No article, the or a, so seemingly professionalism is something achievable through self motivation and discovery. A state of being, a characteristic, exude internally, influenced and announced by others yet not sanctioned or ordained by outside those factors. The dictionary assigns it to the senses, as opposed senses of others. Like nature, trees and rivers, that existed before we told their non-existed ears what they were. This naming ceremony was more for our obsessive compulsiveness to categorically contract everything in the known and unknown universe. So I am professional, aren’t I?
Well, in the arts community, no. Part of the naming ceremony involves also assigning law to this unnamed disorder. And like politics and the voices in one’s head, it’s much more democratic to take the pill, silence the voices and make a decision. And the best way to achieve this without riteous upheaval or Lennonist palace burning is by handpicking a few professionals. You’re in the exclusive club! You ARE a professional. If you are not in this club, no matter how you feel or even how others feel about you, you are NOT a professional. How do you get in this club? Well, if you’re lucky and all the stars align and you know that guy who does that thing over there with whosit and whatsit, then MAYBE, you’ll be placed on the long list. Wonderful empty promises, a religion of extremist professionals cheering.
It irks me to the core, how we, the dreamers, the ones with endless imagination fall victim to this narrow minded, corporate us versus them system. We define who were are by this, who we work with, who we befriend, what we see, what we DON’T see. Conversations are not interesting, but are opportunities. We shmooze, we laugh at terrible jokes, we applaud shit. We scoff at words like “community” “amateur” “black box.” We charge exorbitant prices, we do what is safe, we promote only us, the professionals and forget our long Lord of the Rings-esque journeys to where we are. We sit on pedestals made of uncooked peanut brittle. We, as a friend said to me recently, have our individual grain silos. If the end of days came, we’d feed only other professionals.
I am NOT professional. I write. I collaborate. I make art. My art is not of a professional class, or any class. I don’t seek out professionals, I seek out people I am in awe of, people I respect, people I want to listen to, good, amazing, smiling, happy people. When I work, I am not defined by a role. You are the professional actor and I am the professional writer, which means I cannot effect your work, nor can you effect mine. And yet, through Sid: The Handsome Bum, a collaborative one woman show of mine, which opens tomorrow, I have learned that the brilliance I have developed over the years of writing this show can easily be replaced in a matter of seconds by an off handed comment that is so much more brilliant. My ties to the people I want to work with are not union bound, they are bound by the creative spaces, by the different textures we add to one art piece, to heart wrenching sounds of their laughter, their tears, their moments on stage that I wrote a certain way and they performed something else, something wildly beautiful and unexpected and I gasp at repeated words made Misner new.
On a personal note, this show has been made public, not to fish for compliments, but to see how strangers react to my work, which has so far, only been read to my close knit circle of two or three people. It is also acts as a personal ad, “come work with me, come talk to me, let’s make some amazing things, let’s do theatre in a bathtub floating down a whitewater rapids river!” Like professionalism, the arts for me, is self defined. Your not a writer, but you are an AMAZING writer. No one has called you an ACTOR, but you find brilliant nuances and beats when you ACT. Come see this show, come stay after and talk to us. All the people involved in this are so radically tubular cowabanga and I am one lucky sunofabitch.
For more information on the show, check out: