Let them climb on the actors. Nay, insist they climb on the actors. Being outdoors doesn't hurt either.
When I am focused on something everything else pretty much drops away. This is good and bad. I am able to focus intensely on the task at hand. That's good right? Well yes. I notice deeply. But the other thing that's great about it is that when I switch gears I SWITCH GEARS. This super pays off with the girls. It doesn't matter how stressful my day at work, or rehearsal, or self-doubt riddled writing session was, once I pick up the girls it all melts away and all I am thinking about, all I am doing, is being their dad.
This may sound like some syrupy sweet sentimental nonsense, but it's more just brain chemistry. It's also why I leave things all over the place and tend to leave sentences unfinished as I get distracted by whatever. What can I say, it's my blessing and my curse. For now, I have moved on from art-making mode to Dad mode. For today.
Last night was a glorious frenzy of joint writing - one of those nights when the words dance around the page in all the right ways. It got us talking about how we evaluate our work. And we were stumped for a bit until we realized the obvious: we have each other. The long years of collaborative teamwork mean that the push-pull of theatre-making and critiquing is second nature. Thank god.
That reminded me of something fellow theatre-maker and twin parent Meghan said about having twins, "it's no harder than tech week." It's true! I mean, tech week is a bitch but we've done it so many times now, we've got all our systems down. This longstanding teamwork sensibility was holy-crap-unbelievably handy when we had babies. And I think the hard work of the baby thing is going to pay off artistically. Of all the good things I anticipated/hoped would come from parenthood, this was not one of them.
A dad and an elephant write.
Here's what I've been doing tonight instead of writing. We've written a massive amount about our artistic practices and tonight everything is making me throw my hands up in the air in disgust/surrender/exhaustion.
- made two school lunches
- made two dinners
- watched my kids exchange CAKE for AN APPLE. WTF? How did I raise 3 year olds who prefer an apple to cake?
- played "three bears in a cave"
- read part of Maggie Stiefvater's new book
- cleaned the apartment
- cleared out the clean laundry by putting it back in the dryer
- piled all the dirty dishes in the sink
- failed to make dinner for myself
- wrote a new project description
- looked at photos of me pregnant
- noticed that I have more back fat now than while pregnant
- drew half a bath until the girls decided that they wanted to go straight to bed
- read two books
- kissed two little girls several times
- noted that I still have half a (cold) bath
- plugged in the ancient laptop in an effort to find old show photos
- found old show photos but got distracted by birthday party photos
- thought intermittently about Nepal and Baltimore
It's 10pm. I get up at 6 and I'm no where near to being able to sleep. I'm looking at the very first picture of my girls as they were born, before they were whisked off to the NICU, before I knew H would sometimes stop breathing, before I didn't get to hold both my babies for over 3 weeks. So who the hell cares if I can't write tonight? Because life, death, babies. I'll get this done.
Today I had "cute lunch date" with Melanie. We talked about how parenthood has changed my entire way of working. No more time for crap. Just get it done and then go play in the park.
I like this way of working. We had two rehearsals this week that were necessarily extremely short due to space scheduling. The result was that we got. shit. done. fast. Nothing extraneous was in the room with us - only our bodies and words. A side bonus was that we got to bring the girls with us to rehearsal. The more we bring them into the studio, the more impressed I am. They continue to be incredibly adaptable and inspire me with how flexible they are. I love how comfortable they are in the studio and in the BAX space. I love that they made Marya drawings "because she might not know we were here."
Today after lunch I was inspired to write and then the words just crumbled away from me. Artistic despair! And then David and the girls came home and wanted me to play Three Bears with them (David was Goldilocks, obviously) and I was rebooted.