The other night I was standing in our tiny, gritty, art space rehearsing for Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train. Got some productive time on a monologue with my two directors and then the entire cast listened to a former prison corrections officer share his experience with us. I love those moments when everyone is focused on the same goal–when the dots start to connect and you can see the pieces coming together. Mary Jane started showing up for me, for the first time, and I can finally see where she might want to take me.
I took the back roads home under a bright, round, moon under a sky of stars. I nearly hit a young deer–something that hasn’t happened since my Indiana college days. The road meandered between two lakes–the water so high and sparkling it nearly met the pavement. There were woods everywhere and a cacophony of crickets I could hear through the window. I rolled my windows down, let the spring air in, and the cricket-song moved me so much I started crying.
I feel like a desert wanderer who has finally found water.
In L.A., it was years between plays because it was so damn hard just to get an audition. And then, when I did get a play, there was always a sliver of hope that “someone” would see it; that it would “somehow” lead to “something.” Here, I don’t have that hope. I don’t have even a handful of friends in the area who will see me in this play, let alone someone who might cast me in a professional gig. And something about that is so liberating…to work again just for the sake of the work…to find joy in the pure experience–which I do. I was standing in that rehearsal and I suddenly felt a thrill go through my entire body. That hasn’t happened in a long time. It wasn’t because something had happened. It was just because I loved being there, doing the work, surrounded by other people who love doing the work.
And those crickets…God, I’ve been so starved for nature. In L.A., I’d work my ass off to be able to afford a three-day trip to a national park. It’d take hours to get out of that city of traffic. Now, everywhere I go, I’m surrounded by trees, water, stone fences, wildlife, history. I can see the sky. Driving home, I realized–I was as happy with these small joys as if I held the keys to the kingdom. I still want to be a working actor. I still want to make money and have personal freedom. I still want to be in the game. But it takes so little, so very little, to really make me happy. And I can’t believe how long I went without the smallest of joys and how lucky I am, at last, to feel them again.