Friday, August 12, 2005

And Finally, When The Urgings of the Little Shouting Pierson on My Shoulder Became Deafening...

...I decided to blog.

I can tell no one knows this, but this is the most fun I've had working on a show at the Neo-Futurists. 43 Plays For 43 Presidents was pretty successful, but really sucked to work on. A 60 Minute History of Humankind was incredibly rewarding and didn't suck at all to work on, but as Ryan is learning, it's highly stressful to be at the reigns of a project while working for a company that provides little in the way of support.

So I'm a Daredevil and I'm enjoying it. But there's stuff going on in my life that keeps my head elsewhere most of the time. Trying to have a baby, getting ready to start another Day Job, or possibly move to Southern Illinois and start another one later in a place where it's hard to find work, or possibly stay here a year. Health insurance seems to weave its way in (and alarmingly often out of) every plan, and our plans change daily. I may even move out of town while I'm doing this show. I might stay at the Heart O' Chicago on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and then go back and forth to Carbondale during the week to be with my wife and dog.

But anyway, this show has been fun. Ryan is worried. I can't tell him not to be worried, though I've tried. Still, we're about on track. Every show I do, I can't ever imagine getting it done on time, and sometimes you're working on the set or something minutes before the audience comes in, like some makeover show on TLC. But everything works out in time for the reveal. So it goes.

My work in the show is very personal and very explicit. I'm fascinated with the kind of daredevil who feels compelled to prove something to himself, who's not just out for attention. I liken them to people who actually play to win because they just really want to win for their own sake--proving to themselves that if they're going to be in the field, they're going to play as hard as they can. In my mind, I think that the difference between people who show up to the dance of life, and those who snottily insist that they refuse to show their faces anywhere The Electric Slide will be played, is analagous to the difference between people who play to win and the people who don't. And the people who play to win, remind me of the daredevils who take risks because they are compelled to test themselves.

It all started while watching some Olympic gymnastic event not so long ago. There was this coach on TV saying that he thought his gymnast had what it took to win the gold, but only if she was really "ready to win". I didn't know what he meant by ready to win for a few days but I couldn't get it out of my head because it felt important. Then it hit me:

I'm not ready to win. Anything.

If you give yourself to something, truly at 100%, and then fail to win that gold medal, it would be a profoundly disturbing look at the limits of your capabilities. As long as you can say to yourself "yeah, well, the Olympics are stupid anyway and that thing's just a hunk of metal on a ribbon", you're setting yourself up to lose, because really going for it and failing, would mean you weren't good enough to succeed.

And didn't I use the excuse at the top of this post that I've got a lot on my mind? I mentioned right away that I didn't think the guys would know how much fun I was having. That's because I'm not always there. Removing yourself from The Dance isn't a matter of concious choice as it is habit. I am rarely where I am. While walking, I am thinking of where I've been or where I'm going.

But when it comes to the live performing of this show, I think I'm ready to win. I'm ready to give it 100%, even if before and after the show my mind is elsewhere. And even if I come face to face with the limits of my abilities, I'm ready to be a daredevil.



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