Monday, July 20, 2009

Signs of the Times

Saw a calligraphed, hand-painted sign that read EXIT on the top of a trash heap near Broadway and all my existential dread leached out through my skin.

Spotted a young lady in the Pearl holding a cardboard sign that read "Will design for food." But that must've just been a goof, don't you think?

Heard a rap song on the radio with the refrain "Stop jackin my style, bitch."

Noticed that whereas when I first arrived in Oregon in 2002 (that was the previous recession, if you still remember that relative walk in the park) the Sunday Oregonian's employment listings ran to 8 pages, last Sunday they only spanned TWO. Sure, a lot of ad revenue's been lost to the Internets, but still.

On a lighter note, fabulist and bon vivant Marc Acito just wrote an article for WalletPop about the economy that I actually got something out of and laughed while I was at it.

Just in case anyone's still checking this blog, after my posting only two entries in two weeks, a lot's been going on with me, and one of those things has been a quiet desperation. Which puzzled me, because materially things are going pretty well. But spiritually....

Attended most of last week's Made in Oregon readings, and had a great time, too. But of course it was also strange. Strange to look at work I had programmed but no longer had any connection to. Megan asked me: "wasn't it sad to be there? to not be part of it anymore?" And I said, truthfully enough for the moment, "Oh NO, it was great, like being at a party you didn't have to host!"

But the next day another friend, a natural empath, asked me how I was doing these days and I sort of ... caved in. She touched the hidden spring and all this sorrow welled up. And realized I'd been depressed for weeks.

Partly it's not getting to work on the festival I helped plan, but it's also the sense of dislocation. Like that moment in Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland, where the path she walked in on is swept away behind h er, and then the path ahead is swept away. She's come from nowhere and there's nowhere to go.

Coming up is JAW's big weekend -- which I highly recommend to you, but I'm not sure I'll go myself. I want to go, and bear witness to the work of everyone involved and to enjoy new writing by some of my favorite playwrights. I hope I'll go. But I might not. I can only take so much vertigo.


Steve Patterson said...

Hang in there, my friend.

MightyToyCannon said...

Mead, I think I sent a greeting to you last week that said something like, "Hope you're having fun with JAW." A bit insensitive on my part. I automatically associate you with that annual event (and with any activity related to new play development for that matter). Maybe we'll see you there. If not, in some other venue.

amritarosa said...

Being on the point of perfect freedom is frightening. Hang in there!

Chris 'Frog Queen' Davis said...

To start, always love Marc's writing. His Walletpop stuff is very funny...but I am still not cutting my own hair.

It will be sad not to see you at JAW, but I totaly understand. You take care of yourself.


Andrea said...

I hear you Mead. It is hard. Sending you virtual hugs and good cheer.


C A Wohlmut said...

you'll be there even if you don't go, and that might just be the best/hardest realization of all.

thinking of you, my friend.

Unknown said...

Great road sign -- one for the times.

Just know we'll always be checking in with you hear, looking for your thoughts and feelings and insights.

Keep on writing. It helps!

Nick said...

I heard the only thing Tom Watson changed in his game, before almost winning the British Open at 59, was his breathing. Theatre acting coaches were right all along! Breathe! Then go to a show. It's only theatre. And free at that. Thinking of you. Thanks for the post. And take care.

Mead said...

Thank you all. You might be surprised to know how much these comments, and some eloquent thoughts that were sent to me privately, really do make a difference.

And I don't want to give you the impression that I'm in bed all day under the cloud of clinical depression. It's been more like a heavy heart, and even that only intermittently. In a lot of ways this is a fabulous time for me. It's just the plethora of little things that make my spirits sink. Seeing ad copy that I wrote all around town extolling how fab JAW is. Facebook pictures of the happy campers. That sort of thing. And yet I want to festival to continue to be a big success, so it's an odd conundrum.

It hurts, too, to be shut out of it so totally. But again, there's that flip side I can't help but see: it's uncomfortable for the survivors to consort with the walking wounded. Who can blame them?

As one friend recently said (and which Nick echoes), I have to just let it all flow through me, joy and sorrow both. Not let anything get stuck where it can fester. The festival will pass, the temperature will go down (eventually), and we all move relentlessly, inexorably, on and on.

Linda Foster said...

The loss can be admitted but still not be allowed to be your defining force ..
After reading your words, which by the way caused glisteny eyes, may I say I have always found your writing amazing and now it seems tinged with a new creative force. Run with it.