Just. be. me.

Why don’t you leave your notebook at home and just treat this as a social outing?

I got that freaky funny laugh, the one that comes from nerves and uncomfortableness. And I thought, yeah, why aren’t I treating this as a social outing? That was 6 pm last night, as I was walking out the door for our theatre group meeting.

I left my script and notebook at home. Downtown to a student bar that had hundreds of beers. Couldn’t resist a raspberry beer…two, actually. Seven of us made the meeting, and it was, as my brother had pointed out to me with his question, more of a social gathering than a work gathering. The night was warm, the beer was good, and the conversation lively.

Difficult to remember most of these actors hadn’t read the full script. They didn’t attend my first read through. Many thought their characters were gonna live thru the play; I had to correct them: everybody dies. If you survive an act, it’s just so you can die in another act. How do I die? I went around the table, telling them each what happens: you set yourself on fire, you get strangled, you’re shot, etc. And oh! The shining eyes that greeted me upon that gruesome news! Never believe an actor who tells you they don’t want to do a death scene. We all want that chance.

Tonight the director and I are meeting with a few people for the last role. Two, maybe three should show up. I very hesitantly put it out there that if we found someone spectacular for my role I’d step down. The director quickly said: No way. The subtext in that, I felt, was that no one can do that role like I can. Maybe he meant he didn’t want to go thru the whole audition thing again, but that’s the way I’m taking it. I’m more than pleased by that.

Much of the work conversation was kept to a minimum. Instead, we did the sort of thing that generally happens when a group of people don’t know each other well. Questions like Do you have children? or What do you do as a living? came up. I was surprised (a bit) at the drug discussion. Even tho marijuana is okay here, it’s still a little taboo. Everybody’s used it, or at least tried it. But most Dutch people don’t partake. Last night I heard about ‘the time I got really stoned’ or ‘when I had a few extra pills and rode the day out on them’. I’m still rather hesitant on admitting I’m a stoner, but did own up to smoking marijuana on a regular basis. I just…I know what most people think of regular smokers. You’ll see their mimicry of stoners all the time. That wasted, hungry, not really moving or thinking version. The ‘Duh-uh Dude’: catatonic and unfocused. That isn’t me, and I don’t want people to think it is. I haven’t yet told them they’ve all been seeing me high this whole time. I haven’t once gone to a theatre group meeting, audition, or rehearsal without first toking. I wrote the play stoned. I got my degrees stoned. And yes, I’m learning Dutch stoned. Pretty obvious I don’t go to that stereotypical state. But despite the culture here, that stereotype still lives on. I don’t know. Maybe I’m one in a million in that respect. I just chalk it up to my artistic temperament. All the greats had something: heroin, cocaine, alcohol. It’s too late in my life to be worried about it. But I still find myself reluctant to own it due to what I perceive as this bias against it. Maybe that’s just me, and the scarring I received about it during my lifetime.

Made a few age jokes about myself last night. Find myself doing that more and more. Conversation zoomed off into games played as kids: remember this console or that game? I sat there, thinking about my first video game: Pong. Yep, you heard me. Pong. Two paddles and ball, back and forth. And later: gee, I had to use a typewriter back when I was in school. My reply: when I was a kid, we had to use a chisel and hammer on stone. I got the laughs I wanted. But I know myself well. I’m using my humor to cover up my uncomfortableness.

It’s weird and odd being the oldest person at a table. I’m sure it’s a bit of a lark if you’re dealing with children, but when it’s adults… Then it’s another matter. Especially when I don’t feel like I’m the oldest adult sitting there. In fact, it makes me feel more child-like and immature than ever. No, I don’t own a home. No, I don’t have children. No, I don’t have investments or a large bank account, nor do I go on holidays every year. I don’t even have a concept of ‘retiring’. My ‘retiring’ is just death.

Also found myself joking about Dr. T. Used the old ‘my shrink’ a couple of times. That’s me getting used to owning up to it.

And I caught the director looking at me a couple of times, as if he saw beyond my jokes and knew what was going on. I wouldn’t be surprised at that; he’s perceptive. He approaches scripts looking at the psychological aspects of the play (and yes, another actor made a comment about what my mind must be like to write something like this).

I’m finding something in this group I didn’t expect: acceptance. Their acceptance is making it easier for me to accept myself. To own up to my depression, my mental health treatment, my problems without shame.

This is a whole new level of social interaction for me. No pretense, no feeling like I have to go along with the group just to have friends. I’m finding how I can be me without coming off overly aggressive or angry.

I can just. be. me.

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Checking In

Time to check-in.

A short note to the director elicited not only a meet-up tonight, but also an audition tomorrow with two actors. Just like that, my evenings are busy. Seems the occasional reminder isn’t a point of contention but a needed thing.

Meanwhile, my head is finally flipping into Dutch. Had a thought that I needed to contact some friends via email, and the first words that popped into my head were in Dutch: Hoe is it met jou? Took me a minute before I realized I was forming the email in Dutch, and the people I needed to write to didn’t speak Dutch. lol! I’m thrilled about it.

Yesterday’s class was good. Real good. Getting up to the 98% correct range. My teacher gave us some reading and questions to do in class, and I was the first done. She began a conversation with me over the heads of the others: I really think you’re ready for more. Have you thought about taking a real language lesson? I replied that I wanted to know the basics so well I had to move on. A child has years in this mid-range, honing their grammar and word usage. I need more time to do that. When I consistently score 100% on everything, when I consistently finish first in our lessons, when I can write a full letter without any mistakes, then I’ll move on. I want the language so cemented in my brain it’s second nature.

I want to write my plays in Dutch. I’m here, and with a bit more work I can write in two languages. Translate my English work, and write purely Dutch stories. Speak (at least on a casual basis) fluently. Full comprehension when spoken to or on any written material.

And yeah, when I finally take the Dutch citizenship test I want to blow the scores out of the water. Score so high, do so well, it’s impossible for me NOT to find real paying work.

…Must admit to a few high level flights of fancy. I’m hanging a lot of hope on my thriller trilogy. More than I want. Doing my best to keep myself in check, but it’s hard not to imagine the audience giving me a standing ovation and yelling ‘Brava!’ as I take a bow as the author. I want that. I want the audience to be excited, to chatter lively, to tell me they’ve never seen another story like it. It doesn’t help that I’ve experienced just that type of thing in the past. And holding an audience captive, drawing them in even against their will… Oh! That’s heady and powerful stuff.

Been actively seeking out creepy stuff on the ‘net. Searching for unexplained mysteries, strange occurrences. I want to feel afraid. Find that skin-crawling feeling, and write from there. Have a list in front of me of serial killers and strange phenomena. Much of what I want to do is too film oriented; fast cuts, shock scenes, special effects needed. But I keep mulling over how I can accomplish these things on stage. Live, and with very little funding. It’s a very tough nut to crack.

Thinking ahead: Must put some time in on wardrobe. Learned over the last two years that dark clothing isn’t good on stage. The lighting tends to end up dark, and most theatres have dark curtains or backdrops, so wearing black makes you kind of disappear. Also, some roles will need two sets of clothing because one set will get ripped up or full of blood. So cheap, identical stuff that isn’t black. And some people should have a few changes of clothes; days are supposed to pass, especially in Act 2. Must take stock of make-up, too. Most needed: brushes and sponges to use on actors. Black, grey, purple, and a full shading set. Must test make-up, too, and take pix to keep for reminders. Not too worried about props; most are easy. Hardest: an old short wave radio, or something that we can turn into something that looks like an old short wave radio.

Hm… I think I’ll take some time today and write this out.

Humidity is high right now, and my RA feels it. Staying away from the gym right now both because of that and I don’t want to tire myself out before two busy nights. Six to ten is my chill time with telly, and without it, I’ll end up excited and off my natural sleep schedule. Have kept my ice cream consumption to a minimum. Surprised at that; usually I eat ice cream until my lactose intolerance kicks in. But it’s too humid to want to gain weight right now.

And somehow, it’s become the 19th of June. How the hell -? I mean, I know time moves on, but somehow it’s just been…odd lately. I feel like I sit outside of time. I do things, days and nights pass, yet I’m left feeling that no time has passed at all. I suppose part of that is the sameness of what I do: the housework, the telly, the sitting in front of my computer writing or watching strange things on-line. There are unique things that occur, but they’re sporadic and, other than my language lesson, not tied to any particular day of the week. Soon I’ll lose my language lesson for six weeks. Then I’ll get really unstuck in time.

Even writing this blog has become… I don’t know. Maybe I feel like I don’t need to do it. I have this strange sort of focus on the production, of what I need to do, yet simultaneously a weird un-focus on life itself.

If this is me slipping into some semi-manic episode, it’s the weirdest episode I’ve ever experienced. I’m sleeping well. Eating well. Managing to take care of myself. But I’ve got some sort of schism occurring in me, and I don’t know what the fuck it is.

So I’ll keep writing.

I’ll keep checking in.

Pineapple and ice cream

I pulled the old diet coke with a piece of cake trick yesterday. Except in my case, I did it with pineapple and ice cream. I’m not proud of myself. But oh! Ice cream! Real ice cream! It does a number on my stomach, and I can only have a little bit at a time or my lactose intolerance kicks in but DAMN!!! It’s good.

Plus, I put on some clothes that were tight on me last November and found them very roomy. So I guess I can take a small scoop of ice cream once in a while.

Got back on the cross trainer. Didn’t try for anything other than to keep going for 30 minutes. Did pretty well. Gasped for air, naturally, and my heart rate was faster than I’ve seen it in awhile, but I kept on. Did my stretches, my abdominals, my weight lifting, and walking, too. Thought to myself: yeah, now I’m getting back on track.

Came home to my brother, who suggested we go out to eat for a biryani. I stood there in the hallway, sweaty, disheveled, and still red in the face, while he said this to me. Oh, man! So I took a break, cleaned up, had a cold soda, and headed out with him. It was a great meal – chicken biryani, garlic nan, tarka dahl, and mixed veg. I ate and ate and ate.

Saw my very cute physiotherapist. Did my bendy trick for him; I can bend straight over and put both hands flat on the ground. He said: Ah! No wonder you have back problems. It’s great you’re so flexible, but it also means your muscles have to work twice as hard as mine to keep you upright. Ding, ding, ding! So that’s why my back hurts so much when I stand for too long. He pushed at the sore spots, apologizing. I reminded him we’re the perfect pair; he’s a bit of a sadist on the physio and I’m a bit of a masochist, so push away. Pretty obvious he doesn’t get a lot of patients saying that.

Have heard nothing more from the theatre group, and if it goes the way it’s been going it’ll take me messaging the director before an actual meeting date is set. I’ve no problem being the Mom in this situation if he needs me to be, reminding him of dates and time lines. I just don’t want to be an unwanted Mom. Must remember to ask him about it (some people, unlike myself [pat on the back] have problems asking for what they need from others).

Still can’t quite get over the fact that I’m not falling into a horrible depression this summer. I’m actually feeling good, both physically and mentally. Good enough to contemplate getting out of the house more, doing more, going to a few free festivals or music events. It’s very strange. Been years since I felt good enough in summer to go out and enjoy it. But I’ve actually been thinking how pleasant it might be to go to the beach for a day. Lay in the sand, swim in the cool water, buy an iced treat from a near-by stand. Maybe wind the day up with a meal in a beach-side restaurant. I haven’t had that urge for 30 years.

Today is Saturday, meaning my bro is headed out to the comic shop. I have the day to myself. There’s cleaning to do, and the gym. That’s my daily pineapple. Sweet in their own right, and good for you. Dicking around with writing or just playing games…now, that’s my ice cream. Sweeter by far, easier to take, not really good for you, and far too easy to overindulge in. And just like that urge the other day in the supermarket when I picked up the ice cream in the first place, it’s difficult to ignore.

…We-e-e-ell, a little ice cream never hurt anybody. Right? Besides, soon I must face the pineapple of writing: the production notes, the script changes, the accommodations of this or that for the actors. I know what’s coming.

Don’t get me wrong. I like pineapple. A lot. I just like ice cream more.

But the pineapple is piling up. Still haven’t called for an appointment with the dietician. Still need to get back to the dentist for a check-up. Have to get over to my doc about a clogged hair follicle on my head. Must finish my homework for Monday. Need to call the dermatologist at the hospital and ask for more creme for my feet. Pineapple chunks litter my path: left here and there, easy enough on their own to pick up and eat but put all together and you’ve got one big assed pineapple to munch down.

Like any pineapple, you’ve got to slash off the prickly bits and cut out the core. The prickly bits are mostly made of up my language anxiety. The core is that I just don’t care enough about myself to do these things in a timely fashion. So I’ll do my best. I’ll try to take care of one thing on Tuesday morning, after I’ve had my language class. That’s when my ear is most attuned to Dutch. Monday is out of the way with its catch-up from the weekend and weekly meetings. Do one thing. If it’s easier than I imagined, I can try another. But no pressure. This is a big pineapple, and it’s not quite ripe.

In the meantime, pardon me if I eat some ice cream.

When the Universe Gives me Closure

Bitch and Ye Shall Receive. Or, Doubt and Ye Shall Be Proved a Moron.

It wasn’t long after posting my whinging yesterday that I received an email from the director. We’ve two interested parties in the last role. All I read was NO, YOUR DREAMS AREN’T DEAD YET. Sweet. Looking for a meeting next week to discuss the production and performance dates. I’m there. Need me two nights because not everyone can make it on one? Great. I’ll be there. I’ll be there every night of rehearsal, if you want.

Still feeling a bit apprehensive. Like if I go off the deep end with anticipation it’s bound to fall apart. So I’m keeping a lid on it. Distracting myself.

Did not make it to the gym yesterday, and I’m glad of it. For the first time in a week I woke up after only 7 hours of sleep feeling refreshed and really ready to start the day. Must remember to just let myself rest when I’m that tired. No pushing.

Today I’ve an appointment with my very cute physiotherapist. We’ve fallen into a regular thing, he and I, and I sometimes wonder if he encourages me to continue regular visits for the same reason I’m so eager to keep going: we like each other. Oh, I know my back will always need attention. It always has. But we’ve an easy back and forth, a real interest in seeing each other, a real enjoyment in our talks (and yes, he’s told me as much). Ah, whatever. If I have to pay for a bit of male bonding, I’ll pay. He’s worth it. And he knows exactly where to put his finger on my back to make me laugh or say ‘ow’. Thirty minutes in his company and I just feel better all around, like I’ve had physical and mental therapy in one go.

Hm. Crushes are lovely, aren’t they? Even if they end up breaking your heart in the long run, that high octane rush is a lovely thing. A smile, a soft reply, can lighten your entire day, lift you up above the shit, and make you feel like there’s a reason to keep fighting. I don’t kid myself that there’s anything on his side other than friendly feelings, I’m just enjoying the tingling sensation. Seems like once every ten years or so I meet someone I’m actually attracted to sexually. Was beginning to think that was all over, then there he was – smiling, a touch of grey at the temples, that easy manner. I’d love to kiss him. To taste his mouth. I think I’d even love to make love to this man. But I recognize what he is to me: an obsession waiting to take hold. I’d lose myself, like I always lose myself. Put my wants second in order to spend time with him. Put everything in my life on the back burner, and make time with him my number one priority.

I’m willing to lose myself like that in my writing. Not in a relationship.

*sigh* Still, it’s nice. Nice to feel this way again.

Four more weeks before Dutch summer kicks in for real. Hm. This time always seems difficult for students. I hear and see it everywhere, and feel it myself. We won’t get a break from school lessons until the third week of July. Trust me, it’s tough. That learning mindset just flies out the window when the weather gets nice. Still, I’ve been in the American system as well, and I don’t think that’s much better. Summer break is too long, and you get too far out of studying and forget too much between school years. Determined to find a language cafe this summer and go every week. I need to keep talking and working with Dutch. Reading is the one area I don’t have to push myself. Dahl is still sustaining me, feeding me new words and ideas, making me work to understand his story. I love grasping the unique turns of phrase the Dutch have. I love reading something and having a light turn on in my brain. It’s nothing you have to make me do. Not like writing, or talking. Writing is less of a chore than talking, even tho I sit with multiple books open and look up every other word while writing. But that’s true in English, as well. I prefer to write.

These posts, or anything else I write, take time. They rarely fly out of me, unless I’m on some hot-headed rant and just go with it. I go deep. Search for the perfect word. Think through all the psychological aspects of what I’m saying. And I prefer the perfect circle writing, coming back to the beginning to wrap things up into a neat package that brings you right back to my original statement (you may have noticed that in my posts).

I like closure.

Hm. Interesting! Did not know that about myself.

But now that I think about it, it makes sense.

In real life, stories rarely have a beginning or end. They are part of the continuous flow. We tell stories, or shoot videos, and they are only a snippet of what really occurs. A small snapshot that moves for a short duration. I believe the best artists see patterns in these small snippets. They see the sign posts, they draw the circle, they create a tiny, perfect bubble of emotion that the audience can sip from time and time again because it never runs dry. This is what I hope to achieve with my own work.

I have nothing to bitch about, and on this early sunny morning I’ve already proven to be a moron. Such is the aftermath when the Universe gives me closure.

Silent

Silence, as a reply, is never good. It indicates opposition, dissension, possible subterfuge and a definite reluctance to be up front with you. *sigh* And it’s now almost 24 hours of silence since I sent a small note out to the director: Any leads on another actor for the play? Well, I have my answer. It’s no, obviously. Here’s when my anti-social tendencies bite me in the ass. No one to call on for this. One body short of making my dream come true, and there isn’t shit I can do about it.

Bloody hell!

Back into physical training. Tiring myself out enormously at the gym; have to do it one day on, one day off right now. Making sure even on my off days to get up and move around, do something, don’t sit in a chair all day long. I’m pleased to feel this physically tired. It’s so easy to not think about anything other than how tired I feel. It’s so easy to drift into sleep at night, to close my eyes and relax fully. And I haven’t even got back on the cross trainer yet!

The weather has been merciful. Cooled off a good 10 degrees. We’re lucky right now to hit 20C in midday. Thank you! Hoping to get my strength back to a good place before the real heat and humidity sets in again.

Sat down and just hit my homework yesterday. I went to class on Monday with neither of the letters I was given as work completed. Found the topics too complex. Had to write an outline in English before I could proceed – that’s how complex I found them. One letter done. Might take a break today; spent 3 hours on it yesterday.

The outside world has been battering at my gates. I try to keep things to headlines, but my bro does like to have news programs on in the morning and I generally end up hearing and seeing more than I want. … *sigh* Let’s put it this way: Monday in my language lesson we did some reading that included the word ‘brutaal’ (bratty). It’s a word Roald Dahl uses almost every chapter in his stories, so I’m well familiar with it. However, the rest of the class wasn’t. My teachers asked me to define the word. I tried, and ended up saying, ‘Donald Trump is brutaal’ by way of explanation, which left one of my teachers in tears from laughing so hard. But it’s true. He’s brutaal. Many leaders are these days. It just gets hard to watch and listen to these people when they’re so…repulsive. Antagonizing. Purposefully nasty.

This is the way of the world, people. In twenty years – maybe ten – the word ‘human’ is gonna have a whole different meaning. It’s said now as something kind: be as human as possible. Act humanely. But think on that. If we begin to accept horrendous behavior as the norm (and we’re way beyond ‘beginning‘ to accept it), then acting humanely isn’t gonna be so nice. Murderers will act humanely. Dictators will act humanely. Terrorists will act humanely. Lying, thieving, manipulating sex offenders will be acting humanely. Because that’s what humanity has become.

I’m glad immortality is unachievable. I’m glad I won’t be here too much longer. I’m glad I never pushed anyone into this shitty, horrible existence. I’m glad there are very few people on this planet I care about. I don’t want to be a part of it, and I don’t want someone I care about struggling thru it. Oh, you can live in your little pockets of make-believe bliss. Your manicured lawns, the gated communities, the afternoon of Friends and Tosh, the evenings drinking wine. But outside, the winds are cold. The landscape bleak. The people are at war. Now, tell me you don’t live in denial.

Take your damned pill, woman.

Yeah, yeah. There are some things that little 10mg package of happiness just can’t deliver. Patience for blatant stupidity comes to mind.

And yes, for the most part I remain silent on these issues other than here in my blog. Because why bother? People are set in their ways. And the more ignorant they are, the more set in their ways they are. If someone is intelligent, you can talk to them. Discuss options logically, argue the merits of one path over another, think of so many variables that it’ll make your head spin. But you can’t do that with idiots. Their basic assumptions are wrong, ie, flat-earthers. Nothing you say, nothing you do is gonna shake their belief. You can show them pictures, film a flight around the globe, and they still won’t believe it. Their basic assumption is flawed, and like any computer, if you begin with a flawed assumption you will end up with a flawed answer. I’d like to open up the brains of every idiot on Earth and reprogram them to not be idiots. Change those inaccurate assumptions that throws everything a-kilter. Then, maybe, I could talk to them.

The saddest thing in all of this is the fact I understand (totally) why violence happens. There just comes a point when you get exhausted trying to compel, logically talk to, or work with idiots. There is no way to stop these fools from their belligerent, pompous manners other than hitting them. Taking them down physically. Allowing brute force to rule the day. But while I understand that urge, and have reached it myself on many occasions, I do not believe it’s the way forward.

So I sit. Watching. Listening. Crying in my heart every day.

Silent.

My house is clean

Housework. It’s one of those things I tend to do when my bro is out of the house. For one, he’s out of the house – that means no ‘could you please move so I can hoover there?’ or other awkward incidents of him trying to “help” in some way. For another, I find it well worth the effort to get it done and have an hour or maybe even two in a totally clean house before The Fuzz and Dirt Monster returns. It’s not something he tries to do, but he does. Rubs his socked feet together so the floor is filled with little bits of fallen cotton, misses the ashtray so his side of the table is full of ash and filth, doesn’t seem to see the drips and spats around the kitchen after he’s done cooking. It adds up to one big job, and a thankless job at that, because I think my brother’s close-up vision is going and he really doesn’t see this stuff. Up side is he doesn’t get upset about any of it; down side is he never sees how much I actually do.

My room was first up. More than six months since I tore through it. It is spanking clean, with fresh sheets on the bed and tidy shelving on the walls. I still hadn’t put away my jewelry from the film premiere in January, so I’ve been living in an increasingly messy spot for a while. Now, naturally, I’m doomed to forget where I put things so the minute I need something I’ll panic and rip everything apart again. In the meantime, I’m letting myself enjoy it.

Worked so hard and did so much that by 3 in the afternoon all I could do is sit, drink a cola, and chill. Finally hit the shower around 5 and deep conditioned my hair. Rubbed in my new body lotion (in a pot, thick and creamy), put on fresh clothes, and ate dinner.

It was glorious, sitting in my chair last night. Feeling fresh and clean, yet smooth and soft (thank you, body lotion). Knowing that the tv was wiped down, the stand was dusted, the floor hoovered, the plants watered – it was a rare, simultaneous, the-house-is-clean-and-so-am-I moment.

Remembered about 8 pm that I hadn’t touched my homework. Again.

Have not heard squat from the director. That’s a bit worrying. Need to accept that if that last body isn’t found for the role, we’ll have to look at a different script. He said as much to me last audition. He also emphasized the ‘we’. Whatever the fallout on my story, I get the feeling I have been recruited as the director’s go-to person. The aide, the second director, the props master, the marketer, the make-up guru. I feel good about that. Good that he trusts me, that he finds my input valuable, my help valuable. I am not someone who needs to prove herself worthy; I’ve already done that. And who knows? With a letter of recommendation from the director, I might be able to get a job at a theatre. A paying job.

Today I have to take a crack at Dutch. Two letters to write. I did go to the trouble on Friday of translating them, making sure I understood all the nuances. They’re big asks: lay out a reasoned argument in one, prep up a “well-informed” request in another. Plan to finish one. The other I’ll leave for next week. Just a bit too much stuff going on, mixed in with a bit too little oomph to get the work done.

And get me to the gym! I’m still tired from the super cleaning yesterday, but I’m dyin’ to get back on my exercise routine. Stretch, move, sweat. I want it today.

Little by little, I’m getting there. My hair is as soft as a deep conditioner can make it. My nails are neat, trimmed, and the cuticles are pushed back and healthy. My feet are lotioned, buffed, and pampered. My body is clean and soft. I’ve even pondered buying some make-up. Saw a good offer on a big kit the other day, and I might go back for it. Partly for any theatre work in future, partly because I want to play with the colors. That feels very girly. As does the new hair clip I bought to whip my hair off my neck. It’s strong and tight, and does the trick without losing its grip (paid more for it; guess I get what I pay for). Have thought about painting my nails – just for fun. But I don’t want to go from frump to dazzle in one jump. That’ll garnish too much attention. I just want to gradually move into a better look. Subtle. Something that in six months people who know me will ask ‘gee, when did that happen?’ – like when you lose weight: you don’t see every pound, you just become aware at some point that the weight is off.

Feels a bit odd to gather myself up this late in life. To say at 52 ‘Yes, I’m still attractive and I’m going to show it’ or ‘I’m worthy, smart and valuable’ or even ‘I’m sexy’. But I reminded myself (in the middle of cleaning, when I was full of sweat and dust) that I still get asked out once in a while. Not every day. Not even every week. But I get offers, and they’re not from the worst guys out there.

So much has been cleaned up for me lately, I’m not sure what to do anymore. I’m standing in my own life, looking around and thinking ‘Damn! It’s clean in here!’ Worrying or thinking about family: almost down to zero. Beating myself up: almost never. Feeling stupid: that one comes more often; every day gives me occasion to feel stupid. But I’m forgiving myself faster. Positives: Feeling more attractive. Wanting to do more. Being more social. Getting along better with others. Not taking so much to heart.

My house is clean.

Right where I am

Round 3. I suppose there was a certain symmetry going on last night. The first audition brought very few people. The second a lot. The third…well, only the actors we asked to show up and give us a bit more came. Problem: we are one body short. Prefer it to be a man at this point; we’re women heavy (did not think I’d be saying that!). Hoping one of the actors can and will pull in some people. Messages are being sent out today, and we should know soon.

And I’m taking a role.

Yes, yes…I wanted it. I wrote it; I wanted it. I knew where I’d put myself in the mix, and that’s precisely where I landed: Elizabeth, mother of the girl who kills herself in act 1. The writer in me found it a bit odd. I began with Elizabeth, focusing on her sorrow. She was a very clear cut, in depth character to me. All I heard from the other actors, tho, was that she was tough to do. Difficult to get right. The director finally had me get up and read a scene as Elizabeth with another actor. It was a scene we’d been doing all three auditions, and no one really got Elizabeth. I, naturally, nailed it. I sat back down by the director and he leaned towards me: Yeah. No one can do Elizabeth like you.

Have been told the production will be in 2019, not this autumn. While a tad bit disappointed (do it, do it, do it!), overall I’m okay with that. I was worried about the timing, the push on the actors, the need to pull everything together in a few short months. Now I can stretch out. February, maybe March. We’ve time to find and buy a decent computer to do the recording on, everyone has plenty of time to rehearse, time to look for props, make-up, practice the fight scenes.

Best of all, tho, was the reaction from everyone when the news came out that we were one person short: concern, worry, real angst over the idea of not being able to perform this particular play. I was told by one actor how much she loved the writing because it wasn’t tied to any particular gender. Oh, man! Someone caught on to that!! I couldn’t be happier. They love the weirdness of it, they love the explosion of emotion in the characters. Eeee! If that’s what I get in a sample of seven people, I’m gonna be overwhelmed at the production. These things always follow percentiles. For instance, I consider it a good blog day if I get about 5% of my followers to like a post. That’s a decent sized percentile when you take all the variables into consideration. Positive feedback on work in person tends to be higher due to social pressure; people don’t like to say negative things (in general) in situations like that. They’ll find something positive to say, even if their hearts aren’t in it. But you can suss those people out. They’re the ones who give you a limp comment, half smile, nod, and then amble away. They never walk away. Too direct. They amble. Shuffle. Wander. Do their best to make it seem like they’re not leaving the conversation when in fact they are. Social pressure positives last night: zero. They may be actors, but none of them are good enough to sustain that level of interest for that long. I should know; I’ve watched them audition.

I am ready to grab life by the balls today. Get to the gym and do a full round of work. Tackle my homework. Smile, keep myself occupied and moving. I feel good.

Dare I say it? I feel so good even my bowels operated at peak efficiency. I almost took a picture of my morning dump because it was so damned shiny and perfect.

… Saw someone go down the grove last night. Two people, actually. Of course, that was just from one side of it; I didn’t see them emerge from the other side. They might have disappeared. My heart doubts it, tho. I think that thing can only emerge during certain times, or to certain people. I haven’t figured out the mythology yet. That’s my problem: I don’t know what I’m dealing with. It’s a puzzle I want to crack – or, from the audience’s perspective, create. And even if I never reveal my reasoning in any of my stories, I need to know it. Without it, you’ve got a story based on old hat scare tactics. If you don’t buy into the FX, you’re not frightened. With it, tho, you can scare the bejeezus out just about anyone.

😀 I like scaring people.

Ba-ba-de-doo-dah. So here’s something that’s bothering me a bit: I was told by the director last night that most people in my age group wouldn’t join our theatre troupe because they’d expect to be paid by this point. Either that or they’re real amateur, and expect very little from any production they’re involved in. Hmmmm. Yeah, I know. I should be getting paid for my work. I should be getting paid as a writer, too. I have been; I’ve got the cheque framed. But, you know – small cheque, and it was the only one (other than some meager royalties from my book sales). *sigh* I am not of the mindset to be financially successful with my art. I do it because I must. Because I love it. Because I want and need that surprise, interest, and support from people. And I’ve always felt that if my art is good enough, it will garnish the finances I need. Which is a double screw, because every time I’m not financially successful I tend to end up thinking my work is shit. But to purposefully hold out just for money… That doesn’t feel right. It makes me feel like a two bit whore.

That thought is so incongruous with my totally good feeling this morning that I reject it utterly.

I’m good, right where I am.

Trust your core

What’s your core like?

There was a time when I’d go to the gym and avoid all the hard stuff. You’d find me on those machines that isolate one muscle in your legs or arms, pumping away. But you’d never find me on the floor, holding both legs up, breathing in. Good golly! Voluntarily lift both legs up off the floor? Do you know how difficult that is?

But things have changed. I’ve changed. I no longer dance around the outside of life, trying one thing or another. I’m in the core. And I’ve found, to my surprise, my core is very strong indeed.

Yes, I’m back at the gym and feeling damned good about myself. I’m also making a metaphor.

A word out to anyone reading right now: if you’ve been struggling – and it doesn’t matter with what – and you’re still trying, good on you. Your core is strong. Stronger than you probably give yourself credit for. Those of us with issues tend to focus on our negatives; I struggle so much or It just seems twice as hard for me as everyone else. True. And you’re still trying, aren’t you? You’re still seeking solutions. Give yourself a pat on the back, no matter what your ‘trying’ looks like. Because most of those people out there who make you feel bad about yourself…they’re the ones who are weak. Their core is so flawed they have to try and steal some of your strength to even begin feeling okay about themselves.

…Been thinking on a friend I lost to suicide. She keeps popping up in my brain lately. Don’t know why. I’m not one of those people who mark the date of death down on a calendar and mourn every year – tho I can always tell you the season a person died in. I can tell you what the weather was like. Isn’t that odd? I can tell you my father died during the heat of an American Indian summer. I can tell you my mother died in the still crisp air of a Wisconsin spring. I can tell you I heard the news about my friend during the heat of summer. But dates, months, years…those I’d have to search out.

Generally, tho, if I can’t get someone or something off my mind, it’s important in some manner. Since I don’t know what this particular someone is doing in my brain, all I can do is put my first thought out there: if you’re thinking about it, please don’t do it. You don’t go thru your suicide; everyone else does. And you will be missed by people and in situations you could never even imagine. That’s the problem, too: you can’t see it right now. These words are for you. I’m telling you there are people in the world that care about you. People who’s lives will be greatly affected by your death. You imagine it isn’t so; you think your death will cause no fuss or muss in anyone’s life. You’re wrong. It will be something that never leaves the people who love you. Never, ever.

And your core is much stronger than you think.

…I have a crazy theory. One not based on scientific observation. One that is purely gut instinct. I think there are two types of people in the world, broadly speaking. One is prey, the other hunter. And I think those of us with what’s termed mental illnesses are the natural hunters. Thousands of years ago, we’d have been the warriors. The protectors. Our nervous energies and multi-faceted (and sometimes paranoid) thinking would have been spent every day by chasing animals, setting traps, fighting. We have very little outlet for these natural tendencies in the modern world. And the way I see it, it’s the most natural thing in the world to turn these tendencies inward where they fester. We end up hunting ourselves, worrying over every thought, every desire. We are told our natural fight instinct is wrong in today’s world. We must learn to be passive and accepting. Here, take this pill. And do NOT misunderstand my words: I am all for medication. I credit it with an awful lot lately. Plus, let’s face it: some aggressive tendencies need to be curbed. But medication doesn’t do it all – not unless you’re in a straight jacket and they’re pumping you full of shit that’ll whack an elephant out. So, I’m going to try a new way of thinking. I’m going to hunt life.

What, exactly, does that mean? I don’t know. I’m making it up as I go. I do know it involves seizing more opportunities, doing more. I know it involves making conscious choices to be happy. Turning my brain away from negatives and emphasizing the positives. That’s particularly difficult for me because no one ever taught it to me. But like the Dutch language, it’s something I need to learn. Not because it’s mandatory. Not because anyone is on my ass about it. But because I want to.

It is a choice I’m making based on my core. Based on a deep strength I’m finding within myself. This is the part of me that stopped me all those other times I contemplated suicide. This is the part of me that went to the doctor and admitted she needed help. This is the part of me that loves the mornings, that talks to birds and trees, that wakes up with hope in her heart.

To all the fellow hunters out there: I know the need to test yourself. To find out for yourself. I also know the traps hidden within that search; we are all too good at our natural hunting instincts to not lay traps for ourselves. You are strong. Hunt life, not death! Go after it with all you’ve got. After all, what have you got to lose? If you’re already contemplating ending it all, you’re on that brink. You’re not afraid to gamble.

Trust your core.

On the Construction of Reality in a Psychoactive Realm

Be careful what you write.

We all make our own reality. We weave it every day: this is my life. I get up, have breakfast, go to work, lunch, come home, eat dinner. This is my family. These are my friends. This is my reality.

And we’ve all been told about manifesting our fears and thoughts: think something bad will happen, and eventually it will. Continually tell yourself you’re a horrible person and you’ll find yourself doing horrible things.

We can think ourselves ill or healthy (tho sadly there are fewer in the latter category than the former). We can move positively into the world or negatively. If you’ve got your eyes open, sooner or later you figure out that you’ve created your life. Yes, bad things happened to you. But this is it: your story. How you write it is up to you.

Now, writing is tricky. Not just the mechanical side of it – tho there are loads of writers out there who prove with every word that the mechanical side of it is no walk in the park. But if we can manifest things into our lives (good or bad) through our thoughts, why should we think it any different with writing?

In other words, can we create something simply by giving it enough attention?

Think on the Slender Man. Two girls lure another girl into the woods, stab her 19 times, to impress the Slender Man.

And what of our Gods? Do we not create these entities at least in part by our thoughts, our attention?

Not a new question, I know. But as a writer, I find it a valid one.

I have begun writing about the grove. Or, trying to. It’s the first bit of writing other than this blog or my homework that I’ve attempted in quite some time. Naturally, I’m incorporating my experience in the story. Honestly, it’s creeping me out. It creeps me out to think about it, partially because the damn thing is located near where we have rehearsals. That’s how I ran into it in the first place. And I’m going down there a lot lately. So I have to pass it by. I’ve not seen it cut down again; it remains the grove. That makes sense; if the city actually came thru and cut it down to the ground, if I actually saw it and just didn’t hallucinate the entire thing, then it wouldn’t be on their rotation for several years. It might get on a planting rotation. How I’d like to see that! A crew down there, all ready to clear away the last of the rubbish and begin new planting only to find it all grown up, trees ten feet tall and fully formed. Anyway. I am thinking of it, and what lives down it, and growing more and more uncomfortable with each thought.

But I don’t want to stop writing the story.

Oh, I know! This is the horror story set-up about the writer who couldn’t leave well enough alone, right? This is where the entire audience sits up and says ‘How stupid! I’d never do that!’ Yeah. I’d be right there with you in the cinema.

But this isn’t a cinema. There isn’t any swelling music foreshadowing creepiness. This is hard, cold reality, cemented in with passing cars and tweeting birds. I’m telling myself I’m just spooking myself out. Telling myself that even tho I write it, I don’t ever have to go down it again. Telling myself that even in my mythology, it can only get you if you go down its lair. And I’m not going down there again.

Did I just hear a groan? Was that as predictable as ‘I’ll be right back’?

I guess if I want to write effective horror, I feel like I’ve got to buy it. I’ve got to be afraid to write it.

Trouble is, I didn’t start this. It started the story. I just went down there, wanting to get off the main path and smoke a joint in private. Yeah. That’s as stupid as ‘I’ll be right back’. For sure. Shoulda heard that creepy music at that point. Problem is, once you’re on that path, once you’re in the grove, it’s difficult to get out of. The path gets longer. And it’s much, much darker under that canopy than it should be.

I feel lucky it let me go.

And yeah, maybe it let me go so I would write about it.

Have I stepped on the crazy train yet?

…One thing is for certain: it’s a good story. If I’m this creeped out about it, it’s good. Aiming for a simple podcast script, 20-30 minutes. Have a good framework thought out; just found it there sitting in my brain. Began some puttering, but I know I’ll can it and start again. I started at the beginning, and that’s not where I want to start. I want to start at the end.

Ma-a-a-aybe this time I should leave someone alive. Just to be safe.

I wonder if anyone ever uses it. I’ve never seen anyone on that path. Not that I’m in the area that often, but it is near the Uni and you’d think with all the foot traffic I would have seen someone down that path in the dozens of visits I’ve made… Maybe I should stake it out for an afternoon. Sit across the road at the bus stop and watch it.

And I do want to be careful in writing this. Because if there is something down there, and if it did let me go just so I could write about it, well… That’s not the kind of client you want to piss off with bad work, is it? Do not want to think about that customer complaint session.

…Yes. Be careful what you write.

Shoot for the stars

Backlash. My rheumatologist said my RA would probably get worse after the sinus infection. She was right. This is the week of wrist pain. Started as it always does: a bit of pain when I moved wrist. That was a day or two ago. I’m now wishing I had wrist splints to wrap my hands in.

The third round of auditions has been called. For next week. Ach! Less than a week’s notice. No difference in the damn picture used, so it looks precisely like the last three posts on the page and is very easy to miss. We are NOT gonna find the people we need in this manner. I feel like a runner in the start position. I get in the mind-set of being just the writer and helper, then I get worried and start to think I’ll have to stand up and be part of the production, then I’m told to crouch down again and just be ready to do whatever. Refusing to move forward on much until I know we’ve got the people we need. I’m not putting in hours of hard work on production notes or searching for props when I’m not even certain we can do this yet. Hoping the director has a few people up his sleeve. He always seems to; people have dropped out in the past and he’s magically found bodies to occupy the roles.

Gender flips. I’ve two characters that can swap genders, no problem. I wrote men into the roles because I was told more men usually audition than women. But there’s no reason for Ted not to be Tina, or Gabe not to be Gabriella – other than changing he to she (and taking a walk on the wild side).

Here it is, June, and we don’t even have the cast chosen. Ooooooh! This really will push the production back to late in the year. Please don’t have them try to do it during the Xmas season. That’s a guaranteed death.

Managed to put some time in on my homework. Still have to finish it off, but I’ve a good start. The word puzzles I was given were too easy. Completed them in a few minutes. The letters I need to write are short and simple. Fell back into a comfortable reading pace last night. Now I’ve just got to wrap my mouth around those sounds…

And maybe this is the week to sit in on that harder lesson.

My bro is all for me resting. Yesterday I got as far as saying I felt I should get up and do something. His response? Why? It often falls this way, he telling me to rest and me feeling like I should be doing a million things. These days, tho, I hear him saying ‘take care of yourself a little better’. It’s no longer a nag, no longer a negative on me. It’s a ‘I’m seeing those signs in you, sis, and you promised me you wouldn’t go off into la-la land again’. Finding that balance is always the tricky bit. He knows I’ve got devils on my shoulder, whipping me into action, telling me I can never do enough. He plays the angel, telling me to rest.

…But do I sometimes wonder if my bro holds me back? Not consciously, naturally. Just…do I think he feels strong taking care of me? Yes. Do I think he sometimes grows afraid I’ll get to some point of health or success and leave? Yes. I can see that, and understand it. I also know he only wants me to be happy. It’s just that basic fear we all have from time to time: will the people we love stick around? Both of us have been abandoned in so many ways, by so many people. It’s one of the things that ties us together: the determination to always have each other’s backs. And it’s always been like that, ever since we were kids. Doesn’t matter what we face. If we do it together, we’ll get thru it.

I think I need to remind my brother of that. Remind him I won’t leave. No matter what.

Spent some time lately investigating sites and methods for earning money from podcasts. The plan is to do my radio script once the play is over. Now, there’s a long road. From what I’ve seen, it takes loads of podcasts to really earn money. And I’m the only writer in this; I just don’t have enough material. I do feel capable of doing short stories, simply read aloud to a static pic (tho it would still take time to flesh those ideas out). But full on scripts? I’ve got a backlog for stage, but they’re not all horror/thriller.

Still. Even those big sites had to start with the first one.

Have a strange, bubbling energy going on… Perhaps I’ll say to hell with the wrist pain, and write today.

What scares you? That’s the question I’ve been mulling over for days. Years, if you want to get into the psychological aspect of it, which I wasn’t really talking about, just the literary aspect; these days I feel I’ve good handle on what scares me. What scares you, the audience? And what film tricks can I take to stage? Began following an FX master, who suggested a simple trick to successfully cut off a limb on stage. Want to try it over the summer; just need to get the supplies. Anything I can learn, I can incorporate into my scripts.

But I want more than simple slasher stuff. More than just gore. I want to use gore selectively (unless we do a splat, which would be fun). Looking up phobias. Common nightmares. Tricks old mediums used to use.

Okay, own up to it: I’ve set myself the task of becoming known as a horror writer for stage. That’s about as tall an order as saying I’ll become a proficient writer in Dutch.

Shoot for the stars.