Monday, August 25, 2008

Anniversary Day

Another day, another flip-flop for Curtis.

August 21, 2007 was the day that Dad passed away. It took me a few days to post this, because I can't hardly stand to think about him too long without breaking down.

Dad's passing seems to correspond with some new beginnings for our family. Little sister Elizabeth is starting college at UT Austin. Brother William is rapidly climbing the management ladder at Rackspace, and traveling the world while doing so. "Mom" India (Cita to us!) has new job offers on the table that will really allow her to do more of what she loves, with less B.S., and more money. Mary's brother and sister moved their kids into a super house in a great area of Houston, and have paid off their old house, which they are renting to her brother Jeff. Even my mom Barbara finally got her disability claim through the vast government bureaucracy almost single-handedly, after surviving a near-fatal traffic mishap.

Once again, I failed to snap some pix of Cita and Lizzie's last visit. Dagnabbit!!!

I feel like I've been going through my own "re-birth" cycle lately, too. Mid-life crisis, I guess. I was convinced for a while that we were buying a kick-ass house here in one of Austin's great family neighborhoods; then I scrapped that and told the wife we were moving to Hollywood so that I could feed my acting jones; now, I'm pretty sure that we will stay put, and maybe buy a cheaper, simpler house that will allow us to be basically debt-free while I start an executive coaching business and write my books, while acting on the side. (Ironcially, this last option was what Mary suggested we do in the first place, but she played along the whole way, bless her.)

Last night, I saw the "Making of the $200 Pilot: 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'", and I thought, "I could do that!" In fact, I would love to do that even more than I would love landing a few roles in Hollywood through traditional auditions.

Maybe I have Dad's rebel spirit in me, but the more I started thinking about what I wanted out of L.A., the less sense it made to go there. I want to be in control of my time. Acting won't give me that. If I'm working, I'm basically an employee, which is what I'm trying to get away from. If I'm not working, I'm driving all over town auditioning (hopefully!), and that's really no fun- the driving or the auditioning. I hate the "business" of acting, but I love the art and craft of acting. But I can act now, in either theater or film, without anybody's permission.

If I go to Hollywood, I'll be looking for roles, probably in television, that give me what's called "FU money" (use your imagination). That's basically enough money to NOT have to work, unless you want to. Well, guess what? I've got that now, provided I don't buy a $350,000 house! Seems to me that we can be debt-free, I can start my own business and really be in control of my time, and still have freedom to audition for major studio films, and also make my own projects, all for the love of it, with no downside, and possible serious upside.

Plus, making things work here allows me to enjoy more time with my family, stress-free, and gives Mary some opportunities, like applying for the Mitchner Fellowship, things that she wants to do, and also to do more with our friends here in Austin.

I am a little embarrassed to do another major reversal, but hey, it's the rest of our lives we're talking about. Better a couple of false starts and course corrections that a quick charge down the wrong path for the next two years. I'll just swallow my pride and make it work.

Dad and I were both pretty impulsive guys, and we both learned best by experiencing rather than speculating. I would love to talk this over with him, but I know that he would be supportive, no matter what I decided. As long as I was moving to something, and not running away from something; in other words, acting for a goal, not fear. I'm blessed to have known Dad well enough to know this was true.

NB: I wish I had even more pictures of him and Grandma India with our baby Danielle, but Dad was in the hospital for the better part of his last 6 months, and it was hard to get Baby Girl in to see him.