October 21 – Munich – the divine dissatisfaction

I’ve been on the road since October 5th and now I am finally back in Munich (after 5 days in Moscow) with a chance for some relaxation, visiting friends and taking in the Bavarian countryside. And it’s at moments like this that I begin to think a lot about what I am doing. This teaching was not my chosen profession. I always imagined I would become a working theater, film and television director. And I have, I have done all three, but what pulled (or pushed) me into the world of teaching? Have I lost my way, or found my way.

Quite honestly, I have been struggling with this question for many years.

There are those days that I feel totally committed to the teaching and consulting. Usually it happens when I am in the middle of a seminar or workshop. When I look out over the crowd of eager participants like I just did in Moscow and feel the energy, the enthusiasm, the creativity flowing between them just because of the work we are doing .. then I feel that this must be what I was intended to do.

Then there are the days that I’m consulting on a film project, working intensely with the director and actors as we explore every nuance of every scene. And I’m invigorated but at the end of the day I’m feeling cheated. This directing isn’t really directing. It’s not my project. I am merely the midwife and will have to give up the child.

Then there are the days like today, when I sit alone in my little room in Weipertshausen, doing one more rewrite of my cherished screenplay. And I’m struggling, a bit frustrated, because I can feel that it is not good enough. I know that there is more to be explored. I am convinced that the spark that I’m trying to ignite is just around the corner, but it’s such a big corner. And I ask myself, “what am I doing?” I wonder why I can’t be happy with the enormous success I have as a teacher. I wonder why there is always this tug at my heart that says. “tell your own stories”. And I curl up in corner and wonder, once again, have I lost my way?

When Billy Wilder was asked what it was like to be a writer/director he¬†responded:”When I am writing I wish I were directing. And when I am directing I wish I were writing.” Great quote. Great insight. And when I am teaching I wish I were directing. And when I am writing I wish I were directing. And when I am directing I feel I don’t have room for wishes.

I met Billy once. He offered to mentor me. Another missed opportunity.

Now I know I will return to LA in a few days with these questions still rumbling in my mind. I think I am resigned to the fact that I will always be plagued with this dilemma. Perhaps this is best. Perhaps this is what it means to be an artist. As Martha Graham said, “no artist is pleased. We always live with a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others.”

Thanks all for joining me on this little journey through Europe. There will be more posts once I get back to LA.

Stay creative and remember … your story is unique, a gift for the world.

cheers, Mark

Munich, October 2011

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3 Responses to October 21 – Munich – the divine dissatisfaction

  1. Mark, I feel your pleasure/frustration with the creative process. What makes it easier for me is knowing that we ALL go through the push and pull of loving/hating what we do. Thanks for continuing to be a great teacher and an inspiration.

  2. Great honest reality of this tough work – teaching, and writing screenplays with real meanings hidden just enough to be showing and not telling.

  3. edith dume says:

    I relate to all of that so much. Thank you so much for sharing.

    When my focus is on my political work I feel guilty that I’m not taking care of my fictional pieces and vice versa.

    But when I realize that my mental and emotional sanity and well being depends on being able to switch from one realm to the other, then, I can finally find some peace and I can feel safe again.

    The whole process of writing is so scary. Sometimes, before I can finally put something on paper I spend idle hours of torturous wandering, until I finally can loose myself and get out of my way…

    Why do I need to add to all this messy process more doubts and unnecessary dualities and conflict?

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