Spinning tops, Method acting, and surrender


It's been a whirlwind weekend of meetups, speaking gigs, and work work work.

Which is fine, because this morning, now that it's over, I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND! Better yet, I'm going with tweens who actually want to hit Space Mountain and the log flume and the other scary-to-their-younger selves rides I've had to forego on the past few visits. So this is me, throwing a high sign from the freeway as we speed on down to the Happiest Place on Earth.

Oh, yeah, speeding.

I met some fellas at the launch of the weekend. Lovely longtime friends of a lovely new-to-me friend who invited me to come talk to her actors about marketing and the Twitter and what the hell could possibly be in it for a bunch of thespians. (Short answer: a lot. I mean, if anyone can pull off the Internet stuff, it should be entertainers. Exhibit A: Ze Frank.)

Like me, these friends had done time in several major cities, several more than I, in point of fact, New York, inclusive. And they watched me do my song-and-dance-and-PowerPoint-in-the-pants dealio from 5 to 6 on Friday evening (way longer and more leisurely delivered than the last time, when I served up that sucker in a half-hour), and afterward, over empanadas (which I didn't partake in) and sangria (which I did), expressed what I would call bemused alarm upon hearing that I am much, much more relaxed and leisurely in my pace since moving to L.A. and, er, aging into myself a bit, than I was Back in the Day in NYC.

And even more relaxed than I was while living in Chicago, where my nickname was "the White Tornado."

Which, you might be able to tell from my "aw, shucks" tone, was, okay, fine...is something I'm kinda proud of.

Which, you might be able to tell from my Big Confessional Approach (not to mention the title of this post), is something that just underneath, makes me a bit sad and worried.

"Sad" because I know how good it feels when I do make myself slow down (as opposed to having myself slowed down for me by the Governor, a.k.a. my Crohn's). "Worried" because it is a default setting I've been grappling with since I started grappling, with diminishing success as the years have rolled on.

At the beginning of 2009, a friend of mine told me this was my year. I assumed this meant my year to Hit It Big! because let's face it, I'm an American who was born in the middle of the last century to very ambitious people. As it happens, I'm starting to think this is my year to give up thinking crazy shit like "this is my year!" The way I'm starting to see it, every year should be my year, and your year, and everyone's year, just like every moment should be spent in the moment. So I've taken Steps to get myself there. A workshop next Friday. Some uncomfortable but necessary discussions around work collaborations.

And a class around money that I have fought harder than...well, than should be necessary for someone with free will who can just walk away. And as I've started working with the material, I'm getting why: these exercises, this work, this class is pushing every hot button I have at once. We're talking evil eight-year-olds-running-loose-at-an-elevator-bank pushing. Every time I've done the primary exercise, a little heart-opening sumbitch called "the Remembrance", I have burst into tears, slid into a series of wracked sobs and squeezed out every drop of salty water in me until I was a spent rag.

This, if I've never mentioned it, is how I spent my first two years as a "real" (non-sketch-comedy, non-goofball) actor: crying. I cried for two straight years, and then? I was kind of done. My instrument was tuned and supple, and I only cried at times when I needed to, which (thank Christ) was no longer all the time.

I fight so hard what it is that makes me human, it hurts a little just thinking about it. I race to cover up flaws I am sure will send others running from me even faster. I hide, I obfuscate, I dodge, I avoid. I throw myself into work work work to avoid sitting in the moment. I surrender, if you can call it that, at the point of a gun, extreme illness or total exhaustion, usually.

Fighting doesn't seem so hard, you see, if you're used to doing it. Surrendering, on the other hand, feels like the end of the universe.

Ah, well. This is my year, or all the moments of it left, to change that. And the funny thing is, I think if I really do surrender, it'll change pretty quickly. We shall see.

But not until Tuesday. Because today, I'm going to Disneyland...


Image by zappowbang via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.