Hello, citizens of the NewMusicalTheatre nation – my name is Nick Blaemire, and I’d like to commandeer this here blog for a few paragraphs to talk about a seemingly innocuous, not at all innocuous four-syllable word – “temporary.”
It’s been coming up quite a lot lately as I continue to make stuff with my friends, colleagues and self – and as the glorious rehearsal processes, runs of shows, concerts, periods of writer’s block, and choruses of songs – all inevitably end. Each time they do, I’m wracked with a period of post-partum depression, like after a breakup or death – because I’m being forced to let go of that deep, cosmic fulfillment and rush of endorphins that making things invariably contains. By the thousandth time it happened, you’d think I’d be more prepared for or adept at handling the loss – but every time, I’m sucker punched.
It’s really only in the last year that I started to recognize the emotional ping-pong game that we artists play with ourselves – and in recognizing it, I began to stumble upon its secret value. When I’m not working, I crave working. When I am working, I crave a day off. When I finish working, I crave the beginning again. And of course I do. Because these little pockets of inspiration we inhabit are akin to a bunch of little lives. And just like our own big macro life, we know they’re not gonna last forever, so we try to stuff it as full of worth as we possibly can, before it’s ripped from our clutches. If we were immortal, or if the rehearsal/run/chorus lasted forever, it wouldn’t matter nearly as much. There has to be a beginning, middle and end of the experience. The temporary is what makes it special.
I think this realization resounded with me because I had experienced its exact inverse a year ago this fall. I was spending a few months in Los Angeles, to “learn the business” out there, and “take a break” from the New York grind, to “audition for TV shows” and “find time to write.” Almost immediately, the fragmented setup of that town, its lack of culture, lack of people that I knew or could get to in less than three hours, and lack of movement sucked the cosmos right out of me. I suddenly had all the time in the world, and nothing to put in it. I had a crazy view from my very first balcony, a car, a beach, a surplus of cargo shorts, and a void the size of California where all my ideas, and eventually confidence, used to reside. I drove my girlfriend crazy – pacing, pulling my hair out, and blaming every unwelcome breeze and slightly undercooked meal for stealing my inspiration. I panicked. I got depressed, scared, and impossible to cheer up – I thought I’d never work again, never write another new phrase, never see a way out of the problems plaguing the shows that I was working on.
And then I did.
Because it was fucking temporary.
So next time you’re freaking out, about where you are, or about how to deal with each little life you lose moving from job to job, project to project, and song to song, just remember – the fact that it goes away is what makes it matter. And even though the next period might be excruciating – that part goes away too. You’ll get your cosmos back.