Thank the Goddess for pizza!

More phone calls. My audition is moved back half an hour. And, I’ve been told, they’re swamped with appointments. Tons of people coming. Sitting on the fence at the mo: do I go 150% today? I’ve read the script, feel I’ve a good handle on the character. I could dress appropriately, wear the blond wig and jewelry that I chose, bring the apron for the scene…but I was told none of that mattered, that the director was focusing on the acting.

Hm. Don’t know I believe that. This is film.

Do I go comfortably? It would be best for my acting. No worries about clothing that doesn’t sit well, no worries about a wig falling off, etc. etc. On the other hand, directors are notoriously single minded and unimaginative, and if you don’t present them with the look they want they might have a difficult time seeing you in the role.

Hm. Really don’t know what I’ll do.

Ran the lines, broke the scenes down. Learn the story, the logic of the dialogue. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Did a fast internet search on dream imagery and found yes, cannibalism in dreams often represents some taboo sexual desire (thought so from the way the script was written). That changes things. It tells me they’re not looking for the motherly type. They’re looking for a woman who’s still sexually attractive to some extent. (Oh, Gods! Sorry. Just dissed every mother everywhere as not being sexually attractive. I meant the older, heavy breasted woman who played mother to everyone…oh, shit. Just shut up, Beeps.) So double hm. Yes, I could do the wig and all but…it doesn’t look that great. I think I’m more attractive with my natural hair. And if that’s what the role calls for…well, maybe my dark, curly locks are best left alone in their glory.

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

For the last 24 hours I’ve sounded like the stereotypical actor prepping for a role. Repeating singular lines with different emphases: I think you’ve been working too hard, I think you’ve been working too hard, I think you’ve been working too hard… Almost laughable, even to me.

Okay, be smart. Use that logic. You’ve acted, directed, and written roles. You know what this role needs. (1) Sexual undercurrents. (2) Tension. (3) The mad flip. The insanity. The crazy look. (4) The fight scene. (5) Scheduling availability. (6) A physical appearance that lends to the credibility of this being a family unit, with DNA connections.

Can’t do jack about 6, but the rest I can work on.

And – dare I say it? I need to be a little less relaxed. Insanity takes energy to perform. And I have to draw it up in a few seconds. Don’t feel I’ve hit it yet in my rehearsing, tho I know what I want. Focusing, as usual, on the minutiae. The pitch of my voice. Hand gestures. Eyes. Facial expressions. …What I want, at the critical moment, is a mix of ecstasy and mania. An almost orgasm of horror.

I have a few hours to work my way up to that.

Feels like a lot to do in a short time. Can’t believe everyone will have the lines memorized. Not in such short a time. Doing my best to hit every word. Was told I’ll have 30 minutes to wow the director. Asked if a particular scene would be run and the reply was, ‘Just be ready to do it all’. Um…okay. You do know I’m fast on memorizing dialogue, and if I’m scrambling… Well. My efforts should put me ahead of most.

Thinking now of tomorrow. Sunday. Monday. Still have homework. Still have housework (gods, it’s the weekend again; how did that happen?). Still have to prep Taman — twice, now – to send out. Still have my writing to get to.

Boy, I’m looking forward to Xmas break. Just to have a break!

Tired. Wish I could sleep more, but my body keeps waking up around 6 a.m. And I fell asleep last night during tv – again. Damn. Hate it when I do that. Just glad the program I’m watching now has a ‘previously on’ before every episode. I get to catch up on what I slept thru.

…And I’m still stuck in the past, and dreaming of the future. Worried when I come back to Earth. The time is coming when I’ll need to address that worry. See doctors, get checked out for various problems. But I’m not kidding myself. I’m probably in the last great hurrah. In ten years, I might be too tired to do much. And if my health isn’t the best now, I can’t imagine it being better with 10 more years of use on this body. So…go, girl. Do it. If you drop, you drop. At least you tried.

After yesterday’s headiness, I feel almost flat. Like, why bother? I know that’s just the dregs of a mania hangover, and the push on this role. I’ve allowed my thoughts to be undisciplined. And this is the last I think of myself this morning. When I sign off, it’s all my role (ooo! better not ramp it up too high or I’ll freak my bro when he wakes up). Think! Be her. You know how to do it. Do not let your thoughts stray. The past has NO place in your mind today. Nor does the future. It is only this moment, in that kitchen. The dream. Today, you must dream. But not your dream! Someone else’s. Pay attention. Play your part. Be what you need to be.

Okay. My bro has already scheduled in a pizza day today. He laughingly told me that pizza was a good choice: order it in whenever, and it works whether I think I nailed it or flopped at the audition. And he’s right. It does work that way.

Thank the Goddess for pizza!

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Mainlining

When it rains…

Oh, baby! Flood me! C’mon! I think it’s safe to say I have never experienced the type of upswing currently underway in my life.

Signed into my pen name email yesterday. Usually there’s nothing there. So often, as a matter of fact, that I complain about tumbleweeds rolling thru. And, to be honest, there was only one email waiting for me. But it was a doozy.

The group I sent my first thriller, Blue Whale, to has contacted me again. They loved my story, but at the time they thought the tech requirements were beyond them. Do not know what’s changed, but they want to consider it again. And they contacted me. I’m just in a tizzy. Theatres and artistic directors don’t do that. They say ‘we’re open for submissions’ and sit back and wait for stuff to come to them. They do not pursue writers, they do not contact writers days ahead of notifying the general public to say ‘please, please, can we try your work?’. It just don’t happen.

I’m living a dream.

They’ve also asked if I’ve anything else. Think I’ll send them Taman. It’s done, it’s tight, and they might really like it. I have nothing to lose; they’re going to consider Blue Whale no matter what. So enthralled and thrilled I don’t dare ask if their tech requirements have changed. Talked to my bro about it, and he thought maybe they’ve been thinking about BW this whole time. Considering what they can do, how they could make it work.

Erk (that’s me, choking a bit). People…are thinking about my work for months?!?

…And here I am, emailing back and forth with a bleeding ARTISTIC DIRECTOR of a theatre like we’re old friends! I – I – I….I’m stuck on amazement.

More coffee, and another J.

Feels like I’ve hit a wall. A wall of excitement. I can’t be any more excited. I maxed out days ago. This…just stuns me. And I think that if more excitement comes my way, if things keep up this momentum, I’ll find that new balance of living IN this. Get the role? Exciting, yes, but no reason to jump up and down. Blue Whale gets done? Same again. Taman gets noticed? Ah, yes, add that to the list.

I’m waiting now to see if the last piece falls into place. If, when my teachers get a hold of the children’s story I’m writing in Dutch, I hear that I should send it out to get published.

Got a feeling that might happen.

Today is all mine. Did as I said, and contacted my Thursday teacher to tell her I wasn’t coming to our lesson. Got to the gym, stretched, did a long walk on the treadmill. Today I run lines, shower, prep for tomorrow. Hell! I even did my nails last night – cuticles and polishing – because I figure most women my age would do that type of thing, and it’s the small details that make a role.

…You know, I’ve had shit hit me like this. One thing after another ’til I felt like I was gonna break. Being on the flip side is weird

Weird.

So weird, it’s completely blanked out my anxiety over finding my audition tomorrow. I’m too up. I’m also too focused. Not the usual drive myself ’til I drop manic focus. Oh, no! This is a down to earth, get enough rest, think long term focus. No amount of excitement will prevent me from sleeping. No amount of excitement will prevent me from doing what I need to do – like getting to the gym for regular exercise. No amount of excitement will rile me up to the point where I can’t write. …Good Goddess, do people operate on this level as a regular thing? Or have I flipped into some hitherto unknown hyper-mania?

Television has been shit lately, so yesterday evening I ran some of my recorded Futurama episodes during dinner. Watched the one where Calculon comes back from the dead. Kept laughing at his hammy acting and inflated ego, right up to the point when someone in my head said, ‘That’s what Mom was afraid you’d turn into.’ *groan* I examined that idea, and you know what? I find it fucking insulting. You thought I’d turn into that kind of ego maniac? What made you think that? The way I was so quick to backtrack, so fast to take the blame in any situation, so immediate with my ‘I’m sorry’ exclamations? Or maybe it was how proud I always was of myself – after all, I’m the woman who allowed herself to beaten at the hands of partners and raped multiple times; obviously my ego is out of whack. What. the. fuck -?

Oh, yes! And before I forget. Had an apology – APOLOGY! – from Celtx about their original email. Ye Gods! I really will burst with one more thing.

The words of my hated sister ring in my ears this morning. You don’t know how to handle success. Can’t stop thinking about it because she was right. She said it as an accusation, obviously. My sister’s modus operandi: shame me. But it’s also a statement of fact. I don’t know how to handle success, because my family never let me succeed. Not in their eyes! Now that I’ve basically cut myself off from them (excepting my occasional nostalgia driven internet searches), I’m free – FREE! – to experience success. But no, I don’t know exactly how to handle it. It’s all new to me. The good feelings, the flattery…the sheer headiness of it. None of that underhanded nastiness I’m so used to. At least, not yet. It’s out there; I know it is.

But for now, it’s pure, and clean. Real admiration. Real compliments. I feel like they’re raining down on me in one, huge burst from the Universe.

And baby, I’m mainlining.

Let loose

I get to be someone’s nightmare.

Received the script for the short film. What a flippin’ joy! Not that it’s superb or anything, no. Written by native Dutch speakers, it has as many mistakes in grammar and spelling as my Dutch homework has every week. But I get to use a knife, and have blood dripping from me, and try out a real fight scene.

Suppose I shouldn’t say I got this 100%. Still have to audition, after all. Tho I’ve little doubt they’ll take me. For one, they seemed to be scrambling to find people to do the roles. For another, I be good, and they’re asking me to do a role that’s weird – my forte. I even have a blond wig, which I’ll wear because the character is written as having ‘long, blond hair’.

Of course…it might not happen. I might be disappointed. But the mentat in me (sorry, I’m re-reading the Dune series again) tells me the odds of that happening are very slim.

Waiting ’til the sun is up before I SMS my Thursday teacher to tell her I’m not coming. I could go. The script isn’t that tough to learn. But I’m not gonna go. I’m gonna get some gentle exercise at the gym, read my lines, prep the role, and get ready to travel all by lonesome up to Den Haag on Friday. A little frightened of getting lost. Always am. Don’t know why; I’ve never been lost and not been able to eventually find my way. But I always get tense. Will I find it? Will I find it in time? Building in an extra half to take (according to Google maps) a 7 minute walk from the station to the meeting place. Figure I’ll buy a city map when I get there; have none in the house. Last time I was in Den Haag, there was a lot of construction going on and the route Google maps gave me was absolutely useless. Worried? Get your back-up plans in place.

And this time, for the first time, I feel comfortable enough with the language to ask directions from anyone. My Dutch is good enough I shouldn’t miss a word, or a turn, or anything anyone tells me.

Fell into writing yesterday. Didn’t plan it. Just…did it. Opened up part three of the thriller. Knew I wanted an additional scene with one of the characters. Read the script. It was obvious where the extra scene should go, who should be in it, and what should be said. My fingers started typing even as my head was asking are you sure you want to open up this can of worms? But it wasn’t a can of worms. It was easy, almost too easy. Another one of those things I’ve obviously thought through and completed in my brain. Do that, and the writing of it becomes almost automatic.

I’m pleased. The extra scene adds to the story. Always a bit worried extra scenes or dialogue will end up detracting from what I have. Guess I should put that worry to rest. I know how to weave it in seamlessly.

Did send out a rant – check that, two rants as of this morning – to Celtx, the online software I’m using. Once again, it won’t let me bring a new project in as a stageplay. Even when I ask it to. I’ve told admin about this before, and today I received a very pat ‘hit the stageplay button on your project folder’ answer. Oh, they got their asses chewed off! Like my original complaint wasn’t clear! I really don’t expect a reply to this morning’s email. It had a lot of CAPS in it, and I asked them if they thought I was a complete moron. Not exactly the tone that will elicit a speedy reply. Must admit, I allowed myself to blow my top. I already decided I’ll take it in as whatever the system gives me. The local group I’m working with…they only need something they can read. It doesn’t have to be bloody perfect. Just readable. So that’s all I’m really after (tho it would be nice to get a fucking stageplay when their system says it’s capable of that).

And if the world blows up and I get kicked off Celtx for bad language in my email? Well, I’ll just format from my word processing system. It’ll be slow, and very un-perfect, but it’s the way it WAS done for years and years. I think I’ll manage.

Screw this half-assed shit that’s trying to pass itself off as something good.

My bro keeps harping about autism. In connection with me. Where once he scoffed at the idea, I think he’s now firmly convinced I suffer from some form of it. It wasn’t noticeable in English. My parents were verbose, and I listened closely. But you can tell now that I’ve moved into Dutch. The memory lapses. The strange way my brain works. How I have to write it before I can speak it. As well as the overwhelming frustration of it all, and the freeze-ups I experience. I’m not particularly happy about that. What’s the point? There’s no medication that could help me; my brother tells me that, too. Why do I have to have some label attached to me? To explain away my behavior when I ‘get out of line’?

Why can’t I just be accepted as different?

Part of me says ‘Don’t you want to get better if you can? Wouldn’t it be nice to not struggle so hard? Look at your bro. He’s better on medication. Better able to work. Better able to control his thoughts.’

But…do I want to control my thoughts? Isn’t it because I go to the edge that I have the ability to act the roles I do, to write the stories I do? Do I really want to hobble myself?

No.

I just want to let loose.

Perturbed

Hurry up and wait. Story of my fucking life.

Had four phone calls from the casting director yesterday, asking me if I was free on Friday to meet with the director, was I a vegetarian, could I contact my acting partner from the play about his availability dates, and could I ask said partner if he could make the meet ‘n’ greet on Friday. After such a flurry of rings, questions, and answers, I expected to see the script (promised to come my way) in my inbox by the time I returned from language class. Nope. Still nothing this morning, too. But perhaps there’s been an emergency meet of the team. My acting partner can fill the role, but only if we do the filming after he returns from holiday. That would put filming in Den Hague either over Xmas or between Xmas and New Years.

I could do those dates, and I will if that’s what happens. But my writing…that was my block of time to finish off the thrillers. It would mean an entire week of not writing.

Language class was interesting. Teacher One, Ms. HardAss, was cool to me as I tried to explain the film possibility. Even cooler when I told her about the story I was writing. Her reply? That wasn’t the homework assignment. Teacher Two, let’s call her Ms. Nice, was pleased as anything that I’d written so much. Didn’t matter that it wasn’t the homework assignment; just write is her motto.

…And am I the only adult on this planet that woohoo’s when I get a difficult question correct? Seems I am. Irregular verb conjugation, verbal drill. Got a whopper, dredged up those far corners of my brain and found the correct form. So yes, I whooped and punched the air. I need that to reinforce that my memory is correct, I’ve made the right connection, keep that one. Everyone laughed. Everyone also laughed when Ms. HardAss told me to stop looking up at the ceiling; I should look at her when I answer. I, of course, look up at the ceiling because it’s that automatic body reaction when I search my memory. Um…what’s that again? It’s a well documented physical reaction. I do it because this is difficult for me, because it’s not second nature. And I need to have those answers come without thought. Rapid fire responses. I’m just not there yet. But I am working my ass off, and honestly, I don’t appreciate all the laughter thrown at me. I’m not terribly angry about it – I understand why they laughed, and I get the joke. But…don’t they see I do that because I’m working so hard? Great for them that they’ve all had better lessons than me. Great for them that they all have Dutch spouses or friends to talk to. I don’t have any of that. I went from A, B, C, to this class in one jump, and the very fact that I’m able to keep up with them is impressive.

Then there was coffee break time… Everybody goes downstairs where there’s a little cafe run by the group. Have a cup of coffee, chat. I don’t know what happened. The group broke up into smaller bits. I avoided one woman entirely because she was very ill. Two women wouldn’t include me in their conversation, tho I stood close and tried to catch their eyes. Another group sat around a very small table, full up, in some tight talk I obviously wasn’t a part of. I had no one to talk to, nothing to do.

I find this type of thing happens a lot to me. Guess people just don’t like me. I don’t try to be a social pariah. What I don’t understand is what happened between last week and this week. I thought things were cool, thought I’d found a couple of people to chat with. But they peeled off into a private group and from my point of view their body language said very clearly ‘stay away; you’re not welcome’. I’m left just scratching my head, not knowing what I’ve done or said that’s made this occur. And maybe it has nothing to do with me. I’ll allow for that. I’ll allow for the idea that they had specific things to discuss, maybe even in their native language. But…

Why do I keep seeing the same scenario played out before my eyes? The only common factor is me, so I’ve got to come to the conclusion that I’m doing something that’s making this happen.

No one will tell me what it is.

And then people wonder why I don’t like myself. How can I? It’s obvious to me no one else does. I try to get out there, to remember to be pleasant and ask other people questions. Show an interest in them. I try to stay off hot topics, particularly in Dutch class because I just don’t have the skills to say what I want. And still, I find myself alone during these social breaks, with walls six feet deep surrounding all the little clutches of conversation. No idea how to break through. No idea what I’m doing so wrong.

In future, I’ll bring the book I’m supposed to be reading. Get twenty minutes in on that. It’s not that I want to. I just don’t want to feel the way I did yesterday, shuffling around from one group to another hoping they’d include me, waiting, waiting, waiting, smiling, waiting, feeling discouraged and shuffling on.

And there will come a day I’ll be accused of being stand-offish. Cold. Hard to talk to, hard to approach. Closed off. Unwilling to communicate. (Geez, I could go on here…guess I’ve heard most of these before.)

Tell me, am I supposed to continuously offer myself up as a sacrificial lamb each and every day? And how the fuck do I change this?

Then there’s my eldest brother, my head won’t shut up (in English or in Dutch)…I’d fucking like to cry this all out, but I can’t. The tears won’t come. No time for them.

Gonna have to drop some balls. And I don’t like to do that.

I am perturbed.

Try, learn, and do better

I really must learn to stay off social media.

Found a FB post from my eldest bro. He left a comment on his own page – not tagged to me, not sent to me – saying ‘happy birthday to my little sister even tho ya don’t give a fuck about yer American family’.

Do not want to admit it, but my heart is beating damned fast right now. And my angry replies are bubbling to the forefront – “listen, you sexist racist bigoted mother fucker…”.

Wish crap like that didn’t affect me. At all. Wish I could have seen it and coolly just moved on. Still want to defend myself, lash out, blame, make them SEE. Since I know going direct to the source is a waste of my time, I came out here. To be safe. To say what I needed to say.

Ow.

Odd how, even knowing what a piece of shit I’m dealing with, I let it affect me. I guess that’s programming at its basest level.

Here is my flaw: I want too much to be loved. And I’ve been made to feel that it’s my fault that I don’t get what I want from my family. They were never wrong. They ARE never wrong. It’s me. My fault for wanting, my fault for feeling, my fault for thinking and hoping.

I have met strangers who were kinder to me than you. People who wanted nothing from me, and gave me everything. And you dare to call me family? You dare to approach me with guilt and shame, bullying and controlling tactics? You hurt me, I walk away, and I am accused non-stop of being a child, being wrong, being whatever it is you call me in the depths of your oh-so-perverted mind. Fuck you ’til the end of time. I hate you. With every fiber of my being, I hate what you are, what you stand for. Your ignorance, your total disregard for anyone other than yourself, your fixation on money, money, money, your blatant LACK of caring on the most basic of levels. You have no right to shame me, you piece of shit.

…My oldest brother will die before hearing from me. That’s his punishment. And maybe some people think I’ve no right to mete out my own punishment. Maybe that’s even true. But I’m tired of waiting for the Universe or some Goddess to make things right. I don’t want to strike out; that will be detrimental to my own psyche and THAT is what I’m concentrating on. Not him or his “feelings”. I’ve no time for the latent incest-ridden fantasies my eldest brother holds.

And yeah, that shows a distinct lack of character on my part. I’ve witnessed people stand in the midst of an emotional storm and keep their balance. It can be done. Those that have done it have earned great respect from me. They’ve shown me what can be done, if you stay centered and grounded. I want to be like that. To be able to have my say, take the backlash, smile sadly and turn away without hurting anyone.

I ain’t got enough drugs to make that happen.

So I protect myself and everyone else by staying silent. I say nothing, again.

You know…I should at least give myself credit for having the strength to do that. To walk away, rather than engage.

Good. on. me.

In 20 minutes, I need to begin verb conjugation. Write out the irregular verbs. Again. Try to mash them into my brain one more time. I will get this. I will get this!! Try, make mistakes, learn, do it better next time. That’s the level I’m reduced to. No grand schemes, no lofty goals. Just try, learn, and do better.

Yep. That’s a good motto for today.

The spread of my mind

The spread that takes over the dining room table as I work on Dutch is immense. Homework, two dictionaries, past sheets on verbs and grammatical rules I’ve collected, and a large language book that often references exactly what I need when I need it. I can rarely get thru a sentence without turning to at least one of these tools to check a definition, spelling, or conjugation. It’s a pain to haul it all out, set it all up. Even more of a pain to work that way, tossing one book to the side for another, scribbling down two words at a time, and consulting so much I sometimes forget what the hell I’m working on.

Does not help that the other day I couldn’t remember how to spell “could” in English. It didn’t look correct to me, and I sat and pondered why the hell there was an ‘L’ in it in the first place. I realized the three famous rhyming English words – could, should, would – are strange animals in language. They imply shame. You could have done more. You should have done more. This wouldn’t have happened but for this or that. They are nags over the past, blame throwers. They imply things would have been much nicer if only this screw-up hadn’t occurred.

I think a lot can be learned from languages. Not just communication, but culture. It’s the idioms that give it away. Growing up with only one language, one communication style…you get blinded to it. Or maybe I was just ignorant of it right up to the point I began working on Dutch.

American English uses ‘look’ a lot rather than ‘listen’. They mean ‘listen’: look, I didn’t want to be the one to tell you this… or look, we’ll be okay. When you take a step away from it, it sounds funny. It literally makes no sense to use ‘look’. But American culture (if there is such a thing) places value on speed. Get it done and get it done quickly. Their use of ‘look’ rather than ‘listen’ emphasizes that. Your eyes can take in far more than your ear can in the same amount of time. So, looking is quicker than listening, ergo, look. They ask you to understand it instantly. They do not want to waste time convincing you or debating the merits of their statement. They want comprehension. NOW. Similarly, in American English you ‘run the risk’, while in Dutch, you ‘walk the risk’. The difference is speed. Americans do everything faster.

Speed is not an indicator of value.

I was weaned on ‘could, should, would’. Weaned on speed. Do more, go faster, be better, work, work, WORK, you damned workhorse! And honestly, I don’t know my limits. I go until I become such a raging bitch I grow unbearable to be around.

I have never gone ’til I drop. I don’t where that limit is.

That…haunts me. Feeling like I have more in me, if only I could (there’s that word again!) control myself.

Here it is Sunday, and I have not yet begun my writing that’s due on Monday. Too many hours fiddling with homework sentences, conjugating verbs and trying to learn every single word. I feel behind, yet I know that (so far) every week I’ve been the only one in class to hand in every single bit of homework every time. My brother thinks my teachers are searching for my limits. They want to know how much is too much. I want to be Miss Polly Perfect, so I’m sweating. More time, every day. No time for English. No time for my scripts.

I feel myself nearing that anger edge, which is where I don’t want to go. Keep me busy, keep me challenged – yes. But drive me mad? No.

And here’s the crunch: I know that if I work hard now to capture this, it’ll be easier. Right now I spend about an hour of my time on every sheet of homework. Give me 8-10 sheets, and there’s my regular work rotation every day. Add into that writing stories and memorizing irregular verbs and you’re encroaching on ME time. Oh, and I’m forgetting reading. I’m supposed to be reading, too. But…if I was doing this in English, I wouldn’t spend even half that time on it. And I want to get there with Dutch. So either I work hard now, or keep struggling.

My American side is screaming for quick fix. Some leap-frog pill or hypnosis trick that’ll get me over this hump. Bought some fish from the vendor outside for dinner last night. Listened to a conversation in Dutch. Heard SO many words from my homework – recognized them immediately. But I still struggled with the meaning. My head was three steps behind – oh, that word…what does that mean again?

How do I get myself to learn?

Pure repetition is a recipe for madness. As is more work. I’ve got to get it into my writing. Pick up a verb and use it, in all its forms. Maybe I’ll ask my teachers for some of that. Or maybe I’ll just start to do it.

Thinking I might abandon my written homework this week in favor of my little story. It’s not really on target subject-wise, but the object of our written homework is to get us writing, and it IS writing. Plus…it’s what I want to write. If my teachers give me leeway on subject matter, they won’t be able to stop me writing. That is, when I have an idea. I don’t expect that of me every week. I think it’s the one area of my life I’ve managed to totally eliminate the ‘could, should, would’. It’s impossible – even for me – to come up with decent story material every week.

Once again, I find my comfort in the written word. Doesn’t matter these days if it’s English or Dutch.

I can slow down to tell my stories.

It’s the spread of my mind.

So easy to fly

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

52. I can no longer say I’m barely in my fifties. You can get away with that at 51, but at 52 you’re officially IN there. Two years since the big 5-0 and running towards 55. I gotta say, it don’t feel bad. Especially since I really can run towards 55 – if I’m so inclined.

So. *ahem* I got the film! I got the film!! Signed into my google account yesterday (I’ve several email accounts under my pseudonyms) to find a message from the casting director asking me to contact her. Sent out an excited email in reply. Then I signed in FB to find she’d also contacted me out there. With two messages sent to me in quick succession, both containing phone numbers, I weighed my desire: did I want this bad enough to pick up my mobile and call a Dutch number? Yes. Yes, I did. And, oh Goddess! She’s a fan. She saw me in the last play – even spoke to me after a performance. Her picture is cut off online, but I think I may remember her. She sure as hell remembered me, and I had that weird moment when someone remembers you and your memory doesn’t dredge up a corresponding memory to remember them. Ach, I’m so naturally bad at that type of thing! Anyway, she was VERY excited to have me – ME – onboard. So very excited I got excited, and had a damned difficult time winding down last night. It’s a psychological thriller, and my part is big. Not the main part; that’s left for the 20-something actor who’ll play my son (can you imagine? me as a mother?). But I’ll be needed every day for filming (must be a mother issue psychological thriller…gee, I can relate). I look forward to some real acting – crying, screaming, trembling with fear or anger. Letting it all go on camera.

I’m gonna be in a mo-vie! I’m gonna be in a mo-vie!

I’m just so excited! This may be the best birthday present ever.

My head’s just flying. Imagining people asking me to work with them again. Imagining bigger directors seeing my work and contacting me for roles. Imagining, even, collecting awards for roles I haven’t played yet (yes, I’m THAT far into the future). Then there are the writing fantasies: I’ll talk about my work. Someone will get interested. Someone will say, gee why don’t you take that to film? And on and on and on…

Here’s how full my head has been: I haven’t even had time to dream of Taman being well received.

Did clear my scriptwriting desktop. Whatever faults lie in Taman, stand. I think I got most of them. Now I’m ready to load up the thrillers.

Came to a very clear decision yesterday on my Thursday language lessons. I’m not continuing them after this semester. Just. not. worth it. The room is too crowded, and my teacher…well. I think she’s got a problem with me. Was nagged yesterday on pronunciation of a word I’ve known for over two years. Do not know what she was on about; she kept repeating the word and telling me I was saying it wrong. I told her I couldn’t hear any difference between what she said and what I said. She kept nagging at me. I told her I didn’t actually CARE if I made a few mistakes here and there in Dutch pronunciation, as long as I was understood. “People will know you’re American”, she told me. So? I asked. I then clearly stated that I’ve never claimed to be anything OTHER than a dumb American, and I wasn’t going to pretend I was. Besides, I said, everyone has a bleeding accent. Even with your own people. And then there’s the mumblers. To tell me that there’s only ONE way to say a word, and that if I don’t say that word exactly the way she tells me I’ll look or sound like an idiot (or whatever she meant to imply), is complete and utter bullshit. Especially when, post this discussion, my co-student read a sentence aloud that made ME cringe at her poor pronunciation of every word – and she received no nagging nor correction.

Homey ain’t gonna put up with dat no more.

Side note: I kept my temper. My teacher might not have felt that was true; she brought out that passionate side of me that drives my words with a forcefulness some people find intimidating. But I didn’t lose my cool, and I knew that. How she perceived it is her own thing.

I feel like I stand on a knife’s edge. There’s a tipping point at my feet. Something’s in the air. One way lies success; the other, oblivion. I know it as sure as I’m sitting here (or I’m just really, really lost in a manic spree…that could be true, too). Feels a little unstuck in time, if I’m honest. My mind’s eye shoots out, far into the future, but my real eyes see my reality. Then I get a jolt, coming back into my body. Doing my best to anchor myself: this is real, this is true, this is life. Even if I get many more film roles or get my own writing produced some things will still hold true. I’ll still sit with my brother watching tv in the evenings. I’ll still get up, shit, make coffee, and write. That’s life. That’s my anchor. My armpits will still stink, I’ll still sweat at the gym, and it will still be difficult to say no to cakes and sweets. Reality. No amount of success will take that away. Remember that.

Today is all fun. Play games, enjoy films, and go out for some Greek food later on. Even if it rains (and it sounds wet outside), that rain will be magical.

Because today it’s so easy to fly.

I ain’t that dumb

I do not feel like an idiot. That’s gotta be number one today, because so often I do feel stupid. …It’s awful nice not to be beating myself up for something or the other.

Exercise. Back at the gym on my regular rotation. Took the cross-trainer up to level 4 and blew through my first km at 6 minutes 44 seconds. Ran – RAN – more than four km in my 30 minute stint (that includes slowing down for 10 minutes of back peddling). I’m gonna break 5km in 30 minutes before I’m done! Yesterday was tough, naturally. New level, new push, far more aching in my ass muscles. It was worth it.

Language class went well. Maybe my Thursday teacher has been talking to my Monday teachers. Don’t know. What I do know is I was given more time to collect myself before answering, and not once was I given a disappointed look – even if I wasn’t perfect. The other students laughed at me; I was given a very long sentence to read aloud, and kept repeating it to try and pick up the full rhythm of the words. But my teachers nodded at me and smiled in agreement when I said ‘It’s like music’. There’s a cadence to speaking fluently that you need to master. Certain syllables get emphasized in a sentence to help convey meaning. I guess some people never hear that. I can’t help but hear it. …Was satisfied to intercept a look between two other students at one point of the class. We have a know it all (even worse than ME) who interrupts everyone so she can give her answers. I was concerned my irritation with her was purely my thing, my bipolar, my anger. No! Caught that look and I knew – I knew – I wasn’t alone. In fact, one of the people involved in the look caught my eye and smiled, bringing me into the joke. It felt good to be included. Got to say I’m now concerned about this know it all woman. Oh, she irritates the hell out of me. She doesn’t really talk to anyone during break, just sits by herself. But…I can’t help but feel for her. Cultural differences, personal differences…who knows what makes her tick? I don’t. But I do know what it feels like to be on the outside. Too often I’ve been in her shoes – the know it all no one can stand. I just…I don’t know that I want to be the one to work so hard to be nice to her. And…it was so pleasant to sit at a table with several other students, drinking coffee and chatting in Dutch. So light. I want more of that. Is that wrong of me?

…I am THRILLED to find the theatre group has collapsable knives and a prop toy gun. No worrying, no fretting, no re-thinking the death scenes. I can move forward with the thriller trilogy without massive re-writes. Yea! I didn’t really want to give up my final scene with the gun. It’s powerful. And the knives – that’s just icing on the cake. The second act can stand as is.

Ready to finish Taman today and get it off my system. Might even devote ten minutes of brain power to looking at the submission requirements.

And writing… I’m beginning to write in Dutch. I have a little story thought out, front to end. I think I can handle the language needed to write it. It’s a kids’ story, nothing earth shattering. But it’ll be my first attempt at really writing in the language. Strange, thinking in Dutch. Strange, hearing the turns of phrase in my head. Not fully there yet, but I’m close. Very close. I know this will just be another step. There’s still many more to go before I’m fully proficient. But I look forward to really trying my hand at a narrative. My own story, thunk up outta my brain.

Yeah…(extra space left for dreaming my dreams).

Two days ’til I turn 52. Really can’t quite believe that number. I thought I’d be dead by 40. No reason in particular, I just felt I was gonna die rather early. Now I almost feel like I’ve lived beyond my sell-by date. Doesn’t help when I read news of David Cassidy dying. His picture was up on my wall when I was a kid. People my age are dying. Every day. My friends and comrades are vanishing into memory. Makes me think even more over my own mortality. Makes me wonder when my body clock will go off, when I’ll hear the word ‘terminal’. Will I feel ill and tired? Or will it come at me when I’m at the top of my game? It’s the latter I worry about.

Have an appointment with my very cute physiotherapist today. Don’t really feel I need it – and that’s a good thing. I’ll push my next appointment out even further. Maybe I’ll be able to take my visits down to 4 a year. Wish I could break thru the patient-doctor barrier with him – and not just because I find him so damned attractive. He’s a nice guy, and easy to talk with. He could be a friend if the situation were different.

Now there’s something to get me into trouble: friendships with men. I prefer them, on the whole – right up to the point where the man gets a little drunk, or a little bold, and finally says to me that he’s always fancied me and why didn’t we ever hook up? Oh, fuck. I’m leery of that now. ‘Cause it’s just not there. It could be, if I gave up all sorts of ME. I’ve been sexual, and could be again. I just. don’t. wanna.

I operate best as a big kid. Bumbling around, making observations no one wants to hear, learning, watching, digesting it all and spitting it back out. I don’t want to be distracted by grown-up stuff. That’s what makes me feel like an idiot.

And I ain’t that dumb.

My writing speaks for me

Whirlwind. The dust bunnies are settling (no, I didn’t get to them) now that it’s over. What was the reason? One day of massively concentrated writing.

Taman is essentially done. A couple of typos I caught on the last read thru. But the extra scene, the additional dialogue to spin out enough time so it didn’t seem like everything happened in two days, and a few references to modify the tone here and there…that’s done. Finito. In a few days’ time I’ll take the pdf from the system and wipe it from my page.

Good on me. Good on me for thinking ahead. Had some time after the gym yesterday (never really feel like taking on a big project post workout) so I buzzed around the internet, searching for theatrical props suppliers. Wanted to know what sort of costs I was running up in the thriller, asking for a gun and prop knives. Found some articles that made me think we might not be able to get said props here in NL. Asked the group, and sure enough, it’s a big hassle. Toy guns are okay. Prop guns are not. I’m assuming at this point that prop knives are just as big a hassle. What I’ve been reading seems to indicate that.

So, knives are out. Oh, sure, maybe we could find a rubber one, but I wanted retractable knives to stab. Just wouldn’t be the same. That makes Act 2 tough: how do the two siblings kill each other? I’m thinking poison, voluntarily taken… Sad to think Act 3 might feel a little cheap using a toy gun. But I gotta have a gun. I’ve thought and thought about it, and the gun is…it’s poetic. It’s poetic and frightening and terribly sad all at the same time. The last scene just wouldn’t be the same without it.

Sat in my chair last night during telly, half watching what was on, half listing out all the ways to kill someone without using guns or knives. I like electrocution. It carries the possibility of a good scene. But it implies forethought, and these killers do not think ahead. They just kill, using whatever is at hand. Beating someone to death is basic – and I’ll use it. It will take more physical acting than I’d anticipated – I’ve got a fight scene, but not a fight to the death. Most importantly, tho, I don’t want to double up on deaths. I don’t want everyone to die from gunshots, or stab wounds, or strangulation. I want variety. Total variety.

Gotta say, spending my time looking at all the things in a room I could kill someone with is…weird. I feel a little weird doing it.

….Hm. Too bad nothing I’m writing is near water. Drowning is always a spectacular death…

On land, without forethought, I’ve got strangulation, suffocation, poisoning (a little forethought there, but I can make it work), beating to death (body), pushing their eyes into the brain (difficult to pull off without FX), pushing someone off a height, hitting them over the head hard enough with an object… There’s always variations, too.

And there’s a thought! Can we get break away bottles to use rather than the guns??? I could make that work. Easy. Make a note to check.

…Now that I think about it, I could write a drowning scene. It only takes a few inches of water to drown someone. It can be done in a sink. Hm.

Rather morbid thinking for 7:30 in the morning.

When I’m done rambling, I gots Dutch to do. Meh. Not looking forward to it. I’d rather sit and pontificate on paper. But I need to look at those verbs, and write out my homework. It gets two hours of my time before class. No more.

My bro’s been proclaiming (loudly): Don’t forget to say ‘you’re number two’. I think he’s put that in my brain at least a dozen times since my crying jag. Still don’t know how to properly say it in Dutch; suppose I should try and look it up. The idea behind it is that I’m a writer. I write. Do not ever ask me to give up my writing. Ever. For anything. Because everything comes second or lower. This is an idea I need to communicate to my Monday teachers. I enjoy being challenged – but do NOT grill me or act disappointed when I say ‘I was writing’ and didn’t study. You do not come first; you are second at best. Third, if I’m honest, because I’ll blow off all my Dutch including my class to act.

And I do not want to hear ‘you’ll never get the language if you don’t stop using English’. I’ve heard that nugget of donkey shit already. No. I’ll take longer to learn to the language if I keep using English. It’s not fucking impossible, and I won’t believe it is.

And you know what? I’m cocky enough this morning to say that I’ll eventually get the writing side of Dutch enough to do my thing with it. Maybe I’ll never speak like a native. I think I could live with that, if my writing passed the mark.

I’ve never been real good at off the cuff. I can do it, and if it’s a subject I’m knowledgeable about, I can be intimidating. But…ask me how I’m feeling, what I’m thinking at any one moment… Then I stumble. Then I say things poorly. I can’t seem to find the words to explain myself clearly; I’m too caught up in the jumble.

Which is why I write. It gives me time to think. Time to lay out my ideas – as much for me to see as for the world. Once I’ve done that, I can be as bluntly honest and quick on explanation as anyone. But not before. My verbal communication has never been strong.

My writing speaks for me.

Ready to step out

My brother hauled me out of here yesterday. Said I was going clothes shopping. Didn’t matter if I kept to the minimum or not, my b-day’s coming up and he thought it high time I had a couple new pairs of sweat pants and a fresh set of pj’s to lounge around in during my off days. He took me to a mall we don’t usually go to because we have to swap metros to get there – but it’s the only place I’ve found frozen soy “ice cream” that I can eat to my heart’s content because it doesn’t contain cow milk, and I hadn’t bought any for months and months and months, and…well, I like it.

For less than a hundred euro, we both walked away with new sweatpants and matching hoodies. I also got a spare set of sweat pants (seems I can never have enough, going to the gym like I do), a new light grey sweater that’ll be nice for class or going into town somewhere, my pj’s (men’s, top ‘n’ bottom, a cottony soft set I might not take off today, good day or bad), and 5 frozen cartons (bought them out) of chocolate soy deliciousness.

Gods, that frozen chocolate soy whatever-you-want-to-call-it is good!

Received a surprise email from a board member of the theatre group. They’ve had a request for actors from some film students, and I was asked if I want to participate. No pay, but reimbursement for travel costs and food and drink on site. Plus, the credit. Can’t forget that. Yes, yes, I’m interested! Hope to hear back this weekend. Hope they just send me the script and the shooting schedule (plans are to shoot between 7-10 December in Den Hague).

And I know! I know. Just shot myself in the foot, didn’t I? Yesterday’s post I bemoaned the idea of not having time to do what I want, and here I am making plans to jumble up my agenda and give myself even LESS time.

But…it’s a film. A real acting credit that might be seen by someone else. Something I can add to my IMDB page (yes, I have one).

And after all my crying and epiphanies and moments of self-realization, I can’t say no to my dreams when opportunities to make them happen are just handed to me on a platter.

Following that email was another email regarding the vids from the play. Nothing terribly important about it, just a ‘can’t wait to see them’ statement – but it came from the father of the board member who sent me the film opportunity. I feel a little pressure being put on me. Talked to my bro about it and decided I’ll proceed like a real, live grown-up. I’ll use his video work as a bargaining chip. I’m not gonna say ‘give me the role and get the video’, but I also feel if the role IS given to me, I need to make sure the group (and in particularly the board) stays sweet, so I’ll release it. Had to get my bro’s ok before I used his work like that. He’s all for it, naturally. He’d be all for me killing (literally) the competition if it got me what I wanted.

Now, I wait to hear from them. Have it all set to fall like dominoes at the word go.

And so, the Universe brings to me a solid damned reason to create boundaries. A real, live commitment that will force me to say at least once to my Monday teachers: I’m sorry, but I can’t do this homework. I’m too busy. Too busy with what? they’ll ask. And I want to learn how to say this in flawless Dutch:

I’m busy with making my dreams come true.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Meantime, the daily drudgery continues. Top on my list is to get Taman going. Dutch is going to the side-lines today. Maybe I’ll get a lot done and be able to work on Dutch tomorrow; maybe not. I’ve already put in a lot of time on my homework. What I will NOT do is sit around on my ass and create an emergency situation where I’m trying to finish Taman, do Dutch, and film at the same time. Forget it. I know what’s likely to come. I’ll prep for it. That includes doubling down on hand washing, eating well, getting to the gym, and sleeping enough – all that pesky shit I have to do to stay healthy. I had a passing thought of ‘well, if I fall sick now at least the play is over’. Uh-uh. Nope. Stay on the up. The wheel’s turning and I’ve got to be healthy and strong enough to grab it this time!

Goals within goals within goals. Other people stack plans or lies like that. For me, it’s goals. Stay healthy, so I can get the role. Get the role, so I can make connections. Make connections, so I can find someone interested in taking my work to film. Get someone interested in taking my work to film, so I can really have a career in writing. And if it just so happens that I become well known for my acting along the way, I won’t be complaining.

*snort* That’ll be a change of pace.

I find it difficult to stay calm in the midst of all these possibilities. Difficult to stay anchored, difficult to meld the heady dreams with the cold and somewhat greyed out reality of what it takes to get there. Difficult, too, to take the disappointments that come out of living like this. …Honestly, I don’t know that I’m ready. Don’t know that the world is ready to really see me. I’m not medicated (yet; the subject was touched on again by my bro). I still struggle with that concentrated emotion I seem to have so much of. There’s so much of me that’s unfinished.

But I’m ready to step out.