"When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect – but do not believe him. Never put your trust in anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel Laureate, may be wrong... So you must always be skeptical – always think for yourself." --Linus Pauling

11.11.2005

Finally posted.

Last week was one of those weeks. The kind where not only does nothing go right but if "Nothing Going Right" were an Olympic event you'd take home the gold and set records that wouldn't be toppled for years?

First off, I was late getting to my improv class on Tuesday night. I've never been late to class before, but I had to vote and wouldn't be able to afterward (class runs from 7-10 pm). So I called ahead and that was all good.

Ah, but then there's class itself. Imagine spending three hours a week feeling a complete moron among some of the best and brightest you've met in the past few years. I have one of the best teachers the place offers, the students in my class are great; nevertheless the concepts presented do nothing so much as skip across the surface of my mind, never sinking in.

Every week it's the same thing:

1. Go to class.
2. Feel like the Special Needs kid.
3. Wait for the short bus to take me home.
4. Realize there is no bus.
5. Wonder "What the fuck is my problem?"
6. Walk home.
7. Be depressed for days over my near crippling inability to do this improv shit.
8. Repeat the following week.

I've been so miserable about it lately that I felt like quitting. I wanted to quit so badly. So I called a couple friends for encouragement and all got nothing but variations on, "The trick to doing something tough is to get more engaged!" and "You've got so much fortitude! Stick with it! There's bound to be a breakthrough soon!"

Sometimes I think my friends are all just blood enemies lacking a firm resolve. So I didn't quit, and also dutifully checked off items number two through seven above.

By Thursday I was still thoroughly depressed, and I suspect not really suitable for human interaction. Naturally, I ignored all the signs and started to chat with Maureen on MSN Messenger. That was such a mistake.

I started out by trying to compliment her on the uniquity and sheer wonderfulness of her Halloween costume. Somehow this devolved within minutes (possibly seconds) into taking the losing side of a puerile argument over how some works of art are better than others, etc. This has always pissed her off in the past, and it was a total success in that regard once again.

At this point I got offline feeling more than a little annoyed with myself. I admitted to myself that maybe I was totally wrong in this instance --not due to the strength of Maureen's arguments but because of the way my heart nearly seized up when I tried to defend my side of it. No position that is right or defendable could ever make you feel that wretched. Right?

So, I was wrong and she was right. Again. I think it's possible that I'm wrong about that particular issue to a degree that I'm not able to fully comprehend at this time. So when I speak to her again I'll probably apologize.

P.S. It's been a while now. Much has happened. I quit my improv class for one. I don't like quitting anything I've started but came to the compelling conclusion that I was not enjoying myself, sucked really bad at it, and need to work far harder on it than I am willing to at this time in order to become merely adequate. On the bright side, I'm not depressed nearly as much.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

I have no idea why I'm just seeing this post now, but...

Remember Roger insisting that I could write fiction if I wanted to, and me saying that I simply did not have the necessary *pixie dust* to be anything more than a hack at it?

Yeah. Perhaps you and improv is like that. Sure, you could work insanely hard at it and be perhaps adequate, but it would be a miserable way to make a living. There are many things in life that require more than just hard work - they require talent. As much as I believe in democracy, I also recognize that all people are not equal in all things. While I am a fantastic copyeditior, I do not possess the raw talent to be a truly good fiction writer. I can relax about that, leave it to the experts, and enjoy letting loose my inner creativity on pieces of string.

Chris Uhl said...

In reading this post I'm left curious about which side of the "some works of art are better than others" argument you actually took up.