Thursday, April 16, 2009

we don't know what we know

I had resolved to make it to the gym on Tuesday, as part of my current campaign to not have to buy larger jeans. Then, a coaching session materialized. For the coaching session, I was going to the actor's residence, which was in the part of the Mission closer to Potrero Hill. Now, I usually go to the gym at the 24 Hour Fitness near Church and Market. It occured to me that I could instead go to the 24 Hour Fitness at Potrero Center, which would be on the way home from the coaching session, whereas getting to Church and Market from the studen't place would be a bit of a production. But i found myself unsatisfied with that solution: I didn't want to go to the Potrero Center 24 Hour Fitness, although it wasn't immediately obvious to me why. At first, it seemed like perhaps I just want to go to my usual place, for the familiarity of it. Also there is a pool at the 24 at Potrero, which means the locker room smells like chlorine, and in general the facility is not as nice. But were these reasons for an out of the way effort to get to Church and Market?
Then it dawned on me: Church and Market is close to the Castro, and there was some part of me that was looking forward to ogling, and being ogled by, the other gays at the Church and Market 24. But the funny thing is, my thoughts prior to the coaching session materializing about going to the gym had had nothing to do with this: I had been dreading the hour on the bike and the accompanying discomfort of the bicycle seat, the ennui, the CNN rightwing spokesmodels on the monitors with close spationing that didn't work as often as it did, and hoping the podcast I had in my iPod would make the time go by. I wasn't aware of contemplating potential eye candy ogling. And yet, somehow, I was banking on that prospect, because when it was potentially yanked away by the prospect of going to Potrero instead, I found myself mentally bemoaning that loss.

The point is that we have instinctual, preconscious ways of weighing prospects, possibilities, people, relationships, and courses of action. This is a big reason why the work of finding appropriate objectives to pursue is as challenging as it is: our real investment in our world and our practices and activities is often grasped only at this preconscious level, and yet grasping these things is often precisely what is necessary to unlock a scene. When it is our own world, we understand these things instinctively and, of course, require no explanation, except, perhaps, in situations where we find ourselves inclined to conduct ourselves in way we neither understand nor desire. But when embodying a character in a fictional world, we don't have the same automatic understandings, and often need to work things out in order to fully enter into them.

And that, my friends, is what they pay me the big bucks for.

(This post is from the blog of the Mother of Invention Acting School in Los Angeles and San Francisco ( an acting class in Los Angeles and San Francisco for serious, motivated students.)

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