Vroooooom…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My vehicle goes. Always has.

Vroooooom…

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Feelin’ it

Yep. I’m feelin’ it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feelin’ it.

Warpaint

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

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

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

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

Fine. I’m a marketing whore.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s my warpaint.

Make it rain

Sprang another hole in that mania shield. This time: marketing.

Long thoughts and soul searching. Came to the conclusion the theatre group is missing a beat by not having a newsletter. Many have asked; many have been disappointed. I’ve volunteered my writing skills. Spent yesterday pouring thru the form, our online info, and filling in our first issue. Naturally, it’s heavy on my production. It feels more than half an ad, but then, that’s what a lot of newsletters are. Pretty happy with what I have so far.

And, oh! This group needs help. I mean…for a bunch of teachers who teach business marketing, their marketing skills are terrible. Awful. They don’t take advantage of anything: not their members, not their social pages, not anything. Little wonder the group has had problems getting an audience of 20 to come to a show.

Well, do what you do, Beeps. You be the master of marketing on nothing. Maybe that’s these people’s problem: they’re used to talking about marketing on unlimited funds. That happens in academia. Their examples are huge corporations, and millions are moved around on chalkboards and computer screens all under the motto of “This is normal”. But that’s easy marketing. Anyone can make money when you start with money; it’s the law of averages. Spend enough and you get to a tipping point with your audience. Enough people get your message, your pitch, to buy your product. And once that happens, it spreads like disease. But doing it without throwing unlimited funds at the problem – now THAT’S a challenge. And not something everyone can do.

So…now I have passwords to all their secret social pages. I have the go-ahead on the newsletter. They’ve given me the reigns. Buckle up, people.

Want to announce a general meeting for October. The group hasn’t had a general meeting for a while. Auditions, rehearsals – sure. But not a meeting to bring in new blood. Not a meeting to draw attention to ourselves. Realized I have a skill I may never have really considered: special effects make-up. It’s something I’ve always done; vampire make-up, zombie make-up, pretend blood. Mostly for Halloween. But not everyone does these things. I tend to think it’s easy, that everyone can do it, but…That’s not really true, is it? So I thought we could call a fun general meeting in mid-October. Our rehearsals for the production won’t be bad at that point. Once a week at most. Pitch the meeting as a general meet n greet but also as a ‘learn how to do make-up effects for Halloween’ thing. I could use a couple of volunteers and do a zombie look, a bruised look, and a bullet hole in the head. Some people will learn, some will just think it’s cool, some will just want to come for the fun. Plus, it’s gently pushing the production: we need to master these techniques for the new play. Get that interest stirred up. And I could really use another make-up expert backstage. Have this feeling most of the actors will remain passive: here, do my make-up for me. I won’t have time for all of them, so help would be great.

My back is doing better, day by day. Still have some pain, so I’m moving slowly. Went down to the main library yesterday and checked out Roald Dahl’s autobiography. I’m greedy for his words; gobbled up over 50 pages between metro rides and reading before sleep. It is precisely my cup of tea: a historical account written by a great author. Love Tolstoy for the same reason. There is a flavor to the words of someone who’s lived thru it that’s just different. More authentic. Writers who imagine historical settings…they may do really well, but it’s not the same. Things get glossed over. If someone dies, it’s a tragic death, clean and with memorable last words. The truth is greyer than that. Death comes, no font of wisdom spews from the nearly dead lips, and reality crashes in. But one can easily see where Dahl’s material came from. His descriptions of his early childhood mimic his great works, and I am left with the evident trail of truth to fiction to follow thru his pages. Ah! Here’s where The Witches was born. Aha! And that’s a bit of Matilda in there. Truly fascinating.

Made a to-do list with huge things on it, like ‘search out T-shirt marketing’. That small phrase really contains hundreds of smaller things inside it. But start with the biggie. When I get into it, it’ll break itself down. Hoping just having the list will help me stay on track. I do not – do NOT – need another hole in my mania shield. I have enough leaks gushing water as it is. Keep on point, keep focused. Train that manic energy to the tasks at hand. If I spring too many leaks, I’ll overload and burn out. And I’m in danger of doing that right now.

Today I want colorful fun. No nonsense, straight up fun. Will get a walk in for my back and swing by the store to pick up a few things, then back here for play. Since my bro is by the comic shop today, I’m doing make-up. Want to try a few things out. Maybe even give the tissue paper and glue wound a try. Better check for hot water before I do too much.

My desktop is almost full of files, folders, and projects in various states of ‘doneness’. Nothing shows my mania more than my desktop. It’s a snapshot of my mind. I’ve got passwords, articles on strange phenomena, pictures, scripts, story ideas, recipes and notes. A total hodgepodge.

…Maybe we need to up my new med.

Very fitting I sit here in the Netherlands. I feel like that damned Dutch boy, sticking my fingers into the dyke, trying to keep back the flood. The flood is inevitable; I should just accept that.

Time to make it rain.

Flow

Spent an hour walking a path that usually takes me about 35 minutes. I was slower in my movements than I’d been in a long time. It hurt. Tremendously. And it tired me out. Had to pause and catch my breath while crossing a bridge, then came home and napped.

I do not like that kind of pain. I am, however, used to dragging myself thru it. Once again, I proved my doctors correct: the pain is less today.

*sigh* Golden Rule Number 1: Move.

Obviously, that’s top of my list today. And it should be every day. I shuffle around my Golden Rules, depending on my mood. That one needs to be implacable. Permanently inked onto my eyeballs. Dying? Tough. Move. Wallowing in self pity? Oh, poor you. Now, move. On a roll? Step off it; you know what’s next. It needs to rank up there with sleep and food – not a desire, but a necessity.

…Mmm. Lots to think about lately. And here my bro just left the house, opening up a window for me to write…

Thoughts on names. The names I choose in writing bother me more than anyone else. My names must have hidden meaning. I spend days on sites, culling thru various definitions, finding the right name for the right character and letting them become. In my new piece, I’m choosing “Priam” for the surname of she who is now called ‘Mother’. I think I can get away with that and not feel too heavy handed. A few will get the reference; many will not. Can’t find a reason to give her a first name. She’s the oldest character on stage, and all defer to that seniority. …Want a definite line between the older gen and the younger gen on names. Older gen names are standard stuff: Ann, William, Lucy, etc. Younger gen names have to reflect the world they’re in – a world devoid of growth or water. So far I have ‘Skye’ and ‘Cole’, which I like and may keep. They feel like a Skye and a Cole.

Been watching Twin Peaks again, from the start. And oh! I may not like Lynch’s politics or sexism, but his imagery on screen does make my mind spark. Had a v cool idea for the script. It means taking what I’ve got right now and creating that outline, because I’m about to spin off into The Twilight Zone…

Oh, Hell’s Bells! Just had that stupid notice on my computer to take my injection today. Gods, I hate doing that. I know I should be thankful it’s only once a week. My dad had diabetes and he had to shoot up twice a day. Of course, his syringes were smaller than mine, but still! …And I am thankful it’s only once a week. I’m even more thankful it works. I still can’t like it.

Very excited by the artwork I’m getting in from K. My bro and I have limped along for decades using our own artwork. It works, to an extent. I mean…it’s there. It got us out into the sea of the world. But it’s not crowd appealing. K’s taking some of my bro’s ideas and expanding them, making them into a stylized, professional version of the raw drawings. Hey! Sort of like they do with the Simpson’s drawings. Yeah. Anyway, I’m really jazzed by them. All sorts of marketing ideas.

Feels a bit like the main gush of mania has been capped off, but little streams of it are seeping through…

That would actually be very beneficial. As long as I don’t run myself into the ground.

Special effects for the production: Took a long re-think on my idea and decided against it. Going to go back to the vid of tissue paper, glue, and make-up wounds and study it. Try that technique. I’ll still need to pre-set the area before performance and keep it wrapped up during most of the play. So I’ve got to get something I like, then wrap it up and test it by wearing it around the house all day. Plan similar tests for the squibs: get something I think might work, then strap them on and wear them around the house. Need to find out if normal movement might break them. Can’t have that! The actor has to wear them during Act 3, so they only need to survive for about 35 minutes. We can tape them on during Act 2, when she’s backstage. My wounds, on the other hand, have to survive under gauze for two acts.

Ye Gods! My bro’s been playing his new songs so often that I can still hear them even after the sound is off and he’s left the flat. Talk about making an impression on your ear!

Left myself hanging a bit right now. I have no actual book in Dutch to read before sleep. My heart is set on getting Roald Dahl’s autobiography from the main library and reading it over the summer but I’m in no condition to head down there right now. Instead, I’ve found myself picking up Bridget Jones’ Diary – in Dutch – and randomly opening to a page to read a bit before I turn off the light. I picked the book up ages ago, thinking I’d be able to get thru it. Nope. Too difficult at the time. Last night I read a passage that brought to mind the English equivalent. It was weird. Not just comprehension, but recognition from both sides, both languages. I heard, simultaneously, my English speaking reader voice and my Dutch speaking reader voice reciting the text. And I understood both. Talk about parallel lines of thought!

Time for me to show a little discipline. Eat something, take my shot, and get out for a walk. That doesn’t mean kill myself or overdo it. That means eat a bit, do what I need, and head out for a hopefully pleasant little neighborhood jaunt to come back refreshed and feeling looser.

Follow the Golden Rule. Let everything else flow from there.

So far, so good

Nine hours. Wake up. This medication is like the gentlest alarm clock in the world. I just wake-up. No dragging myself into consciousness, no yawning or stumbling, just open my eyes and be awake. Don’t even need coffee in the a.m. Still enjoy the taste of it, but I in no way need it to get going in the morning. Effing unbelievable, people.

Cleaned the house. Took a shower. Fiddled with make-up effects. Dragged my ass thru my Dutch homework. Even finished (last night) my latest Roald Dahl book. Did not get back on exercise, but I still feel it’s a drop the mic situation. Took care of loads.

Writing is temporarily on pause. I want my routine back. Asking myself for an hour here, and hour there. I don’t need every minute of every day to write this, and pushing myself – while productive in some ways – is ultimately the wrong thing to do. Not concerned about it; whatever this world is I’m creating, it’s so strong it just birthed itself. I don’t have to do much other than sop up the afterbirth.

I am comfortable these days. Comfortable in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. My hair reflects my mood; I am, truly, a being whose lives in her hair. If I feel tight and constricted, my hair is pulled back into a tight knot. If I feel loose and easy, I’ll wear it down. These days I’ve adopted a half and half look: a loose knot with curly strands near my face. It’s soft and gently, easy and sexy – and not something I can do in front of the mirror. I can only get it correct by doing it by feel. Put me in front of a mirror and I pull a Mom: pulling my hair back severely. It’s functional, but not at all sexy. Let me do it by feel, tho, and it’s perfect every time. Soft, magical, inviting. I don’t know why it works that way.

Got a few more drawings in from my artist friend. They are AMAZING. Not only are they great for what we wanted them for, they’re so great I think they’ll have a lively market plastered on the front of T-shirts. Adding the idea of searching all that out into my ‘list of things to do’ in my brain. Really should start putting that stuff in writing; I’m gonna forget something sooner or later…

Been hearing a revamped version of one of my old songs. My brother is doing a cover of it for his next release. The original was instrumental; he’s adding words. The original was all keys; he’s writing parts for guitar and bass. So it’s a big re-do. And exciting. He’s trying different tempos, different drums. I’m hearing my work in a whole, new way.

My RA has been quiet. The temp has been in the comfortable range, so I’m good in that way. My pustular psoriasis is another matter. All over both feet and hands. Screwed up, I know. Official summer holiday begins next week and I don’t have any more creme for my condition. Shoulda called the doc earlier. Hope a nurse will take pity on me and issue a refill for summer even if I can’t get in to see the doc ’til later. Meanwhile, it’s ugly and, in some places, painful. Mostly it’s an embarrassment. I feel terrible exposing it to the world. Always feel like I have to say ‘It’s not contagious’.

…Just trying to get used to this new feeling. A bit worried we don’t have the night-time med high enough. I’m still obsessing. If not the production, the new idea. If not the new idea, an old song over and over in my head. I can stop it, tho it takes a few attempts and somehow keeps creeping back up on me. On the other hand, I feel like I’m resting at night for the first time in many years. But just yesterday my bro told me to sit down and roll up because I was goin’ too fast… I suppose this is a question for the Doc. Let it go.

Still little to no appetite. Doing my best to remember to take my vitamins at night, have a juice or fresh fruit, and eat when I can. But…food just isn’t on my mind. I reminded myself yesterday at 11 that I still hadn’t had breakfast, then proceeded to go off and work for another 2 hours only to remind myself again at 1 in the afternoon that I was still going on nothing. I can eat, if I remember to sit down and do it. I’m just having problems remembering to do it.

*sigh* Can feel that look on my face. That intense staring. I don’t like to let that out often because it has power. What exactly it does, I can’t say. But it does have an effect. Things happen. My bro would say I’m tapping into the other realm, creating things on the astral plane – and I’ve come to think, reluctantly, that he’s correct. Our thoughts have power over this reality, and it would be blatantly irresponsible of me to let my thoughts wander too much. Nevertheless, it’s there – and I know it well. I’ve learned to put it into my art. Use that deep concentrating trance to my advantage. I call it my ‘sponge’ mode. I am totally open, not just accepting but grasping to hold everything coming in. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the words, the actions – no judgement, just receptiveness. In that receptiveness, there is creation. A free-form association that happens in my brain, tying all sorts of strange ideas together.

I only want the medication to allow me to rest. Stop when needed. Sleep, eat, take care of myself during these times of intense concentration.

Not too bad. I do feel awkward and ungainly in my new schedule, but that always happens when I flips my schedule around. Similarly, I usually have little appetite in summer due to the heat.

So…so far, so good.

When will I learn?

I learned something new this week. [I always like to be able to say that.]

The Netherlands measures their water level not just by rainfall but also by evaporation. In other words, the Dutch take into account how much water evaporates every day in addition to any waterfall for their ‘drought’ conditions. Back where I come from, it’s just rainfall. But I understand: most of the Netherlands is built on seabed reclaimed from the water. Dig down and within 6 inches (if even that deep) you’ll find rock and sand. There’s nothing under that thin top layer of soil to hold water; it just drains away.

We are in drought, and you can see it.

It seemed that tidbit of info was the straw the camel’s back needed. My meandering and pointless writing became solid. A new play is emerging, one combining three ideas I’ve been mulling over forever: the Mandela Effect and alternate realities, a post climate upheaval world, and what makes good people do horrible things. I’ve no real outline other than what’s in my head. A few notes as I go. But the writing is very organic, very flowing. This one’s been cooking for a long time up in my brain.

Busy clocking out 2000 words a day, four hours at a time. On the flip side of my life, I’ve been reading in my Roald Dahl book (in Dutch) about his own journey to becoming a writer. He talks about the trance writers fall into. I have a bit of a grim laugh about that; seems all we writers get that way. I find it both a blessing and a curse. I can do it (and I love doing it) but it also pulls me away from getting out there and being with other people. Since balance has ALWAYS been my flipping problem, the start and stop nature of writing is a bit of an issue for me. In fact, my brother is more accepting of my writing nature than I am. I am unhappy if I do not write something every day, or think about a story line, or make some sort of progress that I can point to and say ‘See? I worked today!’ But that’s not the way it goes. Days, weeks, sometimes months pass with nothing ‘real’ being done and no word to show for it. When it does finally hit I’m so pleased to get something done I just go with it 24/7. I allow the mania to take over.

My new drug allows me a good night’s sleep. That’s new, and very welcome. I could run on this, as a writer, for the rest of my life.

It’s not enough to perform on.

My brother got me out of the house yesterday. Beginning of the month, money in, feeling flush. Let’s go for some Greek. Did not have to ask me twice! Headed out in the late afternoon, walked around downtown Rotterdam. Half the city sat or meandered on the sidewalks and in the city squares. Nothing shows you what the Dutch are really like like a warm summer afternoon. Sitting inside watching tv is probably ranked as the lowest, least fun thing one could do on a day like yesterday, and the city is decked out for the overflow. Chairs and tables everywhere, outside every establishment that has a square meter of sidewalk to call their own. Rotterdam offers the full monty, too: you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many pop-up food places, or you can reserve a place at an elite establishment that sets up ice buckets for champagne by every table. And more often than not, you’ll be sharing the same sidewalk regardless of which you choose: fast food or champagne dinner.

Grabbed a couple of cheap DVDs downtown, then had dinner. Over to the coffeeshop to stock up on smoke, and back to the metro. It was a pleasant evening, neither too cool nor too warm. I enjoyed it, and didn’t think about my writing the entire time.

But back home, back in front of the tv, my head couldn’t stay on topic. Show me a new film, show me something strange and exciting. Yeah, I’ll tune in. For a short period. You might actually capture my interest for 2 whole minutes. Then I’ll slip back to it: the seared earth, the cramped confines of the space I’ve created, the characters.

…Can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I’m happy I’m not obsessing over the play or production. That’s a good thing. But it seems I just transferred my obsessing. That counts as a bad thing in my book. Plus, I’ve got to pull my head out of my ass enough to keep up with Dutch, since my teachers are gonna keep teaching thru the summer. That’s another bad thing, because as I said: once I’m here, I don’t want to stop. However…I think the story is real good. Strong. That’s a good thing. I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder.

Doing my best to avoid judging it at all. Just too damned confusing.

Other: having a hell of a time trying to eat in the morning. Just not hungry. That’s okay for my first pill of the day. It’s not okay to just go, tho. At least, it isn’t okay in my mind. I’m hyper-aware this is the road to ill health. And I don’t want to go to the gym on an empty stomach and drop. So my lack of appetite has been my reason for everything being off. If I don’t eat, I can’t go to the gym. And I’d better be extra careful about people contact; if my system doesn’t have food to run on, it’ll be a bit weaker.

Plus, I just feel fat lately. Been off my routine too long.

Keep hoping today will be the day I turn that around. Force some food, get to the gym.

Ach! When will I learn?

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.

Pop the cork

Pop the cork, and watch it flow.

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

Whatever. Let it go, see what happens.

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

I hope to get back to it today.

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

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

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

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

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

Or an old cork that finally popped.

Bipolar II

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want the 50mg to work for me.

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

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

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

So talk about it.

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

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

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

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

I’ve always known what I am.