Monday, July 08, 2013

C2E2: "Hanging Out" with Peter Davison and An Auditorium Full of People

Peter Davison came out to the cheering crowd in the auditorium at McCormick Place. We all had gathered together on that April Saturday afternoon to spend some time with Mr. Davison at C2E2.

He sounded quite youthful, much like he did during his earlier years. I shouldn't expect any less. When I've only seen a youthful version of him on television, though, it feels a little unsettling to see him having aged so. Felt that way even after having seen the "Time Crash" short.

Maybe more apt to say that he broadcast a youthful spirit rather than simply sounded youthful. Somewhat uncanny.

His charming demeanor, both at the lectern and when he played the Fifth Doctor, still makes it hard to believe that he was something of a trouble maker in his youth. How could he have trouble with academics during his secondary school years (or whatever they call it England). An interesting story to hear that he ended up in acting very much because it captured his passion unlike any other activity or field.

Entertaining to hear that his role in All Creatures Great and Small, which made him a household name in England, consisted a lot of sticking his arm up the asses of cows. He played the role of a veterinarian and that job apparently consists of putting your arm up cows' asses a lot. Who knew. . .that someone could get famous doing that?

C2E2 is a nerdy geek convention, though, and most everyone there knew him as the Fifth Doctor, as the father of the actress, Georgia Moffett, who played the cloned daughter of the Tenth Doctor and then, as the actress, married the actor who played the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant.

Suffice to say, that's just the tip of the iceberg in the relationship and acquaintence of Peter Davison and David Tennant. You, fine reader, can attend a con and see Peter Davison to hear these stories. The thought of sharing those stories as my stories feels a little wrong. I'll let those fine Doctors breach their own privacy.

Also, I don't want to take the man's "market share." I have a hard time seeing more people visiting my blog in a month than going to see Davison just once. Nonetheless, they're his stories to tell, not mine.

Davison had some fun stories about the interaction of his family and Doctor Who before Tennant became part of the family. One story involves one of Davison's sons preferring other Doctors before him. Another fun story made for interesting one upmanship in traumatizing the exit of two of the Doctor's companions: Adric and Rose Tyler * * * SPOILERS: Don't read these links if you don't want to get spoiled * * *

One question and answer interaction really has stuck with me, though: an aspiring actor or actress (OK, maybe the question doesn't stick with me so much) asked Davison either about tips on how to make it in the business or what kept him going. Davison had a pretty frank answer: Don't act or really do anything creative unless you have the love or compulsion for it. If you can stand doing something else, do that. If you can only act or something like that, then go for it.

There's generally not enough money in the creative world to make it worth it. Too much crap and dependence on luck to get to that point.

Something I heard on a podcast the other day made me think of that answer. For the life of me, I can't remember where I heard it, sadly. The interviewee said something to the effect that to them not to create and not to work on their craft caused pain to them.

I think for most of my life, I had felt this way. Whenever I took time away from my academic project, I felt like I would keep going back like some kind of battered spouse (not to make light of such a situation, but the combination of distraughtness and compulsion made me feel that way).

Davison's statement about doing something creative only if you have the love for it really hit me in the heart. For a good while now, I've been going though a lull in that love. Life has gotten in the way too much. I've started doing a lot of manual effort to save time. I've been working long hours to just keep up at work. I've focused on investments and trying to make them grow. I spend more time with my wife and have more of a social life. I watch more TV and play more role playing games (like D&D, Pathfinder, etc). . .but read less.

I've largely relegated my writing to mornings, this blog and Tuesday nights with the Just Write Chicago Meetup group at Dollop Coffee. I started going to Just Write Chicago after "hanging out" with Peter Davison at C2E2, even though he has no idea who I am. I need to put myself into situations that will surround me with the energy to create.

At that point, I had reached a low point with my writing. I had grown tired and my love had grown weak. It had reached that duty stage, suffice to say. Davison articulated the need to feel that love at the perfect time for me.

I've had to go through a couple more interactions with other creatives and do a bunch of my own thinking to start pulling myself out of my rut. I can't say that I've pulled myself all the way out of the hole yet, but I've reached a good point.

I've realized that I had gotten so focused on legitimizing myself to the world. I had become so focused on doing the academic stuff. I wanted a degree to qualify for a job that I would like to do everyday. That's all well and good, but then. . .what?

In this day and age of financial ruin, I have a hard time seeing my liberal arts degree having a direct impact on my job prospects or getting me more respect than I have from people. Not to speak poorly of liberal arts degrees. I just don't see it providing me with a practical benefit.

I went to college to write creatively. The academic side of things got tacked on to legitimize the writing. Someday, I would like to complete that project, but not for legitimacy. The project has grown on me. I feel like once I can finish it and figure out what there is to figure out, I might help make a difference in the world with it.

But with all my other activities, I don't have the time or energy for it. I can hardly keep all the facts straight in my head. That difficulty may come from having too many drafts of the same essay. More of it comes from not having a concentrated amount of time to think about it. My time has become way too broken up and fragmented.

I've settled on the goal of trying to do what I can to free up more blocks of time. I can't do it freqently enough in the short term. Too much life in the way. It comes down to needing enough money that I can live off the yield and interest. That's far in the future if I go at the pace I'm following now. Maybe I can figure out how to invest smart and speed things up, but that route will still take some time and free up time the short term.

What if I can write a best seller, though? Maybe I won't, though. Even if I don't, though, I'll be engaging in the love that started this journey: writing stories.

Going at things this way will even fulfill my dream of being a working class writer. I won't really do the working class part, but I'll do the creative writing schlub thing on top of all that life stuff. Even if I don't find success, at least I'll be doing what I love, not looking for legitimacy from the world around me. Maybe I'll find time to do all that other stuff someday, too.

Thank you, Mr. Peter Davison, for inspiring me both as a child and as an adult.


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