2004-02-09 - 9:26 a.m.
So, first of all, the good news: I got into Berkeley! Woo-hoo! And I've been nominated for a fellowship which would pay for my tuition and provide me with a cost of living stipend for the first two years, followed by guaranteed teaching gigs for the next two.
This is major, of course. Berkeley was the most selective school that I was applying to, and the top school for 20th century English literature in the country.
It's also on the other side of the country from everyone I know and love in Philly and New York and halfway across the country from everyone else. I don't think I know a soul at Berkeley right now.
Of course, this could be a good thing. I love the thought of going to a totally new place where I don't know anyone, being able to reimagine myself yet again, and coming out the other side with a slew of new perspectives. I'd get to do all that at one of the most liberal, progressive universities in the country, surrounded by intelligent kids eager to change the world. I'd even be within driving distance of San Fransisco, the queerest city in America, where I would hopefully be able to find politically active, socially conscious, crazysexycool guys to shag and have good conversations with (I think that those two things put together constitute dating, but I'm not sure). I could easily see myself living there for the rest of my life.
That's kinda scary.
What's even scarier is this: I was made an offer this weekend that will be very hard to refuse. Some friends of mine have acquired a space that they want to turn into an alternative health community center. They hope to offer yoga, massage, and herbal medicine, as well as computer classes and other workshops for children and adults. It would be designed to cater to the low income families in the neighborhood, and as many courses as possible would be offered in Spanish as well as English. It has potential to do something wonderful for East Austin.
And they want to have a theater in back, which they want me to run.
That's right. My own theater. Yes, it's pretty ghetto and it's an outdoor theater, which is problematic if it rains. It would mean we would pretty much have a summer season only, and then we'd have to deal with mosquitos and all the other wonderful creatures that come out during balmy Texan evenings. The theatre isn't even completely built yet. But it will be, and it will be my theater, where I can direct whatever I want, with a real stage , real sets, real lights, and a real sound system. I would be able to EARN MONEY from this, and pay actors and designers. I would have my own theatre company, and my own space.
Yeah, I know.
And for those fo you concerned about my use of both "theatre" and "theater" in the last paragraph, you use the "re" when you're talking about the art form, and the "er" when you're talking about the building. This, of course, doesn't stop a lot of pretentious theater owners from saying they own a "theatre," but you can call them on their bullshit. Of course, the use of "re" in general can be called bullshit, too, but let's not get into that.
So, yeah, I could have my own theatre company. With my own theater. It's something that I thought might happen to me by, say, the age of 35. I'm not even 25.
With all this, I'm still waiting to hear from Penn, NYU, Stanford, Columbia, and Duke (although, at this point, i don't much care about Duke). I could get an even greater package from one of them, and wind up living in New York, or Philadelphia, which would mean living in a city I know and love with a lot of people I love around me. But I would still have to give up my own theater.
Last night, I watched Sex and the City with PearlJammer. If you haven't been watching, the show is going to end soon, and they're doing a really great job of making it unclear as to how the series will end, and as they raise the stakes the performances are getting to be really great. There was a fight between Miranda and Carrie that showed off more acting chops than I thought possible in Sarah Jessica Parker. Anyway, watch the show, and get ready for my big long post about the show's impact on my young queer life when it finally bows out.
The point I was eventually going to make was that, on this show, Carrie was having to make some big huge decisions about her life, like whether to quit her job and move to Paris to be with a guy or to let him go and remain in New York with her life and her friends. This was, of course, a monumnetal choice for her to make. As much as it pains me to identify with Carrie Bradshaw, I know how she feels.
I know that I'm lucky, Correction, I know that I have earned this, and that I'm lucky. I didn't get offered these choices by sitting on my ass. But now I'm faced with a decision that I am happy to have and terrified of making.
Going into a PhD program would set the course for the next six years of my life at the very least. At the end of it, I would pretty much either have to become a professor or admit to having wasted more than half a decade. I want to be a professor. I think I'd be great at it, and enjoy the heck out of it, but I want to be more than that.
Building a theatre company from scratch would be a lot of work. I'd have to work part time and be very poor for a good few years, poorer than I would be as a graduate sutdent, which is saying a shitload. I'd have to stay in Austin, which I love but which isn't New York or the Bay Area or even Philadelphia. The theatre company could be a little company that does little productions for the rest of its life, or it could be another Steppenwolf. But it would be one of my only chances to have a stage that I can build something on.
And where does being a writer fit into all this. Am I supposed to be a director or a professor instead, or can I find time for the cage match that is me against the blank page while I'm trying to get an advanced degree, or stage an original piece?
When I was competing for the Thouron (and by the way, Mr "I Never Lost Anything" didn't lose this, and I was happy for him, but for the most part the lousiest speakers with the shiniest resumes were the ones who got the award, so, in short, fuck that noise) this one girl brought up the idea that it was choice that stresses us out, that having so many options in our lives contributes as much to our misery as it does to our happiness. Even though I pointed out that this was a problem of the privileged, I still felt what she was saying. When you only have on path before you, you pretty much know where to go. But choosing between great opportunities it automatically choosing which opportunity to let go of, and that's a tough call.
Ah, I'll quit bitchin'. I'm really happy today, what with knowing that at least something resembling a future is going to happen. In other news, I saw a kick ass punk band this weekend. If you're in Austin, don't let The Sexy Finger Champs pass you by. They're fans of Hedwig and Iron Chef, and sings songs about robots and loving your fatass self. What more could you want?
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