Passion, Life, Loud Music

What drives you?  What pursues you?  What thoughts invade your sleep, your dreams, make you wake up in the morning, make you sleepless at night?  What is the reason you cry, you laugh, you love, you breathe.

What is the reason you live?

Today in dance, we were talking about music and how it hits you, and the beat hits you, and you can feel it in your veins.  Music, for me, is more than just pleasant listening material.  I want to feel it.  I want to become the song.  I want to soak my body in its rhythm.

When I'm upset or angry or frustrated or so full of passion I think I'm going to scream if I don't let it out, I turn up my radio in the car and blare it so that I can barely focus on driving.  All I feel is that moment, that anger, that pain.  And at that moment, honestly, I'm not sure that I would care if a semi hit me head-on.

When you're so filled with feelings you can't describe; when your inner screaming is louder than your thoughts; when you want to bang your fist on the steering wheel just to feel the pain travel up your arm; when the music pounding in your speakers is the tattoo of your heart...

...when you're so alive that you can't die...

Those are the most dangerous and most beautiful and most awful moments of your life.

Passion is more than a feeling.  It is a way of living, of hurting, of existing.  It can be the most wonderful thing, and the worst thing, in a person's life.  It can be the reason you smile and stare in wonder, the reason you work so hard, the reason you see all the work paying off, the reason you wake up early.  It can also be the cause of tears, of frustration, of crying late at night because you're not sure what else to do, of swallowing your pride and saying, "I'll do better next time."

The reason you're frantically typing behind a blog post, trying to find the right words...but failing miserably and being eternally frustrated because you'll never be able to communicate exactly what you want to.

Writing and acting are my passions.  They are things that I love.  Things that I hate.  And things that keeps my mind spinning in endless possibilities.  There are times when I wish I had other passions––writing music, for example.  I love writing music, but I don't have much talent for it.  However, some emotions are better expressed through music than writing, and it upsets me that I'm not able to make that connection.  Also dance.  There are dances I have seen that have made me physically sob in front of everyone.  And I'll hear a song and picture choreography in my mind, but I have no idea how to go about making it happen.  I'm not a good dancer.  I'll leave it at that.

When I say passion, I don't mean something that I like to do "that I'm passionate" about.  No, passion is something living inside you that drives you to speak, to move, to think, to love, to hate.  It is more than a feeling you get every once in a while; more than a feeling that decides which career path you take.

It is a way of communicating.  It is a way of living.  It is your breath, your being.  And passion has to be bled out through your veins in one form or another.

For me, it's words.  Words and the stage.  And when words bottle up and I'm afraid to show the world what I write for fear of being judged; when I can't connect to a certain character and I feel like I'm letting my director and fellow cast down; when I can't think because I'm choking on my own insecurity; when all I want to do is scream so loud it drowns out everything else...

I turn to music.  I turn to the loud rhythm that pulses in my wrists.  I turn to the instruments that scream a beautiful pain inside my head.

And I drive.


There Was a Princess

"She lived in a castle with birds flying about, day and night, carrying their music in from the surrounding mountains.  She was not a frail, milk-skinned princess as most were won't to think princesses should be.  The mountain air had seeped into her bones from the time she was a little child, feeding her with a love for wild things: a wolf’s howl on the full moon, a Lark’s song on a summer morning, the screech of an eagle as it dives for its prey.  She was lithe, with ruddy cheeks and tangled hair, and her legs were browned from the sun.
"A proper princess indeed.
"Nobody really knew her real name, except for her parents, because everybody called her Rose.  She spent so much time running about in the woods, among the trees and wild things, and plaiting flowers into her hair that she didn’t look a bit like she belonged with a Proper Name.  Rose fit her much better. 
"All day long she dreamed of faraway places, exotic princes and kings, the feeling of a strange mountain’s mist upon her face, a foreign land’s dirt beneath her feet.  With her head full of cobwebs and stars it was a wonder that she ever learned anything.  Every day, when she was convinced to come inside, her tutors had to brush the tangles from her mind with a special little brush.  But every day they gathered again: pictures of tropical birds, colorful plants, lavish spices, faraway ships going to faraway places…  And each time she dreamed, the urge in her little chest to see the world grew stronger and stronger until she thought she might burst from the pure wanting of it.

"I should know.  For that little girl was me."



I want to write a post on pain.  Why?  Because I've experienced it.  Details are too many and too personal to write down in one blog post.  I haven't had an awful life.  I had a wonderful childhood [despite being brought up with serious body-image issues] and I'm happy.  I'm in college, in love with my major, surrounded by supporting friends.

That being said, however, I have gone through pain.  At this point in my life, the taste of pain is very familiar on my tongue.  And I say that because it's true, not because I'm screaming for attention.  Recently, an event in my life took my heart, chewed it up, and spit it back into the school semester.  It was hard to deal with.  It was painful to deal with.  And I'm still trying to come to terms with it.

But I've learned a lot through it:

Pain isn’t poetic.  It isn’t everything that writers and romantics have chalked it up to be.  Pain hurts.  When your body is numb and your head is pounding and your soul wants to breathe…those are the moments when you feel like you’re choking.  Poetic?  No.  Fierce.  Brave, perhaps.  Savage.  Crushing.  Brutal.  But poetic?  Never.

Sometimes, you have to take the jump knowing that there is painful landing at the bottom.  The air rushes out of your lungs with the brunt of it, and it will take time to recover.  But you will heal.  When you stagger to your feet, your heart beats painfully, but you will be stronger.  You jumped.  And you will live.  Standing up for yourself hurts.  It hurts like a bitch.  But it’s better to be alive the way you want to be, than the way another expects you to be.

You live.  You breathe.  You hurt.  You love.  And sometimes, just sometimes, you forget to be careful and you dream.  It is in those moments we are the most free, the most vulnerable, the most afraid.  But always the most beautiful.

Is pain poetic?  No.  Pain is a bitch.  But through it all––through all the agony and tears and frustration and guilt––you can gather up the pieces and emerge as the person you are.  Scarred, yes.  Terrified, yes.  But brave.

That is the poetry.


An Actor

"An Actor"

A rush of adrenaline, of pain, of fear,
Words thick on your tongue,
The desire to prove, to lose
Yourself within this moment.
A raw force of emotion,
Laid bare before the people,
Those people who will take
It from you, stripping you
Of every feeling and want
Until you have none left.
Some will cherish this,
Your performance, and that,
For you, is worth the
Pain.  Others will mock
It, taking your dignity
From you without a
Second thought, leaving
Your thoughts broken,
Your words unheeded.  These
Are the people that
Make it hard,
So bloody hard to
Bare your soul every
But you take each night
Anew.  Same words, same
Script, different show.  And
You lay yourself down on the
Stage, prone, outstretched, emotionally
Naked to the audience,
Waiting for approval.  Waiting
For something.  Anything.
The sound begins as a silent
Hush, rippling over the people
Like a breathing wind. 
You forget everything
For a moment.
The applause from
The people who took
Your performance, every
Raw and beautiful piece
With an intense hunger,
Makes your head spin.
And you’re riding the high.
You could get drunk
Off of this.
This feeling.  This passion.
This transcendence.  This
Is what makes it
Worth it.  All the
 Pain, late nights,
Cramped feet, choked
Coffee, bleeding, sweating,
Tears, frustration,
Early mornings, ruined
Relationships, blind memorization,
Failure, knowing that you’ll
Probably never achieve
The dream you cling to,
working so hard that
You’re not sure
why you even try anymore…
All that is worth this
Moment: this
One fucking moment.
And afterward, you're
Drained.  You ride out
The high till your
Stomach clenches from
Exhaustion and you
Have no emotion left
For yourself.  An actor’s
Curse, I guess.  They
Live life in extremes,
A dream that others
Want until they realize.
An actor lives in a different world, a
World of light and color and
Harsh reality.
And the high is what
Makes them alive.
The high is what makes them

I, by no means, consider myself a poet.  I wrote this while sitting in one of my Stagecraft classes [I tend to write things during class...] and it is a poor representation of what I was actually trying to say.  Maybe I'll rewrite it someday.  Maybe I'll write something else.  Who knows?  

-An Actor


Camino de Santiago

Recently, I embarked on an adventure.  I hiked 200 miles of the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage that has been journeyed since ancient times.  If you want to research it a bit, American Pilgrims on the Camino is a good place to start.  It starts in France and continues throughout Spain, and ends at Santiago de Compostela, where the Cathedral de Compostela is [the supposed resting place of St. James].

It was incredible.

200 miles is a lot of ground to cover.  We had approximately 16 days to backpack it, with a rest day thrown in.  It was an experience that I'll never forget.  I met so many people from so many different countries.  Everyone was friendly and helpful and loving.  You have to be when you're practically sleeping side by side in sleeping bags every night.

Some of my favorite things: hiking through the mountains of Galicia [the Celtic region of Spain]; picking cherries of the trees that lined the trails; a German man telling me that my German was "Nicht schlecht"; Galician soup on a cold night; tiny villages with stone buildings reminiscent of the medieval times; cobblestone streets; hills of heather and sheep and flowers; a 78-year-old Australian pilgrim named John who was born in India on a tea plantation telling us that "India was magic"; the beautiful, gothic churches everywhere; playing the guitar in a tiny Albergue and the bartender calling me Janis Joplin.  Basically everything about the people and scenery and wonderful culture.

Some of my not so favorite things: messing up my knee going downhill, so it hurt for the rest of the trip; blisters; swollen ankles; walking the 20-mile day [that was not a fun day, regardless of the beautiful scenery]; the open-door showers; and sore feet.

I want to go back and do the entire pilgrimage.  We only did a little over a third of it this time, but I want to complete the whole thing.

A few pictures:

Till next time,



Let's Burn Together

Let's Burn Together
Copyright Reagan Dyer 2015

Let's burn together you and I
Two spirits alight with red
A painful glory against the sky
Our souls with darkness wed

The thick of it upon our tongues
With bitter sweetness sting
Our bleeding veins a gory song
A haunting anthem that we sing

Anger is our drink, our drug
That spills between our lips
We drink and cry and spill and trudge
Through life's unending grip

Let's burn together, you and I
A drunken painful fire
Lives written with blades, with knives
A tale of dark desire


The Dance

I wrote this last semester during one of my classes.

Copyright Reagan Dyer 2014

A mash of mixed up words
all the music coming strong and fast,
the pain thick on my tongue.
But on and on we dance.

The world is all become red
with white-hot flashing lights.
The voices have become a blur
that spill out in the night.

I want to say something,
but the words die on my lips.
Do I deserve this thing?
The world begins to tip.

A nightly tradition we carry out,
spinning round and round again.
The tune beats inside my head,
each note a throb of pain.

But while the music carries on,
I know I have no chance
to duck his flying, bloody fist
before we break this deadly dance.