This seems to be the personal growth summer. I have just returned from Arizona. While I was there, I hiked Bear Mountain in Sedona, attended a workshop for couples (with my partner, duh!), then did a 5 day workshop on…what was it on? My usual and not-so-usual craziness. Then I hiked partway up Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, saw a friend I’ve known for 20 years (and really love) and then took the night flight back to Boston, where, waiting for me, was an email saying an agent wanted to assign me a book doctor to make my non-linear memoir more commercial. If you’ve been reading along, I don’t think you’ll need 3 guesses to nail my response to that one.
Before I left I spoke to a living Reverend Alex (from my screenplay). Of course, her name isn’t Alex, but she’s an Episcopal priest who reminds me a great deal of the character and she is now on the long list of people I am in love with. Since the list includes gay and straight men, as well as gay and straight women, I can safely say that there is rarely anything sexual about me falling in love with people. It’s just…sometimes humanity is as wonderful as it is crazy and why not love if you can?
I have had very little sleep. I have no idea what I might say today.
Except that of course I am not going to rewrite my memoir to be more commercial. DUH!!!
But–and this is probably a surprise–I am going to step down as Artistic Director of Another Country Productions and give up producing theatre. I like film better. Frankly, I like just about anything better than producing theatre. It is completely 1,500,000% safe to say that I hate producing theatre, and now that I’ve worked with the lovely and talented Marc Ewart for over a year, I can really say that I hate producing theatre, because Marc has made producing almost bearable and if working with someone so fabulous doesn’t make you love a job, you should really quit. (Marc is very high on the list of people I’m in love with and I regularly tell him I adore him, which is very easy to do.)
Like I said, personal growth summer.
It’s kind of hard to say which thing in the last two weeks had the greatest impact on me. Sitting in a couples workshop (which I happened to be leading), next to my partner of 24 years, listening to her admit the very worst of her faults in relating to me? That kind of honesty is…moving beyond belief. How often do we really say…or how often do we even know…how hard we can be to reach? It’s so exciting to be next to someone who is cracking open in that way. Of course, hiking up Bear Mountain in Sedona, with the red dust staining my shoes and socks, and the silence of the desert building as the hours went by and I found myself on the mountain, completely alone, scaling the steep places, stopping in the rare shade, with the desert’s searing light and dramatic spaces, and the wonder and terror of the solitude…climbing down with my knees wrapped because I blew them both running down the Grand Canyon twice week for three months when I was 23…slipping twice, the heat building as the day crossed into afternoon, how small my body was against all that space. Or perhaps in the we-will-make-you-less-crazy workshop, listening to the love men have for their fathers, knowing that is something I will never have, knowing it more the longer I listened, because I was afraid of my father and these men were not afraid of theirs…or on Camelback, looking at the steepest climbing section and turning away, for once, from a physical challenge, because I was too tired to have my natural balance…a simple choice: I have limits, and I will not pretend I don’t. Then sitting with my friend, the warmth of that kind of long-lasting easy connection, haven’t seen each other in a year or two, and knowing anything can be said, history is known. And you know what? I could listen better. I could admit that I have the same faults as her partner. I could tell more of the truth to someone I’ve always told the truth to.
So, no, I am not going to change my memoir. I am going to hold my own opinion of my work, and I am not going to think I could have done better, or I should fit in more. Because why tell yourself lies? There is no room in the desert for anything but survival and truth. I used to live there, and I always hiked alone, and I loved it for its fierceness.
Lessons everywhere. Really. It’s all about paying attention.
I am also going to say, on August 8 of personal growth summer, that this blog is about spirituality because it means more to me than anything else. I would rather meditate and do yoga and lead workshops on intimacy than produce theatre. Of course, I would rather act, create beauty, be close to my partner (and friends), do yoga and meditate than anything else, period. There is such wonder in the world. There is such terror. We are all searching blindly for a way to love and be loved, and we are all clawing away at some unnamed, invisible adversary who stands in our way. It’s just so interesting. I mean, even pain is interesting, even suffering. I want to keep learning. Making a movie, which is what I am supposedly writing about, is only one small part of personal growth summer. As it should be. I am too enraptured living in the great I am to be held by any one thing.
Finish the sentence. I am enraptured because I am alive.