The world I live in

Didn’t go to rehearsal. Figured I deserved an evening off from all of it and my tummy wasn’t doing well. SMSd the director to tell him. Mentioned my anxiety over fall out from The D Episode (as I call it in my brain). He blew that off. Didn’t acknowledge it at all, said there wasn’t going to be any back-lash. Since he wasn’t in the room when G pulled her shit on me the other night, he’s not seen it. I’m crossing my fingers that my mere absence might make M speak up. It was her act last night. Say something nasty. I know you want to. Say it, so the director can hear it and realize I’m not fucking insane. Say it.

Reached out to a friend because I didn’t know what else to do. My bro is getting angry with me for not letting it all go and just chilling. I sure as hell can’t talk to the director, who continues to ignore all the warning signs. And I’ve still another week before I see Dr T. I needed someone to say ‘I’d be angry, too’, and ‘slow down a bit and don’t assume you know what these people are thinking; talk it out with them’. I received both, along with a healthy dose of understanding and empathy. It did me worlds of good.

Today I’ve a stack of dishes to do. Then I’ll start on sound files. No tv, just me and headphones. Ugh. I know once I get over there I’ll fall into a rhythm. But just the thought of all that work -! I’m eating elephants again: huge jobs during which I have to remind myself to just do the next step and not worry about finishing. I’ll get there.

… Yesterday I was really angry over D’s tone to L on WhatsApp. The message as I got it was arrogant and blaming: it’s such a shame I had to leave the play. No responsibility for being a bitch to me, for dissing me at least 4 times during that conversation, for her utter inflexibility and refusal to accept not only the creator’s influence but also the director’s. She doesn’t get to say ‘it’s such a shame’ and act the good guy. She’s the fucking bitch here, and no one is saying it. Why? There were 4 people with me when the shit hit the fan. Someone else had to see all the eye rolls and shit. I even spoke up and asked why she kept rolling her eyes at me. Everybody should have heard that. But, no! It’s such a shame… Shame my ass. Shame we ever spent any time on your shitty self.

Yeah, I’m still angry about that. And right now I can’t guarantee that I won’t hit her sharply on the bridge of the nose and drive cartilage into her brain the next time I see her. It’s what I want to do.

Began enjoying Hellraiser again. My bro got a box set with the first 5 films for my b-day. I’ve survived only on Hellraiser II for 4 years now. I’ve a glut of my favorite character, Pinhead. He’s so honorable. There’s nothing in my nature that would call the cenobites; I have nothing to fear from them. I could stand in the middle of a cenobite slaughter and probably not be hurt at all (and if D were the one getting hooks in her face because of her shitty fucking attitude, yes, I’d stand and watch). Don’t get me started on the crappier films in which the creator had no part. Those are just fluff films; they don’t really address the characters properly. No basis in the true mythology. The real Pinhead, as Barker wrote him: I’d have no fear of that being. I think I could call him an ally.

But that’s me as I’ve aged. When I was young, I looked to the light for help. Help never seemed to come. Then I learned to confront what scared me so much. To look it in the eyes, to declare myself to it, to take a stand. Things changed after that. The monsters that once haunted my dreams now came to defend me, to fight along my side. It happens often.

I won’t say the things from my nightmares are evil. Nor good. I think they’re beyond those titles.

Is this crazy talk? Perhaps. But the reason I can write horror is because I have that world with me, all the time. Because I grew up with people sitting on the end of my bed at night (I could feel the weight of them) but when I looked no one was there. Because I’ve heard things and seen things and been there to say undeniably that something other than what we’re used to as reality just popped through. I see it, everywhere. I hear it. What we see as our reality…that’s just a facade. A reflection of what’s truly going on. It’s like coming across a footprint in the sand and assuming you know everything about the person who left it just by looking at that one print. That’s the way humanity acts about reality. We see only a small slice of the light spectrum and our ears are some of the worst in the animal kingdom. We’re not interpreting things properly. We don’t have the data.

And I’ve read CS Lewis. One idea in his Space Trilogy has always stuck with me: he proposed that any being outside of what we interpret as reality is beyond our concept of good or evil. ‘Angels’ could be as terrifying – or even more terrifying – than ‘demons’ because of their other-worldliness. Their inability to understand our reality. Their total lack of connection to the concepts of sorrow, pain, love, or hope. It is THAT we find terrifying: the being that inflicts pain simply because it doesn’t know pain. It is observing this ‘pain’ phenomenon. It does not have empathy; it cannot relate.

This is the world I see. The world I write. The world I live in.

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Intense

Act 1 last night. Found L is as much a party girl ham as I am when a video camera is in the room. She gave me some GREAT stills and vids, including one I found so funny I had problems holding the camera because I was shaking with laughter. We also had some giggle fits and great flubs. Definitely getting on the blooper vids.

Re-writes are good; both L and the director liked them. Yippee! Mentioned to L that I think we should put some Dutch on our flyers because there’s plenty of people who understand spoken English but can’t read it well. She thinks that’s brilliant, and thanked me for the idea several times.

The board member and actor who’s been outed from both the board and the play was finally informed that he’s out. He’s apparently taken the time to send off a long missive to two board members, telling them he thinks it isn’t fair. L told me this, as a board member. She had this wry look on her face as she told me about this long letter. T filled me in: that’s the most work this person has put in during the last 4 years. He shows up for acting. Sometimes. About half the rehearsals and then the performances. But he doesn’t help secure venues, he doesn’t do marketing, he doesn’t even come to board meetings. They’re all kind of shaking their heads over it. I guess he left it as ‘I hope we can continue to work together’, and the group is like, yeah, you can audition for roles, no problem. But…he’s gotta BE there.

Setting up for recording today. Hook in the mic, test it, find the gate I want to use. The weather has turned foggy and cold. Ugh. Does not make me want to get up at 2 a.m. and come out into the living room. *sigh* I’ll just leave the radiator on, to keep the room warm. Adding a cold room into that equation sounds nasty.

Still a whirlwind of thought continually in my brain. But it feels a bit more distant. I can go into if I want, or I can sit back and watch it whip around. Watching it whip around is interesting. There are fragments of thoughts about scheduling, recording, video plans, marketing releases, and the lines I need to learn. Seems no matter how many lists I write trying to get that stuff out of my brain, it continues to be there. I wish, I wish, that I had a delete button in my head. Something I could use because I’ve written everything down and now I just want the junk off my personal desktop. Are  you sure you want to delete selected files? Hell, yes!

Oh, and ugh! Had to look at myself in video format. My Goddess, I look terrible! Serious hit to my ego. I know the angle was bad for me, etc., etc., but GOOD GODDESS I LOOK OLD! Make-up couldn’t cover up that amount of wear and tear. Meh. I have no real jaw line, just a hanging flap of skin from my jawline down my neck. That’s an exaggeration, but not too much of one. I saw the deep lines around my mouth, the bags under my eyes. All the stuff that good lighting and the right angle can minimize. Seriously had to wonder if I really could pull off the role opposite the actor who plays my husband. I can’t pull out now, tho. We’re already shaky on the new guy. The director told me he’s mugging it too much. I didn’t notice because I was busy acting. And the vid sucked; the camera tried to charge and film at the same time, and it didn’t accomplish either one well. The vid is full of stops and starts. Can’t really use it. Anyhoo, the director is not sold on the new actor. He gets one more rehearsal to impress. After that… Well, I hope he either gets his act together or we have someone else in the wings. Time is running short.

Need to head out to the theatre website and blog. Pull the cut actor’s name from the cast list. I’m not listing the new actor yet. Not until I know for sure he’s in.

Next week will just as busy for me. Class, three scheduled rehearsals. Plus I have to get my blood work done and see my rheumatologist.

Pffft. I don’t even want to get out of my pj’s.

At least I found out how to charge the camera’s battery. Just went out on WhatsApp and talked to the owner. Even took a picture of the charger that was in the pack and sent it to him. AHA! This type of camera you can only charge by hooking it up. There is no separate battery charging unit. That thing is for another camera altogether.

Really, really loving having that thing in my hands. It’s a great little unit, and I might seek one out to buy for myself. Lightweight, small, good screen, and great quality capture. Had to hand hold it last night. When I’m in a scene, it’s got to be on the tripod. I’ve been kind of leaving it there, not trusting my hands to hold it steady. After last night, that’s out the window. I’m picking it up. Zooming in. Doing what I DO with a camera in my hands. Rediscovering how much I love climbing around and under and wherever I need to in order to get the shot I want. Loving what I’m doing while simultaneously loving what I’m getting.

I gotta get me a new camera. There’s a goal. And something to aim for while selling myself and my work. Gimme a camera. Let me loose. Let me show you what I see, how I see it.

This late life journey of self discovery is intense. Gone is that jaded young adult facade. Gone, too, is any embarrassment I may have had. I’m just out there.

Intense.

When you’re 52

Can you make rehearsal at 16:30? Pls respond.

Three messages. All came in after I’d signed off my computer for the night. Ach! These night owls, sending things out at 8 in the evening and expecting an answer. I be off by then, unless something was scheduled in earlier.

Fast responses this morning: yes, I can be there. Sounds good. See you then. Yes, I’m bringing the flyers.

My day hasn’t even begun and I’m already tired.

Dug out my Dutch homework. Did it the evening after I got it, two weeks ago. Don’t remember one thing about it now. Will try to quickly scan thru it before I go. I hate being unprepared. Plan on leaving class a bit early. Usually our last half hour is on the spot quizzing or something a bit relaxed. I’ll head out then, get home a bit early, swap my stuff for what I need tonight, eat something and brush my teeth and hopefully have enough time to roll and fire up before I head back out.

My bro pitched in with housework yesterday. Helped with dishes, then took it upon himself to scrub out the toilet. Wow! That meant I had time to scrub out my make-up brushes, all of which needed it after my night of zombie horror. Three loads of laundry. Shower. Rest.

Feel a bit recouped. Would like another day off, but that’s just not possible. And damn! Weather is grey and wet, temps hovering near freezing. Will start to take out some boosted ACE drink during my outings. Just good to keep tanked up on those vits.

My head cracked open and I began typing yesterday. It was…productive. No narratives came pouring out. No; nothing that simple. What came out was (take a deep breath with me) legalese. I’ve known I need something between myself and the theatre group. After this long in the entertainment industry I take those warnings to cover your ass very seriously. It’s American legalese; that’s the variety I learned when working for an attorney while going to school. Basically it says the group owes me no royalties for 2019 performances but if they make money on the production they promise to hold a Board meeting and consider giving me some sort of payment. I’ll pay my bro out of any money they give me. Most importantly, it states that any vids we post to YouTube will be owned by all three of us. My story, my bro’s sound, and the group’s acting. Pretty straight forward, and I gave them a bit more than myself. Don’t actually expect to make anything, but it’s totally stupid to set out and not have this straight just in case. Also fleshed out a video release form for the performances. I want to capture audience reactions, and this will allow us to legally use their statements on the internet.

I know; way over the top. They’ve never done any of this before. If you’ve gone to a performance, your picture probably got posted on FB without any consent other than a verbal ‘okay’ on the night. Thinking ahead, tho. Wrote it so that both I and my bro also have the ability to use the clips to promote ourselves.

Giving thought to final promotion. They always seem to get some A4 posters printed up, but I’ll be damned if I know where they go. No one will allow you to put those things up in their windows. Once they allow one, they’ve got to allow everything and there’s just too much in the city. I’ve grabbed a few for my personal records, put one up at the library (which was promptly covered up by other flyers). So I don’t know why we’d spend the money on them. What I’d like to see this time is a movie poster design. Get 4 or 5 printed up rather than 50 A4s, and use them at our venues. Put up these very nice posters. Something eye catching, that melds the two graphics I’m using. See if the venues will post the posters a few weeks before our performance. Line the hall with them; make it look a bit like a thing. We have to do things differently.

Next flyer drop will be in January. The holidays…*sigh* This is what really shoots us in the foot. The break from the holidays. Everything will go to Santa and Christmas trees and presents; no one will be thinking murder and mayhem. I’ll have to let it go, just have interviews and updates in the newsletter. Let it die out naturally, then hit the city in the 2nd or 3rd week of January with the next flyer: one that points to the then-finished teaser trailer. Final drop will be within 2 weeks of performances, in the neighborhood of the venues. Yep. Door to door, dropping in mailboxes. I’m that determined.

In between all this, I have to be an actor, too. Felt last rehearsal that I was the one least in my role. That’s allowable right now, at the beginning. Not in two weeks. By then, I have to be focused on learning my lines and hitting my marks.

Gotta start recording in the roughs needed for Act 1 this week. Anything. Something. Just say the bloody line and cut it. We need them for rehearsals.

Have found zero pix of my zombie look on line. My ego is slightly put off, but I have to admit it wasn’t my best work. And I wasn’t there to get photographed; I was there to flyer. I did my job.

Will get my hands on the camera tonight, with fast instructions on how to operate it. Still no responses on my help request on line. Apparently our FB page has been receiving interested responses, and I sure hope we’ll open up rehearsals and begin our search soon. The sooner the better. Anything anyone can take off my back will be appreciated. Please. Help.

I mean…I ain’t 40 any more, guys.

And how high do you think you’ll be able to jump when you’re 52?

I’ll take it

Other than my rant – and thank you, gentlemen (you know who you are), for supporting that post with a ‘like’ – I’ve been regretting my foray into ‘let’s try less medication’ suggested by my rheumatologist. Damned methotrexate! It’s one that fools you because it takes time to build in your system. So I dropped the amount I take and was fine – great! – for two months. Now, I’m feeling it.

Damned rheumatoid arthritis. I hate this disease.

Taking more pain pills. Even the biggies. My bro stopped by one of the coffeeshops and bought me the strongest grass with the most oomph against pain. And if I smoke it straight and chill out, it works. But it’s expensive, and I’ve got class today…

Oh, and let me just bitch about the exhaustion before I move on, okay? I can sleep anywhere, anytime right now because that’s how damned tired I am. Back to a minimum of 10 hours every night.

Naturally, this is hitting me in my right arm. From the shoulder down to the fingertips. Continual pain radiating down. Gods, I should have taught myself to write with both hands!

Immediate concern: received a message from the director – scratch that, two messages – asking if I could meet with some of the actors tonight. Off I go at the drop of a hat. And we’re meeting at a bar. Naturally. So I’ve another night sipping expensive water. And me just now healthy after the last sniffle/cold/flu hit.

*sigh*

Reminding myself this is better timing for a medication trial than come spring. Things aren’t crazy right now. Telling myself that everyone else drags their feet and then jumps at the last minute, expecting you to do the same. I’ve no reason to reveal how organized I am. I can wait, until I feel a bit better, and do as they do. Golden rule, after all, right?

Man, I may need to buy some coffee tonight.

Most of all, I appreciate now (maybe a bit in hindsight) how well my team has kept me and my condition these past years. I’ve grown accustomed to no pain, to being able to move, to a certain energy. RA just saps all of that. Tuesday is my methotrexate day, and I’m going back to my old dosage right away. Minimize this as much as possible.

Strange dreams lately. I dreamt of shitting my pants. Literally. Yeesh! Of all the dreams in all my life, and that’s the one I wake up remembering! I know enough shrink-speak to diagnose this as a classic ‘fear of being out of control’ thing. Same anxiety I experienced as a child, wrapped up in a brand new nightmare. And not surprising: I am not in control. I’m working in a group now, and by definition that puts me out of control. I have to rely on others to do their part of it. I have to co-operate, meaning operate from the control of more than just myself. Others can overrule my thinking, as in the new graphic from the director’s girlfriend. Not even close to what I wanted. But, now that I’m in a group, I need to include others. So I went with it. But I don’t feel good about it. I don’t feel it works for the production, for the feeling of it, anything. She doesn’t get it. That much is obvious.

Managed to get thru my Dutch homework yesterday. Other than a rather strange request in section 2, I found it terribly easy. Basically, it’s a short read with a series of questions that dig into your understanding of the text. Kudos to my teachers: it’s on male and female languages. I’ve belly-ached once or twice (or more) about how Dutch uses separate words for the same thing: they still have actress and actor, teacheress and teacher, etc. Right up my alley. And it’s something we can do now that there are no men in the group. Not exactly a safe topic among mixed company. Again, a nod to my teachers for being so sensitive. They’re wonderful examples to me.

The hot water in the building continues to be a dream. To take a shower when I want, to wash dishes anytime of the day or night, to get warm water when I bloody well wash my hands is a luxury I’m not soon to overlook. Every human on the planet should go through a few years without ready hot water. It teaches you so much about thankfulness and all the good that society can do. That is such a problem these days. We gripe about slow internet access, or how long the microwave takes, or the traffic when we can’t drive as fast as we want. Luxuries, all. Humanity is a spoiled brat, unthankful for what it has and greedy, always, for the next new thing.

I guess, in a way, I’m thankful for what’s happened. For the years without hot water, for the rheumatoid arthritis, for everything that’s seemed bad in my life. Because it’s made me appreciate all the more what I have. More and more I find myself coming from a place of thankfulness. I’m thankful to my teachers. I’m thankful to the theatre group for doing this production. I’m thankful to my brother for sticking by me. I’m thankful for the trance writing, for the wonderful stories I’m building and spinning.

This is the good place age brings. It’s what everyone tries to achieve. It’s not something you learn, because you can’t teach it. It’s something you become. Do not think, at 20 or 30 (or even 50, like myself), that you understand the word ‘acceptance’. Learning that definition comes with time and experience. It is both a letting-go and a holding-on. It is a flower that blooms at the last, and being perhaps the last flower ever from that particular vine, is all the more beautiful for it.

Or maybe I’ve smoked enough of that super strong stuff for this morning…

…Doesn’t matter. I’ll take it.

Burnt marshmallow

I gotta be a bitch. B – I – T – C – H, bitch.

I do not feel bad for the people who’ve died in the US from the current hurricane. In fact, I think those fools who stayed behind and then needed emergency rescue should be billed for the rescue. I also don’t feel bad some jerk gotten eaten by a shark around Cape Cod. Again: stupid Americans ruining the environment and then getting bitten by bigger predators does not cause me one night’s bad sleep. In my book, you deserve it.

Do I lack empathy? I really don’t think so. Or, if I do, I only lack empathy for idiots. Nonetheless, I feel a bitch. A real bitch.

*sigh*

Been seeing the Sharknado series. One of the Dutch stations has run the films, and I’ve been recording them. Wow. What a catch-all for every has-been actor in Hollywood. Between Tara Reid still wearing the same hot pink shade of lipstick she wore at 20 (get over it woman, it looks awful on you now), sharks in space, and every ‘nado you can think of (including a ‘cownado’) it’s absolutely ridiculous. Oh, I got some good laughs. Naturally. But this is beyond a MST3000 type film franchise. They aren’t just B grade films, they’re trash. Silly, nonsensical, totally unbelievable – and the franchise is going strong. This is what bothers me. Not that people would find it funny, but that it’s become a thing. One more ‘Family Guy’ nail in the coffin on intellectual heights. Let’s all get stupid because a lot people just can’t be smart. Bah.

My right shoulder is giving me gripe. Well, my whole right arm, actually. It seems to radiate down from my shoulder, ache a few places in my arm, and end somewhere in my hand. Took a few heavy duty pain pills yesterday that gave me some relief but didn’t solve the problem (in other words, it wasn’t an irritated nerve or muscle that needed rest). Might need to see the doc on this one; it got me up early today.

Tomorrow is my language class. Looking forward to going back, seeing my teachers. Not sure I’m looking forward to seeing the other students. Only good thing is the slowest student in the class dropped back to a lower level after trying to keep up during our summer lessons. Good. She was terrible at Dutch, and I don’t know why she got moved ahead. Haven’t done any of the homework I was given over the break. It was all optional, and my option was not to do it.

In anticipation of needing to listen more, I watched a Dutch film last night – Zombibi. Amsterdam taken over by zombies. It was typical Dutch fun, and even tho some of the speakers spoke so fast I couldn’t catch a word of it, it was pretty easy to follow. My collection of Dutch movies is growing. I even feel like I’m beginning to understand the Dutch sense of humor, which is a big step. And I can see work for me in film: both as writer in other positions. They need my skills. At least…if they want to break the Dutch ceiling on films, they need my help. Chroma has to be adjusted. The make-up has to be better. Yes, I can see a niche for me.

Began some earnest make-up playing. Shot for a vampire and ended up looking like Harley Quinn from Batman. Meh. More research needed. Gotta start practicing wounds, too. Thank the Goddess I can do this in private, and my disasters aren’t seen by anyone.

Happy to say that is seems the hot water got fixed in the building. Either that, or a hot water hog further down the line moved out. For almost a week, we’ve had hot water. Morning, afternoon, and night. For the first time ever yesterday we made dinner and did dishes right afterwards because we could. Plus, I took a shower in the afternoon. Unbelievable how wonderful it is to have hot water. Unbelievable how good I feel being able to take a shower more than once every two weeks. My mood and my brother’s mood have taken a sudden upswing.

Time today for one last long walk in the sunshine and fresh air. The sky is blue, the air is fresh, and I can barely keep myself here long enough to finish this post. The day is calling me.

Oh, I miss George the duck right now. I miss how easily I could find him. How eagerly he snatched the bread from my fingers. How he always made me smile.

…I miss many of my friends. Two and four legged.

Oh, fuck Sunday and its reflective mood! I don’t want to get mired down by memories and sorrow.

I think I dreamt of my friend, L, last night. Part of me feels she is alive, even tho I’ve read her death notice on the ‘net. I know it isn’t real: I see her as I remember her, not as she’d be today. I only wish her to be alive. Out there, somewhere. Even if she doesn’t want to talk to me. But I know it’s only a wish. I know she’s gone.

Ah, there’s my soft spot. The one I work so hard to wall off from the world.

Oh, Goddess. I do it for my own protection. You know that, right?

If you read my words and think me a bitch… Well, you’ve got that right. But I’ll tell you right now: beneath my scabby and hard outer shell is a marshmallow center. A marshmallow center that’s been held over the fire for 50 some odd years. I’m all gooey, and if I didn’t have that crusty outside I’d fall apart.

So, go on. The bitch in me has been burnt into my flesh by the world. It’s there for all to see. That burnt marshmallow.

Satisfied

Curl. your. toes.

Let’s talk about sex. Usually it’s not a subject I bring up. I don’t get any, my libido is legendarily next to dead, and it’s just not something I discuss much any more. Even my masturbation episodes tend to be disappointing, and end up me with me just stopping because my wrist hurts too much to continue. So when I say I not only reached orgasm but a toe curling orgasm last night, just know it’s a big deal. The big O is something I rarely reach: either I’m too uptight, or too tired, or just not there. Always been like that. There’s only one guy I really orgasmed with during sex. The rest were fun, pleasant, and stimulating – but not curl your toes explosion. Did not know what a full orgasm was for many, many years. Too many years.

So, yippee. My lady parts still work.

NL is headed for another heat wave. National warnings out for the rest of the week. I feel fat – really fat. But I still won’t go knock myself out when the weather is like this.

Pleased with myself. Got out and ran my errands yesterday before the sun got real hot. Walked into the chemist and bought toothpaste, floss, and dental picks. Asked at the cashier if anyone knew of a dry cleaner – and received six answers in Dutch. Everyone in the store tried to help me. Heard ‘tegenover’ – a word that means ‘opposite side of the way’ in Dutch. Ah, yes. Found the place with little trouble. Inside, a lone woman stood behind the counter. I began with my usual saying (should get it on a T-shirt): My Dutch isn’t very good. From there sprang a conversation in Dutch for the next 15 minutes. She was friendly, intelligible, and kind. I felt buoyed up. She told me how well I spoke, congratulated me on my skills, and asked the standard, first year questions: where do you come from, how long have you lived here, do you like the Netherlands? I answered in perfect past tense, using prepositions and proper verb tense. Still feel good about that. Thinking I may return to the store before my stuff is back and talk some more. Introduce myself properly (we didn’t exchange names), and see if maybe she’d like to get a coffee during her work break. I’d like a native Dutch acquaintance/friend to talk with. She fits the bill perfectly: my age category, clear speaker, very friendly and open. I’d like to get to know her.

Bought some glue. I have a very old bottle of professional make-up sticky gum from when I bought a fake mustache and eyebrows. It’s so old the gum has separated and I don’t think I should even try it anymore. My research tells me I can use non-toxic kids’ glue, so that’s what I’m trying first. I’ve a week before my backdrop is returned from the cleaners, and I need to use that trying out wound creation. So I’ll be tearing and gluing tissue paper to my skin, drying it with a hairdryer, and applying make-up to see how it goes. I need something that looks good and that can last under a wrap for two acts. Also need to make sure it’ll hold during movement; I wanted a wound on my knee and that means it has to bend and work with me during the entire play before I reveal it. Fun, fun, fun! I so enjoy playing with face paint when the goal isn’t to entice some sexual liaison.

That’s it. I’m staying lazy and fat because it’s just too damned hot to exercise. I’m playing with face paint and experimenting for the production. I’m curling my own toes at night, and saying a heartfelt thanks for the experience. I’m doing my Dutch: reading, speaking, homework. Finding more and more things just falling out my mouth. I know I’m correct; I just don’t know how I know I’m correct (think it’s all the reading). Most of all, I’m just relaxing. I have myself honed to a fine point right now. Everything that can be done ahead of time, is. Everything that can’t be done ahead of time is all set to fire off the questions I need answered.

Damn! I think I’ve finally satisfied myself.

Vroooooom…

I’ve had a lot of nightmares about being in the back seat of moving vehicles. Cars, roller coasters…anything, really, that my mind could use to portray a terrifying image of me being out of control. The dreams plagued me all during childhood and into my teens. Often I’d wake soaked with sweat, the image of what I’d dreamt burnt into my memory so deep I still remember those subconscious night-time movies.

These days, I’ve installed a brake system. Or, one’s been installed for me.

Two short conversations with my bro changed things yesterday. One was a bit of feedback on the letter I sent to the journalist who’s request for info was still languishing in the theatre’s inbox (btw, she received it and answered me very politely). The second was a re-think on video backdrops. I have some blue cloth that’ll work just fine. Red would match everything, but my bro used the magic words on me yesterday to pull my head out of the clouds: anything you do is an upgrade. Just making the vids is an upgrade. I don’t have to go 110% and have everything match like some demented housewife let loose on decorating her house.

Put out the pix of my first make-up test on FB. Lots of great comments. One ‘experienced’ twenty-something gave me a few ‘tips’. Just say thanks, Beeps. Let go of reminding people of all your experience. Not the easiest thing for me to do this morning. Guess I feel the need to justify myself. To remind people I’m in my 50s with decades of experience under my belt. Feels an awful lot like people ride over me, and I suppose they do. I don’t crow about myself in public. I’m not the person who’ll sit in a theatre meeting and list out all my albums, all my performances, all my films to every single person. I just say ‘I’ve done a lot on stage and on camera’ and generally leave it at that. I’ve had all sorts of comments come my way, trying to peg me into some square hole. Oh, amateur performances. Sure, we’ve all done those. …Oh, just a little one person show, huh? Nice you had a few people show up. …I’ve never heard of that director or that film. Was it actually released? …You’re a singer? Sing something for us. It’s got to the point I just say I’ve been working in entertainment for over 20 years. Think what you will; no amount of my listing my accomplishments will change your mind. But then, naturally, I have to live thru the disses. The people who tell me how to do something I already know how to do. The well intentioned acquaintances who give me advice about stuff over which they have zero experience or knowledge. *sigh*

It isn’t always easy being a 52 year old whom people treat like a 20 something.

Got to the gym yesterday. Took what I hoped was going to be a great and well deserved shower, but the hot water was a ghost thing in the building and within 2 minutes I was standing under an unheated water supply. Amazing how cold you can get in an unheated shower. The water wasn’t cold, just cool. But it sucked any and all heat off me. Didn’t even bother with conditioner for my hair, just a quick shampoo and get the fuck out of there. Despite it being a less than ideal shower, I felt refreshed afterwards.

Still having problems on my right side. Looking forward to my physio appointment.

Today I’m not going to the gym. Today I’m setting up for video shoots. Pull out and clean up the blue fabric I’ve got. Rearrange my desk area so I can use the backdrop. Mark off my desk with tape so I set up for pictures in the same place each time. Also need to head to the store to seek out blusher and lipstick. I’ve become quite fond of my make-up needs shopping. I’m not there for me, I’m there for the group. I stand in the aisle, looking at my choices, picking up packages to examine them more closely, dithering. It’s the only time I really shop like a normal person. My aim today is to get a cheap color selection for the vids. Still plan on asking for sponsorship for the final make-up for the group; this summer work just allows me to play with colors and figure out what we really need. I have a whopping €10 in my wallet to pay for both blusher and lipstick, so it’s off to the discount shops as usual to look thru the bins.

Made a start on my homework. Need to put in an hour or so defining the words I don’t know. Shouldn’t take long to get it done.

Wondering when and if I’ll have time to write for me. Haven’t gone back to the new script yet. Lots of ideas for it; just haven’t made the time. Hm. Note to self: make the bleeding time! I’ve nine months before the premiere. Plenty of time to make and release vids, update the website, create the playbill, and find sponsors. I can find a day a week to settle down and just write. Great that I have so many ideas on how to market this play, but I also want to move forward as a writer. Spending all my time on marketing is like spinning around in a vehicle: you make a big mark, but you don’t go anywhere.

My vehicle goes. Always has.

Vroooooom…

Feelin’ it

Yep. I’m feelin’ it.

Worked on the home page of the theatre site. Saw a tab called “contact forms” and hit it. There sat a 12 June email from a national press journalist requesting info from the group – unanswered. Short note out to the board resulted in a request for me to ‘handle it’. Actually, it was written like this: Gee, I’m not sure anyone got back to her. Could you…? I’m still not authorized for the group’s email account, so I responded from my personal gmail account and hope and pray it won’t get lost in the junk. Kept it bright, brief, and perky with a ‘contact me with any questions’ sign-off.

Finished off SEO codes for the home page. At least for now. Began brainstorming for the other pages. Need to interview the board for a fresh ‘about us’ write-up. Wrote some questions up for the director specifically about his job as director. Thought about standard stuff for our members: vital info, links to other pages, a question or two to get what I want from them.

Got to the gym. My body is getting ready to go. Found myself hurrying on the treadmill, walking faster than I had it set. Hoo-fucking-rah and finally! Not pleased to say I still have a pull in my right side that’s a bitch. Hurts to raise my arm, and keeping myself upright is tough. Next physio appoint is a week from today. Rub me, rub me, rub me!

Was rewarded by the Universe with a working lift in the building. Surprise, surprise! Noticed all the notes hanging on the call bells were gone, so I tried it. I was not the only person surprised; when I came back from grocery shopping three other very shocked residents popped into the lift with me.

The rain scheduled to come in was a total strip tease. Big cloud build-up, flashes of distant lightening and the smell of sweet rain falling somewhere: we had it all, except the water. Still bone dry, and forecast to get even hotter in the next two weeks. I am happy about two things. One, my hair’s grown long enough I can get it all up in a clasp off my neck and none of it falls out. Two, this flat. East and west windows ensures we get the best air flow possible, and the UV treatment my bro did on the windows keeps us cool. It usually feels 5-10 degrees cooler in the house than outside, and that, at least, is assuring and takes away some of my growing fear over our climbing temperatures. But I have to face facts: my room is the smallest and hottest in the house. I’ll be sleeping sans pjs in the coming weeks.

…I should look around today and find a damned summer hat. Keep telling myself to buy one and I haven’t…

Began fiddling with my Dutch homework. Idioms and sayings; just the sort of thing I was looking for. Every language has them, and Dutch is no exception. I’ve been stumbling across quite a few in my reading. Seems I have some sort of secret upper hand with sayings. I can usually just figure them out, or get damned close to the meaning. But it’s great to go over them. Loads I don’t know. My teacher gave me a website address that lists almost every common saying in Dutch, grouped by topics. Got lost on it yesterday; fascinating stuff.

Today: Injection. Breakfast. Tidy up the kitchen. Gym. Homework. Website. Did not venture out to buy the fabric yet. Considering the forecast, that was probably a mistake. And probably not my last mistake, either! Oh, well. Wanted to give myself two weeks on the website and start video shooting in August. I’ll stick to that schedule for now.

Received some sobering news yesterday. Heard from R, my bro’s friend and sensei. He’s terminal. Explains the long silence from him. Neither my bro nor I find it surprising. R’s health has been on a steady decline for the last year. I don’t know R well enough to feel saddened by the news. Am I terrible to say that? I am sobered by the news, respectful of what he’s going through, but he was never a large enough part of my life to feel a huge impact. Sometimes I wonder if that indicates something really wrong with me. If I should feel sorrowful over this news. Should I? Am I callous and self-absorbed? I’ve seen videos of people crying for strangers. I’m not someone who’d do that. I feel for them, just not to the extent of crying. I mean, if I cried for every stranger, I’d cry every day all day long because there’s always someone dying somewhere. No. Death is a part of life in this reality, and we all get to face it someday. I can’t cry over such a normal occurrence. I can only cry for my own loss and grief. I suppose that does make me selfish. But, then…death is selfish. We think about our loss, how not having that person around will affect us, how much we’ll miss them, how much we ache to see them or hold them again. Rarely do we turn our minds to the loss of others when we are in the center of the storm. It is left to the fringe elements, the co-workers and friends, to comfort those in the center. We go the wakes, we hug, we give them what words we can – if we can find any words at all to give.

*sigh* Neither my bro nor I know any of R’s family. When the time comes, we will go the service to pay our respects. If R is up for visiting we’d love to see him, but having nursed two parents thru this process I’m well aware of the depression that settles in around a terminal patient. He may not want to see anyone. So, we wait.

Feelin’ it.

Warpaint

It’s been many years since I’ve thought of make-up as something you normally use on your face. I call it warpaint for a reason: it is, truly, paint for your face and once ‘made up’ you become something other than just yourself; you become the person ready to handle the world and everything it has waiting in its catapults to throw at you.

Aging does things. Makes your skin texture different, increases those fine wrinkles where make-up gets bunched up into visible lines, screws with the elasticity of the skin around your eyes. I haven’t actually considered wearing make-up as a thing for over 10 years.

So color me surprised, because my first ‘test run’ on make-up was pretty damned amazing. I ended up taking several years off my face and looking very much the way I looked about 15 years ago. And I’m using the cheapest stuff I could find! Good to know. When heading out for looking for sponsors, I’ll wear it. It works, it looks good, and most people expect that…gee, what do I call it?…that sort of made-up on the cover of a magazine look. Especially from women. Especially from women coming at them asking for money. (Gee, Beeps, are you sure you want to continue down this line of thought? You’re making yourself sound like a lady of the night!)

Have decided I need to invest in a backdrop for my vids. Shot one during the first test; it was good, and I may use it, but the area behind my head is unappealing and busy. I should head down to the big market this week, stop at one of the many stalls heaped with bolts of fabric, and buy several meters. Don’t need much for my make-up vids, but I’ll buy extra. Plan on using the same technique (simply hanging fabric as a backdrop to cover up ugly walls) when shooting the theatre troupe (that’s shooting as in video filming…). Not usually what I’d do, but this time, I’ll buy red fabric. Red for the theatre, red for our newsletter…hmm. Red for lady of the night again.

Fine. I’m a marketing whore.

Looking up the biggest suppliers in Rotterdam. Make-up, electronics – anything, really, I can think of. It’s not like I want to spend my time talking to these people. I don’t. But I want their help. Their stuff. So I’ve got to try. Telling myself the worst thing that’ll happen is they’ll say ‘no’. A supplier giving us €100 worth of make-up is a LOT to the group but next to nothing for the store. I’ll plaster their name and logo over our newsletters and playbill. I’ll remind all 10 of the cast that THAT’S where we should go if we need anything. I will push. I also figure it’s a small ad campaign in and of itself. I gotta go out there are explain myself – the group, the production, what I want. Could really use a native speaker by my side to help with translation, but I’m not counting on it. And I hope if I can talk stores into giving us anything that’ll make a ready made-interest. Here! Come to the show and see what you gave us! See how we use it! Might even give away 2 free tickets to a show to entice managers (and fill the audience).

But that’s future stuff. Gotta run all of it past the board members, who are all out in the sun on holiday. Last message I received was more than slightly garbled, and probably sent to me while the owner of the phone was driving, drinking, or trying to water ski. I’ll do the leg work now. Find out who I need to talk to: store managers, or headquarters. Get names, start that contact work. Feel them out.

Terribly proud of what I’m doing. Keep opening up my newsletter rough to look at how good it is. Keep watching that first vid for the same reason (tho the ugly background bugs me). Keep giving myself pats on the back. To me, it all looks great. Appealing. I’ve learned to edit myself, to keep things short and punchy. No long credits in the vids, no unwanted this or that. Fast, tight, clean. The newsletter is shaping up the same way: short, but tight. Marketing, but informative. It’s a strong combination. Hope others think so, too.

Today is my first summer school day. At most, I’m expecting three other students to show. That’s at MOST. It’s forecast to be really warm and sunny today, and I might end up being the only person there. Want to clear out my school folder, lighten up the load. It’s grown thick and heavy over the term with my homework assignments. I expect pretty much the same as what we’ve been doing: dictation, reading, drills, talking. Don’t really want long assignments, and I’m sure the teacher (who’s doing this totally out of the goodness in her heart) doesn’t want to spend hours correcting poor Dutch, either. I am pleased. I won’t lose my skills over the next few weeks because I fall out of practice.

Already getting worried about time. Will I be able to get all this done by September? Can I keep juggling this and that? One thing I’ve learned: worrying about something takes up time. Don’t worry; do. Put that worry aside and work. Then you’ll have less to worry about. The lists I use to keep myself on track with work are growing. And growing. And growing. Get those lists too long and I’ll discourage myself. Keep them too short and I’ll forget a vital element. Back to balance.

I feel encouraged to know I can put make-up on and look good. That I can go out in public and not look old. Ach! Sorry; I should be more of a feminist and say it doesn’t matter to me, right? Well…it does. Even at my age. But it helps to have that layer between me and other people. Especially when I need to talk to them.

It’s my warpaint.

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.