Weakened


I can't get down with the word "weekend." Try as I might, my preference in calendars makes me see them as "week bookends." On top of that (or perhaps because of that...?) Sunday usually feels in whole or in part like the start of a new week to me. It's amazing the way that eighteen years of habitual schedule can influence us -- I still get the equivalent of incomplete-homework dread at some point come Sunday.

My weekend past was a very full one, and full too of creative influences that I feel compelled to share and thereby digest in full. Chronologically, then: Friday night Friend Patrick came out to Queens and had dinner and discussion with Wife Megan and me. Saturday I was up early for acupuncture (during which I fell asleep and dreamt; a first for me), browsed my way through the city and found but did not purchase my new computer and desk, then at night saw a live performance by Break of Reality, who were promoting sales of their new CD. Promoting successfully, in my case. Saturday night, too, there was much dreaming. Finally, Sunday, W.M. and I roused ourselves in time for a great brunch with Friend Geoff in the West Village, had a bit of a scenic walk and then attended the much-anticipated musical adaptation of Coraline. The weekend wound down with drinks at a bar where a friend was DJ'ing, then home for dinner and a late bedtime.

I'm suffering a little this morning from all that activity and the lateness of last night's hour but: goodness, was it ever worth it.

I often lament the lack of cultural occasion I have time for. If it were up to me, I would have seen every off-Broadway show of the past ten years. It is ultimately up to me, of course, but I prioritize things such as food, or sleep. Such is the weakness of my artistic appetite. It feels wonderfully fulfilling, then, when I have a weekbookend like this last, more full of creative experiences than of errand and obligation. Perhaps nothing specific will come of it all, but you never know. Every experience feeds into the cauldrons of our minds, to pop up at the most unexpected moments, and the dinner with Patrick is just as likely to influence my next acting role or writing as is the one play I've seen in months. It is certain that Break of Reality will be accompanying me on my journeys through the city over the next few weeks, however. I only wish I had a recording of one of the covers they performed Saturday: Metallica's One. Lots of different bands have covered this metal classic. BoR's was the definitive.

Speaking of personal responses to such things, a few words about Coraline. It's hardly a unique response on my part, but I was struck by how much the show made me want to build something of a similar idiom. I wasn't swept up in it. In fact, on the whole I was disappointed by how few moments from the show moved me. Great work all around (with some favorites: the lyrics, the ghost children and the performance by the actor playing the cat) but somehow it was for me more a show of ideas than a show of emotion, or catharsis. That's about as personal as a preference can get, and I can say with some confidence that most of my colleagues have a more emotional appreciation of the work of the downtown New York theatre scene. The show invited an imaginative response from the audience, and it got it (my appreciation of the ghosts on this particular matinee was darkly mirrored by the trauma of the little boy sitting in the row ahead, who had to leave the theatre for crying). I only wish it had connected with my heart a bit more. There's a mini-narrative in the story about Coraline's father braving a swarm of wasps so she can flee to safety. It was told simply, and even had a distinct moral, which can be deadly to verisimilitude. Yet it moved me. It surprised me with my own response. I wanted more of that.

All-in-all, a good lesson to take with me in my creative pursuits moving forward. This weekbookend is destined to be rather the opposite of last, I'm afraid. Travel, and lots of time spent with people rather too young to discuss literature or, indeed, even downtown theatre. (They do have their own charms, of course.) Still, it will be a good weekbookend, just in different ways. And I've a secret plan to finally buy that laptop . . . though still not the loverly desk . . . and burrow out a little creative space for strengthening some of my own creative homework . . .
 
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