Auditions have always felt cheap to me, as if an auction is taking place and the actors are once treasured heirlooms begging to be bought and cherished, but are viewed by the buyers as just another object in a long line of replaceable junk. As soon as the preparation begins I start to loose my individuality and become a part of the factory machine trying to make thousands of reproductions of something unclear that might exist in someone’s very specific brain. I don’t want to mold myself to someone else’s imagination! My own imagination and reality are what interest me and what I want to offer to others.
“So what whiny girl.” “And what exactly does that leave you with?”
Even if I try to block out the internal voices of judgement I still do what they want me to by arriving and going through the mechanics. Is it even worth fighting against? Is the answer to accept it as taught and experienced?
I think there is something in the making of mud pies.
Sitting in the lake at our summer house on top of a hill with a flat rock beside me, kneeling in the soft muck and leaves, with the water caressing my legs, and the sun my back. Wearing my favorite two piece bathing suite with funny white and brown flowers, I am making delicious mud pies. The rock only has room for one or two at a time and so their life expectancy is relatively short. It is a happy, simple time piling small fistfuls of wet, clumpy dirt and sand on top of one another. Patting down, smoothing out. Shaping an obsessive circle or oval. Symmetrical.
“Who wants to eat this one!?” “Nom, nom, nom, nom. Thank you.” “This one is for you.” “Now this one is for you.” “One for me.” “Another for you!”
Each ‘thank you’ of good manners teaches the child within me and starts the process again. The dirt is washed away, making the water even more cloudy, but the rock is clean and we are ready to begin. More mud, more shapes, more sizes.
To the person not caring much for the mud pie: Each one is the same (don’t blame them for thinking so.)
To the young artist who can’t help finding the most creative thing to do, even on a hot, lake day: Each one has a similar make up, but is crafted distinctly and purposefully.
More or less mud creating size and height. This one has a splotch of dark earth on the right hand side. Another one has a speck of leaf, a black twig. A large one gets a pebble on top, and some are engraved with a design by my pruney finger.
While polite, no one rushes over to document each pie before its short existence ends. I won’t even remember most of them but will recall the time, the mood, the senses. A little girl having an ideal day with family, escaping the heat. In the only picture I look happy and calm.
So make the machine my own. That could be an answer. Redefine it from cold indifference to careful enjoyment. Yes, each creation will last only a matter of minutes and most of the time no one, including myself, will remember much of anything, but ‘I’ will remain in the preparation, the craft, and the snapshots of life as an artist who performs.
When my wet body was strapped into the back seat of my grandpa’s van, there was a mud pie left behind, sitting on the rock as a physical reminder. No one knows how long it was there. Most likely it was slowly baked in the warmth of the evening sun and then eventually washed away in tiny bits by the wake of passing boats and splashing people. Or perhaps an animal sat down in that secluded spot, or a rain shower came along. But when it comes to an authentic, scrumptious mud pie, that one had a good, long run. It’s existence serving some purpose all the way to this moment.
Do I have the courage to keep creating mud pies with my heart, in the knowledge that they most often will be washed away? I believe so. With the knowledge that the “Thank you,” at the end of each is a signal. The clean water that washes, soothes, and prepares to start again with something similar, built for others, but uniquely made by me.