mardi 29 mars 2011

Cash, money, power

I have been trying to find a respectable topic to blog about these last few days. But somehow, words seem to fail whenever I think about the big things happening in the world. The Japanese disaster is astounding, the Libyan war unsettling, the American budget decisions baffling, the rise of French extreme-right leader Marine Le Pen distressing, etc.

And when I think of my own personal life, I realize that I am both incredibly fortunate and kind of - stuck.
I think of issues dear to me and projects that should see the light of day. That makes me feel ambitious and creative. But then I realize that I need to make money.
Filled with enthusiasm (I can't help it), I search for jobs on the internet. I even - though not as much as I would want - send applications, and write rapturous cover letters. So far, I have not received many answers (read none).  That's when I start to wonder how anyone is able to succeed - and by this I mean "being fairly credited for what they do". I hear a lot of good things about networking and proving yourself and accepting to work for free. I have yet to fully master the arts of networking and self-confidence, but I have most definitely worked my fair share of free hours. No doubt that I will continue for some time, but I still don't think it's right. Well, not in the long run, at least. It's great to acquire new skills and get experience, but  working for free does eventually make you feel exploited and unimportant - not feelings that help one succeed, as far as I can tell. As my boyfriend likes to remind me: "cash, money, power". And no, he's not an investment banker.

I wonder how the people who are "at the top" of whatever they do got to the top of whatever they do. Sheer luck? Courage? Both? Hard work? Money? Friends? Coincidence (other word for "luck")?
And how much compromise should I be willing to make in my professional career? Do I have to narrow my interests, settle in a niche job and never get out of it?
I love working in theatre because it's such an expansive art form. It includes so many people, mediums, props, costumes. It's messy and lively. A rehearsal can be boisterous one moment and awkward the next. You constantly have to work with people, cooperate, keep on going despite frustration, fatigue or embarrassment. You have to know how to communicate and depend on others. It's hard work, but so gratifying when the show goes up and the audience relates. Clapping! Success!
But theatre, in its strict form, is limited to the stage. And I would like to take that thespian energy and that sense of cooperation and extend it to the outside world. I would like to offer creative solutions to real-life problems, as well as pretend ones. I would like to have a little bit more power (cash, money) to address issues and make alternative ideas more visible. A daunting task, in this confusing world.  But I can't shake it off. It's not just me.  A lot of people and institutions, in a lot of ways, can't shake that desire off. And they act on it. They strive to be political, in the noble sense of the word : responsible and accountable within society.
But in order to succeed, we all need to stop being disgusted by cash so that we can access more ressources and be a visible, positive influence, gaining - go ahead, say it, say it! - power. Because, let's face it: if we're weak, others are strong. If our strong ideals are weakly communicated, other weaker concepts are publicized to everyone everywhere.

All that to say that I promise to send more resumes out, and not undersell myself. At least, I'll try.

mercredi 9 mars 2011

Words in floods like the overspilling oceans

The words will come in floods and I won't control them.
I'll utter something I thought but didn't mean to say. It will be heard, I will have to explain.
It will mean more than what I ever thought it should mean. But, come to think about it, maybe it does... mean. I mean, something. Important.

I finished the last few pages of The Road after having stalled reading the ending.  Deeply troubled, because of McCarthy's lucid pessimism and because, in so many ways does he speak a truth we're all dutifully ignoring : if we keep on going the way we are, bad things will happen.

I have now started reading Laurence Olivier's autobiography, and it's entertaining, light and peppy.
But it's not making me forget about the end of the world. I keep on wondering if humans will cause the end of all life, or if we (along with numerous other life forms) will be swept off the earth, only to be replaced by a new life-cycle. Then I fantasize grimly: after the complete disappearance of humans, maybe the earth will gulp all remaining human-made ruins and breathe unimaginable life into them, in a way unfathomable to our minds numbed by selfishness and greed.
Until I see a plastic bag on the sidewalk, and I feel like crying - because it's on the ground on its way to the ocean, and because I'm not picking it up. It's honestly hard to walk around Bethlehem. All that litter generates so much guilt and questionning.
I feel so small unable unhelpful useless. I have a brain, I can put two and two together - we are in trouble - but I'm not finding positive, creative solutions that would deeply challenge the national (American) consensus. Of course, living a relatively green lifestyle is a small step in the right direction, but we need to go further than that. The billionnaires who deny climate change such as David Koch really need to be challenged, more than with a couple of placards. There's got to be a secret weapon in the liberal's arsenal that we have not tried yet. That secret weapon is probably made of money - that is invested in long-term solutions. And that secret weapon needs to be deployed now. Otherwise, we're screwed.