Adventure Outside Yourself

I just finished another 12-hour day working on the play. I remember a good friend of mine, who was a professor at Centre College and then took a position at Washington State University in Pullman, said his wife complained she wouldn’t see him for weeks on end when he was directing a play. He told her that was true, but one of the best peripheral advantages of a director is once the play is over, you hang around the house all the time. I’m not sure if his wife complained about that but I know I don’t. When I’m not directing or embroiled in writing a new script or reading the work of other playwrights, I have adventures. I don’t travel in the regular sense, and I never take vacations. Vacations are for people who want to escape from their lives. Only they usually end up staying at the Hilton in Paris or the Hilton in Mexico City or the Hilton in Beijing which oddly enough end up just like the Hilton in Salt Lake City so I’m never quite sure why they went anywhere else in the first place. Adventures, on the other hand, are life on other planets, a walk in the sandals of someone who looks different from you, a wrong turn down a paved road that disintegrates into a cowpath with no way to turn around. I love adventures. When I’m used up, when my creative self shrivels into a prune and my muse stumbles from my shoulder, I have an adventure. Within weeks or months or however long the adventure entraps me, my blood turns crimson red once again and my mind races with ideas. I’m as excited to get on to my next script, no matter which side of the page I’m on, as I was as a child waking up on Christmas morning and rushing downstairs to open my gifts. Well, actually, we lived in a ranch-style house. But, if there had been stairs I would have rushed down them. The point is, when you’re an artist, it’s all about you. You are your work. You may have written a great play, you may have performed an outstanding role, you may have directed an intriguing masterpiece, but the next one that comes along may fall flat if you haven’t taken the time to replenish your reserve with new experiences and fresh perspectives. So the next time you find yourself just hanging around the house with writer’s block or director’s envy suffering from whatever it is that’s stripped you of your mojo, go outside yourself and discover a new life. It may be lurking right around the corner.