Everything Is Already Something Week 46: I Don’t Feel Bad About Saying I’m Busy

Allison Page, taking time out of her busy schedule.

There’s this hot new trend the internets is on a kick about, which is that people who say they are busy – people who ARE really busy – are doing something wrong – which I completely disagree with. Initially I thought, “Yeah, I mean, a lot of us do a lot. A lot of us do too much. I try to keep it in check, but here we are. Maybe you’re right.” and then, as things always do, it sort of escalated and now I’ve read an article containing this:

“I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch.”

OH, DO YOU? Have you ever asked someone how they were doing and wanted that response?

A: “How are you doing?”
B: “My heart craves a human touch.”
A: …*silently sips coffee*

Here’s what’s going on in this, for me: I’m not busy doing shit I hate. I’m busy making things I’m passionate about. That’s true for most of the people I associate with. When I say “How are you doing?” or “What are you up to?” or “What’s new?” essentially what I’m saying is “So what are you working on?!” and I don’t think that’s a terrible thing. Actually, it’s less that I say that I’m busy and more that other people say “It seems like you’re really busy!” – thanks, Facebook. (Clearly not Facebook’s fault, clearly my fault for talking about what I’m doing ON Facebook, but let’s not quibble over the details, shall we?) I love hearing about other people’s projects. I know that my friends are busy – I don’t know – MAKING ART. And I understand that it’s time-consuming and soul-consuming and consuming-consuming and that’s not always easy. In fact, it rarely is. But I have to believe we’re doing it for a reason, and the reason is that we want the things we’re making to exist in the world and we won’t be satisfied until they do. Maybe that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find an artist who doesn’t believe that they’re making something vital or at the very least something which will effect someone in some way that they consider important. God, does this sound pretentious? I really don’t know. It’s fine if it does. Yes, I am busy doing things I care about – but I also take time (in the fleeting moments I find) to have leisurely coffee and/or brunch dates with friends and talk for hours about anything and everything (but seriously though, it’s often still about the stuff we’re making) before I head back into a crazy sprint of producing/directing/acting/writing something. I love doing that, and I do think it’s important.

If there’s one person whose work ethic I admire the most, it would be Mae West. Clearly she’s not getting a lot done now because she’s extremely dead but when she was alive and kicking she did more than most would think possible. And she was proud of that. By day, glamorous and showy and appearing potentially frivolous – by night, writing, writing, writing, rehearsing, revising, painstakingly perfecting her material and her persona. Her unprecedented success wasn’t an accident. She worked for it every day since childhood and cared about it so much that she was willing to go through truckloads of trouble to see that her work existed, including being arrested – more than once.

The only woman you can make out on the left? That's her. This is from the trial concerning her play The Pleasure Man which was accused of being "immoral" and "indecent". The cast of 56 were arrested and carted away from the theater at which they were performing.

The only woman you can make out on the left? That’s her. This is from the trial concerning her play The Pleasure Man which was accused of being “immoral” and “indecent”. The cast of 56 were arrested and carted away from the theater at which they were performing.

So yes, she was pretty busy. Clearly I’m not Mae West, but I do care passionately about doing exactly what I want.

Or maybe I’m just not a person who can sit around and talk about her heart. Maybe I’ve got too much of my dad’s genes and want to sip a beer and say that yoga, chiropractors, and therapy are “Just bullshit run by shysters.” (I don’t really think that, but he sure does. Okay, except for yoga. I hate yoga.) In spite of popular belief, yeah, I do have feelings. I tap into them the most in my work. Oh, did that sound bad? I’m having trouble with my own tone today. Maybe I sound like a heartless douche.

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Yeah, I’m tired sometimes. I will freely admit that the last two months have been a bit much, as everyone close to me knows. But I also don’t regret any of it, because I really cared about what I was doing.

Maybe this whole thing is about needing to stop and smell the roses sometimes, and I just feel like what I’m busy with…IS the roses.

Yeah, no, that was definitely kind of pretentious. But that’s just how my heart is feeling, you know?

Allison Page is an actor/writer/director/busy person in San Francisco who is booked for an entire year but will still make time to consume both caffeine and alcohol with the people she cares about at odd times of the day when she happens to be free.

3 comments on “Everything Is Already Something Week 46: I Don’t Feel Bad About Saying I’m Busy

  1. sftheaterpub says:

    Stuart here: I don’t find it pretentious, Allison- I find it wonderful, optimistic, and excellent that you’re life is made up of roses! The trick is always maintaining enough of a balance so that is stays that way… roses can turn into mulch, after all, and what we love can become something we hate if we get burnt out on it.

    Also… come on Thoreau- lay off the ants! If they didn’t keep busy disposing of dead things and such, we’d be up to our knees in decomposing food!

  2. […] see, like all of you, I read Allison’s most recent piece and it resonated with me. After reading it I was suddenly struck by the fact that once I’ve […]

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