Friday, September 30, 2011

I Eat Toys

It started with an Ewok.  This was seven or eight years ago.  The Ewok and I were alone in a hot Silver Lake upper apartment.  We were in the "writing nook," which was basically just a tiny almost-closet that housed my computer, my desk and a few books on writing that were supposed to inspire me.

I'd written an entire novel.  I'd workshopped it, edited it, cried over it, queried it and finally shelved it.  I'd quit the acting thing a couple of years before and so far the writing thing was fun but frustrating.  But, now that I wasn't writing anything, it was a creative frustration I was suffering from instead of the generic variety.  I'd also just started a treatment for my chronic illness that makes you sicker before you feel better.  I had no energy; I was hot, sweaty, lethargic, annoyed and sad.  But worse, I was bored.

I think that's why I did it.  The boredom.

I sat in my office chair and stared at my iMac.  Then, two things simultaneously caught my eye:  a digital camera my parents had given me and Wicket, the Ewok.  He seemed to be staring at me, mocking me with memories of my childhood, when I thought I could easily do anything I wanted and I truly believed the force would be with me forever and ever.  I didn't know where the force had gone in my life.  Fuck the force, I thought as I picked up the tiny plastic toy and bit him.

I'm losing my mind, I thought.  Then, I grabbed the camera and took a photo of myself biting the Star Wars character.  I liked it.  I didn't know what it meant but it resonated with me.  I mean, screw all these symbols of innocence, right?  I'm just going to eat them all!!!  I changed my MySpace profile pic to the Ewok one.  Over the next couple of years, I took lots of photos of myself eating toys.  All crazy, narcissistic, self-indulgent, weirdo nonsense.  But, I couldn't stop.  I started staging them, making rubber bouncy balls look like sushi and army men look like cereal.  The stupid photos were fulfilling some creative monster inside who hadn't been fed by acting or writing in way too long.  By the time I was done, I'd "eaten" twelve toys.

Around that time, a friend started inviting me to karaoke.  As dumb as it sounds, even getting up and singing Starship in front of your drunk pals is a type of performing.  It reminded me that I might be on a treatment and I might feel bad but I was still alive.  Slowly I started writing again.  I wrote for a couple of websites, I published an essay.  I started a blog.  I realized I can still do things.

I haven't eaten a toy in a while.  But, I still collect them just in case.  In fact, there's a really yummy looking plastic dolphin staring at me right now.  Soooo, you never know.