"Everybody's crazy. It's just a matter of 'Does your crazy match my crazy?'"
-- paraphrased saying by friend of a friend
"Insanity is a very tempting path for artists."
-- Elizabeth Gilbert
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a friend recommended Elizabeth Gilbert's latest book, EAT, PRAY, LOVE.
so i went online to check it out. i read -- and love-- her essay about the artistic pursuit. well really, she is talking about writing, but it can be applied to any artistic pursuit -- or any pursuit in general for that matter. the entire essay is great, but this particular quote appealed to me so much because from my particular viewpoint as an actor, it rang so true:
"...start with the love and then work very hard and try to let go of the results. Cast out your will, and then cut the line. Please try, also, not to go totally freaking insane in the process. Insanity is a very tempting path for artists, but we don't need any more of that in the world at the moment, so please resist your call to insanity. We need more creation, not more destruction. We need our artists more than ever, and we need them to be stable, steadfast, honorable, and brave."
i have come across my fair share of the challenges and struggles of the artistic life. so much of it is worthwhile, yes, but there is also much insanity, self-indulgence, heartache, and asinine behavior. in all the acting classes i have taken, hardly anybody ! has ever talked about this. well, except one but he was a nut. but nobody talks about being stable in your personal life, because its not sexy. nobody talks about being steadfast, honorable, and brave. nobody talks about how to reconcile being stable in your personal life in the middle of doing primal screams on the stage and whatever other exercises you do to train yourself to have your emotions at your fingertips. i have fought my own demons against all of the above, and witnessed others who overcame -- or didn't-- their own struggles with such paths. in acting, the actor studies the psychology + behavior of human nature.... but what is the point of 'mastering' such craft if its understanding cannot be applied (for the better) to one's own life? too often the artist may be a brilliant creator in his field, but his personal life is a tornado of destruction.
i remember seeing the movie POLLOCK a few years back. Brilliant as he was as an artist, Pollock self-destructed in his personal life. He was a whirlwind of insanity. and i remember thinking "what's the point? what's the point of making brilliant paintings? You're indulging the worst parts of yourself and are a whirlwind of insane destruction." and yet... somehow... i still romanticized it. maybe that's what Gilbert is talking about when she says that insanity is tempting (and by insanity i don't think she means -- i don't mean -- just literal insanity, but all the crazy-making, indulgence, etc. that comes with it). in some ways, the insanity is easier. Easier than learning how to channel all that energy into something constructive.
i have always thought that the highest form of any art is not painting, or singing, or acting or photography-- the highest form of art is the ART OF LIVING, that ability to see yourself, your heart, as the canvas, and mold yourself accordingly as you learn and grow from experience. but i do relate to the "insanity is a very tempting path for artists" quote, so i struggle with this. perhaps its the love of the rawness of it. the raw passion of it. b/c the rawness feels so real, so alive. i dunno. so yea, i guess i particularly like what she said about trying not to go insane in the process. Actors are insane. Or maybe they are no more insane than the next person, but they just give themselves (or think the title 'actor' gives them) the permission to act upon their insanity, where as others hold it in check better.
which brings me to my point about my hair: that i've been trying to hold my insanity in check for so long now, and that i must continue to do so especially now that i'm a mom, that... well, the insanity is bubbling to the surface and i need something constructive to do with it.
which is why i am going to cut my hair. i dont' know when, probably when i can cough up the 3 C's it takes to get a decent cut and color in this city, but soon.
like chopping it off. not britney style, but close to it.
and dying it blond. or red. or purple. or black.
i need a change. i need some drama. i need some insanity.