Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Friday at exactly midnight the seventh and ostensibly final volume in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series will be released to throngs of rabid fans, who will then go home and consume great gulps of espresso as they devour every word of the book, finally collapsing in a heap once they finish around sunrise.
Some of them will find the strength to jump online and post spoilers anywhere they can think of; perhaps to boost their own fragile self-images by declaring, haughtily, that they have the power to ruin your experience of the work. They have this power by the meaningless virtue of having read it faster than you.
(For the record, my wife and I will probably experience this book much the same way we have experienced the last six, by reading it aloud to each other. This will, naturally, take much more time than reading it on our own. I don’t know how much of the Internet I will need to cordon off in order to safely enjoy Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.)
As the release of each book in the series has been a bona-fide Event, you can imagine the hoopla surrounding the last such release we can expect from this fertile corner of Rowling’s imagination. Andersonville, my neighborhood, is becoming something of a Hogsmeade surrogate to mark the occasion, including food and drink specials at local restaurants and a short fan-fiction reading at the Neo-Futurarium.
When it was initially proposed to the ensemble by our Artistic Director and unabashed Potterphile that our theater be a participant for the evening, my response was very clear on the subject: I am all for joining in the festivities as a scavenger hunt location or what have you, but will be unable to contribute anything artistically to this event, as I’m simply too busy with writing for TML, researching Contraption, and trying to get all of my day work done before we leave on tour to Washington on the 25th.
Last Saturday, Sharon sent an email out to several people, including myself, asking if anybody was interested in contributing to the aforementioned fan-fiction/solo performance event. I did not reply to restate my previous assertion. Instead, I took a shower.
In the midst of that shower I had a pretty wicked idea for a short work of fiction set within the Harry Potter universe. And in spite of all reason and practicality, I wrote Sharon back and said yes. Yes I have something to contribute. Yes I will be a part of this event. This will never happen again and this wicked story idea will simply die a slow death in my brain unless I’m able to get it out, so yes. It can be written within a week despite the fact that every evening until Friday will have either a meeting, rehearsal, or production taking up my time, so yes. I will forgo the sleep to write this piece and show up on Friday night to read it even though I will have a show immediately afterwards and even though I’ll be up at 6:30 Saturday morning to get together with a bunch of guys for a paintball outing. Yes.
There’s a documented sociological phenomenon amongst some habitual drug users to gravitate towards bad product. That is, once word gets out that a number of longtime fiends have suddenly dropped dead after sampling the new street package, these poor damaged souls will move heaven and earth to find this toxin and pump it into their system, gambling on the idea that those who died simply couldn’t handle what is surely a universe-rocking rush above and beyond anything ever experienced on the previous drugs. It’s a whole new level of self-destructive behavior piled on top of what is already self-destructive behavior.
I can’t tell if I’m addicted to creative expression or if I’m addicted to the pressure of creative expression. If I push myself like this, if I agree to these brain-breaking situations, because I want to see how close to the edge of total nervous breakdown I can skirt without going over. Some people endanger their physical bodies through stunt work and other daredevil activities; I strap my psyche into the cockpit and tell it to either break the stress barrier or die trying.
I should be working on the story, on the play I need to propose tonight, on the insurance policies I am processing, instead of this journal entry. I suspect that I decided to write this because it’s time I can take away from myself on the other projects; because it just adds that extra little bit of risk to the situation.
This is my rush. I can handle this. Maybe this person and that person would fold under this, but I can handle it. I can handle it until the point I simply no longer can, at which point I will push on anyhow. Yes.