who and the why of them as well as what does it mean for them. I have memories of a production I was part of a long time ago, back when I was still an actor. One of the actors in the production tended to carry himself with a bit more cockiness and perceived arrogance. I don’t know it if was genuine, we all front to some degree, crafting a public persona that we think people want or, at the very least, defends us from their ridicule. This actor had started a blog where he was detailing what he referred to as “Project Adonis”. Working out, getting into shape, buffing up. You know, the things that you see on blogs and Instagram all the time now. For whatever reason, fellow castmates discovered this blog and decided that it was funny and worthy of some mocking. I remember entries being printed up and read aloud. And laughter.
It never really sat well with me. I don’t remember if I laughed when present. Probably, weak for the approval of others, we are sometimes not our best selves. But I sometimes think about how this is received. I had a previous blog that got me unexpected and unwarranted attention, once upon a time, and having learned lessons from that one I tend to be a little more guarded on here. But this is a personal blog and I relate personal things (sometimes allude to them, sometimes describe them) as a means of processing my place in the world, my place in art, and my progress in craft and life. I’ve thought about it in terms of a romanticized version of a DJ, talking softly into a microphone in the middle of the night, holding back that dark void with sound. But who reads this? Do I know them? Are they friends, or do my attempts to write my way through result in entries read aloud to laughter and some variation of “Who does he think he is?” Sometimes, I may reveal too much. Sometimes the manner of writing may be too flowery or too derivative or just plain bad. Maybe the reader just doesn’t like me and this is a good way to lash out behind my back.
I don’t know. When we present anything, there is a certain amount of trust involved. Right now, in this world, we are often reminded that sometimes trust and privacy are not valued. Whether it’s the perceived lack to right of privacy among celebrities among the general public or the potential that you might be detained and required to give up the passwords to your devices and social media accounts to law enforcement.
But, if I ever want to publish or share my art, I have to be comfortable sharing pieces of me. This seems like good practice for that. A confessional, that people can find and read.
More later …