12 January 2008
Does . . . Does This Mean That We're Breaking Up?
Well, I . . .. I should have seen this coming, I suppose. I noticed we were spending less and less time together, and in the time we spent . . .. Well, you were becoming more and more critical, weren't you? It was almost as though you were searching for something to criticize, some fault that would justify an end. You never found it, and I guess it just got to be too much. You say it's not me, it's you. Hey: I understand. There's no need to take it all on yourself. After all, we were both in this together. We . . . we had some good times, didn't we? Well. You take care of yourself now. Keep on . . . keep on truckin'.
After five years, my incredible day-job is coming to an end. It's not a complete surprise. There are a lot of factors feeding into this little change, and most of them have nothing to do with me. The only one, in fact, is my habit of leaving town to work theatre jobs, and frankly I always thought that fact would end this job for me sooner than five years. For that, my boss deserves lots more credit than she might owe apologies for not keeping me any longer. That's life, man. Then again: Holy crap! I haven't had to submit my day-job resume anywhere for five years! I got comfortable, which I suppose is the kiss of death for any artist, even if it has only to do with his or her sideline.
Lots of people don't consider my working for a lawyer my "sideline." It's difficult, given my current circumstances, to think of it that way myself. I do, however, and with good reason. Whatever the primary source of my income is, who I am has a lot more to do with the time spent pursuing the rest of my life. I guess the same can be said for most people. Making the life we want for ourselves is incredibly difficult, and most of us accept a sort of trade-off with continued hopes for further perfection. My boss is a lawyer, I'm pretty sure, to provide for her family. Maybe she likes being a lawyer a bit more than I like (er, liked) being a clerk, but it's not dissimilar from my money from hours of thankless desk work being spent to support myself as an actor. And I could go on like that for the rest of my life, barring disaster (which, I realize, is like saying "apart from the life bit").
We always want more, don't we? It got us from primordial slime to primordial political structures, and it drives us still. I've spent some time trying to eradicate desire from my life. Many religions and philosophies concur on this being a good effort to a contented life, but I've come to decide it's a good effort for a balanced life, one not run by desire. We need desire, of all kinds, to keep life moving. Maybe true inner peace is what retirement's for.
How does an artist make a family? Some of them make their family out of the people they work with. Some consider their friends their family. Some bury their artistic impulses for other priorities, and some try to and end up blowing it. A very few, it seems, marry, have or adopt children, and manage to support it all with their well-marketed artistry. I'm here to say: that rules, and my hat's off to you folk. I'm working that out. It ain't easy, neither financially nor personally.
But, in that context, it's hard to say whether losing this job was a set-back, or a step forward.