BOOM! There it is.

I had a mooie (beautiful) letter, but my teacher still found half a dozen corrections to make…

Language class. OMG. It’s a bit of boot camp for my brain. After a week off, I faced three in-class tests to find out how much we remembered and retained. Oh, I know I didn’t do well! I had NO dictionary, NO smart phone to access an online dictionary, NO idea what 60% of the words were. Well, if they really wanted to know exactly where I am, they did well, ’cause there was no hiding my ignorance. Think I might have been passable on present tense – though things like ‘humanity’ or referencing large groups of people as singularities still gets me to fuck up the verb tense. But the past tense! Ach, now there I was truly horrible. Did my best, but I’ve only got the grammar rules half learned, and it was embarrassingly evident as I worked my way through the paper. Still, I have to give myself a little credit. I managed to work my way thru the paper – something not everyone in the class was able to do (the tests were timed).

And homework: five or six sheets to fill in, plus another letter. One teacher said get used to it; she’s gonna ask us to write a letter every damned week. AAaaargh! I was also asked if I’d be ready to start a new book in Dutch next week, so the pressure is on for me to finish reading the one I’ve got.

Spoke to the only man in the group while we were on coffee break. Actually, he talked to me – and that’s something for me to note: he might be feeling a little lonely. All the other women in the group are Muslim, and they sort of group together and speak half Dutch and half Farsi. Knocks me out of the conversation. He’s left out, too. Better learn his name, and get used to his accent (rather heavy). He seems very open, and wants to talk. I’ve no issue with that, and I appreciate the time to try some free-flowing Dutch conversation. Had to laugh to myself, though. We did the standard beginner Dutch conversation: hello, how are you, how long have you lived here, where do you come from? When I told him I was born in Wisconsin – well, that was too vague. What’s the capital? He asked. I told him; he didn’t know it. I asked if he knew the Great Lakes. He didn’t. Finally got that ‘aha’ look on his face when I told him it was near the Canadian border. THAT’S how big you have to get when discussing something not on the coast in the US. People over here tend to think New York, L.A., Texas, and Florida. They forget everything in between.

As of today, I’ve got 8 readers coming to my script read thru. Three still to hear from. Spent time graphing out the speaking roles. I’ll need to do some doubling, and I want a good idea of which roles can handle that and which roles can’t. Last time the group read one of my scripts, I was a bit more lackadaisical. I just asked for volunteers for each part. This time, I’m choosing. I noticed in the first read thru that L, the director’s girlfriend, was a bit disruptive. Ticked me off at the time. But I’ve got to know her a little better now, and I realize she was probably just bored in the first read thru. So, this time, I’m asking her to read the starring role. She’ll be speaking in every scene but one – very little time for her to get bored. Thinking about the other roles, too. A couple of people are coming in from outside Rotterdam just to be there for me, and I want to make sure they get juicy parts. Actually, I don’t want anyone to get bored – another reason to double up roles that are well written and intense but aren’t in every scene.

And I’m talking with the director on the thriller trilogy. Sent him the first part, talked about recording bits for it. We’re beginning to discuss this like it’s a given fact, like the decision to do it has already been made. Sure hope he has some pull with the board. Wonder if he’s willing to say ‘Listen, I’m the director and I really like this, so we’re doing it’. That would be cool. I think, tho, that I’ll need to sell it to a few other people. Good to get the director’s thoughts, input, and attention now. No reason I can’t go in there with him on my side.

Funny how time seems to collapse the closer you get to a set date. Last week, I had all the time in the world to stretch my mental muscles, sit in sloth, and do whatever. This week I must adhere to an ever-increasingly strict schedule. Saturday is the last performance. Ran thru my lines last night. Had to check the script once, because my dialogue depends on my partner’s dialogue and I needed his verbal cue to kick off my memory. Half did the voice. Some lines I can’t say without the voice, some lines I can. Saved my throat as much as possible. Found the laugh (my bro is looking forward to me being done with this role so I stop snorting when I laugh). Found the physical tics. Found the attitude. I’ll need to do this a few more times; I hid Wendy well away under my writer mania. Time to dig her out.

Feel very buoyed up by everyone’s response to my read thru request. Feel very excited by the push from my teachers. And strangely enough, long, long ago, I did a numerology reading on myself. 51 was the age. A strange coming together of all things in my life; a high point. Didn’t think much about it at the time.

But BOOM! There it is.

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Dissolve those blocks

A block is a block is a block. And I found my block: my silence regarding my uncle and family communication issues. All it took was one statement, one time standing up for myself –

And it flowed.

I’ve spent the last few days divvying up my time between pacing and writing. My head’s so there I can’t even concentrate on tv at night. My eyes watch, but my mind is far, far away. Tying together plot threads, modifying scenes, adapting new ideas and new information into the story.

Honestly, it was almost an explosion. I’ve pages and pages of notes and rough drafts. Hammered out all the loose ends I was unsure over. Found solid reasons for people to do what they do. More: I was able to articulate the core premise of my thriller trilogy, something I hadn’t been able to do. And I’ve got to chuckle, because the core premise is connected to all my family issues.

People are affected more the more they are in denial.

The effect is cumulative – the more you hear or see, the worse it is, but people not in touch with themselves quickly succumb.

The issue of denial – denying everything, from the insults slung to their real feelings over important issues – is a bone of contention between me and my family. It’s a long, old ache I can’t rid myself of. Essentially, I’m writing about a phenomena currently underway – in my family, and in the states. Everything is twisted. Neo nazis scream about genocide and claim that’s their right under free speech. Then they blame anyone who tries to stop them, calling them enemies of free speech. Denial. Denial of their bigotry and hate. Denial of their calculated twisting of the facts. It’s killing every bit of humanity, and it’s a disease that’s rapidly spreading. My premise is that people like that – people so caught up in denial they can’t even begin to admit the truth of what they’re doing – they’re the ones affected. They’re the ones who flip out and kill everyone (literally and metaphorically). Don’t know how many people will get that connection when they watch the trilogy. But it’s in there.

Now there’s that layered depth of meaning that’ll win me an award!

But that little gem of thought is costing me re-writes. It’ll be well worth the price; I’m just noting it. Noting that I need to increase tension in this character, have a few more verbal spats in that area… Nothing major. Subtle. I’m down to subtle writing. Taking that fine sand paper and working on the last hard edges. That’s often the more difficult kind of writing. Hacking out the rough ideas – that’s easy. Take a swing, chop, chop, and there you go. Viola. But fine tuning – that’s tough. Reading and re-reading. Changing one word in a sentence to open up multiple interpretations of meanings. Moving this, editing that – if you’re not careful, you can get stuck in this mode forever.

Lucky for me, I have readers. Willing readers. People who want to read my scripts, want to participate in the evening get togethers, want to give me feedback. Yes, I called a read thru for Taman and am getting many positive responses. I need 12 people capable of reading English to do this properly, and I’m half way there. Hope I get enough. We could double up, but that always muddies a read thru. Plus, I want the input. I want to hear people’s opinions and ideas. Used to think other people’s opinions were judgements: good or bad. Now I hear them as suggestions. Hm, she wants me to change that sentence because it isn’t clear to her…maybe she has a point. Or gee, he thinks this wouldn’t happen. If it doesn’t happen, then this might occur. Wow, that would mean… etc., etc. It takes me in new directions.

And it’s taught me (again) about communication. You can use every word in the dictionary – you can speak at the highest level, using the best grammar in the world – but if no one understands you, you’re not communicating. People have to understand you before you can claim to be communicating. If you use words they don’t know, or introduce ideas that are beyond their comprehension, you’re not communicating. You’re just being obtuse (and there’s a perfect example: if I said that to my autistic brother, he wouldn’t comprehend the use of ‘obtuse’ in this sentence). Side note: Goddess! I should throw that word ‘obtuse’ at my uncle!

…Now it’s time to reign it all back in. Back to the grind this week: classes, gym. Last rehearsal on Thursday and the performance on Saturday. Week after that, my read thru for Taman. I feel confident that by mid-November I’ll be done with Taman; it’ll be off my desk and sent out. That sets me up nicely for finishing the trilogy during Xmas break, which means I could present it to the group in January.

Beyond that, I haven’t thought. It’s a big enough deal to be back in the flow and writing again. Still surprised over how quickly all my mental blocks came crashing down the moment I stood up for myself.

Remember that. Dissolve those blocks.

Keep on rock ‘n me, baby

This morning I hit the unfriend button on FB. Unfriended my uncle. Still half on the fence with the whole idea, but I can’t shake the truth that if anyone other than a family member did to me what he did, I’d read him the riot act. Sharing DNA doesn’t allow people to treat you like dirt. So after much deliberation and a lot of anxiety, unfriend it was.

I’m worried about the backlash. The demands to know why I did it, the endless denials and accusations, the being told I’m wrong over and over. Do not know how much I’ll take before I…blow up? Finally get angry? Tell them to fuck off? Report them for bullying and abuse? Any or all of the above. That frightens me, too. So far I’ve dealt with this very level headed. I don’t want to lose it now. More; I don’t want to give them one iota more of anything they can use against me. Losing it is definitely one of those things they’ll use against me.

Found myself thinking the other day that if, when I die, my mother appears to me, waiting to guide me to the other side, I’ll grab her fucking hand and DRAG the bitch to Hell. And if that means I’m stuck in Hell for all eternity, well, as long as I know she’s getting HERS, I’ll deal. Can’t be all that much worse than living here.

Now, that’s a sad fucking thought, isn’t it?

Fuck! I’m screwed up.

…Having a difficult time getting myself motivated. Maybe I finally took the word ‘holiday’ in its entirety. You know – REAL time off. Gym time, writing, reading – even running my lines for memory’s sake has become a chore, a non-emergency, something I can do tomorrow or the day after. For my own peace of mind, I’ve allowed it. I know what I can do when I am motivated; no need to push it if I’m not. One more performance to stay healthy for. One more run thru of the play to do. Focus!

But something’s cooking. I hope my inner eye is focusing on the thrillers. I think it is. I’ve begun pacing again, talking aloud to myself, sorting out ideas. The task of taking my ideas to paper seems monumental, but that’s my lack of motivation. I’m sorting. Thinking. Plotting. Getting that film of the story to run seamlessly in my mind.

Been talking aloud to myself a LOT lately, actually. About all sorts of things. Part of that is my brother’s schedule: he’s out more and more with band rehearsals and other stuff, leaving me alone in the house. Part of it is just ME. It’s what I do, what I’ve always done. I think I give myself comfort this way. I think it helps for me to hear with my ears all those words of support I tell myself. After all, that’s why I think I began it in the first place – to allow my ears to hear those words no one ever said to me. You’re beautiful. You’re talented. You’re brilliant. In talking to myself, I can be brutally honest without fear of being ridiculed. I can be supportive without strings; my self talk doesn’t hinge on me acquiescing to political views or moral stances I find abhorrent. And I feel it, down to my toes. It’s mother-me comforting child-me.

Same reason why I rock while seated. It’s a comfort motion. My torso moves for and aft, back and forth, rhythmically, like I’m rocking a baby. I am rocking a baby: me. I’m telling myself I’m okay, I’m safe, and I can take care of myself.

And that’s okay. It’s okay to give myself what I need. It’s healthy, in fact. I’m embarrassed by what I do: the rocking and the talking aloud. Embarrassed a LOT. Part of me is afraid it looks insane, and I know what happens when THAT line of thought occurs to someone. Everything that comes after gets discounted, no matter how on the mark or true it is. Part of me is just plain ashamed of myself: here I am, 50+, and still trying to comfort that crying little girl in me. I should be beyond this. Over it. Able to let it go, and get on with my life.

I shouldn’t feel so fucking stuck.

But I do, and saying I shouldn’t is just one more way for me to reinforce that blame and guilt instilled in me as a child. It’s all your fault. If you were better/stronger/smarter, you wouldn’t be here.

Oh, yeah. It’s lovely having a war of confidence go on in your head 24/7.

I always feel so naked when my confidence is shaken. So the worm, wriggling in the mud. Nothing. Contemptible in my lowliness. It is what’s allowed physical abuse into my life: hit me, I deserve it and worse. That’s a mindset I have to fight against every day because no matter how long it’s been since I was in an abusive relationship, I still think that way. I still hate myself that much. I still think that little of myself.

Rock. Or smoke. Or do anything other than think about what you just wrote.

Ugly truths are like scabs. I can’t help but pick at them. And it hurts. Another way to hurt myself…

Run. Hide. Deny. Distract.

But truth will out. Even in my distractions. I know the music I’m including in this is a ‘love’ song. But flip it to me talking to me-the-child – because that’s the way I’m hearing it this morning.

Keep on rock ‘n me, baby.

Yes, it is

Two weeks from Saturday is our last performance of the play. So I checked. Did a Google search – even setting the search parameters to the name of the play and the name of the group. Found a couple of notices on page one…in Dutch…for the first two performance dates. Nothing for our upcoming show.

It AMAZES me how all these business school teachers (who all say ‘yeah, yeah, we know all about marketing’) fall off the bus when it comes to actually doing any marketing work.

And maybe the director doesn’t want the group too big… He said that during the last performance. Doesn’t want the group too big, doesn’t want things to get out of control, doesn’t want to step aside to allow other people to do things with the group. Okay. I get that. But we at LEAST want to break even, right?

I sure as hell don’t want to continue ponying up money for the privilege of performing.

Found the group’s write-up about the play in English on their FB page (had to HUNT for it). It was half a press release – all teaser info but no facts. So I did what I do: I fixed it. Added in the missing data. Corrected some clunky English. And found half a dozen online Rotterdam agenda sites that’ll publish the info for free. Spent half an hour on the headline… The play isn’t well known enough to push that as the opener. The playwright isn’t well known enough to push that aspect. The group isn’t well known enough to carry the headline. In the end, I choose ‘English Comedy in Rotterdam’ because I’m posting to English language sites targeting ex-pats and I figured those four words were the most important in the entire thing. It’s in Rotterdam, it’s comedy, and it’s in English. The info is already sent to two places, and I’ll tackle the remaining sites after my language class.

Had a real surprise yesterday at the gym. Went in for my second day in a row (yet another attempt to raise my activity level). Saw, out of the corner of my eye, a woman watching me while I stretched and warmed up. Sure enough, she came over and began talking with me.

Surprising enough to me that I slipped into Dutch like a comfortable shoe. Didn’t even bother with my traditional ‘my Dutch isn’t very good’ line – she got that from my stilted use of the language. But we communicated (she spoke very clearly). Talked, even! She asked me about the exercises I was doing. Did I make them up, or did I learn them somewhere? A bit of both, I told her. Then she asked if I knew of any exercises that were good for a person’s balance. I actually had the audacity to question her – is it your hips? I asked, remembering the word for ‘hips’. Yes, she told me. Ah! We’ve the same problem. Do you go to the physiotherapist? Yes, but she doesn’t like him and he’s not doing her any good. How about these exercises? I asked, showing her the three golden rule exercises my physiotherapist gave me. Never saw them before. I walked her through them, told her to do them every night. When are you here? she asked me. I want to come back and exercise with you.

Wow. Seriously? This hip heavy old woman? You look at me and think ‘yeah, she’s got it together’? Don’t get me wrong – I’m pleased as punch. Pleased to have an opportunity to get to know someone, pleased to pass along what knowledge I do have about staying in shape, pleased someone thought that much of me. I’m just really, really surprised.

What I’m NOT thrilled about is the idea I’ll be opening up my head space during exercise time. Exercise time is a very inner thing for me. I’ve got the best drill sergeant I know under my skull, and all I need is her egging me on and really loud, fast music in my iPod. If I’m helping someone else, though, I won’t be able to lose myself in loud music. I’ll need to talk, be present…which will be DAMNED difficult, because I blast the music and close my eyes so I don’t HAVE to be uber present in my body while it works and sweats.

Saw the woman talk to a few other older women as she left the gym. Oh, nelly. In a few weeks time will I be writing that I’m leading a handful of mature women through some basic stretching and yoga exercises?

As long as they let me be on the cross trainer. That’ll be my one rule. I get on that machine, and no talkie-talkie with me. Let me sweat. I’ll be done in 30, and very pleased to help you then.

Sounds reasonable.

Also, in my searches for websites to post the press release for the theatre group, I stumbled across a call for writers. Writers in English, right here in the Netherlands. It’s all free lance, pay as you go, first come first served on story ideas. But I’m thinking I might give it a go. Even if I only get one or two stories a month, it’s something. A bit of cash to get my hair cut. Maybe I could take my brother out to dinner for once. Pay for my own metro card top up.

And isn’t it nice to get some sort of recognition for your efforts outside of your own head?

Yes. Yes, it is.

Limits

Finally a bit of real rest. Didn’t feel like I slept after opening night; it was a light sleep, at best, with several times coming to and thinking about the matinee performance. I wasn’t alone. Everyone was dragging yesterday.

Flubbed. Missed lines, experienced that wonderful brain fart feeling – which, as I said later, really DID feel like my brain fell down somewhere around my ass leaving my head completely empty… Still got laughs, got through it. Still feel okay, though I know it wasn’t my strongest performance.

Had two people come to see me yesterday. Whoohoo!!! Two people! I wasn’t sure anybody was gonna show up. Felt real good to see them after the show, to have someone I sat with and talked with while everyone else chatted with their friends. Talked so much and so long the lounge emptied around us and we didn’t even notice. The director had to come and get me to help everyone strike the set.

Yea! Friggin’ yea! I know in the grand scheme of things two people aren’t a lot, but it’s good to know I’m not a complete social pariah. I can meet and make friends, be social, and have people HAPPY to come and share in what I do. That feels real good.

Got to talking about my writing, because I’m known by my pen name with these…friends? Can I call them friends? I hope so. Anyway, they know me by my pen name. The name I perform under in the play is different, as is my real name…Beginning to think maybe all these pseudonyms aren’t the best idea. Makes me look a little psycho. At the very minimum, it’s telling as to how much I hate being me. But I digress. Talked about scripts and read throughs. Told them about the Night Witches script. One of them knows some Russians from Russia, and said she’d ask them along. DAMN! Could I get a better sampling for a reading? Don’t think so. Very excited by the prospect. Had to warn her that I wrote it for Americans, so heads up to the Russians: don’t expect a lot; more than half of it is educating the audience. Crossing my fingers they appreciate my approach and like the story.

All this is good, because at the moment I feel very cut off online. My spam filter is working better than ever, but the upshot is I’ve had days go by without anything new showing up in my email. Not sure if an empty inbox is better than an inbox filled with spam. At least with a lot of spam, you know the world thinks of you as alive. You feel remembered…even if it’s just by advertisers.

Barely a clean pot, pan, plate, or spoon in the house. Garbage and recycling have piled up, too. The plants are gasping for water. And the dust bunny population has exploded. Will try to get to the big stuff today and tomorrow without hurting myself.

Language class later. Gotta try this morning to switch into Dutch. Maybe do some reading. Right now my head is all English.

Need to get back to the gym, too. Keep moving, keep that back pain free.

*sigh* Taking care of myself is a full time thing.

Friday I head to Leiden for another performance. Good news is, I have a lift. Bad news is, I’ll be going at noon and having another long, LONG, full day. Those are hard on me.

One day at a time. Lots of daytime appointments this week. Gotta buy new false eyelashes (found the limits on wearing falsies; the lashes fall out after a while). Catch up on a bit of rest each day. Do some laundry, chill, and run lines so (I hope) I don’t have any more flubs.

Couldn’t do this full time. Couldn’t do a play six or seven times a week plus live a life. I mean…one weekend gone and the house is a wreck, nothing’s clean, and I’m pooped. Good to know: if I ever DO get an opportunity to do more, it’s got to come with enough money to buy me help. A maid to come in and tidy up the house, a personal assistant to help me keep everything together while I perform. And a bleeding chauffeur to drive me around so I don’t have to sit at the theatre for six to eight hours at a time.

Good to know my limits.

Gravy

Recoup.

Not sure what to say about the first night, other than it’s over. It went well. No major flubs, everybody got laughs. I feel a bit flat…

My bro got to the theatre early, around four. Hung out the entire night, talked with the director and other actors, and generally was someone who was ‘good people’, in the words of the crew. His good behavior was rewarded with meeting a dude into heavy metal, music, and recording (the sound engineer).

Did not think the first skit got the laughs it deserved…I deserved… Watched the vid last night, and came to the conclusion my brother stated earlier: the first skit has to warm up the audience. Of course they’re laughing a little less; this gets them in the mood (plus, it’s before the break so no one’s had a beer yet).

Things I’m pleased about: got compliments. That’s always nice. One was a back-hander, though…A woman who’d come to some general theatre group meetings showed up. Her comment? I watched you in the meetings and didn’t think you’d be very good…but you are! You’re a really good actress! Um…thanks? Decided that’s a statement that really needs to be appreciated for its sugar rather than its sting. Watched the vid my bro made. While some of the dialogue from the other actors is lost because the lines were said too quietly, my sonic timbered voice cuts through no matter what. Every word, every nuance, clear as a bell. The audio will need to be stripped, cleaned, and compressed to make everyone heard. Everyone but me. I feel good about that, tho it’s nothing to do with my performance. That’s just my voice. It cuts like a knife’s edge. I can make it softer, and generally do in normal conversation. On stage, though…Let’s just say it would take a really BIG theatre and a really BIG audience for me to need a microphone. Other: I’m damned proud of my portrayal. Wendy is perfectly natural. The vocal interjections, the nervous habits, the way she walks and talks…none of it forced, none of it unbelievable. For thirty minutes, I am this woman.

Got lifts in and back yesterday, and will have the same today thanks to my acting partner. That takes a lot of stress off me.

Stealing moments in between scenes to talk to the other actors. Finally talk. Found my co-feminist, who spoke up with me on Sunday’s dress rehearsal, to be a kindred spirit in many ways. Hope we can kindle a real friendship there. I don’t care if she doesn’t live in Rotterdam; I just want to stay in touch, maybe hang out once in a while. She likes bad horror films, she knows MST3000, and she smokes. I mean – DAMN! If I find out she likes punk music I am SO gonna bug her to be my friend.

Up a bit early today, but I’m getting picked up at 11:15 and I’ve got to pull my stuff together. Last night was just a toss-off: toss off the clothes, the make-up, the hair clips. Gotta find everything this morning and re-pack. Have breakfast, brush my teeth, get my contacts in, and start thinking Wendy again.

I’ll rest tonight.

Staying positive. Making sure I support everyone else. Smiling a lot. Mostly, having loads of fun.

Opening night is over. Now, it’s all gravy.

I’m ready

Dutch is a tricky language to learn. Any native will tell you that. Not only do you need to learn how to pronounce their ‘G’ without spitting on anyone, you also have to figure out the trick of spelling. In most cases, spelling isn’t bad if you know the combinations of letters and their corresponding sounds. There’s just one problem: the Dutch like to use d’s and t’s at the ends of their words, and both letters are pronounced the same. Is it a D? Or is it a T? Or one of those pesky words that uses both?

There’s a rule for that. Thought, at one time, I got it. After my lesson yesterday, I’m so fucking confused I don’t know if I understand it all.

Suppose I should feel good about all this: my lessons have surpassed my Thursday instructor. I’ve gone where she can’t follow. She’s got all the conversational skills, sure, but like many Dutch natives she doesn’t know the finer points of spelling or grammar.

Received an apology at the end of the lesson. The other student showed up, and conversation was limited to simple Q&A because she’s let her language skills slip so much. Barely got into my homework questions, and those that were looked at ended up confusing my teacher and muddling my own understanding.

At the rate this is going, I’ll be ready to teach beginner Dutch in six months.

Took the rest of yesterday off. Needed to let my mind rest, needed to let go of the irritation I was feeling. Good thing, too. My bro came home from his language lesson angry as all hell, so I let him vent. He’s not getting what he wants out of his lessons, either. He’s given stuff to read, which he struggles through, but there’s no correction or time taken to answer questions. I get that these instructors are all volunteers. It’s great to just have enough warm bodies to fill the positions needed. But there’s got to be some sort of structure everyone follows.

And shouldn’t instructors take some basic test to make sure they know how to read, write, and speak correctly?

Went out to FB today to make sure I didn’t have any comments from a certain uncle and found my page changed. I can’t comment on anyone’s posts. Don’t know if that’s some block that’s put up on me. Shouldn’t be. I don’t comment on anyone else’s stuff most of the time, and if I do it’s supportive. I’m not the troll. Also, when I visit someone else’s page, I only see part of their home page. Used to see the whole thing. What up wit’ dat? If it’s across the board on FB, okay. If it’s only me on my page, I must protest. …Sometime. When FB becomes important enough in my life to protest…which, granted, may be a while.

Staying out of the rain. Keeping warm. Resting, but moving enough. Had a very satisfactory POP out of my back last night. It’s what I needed: the spasming on my side eased off immediately. This morning, as I write, I have no pain. Glorious! No pain! This boost of physical comfort is still not enough for me to break my health cordon. Oh, I want to go. Go to the gym and work hard for two hours, feel that exhaustion. But no. 36 hours to go to curtain up. I’m no fool.

My bro is hoping to get a tripod for his phone/camera today so he can film my performance. *This is me feeling an ass for ever saying he doesn’t support me and he wouldn’t come to the play.* I hope things go well. No doubt over myself, just other people. Is that my trust issue, or just my good sense? Well, if anyone gripes over not doing as well as they want to, the group can bloody well let my brother in for free to film it again (if he’s willing to sit through it again, which I’m not guaranteeing). I do not look forward to seeing the camera’s perspective on my body. I always wince, no matter what my size. Then again, I always see myself as a whale no matter what. Or I have in the past. My only comfort is that this character is supposed to be awkward in her skin, and THAT is something I know how to convey.

Well. The excitement-o-meter is beginning to ramp up. I can feel that dump of adrenaline in my system. What do you know! I still get that feeling. Maybe as a kid it scared me. Hell! Horror films scared me as a kid. Now I love ’em. Same sort of thing: what once might have sent me over the edge is now something very familiar, very intimate. I know what to do with this. Concentrate on calm. Get to the gym, yes, but only for a walk and a stretch. Focus. Pack my bags for tomorrow. Take a shower. Make sure my outfit is ready. I’ve rituals at my fingertips, and plenty of smoke for when my rituals run out.

This is it; the final countdown. I’m ready.

Crack

Been really jonesing for that endorphin rush I get off of hard exercise. So I hit the gym yesterday with the purpose of letting myself go. Held back on my Tuesday exercise, because I expected an active Wednesday (which didn’t happen due to shitty weather), so I was rested and ready.

The first time I was actually able to use the cross trainer for a full thirty minutes, I struggled (and failed) to reach one kilometer. Yesterday, I blew past my first kilometer at 9 minutes and 9 seconds. My second kilometer flew by at 18 minutes. And yes, I topped three kilometers plus a bit extra by my thirty minute mark.

WHOOHOO!!!!

I actually found it difficult to get off that machine and not punch the air with a whoop (I’d add in dancing a little celebratory jig, but…three kilometers; I was bushed!).

And I’m still tired. My muscles and bones are feeling it. But I’m also elated, and not just because of the endorphins. I’m more than three times as fast as I was. That’s in just a few short months of work, too, because it took several months of work to build up strength just to get ON the cross trainer. And if I’m honest, I’ve a nagging worry on me quite often over my smoking/toking. I know it’s not healthy, and I’m no longer a young woman. But now I can keep my heart rate at 150 bpm or higher for an extended period of time. I’m not gasping for breath, either. I’m grinning like a mad eejit. Oh, my face is red as a beet, and I sweat bullets. The first ten minutes I regret going to the gym and getting on that machine. But then…then, I fall in love with the process. I want to go faster, and faster, and faster (and I actually do pick up speed ). The harder my body works, the better I feel.

Been doing abdominal exercises – the old fashioned kind. They’ve got a dozen machines and benches at the gym for sit-ups and push-backs and all sorts of tummy exercises. Me? I get down on the floor, on my back, lift my legs up, and hold. The dreaded double lift (both legs, with your back pressed down into the floor) and single lifts (one leg and opposite arm up, for lateral muscles). I’ve never been able to fall in love with abdominals. In fact, I hate doing them. That’s why I do them first, after stretching. Get them out of the way.

Speaking of stretching…reached my forehead to my left knee (which is the bad leg, and always tighter than the right) yesterday. Another reason to celebrate.

And free weights…began with the one kilograms, now on the four kilograms. Seeing some real definition come in. Damn! I might conquer those bat wings yet.

My only regret in this is that I’m not strong enough to do it every day.

…Yet.

Language class yesterday in our new hall. It’s smaller and noisier than the last place. Meh. However, my patience with the system paid off. Was told that next week we’re having a field trip to the library, where we’ll be instructed on how to use the facilities. We’ll also have an opportunity to grab a free three month library membership. Now THAT’S worth it! …And honestly, while I’ve been to the library, I’ve no idea how to look something up in their system, so the instructions are welcome too.

Called for my orthopedic shoes and have an appointment today. Not thrilled to wake up to cold temps, wind, and rain. But I need to get the shoes adjusted; they rip up my left foot in three places. So I’ll go out there, and once out there, I’ll probably run a few more errands.

Read an article that Europe should expect a particularly bad flu season this year. I’m thrilled (stated with utter deadpan sarcasm). Asked my bro to get a shot this year because he usually doesn’t, but I really want to take every precaution I can, and that includes keeping him healthy so he doesn’t pass crap on to me.

*sigh* Better buy some more hand soap, too.

Heard from the director, who started to read Taman. He’s made some notes on what he’s read so far, and may I say I’m honored with how nit-picky he’s getting with my work. Shows he takes it seriously. Show he thinks it’s worth his time. Both are nods to me as a writer, and although he’s part of that group that can drive me mad with their insensitive talk, I still am heartened by it. …I guess anybody taking me seriously feels good, which (for the thousandth time) sadly points to how poorly I was treated by my family.

Watched one of those home video programs last night while waiting for another program to come on. Saw parents playing with their kids. And I thought: how strange. I remember my parents pushing me in swings when I was very little, or giving me piggy-back rides. But by the time I was six, that stopped. My mother never played games with me. I remember asking her to play dolls or one of the dozens of board games she bought me (so often left to gather dust because my siblings wouldn’t play with me and I didn’t have many friends), but she always said no.

I was so lonely as a kid.

…And I guess I took all that as an unspoken message: I’m not worth the time. Add in my sister’s bullying and I’ve a real self-confidence issue going that, at 51, I’m still struggling against.

But it’s starting to crack.

Distill me

Spent some time feeling pretty down on myself for losing it yesterday. My brother, however, complimented me. He said I was quick to recognize I had a problem, I didn’t break or throw anything, and I came back to my safe space to get a hold of myself. It helped to hear that even tho I still have these episodes I’m handling them a bit better.

Went to rehearsal. Managed to make a joke about my earlier anger, and worked up the courage to ask the director if he’d read my script yet (answer: no, but he promised to read it last night; still waiting on anything – good, bad, or indifferent – from him). Last night was very relaxed. The other couplet couldn’t make it, so it was just me and my partner. We were told the director would get picky. We were told we’d do a lot of stop and start.

We were stopped for direction four times, and done in less than an hour.

Feels good to crow over something I can do, rather than grouse over something I can’t do. And I can act. It’s not just that I was first to memorize my lines, or first to adapt a character to the role. It’s also all the small stuff: the growing physical comedy I’m pulling off. The facial expressions, the body language. I am never at rest on stage.

We be SO good that our scheduled rehearsals might get cut. The director might not be effusive in his praise, but he does give it. Said we were the tightest, best prepped duo in the group. Said he didn’t know how to make it better, or funnier, than what we’ve got. So…

We were asked to come up with a completely new interpretation for next time. Shake things up, see what happens. Experiment a bit. Get loose and lively.

I went to bed birthing a new role. Almost a complete opposite from what I’ve been playing. My current character is a fifty-something introvert with a brash voice and an annoying laugh. She’s completely unsure of herself, and that shows in her clothing style, her hair, her face, and her dialogue. But I thought…what if her insecurities make her put on a ‘show’? And then it was there – a ‘fading flower’ of a woman, dressing too sexy, being overt in her flirting. Her voice is a fake, too. She’ll try to pull something off to make her sound sophisticated, but it’ll slip in moments of surprise or panic. But the key will be the physical humor. Her posturing. Maybe she hikes up her boobs when he’s not looking (this character needs cleavage). I see her wearing something that’s too small for her. And she’s not comfortable, and can’t sit properly because of how tight her clothing is…

Need to get back to the charity shop and see what I can find for a couple of euro.

Also have an idea – a very, very rough idea – of what to do during our long, uncomfortable silences. It’ll take a little set-up, a little special effects…but I might be able to do it. Another thing to add to my list of stuff to prep. See what I can do…

Worked on the next script idea during the afternoon. Had to get some information, and my internet searches led me on a slightly different path. Still the same basic story, but a few key elements have changed. For one, I’m not using the Cassini space probe. Too in the news and in your face right now. I don’t want to be dated. Just go back and watch ‘Escape from New York’ to find out how much dating something can bite you in the ass! No. Fix historical fact in dates, but leave your time line floating as ‘twenty years in the future’. Much smarter for the long haul. So, I’ve found another vehicle (literally; it’s another space probe) to base the story ’round. Now I just have to flesh it out.

Gonna go and burn at the gym today. Probably run myself into the ground. I need it…the endorphins, the time away from thinking about this or that. Sweat out all the crap that’s not necessary – my worries and fears, my inconsequential ideas. Leave me the core of what I want. The very essence of the story and this new role interpretation.

…Distill me.

Flurries on the brain

Trying to break the grip of master storytelling today, and head off to the comic shop to see the guys. Not easy. I left my last script at a critical point, just before killing off the characters. It’s sort of like putting a film on pause. Everything stops, sure – but you haven’t finished it yet. And since I’m not writing something that’s blatantly obvious from the outset, I want to make it to the end.

Good stuff: The new script is dead on target, with word count right where I wanted it. I also think I’m managing to introduce a few scares and a very tense story. I’ve kept the cast to four people, and the tech requirements low. Considering the idea of asking my bro to record all the sound effects needed for my pieces, then putting both the scripts AND the sound effects out for use. Do it right, and both of us could make a bit of money. But that’s down the line. For now, I’m concentrating on story telling, and setting the audience up for as many thrills as I can. One more day of writing should finish up the first draft.

I find it odd, how I can set out on a script with a very clear idea of what’s gonna happen and who’s gonna do this or that, and then suddenly a small turn of phrase by one character changes the whole nature of the story. It happens almost every time. And I’m not complaining; it keeps it fresh even for me, the writer. But I think my brain works on levels of which I’m not even aware. Somehow, I manage to slip in stuff that seems inconsequential when I write it, but later becomes a vital foreshadowing point. Case in point: the current story, another thriller, is set in a remote cabin. I only envisioned one setting while sketching the outline. But suddenly, the characters were moving into the kitchen, and when I followed them there, what did I find? That this dusty, remote cabin had a spotlessly clean kitchen. Now, long term thought was the former owner was a killer – I’d planned to leave hints all around. I realized, tho, that walking into a clean kitchen after seeing a dusty and dirty living room was a good creep factor. So I’m playing it up: the knives, the weirdness. Even using loud bangs off stage at one point (very like a horror film, yes, that’s what I’m modeling on). Lights flickering on and off, strange behavior by some of the characters – it’s coming together, and if done by a troupe with real talent, it’s gonna be good.

That brain power is already cooking up script three in the thriller trilogy.

How did I get here? A year ago, I would have never considered writing a thriller. Would have thought it was beyond me. Now…I can’t stop. And it’s not just the stories. I want to scare people. I want to frighten the audience, make them squirm uncomfortably in their seats.

In fact, the only thing I can imagine stopping for is another historical drama. Because, like thrillers, I found I like writing that style – and I’m good at it.

Who is this person I’m becoming?

…My obsession with my work and change in writing style has kept me from thinking or worrying too much about anything. Oh, I still rant at the tv every news program. I’m still angry over a lot of stuff. But all that fades away when I lock myself in a dark room and think about how my characters kill each other. A little sick? Maybe. But it’s a lot healthier than acting out, or just being a bull-headed angry person all the time. Besides, write a character that kills, and suddenly (unless you’re writing about race or religious problems) all that goes away. Not much matters when you face a gun or a knife. Not politics, not skin color, not beliefs or hypocrisy or hate. It’s just death. Death and you.

And maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much of my life afraid that I can write what I’m writing. Maybe all those years of anxiety and fear will now pay off. Want someone who freaks out? No problem; I got that mindset down. How about a depressed person? Yep, know how they think, too. Self-harm? Got it covered. Narcissism? Seen it up close and personal. In fact, most behaviors that lead to thrillers (or horrors, or any story worth telling), I’ve got covered. I know them. Intimately. Some, too intimately. But it’s all coming together now. My experiences, the stories…I just hope my timing is good, too. That I find the right place to send my scripts to at the right time. That the right people read my material and see the production.

Either way, I find I don’t want to stop. I suppose some people will think it strange to say that the rejection letter I recently received is really bolstering my confidence, but it’s true. Even tho it was a no, they liked my writing. I find myself less apt to apologetically approach potential readers, half asking and half begging them to look at my work, and more apt to simply put it out there with the knowledge and confidence that my stuff is good and I don’t need them to read it. – At least, it’s good when I know it’s good. My thrillers are good. Real good. My historical drama is good (ditto on the ‘real’). My comedy attempts…not so much. I can do it…sort of. But I still don’t feel like I’m a real comedy writer – which, again, is strange, because a few years ago I would have said comedy was my forte.

Feels like my mind is a snow globe. You take a look at it on the shelf, and you see one thing. But as soon as you pick it up, stuff begins moving and swirling around. Then, suddenly, it’s a new scene – a snow storm. It looks the same as when it sat on the shelf, but now it’s far more complex. See what was hidden under that layer of snow? And watch the way the flakes dance around, drawing your attention to this or that miniature bit.

(sigh) I’ve got flurries on the brain.