Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Passion of the Joe

Passion is an elusive thing. I am a passionate person. For years my passion was targeted toward religious goals. I hesitate to honestly say that it was true passion for Jesus...though some of it was. Much of my youthful Christian passion was some strange combination of a desire to be accepted, an honest longing for the redemption of humanity and a severe case of bad theology.

I struggle with new passions as they arise, or more accurately, as they are violently released from deep soul hibernation. I am becoming an artist...or realizing that I have always been one. I am seeing more clearly everyday that I am passionate about acting. (I am so careful with these words because I have come to believe that passions are not newly received but finally discovered within a person.)

I have some strange guilt that I have discovered such a passion. It seems less noble than the passions of my youth...more true, but less noble. I am still passionate about love, life, Jesus, my wife and kids...but somehow when I am acting I feel that I am honoring those passions. I am releasing myself to a craft...an idea. I also, because of who I am, have guilt that I am an artist for sale. A cultural whore who will do anything for a buck. As I use my art to peddle products and entertain drunken tourists I wonder if I have sold out...but still, there are moments, even in the midst of it all. Last night I signed an autograph for a mentally ill lady and she smiled so big that I nearly cried. She believed...and I saw the responsibility that comes with being an artist.

All of that to share this quote with you...it will help you understand me.

"Actors are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day to day rejection than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, actors face the financial challange of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get 'real' jobs, and their own fear that they will never work again. Every day they have to ignore the possibility that the vision to which they have dedicated their lives is just a pipe dream. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of a normal life--the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. But they stay true to their dream, in spite of sacrifices. Why? Because actors are willing to give their entire lives to a moment--to that line, that laugh, that gesture, or that interpretation that will stir the audience's soul. Actors are beings who have tasted life's nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out thier creative spirit and touched another's heart. In that instant, they were as close to God, to magic, to perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes." -David Ackert

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