It is hard to stay hungry as an artist. Grad school was quite easy, it was like having Thanksgiving all the time but instead of gaining weight I learned how to balance the weight of my head on my spine and left with binders full of plays.
But being a working artist is a career one part feast and one part famine.
Famine for this purpose is not about waiting for checks to come in and worrying about this month’s bills, it’s about the times when nothing satisfies. It is that horrible ache because nothing is enough. You find creativity nowhere, not a single place. You stare at people walking the streets and you find nothing interesting. You look at books and think they are too heavy to carry around. You skip through your iPod and despise every song.
And the tired artist tends to morph into the bitter artist. You see people’s achievements and you think, “Errrr.” No movie strikes a cord, no articles make you think. You are beyond blocked, you are barricaded in. You throw yourself existential pity parties, you walk around sounding like a vacuum.
And then there is feast. Too many plays, so little time. You want to see this, do that, write this, research that. You want to hold meetings and can’t go to bed cause you’re thinking of scenes you aren’t sure if you should get up and write. You’re researching opportunities, scribbling in notepads during commutes on the subway, carrying around books and scripts and tapping furiously to music that blasts from your earbuds.
You want to be part of the world. You want to save it, scold it, recreate it and live in it. You want to be big and bad and sing a song and rock some words and show some skin and make yourself cry and make other people laugh and write like you never have. You want to be a rock star, you want to be a politician, you want to tell everyone it is going to be alright and you want revenge.
You have to gorge while you can cause while you will never feel full, you can always lose your appetite.
Right now, it’s all feast. It’s been a long time.