How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
Henry David Thoreau
I read this quote the other day and it reminded me of my days in acting school. I moved to NYC when I was 19 to pursue my dreams of being an actor. I was living in a glorified closet with two other girls and a large cat. I didn’t like myself very much. I drank too much, I ate too much I was sad, broke, and lost in the big city. I was in class all the time learning technique and getting my “Jell-O back side” (her words) slapped by my ballet teacher. I spent my evening slaving at Barnes & Noble to have enough dollars to pay my rent. I spent long hours in classrooms, the theatre, and dance studio. I loved it and I hated it but mostly hated it only because it was a time in my life where I hated mostly everything. I spent two years at that school.
On my last day of class my teacher said to us. “Now forget everything I’ve taught you and go out there and get your heart broken.” As he spoke these words he leaned over his desk pressing his body into the side of his desk pointing his fingers at us tears filling his eyes.
I knew what he meant but I was petrified of the idea. As an artist I understood making art but living– really living scared the shit out of me. Still I knew (and know) I have to do it if I want to eventually create anything that’s any good.
I’m getting better at the living part, but it’s taking practice.
So what I want to say is just not to forget the living part of all of this, and how the living is where we begin.