Greetings from the Atlanta airport*, where I am charging up and waiting for my connecting flight to Little Rock, Arkansas (don't ask). I put off writing today as long as I could because I felt like I didn't have anything to write about. I still don't know if I do. But sometimes you have to just start writing to keep writing. That's the worst part about it. You have to come to the computer or laptop or paper and trust that it will come. Y'all know about my struggle with faith.
Writing is still one of those things that I have to force myself to do because it's not easy and I'm not as used to it as say, acting or biting my cuticles. It's funny because people have often said things to me like, "That's really cool that you do all that," and they don't just mean the acting and making movies but also the writing. They almost immediately follow it up with, "I wish I could do that too but I don't know where to start." I get that. I've felt that way. Like I said, I sometimes still feel that way with writing...
But I call bullshit.
It's about willingness. You start with the willingness to try. If it's totally new and hard and maybe something against your habit (not nature because people mix these two words up too often-- big difference), then you find the willingness to do something different. Now, you will probably do things imperfectly and inevitably judge yourself for it (pot, meet kettle), but that brings me to my next stop:
You have to have the willingness to be a student again, to accept that no matter how many years you've been on this earth, you still only know a fraction of everything you could know.
I love this quote:
I just Googled it because I couldn't remember who said it and apparently, according to the internet, it was either Alan Watts, Penelope Ward, or some guy named Doug. Seriously, we need a more accurate system of quoting.
Like I said, I love this quote. It reminds me of being a kid and just trying shit because I wanted to know what it felt like. I didn't care (till puberty) whether or not I was good at it. I was a figure skater for a hot moment and fell on my ass a lot. I played piano because I liked the way it sounded (but I hated practicing). I wanted to be everything when I grew up because everything sounded so cool-- and that's one of the reasons I'm an actor ;)
Do you remember when the fear of trying something new wasn't even a factor because the desire to do so was so great? I think all kids are super curious. My favorite question was why. Ask my mom, it didn't annoy her at all. But what happens to that curiosity when we get older? Do we get jaded or think we've tried it all? Do we develop a fear of failure?
And there's the next stop: the willingness to fail.
Have you ever seen our first movie? Oof. If we had given up after that, and there were lots of reasons to besides the film itself, we wouldn't have made anything ever again. And when I think about that, I think about all the people I wouldn't have met, all the great actors I wouldn't have worked with, and never again having that feeling of a bunch of people in a movie theater watching your film.
I think the fear of failure is coupled with the fear of success. I believe that's the subtext of the statement I mentioned earlier, "I wish I could do that too but I don't know where to start." We know where to start: at the beginning.
But what happens if you make it past all the stops? If you find the willingness: the willingness to try, to be a student again, and to fail? Well then you might actually succeed and when people see success, they see you.
You have to be willing to be seen.
How fucking scary is that?
*I am now in Little Rock but still, don't ask.