Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 203: The Anxiety of Hope

I'm starting to hope that something could actually come of this play, and that scares me.

Tonight is the first reading of the first draft of this play.  Tonight, for the first time, people (including me) will hear this whole story out loud.  It's starting to seem real, now that I actually have a finished draft.  And, I honestly think it's good.  That makes me want.  That makes me want to hope, to dream, to strive to take this play somewhere.  Unfortunately along with hopes and dreams comes the risk of disappointment, and there are few things in this world I like less than being disappointed.

I like this bubble I've been in, just doing my art for me and not being overly invested in where it takes me.  So far, this "birth of a play" project has felt more like my own personal growth can-I-do-this project than the striving-for-a-money-making-career-and-fame kind of project my opera career was.  I won't lie and say I haven't fantasized about winning a Tony for best play -- or even thought about what I might say in my acceptance speech -- but it has been a playful fantasy rather than an aching need.  I'm afraid if I start working towards actually making that happen, I will start to want it, to need it so much that it will make my writing less authentic, the way I think my need to be successful got in my way as a performer.  I'm also afraid of experiencing the death of another dream; afraid of being crushed again; afraid of losing the pure joy of doing art for art's sake.

But I don't want to just let my play languish on a shelf, satisfied that I wrote it and content to never have it heard or seen.  Can I work towards the goal of getting my play produced and stay unattached to the outcome?  Is it possible to be driven and work towards goals without being overly invested in them?  It was a balance I was constantly striving to achieve (and rarely succeeding) in my opera auditions: to be committed and invested and not attached to the outcome.  I honestly don't know if it is possible.

I am hoping that the greater balance I have achieved in my life in the last couple of years will help me to navigate these treacherous waters more smoothly.  I need people and things other than my art more than I did before.  I could still never be content without it - I will always be creating and striving towards one creative goal or another - but I have learned to place greater value on other things than I used to.  Perhaps those things can keep me afloat even if this new dream of a successful play never sets sail.

Here's hoping.
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