On a Unified Theory of All the Stuff We Do

For Anyone Who Makes Things and Wears Many Hats Welcome to the Workbench. For a brief introduction to the method and purpose of this blog, take a look here. Since this blog is generally for people who seek purpose in art, I sincerely hope that you do.

This is the first post! I’m very excited to finally be getting this off the ground, and I hope you enjoy it.

I do lots of things. Many of us in the creative fields do. While I will always consider myself an actor, since that came first, I have found myself unable to focus solely on that part of my identity. I have a feeling (a hope) that there are plenty of artists who are nodding in agreement already.

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This used to cause me some consternation, as our society seems to encourage specialization to a high degree, and besides, I personally like to be good at things. Most of what you read about how to be good at things tells you to focus on and practice for that one thing in order to become the very best at it.

But endlessly in my life I have found myself unable to drill down and just be this one thing. Part of this is pure economics: it is nearly impossible to make a living solely as an actor, so I had to do other things to get by.

But even as I (often bitterly) struggled along to pay the bills as an actor, supporting myself with one “day job” or another, I found myself pursuing other creative endeavors (some of which paid even less)…and loving them too. Writing, directing, choreographing…and more. My day jobs, first as a personal trainer and later as a fundraiser… later still a teacher, among other smaller “gigs,” became less objects of aggravation (“I’m not constantly acting! Arg! Curse you cruel world!”) and more objects of fascination, coming to be understood as yet another kind of creative endeavor, and deeply connected to the meaningful world of art.

It got to the point where I realized that even if I were to somehow become a famous actor, where only acting might make me enough money to live and have a family, I wouldn’t be able to drop other things. I’ve found that I love wearing many hats and playing multiple roles. Yes that was an actor joke.

This blog is about the why and how of living life creatively. I don’t propose to be instructive, though I know one of my hats is that of a teacher (it’s a fine fine hat). Rather, I propose to be exploratory and to share those explorations with anyone else who struggles with those same questions: What do I do with my art? How do I do it best? And, most importantly, why do I do it? For myself, I am formulating an idea of what links my artistic practices together in order to more completely form an image of their purpose and direction. How do I link together my love of storytelling and performing with my investment in movement culture and human performance? How do we tie together the questions of economics and business that surround the arts and a personal commitment to integrity and vital living? I’m sure some people have ideas for how to answer these questions, and those are conversations I’m eager to have.

The Theory

I don’t have a Grand Unified Theory of All The Stuff I Do yet, but I do know it has something to do with this: Delivering beauty. There is some sort of equation that has to do with learning to recognize truth, interpret it, and deliver it beautifully. It has to do with linking people who are thirsty for excellence with something they might not yet know is what they’re looking for…but the minute they see it they say YES! That was awesome!

It has to do with story being something that surrounds us — our bodies and minds are not static objects, they are processes, they are stories that are being continually told, and what we put into them, whether it is food, reading, visual content, or movement patterns, is reflected in the excellence of our mind/body/soul continuum. So there’s a start to the thing. We’re looking for answers and know that the answer has something to do with becoming. It’s as fair a start as any, I suppose. Let’s put it out there.

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