I had a conversation with a close friend the other day who is a teaching artist. We were catching up and somehow got onto the topic of commitment to one’s vocation, career, artistic practice, etc. It can often feel challenging to cultivate a consistent practice in the arts, especially as a freelancer. Sometimes there are circumstances beyond our control (ahem, a pandemic) that, no matter our passion or work ethic, can come between us doing the thing we want to do. That certainly has been the case for theater artists this year. I know, you’ve heard this all before.
I often feel like a broken record these days. I come back to this again and again because the longer I am away from working with actors in a rehearsal room, the more disconnected I feel from this part of the theatrical process that, before the pandemic, felt like the lifeblood of my practice. With separation comes fear and doubt. Will I be able to get back to that? And when I do, will I be able to handle it? Will I be rusty? Will I have lost the skills I had been building before the pandemic? Writing about it makes me feel just a little bit closer to getting back there.
I am trying to focus on what I’ve gained this year. Writing is something that I used to have little time for and when I did find the time, I struggled to stay focused. My attention was pulled in many directions while I was also directing, producing and acting in live shows. But in 2020 and now into 2021, I have had the time and space to cultivate a consistent writing practice. I’ve seen my writing grow leaps and bounds this year thanks to classes and programs, like the Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist grant, that have kept me moving and motivated. I’ve been chugging away on a new draft of Ghost Player and have had the opportunity to write more grant and residency applications than ever before. I was nominated for SDC’s Barbara Whitman Award for female/trans/nonbinary early career directors and am in the midst of completing that application. And I am beginning to prepare for July’s Creative Pinellas exhibition, which I’ll be sharing more details about very soon!
I know that when I finally can get back in the room with people, that deep thinking and writing cultivation will not have been for naught. Writing has helped me process so many of my thoughts and feelings this year. And I’m looking forward to a future where these are integrated more fully into my daily life and artistic practice.