With a good four full days off work now and no other project to fill up my mind, I begin to really honestly decompress, and this is where the scary part begins. This is the part where I have to face head on the fact that life outside of professional nerdly pursuits has grown pretty barren. Much great promise withered on the vine.
Some of this is a feature of my genetically-destined workaholic lifestyle — devote yourself 110% to anything and you'll find the rest in neglect — but it occurs to me now as I start in on this sad-sack self-pity topic that a greater portion of this barren sensation is really due to a failure of imagination, confidence and will more than anything else.
I mean, as a for instance, I know people who work professionally in the entertainment industry, and contra what you might think about the glamour of stage and screen, when you're working you're fracking working, and there's not much room for anything else if you're more than halfway serious, which, if you got there, you'd better be.
Maybe it's just the grass being greener, or deeper personal shit I'm not privy to, but none of these successful working actors and musicians I know feel like their lives are empty or barren when a gig runs its course. Doubtless there's some let-down and a rough reentry to a more normal civilian life, but by in large these folks seem to bear up over the longer haul because they have a whole inner world that fits with this, they're living the dream, and nourishing creative embers that burn even through the longest roughest stretch of worky working, ready to flare up the moment oxygen's back in surplus.
And for me? To quote Forest Mars – the only individual I've met who crosses the streams: Freaky Experimental Theater and A-List Internetting — I don't know where, but somehow I lost the script. At some point along the path of following the next logical move to the next logical move, following feelings and moments, all the while making some considerable progress, I passed beyond any master plan or vision I may have at one point had in mind. I'm out now beyond any dreaming, in a place I've arrived out of fortuitous circumstance, unsure of what if any next step would beckon my rambler feet.
I think this is a core root deep down Big Thing for the old Joshman to deal with in the new decade. Survival ain't no thing to eek out, but what exactly am I attempting to accomplish with this embarrassing surfeit of opportunity? Well dude, we just don't know.
Driving up to Portland today with the Markman and talking about our lives, I was struck by the pointlessness of ambition without focus. Everybody wants to rule the world, or at least we all want the revolution, but the means are the simpler part: give me a lever big enough and yadda yadda. Here in Estados Unidos, it's the specific end that vaxes. Without that, you're just acquiring juice, and if all you want is power and respect, on some level what makes you anything more than a thug? Because you're nice and cultured? Really?
We're a leg down on most historical revolutionaries in that we lack real enemies. Even the Bush "regime" failed to qualify there in anything but a rhetorical sense. Meanwhile, in Tehran, it's popping off again, and seeming to be a lot more bare-knuckles this time around. In a state which regularly hangs people and pays paramilitary dudes to keep order with dirtbikes and clubs, the people have an enemy, and even if the actual coalition behind the "green revolution" is a disparate and shifting mass-marriage of convenience, the dictatorial establishment provides a crucial focus, and excitingly seems to be slipping. Good times to be speaking Farsi.
And for me, there's an inescapable sense that these questions of purpose and my lonesome laments are bound up into something approaching a grand unified theory. I believe it's out there, though I also believe it to be elusive. It requires a keen and dedicated combination of imagination, confidence and will — to dream the dream, believe it is possible, and work to see it realized — for the secrets of the universe to unfold, for you to ride life straight to perfect laughter.
But this is the only way worth being, and the only way to morally really be given that you have the option, and aren't beaten down by starvation or oppression or a terrible abusive past. We have no choice, us pampered intelligent charismatic creatives. Anything less is a slap in the face to worldwide life chances, the actuary would have a field day if we shirked.
So yes, in the new year and the new decade we have to risk it all on hopes and dreams. Hopes and dreams to come.
Afterward I discover this related older post, and the lamentable fact that I haven't tagged anything "juicy" in nearly a year.