You know what isn’t healthy? Waiting around for something to happen. We have a need to feel like we’re in charge of our own destinies, that our actions matter. This can be a tricky thing in the arts, where we’re so often at the mercy of other people’s decisions – whether they cast us, whether they program us, and so on. But even then, there’s classes we can take and writing circles we can organize and all sorts of other tasks, large and small, to keep ourselves free of the malaise that sets in when we’re just sitting around our apartment, waiting.
So how am I spending the Quarantimes? By sitting around my apartment, waiting.
It’s not that I’m inactive. The Tuesday night reading series I co-host is still going strong; I have a new brief online project which started rehearsals yesterday, and other informal readings to take part in over the next few days, so my calendar is busy. However, each of these involves me making sure I’m sitting at my desk, at my laptop, at a certain day and time. All of the preparation I do for these also involves me sitting at my desk, at my laptop. For instance, I do the casting for my Tuesday reading series over the weekend, which involves me emailing the various actors in our community. And waiting for their replies – which, again, has me sitting at my desk, at my laptop.
And that’s just my creative life. My day job is being conducted remotely; hopefully we’ll all be back in person come the summer, but for the time being, being gainfully employed consists of me sitting down at my desk, at my laptop, for nine or ten hours at a time on the weekdays. Being in person again is dependent on people getting their COVID vaccines, which, here in New York at any rate, is a long and cumbersome process that depends on one sitting at their laptop, navigating the various city and state sign-up websites – and once again, sitting in their apartment, waiting.
Back in the Before Times, we used to refer to the grind of auditions, errands, and whatnot as “pounding the pavement,” and there was a value to it that we didn’t recognize at the time. Even if nobody was interested in casting us, even if we struck out at every opportunity we travelled to, we were physically walking to each one. Actively doing something, even if it was only the most mundane physical activity, allowed us to feel as if some progress was being made, somehow. It kept us focused. It kept us in a state of mind to keep on creating, keep on perservering. That’s not possible at the moment. I can go for a walk, sure – I’m luckier than most, in that I have the Brooklyn waterfront greenway right near me – but I’m cut off from everything when I do so. To get anything done, I have to go back to my desk, and my chair, and my laptop – and feel myself slowly going to seed as I do so.
It’s not the ideal state of affairs.
And I’m not sure if there’s any way to fix it, other than wait for my turn to get the vaccine and get back to the process of rebuilding something “normal” once that’s done. And I don’t know what “normal” will look like after this. The one thing I do know, is that I’ve come to the end of this blog post.
And now I have to wait, until tomorrow morning, to post it.