The tracks of my tears

Around noon yesterday I headed to the toilet and saw in the mirror some dark, wet splashes on my T-shirt. Didn’t know until that moment that I’d been crying. I continued to cry…hot, heavy tears that literally leaked out of my eyes.

I was mourning the death of my dreams.

Step back: yesterday I had my one-one-one language lesson. Or should I say I sat in one a one-on-one conversation. The other student showed up, having been told that she didn’t have to pay for the lesson. I had to pay or I’d get kicked out. She gets a free ride. A bit of reverse discrimination that doesn’t sit well with me. It was obvious my teacher preferred talking to the other student. So little was said to me that I actually didn’t even have to be present or try to weave coherent sentences together for answers. And I heard two things. One, I need to calm down. Two, everyone is bloody well convinced I’m a fucking genius and with that conviction comes the expectation for me to do more.

Nothing – and I mean nothing – could have sent me back into 17 year old mode me like that. It’s not something I expected or was even aware of. It was my tears that tipped me off: I’ve been triggered, and I’ve got something going on.

This burden I feel to do more, be more, simply because I catch on quickly or register high on an IQ test is overwhelming. Making mistakes isn’t good enough: I’m too smart for that. Doing average isn’t good enough: I’m too smart for that. Doing only what’s expected of me isn’t good enough: I’m capable of more because I’m so fucking smart.

Oh fuck you fuck you fuck you!

Constant nagging. Constant expectations – and constant disappointment in those around me when they judge I haven’t lived up to their expectations.

I. hate. it.

It was like a memory bell going off in my head – aha! Yes! Now I remember. Now I remember why. And thoughts of teachers mingled with memories of my mother, and I heard echoes of those terrible words: You can’t. You can’t keep writing in English and master Dutch. You can’t be an actress or a musician because you’re too smart. You can’t do what you love because. Because.

I was told I need to establish boundaries. Yeah, says my brain, if I was capable of establishing boundaries I doubt I would count the rapes I experienced as three. Three times I’ve been violated. Plus the guy who liked to hit me, the stalker, and so much other sexual harassment and lack of boundary issues that it’s bloody well evident to ME that I have a real problem saying “no”.

And my heart and chest felt full. Congested, like your nose feels when you’ve got a cold. I found it difficult to take a deep breath. The full force of that terrible day – the day my mother quashed my dreams – came back to me. I felt every bit of me break. And finally the word I have so much trouble saying came screaming out at me in full lit-up neon letters:

NO!

You want boundaries? Here it is – and if you try and cross it again I’ll rip your goddamn arms out of their sockets.

…And why do other people need boundaries? Don’t they know how fucking rude they are? How wrong it is to harass, harangue, belittle, scold, or shame another person? Have other people NO empathy whatsoever?

Did I not say I was a writer? Did I not make it clear how necessary this is to me? Did you not see my face light up and my eyes glow as I spoke of my work? Did you not grasp that this is my reason for living?

*scoff* Put it aside! Like that’s gonna happen.

Ended up talking to my bro, getting it out of me. Went to the gym and burned hard; passed the 2km mark at 15 minutes. Spent the evening quietly, soothing my brain every time this issue resurfaced (and boy, did it resurface!).

What’s really bugging me is this insistent belief I have that I can do it all. Write my plays in English like a madwoman and turn around and ace Dutch. I’ve just been easy on myself. Lazy. I can do more. And the truth is, I can do more. I have, many times in the past. But…I also become a raging lunatic. Crazed. Angry all the time because I’m always doing something I have to do, or feel obligated to do, or shamed into doing, rather than doing what I want to do.

I mean…who’s life is this, anyway?

In the midst of all this desire to achieve, I’m in real danger of losing site of my main goal: happiness. I want to master Dutch. I want to write plays. I want to get in better shape. Goals aplenty; I’ve never had problems with that. But drive me too much, work me too hard, and I forget the basic axiom: be happy. I consider it a personality fault. A weakness. I’ve seen other people do more with less. Though, to be honest, I can’t speak as to their level of happiness.

All I’m really left with is a desperate wish that people would stop telling me how smart they think I am.

Stop expecting so much from me. Why is it you can be delighted with the offerings of morons, yet look on my contributions and efforts with a ‘eh, you could have done better’ attitude? Don’t I deserve a little cheerleading?

Don’t you see how much work I put in to look so smart?

…This is nothing I asked for. I was born with it. And, like so many of us, I pay the price for what I was born with every damned day of my life. And. it. sucks.

That much is evident in the tracks of my tears.

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Dead from the belly-button both ways

Your brain isn’t broken. It’s not! It’s impossible, so just stop saying it.

Do not know how long I worked on Dutch yesterday. I can tell you I began before my brother came out for breakfast, and finished just before dinner. Several times walking away in there; I kept telling myself I’d done enough, stop, take a break. I’d get up, walk away for half an hour…then come back and do more. Couldn’t stop. Don’t know if it was guilt from not doing enough last week or just stubbornness.

And I looked up every word I didn’t know. Wrestled with every sentence to fully understand the little turns of phrase. I even bloody well wrote my little story for next week, keeping it short, keeping it simple, and doing my best at every turn to use our current homework words.

Determined to make notes on what my instructor tells me today, but not necessarily change my answers. Last week she let four mistakes slip by her. She’s not infallible, and unless I really understand her corrections I’m not making them. Better to learn from my mistakes than give a wrong answer she told me to write down – that just frustrates the hell out of me, because I have no justifications or logic behind my answer other than ‘my instructor told me that was right’, which is NO justification at all.

I DID take the time to read part three of my thriller trilogy. Just enjoyed it. Think I want to expand one scene, add a bit to it and give one character a few more lines. Other than that, it’s ready to go. It’s tense and creepy (just what I wanted) and other than having to buy a prop gun for the finale, it doesn’t call for much in the way of props.

Also took the time to walk my agenda out. Gotta light a fire under my ass. Time is slipping away from me. To make my commitment to the group and present them with a finished draft of the trilogy, I’ll have to write non-stop over Xmas. So, this weekend I have to start correcting Taman. Can’t put it off any longer. Need it done and off the system so I can move on.

Trying to stop saying ‘I’m doing my best’. I’m always doing my best, but it’s beginning to sound like an excuse. I’m one of those people who always did well at whatever she tackled, so it’s difficult for me to accept my errors and mistakes. Trying to make sure I always AM doing my best: putting in the time and doing as much as I can without driving myself insane. Or making myself ill.

Feels like I have very little me time. Which is silly, because everything I do I do for me, but… I guess I’ve grown accustomed to having ample time to sit and think. About stories, about the news, about my past, about life. That’s the time that’s disappearing. While I agree I need a balance – time to think AND things to do – I don’t know where that balance is. And let’s face it: I tend to overdo things. Exercise? I have to go run myself into the ground. Dutch? I want to master everything overnight. Writing? Days lost in a concentrative trance. I don’t do things on a small level. So I’m naturally worried about overload. That side of me that bites and growls, that side of me that people stare at…

And there’s my problem. I lost in for a short time in Monday’s class, and one of the instructors shot me that look. If you’re a person who loses it on occasion, I’m sure you know the look I’m talking about. That startled deer in the headlights gaze: frozen in surprise, with just a hint of fear showing somewhere around the eyes.

I have made an oath to not do that kind of thing a million times. And a million times, I’ve broken that oath.

That’s what’s bugging me. I did it again. (Can you smell the blame?)

Fuck.

Maybe I do need medication. Lately… Let’s just say I’ve had this small stream of people’s facial reactions run in a loop in my brain. Those startled looks I get, all piled up, one after the other. I feel wrong. It’s my fault. My fault that I do it, my fault that I’m too fucking chicken shit to go thru the whole process and find a medication that works for me. And I just think, you really never feel this way? It’s hard for me to grasp. No. Not just hard; impossible. I can’t imagine it. Can’t imagine being so balanced, so calm, so together that I never lose it.

Where’s the bloody passion? It just makes me want to grab people and shake them. Shake them and shake them and shake them until their eyeballs fall out of their sockets. Feel something, damn it! React! Wake the fuck up!

I realize a society based on passionate people would be very chaotic. But sometimes it feels like I’m the only person awake on this planet. Everybody else is asleep. Busy in their little worlds, with their little dreams. They see but don’t see, hear but don’t hear, care but don’t care. And while I can blissfully experience that kind of distraction while obsessing over something like my work, I cannot fathom being there 24/7.

To quote my dad, you’re all dead from the belly-button both ways.

I’ll take the stars

Well. I took my time off right to the edge. Don’t think I could have sat around on my ass for another hour without going ballistic. Headed to the gym, ready to kill anyone in my way or myself if no easy victim showed up between home and there. Did not hold back – couldn’t hold back. Impressed myself with my iron stomach muscles, easily lifting both legs off the floor and holding for a count of 10. Impressed myself again on the cross trainer, blowing thru an 8 minute kilometer and topping 3.7 km at 30 minutes. And then the free weights – DAMN, girl! Is that muscle I see in your arms? Lift, lift, pant, think about the meaning of life, lift, pant some more.

I’m going back for more today.

My rheumatologist is happy. My condition is stable, and my joints show no signs of decay since my last x-rays. Yippee. Even said I could try to take the methotrexate down if I felt up to it. Assured her that although my hair loss continues, I know I can’t go without these drugs – and if I do go bald, I’m tattooing my entire head. Got that gold star I always want from someone plastered on my forehead: good on me for exercising, good on me for weight loss, good on me for doing so much. I needed that.

Upset with myself. Realize I’ve got a mother-thing going with one of my teachers. They gave us a spot check test just before class ended – those pesky irregular verbs. Oh, the look of disappointment that crossed my teacher’s face when I didn’t get the answer correct! And the gut wrenching hit of guilt that washed over me – I didn’t do enough, I didn’t try hard enough, I’m not good enough or smart enough or – … That shit has got to stop. Right here and now. I am NOT learning Dutch from a mother substitute. I refuse. For the last 36 hours I’ve been telling myself I’m doing what I can, when I can. I’m learning faster and faster, more and more. I’ll get it. I’ll get it. But Gods! It feels like one of my old nightmares. I get surrounded by these huge, disappointed faces (in my head; I’m not actually surrounded by monster faces – tho mentally, that’s the picture I have). I feel small, ashamed, and trapped. It’s not a good combination. Working to shrink those disappointed faces down to mini-size. Being as triggered as I am, it’s a real challenge.

Bolstering myself up with my newly grown confidence in my English writing. Think I’ll take time – this morning, while it’s quiet – to read part three. Haven’t had the time to do so since I banged out the first draft. I’m already reviewing it in my head, making mental notes of changes to add. But I want to just experience it, front to end, without interruption. How well did I capture what I see?

Had a good, long, hearty laugh yesterday. Was talking to my bro (big surprise) about social situations. We’ve both got our problems. Mentioned my lack of filters, how I can’t stop blurting out these deep truths. My brother laughed, and said ‘What do you expect? You learned your social skills from an agoraphobe.’ Yeah. Dad was very anti-social. More than six people in a room and he got real nervous. As a kid, I didn’t realize this. I knew Dad was less social than my mother. But he didn’t talk about it. It wasn’t until I was 15 or 16 and we had tickets to a show downtown that I realized Dad had problems in public situations. He became more and more wound up the further into the city we drove. He was tense, angry, swearing a lot. After the show was even worse: the crowd let out, and I thought Dad was going to have an heart attack. And Dad…he said whatever was on his mind. I grew up thinking politics, religion, and sex were good to go topics at a dinner table. Had a lot of missteps with friends and acquaintances. Still do. Dad welcomed my input, welcomed me to these cultural and philosophical debates. Even, I think, wanted me to speak my mind. Why was that? Now that I think about it, why did he do that? I’m replaying memories in my head right now, and I see him encouraging me to lay out a sound argument. Back up my statements with facts. I don’t remember him acting that way with anyone else in the family. My oldest brother would say something in support of what Dad said. He’d get a nod, maybe an additional exclamation. My sister would add in her two cents: generally a snide comment, again in support of my father’s statement. And then Dad would look at me. Challenge me with his eyes. Say it, his eyes would plead. Bring out your views. Tell me how wrong I am. As I grew older, these debates would get hotter. My logic improved, my access to facts to back up my statements was wider, and I think I was cutting too close to the center at times.

Did my father think that at some point I’d change? That money would change me? Or was that part of the original challenge I read in his eyes: can you stay true to who you are right now for your entire life? Can you hold onto your innocence, your faith, your dreams, in the face of everything life has to throw at you?

In the end, Dad was very clear about what he wanted for me. I want you to be happy, he said. Over and over. Not rich, not famous, not thin, not smart, not skilled, not useful, but happy. I know happiness is a mode of travel, not a destination. I can look at life with stars in my eyes or a sour pussed expression that will ruin everything before I even touch it.

I’ll take the stars.

I love it

It’s done. Everyone is dead.

Three days of hard writing. Concentrated, like those frozen juices you can buy. It all came out in one big lump.

Part three is done. Now that the story is out of me, I realize that yes, I really did need to get that finished before I could move onto the rest. Start with the end. No matter how many times I try to write a script from the beginning and just power through, it doesn’t work. I get the opening scene done, generally…but then I’ve got to stop, and write the ending.

Ends and beginnings…I’m good at those. It’s all the in-between that’s a muddle.

But now it’s done. And it’s magnificent in its action. Plays can be…too much dialogue. It’s easy to do. Especially with so many rinky-dink groups around. They don’t have a lot of money, they don’t have a lot of skill – so it comes down to having them memorize dialogue to tell the story. But I asked! I asked. And the group said they’d be willing to give some physical acting a go – specifically, on-stage fighting. Did my best to give the story enough of what it needed without demanding too much of the actors. But someone’s gotta take a few punches in Act 3. And can I say, I envy the actors who’ll get the roles. I’ve people going insane, panic attacks, screaming arguments – the kind of roles I, as an actor, would like to have a shot at.

Well…maybe I’ll get a chance at acting in my own work. It is a small group….

Have this tickling kind of sixth sense that tells me I’m gonna create an entire report on this trilogy for the group in order to sell it. A list of props needed – with notes on what I think will work, how much I think it might cost, etc.; a list of sound needed – easily covered; a list of lighting shifts – messy to write but easily done; and a list of general things to think about, like the fight scene, or the fact that I really don’t think we should attempt to do this two days in a row because it’s so demanding.

Eh. There’s the twat in me. Write a bleeding report -! Though, considering I’m a woman who can turn yesterday’s errands and her stray thoughts into an easy 1000 word blog, I suppose it should come as no surprise to think I’ll write up a summation of the trilogy, and address every objection and concern before anyone in the group can voice it.

…Is that a control issue? I imagine it is. Already trying to take my fantasies down. Deflate the mania balloon. Anytime I imagine the play being done, the thrills, the chills, the applause – I shrink it. My head is going too far, too fast, and the last thing I want is for the group to do it and me to be disappointed because I built up this big fantasy in my mind.

And let’s. be. honest. I know where this is going. I’ve known from the start, tho I’ve been reluctant to admit it. I’m working it to a screenplay. My stories are too visual to begin with, and include lighting techniques, camera moves, and tight edits even when I’m writing for the stage (those elements are not included in the play, of course…but they do influence what I write). Not thrilled about the idea of learning how to write a screenplay. I’ve a fairly good idea of the elements needed. I did drive my brother nuts while he was in film school, asking questions, reading his homework, learning almost as much as he did. But I haven’t tried to do it yet, so I imagine my first attempt(s) will be slow and not my best work.

That’s okay. It took me almost a year of writing stage plays before this story came out of me. The screenplays may take a while. Hell! Maybe by the time I really get around to writing the screenplays, I’ll be able to do them in Dutch. Take them straight to the National Film Works right here in the Netherlands. And even if they’re in English, I’ll start there. If I could get someone interested, get the ball rolling here…

Yeah. Squash that thought before it takes hold. I’ve loads of work to do before I can start thinking like that.

In the meantime, I’m pleased as punch. I’ve painted the floor with blood, and found it lovely. My brother has begun teasing me that I’ve finally let loose the killer in me (yes, I talked scripts to him and no, he wasn’t as closed down as I’d feared). He’s started calling me ‘Castle’, after the tv program (which we both enjoy). Hm. If I’m Castle, that makes him Beckett… Wow! That mash-up hurt my little brain in so many ways, not the least of which was a flash of my short-haired bro with long, flowing locks. And high heels.

For the record, I have not gone to the gym lately. Nor have I yet touched my homework (due today). Did manage to get some laundry done, but…the sinks are dirty, there’s clutter everywhere, and things are just a bit let go if you know what I mean.

I have managed to smoke a lot. Gee. Not a huge surprise, considering the trance-like state I was in. …My ashtray is a disgrace, no matter how many times I empty it.

But look at the bright side. It’s done. I’m dripping with blood. I stand here – metaphorically, of course – a Berserker Warrior, feasting on the hearts of the vanquished. And it. is. glorious. To mentally let go of every inhibition, every taboo, every law and just…destroy. I think I understand (a bit) that mad-dog mentality now.

Everyone’s dead.

And I love it.

I’m not gonna stop

*sigh* Where do I even start?

I got the contract copy from the theatre group. There it was, number 4 under the clauses: absolutely no videos, filming, audio recordings or any other recordings of any kind ever under threat of absolute torture. Iron clad, clear as a bell. It also stated it was the theatre group’s responsibility to add that notice on all public displays, playbills, and advertising – which they didn’t do. They also didn’t adhere to the two shows listed in the contract; they ponied up two more shows on there without admitting to them. That’s the group’s karma, frankly – and I added in that note to show that no, they’re not exactly on the up-and-up.

But the video clause was a problem. Because my bro has been putting in around 50 hours this week trying to compress audio tracks, clean things up, make things visible, and put titles on everything he spent three days filming and talking about getting out to the public (and not one of the theatre board members bothered to correct him at any time). And I – I got to tell him. Tell him that all his work was for nothing. Gee, thanks you sat up babysitting your computer for half the night while it tried to process these vids. Thanks you listened and re-listened and brought down all the coughs and sneezes and interruptions so you can hear the dialogue, which you compressed several times to get the best sound you could. But you can’t release them to the public.

Did not go down well in brother land. I had to hear loads of bad comments on the group, their abilities, and them as people. I had to hear about all the time and work and effort. I had to hear about how his attitude was now ‘Fuck them; I’m not sharing any of it. They’ve got the rough footage. They can look at that. They don’t get to see my work and take it for granted – not when they couldn’t even say hi to me.’ He rounded out his tirade with ultimatums – he’ll never put that time in again, never film them again, never come multiple nights again, never again put up with everything he felt he had to put up with. I think I heard ‘never’ at least a dozen times.

And I made the mistake of teasing the group with upcoming vids. Now I have to explain. Again.

I do not like making excuses for my brother. I do not like tempering his words and anger into a palatable message for the world. It puts a lot of stress on me.

On the other hand, I sure as FUCK don’t want him around the group anymore. Not with that attitude, and not with his life-long ability to hold a grudge.

I still want to use these people to get my work out. Yes! Maybe for the first time in my life I have a slight ‘hidden agenda’ – though, to be honest, I’ve made no secret of it. Because I’m not someone who can go into a situation like this, pretend to have some fun – pretend to enjoy myself – while really not liking any of it, but sticking it out because I want something from the people involved. I’ve tried. Tried to be underhanded and sly. I can’t do it. Just like I can’t sell something I don’t believe in. Tried.

I have to come from a place of honesty.

Took me over an hour after my bro left the house before I could fashion a short reply to the original message. I didn’t want to just say ‘okay’. I wanted to let them know about the work my brother’s done – all the time he spent for no reason because they didn’t make a public announcement. All that time lost. I did make mention of it, but it wasn’t really acknowledged in return. No ‘gee, sorry he spent so much time’ or anything. Just a small justification, and a rather cryptic repeat of ‘we can share it amongst ourselves’, which I take to mean he’d like to see the vids my brother put in over a week of his own time working on. Thing is, they have the raw footage. They don’t need to see what my brother’s done.

So, here I am. Facing my brother’s anger, which is righteous and just; he should have been informed. Facing this idiotic and unthinking response from the group, who seem to expect stuff to just be done for them. And me in the middle. Soothe my brother as well as I can, be empathetic and understanding because I’ve stood in his shoes. Explain to the group as well as I can, be gentle and kind because I don’t want to ruin the possibility of working with them in future.

And keep them well apart.

Which throws a real wrench into the thriller trilogy. Oh, I had grandiose plans to use everything at my disposal! The sounds were going to be many, and richly layered. Now…Now I’m looking at taking it all down to the minimum. Stripping it as far as I can, so my brother is involved as little as possible. Even thinking about just doing the sound myself. It would take longer, and be a big burden on me because I’m just not as fast or as competent as my brother at engineering, but I could do it.

Telling myself maybe it’s a good thing. I was creating something I was capable of doing…but not everyone could do it. This should create a script more people can do. I hope.

Still, I’m sad. Sad because now I must curtail all my communications with my bro. Not mention the group, or the thriller, or any of it, because it’ll set him off.

And I’m sad because my brother won’t be as involved as I wanted him to be.

I like working with him.

But I’m not gonna stop.

I really don’t want to lose this

I took time off. No homework, no thinking about Dutch, no pushing anything. Just games and telly and pj’s.

By noon yesterday I was climbing the walls from unanswered mania. And I told myself ‘do the work you need to do first’. The plan was to open Taman and start on those typos. That was the plan. But if my fingers were reluctant to open that file, my brain was even more reluctant to begin working on it. A wall of condemnation rolled over me – I had no decent concentration, I was a loser, I’ll never get it done, damn me anyway. I sat there, staring at my computer screen, unable to open the file and unable to get a start on it. Too much noise! Everything I’m working on was sloshing around in my brain, bits of this and bits of that. Did my best to winnow it down. Put this concern aside, make a note of that for later – nothing helped. In fact, the more I winnowed the more I realized I didn’t want to work on Taman. I had to get the third part of the thriller hacked out on paper before I could move forward with anything else.

Okay. Blank page. I typed in the title and looked at the blinking curser. Began laying out the characters I’d need. Began setting the scene. Realized I’d need to name the characters first; I’ll be damned if I write a script with “female scientist” and “military man” as listed characters – even a first draft. Meh. Naming my characters is usually the most difficult part. Told myself to just pick some names; who cares if they’re the final names I use? But I took some care, because once I begin thinking of a character by a name, well…that’s it. That’s their name. I’ve never successfully been able to change the name of a character once I bring them into life. I’ve scrapped characters and written new ones, but never renamed them. Finally found enough names scattered through the alphabet (have a bad habit of latching onto one letter and coming up with a dozen names – Allan, Abigail, Arthur, Andrew, Anne, etc.) – and began writing in earnest.

Scene one flew by. Scene two cemented in. Scene three blossomed under my hands. It adheres loosely to the outline notes I made earlier, but only loosely. I’ve not changed my notes since the read through. All those limitation and concerns of the group keep dancing in my head, changing things here and there. No, this can’t be a woman; there aren’t enough women in the group. Or we can’t do that; we don’t have the equipment/furniture/knowhow. Somehow it’s all coming together as I write. The limits, the cast, scene changes, props. Even the basic premise of the trilogy came out in screaming fashion: the delineation between before and after this force is clear and precise.

I’ve paced this story out often enough. It’s ready.

Want to get right back to it today, but I’ve other things I need to take care of. Get to the damned gym so my back doesn’t hurt again. Get down to the smoke shop if I want to smoke today; my bro will pick something up on the way home but I’d have to wait ’til five to partake and I’m not suddenly going to ask myself to change up my writing habits when I’m hot on the trail of a new script.

So: downtown this morning for smoke. Back, short break. Off to the gym for a no holds barred session. Return to quiet. Open file, begin writing.

No idea when or if I’ll get back to my homework, and frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I’m more than pleased right now to be an idiot on Monday, answering incorrectly and unable to explain what certain words mean.

I’m writing; leave me alone.

Hiccup: wrote to the theatre group to say thanks again for the read thru and tell them my bro’s almost done with the videos from our performances. Heard back from one member that the vids can’t go public due to copyright contracts. I’ve asked to see the contract. Pretty sure the group doesn’t have a clue; we’re talking about a third party, not the group. My bro isn’t a member. And he’s listing the author as the copyright owner. Neither he nor the group will see one cent of revenue from it. And, please! If there’s one thing my bro and I have had experience with, it’s YouTube. Pretty sure we’re in the right, and he’s free to put them up. But I want to (1) check the wording to make sure and (2) find out how big of an asshole this particular group member, who brought up this hiccup, is.

Ugh. I do NOT want to cause a big shit storm. But if he’s going to “include” a third party in his contract terms, that third party has full right to see the terms they’re being forced to adhere to. Didn’t put it quite that way, naturally. But I’m not gonna be dicked by people who misinterpret legal clauses because English isn’t their first language, or they don’t have the experience or the understanding of the system. And…the person who brought this up…this is the ONE person in the group I’ve tagged as not on my side. He tries to be, or tries to seem like he is. But I get a definite negative off him. Fairly certain it has to do with his ego, and feeling threatened. He’s the one who repeatedly brings up finances and money issues, and he’s the one who flew to Paris on a whim to buy wine. I believe all of that is a “look at me; I’m doing so well!” thing. And it just seems to me that the more praise and respect I get, the cooler he is to me.

Gotta be careful. I really don’t want to lose this…

It be jammie-time

Een, twee, drie…

AAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaargh! Fer frickin’ fuckin’ goddamn it all hell!!

After achieving a certain ‘I got this’ feeling about Dutch, or at least about carefully conjugating verbs, I’ve been corrected this morning on pronunciation and conjugation until I feel like my head is going to fucking explode and I’m far, far more stupid than I thought. Dialects. Don’t think too much about it in English, or at least not American English. A Southerner doesn’t correct a Northerner to ‘y’all’ or other regional idioms and pronunciations. But damn it to hell! Just when I feel confident on pronouncing something, I get corrected. Then next time I get corrected by someone with a different dialect. Well, which one is it? Who do I listen to (or, if you want to get nit-picky with English, To Whom do I listen)?

Grumble, grumble, bitch and moan…

Somewhere in my brain is a piece of information that says Dutch has somewhere around 300,000 words. Don’t know if that’s correct or not, and I sure as hell don’t know if that includes every possible conjugation or not. What I do know is that I’ve been here 3 years. To master every damned word by this point would be… Well, a dream for me. Some people can do it, I guess. Or I’m being made to feel like some people can do it. I’m doing the best I can. Feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of homework and sheer listening I’m doing these days. So when I say I don’t know a word, I don’t fucking know a word! I don’t know if the stem of the word contains two e’s or not, and since every single person I encounter seems to say things a little differently, how the FUCK am I supposed to just pull this out of my ass? Seriously?

And, by the Goddess! It did not help that I found myself, once I decided to treat myself to an in-town coffeeshop visit and smoke, writing in bleeding Dutch. Handwritten? Dutch now. It’s in my fucking fingers from all the homework. The sentences are probably for shit in a million different ways – wrong verbs, wrong grammar, wrong sentence structure – but I couldn’t help myself. I was frustrated in Dutch, and it came out in Dutch.

This isn’t even counting my frustration over occasionally being ‘reset’ in my brain, and having to go back to the basics on ‘oo’ vs. ‘oe’.

Overload. That’s where I’m at. I recognize it. Turn the damned Dutch off. Stop writing it, stop reading it, stop listening to it. My brain is all hay-wire.

And I got so much writing to do in English!

Two needles today. One taking blood, one giving medicine. Going to have bruises from both. Loverly. So hate when that happens.

…And, ya know…I feel like a damned pincushion. Not just from the needles, but also in my brain. Feels like all sorts of stuff got shoved in there, helter-skelter. Poking here, poking there, rip this seam out, pull the stuffing, and viola! A mess, and a good analogy for my head.

Slept like shit last night. Pain in my back no matter how I positioned myself. Just a low, dull ache. Nothing you couldn’t sleep over, but nothing you could totally ignore, either. It feels better today. Or I’ve blocked it enough that it’s no longer registering. Never really know which it is. I AM the person who’s repeatedly injured herself without noticing. Done all sorts of shit I should never have done. Guess all I can say is, I’m thankful for whichever ’cause it ain’t bothering me right now.

Tomorrow I sit. And sit, and sit. Have to wait for my injection delivery. It’ll probably come in the afternoon, but I don’t know for sure. Hope to get some work done on Taman. Really want that off my desk so I can give whatever brainpower I’ve got left over to the thrillers. My brain’s been plotting too much as it is; it should be concentrating on the re-writes I MUST do. *sigh* Alas, no. Thinking far, far too much on the thrillers. Determined I’ll go ahead and write the third before re-doing the second. The third is very nailed down; certain things just gotta happen. But the second…that one is fluid. Flexible. Pliable to my needs. Modes of death, dialogue, scene set-ups…all of that can shift depending on the first and the third sections.

And I want…more with the second. The set up is predictable: a small group of people in a cut-off location. While what I’m playing with isn’t predictable, there are elements that seem obvious. A little too obvious. So…what else can I do? Can I set up an audience member to scare? Maybe, in the dark, touch him/her with a creepy hand? Limitations are always an issue. Money, man-power, skills or lack thereof. But there’s gotta be something. Something outside the box…

There I go again! Off on the Great Thriller Trilogy I’m currently fucking obsessed by.

For now, tone it down. No challenging myself with more Dutch. Gotta cool those engines. Game playing is top of my list. Zone out. Think of nothing. Nothing. Just a big blank nothing. Calm.

…Yeah.

A storm is moving in, the darkness is gathering, and I’m beginning to feel safe. Go on, wind! Take my anger and frustration and whip it away in your fingers. Take it far, far away. I don’t want it anymore.

Think I’m gonna go get in my pj’s. I need to take care of myself. And even tho it’s barely three in the afternoon…

…It be jammie-time.

Pretty fuckin’ crude

Feelin’ good about yer English? Cool. Now let’s do Dutch.

Was worried my recent writing high would make me feel twice as bad about mistakes in language class. Just the opposite; yesterday I cut myself more slack and was more understanding of myself and my mistakes than I usually am. It’s okay, I thought. Look how far you’ve already come. Must admit it helped that most of the class wasn’t up to speed. Some hadn’t written their story for homework. Many hadn’t worked on the irregular verbs.

I picked up my third novel in Dutch. Yep! Only one in class to finish any book – and I’ve finished two so far.

And, English or Dutch, my twat side comes to the fore. The teacher’s eyes popped when she saw my story – two pages stapled together. The writing is big, and I’m using every other line so there’s plenty of room for corrections. Still…it was the longest of any student’s story. By far.

But I’m a writer. I think I’ve accepted that fact now, right down to the tips of my toes. I write, and I write well. Another language? Well, don’t expect that to slow down my brain. You’ll still get startling statements from me. They’ll just be a little immature and have a few grammar mistakes.

This week’s assignment: write something in Dutch every day. Nothing fancy, just what we did during the day. Like a diary entry, my teachers said. Yeah…like I have any hope of keeping THAT simple. And it could hardly be like a diary entry, in truth. My blog entries are stilted, many sentences lack full grammatical structure because of the casual nature of my writing, and once in a while I pull a purposefully poor sentence and/or spelling out of my hat because…well, I just do (either I think it adds color, or it’s an echo of what I think my family would say to me). I’ll get marks off if I pull that in class. Full sentences, proper grammar, proper tense.

And it ain’t so much my sentence structure I be worried about, it’s the thoughts and ideas behind my words I got the willies for.

That truth I can’t stop speaking.

Case in point: this week’s assignment. A little story about your family. I confined it to my dad, someone I felt I could be at least a little bit positive about. But what did I write? I wrote about his depression, and the depression and alcoholism of his father. I wrote about my dad’s brother, who died in WWII. I wrote about my connection with my dad, how I had his blue eyes, his dimples, and his way of looking at the world. …Pretty sure the rest of the papers are going to say stuff like ‘I have two sisters. My oldest sister is married with three children. They live in Timbuktu.’ I mean…yeah. I could write that. I could bore myself silly with that shit. I’m beyond it already, and eager to write more.

There’s so much more to words than just plain facts.

Been being extra, extra good with my ankle. Maybe it was hurt more than I realized. Took longer than I care to admit for it to not hurt when I just touched it. But now, my back is beginning to seize up. I gotta move. Been getting out, doing more each day, but today has to be a gym day. I’ve got to get walking again, for at least an hour. I can’t sit comfortably at night. That shit’s gotta stop. Tossed my agenda around; was going to get my blood work done today, but that means an extended public transport ride into the hospital. Can’t do that comfortably, so put it off a day or two. The doc told me I could get my blood tests done first thing the morning of our appointment and the lab would be able to process everything in time for our meeting, so no time constraints on that side. Tape up the ankle, get to the gym, and walk.

Hoping getting back to the gym will simultaneously fire up and calm my brain. My brain has been working – but it’s often static. Grey noise meant to distract me. Flighty thoughts, with no beginning and no end. Circular. That’s dangerous territory. Often it ends up with me berating myself endlessly, caught in some web of thought that won’t let me go. I want to find my rock, nail down an end of my thoughts, and start spinning. For that, I need a moment of calm, a little quiet pool in the river of my brain. And I can’t get that with static going on non-stop. Gotta turn that tv off.

And how do you turn that tv off? By turning the animal on.

It’s the visceral part of you you must empower. For me, that means exercise. Nothing to wake the animal up like running the body hard. I don’t think about my family or my past while I exercise. All my attention is given over to my heart rate, pumping my legs, working harder, enduring even when I want to give up. Oddly enough, tho…while I’m aware of all that and while it drives the static out of my brain, other things do come to the forefront. Connections I can’t see while I’m caught in some self-imposed web. Sometimes the connections have to do with me, sometimes my writing, sometimes the world in general. But that’s what I want. The animal push quiets that all pervasive low level angst I have over things not being right. It’s not right, what we do. It’s not right, how we treat other people. It’s not right, it’s not right, it’s not right!

How can we all have heard as children the lessons about sharing and caring and turned out to be such SHITS? How baseless, how crude is humanity, truly?

…Pretty fuckin’ crude.

I have value

Sunday, and I’m still on a high from all the praise I received at the script read thru. My brother admonished me for trying to jump right back into my routine. Take it easy, he said. Give yourself the weekend to sort yourself out. Did not help my flightiness to receive a note from the producer about the first part of the thriller series.

He likened it to Lovecraft’s work. Lovecraft. That’s like…classic.

My head’s spinning to be compared to such a well known author.

Too excited and jumbled to do much, but I did make a start. Payed for my gym membership (late; it was due on the first), picked up some groceries and needed items, took out the garbage. Spent more time on my feet than I have lately due to my ankle, and I felt it. So I lolled around in the late afternoon, and seemed very much a lady of leisure when my bro returned from the comic book shop.

Ach! And I have a weird complaint. My hands are not so good anymore. The RA’s done its thing, and my grip is generally pretty weak. Seems to me I’m always asking my bro to open this jar or bottle, or pick something up for me. And just this past week I dropped a bottle, shattering it, due to a poor hold. So what I’ve got to say doesn’t make a lot of sense. But, here it is. Every once in a while, I get super-strength. Like Hulk smash super-strength. The latest evidence of this is a now ruined pepper grinder, which I apparently twisted so hard I broke the entire thing. I swore up and down to my brother that it must have already been broken, that I didn’t even turn it that hard. He just laughed at me. No, it wasn’t broken. Yes, he was absolutely sure of that. He doesn’t blame for these things. He’s seen them too often. And he knows I have no intention of breaking anything. There are just weird moments when all the strength that’s left my hands comes rushing back, and I’m more powerful than I think. Then things twist and break like dry twigs. …I’m lucky this time it was only a pepper mill.

Spent time on my Dutch. Reading. Wasn’t really going to. Just wanted to take a look and see where I was in the book. But I began reading a few lines to remind myself where I left off, and suddenly I was sitting back, turning page after page. Only one chapter to go before I’m finished. Should be able to finish up the story and write out some verb conjugations today. Meh! Notice how I left the verb conjugations for last – my least favorite thing to do. But I feel pretty good. I’m done with the writing, almost done with the reading, and (while not looking forward to it) ready to work on verbs.

Today is laundry and dishes, hoovering and dusting. Hoping to get some guilty assistance out of my brother, which is why I left it for Sunday, when he was home, rather than Saturday, when he’s at the comic shop. Could use it. The place is bit dingy. A little too much dust on everything, a few too many pieces of grit on the floor…just dingy. I think I’ll just ask my bro to help me. Why wait to see if he volunteers? One hour of his assistance will wipe this place clean. Then I can gaze around and not feel guilty over the way it looks.

That would be nice.

Been walking the calendar out, assuring myself I’ve plenty of time to adhere to my schedule and write my scripts. It isn’t the easiest thing to do. I mean, planning time – that part of it is easy. Assuring myself that I’ll stick to my plan, that I can focus and write when needed and not freak the fuck out – that’s the hard part. Seems like a lot to do. I break it down into small bits. Do this part first, then work on that. For long term things like language, that means promising myself I’ll work an hour a day. For short term projects like my script, it means telling myself to take care of typos first and then worry about re-writes. But both those ideas are like promising myself I’ll stop eating cake and cookies. I can make that vow with incredible intensity – and have just same amount of intensity pulling me in the opposite direction when the moment of truth comes. End up having to use a combination of tough love and reward system: berate myself into doing it, then reward myself for completion. I’d like to love myself into doing it, but, one step at a time. Right now, results are more important than method. It’s important to me to finish my writing. To complete the trilogy, to send out Taman. To keep going, and not let anything hold me back because for once – once! – I really know I’ve got something here.

I’ve no mother to disparage me, no father to lovingly hold me back. No DNA siblings to shame and humiliate me, or make me feel lesser than. There is nothing to make me stop. Nothing but myself. And I won’t let that happen. I won’t let me sabotage myself. Do I hear me? Because what we’re doing is too good, too well crafted to allow to go to waste. You hear me?

I’m saying I have value.

Sip, sip

I’m a damned good writer.

Let me say that again: I’m a damned good writer.

I walked into last night’s read thru of my script feeling pretty good. A little nervous, as always, when my work comes under scrutiny. But good, because I heard from J in the afternoon. She couldn’t make it to the read thru – insert unhappy face ’cause I wanted her there – but she said ‘I hope the group decides to do this because I really want to audition for it’. And she didn’t just tell me, she made sure to tell a couple of other people in the group.

Caught some typos and grammar problems. Nothing like having six to eight people read your stuff aloud to catch things no amount of proofing or grammar check on your computer could ever find! But they loved the story. Loved the characters, loved the whole set-up. Even discussed (briefly) their ability to pull the script off – because they liked it that much. I assured them I hadn’t written it for them, but I was working on something I wanted them to do. Then came more discussion: a bit about the thrillers, and many questions from me regarding their limitations on cast size, sets, and other bells and whistles. I asked if anyone had stage fighting experience – if they’d be open to a scene that called for a fist fight.

Feels like I have a number of people on my side right now. I’ve fired up their trust in my writing by sharing my work, and I’ve fired up their imaginations by teasing them with the thriller. I feel there’s no question in the director’s mind anymore: he’s doing the thriller trilogy. But I spoke to one of the board members and got all positives in response, which felt good because I know, in the end, the board has final say.

The only little monkey wrench in my whole happy pie is the fact that this group, unusually, has more men than women involved on a regular basis. I’ve been in this women, women, women, mind set – lots of women on the stage, powerful roles for women, women pushing and leading the storyline. But I can’t diss the men, especially if I’m writing specifically for this group. Lucky for me, my stories are fluid. Usually it doesn’t make any difference if the role is male or female. I don’t write stories about having babies or prostrate cancer. Those are gender specific stories. I did write them…once. But a gender flip on my own work showed me the holes in my writing. The result was so unfunny, unappealing, and unworthy of my skills I just said forget it, no more of that. Now I just write people. And I remember the words of the scriptwriter responsible for Alien – Ripley was originally a man. Characters should be strong, interesting, and non-gender specific. And as a writer, I should be able to flip the gender on any character and still make the story work. If I can’t, I don’t have a real story to tell.

So, flux in my head because I’m thinking on the limitations we discussed last night in relation to the thrillers. A bit of pressure, because I said I’d have a finished script for everyone to read by the end of January or beginning of February. Simple brain static, caused from remembering the typos and corrections needed in Taman.

And I gotta get back on sending out my brother’s work. I gotta get back to the gym. I gotta buckle down on language. I gotta…

I gotta stop telling myself what I gotta do.

Planning on making use of my alone time when my bro is at band rehearsals. I don’t generally like to write late at night. It’s hard to get started at that time of day, and harder still to stop. But I can’t let a couple of nights every week go to waste in front of the tv. I’ve got work to do. I opened my mouth and made the verbal commitment – now it’s up to me to see it thru. Thought about this before I went to the reading. The time I’d need, the nights spent writing rather than relaxing, the increased pressure I’ll feel trying to juggle all this at once. As always, I hope I’m not stretching myself too thin.

But I had to own up to the truth. I really want to do this.

I really want to write plays.

Maybe even more than my desire to be in them.

Because I know. I know my words have a chance of living beyond me. A performance…while entertaining, maybe even great, isn’t quite the same. I can enjoy the performance of someone no longer alive thanks to film and video. I enjoy many such performances. Many times I’ve thought to myself, ‘Gods, that person could really act!’. But words…words that make you think. Words that catch your imagination. Words that stop you suddenly, that make you see the world and even time as a small thing because here, out of the millions, perhaps billions of possible words and authors and word-author combinations, someone put something down that made you realize that no, you’re not alone and yes, someone else sees it that way. It can come from current literature or the classics. Known or unknown authors. Does not make ONE whit of difference. When it’s there, it’s there – and it’s a powerful thing.

It’s a power I’ll likely never taste. Not in full. I’d have to have a rocket engine ride to fame to achieve that. That’s unlikely to happen. So I’m trying to walk that line between dreaming of greatness and expecting nothing. – It’s the second bit of that statement that I’m working on. Meh. Tough to do.

Meanwhile, I’ll sip a little from the power of my words. People like my writing. It’s hard not to feel like a cook who’s just pleased she didn’t burn dinner, tho…

Sip, sip.