This is my 100th post, which means I'm averaging about 20 per month, which would probably make Odin's Aviary the most successful journal I've ever kept ever, even if I stopped right now, never to write another word here again.
But I won't.
Special thanks, too, to my fellow nerds of Camp Nerdly for their interest in my first Nerdly post (see 5/7/07), for they did--in one day--double my readership. That's right! I had almost twenty-five new readers that day! What what! StatCounter.org almost 'asploded!
Owing to this momentous occasion, it seems fitting either to:
- Look back on the Aviary's droppings from the past, a la Three's Company's annual episode comprised entirely of weakly incorporated clips from previous seasons;
- Make up for lost time on all those fart jokes I promised.
Accordingly, I shall do neither. Instead, I shall write a bit more on this concept of The Third Life(patent pending). (Thanks to Jason Morningstar for unintentionally motivating me to revisit this theme. I owe you the user manual to The Turtle Amulet.) When I began this 'blog, way back in the halcyon days of my youth--December 2006--I began it without purpose, and my first entry simply declaimed that fact in an effort to change it. Shortly thereafter, I found a subject both general enough and compelling enough to make daily writings addressing it a realistic possibility. Not satisfied with having purpose, however, I felt compelled to give it a name that I culled from myriad personal cultural references, thereby assuring that no one would have any concept of just what in the hell I was referring to when I used said name. I dubbed this subject The Third Life.
The Third Life refers to the examined life, the one intentional, with something significant in addition to working and family/friends. I tend to see the third option as something artistic in spirit, but that is a personal bias and anything can be done artfully, so I would modify that condition to exclude only "hobbies." If it's a "hobby," it ain't your "Third." Conversely, simply aiming to make something creative in nature into one's career does not qualify. Take my goal of becoming full-time in my professional acting, for example. If I achieve this aim, it does not necessarily mean that I am living The Third Life. It's not about material success. It's more about working in the spirit of truth.
Kinda dippy sounding, I know. Nevertheless, I mean it. In acting it can be pretty easy to accidentally fly through a show on automatic pilot, or act for audience response more than the truth of the moment on stage, and I see this in life as well. Have you ever felt like you were suddenly woken from a kind of zombie-like routine you were barely aware of? Have you ever driven yourself (and those patiently tolerating you) crazy with trying to please everyone, or in other cases only yourself? These are things I feel happen to me when I slip in life, when I wander off this incredibly difficult path I've chosen for myself. Some people do just fine living a "normal" life artfully, or not worrying the art to living. Me, I need to have a pursuit, an exploration, akin to religion. Not that I'm looking for answers, necessarily. Maybe meaning. Maybe something else entirely that will surprise me.
There may come a day when I stop acting. Well, maybe not "stop acting." I don't think I could ever do that completely at this point; it will live through whatever I do from here on out. But there could come a day when I cease the struggle to be an actor in the no-holds-barred sense of the role. Indeed, in the progress of building this here weblog I have more than once wondered, "Have I started this thing only to have it record the cessation of the career I began it to support?" (Yes, I use this kind of vocabulary and syntax when I'm thinking to myself. That should clear a lot up for you vis-a-vis my writing style and considerable pauses in conversation.) I frequently try to imagine myself as a teacher, or even a writer (a career that vies for that esteemed category of "Most Impossible to Make a Living At"), and fantasize that life would be so much simpler down those paths. I don't know if that's necessarily true, but at times it's hard to imagine anything being more difficult than what I'm doing now.
Inevitably, I stop for a moment in these thoughts, and look around me, and realize that there's nothing I'd rather be doing. Teaching might offer me more security in life. Writing may encourage an all-around more peaceful existence. Being a paralegal . . . well, that would still just all-around suck. The point is, I am still doing what makes me happy, no matter how miserable it may sometimes be. Maybe someday what makes me happy will change. If it does, I hope I'm up to the challenge of recognizing that.
A couple of nights ago I had dinner with a friend, a fellow actor who had just returned from a week-long gig out of town that involved some friends and a teacher he hadn't worked with in a long time. He came back energized to take his craft by the bootstraps and heave it back onto its feet, and it was inspiring. I thought about how some of the best people I have ever known, people who just impress the hell out of me in one way or another, lead these kinds of "unconventional" lives. They pursue family (blood or otherwise), career . . . and something else. However I can find it, that's the life for me.
And now I've got sea shanties stuck in my head.