There are certain skills that nearly all who enter the wonderful world of the Arts in Australia must own or acquire.
I’m not talking about the drinking or the schmoozing or the on-tour adultery.
I’m talking about the juggling.
At some stage every single actor must be taught to juggle. Usually in drama class, usually while studying ‘street theatre’ or ‘circus skills’ or that most terrifying and loathsome of all acting courses ‘finding your inner clown’.
You dabble in Chekov, you move a little Mamet and then suddenly everyone is handed three bean bags or skittle things or those balls made with rice and balloons and then it’s all about eyelines and balance and G rated gags (unless you’re going to get one of those casino gigs which I hear are very lucrative).
We do this not because we need to understand the ‘coarse arts’ or are about to seriously delve into commedia but because the employment situation for actors is such crap that everyone needs to know how to busk and /or run a kiddy birthday party. Not everyone, I admit, but basically if your name isn’t Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman then you’ve got either an inner clown or a fairy and you’ve accepted money to brightly utter the immortal words “Time to cut the cake!”.
This is possibly why I became a writer.
I couldn’t juggle, no matter how garish my floppy pants were, how bright and cheery my braces. My inner clown inhaled her own rubber nose and died a horrible death and my fairy wafted too close to a birthday candle and combusted in a puff of glitter. This was a relief until I realised early on that writers juggle too. Not rice-and-balloon balls or bean bags, but deadlines which are infinitely heavier and far more spiky and dangerous.
So here’s the thing.
I have a commission to write a book.
It’s based on this blog or at least the bits of blog leading up to this.
There is a publisher. There is an editor. There is a deadline…February 15th
And there’s a whole lot of self doubt and worry and fear but also, also…great excitement.
Yesterday I said to C: don’t speak to me please, I’m working on my book.
There was a slight pause as we solemnly pondered over those words.
And then we both snorted like ferrets (yes, they do snort, some of them. The snorty kind) and silently shrieked because it was too brilliantly jolly.
I wasn’t going to mention it here but the thing is, writing this is becoming a huge part of my life. If I don’t mention it my posts from now on will be limited to Tricky’s burgeoning headsize and his antics with certain stuffed invertebrates.
And I’m juggling just as hard as I can – the book and the baby and a couple of other deadlines besides, but the book and the baby most of all.
I’ve got till February the 15th to complete the manuscript and if I don’t, well let’s just say they know where I live. The publisher sent me a Christmas card yesterday with a whole bunch of pink cupcakes on the cover. It sparked several thoughts, all at once… ooh card, isn’t that nice… sweet mother of god, is it Christmas already, fuck I’m running out of time… cupcakes mmm mmm…actually the gum drops on top of those cakes look like my gnawed leathery nipples…
and finally it reminded me of those long ago birthday parties, those will-clown-for-food-and-spare-change type gigs…
Would write more now but baby is screaming, clock is ticking.
Must go apply rubber nose and get those balls back in the air.