I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, you know? I mean, you let people know the date once these days, and you're getting greetings on that date every single year -- from emails and comments and MySpace and Facebook and da, da-da, da-da. It's endless. I'm not sensitive about it, mind. I think every passing year is an accomplishment. Sure, the work may not have quite the same vim and vigor as it did in earlier times, but I like to think that's balanced out now by a sort of tempered harmony between enthusiasm and effectiveness. And besides, sometimes you just want a quiet day of reflection instead of some big celebration; a little time to contemplate times that were and where we are now. You know, like an adult.

Plus, I forgot.

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of Odin's Aviary. (You can check out how I celebrated the first ovah heeya.) Yep, without a clue in my head on how to proceed, I popped on Blogger(TM) and chose some pretentious style elements and wrote a tiny missive out to the 'blogosphere. The rest, as they say, is history. I haven't directly addressed The Third Life of late, but that's partly because I feel it's a concept that's inherent in most of what I do, hence most of what I write about. It's where I live most of the time, and for as long as I can remember. In some ways working to live "fully, freely and honestly" is everyone's ambition, and in other ways it's a unique responsibility for the would-be artists amongst us. This is not a unique idea (it's not even a unique name, as we learned early this year), but it's one that continues to resonate for me, and this here 'blog has proved an invaluable resource for helping me to stay true to that course.

Some highlights from the Aviary in 2008:
  • One-hundred thirty five entries thus far, including our 300th.
  • Visitor traffic has increased by about 50% over 2007. W00T!
  • 5/22/07 remains the most-visited entry, proving that quoting pop music has virtue, and perhaps that sharing a question is more common than sharing an answer. But in 2008, thanks to Reader GeorgeW, we got our answer to this question! This means I can no longer count this entry as popular for its own reasons -- it got posted here. Perhaps I should advertise on this entry . . .
  • In second and third places for popularity (in hits): 2/6/08 and 2/20/07. It would seem perhaps that people read me more when they're trapped by snow. Which I choose to take as a non-specific compliment.
  • October was far and away the liveliest month here for visitors, owing perhaps to the Aviary being used as a kind of report for review by the powers that be at North Pocono High whilst I was teaching there.
  • Virtually all of my referred traffic comes from people doing searches on Google Image. 'Bloggers, take note: use pictures. Me, take note: start citing photographers.
  • Outside the US, we're biggest in Canada, but in recent weeks there's been a surge of interest in the UK (thanks Dave) and Germany (thanks...uh...wait, what?).
  • We had the launch of a sister (er: brother?) site this year: Loki's Apiary. His star is on the rise as I refer to him as continuously as I can possibly justify (Loki's Apiary).
  • Loki's Apiary offers you a concise view of what I've been up to when not typing here, of course, but for a novella view of my working-year 2008, here are my highlighted entries for each month: January [Losing Work], February [Reading Loud and Clear], March [Recovery], April [I'm Not a'Scared of You], May [Ta-Da], June [Viva Italia - 1&2], July [Friendly Neighborhood], August [Writing Wild], September [Health, Wealth & Wisdom], October [Open Up], November [The Rest is Finally Silence] and (on estimate) December.

It's been a hell of a second year, Dear Reader, and I thank you for whenever you may have tuned in. The entries usually slow down here when I'm traveling, and I'll be all over the place in the coming weeks, in many cases nowhere near a glowing box of interweby goodness. As you warm your hands by the dying embers of your monitors, think of me, and be merry. Eat and drink, too, or you'll die. I'm not a medical doctor, but I have it on good authority.

Going Out with a Bang

I usually prefer a quiet celebration of the New Year. You know: a few friends, some laughs, feeling self-righteous about not subjecting ourselves to the cold and hassle of watching the ball drop in person. That's just how I was raised, really. In NoVa, that seemed like all there was to do on such a holiday. Stay in.


go over to a friend's so you can feel sociable. Drink that really cheap champagne that makes you wonder why anyone in their right mind would want to drink champagne on a regular basis. Count down with everyone until you get to pretend the words of

Auld Lang Syne

actually mean something to you. Then you wait a bit--because of course no one else out reveling will think of waiting a bit--before driving home.

This year, I will usher in the new at the

Hammerstein Ballroom

, enjoying the dulcet tones of Velvet Revolver. For those of you unacquainted with this hybrid band, I understand it to be comprised mainly of the members of Guns n' Roses (plus one guy from Suicidal Tendencies), but with Scott Weiland--of Stone Temple Pilots fame--fronting instead of Axl Rose. They are, in short, a rock band. And in a matter of ten hours or so I will be hearing them live for the first time through newly purchased earplugs.

There's no shortage of contradictions in life. Paradoxes abound. Every time I find myself at a concert that requires earplugs, I also find myself wondering, sometimes even aloud, "Why the hell am I here?" The absurdity of the situation is inherent. Some argue that they want the music to be loud enough to feel the bass in their chest cavity, and I can appreciate that, but I'm also aware that all that really requires is a decent subwoofer placed on the floor. It does not necessitate creating the decibel equivalent of a breaking subway car. But that's rock and roll for you. No one said it ought to make sense.

In many ways, this is an increasingly appropriate way of spending my New Year's. Maybe it was just turning thirty this year, but a lot of the good parts of it have been spent in reclamation of things of my past, trying to make good on promises to myself and reconsider what's truly important to me. I came into the year as uncertain and detached from myself as I've possibly ever been and I leave it with, if not certainty, a very surprising yet somehow familiar intimacy with myself. Reclaiming one's life involves a lot of confrontation: confronting perception, confronting contentment and, perhaps most strange, confronting assumption. There are many ways in which I did this, quite subconsciously, this year. I attended Camp Nerdly (see


), which I never would have thought I'd find myself doing, right up to my arrival there, I returned to Italy (see


), which was a touch-and-go promise right up to the flight, and I managed to push myself to a fairly new physical dimension for

As Far As We Know



), an objective I'd long held and never before dared to commit to.

But the most satisfying illustration for me of reclaiming some of my favorite parts of life, chewing over where I am and where I want to be now, comes from music. You can see over on my Library Thing widget that I recently read a book that had a lot to do with mix tapes. This inspired me to try and make one again for Christmas. For a few years now I've been mailing out what I call "MiX-mas" CDs to close friends, which are compilations of new (to me) music I have on my computer that has meant a lot to me over the course of the year. Processing my music through the computer has had an interesting effect on how I listen to it. It and my iPod urge me toward new music all the time, and I come to appreciate songs over whole albums. I love the access and maneuverability of the format, and it quickly usurped my CDs as the source of my musical accompaniment. When I first became capable of MP3 audio, after importing maybe a third of my CDs, out of a concern for space I stopped. It has, ever since, been an intended "when I have the time" project of mine to crack open the CD binders again and import more music. Just the good stuff. Some day.

In deciding to make a mix tape, I had a lot to do. I actually had to purchase a CD player with a tape deck. I have been using computerized music for so long, I had found my boombox fairly neglected a while ago. If I wanted to listen specifically to a CD, it was usually a mix someone made for me and I'd simply play it over my DVD player or alarm clock. So I bought the cheapest boombox (more a toot-orb) I could find, and felt a certain sense of relief upon finding that, yes, people still sell blank audio cassettes. Then I cracked open the CDs and sort of just gave a listen to anything that I hadn't heard in a while.

I remembered some simple things, like using the "pause" button between changing CDs and keeping an eye on the amount of tape left on the left-hand reel. This is why I was so surprised to be reminded of some other aspects of mix-tapery. I mean, I had been making mix tapes for over a decade before switching to the seductions of laser-guided lyric lathing. Yet it took turning the pages of forgotten albums and the engaging mechanics of an actual tape player to bring back certain things. The main thing was how differently I listened to the music when it was relying on me to cue it. A lot has been acknowledged about the flirtation involved in passing on a mix, but few (to my knowledge) have exposed the complex back-and-forth between music and a mix maker when it comes to real-time recording. For example, does music these days tend to use a fade-out less? Or is that only my perception after making this tape of predominantly 90s music, as I would perk up at any diminution in tone or volume on the songs I was laboriously copying to cassette? I forgot how I would turn the volume all the way up at the end of song to be sure I captured the end of the diminution, and the rush to depress the button before the next song leapt into the speakers. And remember that? "Song"? Not "track," but "song"?

Anyway, I'm not calling for a return to tape format, or anything like that. What I am calling out is myself, as someone who too often takes progress for granted. I do it in two ways: assuming that as it happens, it ought to happen, and I take it for granted in the sense that progress is a given. Time proceeds, progress is made. It isn't so, but it's very easy to fall into that thinking. I had an amazing time making my first mix tape in some five years. It made me remember good music, which was difficult to take for granted in that context, and it slowed me down. I had somehow forgotten how fulfilling it could be to surrender to a song, rather than treat it as a score to my life. I had forgotten just how long 90 minutes, one song at a time, is. You can fit a lifetime of experience in there! Most of all, I was reminded of how it feels to meditate on the moment. It feels wonderful.

I'm glad I didn't know, during the 90s, how much I would miss the music in the years to come. A sense of nostalgia-to-come is akin to a sense of impending doom, and the gift of this year for me has been the opportunity to reflect on old times without nostalgia; rather to approach them as songs I still sing. Back in the day, I favored Metallica over Guns n' Roses, Pearl Jam over Stone Temple Pilots. The beauty of age, I suppose, is in being able to appreciate all of it in some way. It seemed contradictory before. Now it just seems full, and well-realized. And, after all, should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?

Brass Monkey

Pursuant to

Friend Dave's recommendation

, I caught an $11.75 matinee of

The Golden Compass

yesterday. To be honest, this was also pursuant to not working, having a cold and being pretty certain that I'd do myself worse financial disadvantage if I had two hours more out amongst the Christmas fairs of New York. But I digress (shamelessly [and at great length {mostly as an excuse to ((ab))use proper parenthetical structure}]), and the title of this entry has not merely to do with ripping off

Friend Davey

's 'blog conceit.

The Golden Compass

, in my opinion, has two highly effective devices on which most of the success of the movie rides. The first has to do with the first half of the movie. Everyone's soul, you see, in this imagined world, exists outside of themselves as a sort of animal familiar that never leaves their side. Nicole Kidman's familiar (or daemon) is a monkey, with oddly metallic fur. Upon her introduction to the plot, the metastructure of the story goes a little something like this: Hey, look at how pretty our film is, how fantastical, isn't it all so calming and utopian and OH MY GOD WHERE'D THAT SCREAMING MONKEY COME FROM!? I am not kidding. There was this one time when, I swear to you, the monkey popped up from the bottom of the screen from out of nowhere. I mean, he didn't even have something he could realistically be standing on in the environment, and there he was again, screaming. If I had been one of the animators on this, I would have saved the file, program, whatever, of the monkey, for use in startling my coworkers for years to come. Just imagine sweating through your 2007 TurboTax when, from out of absolutely nowhere, a screaming golden monkey juts his head into your screen. In all fairness, the movie should have at least been



The (Screaming) Golden Monkey


Oh yeah. The other highly effective device can be summed up in two words: Bear and Fight. Bear fights. Fo' reals. Keep your eyes peeled. This could be a whole new sub-genre of action film. And if so, I am there, I am wearing the t-shirt, I am learning the terminology (

ah, the classic Rips-Lower-Jaw-from-Body technique...

) and I am enrolled in the Bear Fighting fantasy camp. Stick some giant foam paws on me. I am ready to rumble.

When the fur settles, and the dust as well, this is pretty much a good-time, only-enough-pathos-to-justify-some-violence Christmas movie. Lots of snow. Talking animals. Cute kids. And two of the most gorgeous adult actors on the screen these days, for mom and dad. (In fact: Hey: I know that movie casts often repeat themselves, but weren't these two just in that

Body Snatchers

reremake? This reminds me of the

Batman Begins


The Prestige


The Matrix



phenomenon. Not to mention the unholy trinity of Willis/Jackson/Travolta. Spread some of the love around, Hollywood.) They even clipped off the ending of the first book in order to make the film conclude a bit happier, which actually upsets me more than sucking the supposed Atheism out of it.

As to that (the Atheism)--I'm sorry, but I just can't stay off this topic (see


). Friend Younce posits in his


section that if the ultimate plot of this trilogy involves "killing God," it indicates not only a belief in God, but an actual finger, pointing to God, saying (yes, they'd probably have talking fingers in this sort of trilogy), "Hey look: It's God. I found him/her/it. He/she/it exists." I'm afraid I disagree, to a certain extent. The author, as any fantasy author may be accused, is clearly working in allegory. To "kill God" is in his allegory to eradicate the supposedly irrational belief in God from within ourselves. In fact, what will be really interesting as far as these movies go will be to see how they handle that little feat in the third film. The characters' "daemons" represent individualism, or Humanism, after a fashion.

I have a curious history with the books this franchise is sprung from. I have only read the first two, and those quite by necessity. It was toward the end of my first trip to Italy, in 2006, and I came down with a serious bug that laid me up with a high fever for almost a week. With nothing to do but lie in bed and either read, or try to learn Italian from their daytime television, I quickly tore through the novel I had brought:

The Mask of Apollo

. (A birthday gift from

Friend Patrick

, and the first Mary Renault book I ever undertook.)

Friend Heather

loaned me the first two books of

His Dark Materials

and I drank them up in lieu of the excellent white wines of Orvieto. I write about it now, similarly afflicted (though no high fever, thank...whatever providence may be), and acknowledge that my knowledge of the books is partial and drenched with fever-sweat.

I reiterate: Go Atheists. I've got nothing against them, just like I've got nothing against Christians or Muslims. Those for whom I do have something against (that made sense grammatically, I swear), is them what (that bit didn't, though) exercise their beliefs--any beliefs--by way of disparaging others'. Up with that I shall not put. It may seem only fair; the Atheists have had to deal with eons of persecution, I realize, but here's another thing I'd do away with: the symbol for justice being a beam-balance scale. Balance is good, but dichotomy is simply a deceptive paradigm for identifying anything. I'm all for clarity, but I aspire to understand all things beyond a simple yes, or no. All things are a part of a whole, in my humble opinion. Balance, in the theological, philosophical sense, cannot be expressed on a simple beam. I come around, by tender footfalls, to my point.

In my post of December 7th of this year, I mentioned in passing that the notion of "fate" is inescapable to me because it permeates every story we tell on some level. (Pullman, the author of the books in question, by the way, values stories above all else. Reminds me of


in that way.) Especially in theatre, fate, or some analogue of it, sort of makes the motor run. This goes for both tragedy and comedy. Similarly, I'm not sure one can tell a story without God entering into it. If we could, I'm not sure we'd want to. The storyteller is, after a fashion, God of the story. What gives the majority of humans meaning in their lives? God. Who determines meaning in a story? The storyteller. This paradigm (or matrix, if you will) manifests in our novels, movies and plays on conscious and subconscious levels. It's tough for me to point toward it in

His Dark Materials

before having read the third installment but, for those who know the series, might not the presence of "dust" (magical stuff from the universe that connects people to their souls, and their souls to the source of "dust") be a manifestation of a, albeit rather Universalist, concept of divinity?

Perhaps I am simply too influenced by what little classical education I have absorbed. All the Greek plays have a theme that can be summed up as, "Hey, you can mess with the Gods all you want, but after a few hours, they get the last word, machina or no." I agree with the Atheists when they tell us (calmly, without insult) to take responsibility for the here and now, and love humanity for being human. I'm just not sure that it's possible to kill God off entirely, in spite of Nietzsche and Pullman and the rest. Please, contest my claim; I'd love to hear theories, especially as relates to storytelling. Interestingly enough, Friend Dave is also a big proponent of role-playing games for which there is not necessarily a storyteller. In these, instead of a typical structure of a game-master, who tells everyone what's going on, the players themselves contribute to the narrative in different ways. Perhaps therein lies a way of retiring God. Perhaps, instead, it creates a pantheon of Gods.

Part of my holiday travel plans include venturing south to Friends Davey, Dave and Mark, to play this sort of game all together. It's an appointment a long time in the making, and I'm looking forward to it. These friends of mine are some of the best storytellers I know. I'll let you know what stories we create together.

You can bet a screaming monkey will enter into it, somewhere.

Legit Circus, Kicking A.

One doesn't hear that phrase all-too often, even when one is (at least marginally) in the circus-performing world. You hear it about theatre, I think, because everyone and their cousin has committed an act he or she would categorize as "theatre" in the course of his or her life, and those of us who have committed just a bit more time and energy to theatre want to make a distinction between our showcase of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" and the local community theatre's recent staging of "The Cherry Orchard." Circus, on the other hand, is not necessarily a common community (redundant by root?) activity, and even those of us who have taken some workshops and used the skills in performance are a little loathe to claim the status of "circus performer."

I suppose the closest thing to "legit circus" in the broad American vernacular would be something like

Cirque du Soleil

, which I (thanks to an extremely thoughtful pre-Christmas Christmas gift from Sister Virginia) saw live for the very first time last night. It was their production


, ongoing on the WaMu stage at Madison Square Garden. The show itself was rather geared toward children, with plenty of spectacular acts and production values, but also the through-line of a boy just wanting to see it snow, and puppet dogs with their own song. "We know these dogs, we know these dogs..." The lyrics left me wondering if the beautiful vocals of previous Soleil shows aren't simply elongated French words like, "I did my laundry, now buy me some baguette..." By the way, CdS now owes

Slava's Snowshow

royalties, big time. The level of surprise in the audience when paper "snowflakes" blew out of the vents all over us was perhaps a comment on just how far twenty street-blocks may seem to the typical tourist.

Sorry if I just ruined the ending for you.

And I digress like a nor'easter. Here's what I love about circus (as in, the following -- I'm afraid I can't make it twenty-five words or less [which should come as no surprise to anyone who's been reading this 'blog {hi mom!}]). It is live surreality. Consider that a moment. There's not much of that in the world, in the true sense (of my fictional word). "Surreal" things happen to us, like running into a long-lost friend at the DMV, or finding a hundred dollar bill in a laundromat, but generally speaking and notable exceptions aside no one we know turns into a monkey and starts hopping around in a trashcan. Further, circus creates a sense of disbelief, threat and relief all at once, and it actually happens. Right there, right then. Further still, circus is brilliantly human; admirably physical and, when its good, artistically inspired. Feeling awe about a fellow human being is an incomparable experience.

Here's what I don't like about circus: I'm not better at it and people don't make enough of the kind that tells a story.

Look: We love this stuff. We love watching other humans achieve amazing things, particularly physical feats, and especially when we can appreciate it in the context of a story. If you accept that we love this, why then, oh why, would you settle for a movie that is largely computer-generated cartoons? Or a play in which the actors never use their bodies in their acting?

My frustration comes of personal feelings, I confess. I haven't had a convenient or easy outlet for my circus tendencies for some time, and there's always so much more to worry over, but it's about time I got on that. There's just too little of it in the world. I've found two film genres that fulfill the need vicariously, somewhat. The first is the classic Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd flicks. Perhaps they were working from necessity. The beginnings of film in America was a little like the beginning of the Internet. Anyone who could afford to and was interested had a clear playing field, and these guys (not so much Lloyd; he was second generation) played it hard. Chaplin had a hard-knock life from poverty, Keaton from vaudeville. Lloyd didn't lack for toughness, though, either. He got half of his right hand blown off in a photo shoot, and still made movies. That one you always see where he's

hanging off a clock arm

? All with just nine fingers and one thumb. So those guys, they were circus performers, plain and simple.

The other, dear Reader, is kung fu movies. Yes. Kung fu movies.

Kung fu movies have a bad rep. True, in recent years folks like Jackie Chan and Ang Lee have made the genre more palatable to the common tongue (interesting image), but it's difficult to get away from the fact that kung fu movies are usually made with a budget of about $10 and are located in the most abundance in the same stores in which one finds films like

Saving Ryan's Privates

. Add to that the minor detail of the scripts for almost all "action" films seeming to have been written by a heroin-addicted five-year-old, and kung fu hardly has a fighting chance to stand as anything legitimate. And I'll admit it: Most kung fu movies, in terms of story, dialogue, and in many cases production values, demonstrate the worst of what film making has to offer as a medium of artistic expression. Hell, now-a-days you can't even trust the kung fu. Wires can be digitally removed (or not, in

some exceptional cases

) and skinny ladies are

magically endowed

with the mass index of the same amount of lead. (To be fair, it appears Kerri Hoskins did indeed work out for the role. Look at those nautilus machines...


Well, oscillate mildly, at any rate.)

Ah, but when you get a to watch a real martial


at work? That's thrilling. That's inspiring. There are so many daily reminders about of the limitations of our existence, physical, mental, even spiritual. It really is a special thing to be able to demonstrate--just for an instant, in some cases--

just how wrong all our "nos" and assumptions can be


A Year (or Three) in Review

Returning from my holiday journeys just in time for New Years, I find the city the same as it ever was. I suppose it's only natural to feel inclined to review one's year in the face of a new one. I have to admit that 2006 was not a year that I will be dreadfully sorry to see go. It was comprised of amazing highs and lows, both; my hope for the new year is for it to be a little more moderate in its exchanges. I feel a bit guilty expressing that desire, what with professing a renewed conviction in

The Third Life

(tm), but who's to say TTL(tm) can't at times have a nice, steady rhythm to it, rather than a course akin to a

wooden roller-coaster

at every turn?

While I was visiting NoVa, a dear friend of mine who has lived in San Diego for years now was home, too, and threw a modest reunion for certain circle of us from high school. I saw her and several other people I had often wondered about since graduating. It wasn't the typical reunion. Everyone there was really interested in one another and speaking intelligently about their lives--none of that dreadful one-ups-man-ship that seems to be the major export of the Uniting Reunions of America. In spite of how lovely it all was, what I'm carrying away with me, and keep revisiting in my mind, is an unanswered observation an old friend of mine had to say. In response to my description of my life since college, all the touring, traveling, month-long shows, etc., she said, "That sounds like it would be so lonely."

Believe it or not, I had never looked at it that way before. And I


to look at things darkly. I mean, I am


. (Do you read the last page of a new book first, just in case you die before you finish reading it?

Because I do.

) Somehow, however, this obsidian nugget of darkness had eluded me. I mean, no wonder I've been the great serial monogamist all these years, and no wonder the pursuit of an acting career can be so soul-evaporating.

It is fucking lonely.

Now I cast back to a Christmas party my friends Todd and Kate had before we all scattered to our respective homelands for Christmahannukwanzica. At this party, nothing was said to shatter my earth. My earth remained intact as I bid adieu, but it was certainly rocked. Three of the guests at the party were a family--young parents and an unbelievably verbal sub-toddler. And get this: The parents were in theatre.

I KNOW! The wife/mother performed in musical theatre, touring occasionally with her son along. The husband had switched to directing after being an actor for several years and was having what seems to have been a very good time of it. Now, it's not that I don't know that such people exist. They must, else we'd never have these celebrities with stories about how they learned everything from their quaint, performed-on-Broadway-for-forty-years parents. Right? Right. Somehow, however, coming face-to-face with such folks was a very difficult experience for me that night. There was a lot of envy going on there, and I don't generally get too envious over career stuff. You landed a movie? Congratulations. Your agent says he's going to get you on every CSI they make? Fantastic.

You maintain a career that supports you and have the security and emotional wherewithal to start a healthy family? Come here. A little closer. I NEED TO GO ALL



The thing is, it's not as though I haven't had opportunities to be in a family way. In point of fact, I keep choosing the ol' career over marriage, family, etc. This year has been, in its way, a huge exemplification of that choice. Now, I could argue that the problem has always been that (for one reason or another) somehow the choice always comes up. It's never a matter of someone wanting to be married to


, but to the

me I'll be when I get over this acting phase

. I could make that argument.

But I don't, because the question is far more interesting if I don't have that somewhat convenient circumstance to fall back on. So why do I keep making the choice, knowing that it will keep leading me back to questions about my path and insecurities about the ticking clock?

This year I ran around like mad. I moved back to Brooklyn from Queens. I had absolutely


health (the short list includes something in the area of two bad sprains, teeth problems, four feverish throat infections, and what I thought was a hernia but turned out to be a

chemical epididymitis

instead) but also wrapped the year with enough Equity weeks worked to qualify for six months of free health insurance, starting today. I was in and out of Pennsylvania, and traveled and worked in New Hampshire/Vermont, Virginia, Maryland and Italy. I performed in a satire, a tragedy, two comedies, one work-in-progress and one original debut. I developed a solo clown piece. I danced and sang, fought and kissed, and even got a little writing done.

What is this worth? Where is this getting me, I often ask myself. I view my career in a fashion similar to my spiritual beliefs, which is to say: If I don't question them (or myself) regularly, then I'm not really living them. Questions are not dangerous, unless they go unasked. In fact, I'd say that the darkest times in my life were when I was too certain of an answer to keep asking the questions. So. What is it worth?

The difficult answer (and for God's sake, question even this) is that it's worth itself. And that's all. I have to be satisfied with myself insofar as I need to be to be happy and think clearly. TTL isn't better than the more conventional life, but it certainly isn't worse. Some feel a need to insulate themselves from its danger by observing it and judging. "Doesn't the constant running from show to show seem like an addiction?" "You're not making enough money to make car payments?" Even the classic: "How do you memorize all those lines?" (Folken: What we really hear you saying is, "What on God's green earth possessed you to commit yourself to something so archaic and bizarre?") It is similar to every other priority we might claim without risking such judgment. Doesn't the constant pursuit of more money seem like a compulsion? You mean you just stay at home, all day, in the same home? And how do you forget all those childhood dreams?

We can neither of us judge the other, and I sally forth [insert comic strip pun/allusion here] into the new year eager to continue the wrestling match that is I. Me. I? Anyway. We're all here trying to make sense of ourselves. It's good to be accepting of our different paths; or if that's too much, than at least of our own path. I'm reminded of a conversation I had at the start of college, with my dear friend who organized the reunion and another incoming freshman. That Other asked us why we did theatre,


. I said some pretentious, theoretical crap (which I really believed and probably still do) and the guy said something along similar lines, but dear Sarah said,

"I just enjoy it. It's one of the few things in my life that I can point to and definitely [sic] say 'That makes me happy.'"

Well said, my friend. Happy new year, everyone.