Saturday, March 13, 2010

Go East, Young Woman.

I am leaving for Berlin in two days. Yeah, Berlin GERMANY. My great grandmother came over on a boat in 1913, leaving her German roots (which were more specifically planted somewhere in Russia off the Wolga River) and headed West, young man. And now I've started a fantastic journey which involves quite a bit of heading East. Towards the rising sun. Poetry Alert - this concept is pinging on quite a few levels for me. The idea of Going West is a deeply ingrained American, perhaps even masculine, and definitely youthful spirit. Our young country went West 160+ years ago, searching for land, hope, gold... any number of symbols of American freedom. The West has, for a long time represented so much about the American spirit of space, independence, the future.
The New World is the West.
And for maybe more than a few years I have been drifting back East. Back to Atlanta - sure, that's an obvious one. Over to the Old World of Germany, where East and West have only recently been on speaking terms. But there are other metaphors that I can't help but apply as well. Eastern spirituality has been calling to me lately - yogic retreats, Hindu prayer groups, poly-theistic notions of God within everyone and everything. What does it mean to feel this need to unstitch myself from the fabric of generations of ambition and progress? Am I just getting old, too tired to push further West? Is there any meaning at all in this faintest of patterns? What's left to discover and explore?
When we got to the Grand Canyon last May, I had this little game I would play with myself. I would pretend that I was a pioneer, traveling for years across the uncharted trails of the Midwest, dragging my restless family in tow, not knowing or being able to explain why I needed to keep moving or where the hell I figured we'd end up. And I would imagine that insane moment of vertigo when after the hundredth boring hill you looked up and saw the canyon gaping out in front of you. 'Oh crap.' And 'Oh wow.' In the same breath.
There IS something new about being pulled East. Something more feminine, more creative, in a way the opposite of the pioneering spirit, in the way that one side of the coin is the opposite of the other. If going West is the Young Man's dream, maybe going East is the Young Woman's path. Or maybe I just like to travel.

And one last note: the link I placed up there is a link to the fundraiser campaign we are hosting to generate some financial support for this international collaboration* which has already brought me so much expansion, and may in the future (as it builds momentum) support other wandering artists like me. If you wish to contribute in any way at all, I would be very grateful, even simply for your thoughts and well-wishes. Thanks in advance. -T

*International Collaboration: I am traveling with a small group of artists to Berlin to perform a Fassbinder play titled Bremen Coffee. I play the lead. I will also be doing comedy improv shows every night after the play. It is a dream come true.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How Do You Measure Excess?

Ah... even the title of my blog post is indulgent. It sounded like such a clever title that I had to use it, whether it really applies to what I want to say or not. "What the heck am I doing?" is probably a better title. The novelty of my move has worn off and the old habits are rearing their ugly heads. I haven't started yearning for LA. I don't know that I ever will. I truly don't think I 'pulled a geographic.' But I'm going to be straight with you here. I think I may have lost my navel-gazing mind. I don't think I can even admit to you what a strange place I am in... I don't want to sound, well, crazy.

I gave up my career, which I had previously given up everything else for... but I never really had a plan. I didn't really ever know what I wanted, specifically, so I couldn't ever really say if I got it. The title of my Blog is Lucky Star, because the phrase that I have found best describes this phenomenon (or essence) is "I was born under a lucky star and I'm just trying to stay under it." I get this image of me, staring straight up into the night sky, like a seal with a ball balanced on her nose, just trying to keep that star balanced above my life.

And now here I am, Square One. Again, I have no goals, no plans, just whims and urges. Most days I pretend that it's fine with me that I live this way - many of my urges lean towards having fun, eating, sleeping and having adventures. But then there are the days when I realize that I may not be able to keep living this way forever, or worse, that I may not WANT to. Its kind of like there is some sort of protective chemical inside my body that puts me to sleep soon after I start thinking this way. If I could just stay awake long enough to make some real choices... And now I'm getting sleepy, very sleepy...