Pop the cork

Pop the cork, and watch it flow.

Not exactly sure what cork I popped yesterday, but it was defo a blockage. After signing out here I began writing in earnest. No outline, no format, no idea what it wants to become, just pure writing. I’ve had flashes of this…er, let’s call it a story for now, for years. But it sat there without substance in my brain. Great set up; now what happens? Still don’t know. But I’m allowing myself to get it out. The thought occurs that there is no story here – not really. No action to speak of, no thread of continuity other than my consciousness. It’s more like these blog posts than anything else.

Whatever. Let it go, see what happens.

Day one on the new med: very relaxed. The conundrum of to do or not do the housework or my exercising seemed small and petty. Enough work will get done around the house to prevent it from becoming a total pig sty, and same goes with my exercising – I won’t allow myself to get too lazy or out of shape. Did the big stuff: dishes, laundry, garbage and recycling. But I let the rest go. Too zen, and far too enjoyable to fall into writing mode – which, sadly, was interrupted about half an hour after it began by my brother returning from the comic shop. Didn’t get upset about it. I know just to shut down. He needs to talk, get out whatever it is that he needs to get out. I don’t really need to reply, just grunt at appropriate times – but if he tells me something he considers important and I don’t remember it because I wasn’t paying attention in the first place – well, then… Hell to pay, a toll which is totally avoidable if I just listen to him. But once he’s broken my train of thought, that’s it. Difficult to return to it. My train of thought is pure and unbroken, and once I’m there I can’t have additional input from anywhere. Just leave me alone and let me get it out. Even saying ‘hello’ to me can throw me. A greeting? What made that happen? What flows from it? …No, just leave me be. *sigh* But, naturally, he didn’t know I’d fallen into that state, nor that he was interrupting me. By the time I could have said something, he’d already spun my head out into a thousand different directions. Too late to pick up the pieces. Allow the interruption to happen, get past it, calm my spirit once again.

I hope to get back to it today.

Dutch, and Dutch homework: can’t be asked. Two weeks left, and I hardly think my teachers would love me for handing in a four page piece of homework they’ll need to spend hours correcting. I know I wouldn’t appreciate it. So I’ll hang onto the homework, and prep it up for my first class after vacation. I should be able to get to it in six weeks. Maybe. I’ll try to be disciplined enough to do it, I swear. My intentions are good on this (and yes, I know, that old saying is enough to imagine me merrily skipping my way down the path to hell, but I really will try).

The read through for the script is called for tomorrow, Monday. Didn’t even have to harp at the director about it! Would like to get a new print up of the entire play. My copy is marked up with red pen: change this or that. Get a good final print for myself. Take a shower so I’m somewhat clean when I go to the meeting. Buy a packet of cigarettes for the director to make up for all the ciggies I’ve bummed from him during breaks. Maybe even pick up a pack of cookies to share out during the reading. That always goes over well.

Think I’ll go back to some make-up today. Took another look at the series of ‘gaunt and exhausted’ make-up I did, and I’m not sure I like the final results. Difficult to say when I’m doing it in my home, under natural light. Stage lighting will change everything I see. I guess I’m pleased I at least have enough experience to know that. I know the make-up needs to be heavier than normal lighting because it won’t show up on stage otherwise. But I feel like my first attempts on the look were too greyed out, too zombie-like. I need to try again and stick to the browns for shading.

Looking forward to July. I’ll spend a few euro on getting some supplies I need and begin running the blood effects tests. And no, at this point I really don’t give a damn if we end up using the effects or not. I’m having way too much fun trying it out to care about that! Will also be buying a packet of make-up sponges. Want to try an idea I have for my wounds, sort of an in-between of the tissue and make-up version I saw and the latex buy it from the shop version. Tee, hee, hee! You have no idea how giggly and exciting I find all this.

…Dr. T said my new med would eventually stabilize me. Get me off my obsessive train and onto a ‘normal’ track. I feel it. It is so easy to say ‘no’ and not be bothered by it. To let it all go. To say ‘okay, you’ve thought enough about that’ and really be done with it. Geez! Is this normal? Really? This is what all you people have been talking about when you told me to ‘just stop thinking about it’? No fucking wonder you could be so complacent about it, so amazed at my inability to stop worrying. Holy Hell! It’s easy on this new med. Like a switch turned on or off.

Or an old cork that finally popped.

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How deep it goes

The doc said my new pills might make me sleepy. What he didn’t say was that they were going to give me the first fully rested night of sleep I’ve had in I don’t know how long. So often I go to bed and toss and turn, waking up several times during the night, trying to just lie there and rest. Last night I slept. And slept. Even got up to pee in the middle of the night and fell right back asleep like someone bashed me over the head.

That’s unheard of in my life. Totally.

It is Saturday, and once again I’m amazed at the balls on my brother as he stands in the living room and announces ‘he thinks he’ll go down to the comic shop, since it’s Saturday and there’s not much to do’ while the dust bunny collection sits under the table, every plate in the house is dirty and stacked by the sink, and the garbage and recycling are overflowing. Yeah. Not much to do at all. Why don’t you take a last big shit in the toilet before I don my rubber gloves and go scrub it out?

Meh.

Got to the gym yesterday. Almost didn’t. I really didn’t want to go. But I asked myself for one hour. One hour of time. I had plenty of time to spare; it was more than possible to get to the gym and watch a full film in the afternoon. It was a good con, and once I got out I stayed out for longer than an hour. Kept it to walking on the treadmill. I’m off my regular routine and playing things extra cautious right now. Just gotta start getting out of the house and moving on a regular basis.

Today’s a whole other ball of wax. I know if I clean the way I want to, I’ll be too pooped to go to the gym. Similarly, if I go to the gym first I won’t have the energy to clean the house the way I want. Decision time.

Doing my best to keep up with headlines without triggering myself. But honestly…I’m getting pissed off. No surprise there, I guess. There’s plenty to be pissed off about, no matter what view you hold. …*sigh* I read an article about a man who’s suing a woman for sexual intimidation. I’d like to just side-step all morality issues surrounding this, and just say I’m FUCKING DISGUSTED by the damned coverage this case is getting. This type of sexual intimidation isn’t the norm. We all know the norm: women get if from men. We get it so much and so often that it’s ignored and downplayed. Oh, ho hum! Another woman claiming sexual harassment from her male superior. Well, she’s a woman. Probably exaggerating the situation. And no doubt she used it to her advantage; all women do, after all. The proliferation of accusations against women in sexual harassment or assault cases – everything from encouraging the abuse to asking for it – is mind blowing. Oh, but turn the tables and watch how much coverage one man gets! This is nothing more than a continued assault on women. Men’s grievances are addressed so much quicker, with so much more attention and, perhaps most importantly, belief in the accuser. I’ve not read nor heard whisper one that this man in question is exaggerating the situation, nor that he encouraged it or used it to his advantage. Not. one.

And while I’m on my feminist soapbox, let me address another tricky issue: transgender. Let me state I don’t care how you want to look. Want to tattoo and pierce your whole body? Okay, if that’s your thing. I might not say it’s beautiful, but go ahead. Want to run around looking frumpy and unkempt? Well, you might get dissed for certain things, but go ahead. I don’t care. Want to dress up in high heels and make-up? It’s bad for you, and I don’t condone that sort of dress-up on a regular basis, but go ahead if that’s your thing. Really don’t care. But I don’t understand why men have to be a certain way and women another. Current studies (finally! goddess! it took a long time) have come out stating that men’s and women’s brains are the same. There is no ‘male’ nor ‘female’ brain, just a brain. All that sexual identity shit comes from our cultures and surroundings. I don’t want to diss the problems transgender people have. I’m absolutely sure they face a lot of discrimination. But changing your outer look doesn’t make you into the opposite sex. This is what’s sticking in my craw: transgender men into women, who now want to be identified as women and take their share of women’s accolades. No! I apologize if I offend people with this, but if you transition into a female at some point you’re not a woman. You haven’t grown up with being a woman, with facing that daily negation. You haven’t gone thru menstrual cramps, you haven’t been dissed for what you think or feel just because your body is shedding its uterus lining. You haven’t been called ‘dried up old hags’ when you age. You haven’t faced unwanted pregnancies, or being told you can’t have children when you’ve been brought up to believe that’s all a woman really is: a mom. These things are NOT part of your reality, but they are part of every woman’s reality. Every woman knows another woman who’s been raped. Every. single. one of us. Most of us know of someone who’s faced an unwanted pregnancy. And a great many of us know someone who’s got the shit kicked out of them by their partner.

Even if I dyed my skin, crimped my hair, and did everything I could to look black, I couldn’t even begin to call myself a person of color. I have NONE of their background experiences to draw on. My opinion is the same with transgenders.

Am I the only person who sees? Am I the only person to raise these questions?

And the fact that most transgenders then dress up with heavy make-up and push up bras does NOTHING to support their cause for me: you are perpetuating this stereotypical view of women. Look at me! I can be more of a woman than women are! THAT’S what it says to me, and that disgusts me. Not your choices, not your sexuality, but the blatant sexism inherent in the way you view women.

Can’t you see how deep it goes?

Bipolar II

We said we’d treat this as we go. And this isn’t a new thing in your life; it’s been going on a long time. (I nodded.) But it’s going to mean extra medication…

I’d calmed down dramatically by 13:45. If Dr. T had seen me at 11 am, pacing the house, wide-eyed, and talking a mile a minute to myself, he might have prescribed a higher dosage. I’m glad he didn’t.

Quetiapine tablets. Very low dosage of 50mg. Dr. T told me that’s nothing on paper, and most people start at 150mg, but he’s seen some good results from very small doses and considering all the meds I’m on for my RA he wanted to start me out small. I’m on board with that. This increases risks on my kidneys, and means even more blood tests. Maybe they should just insert a shunt into my arm; it would save me scar tissue.

But I was honest. And glad he understood me: I’ve nine months to go on this production and if I keep on obsessing like I’ve been doing this past week I’ll be in hospital in four months.

These are time-released pills, so I have to take them at the same time every day. Dr. T said to take them at night because they might make me drowsy. Decided to move my schedule around a bit so I can take them at 11pm. I’ll be off stage at that point, no matter when the play begins. It means staying up a bit later from now on, whether or not I’m on stage, but only by half an hour. Picking the pills up today.

More determined than ever to get my ass back onto my routine. You don’t have to remind me that regular exercise will help me maintain balance; I know. And I know I’ve been lax on myself. Now that I’ve a wee bit of help to break my obsessing, I’ll be right back on it.

I want the 50mg to work for me.

Here it is Friday and I still haven’t made a start on those homework letters I’m supposed to write. Guess with only two weeks of classes left I’m not that worried about it. Wish I was a bit more concerned about it. Wish I had that impetus to push myself with Dutch. It’ll be harder than ever to maintain over the summer. Oh, there’s always my Dutch films and every advert on tv is in Dutch, but it isn’t the same as talking to someone. I recall I made a vow to find a language cafe to go to every week. Where’s that resolve? Easily answered: out the window, bloody and bruised. That’s where it is.

Haven’t done my weekly house cleaning for a while, and the place shows it. Well, good test for the new pills: slow me down enough to do it. A little toilet scrubbing should remove any last stains of delusions of grandeur. I always say, you can’t be a king or queen while scrubbing out a toilet, and that’s true. It just brings you down to that base level: cleaning up shit. There’s no way to feel grandiose while doing that. No. bleeding. way.

Blood, bleeding, bruised…my language reflects my obsession even when I’m trying to not talk about it.

So talk about it.

Roughed in a playbill. Half-sheet, black & white, just like I said. It looks good to me. The joke I’m telling everyone is the little game I played with director, teasing him with my made-up bruises. It’s going over well, and people are showing an interest both because of what I’m talking about and my sense of humor. Will probably need to ask the director about read-thru dates. As usual, he was on top of it enough to create a Doodle sign-up page, but he hasn’t declared this or that date to be the one. Or maybe he has on Snapchat; that’s the app all the Dutch are using – except me, of course. My phone can’t handle it. [You want Snapchat?! You can’t handle Snapchat! (Sorry, I just had to do that.)] Anyhoo. Will need to follow up with that.

My obsession has not translated into going thru production notes. Yet. I’ve created this mountain of uphill crap in my mind: Oh, Gods! What a drag! It’ll take so long and be so fucking boring! Well, it will take some time and it won’t be the most enjoyable thing to do, that’s true. But it won’t take as long as my head now thinks it will. I feel like my mother, telling myself that. A truism the younger version of me just stubbornly refuses to believe, even tho she has a sense of precisely how true it is. Gods, I’m an obstinate cuss.

Have researched creating fake wounds. Saw a couple of great vids using only paper tissue, glue, and make-up. Still would like to visit the theatrical supply shop here in Rotterdam, but I’m also thinking on creating my own look. A lot will depend on the shop’s pre-made wounds. The on-line tissue and make-up wounds looked a lot better in the vids that the pic the shop showed me of their fake stuff. My problem is that creating my own wounds means I have to do it before the show starts and have them under my clothing the entire time. So I plan the full gambit: create the look, then wrap it up under gauze and wear it around the house for the day. Pull the gauze off in the evening and see if it survived. I’ll only have 5-8 minutes to do it all: bruising, wardrobe change into pre-torn clothes, blood. So it’s got to be quick and easy.

…As for finally being able to put ‘bipolar’ back into my tags because it’s on a sheet of paper… Well, I’m not surprised. Nor shocked. Nor much of anything, other than grateful to Dr. T for listening to me and for making it easy to be honest with him.

I’ve always known what I am.

Get shrunk

Time to get shrunk.

Yeah, Dr. T…doing fine. No more crying first thing in the morning. Concentrating on the production. My Dutch is for shit because all I’m doing is thinking about the play, which is in English. But having loads of fun. Taking my meds. Need a bit more exercise, but other than that…can’t complain.

Boom. Five minutes, mic drop, walk out. It’s really all I need.

The director managed to call a read thru without me nagging him. Looking like it’ll be Monday. We’ll be missing 2 people, but none of the dates can be made by everyone, so we’ll need to compromise. Again (get used to it, spotty!). Not thrilled that the 2 that will miss Monday are newbies; they’re the most important to get into the group right away. The rest of us have history with each other. I want the newbies involved, connecting, feeling comfortable with everyone.

Not. my. problem.

Ran the bruised look past the director. Don’t know if I fooled him for a second or two; he didn’t say. But I sent it out with the title ‘had a fall’, then followed up with a ‘Shit! Does it look bad?’ and the pic I took. Left the ‘reveal’ it was just make-up ’til the end. He did think it looked pretty realistic, so maybe I caught him out for a moment. 🙂 I hope so.

Fiddled with gaunt and exhausted looks yesterday. Counted; need 3 progressions in the act. Realized a couple of things. First, I can practice on myself but I won’t really know about the other actors until I work with them. We don’t all have the same skin tones, so making notes that I’m using this shade or that on my pale skin is just plain silly. I’ll have to customize the look to each actor. Second, due to the progressive nature of the make-up, the first look won’t be very noticeable. It’s just a bit of shading around the eyes. I can see it in my before and after pics, but I don’t notice it if I just look at the after pic. Figure that’s okay, and I’m probably on the right track. The first signs of exhaustion are subtle.

Decided the easiest thing will probably be to make a few ‘how-to’ vids and post them to the group. Here’s how to do this look, here’s how to do that one. We’ll need one or two practice sessions, too, but that won’t take much. Fifteen extra minutes before or after scene rehearsal should do it.

Thinking, too, on playbills. It’s not something the group has used in the past, and I think that’s a mistake. Give people something to take with them. Give them our names, give them our web links, give them the play info. Even if it ends up in the trash after the performance, it’s an hour or two of them looking at it – and they will look at it. Figuring on a half-sheet of paper. Small, easy to take with you. And cheap to create.

…Yeah, I know. Obsessed, aren’t I? Can’t help it. This is the way my mind works: it runs out in divergent lines, hundreds of them stemming from one bleeding idea. I don’t just get the idea of a story, I get the idea of a production, of special effects, of marketing, of the whole shebang. I think I’d be happy if I came up with a small idea that was limited to one flipping thing. It would be refreshing. Instead, I create an effect. Last time I did this I exhausted myself so much it took me years to recoup. My only limits are money and how much I can fit into one day. Creativity is never limited with me.

Managed to look at my Dutch homework and do the reading and simple Q&A’s. Read thru the needs for the letters, too, but I haven’t begun writing them. Finding it difficult to slow down enough to tackle the language. I’m irritated with it right now because I can’t move at lightening speed and that’s my tempo. BOOM! New idea. Flesh it out, start to finish, in five minutes. Watching tv: WHAM! That’s how I should do that. Think about it, and miss a portion of the program because I’m not paying attention. It’s too fast to slow down. Too much to mull over, decide, work out.

And I don’t want it to stop.

Doesn’t everyone *POP* run around with neurons *POP* firing off at this *POP* speed? Gods, you people are slow!

My computer says: Alert! Alert! Dr. T at 13:45. Yeah, I know (she says as she rolls her second J of the morning).

How do I even begin to communicate this to him?

… … … Sigh, ugh, and groan. An explosive outpouring of irritated confusion. Because I don’t know how to communicate this. I’m used to being cut off, told not to talk about this or that. I’m not used to someone sitting across from me and really being interested in exactly what I’m experiencing.

Trust him, Beeps. Maybe this is nothing. Maybe it’s just normal excitement; you don’t know. If you have to use English, use English. Tell him about the obsessive thoughts. Tell him about tossing and turning while your mind churns. Tell him you can’t concentrate on Dutch right now. This is what he needs to know. – And, bleeding hell, woman! Tell him you don’t want it to stop completely if you don’t want it to stop. We both know you need a bit of this to see the project thru. But we also both know you’re perfectly capable of killing yourself with work, and this is a prime example you’re setting up. You want Dr. T. to visit you in hospital in four months? No? Then talk to him, and take care of yourself.

*sigh* Okay. I’ll get shrunk.

€8.15

Does it look bad? Painful? Did you suck in your breath and say ‘Oh my God!’ when you saw it?

Good. That’s make-up test number one, face bruising. Completed in less than 5 minutes, using a grand total of €8.15 worth of make-up. I’ll flesh this look out with a cut lip and blood dripping from a head wound.

Today I work on the exhaustion progression for Act 3. I need 3 or 4 (have to count them) looks that get progressively more tired and drawn. Doing the effects, snapping pix, taking notes on what I’m using. Already know I won’t have time to do everyone’s make-up back-stage, so I’m planning on a ‘how to’ meeting with the actors. Have a difficult time believing others don’t know how to do this, but…maybe they’re not as ghoulish as I am. I’ve been doing horror make-up since I began playing with make-up.

Oh, it’s fun! Much more fun that doing make-up the normal way!

Spent hours yesterday typing away, making notes. Have my agenda over the next 9 months roughed in, with marketing release dates already set in stone. Went thru my teaser trailer vid idea and picked dialogue from each act I need to record. Will pull more than necessary so I have room to play with length, etc. Thought about my interviews with cast and crew, getting the local tv station interested in doing a piece on us, sketched out a teaser flyer to release a month before the performance.

And blood, blood, blood. When I have a few euro (which may not be ’til next month, considering I spent my last €8.15 on make-up), I’ll buy red food coloring and chocolate sauce to practice squibs and blood capsules.

My bro has already warned me to run this past the director; I’m overstepping my bounds a bit. But…I’ve not been idle these past two years. I’ve been analyzing the group, noting their strengths and weaknesses. I’ve known from the start that doing this production meant more than just being an actor or writer. I have to step in on make-up, fight scene choreography, special effects, props, and sound.

*sigh* And I see it in their eyes. That slightly glazed look I get at first, then realization that no, I’m not asking them to do anything they don’t want to do and I’ve already planned out this or that. Then they’re all on board. I don’t really know if it’s sheer laziness or admiration for my ideas (or both). But I’m glad I’m given the chance to do it all.

Managed to get up and move a bit, walking around the neighborhood. Have not returned to my gym yet, and I’m really beginning to feel guilty (and fat). Better for me to work on this obsession, let it run out of me. I’d only exercise half-assed anyway, not really into it. If I do all the make-up tests I want to do, I can let it go. Besides, I’m really enjoying playing with all the shading and colors.

Two weeks left of language class. My head just isn’t there, and I’m not the only one. We’re doing the usual: dictation, reading, questions. But I told my teacher about my excitement over the production, and the blood effects I’ll be working on. She laughed in that easy way she has, and it was clear to me she heard me say ‘My focus isn’t on the language right now’. Bless her for understanding my hidden text.

Have an appointment with Dr. T on Thursday. Beginning to feel like my appointments with him are redundant. I’m doing well, nothing really to say. I’m not crying, not upset, and focused on the production. All positives. Might be straying a bit into the obsessive side of things, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s keeping me occupied and thinking. Most of all, it’s keeping me positive. Buoyed up by hope and anticipation. Working hard to keep active and take care of myself at the same time. Being kinder to myself. Even liking myself a bit these days.

Managed to keep a lid on my ideas. An additional teaser vid idea came to me: a 3 minute short film related to the play yet not included in the play. It would be killer to do, AND it would offer someone a chance to act a bit even if they’re not in the production. Worried about overloading myself, tho. But I might run it past the director. After filling in my schedule, I realize I could do this over summer. Won’t take long to write, direct, or shoot. And I don’t plan on a lot of edits. Ach! Listen to me. Still arguing with myself.

The sun is shining and my day is ‘free’. Have to use quotes there; plenty for me to do that’s needed but none of it is necessary to do today, so, guess what? It ain’t gettin’ done.

Instead, I’ll be bruising my face. Shading in the dark circles under my eyes, making my cheeks and nose look gaunt and unhealthy. Creating almost every make-up look I want.

All for €8.15.

Theatre people

Theatre people.

Had an email yesterday asking if I wanted to attend an English speaking play downtown. Our theatre group had discounted tickets, and a group was going. Sure! I said last minute, worrying about the discounted price. Managed to get money on my OV chipcard, borrowed a tenner from my bro, tidied up, and headed out.

More than anything, I felt I was appeasing the Gods of Theatre. I’m a big believer in karma: if I want people at my play, I have to support others in their efforts. Plus, it was a kick to be asked and included in the group. All of that was proper and good. The production was at a theatre we use every year, and it wasn’t that full. We were noticed, thanked for coming, and talked to as fellow theatre performers.

But Goddess! I had to sit through a show that was the reason most people don’t like going to the theatre. Two monologues, back to back. Zero action. It was two hours of someone sitting in a chair on an otherwise empty bloody stage, jabbering away. How fucking pretentious can we be? The acting was good – that I can’t fault. I can rip the writing apart, tho.

Typically British writing (white, white, white). Obviously 30 to 40 years old (bigotry, racism, and such stereotypical and old set-ups I had problems staying awake). And it’s a well known author and play. Afterwards, I had to hear the gushing praise of various people: Oh, the author! His words are so fantastic! or The deeper psychological impact of the statements were in direct opposition to the characters. They might as well have said something like ‘The synergy of empty space and lack of action perfectly mirrored the desolation and depression the author wanted to portray’. Utter bullshit. I call it lazy writing. Can’t think of anything new? Well, try one of the stereotypes. The gay man who still lives with his mother and can’t quite admit he’s gay. The vicar’s wife who’s sex starved and begins drinking and having an affair on the side. Ho, hum!

I just sat there, pleased with myself, imagining the action I’ve written. The actual story – something that seems totally lacking in many “professional plays”.

Tried out calling my stuff horror. We were asked, as a group, what we’ll be performing next. Everyone looked at me, smiling. Actually, we’re doing one of her scripts this year. So I put it out there: it’s a horror trilogy. Found some interest, some back stepping, and a lot of ‘oh, gee, isn’t it sweet that they’re willing to do your little writing attempt’ attitude from the actors. I smiled, and didn’t feel bad at all. Just kept thinking You have no idea what you’re in for with my script. Hopefully one or two from last night’s audience will attend our performance. But I realized very quickly: this is NOT my crowd.

Avid theatre goers… They’re a different breed. They like sitting in dark room watching people sitting in chair talking, no action, for two hours. They consider it cerebral and entertaining. Some may even view my script as stupid simply because it has action and a clear story-line.

But I realized long ago I don’t write for the typical audience. My poetry has long been heralded as the poetry enjoyed by people who don’t like poetry. I’ve been stopped innumerable times after performing, grabbed by someone in the audience who says, “I’ve never seen anything like that before! I hate poetry, to be honest, but so-and-so dragged me here. But you! What you do is incredible!” I expect a similar response with the play. I’ve never seen a play like this before! No. No, you haven’t.

Spending long hours looking at creating my own blood effects. Simple and cheap methods. Will be experimenting with water filled sacks over the summer, trying to perfect it. Found a theatrical supply store here in Rotterdam; planning a trip to their warehouse just to check everything out.

Also thinking hard on marketing. I saw the audience last night, and this was a visit from a professional acting group. Didn’t even sell 60 seats. Part of that I blame on the theatre. They’ll announce upcoming productions on their website, but if you don’t know about the theatre you can’t find the info. The location of the place is off an alley-way, so you can’t even count on curious foot traffic.

I have to find a way to get the word out. The real word: You want to see this. This is NOT like your typical play. This is a performance for people who hate theatre.

Rotterdam is a hard nut to crack. Millions of people live here, and a professional theatre group can’t attract 60 people to a Saturday night performance.

…Need to switch gears. Been off with my late nights out, and I haven’t begun writing the letters I need to do for homework. Will try to put a few hours in on it today and get one done. Ugh.

Battling a nasty cough. Still. It gets better, then it gets worse. Total allergy thing; I can feel the drainage down my throat. Having to take cough medicine and allergy pills. Need to assure anyone who hears me cough that no, I’m not dying, it’s just allergies. Bloody annoying, especially since I have to really monitor it and treat it like I’m sick because if I DON’T I will, 100% certainly, get sick.

*sigh* And once again, like with my poetry, I feel I’m stepping into a world I’m not quite ready for. I am a theatre person, an actor, one of the willing. I am not a pretentious prat (a prat, yes, but not pretentious). But here I am, mingling with those who want to delve into the deeper ramifications of a 45 minute monologue about someone’s mommy. So I’ll say it once, and be done with it.

Bah! Theatre people!

It’s a go

The last role is cast. Barring disaster, the production will happen.

Showed up around quarter past 6. The director was in the cafe, as usual. Found him deep in conversation with someone. We went out for cigarettes and a chat, all three of us. Sadly, I can’t tell you the other guy’s name. And I do mean sadly: he was one of those few that gave me that ding! feeling. Immediate connection. I talked up the play, he talked about joining the theater group. He’s Russian, very cool, and someone with whom I could indulge in a bit of flirting from time to time. Hoping he actually will come to the play and get involved.

Saw two actors last night, both female. One was (in the director’s words) a weirdo who contacted him on FB. She’s just in from Italy, and her messages told us she didn’t speak English fluently. But she had long experience in Italian theatre, so he wanted to meet with her. The other actor was a friend of someone already in the cast. She’s from Dublin, and we immediately hit it off in that easy manner that makes me think we could be real friends outside of the group.

The director chose two scenes, and asked me to stand in as the extra characters. I snickered to myself. While these are scenes we’ve used before in auditions, he hadn’t seen my interpretation of them yet and I got this feeling that THAT’s what he was really after. And it was fun to be grumpy Ted, grunting out his replies. It was fun to be fearful Alex, shamefully admitting to self mutilation.

Most fun of all, tho, was the glowing interest showed by the actors. There will come a time – soon – when I’ll step down as the writer and be the actor. I will not correct other actors to my vision or my interpretation; I’ll let them do it their way. But during auditions, I am still the writer. I am still the genius with the inspiration, the master of words, the holiest of holy. And I get a bit of that, especially last night. The actor from Dublin is also a writer, and we chatted away, she giving me gushing admiration for the script, my book, etc. The questions like: How did you come up with this? The slightly fearful and hesitant look everyone gives me when I tell them this is based in fact. Heady, heady stuff. Aaaaaah! 😉

Down to earth. I must admit to some trepidation. We’re set to premiere in February or March, depending on venue availability. Those are the months I’ve typically had massive health problems. So I’m already looking ahead. Reviewing my behavior in the past to figure out how better to protect myself. I will NOT be the reason this has to be pulled at the last minute. My priority is clear: the play is number one. I will forgo my language lessons, my exercise, any socializing, anything that endangers that priority.

I’m old enough to have experienced those rare moments in life when everything just comes together. You’ve got to be ready to seize that. Go for it. Those are the doors to step thru, to get you to another level. I recognize that now. This is one of those moments, or can be if I can juggle things just so. That’s the trick. You’ve got to juggle all the elements, keep things exactly where they should be. And the longer the set-up, the harder it is. This is a nine month set-up. A full pregnancy. And you betcha; this is my baby in every sense of the word.

So, like any expectant mother, I’m gonna be extra, extra careful. The baby takes priority, and becomes my reason for saying no to some things and yes to others. I am excited and a bit frightened. I have dreams for my baby, dreams that it lives and grows beyond me and the small start I help to give it. I’m worried, too, about what could happen to it. But I want it – I need it – to go out there. Pit itself against the critics and nay-sayers, and find out how strong it is. Support it, no matter what.

Was going to say I’d go out for a walk and do this or that today, but the truth is these last two later nights have really thrown me. I’m tired, and could use a day down in front of the tv, napping. So I’ll take it. Errands be damned. Homework be damned. Exercise and fresh air be damned. This is expectant mother stuff. I’m napping.

Taking care of myself starts today.

It’s a go.

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.

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.