Friday, January 20, 2012

Days on the Road

Unpaid eight-hour workdays, and an awful lot of driving.

Part of the day is spent looking for employment: office jobs, teaching jobs, construction, anything I can do. Again and again I am told that I am "overqualified." At one non-profit organization where I applied to be an administrative assistant, the executive director said, "You're a good candidate for my job." I have had one offer in several months. That offer was for a part-time job that would just about pay for the gas it would take for me to commute to Las Cruces. I turned it down.

The only income I earned in the second half of 2011 was from acting: two commercials and a film role up in Santa Fe, plus a workshop I taught in Las Cruces. At the beginning of this month, I even got signed by a talent agent in Albuquerque. How richly ironic, to be coming out of retirement as an actor because the economy has no other use for me.

My wife and I have discussed the growing probability of me leaving Deming and spending time away from my family, to go where there is work for me. My car is going to fall apart from all this driving: to Las Cruces (60 miles east), to Albuquerque (250 miles northeasterly), to Santa Fe (over 300 miles). Potentially, I could be sent to auditions in Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta, even back to L.A. I've got an audition lined up in Oklahoma City (700+ miles away) at a respected old theatre there. Deming is not making sense as a base of operations.

In the meantime, I drive across the New Mexican landscape almost daily. Fill up the tank and fire up the combustion engine, benefiting the oil companies as much if not more than my own family. What will happen during the next month, where I may end up by the end of this new year, I cannot guess.

And there really is nothing to know. The situation is perfectly clear, not mysterious. It is clear what each moment requires, no matter how I feel about it. (And oh, the feelings.)

Zen Master Seung Sahn frequently said, "Only go straight." Last weekend, Deming Zen Center had a retreat with Judy Roitman, who described "only go straight" this way: imagine a person who sees a child in the middle of the road with a car bearing down on her, and now imagine this person responding without any conscious thought, just running and knocking the child out of the way and themselves getting hit and killed by the car. Now imagine living every moment of your life with that kind of mind. That's "only go straight."

So, only going straight. There will be more time to spend in the car today: into the Mimbres Valley this afternoon to perform a wedding ceremony, then up and over a mountain for another trip to Santa Fe looking for work. Although I have an idea where the highway leads, there is no telling where "only go straight" leads.

Just go, move. Set the cruise control, chant "Kwan Seum Bosal," stop for coffee in Los Lunas, keep going.

[Photo: Approaching Las Cruces from the west]


Nathan said...

The only income I made was off a few writing gigs online. Nothing close to breaking even, and the reserves are getting low. I am also "overqualified" for so much out there. What to do?

I'm doing my best to see and feel grateful for all that I do have - which is immense. In fact, I've been moved to tears several times in the last month, that's how immense it all feels.

quid said...

Only go straight, my friend. Good luck. My thoughts are with you.


Lance said...

Talk to my friends Beth Bailey and David Sinkus at The Filling Station Arts Space in ABQ. Beth has been getting a good deal of acting work there - ABQ may be where you guys want to move to.

Jeane Dal Bo said...

Maybe you can find a solution in a crowdfunding project. Good luck!