30 May 2007

Panic Panic Panic Panic Panic ... wait. Yes: Panic.

So today was the first day, since starting this Aviary of Odin's, that I came into work with plenty of free time, and didn't feel remotely like doing an entry.


Perhaps you think I'm overreacting. Perhaps I am. I've been sitting here, between assignments, trying to conceive of what innocuous reason might be attributed to this change. I've considered: having finished my apartment hunt, coming up on a birthday, not having worked in a while ("a while" in this context being two weeks) and my recent forays into "interior massage," as my physical therapist(s) refer(s) to it. None of these offers me decent enough explanation, so I begin to fear the worst.

Odin's Aviary may be going the way of every previous attempt at journaling I've ever ventured, and losing relevance in my grand scheme of things.

I don't want to jump the gun on this. I mean, one day of waning enthusiasm in a five-month run is hardly a death knell. Still, it worries me. Prefer my day job over my 'blog? What's next? Preferring collating over memorizing lines? Choosing to compile uncontested divorce papers over practicing my handstand? That was part of the idea in starting this thing in this way. If there's one thing in my life I'm unlikely to lose enthusiasm for--not to mention one thing I need to be aware of losing enthusiasm for--it's my pursuit of fulfilling work, and a fulfilling life thereby. So the panic seemed a bit more justified in that context. This isn't just some private diary for recording my thoughts on who I'd like to sleep with (Rachael Leigh Cook, I'm looking in your direction...), but a gauge for and exploration of my choice of The Third Life(all rights reserved).

So what do I do in my office-ensnared panic? I turn to the interwebzizines for comfort. Fortunately, I didn't resort to YouTube or some such nonsense, but turned instead to one of the great gifts of these worldwidenettingz: xkcd. Wherein I found this.

And I was struck by how funny I found it. It's so CRUEL. So cruel. But it's a delicate thing, too, up for interpretation. If there was a punchline, even one preceded by an ellipse (suggesting a pause) it would lose its charm. Instead, the punchline is the silence. I love that. I love how funny a silence, even (or perhaps: particularly) an awkward or painful one, can be. The lack of information is a significant part of the humor. Similar to Buster Keaton's stoneface, a stick figure can reveal nothing about the slighted character's reaction, and we are instantly compelled to identify with it, to interpret the blank according to our own experiences and needs.

AND THEN Friend Todd, amidst a flurry of emails confirming travel plans (apparently I am to be the Sherpa of Todd's toiletries; no sacrifice too small for our art), recommends to the kernel group of Zuppa del Giorno this article. For those of you unfamiliar with Bill Irwin, for shame. Plus: You're probably more familiar than you think (he was in the music video for "Be Happy" and made an appearance on The Cosby Show . . . so everyone knows his face, if not his name). A lot of his self-generated, clown-style work is silent, though now he is clearly transitioning into more conventional theatre. He's an amazing physical performer.

All of which serves to reorient my mind toward work, and thereby away from panic. Now I'm thinking about how my noseless clown (dubbed Lloyd Schlemiel in some circles) came to life the last time I was in Italy, and how little I've done with him since, and how the few times I have revisited him it's been surprisingly fulfilling. I'm thinking about the pure joy of the first time I stilted in the New York Halloween parade, silently communicating with hundreds of revelers from the middle of the Avenue of the Americas. I'm thinking about how easily I can post my work online now, and the possibilities of that.

I'd be panicking, but I'm too excited.


Unknown said...

nice...you went from making me kinda concerned that you would be so hard on yourself (I know, a surprise to us all) glad the curve softened out in the end and that art still lives.

Jeff said...

It's like a wry twist! Except unplanned and, therefore, far more genuine!

Though I have to be honest: it's not terribly wry, and I was hoping it would happen. Maybe The Secret(tm) is right after all...