Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 83: Beast-Feeding

Sometimes I feel like I have a beast living inside of me with a voracious appetite all its own.  There is the "normal" Natalie, the "getting through life" version of me that needs food, shelter, sleep, relaxation, time with loved ones, exercise, sex, a good book and maybe a movie every now and then. Then there is the BEAST.

The beast has its own hunger: an endless, insatiable need to sing, to write, to perform, to create.  To be immersed in the creative process on some level at all times.  To be surrounded by other artists.   To bear witness to great art.  To express.  To make itself known to the world. To create. To create. To create.

The endless aching need of the beast can wreak all sorts of havoc in normal-Natalie's life: sleeplessness, depression, crankiness, the piling on of too many self-imposed projects and deadlines which leads to more sleeplessness, depression and crankiness.  Its need gets confused sometimes with other hungers, and I'll end up eating giant bowls of popcorn or entire pints of ice cream while sitting frustrated at the computer, unable to write. Sometimes I try to sedate my beast with multiple martinis, distract it with empty entertainment or placate it with promises of projects to be done tomorrow.  But the need, oh the need never ends. 

For even when the beast is fed, even when I've written a successful piece, or had a fantastic performance, the beast is not satisfied.  Unlike my stomach which will tell me after a good meal, "ah, now I'm satisfied, thank you very much", the beast instead says "yes, that's what I'm talking about!  Now give me MORE!"  It is the cookie monster.  It has never had enough. 

It seems the best I can do is to give it a lot of snacks.  To not let it go too long between meals.  To always give it something to chew on.  And, to gently tell it that sometimes it is going to have to go to bed hungry.  But I promise that I won't ever let it starve. 

I fed my singing beast a delightful snack by singing at Opera on Tap this week.  Of course, it immediately said "MORE", and another singer and I spent 20 minutes after the show brainstorming about duets we can do together at future performances.  This weekend, I've planned to give my writing beast a substantial supper.  I'm in the country with some dear friends, away from all the distractions of work and home, with three days to devote to writing my play.  My beast is fairly chomping at the bit.

But normal-Natalie and Natalie's Beast are already in conflict, as normal-Natalie desperately wants to take a nap before I start writing.  I think in this case, normal-Natalie is going to win.  After all, I house my beast and have to be functional to actually be able to create the beast's supper.  So, off-line I go.
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