Now they know

…And now, they know.

Kept forgetting only two of the actors chosen for the production were at the original read through. Found that amusing – the questions about the plot, or how each of them died. Last night we had our full read-through.

Heard a couple of comments about how long the script is. Marked those people out in my head; they’re not people who’ve done this often. It’s a 90 page script, not ‘long’ at all – at least, not for a full length production. Had a laugh at myself; did not realize when I was writing how often I used my character, Elizabeth, to begin a scene. But, there it was: me talking the play into action scene after scene. That makes sense to me now. Elizabeth is the character that sets the entire play into motion. It’s her request to her therapist that begins the first act. She drives the doubt in the second act, refusing to believe her husband and brother-in-law are changed. And in the third act, even tho my character is dead, the audience hears statements relating back to Act 1 and the audio clips I’ll use will come from Act 1, so there should be a nice “echo” of Elizabeth in there.

The director’s girlfriend was a bit of a limp fish. Not thrilled by her lack of interest, her low level energy delivery, or her tinkering away on her phone while others read their parts. But I trust that she’ll bring it at the appropriate time. Even if she has a stick in her craw over doing my play, or how easy the exchange is between her boyfriend and me, her ego will push her to do well on stage. Especially after what I did last night.

Read throughs aren’t meant to be big acting situations. It’s a get thru it, so everyone knows the story. Read all your lines for the first time. But let’s face it: I’m the creator. I’m more than ready to bring any of these characters to life at a snap. So, honestly…I didn’t think about it. I just brought it out.

Even tho my eyes were down, looking at the script, I saw the group jump and react. She isn’t faking it; this is real! Almost, people, almost. I was at 85%. I’ll save 100% for intense rehearsal nights and performances. 🙂 And considering I start the action so often, the other actors will need to match my performance to make it work. So, no. I don’t worry about the director’s girlfriend, or the government agent who stumbled over a few words. Eighty-five percent is pretty easy to pull up (even on medication), so they’ll get that rehearsal after rehearsal. And they’ll find a way to match me.

Thrilled at how thrilled everyone was over the story. The glowing eyes, the gleeful smiles! I get smothered to death! I get shot multiple times! I get stabbed! It’s gratifying to me as the author.

Test of the meds: home after an activity that would normally send me tossing and turning for hours. I did stay up later than usual, and I did toss and turn a few times. Then I told myself to stop thinking about it, and slept. Pretty good. My reaction post performance is going to be even stronger, but this definitely helps. A lot. Wonder if Dr. T would allow me to take two pills post performance. Really knock me out. But not as a regular thing. Hm. Better ask him about it.

Happy news. My teachers said they’d be willing to continue our language lessons over summer. It’s not mandatory, and it’s not part of the usual class time. They’ll really do it on a totally volunteer basis – if enough of us will attend. I, of course, said yes. Continuing with the two of them over summer would be ideal. It would give me continued instruction and use, and I know I’ll just learn more if there’s fewer students because I’ll get extra attention. Three students said yes, so we’ll talk about an agenda next week.

And…I think the medication is helping me with Dutch. It’s improving. I’m slowing down and thinking about my sentences and grammar before I speak. I’m catching more and more. Still have to actively listen, which is difficult, but overall I’m pleased. Very pleased. Had to yet again reiterate that no, I am NOT moving on to a higher level. Not until I stop making so many rookie mistakes. My goal is to write in Dutch. And for that, I need a higher percentage of perfection. My teacher pointed out I might get bored because of the newer students coming in. She’s right there; we picked up a new student three weeks ago and she’s barely literate. She can converse it Dutch, but her reading is like nails on a chalkboard. However awful it is for me, I can only imagine what my teachers, native Dutch speakers, feel like. I understand, tho, that this new student has to be given the chance to drag her way thru simple sentences. It’s the only way she’ll learn.

But my status has definitely changed. From one of the crowd who might have been a bit behind everyone else when I began, I’ve become the swot. The student who gets everyone looking at her answers because they all know she’s right (most of the time). The student who sits back, allows everyone else a chance, then exchanges a secret look between herself and the teachers who give her the nod, and out she comes with the correct answer (again, most of the time). More than ever, I’m that go-between. Now that I feel a bit more confident in myself, I can handle that role.

So I’ve been ‘outed’. As creator, actor, and swot. No more hiding, no more denying.

Now they know.

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It’s a go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taking care of myself starts today.

It’s a go.

Just. be. me.

Why don’t you leave your notebook at home and just treat this as a social outing?

I got that freaky funny laugh, the one that comes from nerves and uncomfortableness. And I thought, yeah, why aren’t I treating this as a social outing? That was 6 pm last night, as I was walking out the door for our theatre group meeting.

I left my script and notebook at home. Downtown to a student bar that had hundreds of beers. Couldn’t resist a raspberry beer…two, actually. Seven of us made the meeting, and it was, as my brother had pointed out to me with his question, more of a social gathering than a work gathering. The night was warm, the beer was good, and the conversation lively.

Difficult to remember most of these actors hadn’t read the full script. They didn’t attend my first read through. Many thought their characters were gonna live thru the play; I had to correct them: everybody dies. If you survive an act, it’s just so you can die in another act. How do I die? I went around the table, telling them each what happens: you set yourself on fire, you get strangled, you’re shot, etc. And oh! The shining eyes that greeted me upon that gruesome news! Never believe an actor who tells you they don’t want to do a death scene. We all want that chance.

Tonight the director and I are meeting with a few people for the last role. Two, maybe three should show up. I very hesitantly put it out there that if we found someone spectacular for my role I’d step down. The director quickly said: No way. The subtext in that, I felt, was that no one can do that role like I can. Maybe he meant he didn’t want to go thru the whole audition thing again, but that’s the way I’m taking it. I’m more than pleased by that.

Much of the work conversation was kept to a minimum. Instead, we did the sort of thing that generally happens when a group of people don’t know each other well. Questions like Do you have children? or What do you do as a living? came up. I was surprised (a bit) at the drug discussion. Even tho marijuana is okay here, it’s still a little taboo. Everybody’s used it, or at least tried it. But most Dutch people don’t partake. Last night I heard about ‘the time I got really stoned’ or ‘when I had a few extra pills and rode the day out on them’. I’m still rather hesitant on admitting I’m a stoner, but did own up to smoking marijuana on a regular basis. I just…I know what most people think of regular smokers. You’ll see their mimicry of stoners all the time. That wasted, hungry, not really moving or thinking version. The ‘Duh-uh Dude’: catatonic and unfocused. That isn’t me, and I don’t want people to think it is. I haven’t yet told them they’ve all been seeing me high this whole time. I haven’t once gone to a theatre group meeting, audition, or rehearsal without first toking. I wrote the play stoned. I got my degrees stoned. And yes, I’m learning Dutch stoned. Pretty obvious I don’t go to that stereotypical state. But despite the culture here, that stereotype still lives on. I don’t know. Maybe I’m one in a million in that respect. I just chalk it up to my artistic temperament. All the greats had something: heroin, cocaine, alcohol. It’s too late in my life to be worried about it. But I still find myself reluctant to own it due to what I perceive as this bias against it. Maybe that’s just me, and the scarring I received about it during my lifetime.

Made a few age jokes about myself last night. Find myself doing that more and more. Conversation zoomed off into games played as kids: remember this console or that game? I sat there, thinking about my first video game: Pong. Yep, you heard me. Pong. Two paddles and ball, back and forth. And later: gee, I had to use a typewriter back when I was in school. My reply: when I was a kid, we had to use a chisel and hammer on stone. I got the laughs I wanted. But I know myself well. I’m using my humor to cover up my uncomfortableness.

It’s weird and odd being the oldest person at a table. I’m sure it’s a bit of a lark if you’re dealing with children, but when it’s adults… Then it’s another matter. Especially when I don’t feel like I’m the oldest adult sitting there. In fact, it makes me feel more child-like and immature than ever. No, I don’t own a home. No, I don’t have children. No, I don’t have investments or a large bank account, nor do I go on holidays every year. I don’t even have a concept of ‘retiring’. My ‘retiring’ is just death.

Also found myself joking about Dr. T. Used the old ‘my shrink’ a couple of times. That’s me getting used to owning up to it.

And I caught the director looking at me a couple of times, as if he saw beyond my jokes and knew what was going on. I wouldn’t be surprised at that; he’s perceptive. He approaches scripts looking at the psychological aspects of the play (and yes, another actor made a comment about what my mind must be like to write something like this).

I’m finding something in this group I didn’t expect: acceptance. Their acceptance is making it easier for me to accept myself. To own up to my depression, my mental health treatment, my problems without shame.

This is a whole new level of social interaction for me. No pretense, no feeling like I have to go along with the group just to have friends. I’m finding how I can be me without coming off overly aggressive or angry.

I can just. be. me.

My house is clean

Housework. It’s one of those things I tend to do when my bro is out of the house. For one, he’s out of the house – that means no ‘could you please move so I can hoover there?’ or other awkward incidents of him trying to “help” in some way. For another, I find it well worth the effort to get it done and have an hour or maybe even two in a totally clean house before The Fuzz and Dirt Monster returns. It’s not something he tries to do, but he does. Rubs his socked feet together so the floor is filled with little bits of fallen cotton, misses the ashtray so his side of the table is full of ash and filth, doesn’t seem to see the drips and spats around the kitchen after he’s done cooking. It adds up to one big job, and a thankless job at that, because I think my brother’s close-up vision is going and he really doesn’t see this stuff. Up side is he doesn’t get upset about any of it; down side is he never sees how much I actually do.

My room was first up. More than six months since I tore through it. It is spanking clean, with fresh sheets on the bed and tidy shelving on the walls. I still hadn’t put away my jewelry from the film premiere in January, so I’ve been living in an increasingly messy spot for a while. Now, naturally, I’m doomed to forget where I put things so the minute I need something I’ll panic and rip everything apart again. In the meantime, I’m letting myself enjoy it.

Worked so hard and did so much that by 3 in the afternoon all I could do is sit, drink a cola, and chill. Finally hit the shower around 5 and deep conditioned my hair. Rubbed in my new body lotion (in a pot, thick and creamy), put on fresh clothes, and ate dinner.

It was glorious, sitting in my chair last night. Feeling fresh and clean, yet smooth and soft (thank you, body lotion). Knowing that the tv was wiped down, the stand was dusted, the floor hoovered, the plants watered – it was a rare, simultaneous, the-house-is-clean-and-so-am-I moment.

Remembered about 8 pm that I hadn’t touched my homework. Again.

Have not heard squat from the director. That’s a bit worrying. Need to accept that if that last body isn’t found for the role, we’ll have to look at a different script. He said as much to me last audition. He also emphasized the ‘we’. Whatever the fallout on my story, I get the feeling I have been recruited as the director’s go-to person. The aide, the second director, the props master, the marketer, the make-up guru. I feel good about that. Good that he trusts me, that he finds my input valuable, my help valuable. I am not someone who needs to prove herself worthy; I’ve already done that. And who knows? With a letter of recommendation from the director, I might be able to get a job at a theatre. A paying job.

Today I have to take a crack at Dutch. Two letters to write. I did go to the trouble on Friday of translating them, making sure I understood all the nuances. They’re big asks: lay out a reasoned argument in one, prep up a “well-informed” request in another. Plan to finish one. The other I’ll leave for next week. Just a bit too much stuff going on, mixed in with a bit too little oomph to get the work done.

And get me to the gym! I’m still tired from the super cleaning yesterday, but I’m dyin’ to get back on my exercise routine. Stretch, move, sweat. I want it today.

Little by little, I’m getting there. My hair is as soft as a deep conditioner can make it. My nails are neat, trimmed, and the cuticles are pushed back and healthy. My feet are lotioned, buffed, and pampered. My body is clean and soft. I’ve even pondered buying some make-up. Saw a good offer on a big kit the other day, and I might go back for it. Partly for any theatre work in future, partly because I want to play with the colors. That feels very girly. As does the new hair clip I bought to whip my hair off my neck. It’s strong and tight, and does the trick without losing its grip (paid more for it; guess I get what I pay for). Have thought about painting my nails – just for fun. But I don’t want to go from frump to dazzle in one jump. That’ll garnish too much attention. I just want to gradually move into a better look. Subtle. Something that in six months people who know me will ask ‘gee, when did that happen?’ – like when you lose weight: you don’t see every pound, you just become aware at some point that the weight is off.

Feels a bit odd to gather myself up this late in life. To say at 52 ‘Yes, I’m still attractive and I’m going to show it’ or ‘I’m worthy, smart and valuable’ or even ‘I’m sexy’. But I reminded myself (in the middle of cleaning, when I was full of sweat and dust) that I still get asked out once in a while. Not every day. Not even every week. But I get offers, and they’re not from the worst guys out there.

So much has been cleaned up for me lately, I’m not sure what to do anymore. I’m standing in my own life, looking around and thinking ‘Damn! It’s clean in here!’ Worrying or thinking about family: almost down to zero. Beating myself up: almost never. Feeling stupid: that one comes more often; every day gives me occasion to feel stupid. But I’m forgiving myself faster. Positives: Feeling more attractive. Wanting to do more. Being more social. Getting along better with others. Not taking so much to heart.

My house is clean.

It’ll get done

Despite the thunderstorms, despite the flooding, even despite the roof leak in the building, auditions went well last night.

The skies opened up and poured as I got on the metro. There was the lightening and thunder I wanted, and there was the torrential rain we’d been promised for days. By the time I reached my stop, the shower had largely passed – but it left a swath of water in its path. I was flummoxed several times, and had to search for the driest path available. Very glad I wore my sandals and casual harem pants. Ended up pulling up my trouser legs and wading thru several spots.

The director eagerly took down notes on the horror films I picked out for the actors to look at. The original Night of the Living Dead, to emphasize the story is about everyone’s reaction and not the monsters. The Fourth Kind for genuine fear reactions. If they feel it, the audience will feel it. Yes. Communicated that clearly.

Had a couple of ughs. A couple of people who speak so stiltedly I’m shocked they thought they could audition (I have not yet auditioned for any Dutch production because of the language barrier). Also had a couple of real gems show up. Heard eagerness in the actors, saw smiles and laughter. Funny to sit as a fly on the wall and hear other people talk about character motivations. I recognize how they put themselves in the roles, imagine how they’d react. Letting that happen without comment. Breathe life into it! Make it real. You’re teaching me every minute about how people interpret my words.

*sigh* And contrary to most years, we have more women showing up than men. Already talking with the director about gender flipping some roles. I’m not opposed to doing a female heavy cast, it’s just that I worked my ass off to tailor it for the group and of course it still needs some adjustments.

But I’ve got three core members involved now. We’ve enough good actors to fill critical roles. Still could use a few more to fill out the cast, so we’re scheduling round 3 of auditions. Back to relaxing into the behind the scenes roles: writer, marketing guru, make-up artist, props master, sound direction. Decided I’d like to make an announcement prior to each performance. A little addition to creep the audience out: tell them that yes, what they’re about to see is based in fact and if they choose to search or google for any information they do so at their own peril. That’s a great set-up. Weave that mythology a little tighter.

Loving this whole process. Taking it all the way, having a hand in the production. It allows me some control, yet I’m not totally on the line for everything. I can take some of the burden of it off my shoulders, but still shape aspects of it to my satisfaction. Yeah. I’m all for this.

And I mentioned that when the production hub-bub has blown over, my bro wants to produce a pod cast of another script. Get the actors excited now.

Time has kind of stopped for me. I’m not writing, other than this blog. I’m not really getting to the gym or getting regular exercise. Everything is hot and sticky, and I just can’t find much oomph to accomplish anything. Dutch has become a real chore. Anything other than existing during the hottest part of the day is a chore. The only energy I really feel like expending is towards the production: walking thru flooded streets, staying on top of the auditions, communicating with the director. Cutting myself slack on that. I know where my priorities lie. Everything else – exercise, the language work, even housework – that’s all just means to an end. I’ll exercise so my back doesn’t bother me. I’ll work on Dutch because that’s the language here. I’ll clean up around the house so the general filth doesn’t make me sick. But that’s it. Get it done to the minimum level. Everything else goes into the play.

Today: exist. Try not to sweat too much. Monitor the windows for when the storms hit. Should probably open up my homework and take a swipe at it. The gym would be a great idea…but let’s face it: I probably won’t go. If I do, I’ll be as surprised as anyone else.

This stillness… It runs so deep in me I’m shocked. Shocked, yet grateful. I thought I’d have to be dead to experience this type of relaxation. And even then, I figured I’d be a restless spirit. Mmm. All those years never feeling like I ever had any time off. And I didn’t; I had zero time off from my fear and anxiety. Holidays, work days, birthdays, school: didn’t matter. The anxiety and fear were always there with me.

So take the time off, Beeps. Enjoy it. Roll around in it, wallow in it. You can trust yourself to chill and not fuck off on everything.

It’ll get done.

I’m good

Thirty-three degrees celsius (that’s over 90F if you can’t make the conversion). Little to no breeze. Burning sun. It didn’t feel like a school day. I wasn’t the only one who thought that, either. Class size: three. Even one of my teachers was gone.

Found I’m in need of some Dutch mouth warmer uppers. I stumbled over sounds and words while reading. I can tell you haven’t spoken Dutch for two weeks, my teacher said. Yep. But my mind is still powerful. I am now the ‘Look To’ student.

Can’t answer the question? Ask Beeps. Everyone has the wrong spelling? Ask Beeps. Don’t know how to explain what that word means? Ask Beeps.

My homework is special, too. Asked for and received more word puzzles in Dutch. Have a few more letters to write. No one else got these assignments.

Ah, it feels good to be a prat! Good to know, to feel that confidence. Maybe that’s the real reason why I want to stay in this level lesson for a bit longer – to build my confidence. I need to know I know, and not just know but fully understand. We went thru prepositions drills yesterday, and I sat and listened to a fellow student (who spent thousands on a daily lesson private school for Dutch) struggle with figuring out how to describe snow lying on a roof. She tried in, over, above. Pretty obvious she doesn’t have these meanings really down in her head. It felt good, too, to go thru our dictation drills and come out with only one mistake (a word I’d not encountered before). Everything else 100% perfect, no question in my mind about the words or their meanings.

A little worried that I’ll grow bored with this level by mid-term next year. I can see it happening in the lessons, tho I also see my teachers more than willing to work with me on harder issues – not dragging the class into it, obviously, if they don’t even know that snow lies op a roof.

*sigh* I’ll have to move on sooner or later.

I am reminded of my last days in kindergarten. Hearing I had to leave and say good-bye to the teacher I loved was one of the worst days of my young life. But I knew, even then, I was ready for more in the way of learning. Just like I know it now. The only difference is, now I’m an adult they can’t make me do anything. It’s my choice to move up or not. I guess I’m giving the child what she wants: another year with her kindergarten teacher. Lucky for me, my kindergarten teacher this time ’round recognizes my level and is willing and able to keep encouraging and teaching me.

Ye Gods! And put some effort into it. Running around talking pidgin Dutch with your friends doesn’t teach you jack. When I speak Dutch, I ask the other person if I’m saying something correctly, or to please correct me if I make a mistake. And the Dutch are, by and large, very willing to do that. But not speaking correctly – well, that’s a big reason why I don’t speak much. I don’t want to talk to foreign speakers who don’t know the language, who make mistakes in pronunciation or grammar. I want fluent native speakers. I need someone to correct me, not the other way around. Also, READ. Every day. I cannot believe these fellow students who claim they read and then make these obvious mistakes. You don’t read. You’re like the piano or guitar student who swears they practiced all week long on that piece. Well, you know what? Your teacher always knew when you were lying about that. Just as I know my fellow students lie about reading on a regular basis. Ipso facto: if you’d read, you’d learn. You haven’t learned, so you don’t read.

Still no thunderstorms. Been waiting. They’re in the forecast every day. We’re definitely in a heat cycle. Other than my hair being too thick and hot on my head and neck, I’ve managed to keep pretty cool. Part of that is I’m far more willing to jump in a pair of shorts these days. Even with my lily white legs, even with my cellulite. I’m more accepting of my body. And I can look at myself in lighter clothing and not cringe. Even find something attractive about myself. That’s all…weirdly solid. Like it was always there, underneath all that negativity. I don’t feel I have crowing rights in the world; there are far more beautiful people than myself out there. But I do have crowing rights within myself: I am pretty. I am blessed with a pretty face. My features are arranged in a manner that’s pleasant to look at it. You may find me beautiful; you may not. It’s one of those faces. But the nose isn’t misshapen, the cheekbones are good, and I don’t have warty growths anywhere. Nothing to call me ugly. I’m accepting that.

Have a slightly pulled muscle on my left side. Did it the other day; felt it go. Ouch. Wishing my appointment with my very cute physiotherapist was a bit sooner. Trying to work it out myself in the meantime. Should really get to the gym for a stretch and a walk. Ignore the heat and humidity – which gets easier to do the hotter it gets, because the gym has air conditioning.

My head… I’m a bit feather brained lately. Just ditzy. There, but not there. Getting flashes of stuff, ideas. So disjunct and quick I can’t even describe them yet. Letting that go. The chef will serve up that dish when it’s ready. Meanwhile, kick back with a drink and enjoy some appetizers: summer days, more auditions for my play, sheer relaxation and joy at the simplest things in life. Seeing the sun rise. Having my smiles and greetings returned. Enjoying a cold drink from the ‘fridge during the hottest part of the day.

I’m good.

Fabulous

The first thing I did this morning was reach up to drag my heavy, long hair out of my face. Then I realized – it’s short.

Somehow, I always ask for the impossible. I always want a color they can’t give me, in this case auburn because I went too dark and no hairstylist wants to bleach my already dry and thirsty hair. They did manage to find a nice in-between, a lighter and redder color they added to the roots and brought through to the ends to blend it all. But I did it again with the cut. Brought in several pix of asymmetrical haircuts, which I just love on me; looks so much better than perfect symmetrical cuts. Then it was snip, snip, snip. Several inches hit the floor in the first pass. I went to a student academy, ’cause prices are half what I’d pay in a regular salon. So I had my stylist/student, three teachers, and a professional stylist puttering with my hair, talking about the length, the fall, the curve. Took more than two hours, but it was worth it. My hair hangs pixie-like and free, curving around my face gently to set it off, and falls gracefully a few inches to the right leaving a long lock that winds around into one gorgeous curl.

Maybe I’m the one person in a hundred thousand who still wants asymmetrical cuts. Or maybe it’s because I walked in there with such long, shaggy hair and it was such a dramatic make-over. I don’t know. But, as usual, I garnered a LOT of attention at the salon. Not just from the teachers, but also from the other students who kept watching the process of my new look getting sculpted out of the old. Are you sure you want this? Have you gone this short before? I found their questions funny. I wanted to say yes, I’m 52 and have done everything with my hair before you were born, dearie. Shaved, purple, multi-colored, rat-tails, super spiky short, long curly locks, blond, brunette, and red-head: you name it, I’ve done it at some point.

And oh! I’m not getting rid of this cut anytime soon. I’ll work hard to maintain it, as a matter of fact – which is not something I’ve said in a while. I like it. Brings back memories of my first asymmetrical cut when I was 17. My mother wanted to send me back to the salon (in fact, she wanted to send me back to HER salon, not one of my choosing). C was very noncommittal with me on most things, never showing too much approval or disapproval no matter what. But that hair! She hated it. Really, really, hated it. Nagged at me every time I wore it in a manner that emphasized that off-set cut. Pin it up, she’d tell me. No one will hire you with that hair. Eventually, she wore me down. I got a job in an office, and cut it.

Now, I’ve no one to tell me to cut it differently. No one to nag at me how it’s not normal, or how someone my age or weight or whatever shouldn’t have hair like this. I did not expect to feel so giddy. So free and uninhibited. Nor did I expect to write over 500 words about my hair.

…I’ve a long list of stuff. Things I need to do, things that have happened that nagged at me over the past day or two… But the headlines, of course, are where my immediate concern lies: government shutdown. Not sure how that will affect my brother’s pension, but I don’t expect it to be good. Refuse to panic or worry. There will be time enough for that later. And if something drastic happens…well, I expect a bit of understanding and slack here. I hope. It’s not something I want to discuss much, because that riles me up and gets me worrying. Just noting it’s happening and I’m doing my best not to freak.

Concerned, also, about the premiere. Getting up there, timing, the outfit, finding the place… The list on that goes on and on, too. I will be alone in a not-so-familiar city. Alone and dressed to the nines. At night, and it’ll probably be raining. Need to check with S about helping with my make-up. I don’t want to intrude; sounded like she’s gonna have loads of family at her place that evening. If I do go and get her help, I’ll more likely have time to kill because I’ll want to not step on any family gathering so I’ll be there early. My bro suggested I just head to a coffeeshop to smoke. I just don’t know: me, in fancy dress, with sparkling jewelry and full on make-up, walking into a coffeeshop to smoke weed. It’s more everyone else’s reaction I’m thinking of…not that I make a habit of it, but please! I’d stare at me if I walked in looking like that. Then there’s just the ick factor: coffeeshops tend to be a bit less clean than other Dutch establishments. The bathrooms can be…not nice. And there’s always the concern about burning my outfit from some falling ash. I’ve kept this dress in good condition this long, and I don’t want to lose it because I felt like having a hit or two before the premiere. Similar concerns with getting a bite to eat: messing the dress, smearing the make-up, and dealing with food stuck in my teeth. Um…nope. Drinks? That’s my best bet of staying neat and tidy. Also my best bet at getting out of hand because I don’t drink anymore and a couple of beers will put me under the table. I have this vision of me standing alone in a corner (so I don’t wrinkle the dress), drinking water through a straw (to keep the make-up perfect) for an hour or more in a quiet, out of the way nothing place. Sounds boring.

But I’ll look fabulous.

A New Thought

I feel undeserving. Just opened up my writer’s email and found this:

I wanted to let you know that unfortunately, we selected two shows for our spring event and your show was ranked third. However! I think this show would be the perfect for the Capitol Fringe festival (it’s a summer play festival in Washington DC that showcases tons of original works, sponsored by local theaters and actors.) If you are interested, I would like to put together a proposal for the Board of Little Theater of Alexandria[where I am the governor of seasonal planning] and propose that they sponsor it for the summer of 2019. IF they approve and IF it’s accepted to the festival, it would receive several weeks of performances at a venue in DC. In exchange for using your script, LTA would sponsor everything – we’d get a director, audition actors, provide rehearsal space, and cover all associated costs with promotion, props, staging, etc. Because we would be paying for everything, we would not provide any money to you for rights. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in I can work up a proposal to take to our Board (and show to you as well) to see if they would be interested.

I know eventually I’ll need to get paid. Can’t live on kudos alone. And some people would discount this note entirely because there’s no money involved. But I can’t get past the fact that this artistic director and governor of seasonal planning has now TWICE suggested taking my work to another level. She really believes in my script. I mean…look how much work she’s talking about taking on. Prepping for a festival, putting together a proposal, submitting to the board – that’s all her. I don’t do any of it. When I balance out the money they’ll spend on auditioning, rehearsing, travel to the fest and accommodations while there… I’m more than getting paid in my opinion.

Think I’ll offer her the full trilogy. She’ll either love it or she won’t. She’s already hot to trot on the first part.

Going to the gym on a daily basis right now. Had a huge, deep crack from my back yesterday and an immediate release of tension. Feeling better. Haven’t returned to my regular rotation yet; just doing the treadmill to open up my hips and back. But it’s a start.

Speaking of pain, I can brush my teeth now. All of them. Still a bit painful in one or two spots, but I can brush. Hip hip hooray.

Heard from S. We must have got our messages crossed. Either that, or my original message went missing in some cyber space black hole. She sent me her script. I…put on a teacher’s hat and gave her some notes. In fairness, she asked me to. And I was gentle, telling her ahead of time I’m being tough on her script because I think it’s worth the time and effort. English is her second language, so she’s got some basic errors that simply come from unfamiliarity with the phrases. While not technically wrong, some of her dialogue sounds a bit stilted. Gave her some suggestions. Her script is littered with passive writing – again, not wrong, just not in favor at the moment. Pointed these things out, gave her workable alternatives. The story was something else. She pinned it on a possession tale. Horror. I like horror. Sadly, she wrote from a film maker’s perspective – meaning she concentrated on her cuts and shots rather than the story. Her plot line was full of holes, full of unanswered questions. I brought these to her attention, giving her my take on the story. Sometimes writers are just blind to what they write; the story is so strong in their heads they fail to communicate it well. Left my note with a statement that I hoped it wasn’t too much, I enjoyed what she’s got, and I’m willing to talk more with her about these issues.

…*sigh* Made myself climb out of bed early this morning. Trying to force my way back to ‘normal’ hours. Hate that. It takes me 10 days to reset my clock to time off – staying up later, sleeping in, chilling. I get a day or two of bliss and deep sleep, then I have to force myself back to an earlier schedule to try and get ready for life. Almost not worth it.

Dutch. My brother’s been sneaky. He bought several cheap Dutch films over the break for me. Knows that in my current manic state, I’m more apt to take on an unknown film with subtitles simply for something new to watch. Watched 2 of the films. Thankfully, they’ve got English subtitles, so for the first viewing I was at least able to understand the plot. But I listened as much as I could. Found that as the films went on and I got used to the way each character spoke, I could make out more and more words. That’s encouraging. Not asking my brain to decode everything, just hear it. That’s the first step. Every once in a while, a light went on in my head – I know that phrase! Good. It’s coming back.

2018. I’ve got a Dutch children’s story to write this year. Months in the studio fiddling with sound for (hopefully) the performance of my work in Rotterdam. Research on a couple of levels: film script notation, historical references for future stories, weird and unsolved mysteries to base stuff on.

I’m not doing anything different. Or, I don’t feel like I am. So it’s difficult to reconcile this support. I find myself questioning it. Why? Why is this happening? Maybe it’s just a numbers game. Get out there long enough and eventually you’ll find someone who likes your stuff.

Or…maybe this is just karma. Maybe I’ve actually been doing things right. Giving so much, and now finally receiving.

Maybe I really do deserve this.

…Now, that’s a new thought.

It never really stops

It is done.

I’ve a few typos and formatting mistakes to fix. But the story is done. Did a full read through of all three parts plus the prologue. I’ll be the first to say it: brilliant. I’ve woven this story brilliantly. Each piece is tense and frightening. Each piece stands alone. Do them front to end, though, and an entirely new picture emerges. Pieces of a puzzle. A magnificent, full length, 90+ page puzzle.

The excitement over finishing it matches the flatness I feel now that it’s done. What the fuck am I gonna do now? Now that I no longer need to think scenes through. Now that all considerations are done and over with. I’ve been working on this for so long – the original first story was concocted in my brain over a year ago. It just never stopped. I put it on pause during Taman and my other work. But it never stopped.

Good Goddess! I may need to go through a mourning period, if that makes any sense. Feels like a big part of me just…turned over in bed, got up, and walked away.

Did not wake up to a merry email in my writer’s account this morning. And yes, for the first time in my life, I was expecting it. The theatre group in the states was scheduled to meet on Friday, and the director said she’d be getting back to me after that. Hoping their work ran late, she was tired, and she decided she’d wait until after she slept before writing those emails. But meh. I know those are all patch kits against a wave of disappointment threatening to leak thru my dyke. The longer it takes to hear from someone, the more likely it’s a rejection.

I’ll put that off. The disappointment can wash over me when I actually hear that no, my work wasn’t selected. For now…try and topple me. I don’t think you’ll get too far. I know what I did on the re-writes of the first part. I know what I just finished. It’s good.

Woke up and opened my personal email to have an old picture of my mother stare back at me, with a message from my uncle: “My niece K posted this on Facebook. A beautiful woman, inside and out.” *projectile vomit* Leave it to the damned family (maybe I should start calling them The Damned Family) to get all sappy and sentimental at this time of year. They’re all drinking too much. *sigh* And I know – I know! – what narcissists do. How they twist shit around. Still. I’ve been playing a dangerous game, occasionally checking in on family members’ pages. They work so hard to make everything seem normal. They make me doubt myself. My own memories. The only thing that keeps me sane is that very, very old memory I pulled up of not knowing whether good mommy or bad mommy was walking into the room – and the accompanying fear. No. Not fear. Terror. I was bloody terrified of my mother. That can not be written off as a ‘drug induced paranoia’ or whatever else they call my claims (guessing on that, but considering I’ve been called a drug addict I think it’s a good stab in the dark). That’s a very early memory, and sadly, very real. I’ve never brought any of this up to them. Why? I’ve already experienced my sister calling me a liar when I said I remembered things from a very young age. You’re lying! No one remembers when they were that young! Yeah. That protest has denial written all over it.

Still having pain in the right side in my mouth The tooth that had the root canal work is the worst, but there’s also a tooth on my lower jaw that hurts. Hard to brush around those areas. Still taking morphine. If this is what I think it is, it’s just got to stop fucking hurting for a while. So keep drugging it. Tuesday I’ll go to the doc’s office and set up an appointment with this physiotherapist she wants me to see. Soft foods, and as little stress as I can manage. Hope it quiets down soon.

I have no hope of my brain quieting down anytime soon. Already dithering between several possible new scripts. The work on Taman has made me want to write more historical dramas, and with an eye towards future work for the same competition, I’m now thinking about Mata Hari and Maya Deren. I’ve also got an idea written down that’s been bugging me. Another sort of thriller. I’ll probably explore that first; several strong scenes are already in my head and won’t stop replaying over and over.

Want to re-set. Take the last day or two of the year and fuck around, without thinking. I need it. Want some new games, too, but my computer system is too out of date to handle anything new. Oh, well. Make do with what I’ve got. Or try.

Come back to the world, Beeps! Your brother needs you!

Yeah. That’s another thing. My bro’s let me write and write and write, without thought towards him or anything else. He waited until I read everything through, then we talked. And I’ve gotta be present, in the here and now, and work a bit of magic for him. Support him, because he’s gonna need it. Cheerlead a little. Pick up a bit more. Help him reach his goals, ’cause in the long run, we both need that.

The door is closing on 2017. It’s been a long and sometimes painful road. But I’ve made more progress this year than ever before. Personally and professionally. And I can acknowledge that.

It’s a good way to end this chapter of life, and start the next. Because it never really stops.

Goals ahead

Pain free. Not now; I’ve run out of paracetamol. Sounds inconsequential while I’m on morphine, but trust me – paracetamol is needed. But the low level ache that woke me up at 4 in the morning was the first I’d felt in 24 hours. My Sunday was pain free. First day in a week. Gives me hope that this will get under control. With drugs, at least.

Also had my first laugh yesterday. My face has been in too much pain to laugh. Hell. It’s been too painful to chew or talk. I’ve been talking with my jaw clamped shut, like a ventriloquist. Made me think back to when I was 8 – got a ventriloquist doll for Xmas. Worked on it, too. Never got good at it, but I learned how using an ‘n’ rather than an ‘m’ can work; people listening to you anticipate your words, and their ears fill in any discrepancies (only works if you KNOW a language). So I amused myself briefly with an old skill, trying out different words and phrases. Found if funnier than funny that the two words I could articulate best were ‘drugs and alcohol’ (you’d need to intimately know my history to understand the humor; trust me that it’s there). Guess it’s a good thing to know that I can still ask for what I need even when I’m in that much pain. Drugs and alcohol.

Sent out Taman. Dithered about it, mostly because of how doped up I felt. That, and I needed to write a 100 word bio as a playwright. Ye Gods! Finally just did it, ignoring my flinching ego as I typed away. It’s hard to write about how great I am as I writer. But, a bio is like a CV. You’re expected to pump yourself up. I used the words I heard given to me over my writing: Lovecraftian, intense, raw. Thank the Goddess I had some compliments to draw on. Made it much easier. Otherwise I’d just sit there and say ‘Yeah, I write. I wrote this, I wrote some other stuff. I think it’s good.’

My doctor’s appointment is at 9:10 this morning. I feel I know what she’s gonna say. She’ll ask about my pain, and have that worried look on her face when I tell her I had to take more morphine than anticipated. She’ll tell me she wants me to see a specialist. She’ll mention TMJ, or the Dutch equivalent. And she’ll tell me to keep taking the drugs, get a refill, and she’ll give me more if I need it because ain’t nothing stopping this except drugging it out (if I am reluctantly turned into the drug addict I’ve been accused of being I’ll…well, I don’t know what I’ll do, but it’ll be ironic).

Meh. Plenty of writers were/are drug addicts.

Finally ate. Managed during the last week to choke down stuff like half a cup of oatmeal or a scrambled egg, but never more than 400 calories a day. Had a real meal last night. Still soft food, but it had more calories than I’d eaten for days. Have to take it slow. Food now makes me feel a bit ill. Good at first, then a bit ill because my body isn’t used to it. Drinking more water. Discovered how hungry I was just for water once my bro got me some straws. Long, long drinks of water. Feeling good enough to wonder if I managed to shed a few pounds during this. Don’t want to check the scale. Goddess forbid I do that and find the number still hasn’t changed. Nope. Better to feel like I dropped weight. Sometimes you need the psychological edge more than the real thing.

Pretty sure at this point I won’t be going to language class. Even if I’m not hurting, I woke up before 4 a.m. I be tired, and on morphine. Yes, I can think again and yes, I think I can even do some Dutch if pushed (like when facing a doctor who doesn’t speak much English). I just don’t want to push. I’ve been pushing, or feeling like I have, all week just to stay sane and not claw my brains out of my cranium with my fingernails. And today of all days, I’m taking the advice of everyone who’s ever met me. I’m being easier on myself. So, no school. I be lolling around and napping. I will go to the lesson and deal with the teachers in person rather than via text. The class is very important to me, and I want them to know that. So I’ll write it out – my problem, how I shouldn’t talk, the pain, the meds, the regret at not being able to sit in class and pay attention during the afternoon. In Dutch. Or I’ll try.

Not so with Thursday’s teacher. She’ll get a text.

Finding myself writing again. In the evenings, as I watch tv. My eyes are open, I react when my brother does, but I’m not really seeing anything. Zero retention of anything I’ve watched. Nope. I’m deep in scripts and story lines. Plotting out scenes. Contemplating mysteries to write about. It’s a bit annoying, really. I get to see the opening of a show, then I’m gone during the bulk of it, only to come back to watch the end. The upshot of this is I feel I’ve seen too much of the show to watch it again, yet missed too much to know what really happened.

😉 Kind of like my life.

Still. I feel like a wide, clear path is opening for me. Always knew were I wanted to be, just didn’t know how to get there.

Goals ahead.