Ever Tried. Ever Failed.

I had so many dreams of where I wanted to go, who I wanted to be, and what I wanted to do.

You have your own story to tell.

Theater companies I wanted to start with classmates, movies I wanted to be in, directors I wanted to work with, stories I needed to tell.

I packed the life that I knew with socks and a toothbrush into my backpack and I slept on couch, after couch, after couch, after couch at friends apartments in New York until I wore out their rent paying roommates’ welcome.

I didn’t want a “day job” – I was an actor, I was a writer – I had to get a day job. I dusted pianos at a piano store on Ludlow Street for five months. I worked on the property of a Shakespeare Scholar for a year pulling weeds and removing bees nests. I went on unemployment once but not for long, I couldn’t handle the guilt.

Eventually I was able to pay rent for a spot on the floor on the lower East side, but my roommate had a breakdown and disappeared. I helped hang paintings at galleries; paintings that inspire you to think, “I could do that.”

And then, finally, after two years of job and couch surfing, I got a “job”. In application processing. As a data enter-er, at a place called Professional Examination Services. And I stayed for six years – six years.

From the age of twenty-three to twenty-nine; well they loved me there. I was funny. I smoked in the loading docks with the guys from the mail room and we shared how hung over we were. I called in sick almost every Friday because I was out late the night before. I hated that job. And I clung to that job.

Because of that job, I could afford my own place. My dream of running a theater company with my friend and fellow Bennington graduate Ian Bell had died. I had only the one window – I myself could not look out the window, it was quite high. No “acting agent.”

When I was twenty-nine I told myself, “The next acting job I get, no matter what it pays I will from now on, for better or worse, be a working actor.”

But something good happened; I got a low paying theater job in a play called “Imperfect Love,” which led to a film called “Thirteen Moons” with the same writer. Which led to other roles, which led to other roles, and I’ve worked as an actor ever since.

I didn’t know that would happen. At twenty-nine, walking away from data processing, I was terrified. Ten years in a place without heat, six years at a job I was stuck in, maybe I was afraid of change.

Are you?

But this made me very hungry. Literally. I couldn’t be lazy, I couldn’t be. And so at twenty-nine, and at very long last, I was in the company of the actors and writers and directors I had sought at that first year, that first day, after school. I was, I am, by their sides.

Raise the rest of your life to meet you. Don’t search for defining moments because they will never come. The moments that define you have already happened, and they will already happen again. And it passes so quickly – so please, bring eachother along with you.

You, you just get a bit derailed. But soon something starts to happen, trust me, a rhythm sets in. Just try not to wait until like me, you’re twenty-nine before you find it. And if you are thats fine too. Some of us never find it. But you will, I promise you, you are already here. You will find your rhythm or continue the one you have already found.

Don’t wait until they tell you, you are ready. Get in there. Sing.

The world might say you aren’t allowed to yet. I waited a long time out in the world before I gave myself permission to fail. Please, don’t even bother asking. Don’t bother telling the world you are ready. Show it. Do it.

What did Beckett say?

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.

We burn very brightly, please don’t ever stop. The world is yours. Treat everyone kindly, and light up the night.

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— Transcript made from a video (Are You Scared of Change) made by Mulligan Brothers

 

 

 

The Feeling of Being Stuck on Earth

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It’s hard not to look at the ground as you walk.

To set your sights low, and keep the world spinning, and try to stay grounded wherever you are.

But every so often you remember to look up, and imagine the possibilities.

Dreaming of what’s out there.

Before long, you find yourself grounded once again.

Grounded in the sense of being home bound. Stuck on the planet Earth.

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Astrophe

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The more you look to the sky, the more you find yourself back on Earth, confronting certain possibilities.

It’s possible there are other names for our planet, that we will never know.

That there are constellations that feature our sun, from an angle we’ll never get to see.

That there are many other civilizations hidden beyond the veil of time, too far away for their light to ever reach us.

We dream of other worlds, and name them after our old discarded gods, and they seem almost as distant-too far to be seen with the naked eye. Only ever in artist’s renditions. Or a scattering of pixels on a monitor, with the colors tweaked to add a bit of flair.

Even our own neighborhood is impossibly vast. We’re used to showing the planets nested together-because if we drew them to scale, they’d be so far apart, they wouldn’t fit on the same page.

And even our own moon, that seems to hang so close to Earth, but still so far away that all the other planets could fit in the space between them.

It’s possible our spacesuits won’t need treaded boots ever again. That one day soon we’ll tire of wandering and move back home for good.

And we’ll get used to watching our feet as we walk, occasionally stopping to hurl a single probe into the abyss, like a message in a bottle.

Maybe it shouldn’t matter if anyone ever finds it. If nobody’s there to know we once lived here on Earth.

Maybe it should be like skipping a stone across the surface of a lake. It doesn’t matter where it ends up, It just matters that we’re here on the shore. Just trying to have fun and pass the time, and see how far it goes.

 

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

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Everybody Wants To … Until Its Time

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I’m fragile. I feel pain. I hurt. I open my eyes. I create. I conquer. I hold the power.

I’m a thinker. I create victory. I do not give up. I feel no fear. I fear no man.

I’m an athlete, a warrior, an artist.

Some of ya’ll been worshiped since you was in high school, so you don’t really know how to grind. Like you talk grind – like I love it, like I go into the weight room and ya’ll playing like Pac. Ya’ll playing Biggie, like ya’ll all in it. Like, you like Pac but you don’t have the spirit of Pac. You like love Pac,  you like listening to Pac, you like listening to Biggie, you like to talk about the grind. But you don’t really know what the grind’s like.

I know what the grind is like. I started from the bottom. What is your bottom when you’ve been worshiped since middle school? You’ve been tall your whole life, big your whole life… They worshiped you so much now that you think its about you. You don’t even know what the grind look like.

I’m from Detroit. Homeless. Mama got pregnant with me at seventeen years old. High school drop out. Took me twelve years to get a four year degree. I am coming now! Its in view!

You finally made it to the big leagues, and now you wanna chill? Now you got the big head? Now you can’t grind?

You here now. You here now! You finally made it!

And this is where you break up? This is where you start chilling? This is where you get comfortable?

You made it now! You made it now! You in the big leagues now! They watching you now!

This is where you make it permanent!

Yeah I saw – I saw, “perfect, perfect,” nope. Practice don’t make perfect. Practice makes permanence! This is permanent ya’ll! This is permanent. You can go wherever you wanna go from here.

It does not take talent – you don’t have to be talented. Right? You don’t have to be gifted, you don’t have to be the quickest, the strongest. You don’t have to be the most intelligent to get to where I am. This is what you gotta do: You just got to grind though. Your grind – you got to out grind!

So many of you may of heard me say this, your father, listen to me, might own a company, your momma might be a millionaire, you might come from privilege, your daddy might hook you up with a car, he might know people, he might be able to get you a job, but you will not out work me.

And what you have to decide in your position, in the NCAA, you have to make a decision, that nobody in this league, in your position, will out work you.

Listen to me, you have got to grow up and get to the point as a man that if you ever get beat, you better get beat by somebody that’s just purely more talented than you are. You better not ever get beat by somebody because you beat yourself.

You have to take advantage of an opportunity of a life time in the life time of the opportunity.

Let me tell you something, you sitting in this room, you think you going to be eighteen for the rest of your life, you think you’re going to be nineteen for the rest of your life, you got an opportunity right now that you won’t have five years from now. You have an opportunity right now that you will never have!

People say, “Why you grind so hard E?” I might not be the number one motivational speaker in the world five years from now. I gotta get everything I can get right now! Every book I can wright, every – listen to me! My school is being paid for by the athletic department – I am hot right now!

Right here. You may never get another one. Some of you, after this, there may not be another opportunity. And let me tell you what I tell athletes; the worst thing in the world is not growing up in poverty. The worst thing in the world is growing up in poverty and coming here, and getting worshiped, and not taking advantage of this, and you got to go back to the hood! That’s the worst thing that could ever happen to a brother.

You better not lose this! This is the opportunity of a lifetime! Your grandma counting on you to do the right thing. Your momma counting on you, your cousins, your brothers and sisters are counting on you to cash in on this opportunity.

Everybody wanna be a beast. Everybody wanna be a BEAST! … Until its time to do what beasts do.

Until its time to do what beasts do…

Everybody wanna be a beast! Everybody got a lio– tattoos of lions! Lions all on they twitter page– everybody got the lion thing now, they tweeting now, “Rawr!”

But when its time to practice you aint on beast mode! Let me tell you something as I’m getting out of here; can I be real with ya’ll? Most of ya’ll think that a lion is who he is because of how ferocious he is when he catch that gazelle or when he catch that zebra. Can I be real with ya’ll? A part of being a beast just aint eating a gazelle. A part of being a beast is to hunt.

Its the hunt that they excited about! They like to see the gazelles run, then boom! They take off! Cause real lions like to hunt! They love the process – the process – just as much as they love the prize.

And some of ya’ll just want to score! You don’t like the process! You not in love with the process!

A real man in the dark when nobody’s watching, he putting in work.

A real man in the dark when nobody’s watching, he putting in work

A real man, when coach aint even watching, he’s studying film on his own. Because he loves the process…

If you will be a champion, if you will be a beast, you gonna have to go through something.

Aint nobody gonna hand you nothing. Aint nobody gonna hand you no championship. Aint nobody gonna hand you no title.

So this is my year – I end – this is my year. Listen to me, say, “Be Phenomenal,” this is it, I want you to chant it out, this is it, “Be Phenomenal Or Be Forgotten.” One, two, three:

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Source

“When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”

Tree Silhouette Against Starry Night Sky

When I heard the learn’d astronomer;

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;

When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;

When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and suck;

Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

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Walt Whitman, 1819 – 1892