Your Animal Kingdom
If I was...
Slick like a snake,
Brave like a lion,
Swift like a falcon,
Would you welcome me to your animal kingdom?
Hand me a throne of birch...
And a crown of roots...
Feed me mushrooms after the rain...
And tuck me in soil in the winter...?
If I was...
Small like a mouse,
Slow like a turtle,
Vulnerable like a bee,
Would I be shunned?
Pushed out of nature ?
To belong to some other kingdom
Of the lesser ones,
Of the ones who don't belong
To your kingdom.
To your family.
To your tribe.
The ones who nobody would want to
Or Long to be.
To your kind of nature,
To be a queen
In your type of kingdom,
To be natural
In your version of nature,
I would have to be a million of things
But the one thing I could not be is
Be the animal
I was born to be
The animal that is
*'The Gobi Desert' by Natasha Durley
The Artist's Pursuit To Be Great
Some days I don't want to reach to the pen. Or the keyboard. Or this blog.
Some days I don't want to go into someone else's psyche. Someone else's story. Someone else's circumstances.
Some days I don't want to face rejection. Or a missed opportunity. Or a bad review.
That's the life of an artist: being brave. Despite the voices out there or inside that tell you that "you can settle with average. That you are doing just fine. That you are okay as you are." See, life of an artist is life of seeking greatness. Not greatness than someone else - that is subjective. But rather, greatness in doing your work. Going to an emotional place you are afraid to go, or to show. Greatness in going there despite the fear or rather because it. Greatness in the pursuit of greater understanding of what is it that we do as artists. Greatness in our respect to the artistic process.
Some days I don't want to be great. I don't want to do great things. I want to do nothing, except maybe surf the web and dream of a simpler job, simpler profession, simpler calling. But then I remember that it's those moments exactly that make me who I am as an artist: someone willing to fail. Someone willing to fall. Someone willing to be brave despite tremendous fear...
A man behind the wheel, talks to the audience:
BILLY: Every day at 6pm sharp, I hop in my car. I take Sepulveda home, to avoid rush hour on the 405. I put on my Neil Young CD. And sing my heart out during all those thirty seven minutes of my drive home. Every day. But there was something different about today: It's 6 'o'clock. Like every other day. But the road seems foggy, from the get go. So foggy I wonder if there was a wildfire up in the mountains. I turn off Neil Young and listen to the radio a bit. Nope. Nothing about fires. So I slip Neil back in and turn my headlights to brave the fog. It's getting blurry now. So blurry I have to slow down quite a bit. I can see only the back lights of the Honda in front of me. And then even that disappears from my view. I can only see an inch in front of me now. An inch of gravel and pavement. I turn Neil down so I can hear my heart beating louder now. Hearing it unnerves me but strangely it also calms me a bit. Something about listening to a constant pulse, I guess... Don't know what, but something... I figure I'll check my gps to see if there is any accident I should be aware of. But there's no service where I am.. none at all.. I must be right near the 405 now. I slow down even more. I think I am driving twenty now. So slow and yet I still can only see an inch and everything beyond is a mystery, is the unknown, is non existent. And then... in the blur... peeks... out of the shadows...: a LIGHT. It's not a traffic light. It's the car in front of me. It's STOPPED. I press on the break as fast as I can. Squeak! My engine makes a sound, it doesn't like my hasty breaking... but the poor Subaru will have to deal with it, after all I was a second from hitting that Honda. With my leg on the break, I wait. A minutes goes by. Then another. And another. Five minutes in I start wondering what the heck is going on on Sepulveda Blbd in a foggy evening in January!? And then... A tap on my window shield. It's a woman, and she has concern in her eyes and soft long black hair. I roll my window. 'Yes?' 'Hi! Yes, God, I hope you can help me? I have, um, a flat tire or something. The car won't move. It won't move!' Her voice breaks at the end of her plea. I start thinking she must have something important to go to. I give her the ole' heroic 'You got it' and head out of the car. She leads me to her car and standing side by side now I see how beautiful this woman is, how enchanting... She introduces herself: She is Marti. It's short for Martinia. It's an Italian name and she is named after her great grandfather. And then I know: From the fog comes the light. This is the woman I will spend the rest of my life with. Marti. She is the one. Yes, there was definitely something different about today. And it wasn't just THE FOG.
Word Of The Day
*A change or distinction so delicate or precise as to be difficult to analyze or describe.
*Delicately complex and understated.
*Making use of clever and indirect methods to achieve something.
I use the word SUBTLE a lot. Whether in relation to acting or to writing, subtlety seems to be always in my mind. BUT - I wouldn't say I am the most subtle person. Not at all... I can be fairly blunt, opinionated and even tactless in my ways or communication tactics. But subtlety is something I aspire to have more of, especially in its third definition ('making use of clever and indirect methods to achieve something'). You mean I don't HAVE to be direct, persistent and confident to achieve something, anything!?
So let me add 'Subtle' to my personal traits wish list for 2022!
Lots of people focus on goals at the start of a new year. So do I, usually... But this year I haven't gotten into the 'vision boarding' or the calendaring' and the frantic 'goal setting.' This year I am focused on 'where can I grow personally?' And if I am being honest with myself, there are plenty of places within myself that I can grow. I'm a layered, flawed human being (as we all are...) and growth never stops, it just... grows.
So to keep my 'growth goals' realistic, I'll aim to work on ONE.
My growth goal for 2022...drum roll... is: Reaching Out.
That includes reaching out for help, reaching out for connection, sharing my work which is a form of reaching with my words and ideas, and reaching out to help friends or people in need. How can I make my 2022 a year of REACH? A deep quest into my ability to reach out whether it's self-serving or selfless.
This isn't a new goal. I've been attempting to reach with my heart and words and stories through this very blog... but this year I will challenge myself every week to experiment with different practices of reaching to add to my daily blog practice. This week alone I've reached out to two people for help. One of those instances was to help another friend so it was a double reaching moment.
You may say 'what's the big deal? Asking someone for help with something... I don't get it.'
But here's the thing: For me it is a big deal. A very big deal. I've taken pride my whole life in doing things alone. My fierce sense of independence has become so ingrained with my identity... that I feel shame when I admit to myself that I cannot do everything on my own. THAT is a big mountain to climb on. A mountain of shame, and a mountain of identity. But just like a butterfly who flies out of a cocoon, or a snake that sheds its old self... I'd like to take off some of those long standing identity/persona ticks, and see the human underneath. The human that isn't perfect, and that cannot do it all alone. That human in me is REACHING beyond those layers of self...
I dig minimalism. Really. It's a cool concept and I'm all into it. When I travel, I try to travel light and enjoy not having too many choices of clothes to cloud my head with. It's far easier to decide when there are less choices... not too mention our environment has too many 'things' laying around. To strip down our need for material possessions seems like a healthy practice to me. It far outweighs living in greed. In my opinion.
BUT.... there are some possessions I seem to collect more and more as the years go by...: BOOKS.
If I could have a library room in my home, I would be thrilled. To be surrounded by ideas! Poetry! Plays! Thoughts! Stories! Biographies! Words! Essays! To be able to open the physical pages of a novel and swift away to another life, another land... to be able to learn from an educational book... or to be able to feel connected to myself by browsing through the pages of a poetry book... I am being transported right now just thinking about that. So I guess that makes me a book maximalist. I may be a minimalist in many things... but I'd be happy living in a library. For now, I'll have to settle with my overflowing book shelves....~
Quote Of The Day
Today's quote can double as a mantra of the day:
'To Thine Own Self Be True' - from Hamlet by William Shakespeare
The search for truth is a classic human need as is the search for meaning. And to some - truth IS meaning. But to be true to one's SELF - one must know themselves, in and out. That is a life long practice... 'to know thyself..' I wouldn't be surprised if Shakespeare was inspired by the Ancient greek saying 'Know Thyself' when he wrote Polonius's famous speech to Hamlet. Self awareness is the ket for my work as an actor. Why? Because for the art form of acting - my instrument is my SELF, and the more I understand what makes me tick... what are my fears, my inner child's wounds, my desires, my habits, my sensorial life, my imagined life... the more I have tools to play with when creating a character and play in its own TRUTH.
Important to mention that in Shakespeare's speech, the word truth also can be interpreted as 'decent' or of 'high moral' as the entire speech refers to the need to live a good and balanced life. The connection between truth and morality is interesting to me and raises some questions: Is personal morality the same as a grounded truth about ourselves? I think some moral stands we learn from our environment; the society dictates them to us. Some are taught to us by our parents or caretakers (if we are lucky to have them) but there are some moral truth that are also present in the wild, in the animal kingdom. What are those to us? What morality is derived by nature and which from nurture? And does that make either of them less 'truthful'? ~Just some random philosophical questions on a chilly Wednesday evening....~
A woman throws a suitcase out the door. Calling out towards out.
MILLIE: Get the fuck out! OUT! O-U-T! Out of my fucking life!
She closes the door shut.
MILLIE: Good fucking riddance. I already can breathe better without that creep. He sucked the entire fricking air out of the room. Fucking air sucker. Vampire. Heart drainer. Loser, shit, asshole! Bastard! Jerk! Dumbass!
Ah... my heart. Wow. I gotta... gotta sit down. But where's the...? Oh FUCK ME he took the fucking chair! Are you kidding me?! He took not only the air for me to breathe but also a seat for my ass to lay on? Fucking ... Fucksquat! I bet he's knocking on the neighbor's door right now, kissing her seventy five year old ass. Just so he can have a place to sleep for the night. Probably telling her 'it's just one night. she'll take me back tomorrow.' But I am NOT. I am serious. This time. This time I am serious. Last time was just a rehearsal. And the time before that. But this... this is the real thing. Sometimes in life a girl gotta wake up... excuse me - a WOMAN gotta wake up and call the shots for a change. Do the unthinkable. The unimaginable. Face the fear. The bitter, miserable fear of being alone. Of being lonely. Of missing her love. Of ending her love.... But... oh... wait... do I really want the end? I mean, do I want it just because it's scary? Or do I want it despite the fact that it's scary...? Tomorrow, when the light sheds on the empty floor, and the other half of the bed is cold and bare... that's when I'll find out. I just hope... I hope he'll be right outside the door so he can find out too.
Naomi, a woman in her prime, sits in front of a vanity. She takes off make up and talks to the audience directly and intimately.
NAOMI: And there I was, naively thinking I was done with self-love.
After all, I learned it years ago, in puberty. When I was roaming the halls of my school repeating affirmations of self-love that soon enough became truths I held on to. When I went to my first modeling 'go sees' and had my body examined and features studied as if I wasn't even in the room. When I would find things I was good at and learned my own self worth by owning them. When I found things I was bad at and learned to love those as well... Embraced some of my inadequacies, my imperfections, my flaws. The parts of my body that could have been different, the freckles that took over my face, the rounded shoulders, the long arms... I learned to love them all. I thought I learned all I had to learn of self love. And that the lesson was over and done with. That I could 'sign off on my check list'. Been there and done that. How naive was I.... I didn't know time will play it part. That age will smack me in the face, remind me that I will not always be young and pretty. Shoved a mirror up to my face to see the shadow of my naive self loving youth. Don't get me wrong -- I know I am still young. And some will say -- me included, so apologies for my sincerity/vanity here -- that I am still pretty, but the reality of time has finally sunk in. Sunk in and made me look at myself as I if I was seeing a new person. Who is that person? I don't know her. I look at the mirror and stare. With fascination. With irritation. With boredom. She frightens me. That woman staring back at me, with her all knowing eyes and frown lines. She frightens me with her direct accusation. And that haunted voice that constantly whispers in my head, like a subtle and horrific mantra that wouldn't stop. It says: 'You don't really love me. You never really have. You have only love my facade, my shadow. But I am right here, facing you, even when you don't even face me in the mirror. I am always there. I am always there, IN YOU. I am a part of you. A part you have not yet learned to love.'
Well. To her I say... learning is harder with age. Why didn't you hound me in my youth!? Where were you then? But it's no use. She just laughs at my face. Mocks my naivety. After all those years... I am still as naive as a young and pretty girl. But the woman staring back at me in the mirror... I don't know what she is, but NAIVE -- she is not.
Word Of The Day
How I spent my weekend is by doing a lot of:
*A period of excessive indulgence in an activity, especially eating, drinking, or taking drugs.
*Indulge in an activity, especially eating, drinking, or taking drugs, to excess.
While my weekend didn't involve excessive eating, drinking, or taking drugs... it was bingy nonetheless: I've spent hours upon hours indulging in a revision of a feature screenplay, in research related to it, and maybe unrelated but indulgent nonetheless binge watching of 'The Morning Show.'
~'Binge writing' may now be how I coin my long getting-in-the-zone flow sequences of hours of writing.
Those are precious times that don't happen every day and they are so magical and meaningful. The flow that I feel while binge writing is only matched to the deep flow of acting on stage when I am fully committed and in symbiosis with a character I play. I've been fortunate to feel that type of flowy merge a few times, and I TREASURE those times. Bring on the binge-flow! Bring it on....~
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman