maybe i'll keep this hidden 2.16.19

Part of me hopes that no one reads this. Part of me gets a small thrill at the thought that someone might. Ultimately, I am doing this for myself, but the slightest possibility that someone could read what I’m writing is enough motivation for me to actually do it.

I call myself a writer. But I’m not really sure what that means? Does stream of consciousness internal reflection handwritten in a journal in microscopic font (my old boss once saw my journal and said it looked like it belonged to a serial killer) make me a writer of any kind? I don’t know. Probably not really. I’m an actor mainly. Thats what I love. But when I look at the artists I admire, the artists whose careers and paths inspire me, I realize they are very rarely actors. Which is maybe a weird thing for an actor to admit. I have admiration and respect for what we do as actors, don’t get me wrong, especially in the abusive relationship that is our industry (more on that in another blog post, probably). But more often that not, the artists who truly inspire me are creators, musicians, devisors, playwrights, directors, people with a bunch of hyphenates or slashes in their website titles, basically everyone around actors. Actors are essential, and what we do is fucking hard, but as everyone knows, we have so. little. agency. and so much of our career is waiting around (and by waiting I mean shelling out money for classes both to keep our craft sharp and to make connections with casting directors, mailing out headshots that cost more than our rent, submitting ourselves to any project we are remotely *right* for, waiting in line at open calls to get seen (if we’re union, if not, tough luck), pouring our souls into auditions and being ghosted literally every day (i guess i am talking about said abusive relationship), and thats all the stuff that we don’t get paid for) to get cast. So, like so many wonderful actors before me, I want more. 

I am also often paralyzed by my desire to change the world. We all believe that art can do that, don’t we, those of us who call ourselves artists? If we don’t, I guess I’m not really sure why we are in this field. But I am pretty sure no one who ever sat down with a pen and a piece of paper, or a computer and a keyboard, or a typewriter, whatever, and said “I’m going to write something that changes the world”, had any success in that whatsoever. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they did. Maybe that’s how all the mind blowing world changing life altering art I’ve seen began. But I think that is a lot of pressure. Too much for me, in any case. 

This past month I have been doing a playwriting challenge. Everyone who wanted to participate paid about $35. We get a new prompt every single day for the month of February and have 36 hours to write a complete play in response to each one. At the end of the month, everyone who has met all of the deadlines splits the entrance fees. So if I finish, at worst, I’ll get my entrance fee back. At best, maybe a few bucks more, depending on how many people were disqualified. In any case, I’m not going to be living off the earnings, but it is amazing how incentivizing deadlines and the potential of winning something has been. Over the last few weeks I have successfully written some of the worst shit of my entire life. But, blessedly, the thought of trying to change the world with my writing has barely even entered into my consciousness, because that would be fucking ridiculous. It has been liberating to not have any pressure on myself other than *write a complete play in this absurd time constraint*. Which is pressure, sure, but when the play doesn’t have to be any good it doesn’t feel like much. And here I am, 16 days into February with 16 shitty plays under my belt.

I’m digressing, and wandering, a lot. But. I guess what I am saying ultimately is that I think I am a writer. And if my first step in sharing that with the world is aimless blog posts about my life and art and identity and the struggle of trying to not get evicted or subsist exclusively on gluten free pasta and cans of sardines, then so be it. It’s a start. Welcome to my brain. 

Mari Vial-GoldenComment