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12:50 pm - Fri 12/19/03
Golden...For Now

Golden...For Now

Fri 12/19/03 (12:55 a.m.)

"Mattie wondered: If you do the right thing for all the wrong reasons, does it count?"

That's a line from Blue Shoe, the Anne Lamott novel I'm reading right now. I got a kick out of coming across that line, so soon after I was pondering the same thing (Lamott's character is referring to having recently stopped sleeping with her ex-husband after taking up with a new man; I was referring to our recent capture of Saddam Hussein).

Then, a couple of pages later, I came across two other things I really liked:

Mattie noticed how many secrets she kept from William, so that he wouldn't see her as someone with a lot of problems. She wanted him to see her as someone with just a few pieces of colorful carry-on luggage, instead of multiple body bags requiring special cargo fees and handling.

She felt like a teenager in love, radiating shyness and lust, and told herself not to expect too much, that expectations were premeditated resentments.

I like the first bit because it re-invigorates the idea of people having "baggage"; I think I actually laughed out loud when I read it (And I can totally relate to the sentiment).

And the other bit of writing just strikes me as being a great truism. Once you start expecting people to do what you want all the time, or situations to go exactly the way you envision, resentment is right around the corner.

(I guess me and Anne and the Buddha agree–Suffering is caused by desire–though I seem to be the only one of us who hasn't found a decent "coping mechanism" to deal with it.)

I like Anne Lamott because she's funny, and honest, and has a great "emotional generosity" towards her characters. I like both what she says and how she says it.

So I'm adding her to the list of "Writers To Aspire To" (I don't really have a "list", per se, but I can instantly think of a half-dozen people who would be on the list, if there were one–Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, J.D. Salinger, Barbara Kingsolver, Larry McMurtry, David Sedaris–and now Ms Lamott. So congratulations Anne–You made it!).


I'm feeling stressed.

Not holiday-stress, really, though I do feel some anxiety about John O's thing ("Will I have to drive to wherever-it-is?", "What do I bring?", "Will I have anything to say to anyone?", etc). It's more about an aggregation of little things, mixed in with a couple big things here-and-there.

One "big thing" is acting. And I don't mean career stuff, necessarily (Though that's an ever-present issue), but actually acting; other than that one crappy play I was in, I haven't done any real acting out here, and this is a huge problem, both professionally and personally (Professionally, since you don't list commercials on your resume, I still look like I got here last month; Personally, without acting, life can get to looking pretty grim for Jim).

I've hashed over the issues in here before--Basically, to do plays at night, I'd have to work during the day, and if I work during the day, I'm not doing commercial auditions, and commercials are how the vast majority of working actors make their money (And it's the only success I've had out here, and thus, would be very difficult for me to give up).

And there's the store...

Today is Bryan K's final day at the bookstore.

He's an actor, and his being an actor is a big part of why he's moving on; he was calling in late a lot (With not much notice) because of auditions, calling out (I'm guessing often because of an acting thing), and getting "occurences" right and left.

In addition, he was very unhappy about management's effort to have the music people log more time at the downstairs main info counter (Which is where I'm stationed most of the time, and where I'm most comfortable). His very loud, very clear unhappiness with that made a bad situation worse (I actually had a conversation with him about it, cause I thought he was pretty effectively sabotaging himself).

So he gave notice recently, basically getting out while he still could under his own steam.

In comparison to Bryan, I've been "The Good One" in terms of the whole acting thing; I call the store as soon as I know I have an audition conflict, I never call out sick, and in my time at the store, I think I've taken two personal days related to acting.

I've proven that I'm dependable, and that I take the job seriously. I think my reputation with management is pretty much golden at this point.


The flip side of this "golden" reputation is that it, oddly enough, makes me feel bad sometimes; I genuinely want to be a decent guy regarding my job at the bookstore, and I think I have been, but by the same token, I feel like I'm obviously not trying hard enough as an actor, cause if I were, I'd have "conflicts" all over the place, and pretty quickly quit seeming so "golden".

(Have I mentioned I hate having to work...?)

If I lost this job at the bookstore, that would be a massive, possibly fatal, setback. First off, I find the job pretty tolerable most days, and don't want to leave it in order to flip burgers or something. Secondly, I have no savings, and while I'm sure Cary and Kay (Or Mark and Jane) would help me out if I were in desperate straits, a little of that would go a long way, and I don't want to kill those relationships.

(It occured to me recently that, if pressed to the wall, my credit cards could keep me afloat for a time, though the idea of running up that much debt gives me a stomach-ache just thinking about it.)

On the other hand, I'm not getting to be a better actor by not acting. I'm not creating a career out here by not doing anything. And more critically, I'm not helping my spirits out here by not doing the thing that I came out here to do.

Fuck...I just want to bag a couple national commercials, then take a year or so off and just act.

But as I said to Jane today, sometimes I feel like planning my future around commercial income is like planning my future around winning the lottery someday.

I need to figure something out. That's for damned sure. Other people have done it, there's no reason I can't.

Either that, or I can go back to Lansing, and pretend I'm hot shit because I did an HBO commercial a long time ago.

I guess it's my choice.


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