What an opportunity we have to say what we have to say when all has been said before. It's a chance to change what things mean. And that's really all that anything is about. Changing what things mean. I don't know how to be direct about this. Things changed their meaning for me recently. They change their meaning for me every day.
I don't know how to be direct about this so here's a dumb metaphor. The cream might rise to the top, but sugar kills you and the caffeine is what you are drinking the coffee for anyway. It's what fuels you... that bottom shit. I have now changed the title of this post from you have to keep working to that bottom shit.
But you have to keep working.
I have had (have) a lot of pain in my path as an actor (and writer). A lot of pain. But I've never, for a single moment, felt bitter about where I was in the "industry."
I am the industry.
I ought to be on Broadway. I don't believe this. It is the truth. The actor who was on Broadway might have thought, "I ought to be an academy award winner."
Broadway is closed.
And I might crack open wider than I ever thought. Nothing stops me from showing up everyday.
And you have to face every road block from preventing that showing up. And those roadblocks change and adapt as quickly as things change meaning for you. And if you are an artist, things change meaning for you every day.
One day you are in the cave, alone.
The next day, Gabriel shows up and nearly eviscerates you.
These roadblocks are more insidious than bed bugs. They are Oedipus not realizing he is the cause of the plague or the Dauphin's tennis balls at the start of young Henry's reign. You never see them coming, ever.
Praise can be as head spinning and debilitating as rejection. It might send you spiraling because you had no idea anyone was even paying attention.
Praise and rejection are the same thing. Just bullshit that gets in your way.
All praise is to god alone.
You get cast in the big part for the big company, but the reviews destroy you. You're sleeping in a barn with racoons wondering what the hell you're doing for this nothing of a company, but the right person sees you. Whatever... this isn't even the story to begin with. It really isn't. Because you might very well have been sleeping in the barn and have had the reviews destroy you while you did the thing for the little company anyway. And deserved the opposite. What do you deserve? Nothing. Nothing but your work.
You miss your shot by seeking it. Gaining status has its own benefits. Real benefits that you will eventually need. But it in itself means nothing.
It's not the same as showing someone the face of god. Which is what we really mean when we say something is art. We see the face of god in it.
You might end up seeing yourself all of a sudden at the center of events... a place no artist would refuse... but then be granted an opportunity to see something or someone no one ever dared to see before. And miss that shot. Because you are afraid of insulting those who gave you the keys to the gate. You miss your shot to truly change the face of god. And if that happens... nothing else will matter.
The Qur'an says that when all else is gone, it is only this face of god that will remain.
Broadway is closed. The gatekeepers will die and be replaced. New forms and mediums will arise and people will start making the wrong moves thinking they are "adapting" when they are just jumping from one shallow hoop to another.
Only the artists will remain. Only the face of god.
I've had a good week. But this good feeling is a lie, I know it.
But it's not.
But it is.
In the grand scheme of things... what is "brilliant" and what is "crap" is all the same. If done with the intention and presence of one who does not answer to the circumstance of this... what do you call it? Applause? Status? Attention? Success? If you just do it for the joy and play of it all. It's all the same. Just more pieces of the face of god.
I am excited to show you what's next not because it's anything different from what came before. But because it is what's next.
Nothing gives me more pain than hearing about extraordinary talent that has been devoured by the woods of circumstance. Some people just don't get their shot. It is a tragic story.
It is a false story.
Because if that person was or is extraordinarily talented, chances are they were (are) doing their work. And someone is seeing the face of god in it.
It might be the keen and sincere (and influential) producer. Who makes that talent a star.
Or it might be the fifteen year old kid eating chips a little too noisily in the back row. Who the world calls nigger. And who sees the face of god and decides they want nothing more than to show someone else that face. And they change the meaning of art on this planet all together. And in that invisible moment, two complete strangers create an unbreakable lineage. All because of the art. And the work.
I don't know about you but that second story sounds a little more thrilling to me.
I am excited to show you all what is next. God willing.