We're driving towards the Griffith Observatory with Frank Sinatra serenading us along the way. Tiffany is sitting behind me, Josh is driving, and I'm dressed like Audrey Hepburn in the passenger's seat. There's a large black hat on my head and my Grandma's costume jewelry is draped around me. It's a beautiful day in Los Angeles, and the three of us are talking about our hopes and dreams. None of it seems real. It doesn't seem possible to be this happy.
Exactly a week ago, the three of us went on an adventure through Griffith Park as part of a photo shoot concept that Josh and I had collaborated on together. He is an up and coming photographer, experimenting with the concept of portraiture, and I (usually behind the camera) decided to step outside my comfort zone and attempt to pose. When we first came up with the idea, Josh asked me what type of photography would I like to explore. Usually if I'm working with photographers, I like to have them capture me in everyday moments. I like to focus on my quirkiness and the fact that I'm a creative person. I have not (at least since college) participated in a themed photographic adventure.
So when he asked me what I'm drawn to, I had to go with vintage 1940's style. I grew up on films such as Casablanca, It's A Wonderful Life, and The Philadelphia Story. Women like Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, and Rita Hayworth were all role models to me. I admired their gumption, style, and wit. Especially Katherine, mostly because she reminded me of my Grandma - a woman who never backed down from anything and spoke her mind freely. Also, both of them had their own unique style and wore it with the greatest of confidence that you couldn't help but be slightly intimidated by them when they walked into the room. Have I never mentioned that my Grandma bought matching silver shoes and a silver purse to go with her silver mustang at the prime age of 75? Yeah, she was a bad ass.
In the end, it was a culmination of 1940's to 1960's style. We visited the Observatory, the Merry-Go-Round, and the Train Museum throughout Griffith Park. While sitting side saddle on one of the ponies around on the Merry-Go-Round, I couldn't help but feel like Mary Poppins with my large hat, diamond earrings, and cotton candy wrapped around my black silk gloves. It reminded me how much I love to play pretend. To step out of reality and into a different character - one of the reasons I was always drawn to acting, and continue to write about people in their various lives. This day was escapism at it's finest.
There were so many ideas we had originally discussed that we never got around to, but we aim at working collectively on several more photographic projects together. I couldn't be happier with how these select images turned out though. With the amazing help of my best friend, I don't know if I would look as confident as I do in these. God knows I can't take myself seriously as a "model" because the whole idea is just ridiculous to me. I am so much more comfortable hanging out in the background (as a photographer and writer, it just makes sense to me), but I am pushing myself to try new things and experience various creative aspects that I don't usually partake in. Needless to say though, there were many inappropriate jokes and fart noises that occurred during the day to lighten the mood. Oh, and there were several rules we broke along the way at each location. I would share those details, but I don't want to leave a paper trail.
Unfortunately, Josh does not have a website to which I can direct you to, but he will have one soon - I promise. Until then, you can admire his work here and on Instagram (if you have one) @joshyadon.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a train to catch. (Horribly cliche, but necessary with the photo)
Last week I wrote and submitted a ten minute play to a series based here in Los Angeles. While my play didn't make the cut for the final staged readings, I am just so freaking happy that I actually sat down and wrote some creative language. As I have mentioned before, there is this horribly negative connotation of failing that we have naturally succumbed to in our society. Something I'm continuing to learn is that it is so much healthier to look at things with the idea that we are failing up instead of down. We learn from what we do or do not do; and I cannot help but be reminded of Ira Glass, and one of the reasons that I love him so much. It's okay to fail, as long as you keep pushing forward.
Based on my previous article and my current situation, it would appear that I either need to be on a plane or sick in bed to write something for my blog. Either way, I'll kind of encompass that in this entry.
I’ve never been very good at taking care of myself. If you were to ask my close friends, they’d tell you my favorite meal would be a large Guinness with a basket of onion rings. Lately though (despite this current illness) I have been doing a pretty kick ass job at it. I start my mornings out with a smoothie, work a ten to twelve hour day in the office, practice yoga or go rock climbing in the evening, and am home by 11pm – where I continue to edit a couple films that I’m currently developing and editing. On the weekends I go hiking, kayaking, and host business meetings in my studio. I manage an apartment building and pay all my bills on time. I even paid off a giant credit card and cut that thing into pieces- that's right! After not taking care of myself for so long, I finally feel like I have it all - a healthy working life balanced with an active social life. Who could ask for anything more? Well, of course, I am.
Okay, yes, looking at my life from the outside, it would appear that it’s pretty damn awesome (which, don’t get me wrong, it is) but what a lot people don't see is this emptiness dwelling deep within me. While I’m out there posting these photos to Instagram and Twitter, I am in fact covering up a giant heartbreak that has slowly been eating away at my soul for some time now. Damn. That sounded a little grim, didn’t it? Let me see if I can explain it better.
Earlier today I saw this post on Facebook that was asking people to list female playwrights that they knew. I scanned the list and smiled as familiar names piled one top of the other. Then, this thought crossed my mind, one that has been haunting me for months. Do I still consider myself a playwright? Sure, I have a degree that states I studied the art of it in college, but what does that really mean? I can’t tell you the last time I sat in front of my laptop and wrote dialogue or even a character description. I can’t even grasp the title of the last play I read.
That’s when it hit me. While scanning those names, I realized that my heart is truly broken because it is the only thing I am not taking care of in my life. I’m not feeding my creative soul.
While I am working on several projects with groups of friends that are all inspiring me and pushing me towards new ideas, I can’t help but think back at the girl I used to be in college. The girl who came home drunk one night after telling a boy she liked him, only to have her two best friends put her to bed and set her alarm for 6 a.m. so that she could write forty pages of a script due to the next morning (which she did). The girl who lived the cliché of working at a coffee shop, and spent her summer in Prague taking writing and photography classes. She would have cringed at the thought of sitting behind a desk for the majority of her day. She would smack me across the face right now and ask me what I am doing with my life when there’s so much left of me to give. She would think that I've given up.
I believe that we are all blessed with certain passions or talents that direct us down the path we call life. Some of us are born to be dancers, performers, engineers, or astrophysicists. I was born with a pen in my hand (or that could have just been my umbilical cord). Okay, steering away from gross metaphor-ville, I believe that writing is an art. Even if it’s a comedic sketch about farting, it’s still art, because where does that idea originate? I have written several pieces that I could not tell you from where they were conceived. Suddenly, the words just started pouring out of my fingertips and there they were. I never felt that way with performing while growing up. I never felt that genius appear while being on stage. That simply just fed into my ego. Writing though? Writing fed me and I know it’s the gift I have been provided that can actually make a difference – as corny as that sounds.
What I’m going through, this creative depression if you will, is something that I have shared with a slew of friends across the board. We all want to pursue our dreams (whatever those might be to us) but we continue to work crazy long hour days and then spend our nights either in front of Netflix or with a solid drink in hand because our brains can’t handle much more information and we just need a moment to chill out. While doing so, we continue to beat ourselves up with resentment that there’s not enough hours in the day for us to do all that we want. We tell ourselves that maybe it would be better to just move to Europe and start retirement early; spending our days in bookstores and coffee shops. Living the dream. Maybe then we would feel like we finally made it in our lives. Maybe then we would be free.
Is this what it means to be in our twenties or thirties? Still grasping at this life we idealized for so long, and finding ourselves frustrated that we’re not there yet. It doesn’t help with social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. Now we can visually compare ourselves to our peers and continue to beat ourselves up that others are living the dream we imagined. Where did we go wrong? How can I obtain their life? What am I doing differently?
Soapbox moment: We should all stop comparing ourselves to others through any social media or website, and just live our own fucking dreams.
Who put a time constraint on it all? Who said you have to have obtained this much by this age? It’s damn frustrating and can make someone just stand still because they’re too overwhelmed by either A) all the possibilities B) failure C) success. Personally, failure has never scared me. I’ve grown accustomed to looking like an idiot, because I’d rather look back and say: “at least I tried”. What in fact scares me is the idea of success. Even for someone who moves around and travels as much as I do, I get comfortable in my surroundings, and the idea that something could alter my way of living intimidates me. In all honesty, what worries me the most is that people will actually start to listen to what I have to say- yes, I realize that I’m stating this on my worldwide blog.
What it comes down to is this: writing completes me. It’s what gives me purpose and makes me feel like I’m contributing something to the world. Playwriting might only be one aspect of my creative juices, but it's a large component of what makes me the person I am. I've distanced myself from it for far too long, and it's due time that I step back into that realm. The truth of the matter is that I've found myself in this heartbroken/creatively-depressed state because I’ve allowed my own excuses, comparisons, and intimidations to override the yearning I have to write. I’ve spent my days doing anything and everything but writing because somewhere along the way I decided that I needed to get my life in order before aiming for the thing I want above all. Well, now everything else is in order, so what’s there left to do besides fulfill my dreams? Seriously though, what else is there left to do besides aim for what you want? To quote one of my favorite spiritual teachers: “Do, or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some dialogue to tend to.