11 July 2013


Unless you're here to read the "back-catalogue" of Jeff Wills' thoughts and memories from December 18, 2006, through July 10, 2013. If that's why you're here, then good. You've landed. This here 'blog is exclusive to that period, and includes formatting and (some of the) images associated with the given date.

HOWEVER. There is all this AND MORE here:

New posts. Current topics. Better writing. Please add it to your subscriptions, check with it daily, obsess to an unhealthy degree. (While you're at it, you could also add http://www.jeffwills.net/jeffwillsshows/ for appearance updates.) Thank you.

I mean it: THANK you.

10 July 2013

Winging Away

As promised (see 4/24/13), the Aviary is moving. I had my personal and aspirational reasons for doing so, which have lately been enhanced by some intuition about how Google will be handling their online offerings over the next few years. To wit: They will consolidate. Maybe this only means Blogger will become part of the G+ fold, maybe it means it will be replaced in lieu of a quicker, lighter posting platform. It's not for me to say, but when you add this belief to the priority of gathering myself under one domain, they only choice left is to pack up and move.

I'm a sentimental sort. Even something as pragmatic and insubstantial as changing a blogging platform gives me pause to reflect. We've had some times, haven't we...?


...Whew! Thank goodness you happened to have a meat craving and unlatch this freezer locker, otherwise we would've frozen to death any minute now, for sure!

(You've no idea how much I relish that Three's Company reference. Enough, shall we leave it said, to actually [if but casually] cite my reference.)

Mostly I think about many of the themes expressed in my No, YOU Tell It! contribution (see 4/15[-22]/13). Themes such as idealism, naïveté and self-control; growth and transformation; choice and chance. I hesitated to start this here 'blog. The notion of essentially "journaling" at that particular stage of my life and in such a public fashion bothered me for several reasons. It would be revealing, it would be eventually (though hopefully not quickly) outdated, it would be time-consuming, it would be kind of permanent in a new way. In particular, I was aware it meant I couldn't hide or lie very effectively anymore.

That suggests that I was some kind of flagrant and deceptive con artist, and I was not. I was, however, a young actor struggling to make it all work. So I'd say I lied as much as the next struggling young actor, trying to make it all work. My hat's off to those amongst you who found a way to struggle more honestly. I had a sheaf of ready-made lies and excuses for my work, my relationships, and of course myself. Writing it all down in a public journal would make me accountable. What I was surprised to rapidly realize was that I liked being held accountable.

I am embarrassed - very embarrassed - by old diaries. These are documents no one can ever read but me, yet all I can see in them is shame for how naïve or blind I was. They seem like records of ignorance, like I always manage to catch myself when I'm stuck or in-between discoveries. Somehow, having an audience for my diary helped me to grow through writing it. To capture my ignorance, yes, but also the realizations and growth that came about out of that blindness. I'm quite grateful for that. It wasn't what I intended.

What I intended was to grab a little corner of the Internet that I could personally impact (as opposed to my then-new, contracted website) and, out of that decision, eventually to create a record of the struggle to live a meaningful life. I suppose it was the twin goals of meaning and honesty that led me to where I am - meaning by purpose, honesty by accident.

This is not the end of that process. I am not yet as honest as I could be. There's meaning yet to be found. But progress is change, and change I must.

So, there will be one more post at this address - a bit of a perma-post - directing you to by all means pore over the back-catalogue, but also follow me over to the new base of operations. Who knows what we'll find there?

24 April 2013

Biding a Do: Change and Its...Anticipation

Hwæt: I am considering moving Odin's Aviary - which since its inception has called Blogger its home - on over to my refreshed website. The reasons are various and sensible; the hesitation largely ignorant and nostalgic. Yet I tarry.

This week I performed, and had my writing performed, at No, You Tell It!, which was a much-anticipated event on my part that I used as motivation to get certain of my creative goals in order, post-initiation into fatherhood. I try occasionally to set my own deadlines, but they're never as effective as those applied to me by an outside party.

Anyway, as I frenetically revised my personal narrative for April 22nd, I also finally got off my duff to re-engineer my website for April 6th, when the press for the event would start. When I passed around the new website for feedback, the ever-amazing Pavarti gave me a laundry list of "suggestions," primary of which was to get the dang Aviary over where I profess to call myself some kind of writer, and tout de suite.

There is an interesting thematic overlap here, of the sort I used to often experience early in my acting career. In those days, I attributed it to rather mysterious, quasi-Jungian synergy - a sign of "following the path." Now-a-days, I tend to think of it as me trying to tell myself something, quietly yet persistently, from the background of the daily struggle and strife. Either way, it is that weird sensation of life imitating art. Or whatever whatever.

I took to the revision of my website as something of a workshop in figuring out what in the hell I'd be doing as a creative person who's prioritized the support of his family over unbounded freedom to act like an actor. I took to the writing assignment for No, You Tell It! as a workshop in really going for effective and significant revision of my writing. We were all writing to a theme - in this case: "outdated" - and I ended up writing about becoming a parent, the life cycle of a theatre troupe and the regular yet somehow unpredictable rhythms of life itself.

All of this seems very well-ordered, connected and natural. I assure you: I PLANNED NOTHING. I'M MAKING THIS UP AS I GO ALONG.

As I always have. I need to surprise myself. It's at least to some extent a coping mechanism - aimed against depression, uncertainty, insecurity. There's a tension in my life - between a need for order and a need for surprise - that is mirrored in my writing process. I mean, I have written from an outline before. Usually it's under duress, on threat of torture by 1) a writing partner, and/or 2) an admittedly limited personal capacity for long-term memory. Generally speaking however, what I enjoy about writing is the surprises the process brings me.

It's not dissimilar to improvised comedy. You have an invisible framework - threes, setup/suspension/punchline, what-you-will - and just try to make poking around in the dark as interesting and relevant as possible until you hit on the hilarious. It is all about the moment, and nothing feels quite as like magic as that discovery. It would be a shame to capture it, mold it, distort what is plainly inspiration into something staid and flat and un-prophet-able.

So has gone my internal justification for not working over my own work when it comes to writing. Revision would squelch whatever was special about the original experience. Prove a dishonor to that inspiration. What an incredible excuse.

So how does someone who has it built into his philosophy not to revise, go about revising his life?

Though it seems grandiose to put it that way, it does not feel like an exaggeration. Even if becoming a parent hadn't meant sacrificing certain other creative opportunities, if I had attained a level of fiscal success that allowed me to keep acting up a storm and keep coming home by 5:00, parenthood still necessitates learning how to better order one's life. I laugh, derisively, at my younger self's occasional complaints of a lack of time or occasional boredom. Then I cry just a little bit, inside, before hitching up my (sexy) work slacks and tackling another day.

I did some good work through No, You Tell It!, work I'm proud about, toward learning how to effectively step back and revise. And my website looks much better. I count these successes. But: I did not succeed.

I did not succeed because the website, though it is pretty and more functional, still lacks direction - intention - and still emphasizes me as an actor. I did not succeed because my piece for the "outdated" event suffered in similar ways, still written in a voice aggressively eschewing an easy read, and still emphasizing exploration over communication. I still don't know what I'm doing. But I'm on the path, physically and metaphysically, which is sometimes the best you can do.

So there will be more changes coming - revisions, if you will (and whether you will or won't, frankly). Among these: Odin's Aviary will be transplanted to live under my moniker, part of the unified-field-theory of Jeff.

Perhaps somehow prescient of this, one of the live interview questions asked of me on stage at No, You Tell It! in prelude to my story being presented was about this here 'blog title. I explained about thought and memory, Huginn and Muninn, and how that seemed appropriate for a personal 'blog, without getting into my nigh fetishistic adoration of ravens. One interesting thing I failed to realize until just now, however, is that a primary characteristic of Odin himself is...fatherhood.

There might be something to this "reviewing what we create" after all.
Found here.

22 April 2013

NYTI FINAL: Pining 4 U

For context, please see the post of 4/15/13: 
"Pine trees are the first to grow back after a fire. Also, Euripides uses one to symbolize emasculation in The Bacchae."
No, YOU Tell It! - "Outdated" takes place 7:00 pm TONIGHT, Y'ALL, at Jimmy's 43, and requires no ticket, nor reservation. It fills up quick, and the bar is crowded so...you know. Hope to see you there!

21 April 2013

NYTI #7: Slap Dash

For context, please see the post of 4/15/13: 
"I glance down at one of five insane costumes I will be rapidly tearing off and slapping back on between scenes as I transition from archetype to archetype. It is all tight, colorful stripes - vertical on the pants, horizontal on the shirt - with a vest and a bellboy’s elastic-strapped fez layered atop."
No, YOU Tell It! - "Outdated" takes place 7:00 pm Monday, April 22nd, at Jimmy's 43, and requires no ticket, nor reservation (though you may have plenty after reading this). It fills up quick, and the bar is crowded so...you know.