Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist



This is our most recent ensemble photo.

My younger brother told me recently that he’s attempting to redefine his perspective on what a family is; that it’s about more than who your blood relatives are. “Family” should encompass the people who embody a certain degree of caring both for and from yourself. I agree, and I’m glad he’s reached this conclusion as well.

I have a mother and father and two siblings who I love dearly. I rarely get a chance to tell them this, in part because it’s something I forget to bring up in the midst of other conversations we’re having, and in part because I’ve been calling home less as I get swamped with Dido rehearsals and TMLMTBGB writing/performing duties, with work training and intense, insular thoughts about revising Vox Pandora, finishing up The Man Who Was Thursday, and considering how to approach the Next Theatre project.

That’s not entirely true, though. The problem is that the more time that passes between phone calls home, the harder it becomes to make phone calls home. Because the more time that passes in between phone calls, the more likely that the phone call home is going to go poorly in terms of my parent’s admonishments and attitude. My mother will scold me for not finding five minutes to call home, but doesn’t acknowledge that when I do call home, the first five minutes, at least, are about what an ungrateful and coldhearted son I am for not calling more often. Round and round we go.

These calls frequently end with my mother hanging up on me without saying goodbye.

If you get in an argument with somebody you barely know, you can always have the option to “start from scratch.” As in, you both agree to erase history from the record and try to relate to each other in a tabula rasa. This is not an option here. I can’t say to my mother, “Look, let’s try this again. I’ve said and done things that I’m sorry for. You’ve said and done things that you might at least acknowledge were not the most politic, if you’re not apologetic for them. Can we try to appproach each other from a place of equality and speak as two adults about who we are and want to be as human beings?”

(That is to say, of course I can say it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will have any effect.)

I haven’t spoken to my father in weeks. The times I’ve called home, he hasn’t been there or he’s been busy. I want to call him, but I want to call him without having to go through the obnoxious ritual of “You don’t love me because you haven’t called.”

That’s not entirely true, either. Part of me wants to call my father and spread that very sentiment thickly upon the conversation, to play this game by their rules just the once, so they can understand what a silly and childish practice it is, so they can understand how hurtful it is to be accused of not caring about somebody you care deeply about.

And I might do that, if I thought for a second that that message would get through.

The photograph at the top of this entry is a static point in time, of one configuration of an ensemble. This will probably change within the year; Chloe is almost definitely going inactive as her doctoral studies sap her time, and Noelle and Sean have their daughter and new outside careers to think about, so their continued activity may be tentative. At some point, I imagine I’ll go inactive myself and leave the art in the hands of new writer-performers. And it may be months at a time before I’m in contact with these people after that happens.

But these men and women are family. And I don’t stop caring about family just because I’m not always in contact with them.

That’s all I’m sayin’.

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This entry was posted on January 28, 2006 by in Mental Health, Neo-Futurists, Theatre.
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