Ma’ Skillz

20 May

I can do a pretty badass Australian accent. It’s confusingly good. Now, I’m typically a modest, humble person, but this is something I’m not shy about. I can also whip up some pretty rad UK dialects, starting with Received Pronunciation and moving onwards and upwards towards Manchester, slipping back down for some Cockneye. I can rock a German accent, though it may come out as vaguely Austrian, and top it all of with some Spanish verses straight from Barcelona.

I’m good at dialects. I am.

But what am I supposed to do with that skill?!

I  can do a pretty good Pocahontas impersonation in “Colors of the Wind,” make some pretty satisfying soups, make a snake out of my hands, and lull my cat into a deep slumber by hypnosis.

BUT WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE WORTHLESS SKILLZ?! 

That’s right. Skillz with a “z.” All the more demeaning.

I have recently been trying to determine what to do with my life. By recently, I mean for the past 3 years. And it has not come to much. I am too devoted to finding something that I equal parts value, like, and am good at. I find that very few people find careers that honor those three criteria. Not because their lazy, but because it’s too damn hard.

I may be good at something that I don’t like. And I may like something that I’m not good at. Making the search ever the more difficult is a career’s value. For me, that is a path that is fulfilling on a deeper lever, that gives back in some way and goes beyond a paycheck. That need makes the search nearly impossible.

And based on my skill set, it’s hard to miss the difficulty :

  1. Dialects
  2. Disney Showtunes
  3. Soup Making
  4. Hand Origami
  5. Cat Hypnosis

Then…there is always writing. A path that I deeply, deeply fear.

Having gone to school to become an actress many moons ago…alright, just a couple of years, I’m only 24…I thought that was my destiny. I felt an intense amount of joy and excitement throughout my entire “career” as an acting student. I was a part of a fairly prominent acting program and thought that I was on my way to achieving great things. I was worked to the bone, memorizing lines, attending our mandatory fitness classes, and managing to dabble in the sciences and humanities at the same time. Nothing mattered, as long as I was able to perform. THIS. WAS. IT. I loved it and I was good at it.

And then it…fizzled out right before graduation. I had no desire to audition, to throw myself at will into that dirty, dirty game. I knew that it would be a lifetime being at the mercy of every director, casting director in the world,  but mainly at the mercy of my own motivation and inspiration. That was not something I could depend on.

My final semester at school, I took part in a playwrighting practicum in London. I loved it, but in a different way. I was in control of my work. I didn’t need to be cast in a show, I was casting that shit. I also received a lot more respect in return. As an actress, I was just a brunette, vaguely ethnic looking blob. As a writer I was Tootsie Woo, recognize. I had ideas and they were heard. Not only did I have ideas, but those ideas would be converted into text and some sad sack would be asking me if they could recite them! A-whhhaaaaatt?

I liked writing. I was decent at it. And I valued it. Value.

So then…why not pursue that? Because I’d still be at the mercy of my own artistic inspiration, wouldn’t I?

When I wrote my first play in London, I experienced an intense high. I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning, scrambling to get all the lines down as quickly as they would come to me. When I watched it performed I nearly cried, and I still believe that is the greatest thing I’ve ever created. But after that deep experience I did not feel the urge to write for a few years. What if the same thing happens with writing that happened to acting? What if I’m unable to inspire myself, to be inspired? And walk away.

Even this blog is difficult, at times. I want to keep writing, to keep producing. But it’s hard when it all has to come out of me.

Where is the mindless, art-less desk job where I don’t need to be “on” every second. Or even better, a job where I can just speak in an Australian accent all day while cooking soup and cooing at cats?

I know it’s out there.

 

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