Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Xmas, yet again I have defied you!

i love christmas. i hate christmas. i love beautiful snow laden trees and moon reflected glowy nights. i hate dark days and freezing solitude. i love the rebirth of a fresh year. i hate the emotional upheaval of lost days, endings, and missed moments.

yes, i am a soldier of the winter doldrums. i'm not sure when it started. on the one hand, it seems like it has always been this way, yet on the other, i remember a time when xmas was only about santa clause and presents and school vacation. i think it must have been high school. there was one winter that is pristine in my memory, the penultimate for a young teenager with hope in her heart and stars in her eyes. that makes it sound much more dramatic than it should. but i suppose the important thing was that in the moment, nothing could be better.

and of course, what solidifies such a moment? the moment's end. and once life was once again tarnished by so many things, you are drawn back over and over to that seemingly perfect moment. you polish it reverently, till the edges are smoothed away, till it becomes something it never was, gleaming, perfect, infinite.

remembrances are all well and good. but a pearl is a dangerous memory. nothing in the moment can ever compare to something enhanced by such attention. if you are lucky, you have other good experiences, good days. and with time, these events will also be lifted above themselves. perhaps only your own memories can save you from your memories. the brightness of the new cherished memory dims the glow of the old.

as a child you have endless hope and future opportunity. then you have successes and failures. you lose things and you gain things. as you get farther down your own time line, you begin to see -or imagine you see- the endgame. with the end come the limits, not of your abilities or even your chances but of your time to reach those abilities, fulfill those chances.

how easy it is to get lost in the past, polishing, instead of living and creating new moments to remember a decade from now.

my sister recently talked about getting rid of her "box" -that collection of items that link you physically to memories, people, time. my "box" still lives on the walls of my childhood bedroom--mementos, pictures, posters of productions from high school to college to grad school and beyond. my mother told me she takes my little cousins on trips into "the museum" as they call it. that is frightening.

but i'm not ready to throw my box on the funeral pyre. i'm taking another tactic all together. i'll let them grow dusty, forget about them from time to time. then i'll add new moments to the old. i want to fill the museum of my heart all up till it's full to bursting.

we do this in acting. prepare, prepare, prepare. image, elucidate, fill out the corners of the imagined life, till you walk out on stage and it pours through you unconsciously.

course, the danger is living in the old and not making the new. this is my challenge for the new year. to prepare my real life as i do for the stage, to keep making the memories to out shine the old.

eh, resolutions!



  1. "there was one winter that is pristine in my memory, the penultimate for a young teenager with hope in her heart and stars in her eyes."

    penultimate? that's a bit "Williams-ian," wouldn't you say? perhaps even, "Faulkner-ian"? are our southern roots showing, my dear? ;-)

    all kidding aside, thank you for sharing that. it was terribly vulnerable (this coming from the guy who does all he can to hide his vulnerabilities...) and reminded me that i have to work on my off-stage life just as much as my onstage life. here's to us making this next year as alive and full as it can be. happy new year, gorgeous.

  2. Every moment counts. Every moment is what we make of it. Some of the moments that should be big ones aren't really as big as others in the relative weight of our emotions. For example, the memory of walking down the aisle on my (failed) wedding day didn't feel momentous. (Perhaps this was a sign.) However, I can remember one time riding in the car listening to a Phil Collins song and watching a tractor in a field when I was 6 and thinking, "The whole world is beautiful and makes sense." on a day when nothing else particuarly amazing happened. That seemingly lame moment still hangs with me. Our brains are totally weird, but the genius part is that we can make our own meanings out of things. We are the script writer, the director, the actor, and the audience, and the critics all at once.

  3. brent, i can't hide the williams or the faulkner. it's in my bones.

    'lyssa, you're right about the size of the moment. i have one particularly treasured one that involves the backseat of a car, a dark stretch of highway, and waking to some fabulous people singing the Police...

  4. I feel for people with seasonal affective disorder on cold, gloomy days like today. I hope you're just experiencing a mild dysthymic phase yourself and not anything more serious. if it makes you feel any better, I find the Christmas season difficult as well. January sort of feels like a clean slate as a result.

  5. ah chad, the scientist poetic ;)
    should i buy a grow lamp?

  6. Professionals all over the country have tried to figure out SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Being one of the afflicted myself, I have tried nearly everything from expensive to cheap, and have found that the cure is Tanzania where the sun comes up and down at the same time and it isn't so cold. That however rules out the potentials that make acting, good theatre, good film--the profound ups and downs, finding a nekked couple in the sound room. Take the good with the bad mother always said, and she had it, too. The holidays this year were a look back on beautiful wonder for me. Thanks for the post.



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