Monday, March 15, 2010

I have ten minutes

At the end of the workday, I'm suddenly seized by a muse...

I want to talk about something important, and it applies to everyone, not just to theatre people. It's called rejection. And regret.

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, and I noticed that when I see a giveaway, I actively decide not to enter. You know why? I'll tell you.

I know those blogs have TONS of followers, and I know that ALL of those followers are entering, and so I decide, heck. Why enter, when I'm not going to win anyway?

On the one hand, it's a fairly good attitude. I can not win because I chose not to, or I can not win because the universe hates me. At least one way I have control over what's going to happen.

On the other hand, it's a really cynical attitude to live by, and if there's something I don't want to be, it's cynical. I mean, that attitude would keep me from trying out for any play, ever. It would keep me from doing anything in the theatre industry to achieve my dreams, because I know that the industry is full of nothing but soul-crushing failure.

My thoughts on the matter aren't clear enough to continue (I'm down to only three minutes, now), but I have an essay I wrote a couple years ago that I'd like to resurrect now. It's entitled, "Sometimes life sucks a little... that's because it's life."

So. And so.

I've had a number of experiences in my past that have taught me not to try for things. Whether it be auditions I don't make, scholastic programs I don't get into, or boys who just don't want me, I've gotten two things out of it all: 1) I should NEVER put myself out there. I should stick with safe things that I KNOW will work out, because if there's ANY risk involved I will fail. 2) I'm a complete idiot, and I never learn. It's inevitable that I'll keep trying and keep getting my feelings hurt.

I wonder, though. Maybe it gets easier as time goes by. Maybe the risk and the trying and the working up my courage in the first place becomes less scary, to the point where I think I'm actually becoming (dare I say it?) a brave person. I know, I know. I've long claimed to be very timid and shy. No one's ever believed me, though. I think I'm losing my fervent belief in it, too.

But then there's the other question: Even though I know that everything I try will fail, why do I keep trying? Why do I keep putting myself out there, when I know it will lead to failure and heartbreak? Well. Maybe it's because I'm so darned optimistic. I think, maybe it'll work this time. Maybe all I have to do is [insert bold action here] and [desired outcome] will be mine.

I can't be sorry, though. As much as I'd like to. Because even though I go through heartbreak and distress and worry and extreme disappointment, I can't bear thinking of the alternative. Which is that I'll go through my life never DOING anything, never even trying to take control and make something HAPPEN. If I don't act, it won't work out and I'll always wonder if there was more I could have done. But if I do something, it won't work out and I'll at least know that I tried. I did my part, and it just wasn't meant to be. Or it's on the other person's head, or whatever. I have too many regrets of inaction in my life to consciously add to that list.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Skeleton Creek

There are a lot of ways to think of the term "performance." Of course there's the very traditional paradigm, with a stage and lights and an audience and things. Broadway, the Theatre, plays, musicals, and all that kind of thing.

There are a lot of other ways to look at it too, though. Performance art, for starters, which tends to include installation art (which is usually friggin' awesome). Devised theater, technology as performance. In my 301 class, we had a unit where we talked about things like lonelygirl15 and blogging as performance.

Technology in terms of performance and presentation is very interesting to me. It's a completely new way of displaying yourself; for once, you pretty much have total control of how the world sees and knows you. And one of the most fascinating aspects of it all is the way you can use technology these days to play with and blend mediums.

This brings me to the title of this blog post, Skeleton Creek. Skeleton Creek is a book I discovered through one of the reference librarians at the library where I used to work. The premise is fairly straightforward: Sarah and Ryan are best friends who frequently get themselves into trouble. Their latest escapade is an exploration of a creepy abandoned structure right outside of town, called the Dredge. During this midnight adventure, Ryan fell and broke his leg. This book starts right after that. The book is in the format of Ryan's diary, and it tells about how he and Sarah work together to uncover the mystery of the Dredge. Ryan writes down everything he can, and Sarah chronicles it all in video format.

Here's the fun thing: You can watch the videos.

Every time Sarah sends Ryan a video, he writes down the password to the website where she posts them. Which you, as the reader, can use to watch them.
Let me tell you, friends, the videos add a new, exciting, and really creepy element to what would otherwise be a very thrilling book. It's full of danger and suspense, and thank goodness the sequel is out because the first book leaves off on a completely ridiculous cliffhanger. I got to the point as I watched the videos that I had to have classical music playing in the background, just to keep from freaking myself out too much.

If you're interested in exploring different types of performance, or if you like scary Young Adult fiction (I'd say it's about a middle school range), PLEASE check it out. Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman.