Sunday, May 21, 2006

Post Partum Blues

This weekend, my mood has swung downward. I'm grumpy. Of course, last weekend and the next few days were buoyant and happy for me. I like working with people--especially when I feel that I'm contributing something genuinely valuable, even unique--and I like hanging out with artists--especially of a certain caliber--and I dislike enduring the seemingly endless days of solitary living through which I stoically trudge when I'm not in a rehearsal room or on a film set (in years past, I would have said in a classroom or at a writing workshop). I'm particularly frustrated that my intense dislike of living alone feels like the biggest obstacle to WORKING alone; to settling into a groove, to writing and reading more productively, to going deep.... I'm tired of seeing people around me glaze over at my approach because I'm boring the shit out of them, not bringing my entire self into the room.

I recognize this is a 'post partum' trough into which I often slip after a satisfying creative peak. It's also another one of those brain-dulling, soul-draining moments that always come upon me before I'm to make some big leap forward, usually an artistic one. At moments such as this, all my old habits--of mind, of body--rise up like demons intent on pulling Faust down into the flames (remember Richard Burton pulled down through the pit that opens in the floor of his study?) before the 'new me' gets traction. Old thoughts rise. Last night, I saw a couple of actors from my days at Portland Actors Conservatory--they were faculty--and although one immediately commented on my apparent good health and calm mien, I faltered at the memory of the shame of those days. Yesterday afternoon, I saw the movie, DOWN IN THE VALLEY, and upon leaving the theater, felt the shame of my own tendency to live more in fantasy than in reality, in isolation, behind masks that don't fit. The evening before, I found myself on a date with a woman who seems intent on testing and assessing me in a manner I have not experienced since my last marriage. And in thinking over my work last weekend, I find myself in the gravitational pull of self-criticism, as the glow of accomplishment cools. All these old talismans.

It's a mood. A necessary one, in my experience, always the precursor to something new. It will pass.


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