Monthly Archives: October 2011

Bad Monks

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Some time ago, I had the chance to meet Kevin, owner of Theatre of the Word, Inc.  I now consider him a friend (and hope he considers me the same, even with the age difference).  Something he said in one of our conversations stuck with me, and I will do my best to repeat it here:

“Actors are basically bad monks.  Monks devote themselves fully and completely to one subject–prayer.  Actors do the same thing for theatre, but they have strayed from their path along the way.  That’s why they’re all so messed-up.”

This is normal. Desks were made for naps.

I would like to make the same case for architects.  I am frequently here in studio till all hours of the night, working, talking, laughing–always in studio.  And many of my classmates are here with me.  We throw ourselves headlong into our work and only come up for air when a project is over, at which point in time we promptly fall asleep on the nearest horizontal surface.  This is entirely normal and expected of us.  We live like ascetics–cloistered in studio, often eating only one meal a day (and even then, only because we decided as a group that we ought to get out of studio and eat something real which didn’t come from the cafe downstairs).  All we talk or think about is architecture, or studio this, or studio that.  Dorms are like locker rooms for us–we use them to shower and change and then leave.  Our official roommates (“official” meaning it is on the housing record) consider our presence in our rooms an occurrence about as frequent as Christmas–or, sometimes, a mere myth, comparable to Bigfoot.  As a large group of 100+, we strive towards the same goal (becoming professional architects–though, right now, simply surviving project to project).  I have slept in studio.  (Not overnight–just a nap–but still.)  I frequently eat in studio.  My friends are in studio.  I chat with lots of people here.  And I work, and work, and work, late into the night.

So, Kevin–I think architects just might beat actors in terms of “bad monks.”  Minus the universally accepted norm of “messed-up is okay,” of course (though we still do have our weirdos).

Excerpt taken from Memoirs of a Bad Monk, a book as of yet unwritten by Ink.