Bull Riders and Bad (or Good) Reviews

Sometimes you just need a good pep talk.

Sometimes you just need a bad (or good) review.

Sometimes you get them both in the span of 24 hours

January can be a brutal month for the creatively employed. It’s not the halcyon days of lazy December when permission seems granted at every turn to rest, relax and eat carbs. The month of January is a reminder that things start over, we reset the year and it is month-one of year-whatever. New Years Goals should drive me toward accomplishments and action items and at least 30 minutes of cardio a day. My skin should glow from all that rest in December and energy should be high enough to clear the Resolutions List before the first heart-themed box of candy lands on the retail shelves for Valentines Day.

But here’s what can happen instead:  the week of “Treat Yo’self” has morphed into the entire month of December and waking up January 1st I can’t help but wonder who kidnapped me and force-fed me all that sugar (most of it in the form of booze, so at least I’m an easy kidnap victim). Then looking at an empty calendar, panic sets in that I’ll never work again, even though I’ve got two fantastic gigs with amazing regional theatres doing staged readings and another title in a series of books I’m narrating to record and a handful of auditions already out the door. None of that last bit matters, I can’t escape the feeling, from whatever hopped-up-crazy-land crashing down on me that I. Will. Never. Work. As. An. Actor. Again.

Pause. Breathe. Repeat.

In the midst of all that insanity, I got one of those “I’m so lucky this guy is my partner” pep talks that involved a lot of rodeo metaphors, weird, but effective. His point being that I am not going to go the full 8 Seconds every time I get up on the bull, but I’ll never go even a second if I don’t get on the bull in the first place. The evening’s pep talk was followed today with one of the publishers I narrate for sending me a review of recent work from AudioFile Magazine. Both managed to act as a form of a “RESET or REMIND” button to stop the crazy train and get my butt back on track.

So, as January comes to a close and February spreads her heart-themed-love-wings I want the world to know I am grateful for the people in this world who encourage me to ride bulls (metaphorically), read reviews and keep on keeping on no matter what month it is or what the calendar says. We are all in this thing one day at a time, sometimes we just need to be reminded of that, and other days maybe we need to be brave enough to ride a bull, or read a review.