Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 20 - It Hurts? That Means It's Working

August 28th, 2009

This is day 20 of my 365 day blog entry challenge. During my little free time, I wonder if I’ve gotten myself in over my head with this giant commitment. The thing is, I’m pretty anal about the quality of my writing and need to know that I have absolutely put forth my best effort before I click it away into cyberspace. I’m not self righteous enough to assume that all my work is beyond brilliant and publishers will be knocking on my door. I just adhere to high standards with all things creative so I’m taking this very seriously. And hopefully having some cathartic fun along the way. Rest assured that you won’t find a note on my blog or my forehead that reads, ”My brain has gone on sabbatical. Please check back in 3-5 business days . If it’s an emergency, you can find me painting pine cones in solitude in the wilderness.” Assuming that I have readers, it just seems more doable if I declare this assignment to them. To you. To me.

This is not the first physically or mentally effortful task that I have applied on myself. One includes doing Outward Bound when I was 18. Basically, I roughed it in the mountains of North Carolina for 3 weeks and ended up developing my sense of self, participating in challenging expeditions in the outdoors and learned that it is wise not to eat cheese out of a bag labeled “bulk.” Also, running the San Diego Marathon in 2005 was another partaking that I initially wondered if it really was within my reach. Signing up to participate 4 months in advance made the reality of a 26 mile run a necessity. I crossed the finish line, couldn’t feel my legs for a few days and now have a hard time even finding the strength to spell R-U-N. When my eye is on the prize, I seem to persevere. In my comedy work, my very first stand up show was booked several months before the actual event at Gotham Comedy Club. Knowing that there was something to work towards, I was forced to be constantly testing my material at open mics. I got through my 10 minute set and then Seinfeld made a surprise guest appearance and went on right after me. Perhaps the universe was rewarding me by not having him hit the stage prior to my debut.

So now its Project Writing. It helps me to get out of the apartment to get the words flowing. I generally set up my portable office at some coffee shop. The plus is feeding off the energy of other people. The downside is that many of us right brainers are susceptible to distraction. We tend to “absorb “ everything around us. I might have a little self diagnosed ADD..or as my more spiritual friend tells me..I’m just energy sensitive and it is a heightened form of intelligence. Someone who blows smoke up my ass= friend forever.

Here are some examples of what takes my fingers away from the keyboard:

1) A woman next to me was reading a People Magazine and I found myself earnestly thinking “I just want Jennifer Aniston to find love. She’s been through so much.” I’ve never met Ms. Aniston but I was empathizing as if she had really stepped up to the plate for me when I was going through some challenging times. And when Jen hurts...I hurt.

2)Behind me were two stereotypical suited up business men having what appeared to be a conversation that was clearly not meant to be overheard. They spoke in their “let’s keep this talk private and use our extreme indoor voices.” It was affective because I couldn’t hear a thing and yes, that did piss me off. As they headed out, man #1 gave man #2 a knowing “pat on the back” that seemed to indicate that they had arrived at some understanding. I was left to create my own script and it went like this, “Stevens, I’m glad that we agree that it’s best to keep the hookers and coke incident from Wilson’s bachelor party on the down low.”

3) Distraction #3. A car drove by blasting the Hall & Oates song "Private Eyes". Immediately, I started humming a medley of Hall & Oates songs. No reason in particular. It just started to happen. Then the fact that they were popular in the 80’s inspired a recent memory of seeing an old Huey Lewis doing karaoke to a Huey Lewis song. He was mediocre at best and wildly drunk. After that, the idea of inebriation took me back to being the designated drinker in High School . And then the writer in me came back to revisit my original Hall and Oates thought and imagined something along the lines of, “ I’d like to see Barry Gibb and Daryl Hall have a high falsetto voice off.”

So yes, such spirals do occur. Yet it is comforting to see that what initially drew me away from my writing eventually ends up in my writing. Happy Accidents.

This commitment has clearly been healthy for me and I don’t see any benefit of dismissing it now. I would feel it’s absence. I figure it would be like the time the letter “H” came off my keyboard. I didn’t realize it’s importance until it disappeared. In the past 3 weeks, I’ve created “space” and am very aware that positive circumstances are just knocking on my door. Very prolifically and very real.

I just have to trust that this 365 day project will take me to the next level…perhaps in ways that I can’t even anticipate. But I sense that I am guaranteed forward movement in some way(hopefully many ways.). At times like this, I really feel sorry for models who have to know that their career has nowhere to go but down.

For now, I’ll keep writing. Where do I get my ideas? From things that happen at places during times.

When I wake up on August 9th, 2010..the time will be here to commence my next seemingly outlandish adventure.

A few preliminary ideas:

• Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
• Conquer Niagara Falls in a barrel
• Win the July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest..I can beat that smallish Asian man… I just know it!

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