Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Under pressure like Queen and David Bowie

When I was learning the ropes of being a theater director, the most important piece of advice a fellow director gave me was that a show can be cast in more than one way. It won't be the same show, but there is no "perfect cast." Another way of saying there are lots of means to an end, I guess.

The last few days I've been struggling with my writing sample for my mfa submission and the fact that I'm overwhelmed with the possibilities of where the story could go. It's like having six different options for a leading man, all of whom would work, but not knowing which to ultimately choose as "the best." I need to let go of some of my obsessiveness with this story. If I hadn't touched it at all this week it would still be a strong submission. But now I'm trapped in trying to make it perfect, which is a really dangerous place for me to dwell. When I try to make things "perfect," I ruin them. I do not have the option to ruin this story.

The other problem is when I pressure myself like this I begin to react physically. I've been feeling strain and exhaustion more and more this week, and I know that a large part of it is the stress I'm putting on myself to be successful. When I get into situations where I have the potential to do great things, my tendency is always (and has always been) to sabotage myself. It's like I can't believe I would actually have a chance, so I make sure that I don't. And then I can say "well, it wasn't that I didn't get in. It wasn't that I wasn't good enough. If I had worked harder on my story I would have gotten in." I know this about myself and I'm trying to fight it, trying to push myself forward because I really want this...but the fight is wearing me out.

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