Thursday, August 21, 2008

pet peeve #3709.1: having to be up

early for a morning commitment that takes about, oh, an hour or so - then having six idle hours before your next scheduled errand. it seems to me that wasting time should always be a conscious decision, rather than a default: if i can't jam-pack my day with efficiency, i resent being made to stand at attention and watch the hours go by.

one of many reasons dance class at university was a constant source of anguish. who makes chronically hung over college students do strenuous physical exercise at 8:30 am?! and worse yet, who gives them a schedule gap of six hours between that an a late afternoon lecture class?!?

i tried to alternate which of the two classes i skipped each week. needless to say, i wasn't a superstar in my dance class - but preferred taking the rap to the embarrassment of being asleep in the auditorium during history of the musical theatre.

time is, time was, time's past. i'm four years out of college; i just directed a complex full-length show that i'm intensely proud of (and that i truly wish my lovely history of musical theatre prof could've made it to - and stayed awake during, hypocrite that i am). maybe things are actually finally, dare i say it, going well for me. all things considered. maybe. it is certainly becoming easier to use the term self-employed rather than unemployed, though it still feels like a little bit of a lie, considering that the emphasis on "employed" suggests i'm making a living.

am i making a living? well, i'm alive. so, there's that. and i almost have rent for the month that's almost over. so... there's that. and i just landed a two-week salaried gig teching the atlantic fringe festival. aha! there is that, too.

there's something undeniably exciting about looking no further than next week. poverty, schmoverty. i wanted to do exactly what i'm doing right now: work on projects that excite me, live a less extravagant lifestyle (well... i didn't so much WANT this as realized i probably SHOULD), stay open to casual work when it came along, and lookie here: three out of three. teching the fringe, indeed. what do i know about teching? not a thing. learning experience! challenge! being able to cover rent for next month! possibly even getting out of overdraft for as much as a week! glorious.

today, i feel hopeful, and even with the darkness of less predictable matters ahead, life is good to me right now. it's probably important to acknowledge that when i can, so i am, and you be my witness: thanks, life, for not fucking me over right this second.

now, i knock on wood. i can't be superstitious enough about these things. who would've thought?

before i get awfully silly, let's go back to what i was talking about in the first place: being up too early when all you need to do happens late, and how i'm not pissed about it for once. my day so far has consisted of having coffee with a friend, solidifying the aforementioned job, and blogging on my porch in the late august sun.

it is on these, all too rare, occasions that i think being awake and functional in the morning isn't so bad... not so bad at all.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

feeling much better

today. you can all go home now. nothing to see here...

for statistical purposes ONLY:

- food ingested in the course of the day: 2 bowls of cereal, 1 muffin, several chips.
- cup of coffee count: 2 (i'm a freakin' saint!)
- promotional tasks accomplished: 2 (1 phone interview given, 1 press release composed).
- pages of notes taken at tech runthrough: 4
- cigarettes smoked: obscene amounts.
- trouble i wish i could afford to get into tonight: limitless.

Monday, August 11, 2008

doubt, i want to do

away with you. quit following me around. seriously, you're like that annoying little sibling who's hanging off your leg making faces while you're trying to work.

today's just one of those days when everything is eating me, all at once. why can i not find the time to e-mail my folks and make sure they haven't forgotten i love them? why do i let my people-pleasing tendencies torture me so much and turn me into a liar? why can i not be different, better; why can i not be so talented that the world forgives me for everything i do wrong, and good fortune rains on me out of a clear blue sky. why do i work so hard and always feel like i deserve so little??

i am trying to tell myself these are just pre-show nerves, but i don't know that it's ever been this bad before. certainly there is more responsibility involved in this one, but shouldn't my confidence be rising to the task? i worry about this so much it's kind of ridiculous. i worry that i've been blindsighted by my own ambition and don't at all have the skill set necessary to pull it off, and that nobody will tell me i did a poor job out of sympathy. argh. argh. ARGH.

i hate everything right now. including the fact that i'm letting myself talk about it. i honestly just don't know what else to do... this message will self-destruct.

in three. two. one...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

here is where blogging becomes

slightly uncomfortable: i want to write about something, but i don't necessarily want the party concerned to know it. and although i'm pretty sure he doesn't read any of this, it is on the internet and so i have to assume the possibility is always there. and here it is now - the responsibility that comes with clicking the "publish post" button, usually so neatly curbed by being obtuse in phrasing and intent.

but that kind of goes to the heart of what i want to write about, so i'm going to anyway. it won't be the end of the world. if anything, it might be a useful example just how awkward i feel about it.

so. someone gave me a script to read yesterday.

it was a first draft of something he'd written, based in large part on his own experience. this i already knew. what i didn't know was how far the project had developed, nor just how personal is was. and concidering that he was looking to me for professional feedback on his work, i settled in to read it quite innocently.

ok, i'll admit the first few pages didn't grab me right away. may have been my natural reserve toward something i knew was written from life, as scripts of that nature - first drafts especially - tend to have a handful of very obvious, very typical flaws. besides, i already knew the broad strokes of the plot and was guarding against what i perceived to be its weaknesses. who knows. all i can say is, i was completely thrown by my own reactions the further i got into it.

oh, i'm not saying the flaws and weaknesses weren't there - it was very much a first draft. it was far better than many first drafts i've read; the dramatic structure was solid, the storytelling flowed well, the supporting characters were all appropriately developed. but that's not it, that's not it at all.

you know that awkward feeling you get when you realize someone is using a funny anecdote as a thinly veiled metaphor for something really difficult to talk about? well, this was a gigantic stride beyond that. this was actually saying the very things a metaphor like that would try to obscure, without fanfare or embellishment. it was a story told in such plain terms and so honestly, it made me feel like a voyeur. it embarrassed me. it challenged my professional detachment from the script as a creative product and made me question whether i was at all able to be unbiased in my criticism of it.

because - and i'd like you to know that i use this expression exteremely conservatively - it spoke to me. it spoke to me. it looked me right in the eye and laughed at my discomfort and made me want to be impossibly brave. and the thing is that i hadn't expected this at all. not because i'm such a huge pro, i'm beyond being personally affected by stuff i read - i hope to god i'm never that jaded - but, well...
truthfully? because i never thought the guy who wrote this was going to go there.

i'm a little ashamed of making that judgment, yes. but it almost isn't even a question of depth or artistic integrity. it's just that no one goes there. seriously. no one i have ever known, anyway - and i have many friends who write. i have written scripts myself and even produced a couple, always wanting to say something that was personal and important - of course, why else would anyone write a script? certainly not for monetary gain. a part of you inevitably ends up in every story you tell, and it's just a matter of skill to weave it in gracefully and polish the edges where your ego pokes through.

and some people are great at that, writing deeply personal content that reads both honest and inspired. but always - at least in my experience - a successfully dramatized story based on autobiographical events has a filter of sorts, something to cushion the abrasiveness of real, raw, unstructured emotion. the benefit of writing is that you can guide perception, and the benefit of guiding perception is that you can talk about your own vulnerability without actually leaving yourself wide open and vulnerable.

i've never read anything - well, nothing that wasn't the sort of writing one does in journals meant for oneself only - quite this... vulnerable. quite this gutsy, maybe. and no, this isn't really a professional opinion. this is me feeling shaken by how readily this writer put himself on the line, and by how painfully deeply i identified with many of the not-so-pretty sides of his story, and by how terrified i would be to share myself in that way.

maybe jealous, too. of the grace with which he was able to surrender himself to the script, when i don't even have the grace to do it in real life. before i was three-quarters through reading, my skin was crawling. by the time i reached the last page, i was tearing up with frustration and the craving for catharsis of some sort... the character's predicament was getting to me so much i couldn't stand it.

and i resented knowing how true it all was. i would have been so comforted thinking it was fiction.

so, in the end, i can't actually give a professional opinion. i am too involved. the story is too real to me. and almost without meaning to, i realize why i feel like i've been kicked in the gut by the honesty of his writing: i've lost the ability to deal with words that address too directly. naked, stark words for naked, stark feelings. i'm too used to distilling emotions into academic dissertations or diluting them into abstract poetry. i make things complicated, always excusing this with "...because they are."

but really, they are not. i just lack the courage to face them and handle the fallout.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

where do you see yourself ten years from now?

on a deck overlooking a rocky beach, writing a children's book or a master's thesis or both.

the weather is overcast. somewhere inside, a telephone starts ringing and i ignore it. the air smells like salt and rain.

it's the little things...

i might as well get used to it; i'm going to be behind on rent for all of eternity.

been dreaming an awful lot these days. i don't know why some people don't like dreaming. i love the narratives my mind spins. so complex and unpredictable.

a ladybug landed in the palm of my hand when i was walking to rehearsal yesterday. it stayed with me all the way down north street to where i turn onto gottingen. i shifted everything i was carrying to my other arm and walked precariously, as though i was holding a faberge egg.

my show opens a week from today.

the balance of all that is to come is so delicate. i cross my fingers and drink my coffee and try not to complain too much.

Monday, August 4, 2008

hi, there. long time.

it's hard to think of what to say to the internet these days.

the truth is, most of what i want to say is nothing that can be adequately expressed in writing. it'll come out bleak and flat. just watch.

i'm pretty fucking tired. tired right now, and tired in general. i'm tired of being worried, and in doubt, and constantly fighting to stay motivated. i would like to be able to go home. just for a few days, to be around people who love me unconditionally and want to take care of me. i'm twenty-seven and i have never missed my mom more.

that's just what i want. i need a lot of other things, which are equally as far out of reach right now. i tell myself, as always, that there's no point in focusing on those... that there's a lot i can do with where i'm at, and that's all i should be concerning myself with. a lot has been going well for me lately, after all.

i really hope i'm not lying. i feel especially small and vulnerable right now.

snap out of it, sister. this, too, shall pass.
i'll have better stories soon. right? right.