Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"I'm so busy making art that there's no time to live the life the art is imitating." -JB

I am an artist. That much is clear. And, I have always been an artist. Since birth. That much is also clear. 

Less clear is -why? And since scientists have been trying to figure this out for ages, I have no plans to attempt it here. But what I do wonder is this: what does it mean to me- exactly- to be an artist? 

This is guaranteed to be rambly. But what can I say? I'm an artist. Sometimes, in a quest to find life's answers, we ramble. 

I was curling my hair about an hour ago. I might- *might*- go to the children's room at the library today. And later, I hope to make it to Target. And the grocery store. Even in a place with the social pressures of Greenwich, those are not hair curling places. But it's important to me. Weird things are important to me. I dunno. Guess that's one of the many things that makes me an artist.

Over the past few years, I have had several opportunities to spend time with friends and just be fully immersed in our artsy-ness. We've created shows. And written books. And spent whole weekends talking about theatre and film and life and the state of things. And a very VERY big part of me wants to stay there- right there- forever. Just stay with my friends and talk and create and forget the rest of the world. It's where things make the most sense. And throughout history, many artists have tried to do exactly that. (I mean, have you seen "Moulin Rouge"?) And many of them end up dead from drug overdose. Because it's too much. Our brains just can't live there. We need a break sometimes. We need sitcoms and beer and big Hollywood movies (like "Moulin Rouge." Artsy friends, you know I was kidding about that. Right? Well, I was sort of kidding.) and regular life. We need a break, even when we don't particularly want to take one.

And these breaks from the artistic world provide other life necessities. Like food. And sleep. And clean clothes. We artists would like to pretend we don't need those things. And we often choose to indulge in our mental and emotional needs before seeing that our physical needs are met. Take now, for example. My stomach is growling. And we totally have food. And there is a lot of cleaning I could be doing. Not to mention part two of that blog that is now officially over a month late. But I "needed" to get this out of my head. No, not "needed." Needed. Our needs are different, us artists. But we still share that food water and shelter thing with the rest of the world. And sometimes we forget. And that's why so many artists die of exhaustion. (I mean, have you seen "Moulin Rouge"?)

So I guess that's the answer. Our brains are different. But our bodies are not. If you're an artist and you're looking for a way to find that balance, I recommend getting one of those little people who have bigger needs than yours. That's what I did, and she keeps me in line pretty well.

I should probably do some cleaning in preparation for the holidays. But I suddenly have the urge to watch "Moulin Rouge."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Unsolicited Advice

Ten years ago today, I got all dressed up in a fancy dress and went with my friends and family- who were also dressed up all fancy- to a church. Where I married my husband. (who was, incidentally, also dressed up all fancy.) And then we had a big party. And to celebrate that fact, I have been posting memories of that day on facebook. And to my surprise, other people are commenting and posting memories of their own. Granted, many of the people posting are family members. But not everyone. People remember our wedding. It is widely accepted as the most fun wedding ever.

And. Because so much of my career has centered around young adults, I know lots of people who are getting married in the coming months.

So. Here it is. You didn't ask for it. But here it is. How to have the second-most fun wedding ever. It involves some ugly truth. Are you ready for it? Here it comes....

Weddings don't matter.

I'll let you take a moment to recover while you pick up your ten-pound wedding planning binder you just threw at the computer. But I'm not taking it back. Weddings just don't matter.

It's a day. One day. With a party. Hopefully a really fun party. But there are only two elements that make any difference at all: two people, and some vows. That's it.

Don't get me wrong. Weddings are fun. Ten years later I'm still remembering mine. I took care in planning the details. And I was ridiculously organized. I handed the minister a full itinerary- complete with full script- like he had never seen. I mean come on, I know how to plan a performance.

But once the planning was over and we got within a week of the big day, I let it go. People who were there will back me up on this. I let it go. "Mindy, do you want red napkins or gold at the rehearsal dinner?"

"I don't care."

"You have to care. You have to choose."

"But I don't care. I choose for you to choose."

"But you have to!"

"Alright then. If one napkin color makes me more married than the other one, I pick that one. Otherwise, flip a coin and leave me alone."

I have no idea what possessed me to treat my wedding this way. Let's be honest. It's not like me at all. But something told me all that mattered was getting married, and I went with it. And I didn't do anything just because it was tradition. Again, I did many traditional things, but only if I fully understood them. 

"But you have to have a sit-down dinner!"

"Will my marriage not count?"

"Well, of course your marriage will still count..."

"Cool. I don't like sit-down dinners and I'm not having one."

And it's been ten years. And ours is still widely remembered as The. Most. Fun. Wedding.... Ever.

Eyes on the prize, people. And the prize is gettin' hitched. Period.

Alright, while I'm at it, let's talk about those vows real quick.

They're serious. And they DO matter. A lot.

If you're going to stand in front of God and everybody and promise to be with someone "for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live..." you can bet that He is going to give you ample opportunity to prove it. I think we've had all those things this week. (well, maybe not richer. Not with money, anyway.) But it's a promise. And I say this because so many of us (Ryan and I included) get married so young. It's hard to believe that worse and poorer and sicker would ever really happen. But it will. And the promise is that you'll stay together anyway. Even when you don't really like each other that much. Because if you hold up your end of the bargain, God will hold up His.

And I say this only to be encouraging- I have lots of friends and family who have, for one reason or another, gotten divorced. I'm not judging you guys in this, I'm pretty familiar with your situations and I get that sometimes it's what's best. (And for many, the match wasn't right in the first place...) But for those of you who are about to get married- and there are a lot of you!- just remember. Those vows are for real. They're a promise. And you're practically begging for them to be tested. But stick with it, and you end up sharing your life with the one person who gets you through it all.

Happy Anniversary, Ryan! 
12/16/2000 <3