Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What do you want to do?

Whenever I talk about moving home, I always get excited. I get excited because I believe that I’ll be motivated. But what will I be motivated to do?

I heard an interview with Jack White recently that summed up why I believe that Chicago saps my artistic/creative will. He was talking about why he chose to move to Nashville when he left Detroit rather than go the natural route of LA or New York (and before you go pointing out that he left Detroit, it wasn’t for artistic reasons, it was because nobody liked him).  He said that the reason he chose a smaller city is because the people who live in a big city don’t foster support for making art. That’s not to say they don’t go see theatre or go to art galleries because we all know they do. But they have so much access to art that the attitude is not appreciative. They don’t care as much. They go to a play and say “Oh Glengarry Glenross set in a struggling real estate office on the moon. Yeah, I’ve seen something like that before, but whatever.”

The Detroit area needs art. I remember when I was leaving, a lot of people gave me crap. My friend Adam and I were engaging in our time honored pastime of sitting in the courtyard of our building at three in the morning smoking cigarettes and prattling on about this and that and he told me I was deserting the city. I replied with a line I later realized was from the epic Pauly Shore masterpiece “Biodome”. “I’m a rat deserting a sinking ship.” I explained that I wanted to do theatre and more importantly improv and that I didn’t think there was much chance for me to do it outside of college because there just weren’t any places to do it. I had no confidence in Detroit ever becoming the artistic epicenter that Chicago is. Is epicenter the right word? Let me check.

The epicenter or epicentre /ˈɛpɪsɛntər/ is the point on the Earth's surface that is directly above the hypocenter or focus, the point where an earthquake or underground explosion originates

Ok, not the right word, but at least you learned something today. What’s a better word? Let’s go with powerhouse. How about that? Chicago has a lot of the same art that New York and L.A. has and I’ve heard those called powerhouses. Why can’t Chicago be a powerhouse? Is there some sort of governing board that determines powerhouses? What are the qualifications?

Anywho, I think it’s good that Detroit is not a powerhouse. I look at Detroit and I don’t see burned out buildings and dead grass. I see a place begging for me and my friends to come play. Please come make movies. Please come perform your silly plays. Please come do improv shows. Got a new idea for a business? Here’s a million empty storefronts just dying to have your weird hats on their shelves. Just do it!

Which brings me to my original question. What do I want to do? I envy my wife in that she knows that she wants to work in fitness, most likely as a personal trainer or group fitness instructor. I believe she would still do some theatre too, but being an actor is not her goal anymore. As for myself, I can’t quite say. I’m never able to put my finger on one single thing for very long.

I’m reminded of my days in junior high when I used to sit in the basement on three (or four or five or even six) way calls. For those of you under the age of say, 27, three way calling was when you would call a friend, hit the call waiting button, call another friend, and then have your own little conference call right there in the house. Just like a real life executive. Of course, my friends and I were mostly reciting lines from Dazed and Confused and talking about our non existent sex lives. On occasion, we would discuss our future. My best friend at the time and I would discuss a business that we would one day like to run. It was a variation on a giant head shop that we used to shop at called The Road Show. When we tried to nail down what our business would be all about my ADD kicked in. If I got my way, this shop was going to be the size of a giant warehouse. It was going to have a coffee shop, a performance space, a magic shop, a head shop, a record store, a comic book store, a bookstore....I think you get the idea. I knew I wanted to run a business but I couldn’t decide what kind. I guess I’m just fickle that way.

So now I’m trying to decide what will make this next phase of my life successful. Some days I think that as long as I’m usually smiling, spending time with my wife, friends, and family, and just living the life I want, I’ll be good. Other days, I want to be a director. Others, I want to own a comic book store or movie theatre. Some days I even think of being a freelance writer. The options and paths appear to be endless and as much as that excites me, it terrifies me just as much. Everything that is worth doing is probably a little terrifying though right? People wouldn’t jump out of airplanes if it was 100% safe.

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