What am I doing, here?
I am back to blogging after an absence due to extreme workload on all fronts: costume design projects coming out my ears, an art residency that is ramping up for a group show, teaching a ton, and school work (I am finishing my degree with the LEAP Program). But now I am back, and if you haven’t sensed it yet, there is a quiet revolution going on here at Dd, of which there will be more details soon. Which leads me to this question, “What am I doing, here?”
I first heard this question used in positive abundance when I was at NYU in 1999. I went to a talk given by Philip Seymour Hoffman at the Stella Adler Acting Studio. It was an intimate affair with about sixty excited students packed into a blackbox theatre to hear their favorite indie (at the time), character actor talk about his artistic process. And while I am sure he must have said many profound things of which I have forgotten over the last decade, the thing that has stuck with me all this time is this moment of personal and character inquiry:
“What am I doing, here?”
This was question he asked himself over and over again in his chair, to demonstrate how he dealt with acting in a scene. In hindsight, what seems so important to me is the “here”. Not just “what am I doing”, but “here”, in this moment, in this place. The “here” is constantly changing for us all, we can’t stop time, and so this simple, repetitive line of questioning is interesting and clarifying to me.
I could bore you with the details of my busy past, but instead I would rather just appreciate my present: I am blogging in Brooklyn, at my art studio at the Textile Arts Studio in Gowanus, which is filled with buttons I am making from my grandfather’s clothing and costume sketches I just finished for a flamenco company in Philadelphia, listening to the new Wilco album, The Whole Love, which will remind you, in case you need reminding, of why Jeff Tweedy is the best songwriter of his generation, planning my week, wondering about Occupy Wall Street, and feeling glad to have this moment to breathe and think.