By some wizards wave of the wand, it has been three months already that I’ve been in Missouri on my financially forced hiatus from my L.A. home. I knew it would be a difficult challenge, and it has- I’ve been alternating between, “This isn’t so bad” and hysterically crying over small things like being asked to take the paper I used to decorate my cubical prison walls down. I’ve never been so busy in my life. I work eight to five with a ridiculously heavy work load that demands my two least developed skills (math and confrontation) inside the cubical prison collecting money for newspaper ads and then I come home and work several more hours writing about plastic surgery procedures. The 12+ hour days Monday through Friday, in addition to other odd jobs, leaves me with only bits of time on the weekend and during my lunch break to work on my own goals. As someone who has had the luxury for the past three years of solely working from home and creating my own schedule- it’s been a tough adjustment.
One of the things that happens when you don’t have a lot of time to allocate to things is your priorities come screaming into focus. I often talk and think about and re-read this poem from my favorite drunken genius Charles Bukowski (I even have it tacked on the cubical prison wall behind my computer) and I want to share it with you now.
air and light and time and space
by Charles Bukowski
“–you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to
no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
I love that poem because it’s true. And I’ve kept finding ways and moments to create through this time. I made a commercial for Zenni Optical Commercial Contest and somehow won Third Place even though I didn’t have a nice camera or a crew (I had to tie the camera to a tree branch and my shower head) or much time to do it. I researched and found some film and theatre people here and made a short film of a scene from my latest play. I painted my biggest painting, wrote two songs, wrote several poems and a few short stories, and am about a month shy of finishing the first draft of my newest screenplay. For all this, however, I have also dropped several balls in many other ways- in relationships and in other projects. This is the point in the episode where Jack tells Liz Lemon you really can’t have it all. You have to choose.
I hate letting people down. It breaks my heart when my actions hurt others I love or when I fail to keep my word. There was a long period of time between when I was 16 to about a year ago when, due to personal experience, I thought if you let someone down they walked away forever. It was in part due to the theatre that I learned that staying in the room was not only much more interesting, healthy and productive but something people are capable of if you stay in the room too. The thing is that people make mistakes- most of the time they don’t mean to. No one wants to make a mistake- most people don’t want to hurt you. Things just happen because life and humanity is messy and imperfect. And when you are trying to do more than you are capable of, you are going to make mistakes. But that doesn’t mean life’s over- that doesn’t mean you just walk away from it all in shame- that means, learn why you made that mistake, do your best to make amends, and then move past it knowing yourself, your limitations and priorities better.Tweet