July 01, 2005

Tony Pierce says when it's light out, write, when it's dark out, party.

This sounds like great advice, but I'm used to writing in ungodly coffee-powered night raids, so the closest I can get is this modified, multi-day schedule:

LIGHT OUT: Sleep in. Babysit in the afternoon.
DARK OUT: Write until it's
LIGHT OUT: Sleep in. Bartend in the evening.
DARK OUT: Party. Make half-baked promises to self about waking up early and writing.
LIGHT OUT: Sleep in, wake up hung over, dick around on the Internet in underwear and eat peanut butter out of a jar. Leave just in time to work out and catch dinner at a dining hall, walk around absorbing twilight.
DARK OUT: Write until it's

I have to say, for no reason the best part of my routine right now is that like 1 PM (sometimes 4) first-steps-out-of-my-building down Broadway to the gym eating bananas 'cause I don't want to eat a whole meal yet. Sun is shining. Girls from Long Island are wearing more money than I will make all summer. Beats are getting kicked in the headphones.

Clearly, through a few very simple steps and a dramatic schedule overhaul I could be approaching making enough money over the summer to approach Long-Island-Girl-outfit levels. At one PM I could be walking back from my lunchbreak to my dayjob which requires me to a) wear a necktie, or b) use an autodialer to call people I don't know and shake them down, or both. But I recently determined that this is the second to last summer of my life.

I told Gregor this (he is graduated and has a dayjob now, good one, too) and he was like, yea, you're kind of right, it kind of is.

This is depressing to think about, much less write about. Let's move on.

I have been tempted to speak on here about how the playwrighting process is going, how it wasn't going very well, the specific, interesting-perhaps-only-to-me reasons it wasn't going well, but a couple months ago I adopted (or think I adopted) a tenet Mamet lays out in True And False (which you should read if you want to do art), which is basically Take The Note. If you feel out of touch with your muse, "off," in your head, whatever bullshit, you keep it to yourself. You are a craftsperson, it's your problem, and you will handle it like a professional. As G Unit says: "you tuck your head and do your biz." You don't throw prima-donna fits. You don't take poorly lit pictures of half your face and put them on your Facebook profile. And you certainly don't talk about your problems to your friend in a tone of voice that assumes DC Pierson two tables over in the dining hall who's just trying to read his book and eat his chicken salad wrap, y'know, cares.

He basically wants us to conduct ourselves (he's addressing actors but the note applies to all artists, and to everybody, even though everybody is more sensible than artists and probably gets it already) with dignity, strength and courage. I think a lot of people who want to be artists think that it's a matter of being a container for frailty, a walking breaking point, a cigarette addiction with a headshot. And it isn't. It shouldn't be, anyway.

Like Delaney said on the subject of improv openings, you have to be "a warrior about that shit."

And now I'm talking about not talking about it, which is clearly the most cowardly way of talking about it.

Another thing, I think touched on in the same chapter (I returned it to the library in like March), is when somebody tells you "good show," you say, "thank you." You don't say, "UGH, no way, I was terrible!" Tuck your head and say "Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it." It's assuming (I'm pretty sure I'm still just paraphrasing Mamet here) that the art happens in you, which is arrogant. The art happens in the audience, who gives a fuck what you felt, it's what you transmitted that counts. So in saying "I was terrible!" you're telling the person their perceptions are shit. Or you're fishing for compliments.

Recently I met some people who I heard just had something very cool happen to them, and I congratulated each of them individually, and received the same basic answer from all of them: "I mean, yea, thanks, but it's not really even anything..." NO. I understand this is New York City and we're forbidden by law to be sincerely excited about anything, and maybe you do think it's legitimately nothing, but I'd love to have the same thing happen to me, so when you say "It's nothing," you're circuitously telling me I'm small and so are my aspirations.

They're not. "Thank you:" simple as that.

And while I'm on my self-hating artist rave-up, I finally resolved something in my head yesterday that's bothered me for a long time. (This will be the evening's most self-serving point, but this website is called dcpierson.com, so who else are we gonna serve?) So: girls say they like guys with passion and ambition. Ambition and passion. I can believe that, I find the same thing to be extremely attractive in girls.

So here's my deal: I'm always dumbfounded by girls I have a lot of respect for expressing admiration for dudes whose ambitions are, to me, paper-thin. Like, dude talks a lot about opening an "artspace" or his screenplay about somebody who feels really empty. Basically "talk" being the main theme. Why so impressed by these dime-a-dozen Kerouac readers*? Then I realized: if you are truly passionate, you're somewhere else. You're doing the thing. You don't have time to talk about it because you're not at that party because you are making it happen. A well-advertised place full of not much is always gonna do brisker business than a warehouse full of awesome** with no sign.

The Great Gatsby, which I reccommend you re-read if you haven't read it since high school, if possible in New York in the summertime, especially if you can still hear parts of it read aloud by your impossibly hot Junior English teacher in your head, solidified my cranky theory for me: "Well, there I was, way off my ambitions...all of the sudden I didn't care. What was the use of doing great things if I could have a better time telling her what I was going to do?"

How do I determine which of these dudes are faking? A sixth sense, by which I mean, shallow surface judgements.

And naturally this all comes down to the age-old caveman sentiment: "No! Not those charlatans, me! I'm the real deal, not these clowns!" Even in prehistoric times, neandrathals were looking at the other protruding-brow dudes circling the mammoth and thinking, "Poseurs." It is the same thing I feel when there is another long-haired dude in tight jeans at the party. I hit him over the head with a skull and grunt, "me liked Decemberists BEFORE was cool!"

*- I have not read Kerouac. I'm sure he's a quality guy, but that first month of college where everybody's carrying him around and putting him on their computer wallpapers like The Badge Of With It could turn anybody off, at least for a while, y'know? I suppose the same could be said of Salinger, though, and he's my favorite author, so, again... I never met billious hyperbole I couldn't immediately undercut with a sensible caveat instead of just editing the hyperbole.

**- I sincerely believe myself to be a warehouse full of awesome. I think I'm going to use me to open a really chill artspace.

Posted by DC at July 1, 2005 06:17 AM

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