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Archive for the ‘Creative Expression’ Category

 

 

(Find out more about “Being Elmo” here.)

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I’m sure many of you have seen this by now.  THIS is the power of passion and vision.  9 year old Cain knows what he loves and what drives him, and seeming limit in resources and lack of interest from other people had nothing to do with following what he knew was his to do.  He just created for the love of creating and he used what he had right in front of him and the power of his heart and mind to do it.  Beautiful beautiful beautiful.

 

I’ve mentioned in the past my love-hate relationship with social media;  THIS is where its power and value is and I could absolutely get on board with something like this.  LOVE LOVE LOVE this!

 

You can also go here to contribute to Caine’s college scholarship fund.

 

So if you haven’t seen it yet, without further ado…

 

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Arrrg, so much to update, so little time!  Been writing, classing it, auditioning nonstop.  Actually got to put my Sign Language skills to good use during an audition today which was pretty fun…more like riding a bicycle than I expected.  Jack and I are no longer associated with the theatre company, UA;  there’s no purpose or value in elaborating on the subject, so I won’t.  Onward and upward!  And we definitely are.  Jack’s been submitting and auditioning just as much, and in fact he flies out to Vermont this Sunday to shoot a commercial for Nokian Tires.  Because of the long distance, he had to submit his audition through video, so I taped him last Sunday (two separate takes, second with added direction) with my phone and we sent them in.  If you know me personally and would like to see either of these awesome HIGHlarious audition submissions (and haven’t already), email me and I will send you the private link.   The second submission he went for it so hard that I had to stop twice and restart because I couldn’t help laughing.

 

Quick summed-up update:  Regarding my herniated disc injury, I’m still in PT, have 5+ more weeks at least.  Improving, kind of the two steps forward, one step back kind of deal.  BUT when I go back to work, I already have the most amazing job lined up: I will be working for this incredible, innovative start-up dog walking company(the company itself has been around for a few years, but with this particular focus for 8 months).  Super great, young, motivated energy and forward thinking company that uses new ideas and modern technology to provide top notch service to dog owners.  And I will be doing a flash mob (my first ever!) with them!  We’re going to be participating in a huge adopt-a-dog event where we’ll be breaking out our mad skills.  In addition to dog walking, I’m going to be doing freelance babysitting and maaaaaaaaaaybe working with a company that specializes in kids parties. I have specific companies I can work with, but am also going to focus on getting jobs on my own, starting with giving 3 families in my building a “free night of babysitting” (up to 4 hours).  The exchange will be that they can see if they like me, and then if so allow me to use them as a local reference.  I’m thinking of also doing a referral program where for each new unique referral someone gives me, I’ll give them a free hour of babysitting service.  Or something like that.   I think I might have enough work without all of this, but summer is right around the corner, so we’ll see, and if it seems not then I might add on the kids birthday parties work.  I’ve been getting called in for a lot of auditions (including for paid gigs), and acting’s what I’m here for, so I want to leave plenty of open time to allow for those opportunities.  But I AM totally freaking PSYCHED to soon be working with doggies!!!!!!  Seriously you guys, I can’t wait.

 

Speaking of acting, my classes have been A-mazing.  I did a Viewpoints Composition weekend workshop a couple of weekends ago that BLEW MY MIND and opened up my world and took my mind down the rabbit hole with regards to acting and art in new ways I never knew were possible. LOVED it.  I’ve also been studying dialects (Spanish and British RP so far, Scottish starts next week) and while I still definitely need practice, practice, practice, I am not nearly as intimidated by it all as I used to be.  In fact I actually (if you can believe it) find it all really fascinating and fun.  Definite props to my talented and passionate instructor.   My solo performance class has one more week to go, and I’ve hit some highs and some blocks, but I just keep going (because what else can I do?…I’m in a current block with it, can ya’ tell??).  I have a good foundation and will continue working on it long after the class is finished.  Lastly, I’m taking a new Monologues Audition class (taught by Karen Kohlhaas) that a good friend recommended and I am already completely in love with.  As in…maybe…possibly…just perhaps…working and doing monologues auditions could actually be…fun.  No really ya’ll. NO. REALLY.

 

Speaking of all this work, I have to get back to it, sooooo…I’ll do one more quick post after this to upload some recent photos.  I’ll try my best not to be so long in between future blog posts! One photo teaser; this is what makes me officially now a New Yorker (MY GRANNY CART):

 

 

And noooooooow… why I actually signed in tonight, to quickly post (then felt guilty for not updating, so there you go) this video below that a friend of mine from my Alexander Technique sent me yesterday, which is absolutely freaking ridiculously  INCREDIBLE.  This is especially for all  of you actors out there, but really for anyone who is pursuing the arts and/or creative field.

 

Susan:
There are some people in the world who say that writing stories,
or composing music or dancing sparkly dances is easy for them.
Nothing interferes with their ability to create.
While I celebrate their creative freedom,
a little part of me just wants to punch those motherfuckers in the teeth.
This song, I sing this song for you guys and for all the rest of us. Help me out y’all
Backup:
We’ll sing backup
Susan:
You have a story to tell, a novel you keep in a drawer.
Backup:
Old sock drawer!
Susan:
You have a painting to paint, but you lazy like an old French whore
Backup:
Je suis whore
Susan:
You have a movie to make, Shrinky Dinks you can bake
but you best grab a stake, cause,
in sweep the vampires, in creep the vampires, knee deep in vampires,
Filling you with doubt. Insecurity, ’bout what you art should be
in sweep the vampires
All:
Die vampire
Susan:
You sketched that turtle you saw in an ad on late-night cable TV
Backup:
Tippy Turtle!
Susan:
But your fourth grade teacher said
Female Backup:
You can’t draw
Susan:
Aww, those vampires just won’t let you be
Backup:
Fuck you Ms. Johnson, Word!
Susan:
And when they come run like hell, see those bats in your belfry, then call on Van Helsing.
Susan:
In swoosh
Backup:
Ooh, the vampires
Susan:
in a whoosh
Backup:
ooh, the vampires,
Susan:
Babaganoosh
Backup:
ooh, all the vampires
Susan:
Filling you with thoughts of
Backup:
Self consciousness
Susan:
Feelings of
Backup:
Worthlessness
Susan:
They’ll make you
Backup:
Second guess
Die vam-
All:
-pire!
There are so many vampires, inside, outside, and nationwide,
it helps to recognize them with this vampire hunting guide!
Listen closely,
a vampire is any person or thought or feeling
that stands between you and your creative self expression,
but they can assume many seductive forms.
Here’s a few of them!
Backup:
Tell us Susan!
Susan:
First up are you pigmy vampires.
They’ll swarm around you head like gnats and say things like:
Male Backup:
Your teeth need whitening
Female Backup:
You went to state school?
Male Backup:
You sound weird
All:
Shakespeare, Sondheim, Sedaris
Susan:
Did it before you and better than you, or they might say that you cannot
sing good enough to be in a musical, or they might say:
Backup:
Ooh, your song’s derivative,
Ooh, your song’s derivative,
Ooh, your song’s derivative,

Susan:
To keep that song from you! Just tell them:
Backup:
Die vampire, die!
Susan:
Brothers and sisters, next up is the air freshener vampire,
she might look like you mama, or your old fat-ass, fat aunt Fanny.
She smells something unpleasant in what you’re creating.
She’ll urge you to:
Backup:
(Spraying sound)
Susan:
It with some pine fresh smell ’em ups.
The air freshener vampire doesn’t want you to write about
Backup:
bad language, blood, or blow jobs
Susan:
She wants you to clean it up and clean it out.
Which will leave your work toothless, gutless, and crotchless
but, you’ll be left with two tight paragraphs,
All kittens that your grandma would be so proud of.
You look at that air freshener vampire in her fat ass, fat old fuckin’ face and you say
All:
(Chanting)
Susan:
The last vampire is the mother of all vampires and that is the vampire of despair.
It’ll wake you up at 4am to say things like:
Backup:
Who do you think you’re kidding?
You look like a fool.
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good enough
Susan:
Why is it that if some dude walked up to me on the subway platform
and said these things, I’d think he was a mentally ill asshole,
but if the vampire inside my head says it,
It’s the voice of reason.
Backup:
You have a story to tell, pull your novel out of that sock drawer!
You have a painting to paint, you best paint it and then paint some more!

Susan:
Oh baby, you must escape and grab it by the nape of its neck, by the trachea
fuckin’ break it, go on drive a stake in,
Yeah there’s no mistaking, now you’re shake and bakin’
All:
Die, vampire
I said, “Die, vampire”
I said, “Now die vam-pi-re, die!”
All:
In fly the vampires, oh my the vampires, then die the vampires,
filling you with life, creativity, all that you heart should be, out go the vampires
Die vampire, die vampire, die vampire, die!

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I know a lot of what I’ve been sharing on this blog lately have been quotes and excerpts from books that I’m reading which strongly resonate with me.  They’ve been hitting such strong chords and creating such shifts of consciousness, and often validation, that I am putting them out there as a sort of map/log of my Internal Journey.

The three excerpts below are also from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (who also wrote the Legend of Bagger Vance).  I finished this book in less than 24 hours and will bringing it with me on my trip to Arizona next week to read it again.  It contains similarities of ideas in Julia Cameron‘s The Artist’s Way, but perhaps with a more aggressive, poignant, and less delicate approach.  One of biggest changes in my consciousness regarding acting and art that has occurred during the past year+ is how I think about the work and what is of utmost importance to me in its approach.  The internal conflict that I’ve had with this change has been one of my biggest causes of Resistance.    This book is so in alignment with those changes, it’s as if the Angels above dropped this book directly into my hands and gave me a big “thumbs up, you’re actually right on the money.”  The Art of War then took this understanding of mine and with lifeblood, expanded it into something far greater than I was expecting.  Without getting too much into the exact details of my own personal internal evolution, I will just say that it has helped me to understand my own Resistance, why it is there, what it is doing, and what, without question, must be done about it.

 

 

So without further ado:

 

 

Resistance and Being a Star

Grandiose fantasies are a symptom or Resistance.  They’re the sign of an amateur.  The professional has learned that success, like happiness, come as a by-product of work.  The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.

 

 

For the Love of the Game

To clarify a point about professionalism:  The professional, though he accepts money, does his work out of love.  He has to love it.  Otherwise he wouldn’t devote his life to it of his own free will.

The professional has learned, however, that too much love can be a bad thing.  Too much love can make him choke.  The seeming detachment of the professional, the cold-blooded character to his demeanor, is a compensating device to keep him from loving the game so much that he freezes in action.  Playing for money, or adopting the attitude of one who plays for money, lowers the fever.

Remember what we said about fear, love, and Resistance.  The more you love your art/calling/enterprise, the more important its accomplishment is to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more Resistance you will experience facing it.  The payoff of playing-the-game-for-money is not the money (which you may never see anyway, even after you turn pro).  The payoff is that playing the game for money produces the proper professional attitude.  It inculcates the lunch-pail mentality, the hard-core, hard-head, hard-hat state of mind that shows up for work despite rain or snow or dark of night and slugs it out day after day.

The writer is an infantryman.  He knows that progress is measured in yards of dirt extracted from the enemy one day, one hour, one minute at a time and paid for in blood.  The artist wears combat boots.  He looks in the mirror and sees GI Joe.  Remember, the Muse favors working stiffs.  She hates prima donnas.  To the gods the supreme sin is not rape or murder, but pride.  To think of yourself as a mercenary, a gun for hire, implants the proper humility.  It purges pride and preciousness.

Resistance loves pride and preciousness.  Resistance says, “Show me a writer who’s too good to take Job X or Assignment Y and I’ll show you a guy I can crack like a walnut.”

Technically, the professional takes money.  Technically, the pro plays for pay.  But in the end, he does it for love.

 

 

A Professional is Patient

Resistance outwits the amateur with the oldest trick in the book:  It uses his own enthusiasm against him.  Resistance gets us to plunge into a project with an overambitious and unrealistic timetable for its completion.  It knows we can’t sustain that level of intensity.  We will hit the wall.  We will crash.

The professional, on the other hand, understands delayed gratification.  He is the ant, not the grasshopper; the tortoise, not the hare.  Have you heard of the legend of Sylvester Stallone staying up three nights straight to churn out the screenplay for Rocky?  I don’t know, it may even be true.  But it’s the most pernicious species of myth to set before the awakening writer, because it seduces him into believing he can pull of the big score without the pain and without persistence. 

The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work.  He knows that any job, whether it’s a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much.  He accepts that.  He recognizes it as reality.

The professional steels himself at the start of a project, reminding himself it is the Iditarod, not the sixty-yard dash.  He conserves his energy.  He prepares his mind for the long haul.  He sustains himself with the knowledge that if he can just keep those huskies mushing, sooner or later the sled will pull in to the Nome.

 

 

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( the following in quotes  is from my latest reading obsession, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, unless otherwise noted)











“Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy, and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling.  A writer writes with his Genius;  an artist paints wither hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center.  It’s our soul’s seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star’s beacon and Polaris.”





(Elizabeth Gilbert‘s TED talk and her thoughts on the ancient Roman’s idea of “the Genius”)






“Every sun casts a shadow, and genius’s shadow is Resistance.”






“Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.  It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole.  Resistance is protean.  It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you.  It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man.  Resistance has no conscience.  it will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned.  If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get.  Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.”









“Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North–meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing.

We can use this.  We can use it as a compass.  We can navigate Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others.

Rule of Thumb:  The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”






The enemy is a very good teacher.–The Dalai Lama







“Resistance has no strength of its own.  Ever ounce of juice it possesses comes from us.  We feed it with power by our fear of it.

Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.”




(feed your white dog.)






“The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit.  We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our death bed.

Never forget:  This very moment, we can change our lives.  There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.  This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance.

This second, we can sit down and do our work.”






Boogie Chillen’ :

Well my mama she didn’t ‘low me, just to stay out all night long, oh Lord
Well my mama didn’t ‘low me, just to stay out all night long
I didn’t care what she didn’t ‘low, I would boogie-woogie anyhow

When I first came to town people, I was walkin’ down Hastings Street
Everybody was talkin’ about, the Henry Swing Club
I decided I drop in there that night
When I got there, I say, “Yes, people”
They was really havin’ a ball!
Yes, I know
Boogie Chillen’!

One night I was layin’ down,
I heard mama ‘n papa talkin’
I heard papa tell mama, let that boy boogie-woogie,
It’s in him, and it got to come out
And I felt so good,
Went on boogie’n just the same

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“Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.”

“Truth and love will overcome lies and hatred.”
Vaclav Havel

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
John Newton

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
Albert Einstein

 

“I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before anyone, even at the cost of your life.”

“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”

“God has no religion.”

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

 

“A warrior is not about perfection or victory or invulnerability. He’s about absolute vulnerability. That is the only true courage.”

“Sometimes you have to lose your mind before you come to your senses.”
Dan Millman

 

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
Eleanora Duse

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