Moment to moment

Morphine. Mark the day. I’ve avoided it as long as possible because there’s nowhere to go from here, other than more morphine.

Saw my GP this morning. She took me seriously (thank the Goddess; I’m too scarred from docs ignoring me for years). Wanted to know the pressure points – I guided her hand to them with my eyes closed. Far too familiar at this point. Had blood tests to check on a nerve infection. Results were negative, for which I’m thankful. I don’t know what the treatment might have been, but the normally passive face of my doctor was very concerned when she spoke of this possibility. Now I’ve another appointment Monday morning, to discuss the situation.

Pretty sure I’ll hear TMJ. Damn. Should have been a diagnostician. Could have rocked that career. Not sure what it will entail. Maybe a mouth guard. From what I’ve read, they think it’s due to people clenching their jaw while they sleep. The nerve eventually seizes up and the pain is unbearable.

What’s blowing me away is that this occurred at a moment of high success and excitement, not horrible devastating loss.

Does this mean I can’t take success?

I said it was tough to take the compliments. Being acknowledged as a role model. Admired. Loved. All of it.

Am I so screwed up that I can take every rejection and pain without blinking, but love me and I seize up?

Oh, dear Goddess.

I don’t want to accept that. But I can’t deny the possibility of it.

…And the morphine pills have a refill.

Fuck.

I am thankful for the pain relief. Still a dull roar in the side of my head, but I don’t have to hold it or pace in a crazed manner.

I am also thankful for the dull, grey day outside. I don’t think I’d like it if the world looked happy and gleeful when I feel like this. It’s a visual reminder to curl up and take care of myself. My brother is cooking easy to eat, healthy food. Can’t eat much, but at least what I do eat is very healthy. Don’t want to sit too long. I know what can happen to my back. But I’m fairly buzzed. Hoorah. I like buzzed, especially after days of pain. So, walk? Mm. Not today. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have my morphine legs, and walking on the treadmill will be okay. Right now it seems too much.

Watching Downton Abbey. Beautiful fantasy.

Don’t know about school next week. We’ll see how I feel. Don’t know about later today; ditto on that.

This is moment to moment living.

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Behind the door

Bah. Back to pain. Something else is wrong. I’ve had root canals and tooth problems; this ain’t that. This is an ice pick inserted at my temple and turned round and round for 2-3 hours at a time. This is my ear feeling full and sore, pain radiating down my neck, difficulty swallowing. And sleeping! Twelve to 16 hours a day has become my norm. It’s backing off slowly. If Sunday hit a 10 on my pain scale and Monday/Tuesday were 8, I’m around a 6 to 7. I can sit when it hits – most of the time. But I’m thankful for sleeping so much so I don’t have to be aware of it all the time.

Have an appointment with my GP tomorrow. Will take her thru it, including all the hot spots under my ear, in front of my ear, and at my temple. Don’t want to eat because that’s what seems to set it off. Even now – been eating mush. Really don’t have to chew, just move it around with my tongue and swallow. That’s still too much. Two hours later, I’m pacing and holding my head. Just willing myself thru it until it eases off. Then I’ve got to sleep.

Gods, there are moments when I’d like to just rip my entire face off. Yank all the teeth, cut off my ear and ear drum, rake out my throat. Anything. Even tho the level of pain has dropped, its persistence is driving me nuts.

Looked and found info on a condition termed TMJ, and that’s what I think is going on. My jaw doesn’t click, but other than that, I’ve got all the symptoms. I know docs hate patients who self-diagnose, but I also hate docs who don’t see the obvious, so I’ll mention it. I have to live in this pain box; I know where the limits are. You can think I’m being overdramatic, if it’s just a tooth. I know. I also know what it’s like from the inside, and let me tell you, your diagnosis is wrong. Don’t know what can be done. As usual, I’ll have waited too long. Had I seen my GP earlier, there’d probably be no question. But now some of it is backing off – mostly because I’m not moving my mouth at all, not talking, and barely eating or swallowing anything. I spend hours managing the pain that comes from what little mouth movement I do. And I sleep. I can’t go to my classes, I can’t go out, I can’t really do anything. Hell! I can only sit long enough to write this because (1) I already took a pain pill, (2) I haven’t eaten anything and (3) I lit up a J as soon as my eyes opened.

Too much.

No desire to sit on this thru the holidays. No desire to put up with it for one more day. Don’t want to eat anything today. Fuck.

Taking old ativan tabs. My brother had some left over. They’re 2 years out of date, but he’s kept them in the cool and dark, so they’ve still got a some potency left (and honestly, I didn’t care if I poisoned myself just so long as the damned pain eased off). They do seem to be helping, and if I’m correct about it being TMJ, they should help. Knock me on my ass, tho. Which is fine – I can sleep right now because I’m relaxed rather than being worn down by pain.

My appointment with the dentist isn’t ’til the 28th. Hoping for two things. One, that my GP backs up my suspicions on this TMJ thing, and two, that the seizing is long over before I have to crank my mouth open for an extended period of time. Right now, brushing my teeth is tough. Keeping my mouth open wide enough and long enough for work to be done…ugh. I don’t even want to think about it.

One thing has happened with all this sleep: the bags under my eyes are at their lowest level since I was 40. I knew I was tired most of the time. But several days of 12 hours plus sleep…that’s real tired. Maybe I need something to help keep me down on a regular basis.

Doing my best to stay positive. Telling myself that even if my GP does nothing, the pain is slowly getting better. I just don’t want to invest months in this. Barely talking, sleeping so much, dealing with it, dealing with it day after day even when you think ‘that’s it! that’s the last pain!’ but it never is… No wonder I’m so fucking exhausted.

Sent a text to my language teacher yesterday ditching class. Can’t talk or concentrate. All I’d do is rock back and forth in my chair holding my head. Why bother?

Planning to sleep to tv today. Have to take my pills, so I have to eat something. Ow. I’ll put that off as long as possible. Will take an ativan half an hour before eating. Maybe that’ll give it enough time to relax the area so it doesn’t seize up. Get thru the inevitable bout of pain post eating; I’m anticipating it now. Then sleep. Probably all day. Try to eat in late afternoon so the pain hits in the early evening. Shitty, right? Plan life around when you want the pain to hit. But that’s where I’m at. Get it done early enough that I can sleep by nine at the latest.

There’s very little left to life when you’re compartmentalizing agonizing pain.

I’ve got pretty good at it over the years, tho. Sad to list it as one of my special skills, but, there it is. I’m pleased enough to sit here without feeling the need to nurse my head. To breathe in and experience little pain.

The big pain sits behind a door marked PAIN. And that’s where I want to keep it.

My kind of Monday

Pain. Let’s talk about it, because yesterday it was my entire world.

Started having trouble on Saturday. Pain in my right upper jaw. I’ve got a tooth up there that hurts sometimes – like when I get sinus infections. So I wasn’t too worried. But it got worse. And worse. Spread to my whole jaw, and my ear.

By yesterday I couldn’t sit still. The pain was too much. I also got a bit woozy and light headed from it, but I couldn’t stop pacing. Wanted to try to make it to Monday before seeing someone. Couldn’t. Called the emergency number for my dentist and made an appointment.

Now, my film friends got their wish. We had snow. Real snow, with real accumulation. And on that one day of winter white-out, THAT’S when this had to happen. Had to travel in slush and cold, deal with delayed metros, the works.

They were late getting to me, naturally. Everyone must have had dental problems at the same time. Waited for an hour and a half in agony, pacing the floor, holding the right side of my head, and occasionally wincing.

Abscess? Nope. Cracked tooth? Nope. Infection pocket somewhere? Nope. They did full 360 x-rays of my mouth – absolutely no frigging problem anywhere. He tested my teeth and got zero reaction other than a normal one. But then a wave of pain hit while I was in the chair, after he’d injected me with numbing agents. It took me right back up on my feet, and the dentist was worried. That shouldn’t be happening, he said. A few more tests – this time, he hit a spot that almost made me jump through the roof. Yep, that’s the one. But I puzzled the dentist. He finally chalked it up to an irritated nerve that wouldn’t stop hurting.

Emergency root canal. Yeesh. You can hardly find three such intimidating words to string together. I was bloody shaking in my boots – not only was I in agony, I was terrified three times over. I hate dentists in general, and here it was a damned emergency. But at that point, I didn’t care if he pulled all my teeth. Just make the pain stop.

At first, it was fine. After the wave of pain left me, the area was numb. He began the procedure. Drilling: no pain. Start the work: no pain. It was the last bit, the final nerve and cleaning that was pain personified. I held up my hand as he’d asked me to – Stop! It hurts! He gave me about 10 second to catch my breath before continuing. And I squirmed. Tried not to squeal or cry out. It hurt like hell, and he kept saying ‘almost done’ for what seemed like forever.

Finally, thirty very long minutes later, it was over.

The head-splitting agony I’d been going thru was done. I could sit still. I could walk without feeling like I might pass out. And for the first time that day, I felt hungry.

Now I must make an appointment with my regular dentist and get the temporary filling replaced. Heading there this morning. Sad because I was going to go up to the film set and see everyone, turn in my expenses, and pick up the lights. But the echo of the pain I experienced is still with me. Eventually, that will fade. That happens. You kind of forget HOW bad it was – and that’s okay. For now, I remember all too clearly. And I just need some down time. Time to heal. Time to forget, if I’m honest. I don’t want to remember the last 48 hours.

HERBAL INFO TO REMEMBER: Chewing raw garlic for tooth aches works. It is horribly nasty, and you can’t swallow the garlic or the garlic oil in your mouth (stand by a sink and get ready to spit a lot, because raw garlic will really get your saliva glands going). And it’s temporary. I chewed four cloves of garlic yesterday afternoon because the pain kept returning. But damn! It gave me relief for 30-40 minutes at a time, and I was very grateful for it. Kept me from going completely crazy.

Someday, when I’ve left this flesh and moved on, they’ll open up this body to see what made me tick. And I hope to hover above the table, or sit in the corner, just to hear them say ‘Aha! Look at that! So that was her problem! That was why she had this pain, that was why she didn’t respond to this medication, that was why. She was wired differently.’ And they’ll take their notes and pictures, and maybe in the long run it will save someone else from going thru what I’ve gone thru.

Or, maybe they’ll just dump me in a trash container.

Happy thoughts. See why I need a little mental break?

It might be a pj’s all day kind of day. Just call the dentist (even confronting Dutch on the telephone isn’t as scary as what I just went thru). Watch films and cartoons. Play. Baby myself a bit. No scripts, no homework, no guilt over not making it up to the set today.

My kind of Monday.

A breath is all you need

Rehearsal today. Ten a.m. to 4 in Den Haag. Bring stuff, think, do my best, stay healthy! Mantras and mania; that’s my morning. Mania takes over – tense muscles, holding my breath. Then the mantras kick in, mostly: let it go, let it go. Whatever I’ve forgotten or failed to do by this point doesn’t matter. I have a long day ahead of me, with plenty of stress.

My hair will be played with. My face will be painted. I’ll be screamed at, choked, slapped, and asked to repeat lines ad infinitum.

Take no body issues with you! You are just a piece of marble. A sculpture called ‘actor’. This is the way you were carved; live with it. Use it, even. You can do things now that you were incapable of 30 years ago. Remember that.

Nodding. Frozen smile. Slow blinks. Got it.

Focus…

Wish I could have a look at the shooting script. It would tell me so much, like will my feet show? Where are the close-ups? How will we break the scenes? None of that is known right now, so I feel a bit unsure. I like to be prepared, but truth is, there’s only so much prep you can do for a film. Last minute changes are legendary. Best to have a good basis but not be entrenched in your ideas. I think I’m there.

Uploaded, formatted, and sent part three of the thriller off to the director. Did it yesterday morning, and paid for it with a headache that lasted all day long. Seems Celtx works for me now; I created three stage plays in my folder. Now I can load up parts one and two, and begin real work. Plus I get to keep them there, on my workspace, to modify as needed while the group works.

Turned in my kid’s story in Dutch. Or, what I have so far. Ugh. Made a million mistakes, and I know it. For one, found out for the VERY first time yesterday that the ‘u’ form is always handled as a single person, even if it means a large group. Really? Good Goddess! Now there’s a rule that wasn’t made clear to me when I first learned it. Well, that adds about three thousand errors to the kid’s story, because I used ‘u’ throughout. Fuck. Also, I keep writing ‘loopte’ rather than ‘liep’. Damned irregular verb! And it’s one that catches me out ALL THE FLIPPING TIME because ‘lopen’ (verb, ‘to walk’) is used so much. Add another several hundred mistakes to that story…

Still. Even with all those errors and rookie mistakes, my writing is improving.

Putting the rest of writing – even thinking of writing – in the closet. It’ll come out next week, when all this hub-bub is over and done with. Not the easiest to do. The writer is exploding with confidence, wanting to push out even more. Telling her to do her thing in the corner. Figure out what she needs to figure out. When it’s her turn again, her work will go that much quicker.

In the meantime, the rest of me is facing out. Looking at people. Interacting as well as acting. Listen to what they say. Think about your words. Be kind, be supportive. Most of all, be gentle with others and with yourself.

Gods. This is gonna go on the entire metro ride, you know. The repetitive pep talk. The calming reminders. And I’ll sit there, alone, with a small smile on my face, nodding and blinking. Over and over again. …Yeah, like that won’t look strange!

At least I’ve trained myself long enough to be fully alert at this hour. Ready for breakfast, even. That’s new.

Last minute list: things to bring. Water, juice, a bottle of my cordial. Wig, apron, jewelry, make-up. Script. Paper and pen. Hair stuff, teeth cleaning stuff, pain killers, phone. Sanity.

Excited. At that ready to jump spot; just point me in the right direction. I feel like a racer waiting for the starter gun.

Didn’t put money on my ov chip card. Should have enough to get up there; can always add more there. It’s a big station. They’ll take cash somewhere.

Let it go, let it go

There’s a quiet spot in me that’s been growing stronger and stronger. A calm in the storm. Somewhere I can reach to, close my eyes, and breathe. Don’t know how I’m doing it, but I’m thankful. It doesn’t work for a long time. Sometimes the calm only lasts during the breath I take.

But sometimes, a breath is all you need.

Thank the Goddess for pizza!

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

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

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

Hm. Really don’t know what I’ll do.

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

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank the Goddess for pizza!

Let loose

I get to be someone’s nightmare.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why can’t I just be accepted as different?

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

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

No.

I just want to let loose.

The spread of my mind

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

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

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

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

Speed is not an indicator of value.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do I get myself to learn?

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

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

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

I can slow down to tell my stories.

It’s the spread of my mind.

I’m not gonna stop

*sigh* Where do I even start?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have to come from a place of honesty.

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

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

And keep them well apart.

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

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

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

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

I like working with him.

But I’m not gonna stop.

I really don’t want to lose this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m writing; leave me alone.

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

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

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

It be jammie-time

Een, twee, drie…

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

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

Grumble, grumble, bitch and moan…

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

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

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

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

And I got so much writing to do in English!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…Yeah.

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

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

…It be jammie-time.