Tired Musings (The Give and Take of Trying to Be an Artist Sometimes)

Those of you who have been reading my blog lately will know that in a week’s time I will be performing in a show called Troika! at the Little Mountain Gallery at Main and 26th. I’m also working my Real Job and taking an Early Modern Literature class at SFU.

This means that right now I am running around with my head cut off and trying to take deep breathes and go to sleep sometimes. I spent every free moment last week painting props for Troika! while listening to The Essential Leonard Cohen and trying not to go insane. It’s probably a little too late for the attempt, but I do feel as though this level of insanity is at least manageable. It also made me want to make lists!

Things I will give up, put off, or forgo to get to be an artist sometimes:

  • Sleep
  • Hanging out with my friends (sorry guys, I’ll see y’all after the second week in August or so)
  • Cleaning my apartment (if you know me well or have ever lived with me you’ll know this hurts me)
  • Wearing clothes that match, or, you know, are clean
  • Reading my Maclean’s magazines (this one really hurts too–I’m so uninformed nowadays)
  • Doing my hair in a style that isn’t “pony tail” or “bobby pinned”
  • Sanity and dignity. M’h. They’re overrated.

My apartment is not supposed to look like this! (Prop design by Sonja Kresowaty, painted by me)

Things I will NOT give up, put off, or forgo to get to be an artist sometimes:

  • Some degree of financial stability (this means I work a Real Job, but that’s okay, it’s a good one)
  • My family (have you ever heard that “show must go on” hypothetical to gauge how serious about theatre you are, the one that goes “Would you skip your mother’s funeral if it was the same night as opening?” Well I have. And the answer is no. I wouldn’t.)
  • Eating. I once lost 6 lbs. in three weeks while I was directing, because I was too busy to buy groceries or to eat. Which is pretty extreme for me. Lesson learned.
  • My health. Headaches, sore throats, and nausea are pretty normal for me during a show, but illnesses I have come down with while being theatrical include pink eye, shingles, and H1N1 (though luckily quite mild –and this is when I’m trying to take care of my health).
  • Hygiene

At the moment, the two things I’ve noticed giving up the most are sleep and cleaning my apartment. I was already getting a little too busy to give the place the thorough cleaning I would like, and the frantic making of props did not help. It makes me mentally and emotionally irritated to exist in a mess but since it can’t be helped, well, I guess that’s that. I’ll live.

But I just want to sleep. Oh my god, I just want to sleep. I want to put my head on this desk right now and sleep and sleep and sleep. I want to go home, make a cave out of my duvet and pillows, crawl inside, and emerge two days later, feeling refreshed enough to move to the couch, read a magazine, and have a nap. And then when I was feeling more energized, maybe I’d go to my TC’s place and nap in his hammock chair. Quality time. You know how it is. Always some new place to curl up and sleep a little.

Finally finished at 1:30 am. Say hello to my new friends!

But I can’t. Not just yet. I’ve got another two weeks or so of mayhem. Good mayhem. The kind of mayhem that doesn’t let me sleep or scrub the bathtub but does let me work with my friends. The kind of mayhem that lets me paint props (which was actually really fun) and sing along to Leonard Cohen. The kind of mayhem that means next week I will be performing on a stage with my friends, sharing our stories with old friends, new friends, and strangers alike. That kind of mayhem. The kind of mayhem that says life is bigger and deeper and brighter than the cycle of work-home-eat-watch TV-drink on weekends-work-home-TV, etc. that is so seductive if my mind and my body aren’t active. There’s no mayhem in that cycle, but it’s not relaxing, it’s soul-draining.

So I’ll resist the call of my duvet and scummy bathtub, take rain checks on plans with my friends for a couple more weeks, try to stay focused, take my multi-vitamins, stay cheerful, and do the best work I can. I know my fellow Troika!-ers are feeling just as tired, just as scattered, and just as excited.

If you would like to see Troika! and its double-bill other half, The Troubles (presented by Resounding Scream Theatre), the show will run August 3-7 at the Little Mountain Gallery. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Brown Paper Tickets.

If you have any questions regarding this production, please contact Gina Readman, Production Manager, at troika.thetroubles@gmail.com.

Poster design by Arthur Yee

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