10 May 2007

"Do You Believe in Unlikelihoods?"


So I'm moving. Again. Since I first arrived in New York, I have moved six times. Which really isn't that bad for a struggling New York actor. Combine that with the constant travel associated with doing regional theatre on a regular basis, however, and it comes to seem a bit pointless, investing oneself in any particular place. The place I'm leaving, for example, I never really spent much time on making my own. It always seemed transitional to me. I've come to decide it's important, however, to have a home base that I care about. So this cycle around, I'm playing for keeps, and looking for a place of my own.

So the 'blogination may be somewhat lacking in days to come, in order to afford me more time to peruse the craigslist.

Much has been written already regarding the importance of an artist having his or her own space, from Virginia Woolf to Julia Cameron, but it can be easy to give such a notion lip service without actually appreciating the value of such a thing. Personally, I feel much more capable of good work when my work area is clean and clear (which creates an endless internal battle akin to that between Ra and Apep as my stacking impulse vies for dominance). It's not surprising then that occupying one's own space and taking control of it would help one feel in more control of his or her life. This is my hope, at any rate. A friend of mine in As Far As We Know signs off her emails with a quote from Flaubert: "Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you may be fierce and original in your work."

"Il faut écrire des choses très folles en ayant une vie très rangée."

I don't speak French, so if the above is wrong: Bite me.

The first challenge is, of course, finding such a place. I don't know how it compares to other mejor metropolitan areas, but New York is certainly the worst of my experience when it comes to this process. It's akin to trying to get hired for an acting gig, actually. The supply of gigs/digs is so small, and the demand for them so large, the whole process is rendered ridiculous to the point of seeming pre-civilized. There is no point in looking ahead of time if you're looking to rent, because the day--the very day--that a good apartment is posted, it is taken. This creates a rather bloodsport, kill-or-be-killed environment, in which otherwise harmless-looking people will leave work unexpectedly and lurk around decrepit buildings with blank money orders clutched in their starving grasp. I carry a blackjack myself, just in case I see someone who looks wealthier than me approaching an available apartment.

The second challenge--which deserves just as much anxiety, really--is to, upon finding said place, make it both mine, and helpful to my work. These would seem to go hand-in-hand, but in my experience they do not. For example: I love movies. That's pretty natural for a young actor, methinks. I also have a lot of compulsive behaviors. Pretty natural, that, for a somewhat introverted thinker such as myself. Now, making the place my own in an immediate sense means setting up a nice, comfortable couch with the television prominently placed, surround-sound speakers installed about, and room for friends. HOWEVER, such a comfortable set-up, taking up so much space, makes it way too easy for me to get all habitual, then compulsive, about my movie-watching.

So it's a delicate balance, as with everything else.

Except moving, in which delicacy will get your ass killed.

2 comments:

Patrick said...

So what you're saying is, you need to find some balance between a fortress of solitude and a batcave. You want a safe-haven where you can recuperate from your struggles in Metropolis and you need a laboratory that inspires and recharges you, sending you out into your day to tackle the theatrical ne'er-do-wells of Gotham City.
Okay so the analogy doesn't exactly work, the two locations are more alike than they are different for those two fellas, but I was too pleased with myself in coming up with the analogy not to share it with you. More to the point, I know just what you mean about needing a place that both soothes and motivates. I do think it's possible. In fact thinking so has me re-examining my surroundings to tweak them in these directions. I don't know how easy it is to do in a studio, but having the luxury of separate rooms means I can shape them for different purposes. For the record, my housing experiences in Seattle definitely was a breeze compared to here. You went out, looked at places that had 'for rent' signs posted, you wrote down the phone numbers, met with the landlords, and you rented a place. I know people who managed to do this in one day. The longest it ever took me was a week. New York is somethin' else.

Jeff Wills said...

I love this analogy, holes and all. I've often felt my life provided ample evidence in support of the theory that most men feel a need to have a "cave," or some space all their own that doesn't have to be pretty or even remotely presentable. I've kept up that tradition pretty well, but it's definitely time to make it a small part of an otherwise sane and orderly Apartment of Platitudes.