Hangin’ in there

One of the hardest things to do is to keep going even if you feel you’re not making any progress or doomed to failure from the moment you begin. Two things are gnawing at me today (and they’re no big surprise): my writing and my weight.

Hopped on a scale yesterday. Mistake. BIG mistake. I haven’t done it for years and I don’t know what got into my head. Guess I was feeling a bit cocky. A little sleek and fit. I wanted to prove to myself that yes, I’ve modified my body size and aren’t I good little girl for keeping up on my diet and exercise. And I have lost weight since last I was on a scale. Must keep that in mind. A whopping 3.4 kilos.

There’s plenty of sayings about puncturing your ego with a pin – and that’s exactly what it felt like. One moment I was admiring my bicep muscles and feeling pretty good about myself, the next I was poking my pudgy middle and berating myself for being such a fat, old woman. And I thought Holy Fuck! All those hours in the gym, in the pool, walking when I don’t want to walk, denying myself sugary goodies or treats, cutting back on meal size, going to bed hungry – and I’ve taken off a whole 3.4 kilos. I mean, seriously…is it worth it?

As for writing…I search out theatres looking for submissions every other week or so. Pull half a dozen PDFs, put them aside to look at again. And I always think I’ve got some real winners in there – sure fire places that’ll take my work. Look! My stuff fits their requirements perfectly. They’ll love it! Then the time comes for me to really read it through and prep up to send out – and I notice all sorts of things that scare me off. Don’t put in too many acts, keep it to six or less characters, don’t give too much lighting or sound cues, don’t send if you’re not some purple eyed booger monster that crawled out of the deep from a crack opened up in Kentucky. The restrictions go on and on. So much so that I wonder if some of these groups EVER get a submission that perfectly fits all their requirements.

Then I have afternoons of feeling useless. Oh, they won’t take it because of this, it’s too long for that theatre, too many characters (or too few) for that group, or I don’t live there so they won’t even bother opening it up. The ‘no’s’ become so loud I feel overwhelmed, and just want to hide.

I tell myself it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to feel defeated. It’s just not okay to give up.

So I wait a day or two, until I have some self confidence back. Then I prep up and send out without allowing myself to think too much. Let them make the decision, I tell myself. Let them say no. If I take myself out of the running before the race even begins I’ll never get anywhere.

*sigh*

Doing well with memorizing my part for the play. One or two places I need a memory jog, but considering tomorrow is only my second rehearsal with the director I think I’m ahead of the game. I like this role because it calls for a lot of acting without words. My partner may have the longer dialogue, but I’ve got the reaction to his lines – which is far more powerful (especially the way I plan to play it). There is not one minute of stage time when I’m not wringing my hands or rubbing them together or fussing with my hair – all nervous habits my character needs to display. Big thing I’m working on now: a quick eye shift, left to right. It’s something everyone does without thinking about it, but it’s a lot harder to do it on cue and make it look natural. Same with allowing any emotion to emerge on your face: you gotta make it look natural, and as soon as you think about it, it’s no longer natural. Trying to BE the role more than act the role. Keep myself on edge for the scene. Allow my personal nervous habits to come to the fore. If I’m IN the role, my face will react the way I want it to. If I ACT this thing, it won’t. So I must be a late middle aged lonely woman who’s very nervous about meeting someone for the first time.

Gee. Like I don’t know that.

..Okay, I’m not LATE middle aged. But other than that….

Watched an outstanding documentary on the Night Witches. Took notes from the book my director leant me. There’s still a lot of that story that’s foggy for me. Do I set this at the training facility? Thought I might, but after watching the documentary I’m rethinking that. I’m zeroing in on 9 months in 1943. The regiment is up and active, and the fighting intense. I’d hit the worst months of the war, including the death of their leader. And I’ve built in reasons to write it: it would begin with the first replacements reaching the regiment, and end with the recognition of the regiment as an official guard unit. But I’ve vowed to keep on researching. One idea will come to the forefront, show itself to be superior to my other ideas.

I just gotta hang in there.

Back to it

Writers from the UK only. Irish and UK residents only. We focus on Texas writers. We want midwestern writers only. Canadian writers will be given top consideration. We will not read international scripts. No submissions accepted from outside the lines we’ve drawn in the sand.

Fucking hell. Fifteen minutes of an internet search and the rug’s been pulled out from under my feet. Every time I check for new theatres to submit to, there are more bullshit caveats like the above. Restrictions. The ‘if you don’t live here you can fuck off’ attitude. Isolationism is the new fad du jour.

Yeah, go stick your heads in the sand.

Theatres have, as a matter of fact, closed down so much with their submission policies I’m really starting to think about screen plays because – at least for NOW – those are open to all writers no matter where you currently live. Kind of feels like a trap, tho. Spend loads of time mastering a new format to find everyone has closed down their submissions again. I mean, that’s what happened with the fucking theatre scripts.

Bastards.

Sometimes I hate the world so much.

Well, I’ve still got a couple places I can send out to. After this year, tho…*sigh* I might be working in a vacuum again.

Yesterday’s social outing went well. Easy conversation, pretty comfortable. Mentioned some of the summer fests coming up and hope we can get together to wander the streets of Rotterdam enjoying the music and art on offer. It’s good to have someone other than my brother to talk with. And…my ego got stroked a bit. They were at my script read through, and I felt like I had a gold star hanging above my head the whole time. There was no question as to whether or not I was a good writer – only whether or not my scripts have been chosen for production. That’s new. Usually when I mention my writing (or music, or anything else artistic), people demand (demand!) to know what I’ve done – and then they sit there saying ‘uh-uh’ or ‘don’t know it’ or ‘never heard of it’ like that was their intention in the first place – to put me in my place. But I didn’t get any of that yesterday. Instead, I had some polite enquiries on the status of my radio script. Super enthused grins when I talked about my current script. Quick ‘yes’ replies when I asked if they were interested in helping me with the Night Witches. And I thought ‘Damn! These people really respect me as a writer!

It felt good.

Today: physical activity is needed. Like, direly. Gotta get to the gym for a full bash (hopefully not my ankle again). Want to put time in on the script and start to get it in the new system. Have two old films I recorded off BBC to watch. Should also do at least one run through of the play and my lines. And I should get serious about Dutch, and do a bit every day…again. Fell off that last resolution pretty quick, but the key to accomplishing your goals isn’t doing it all in one go, it’s getting up every time to you fail and starting again.

*sigh* Get up. Back to it.

Keep your eyes open

Do not know how long I was at it yesterday. Began writing before my brother woke up. Took a breakfast break when he came out of his room for coffee. Back at it before he left for the comic book shop. Surfaced around five in the afternoon. Came up gulping for air, actually. It was intensive.

And the first draft is complete.

Shivers. I think I’m dead on with my 30 minute timing, too…

A glance at my calendar told me I’m not one month ahead of myself, but two. So I’m not touching the new script for a few days. Oh, I’m itching to read it through. Test it. See if it’s as good as I think it might be. But I’m gonna let my brain rest. Honestly, it feels swollen. Like the grey goo is all puffed up and pushing against my cranium. Not pain, exactly…just very tired.

Two days ago my brother pointed out that our glass recycling needed taking out. Today, the recycling is still sitting in our kitchen, un-taken-out. The dishes aren’t done, either, for the second or third day in a row (I forget how many). I wonder how my bro feels about that. …Irritated? Has it wound him up like it winds me up, and will his sleeping brain program him to NEED to clean when he wakes up? Color me skeptical. I think he’ll easily let it slide for a few more days…whereas I, now out of my writing trance, am irritated by it no end and will probably begin cleaning by 8 a.m.

Someone needs to do the grocery shopping, too.

…Thinking about calling for a reading of the new script, tho I’m concerned about two things. One, this is very topical. So topical I’m not mentioning it (even the title of the piece) to anyone but my brother. It’s not that I don’t trust the people I know, I just know that people are stupid. They’ll say something without thinking to their hairdresser or the receptionist at the dentist’s office – who’ll then say something to someone they know, who happens to be a writer, who’ll be better known or have an agent or just get their stuff out faster than me, and suddenly my brilliant idea is old hat that no one wants to read. My second concern is more personal: I don’t want to call a reading just to toot my own horn or show off – Come! Read my fantastic script! I feel confident on my timing, sure in the story telling. There’s no real reason to read it through, no questions I have other than can it actually be pulled off? – And the answer to that question will not be revealed in a read through.

I’d like to squeeze in some gym time today. Not that I’m in the mood to go and sweat. Nope. Want to let my body ooze through the day, inert and sluggish. But I think getting up and (at least) walking for an hour would do me good.

Received a temporary rehearsal schedule from the director. Temporary because it’s only laid out for four weeks and if anyone can’t make their night, the whole thing will get shifted around. Fine by me. I’ve nothing on in the evenings. Thought we were going to work with two scenes each night, meaning four actors would be at every rehearsal. But the director’s schedule has only one scene blocked out each night. Which means, since my acting partner is on holiday from now ’til July, I’m working alone with the director on my nights. He even blocked himself in for reading the other role in my scene.

On the heels of my questioning his girlfriend’s reaction and all that I see occurring within the dynamics of the theatre group, that tiny, black and white rehearsal notification set my heart racing. Oh, Goddess! Not again! 

What the fuck am I gonna do now?

My first thought: circumspection. Don’t stand too close, don’t laugh too long, don’t talk too earnestly to him – and certainly don’t bring him any blueberry muffins! That grates at me. Damn it! It’s so rare I meet someone who could actually be my friend that when I do I become this big, enthusiastic dog. Jumping around, slobbering everywhere – happy just to be there. And I like to stand close to my friends, laugh long and hard with them, discuss real issues in a forthright and serious manner, and bake them goodies. It’s what I do. So to ask me to reign it in…feels like I’m asking myself to erect walls – something I’ve been told I do very, very well. Something I’ve been trying very hard NOT to do.

Ach! Enough. I’m thinking too far into the future again. I don’t know what’s going to happen, and I shouldn’t be making so many bleeding assumptions.

Look down at your feet. You have so many steps to take before you’re there!

Just…walk slowly. And keep your eyes open.

The Next Step

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Oh, Mary! The trash talk I’ve heard lately! From remarks over personal appearance to slags on professional competency, every plug was pulled and I heard all of it – or at least enough of it to listen and comprehend exactly what I’m dealing with: stage egos.

Sunday the theater group did a matinee. And still I was the first person to show up at the venue! I even cut my timing to be there a few minutes past the time told to me by the director. But I guess getting there and having a full three hours of set-up/whatever time before opening curtain is just still too much for everyone. They only need an hour. My early timing did afford me to chill out and relax with some of the people in the group I’ve been helping as they waited for the others and had some coffee out front. Honestly I was a bit shocked. More than a bit shocked. The coffee cups were still half full when this began:

…I mean, he doesn’t have the best physique. I know I don’t want to see him take his shirt off….doesn’t know what he’s doing. He has no ability to make a decision…..can’t act her way out of a paper bag!….We’re so much better than they are!

It went on and on until one other actor piped up and pointed out that if this group expected people to support them then they’d better all hang out and support the other group performing before them. Ah! One decent soul without guile. That’s something I can work with. The rest were…egotistical. Almost narcissistic. I made appropriate notes in my head. A couple of people were marked with ‘very possible assholes who’ll turn on you the moment you show your back’. Sad, but at least I’m fore-armed.

Finally saw the full production of the group that goes on before us. I’ve seen scenes but not the entire thing, so Sunday was my very first time. Honestly, the group I work with IS far better than the first. Seems all the stiff actors are piled into the first play and all the natural talent actors piled into the second play. But I don’t want to outright diss the first group. For one, they’re doing a drama which is just a tougher thing to sell (especially with 6 different accents in the mix). For another, it’s a different director. And I had an opportunity post diss session out front to observe the second director in action. He’s the one that merited the ‘he has no ability to make a decision’ comment. True to form, at one point I was asked to get something available offstage for people to put their stuff on in-between scenes. The second director was there and tried to help. He looked at me and asked me what I thought. He began bringing some rickety cartons and stacked them up. One touch and they all fell over. Hm. He came back to me and asked me what I thought. Again. And when I made the decision to hunt out real chairs and followed through by bringing them backstage, he melted into the curtains and faded from my sight. He seemed almost helpless in that situation, and relied entirely on me and my decision making ability. While I acknowledge and thank him for ensuring that he didn’t just bark out directions and make everyone feel bad, I do think a director needs to direct. Either the job should have just been delegated to me – ‘you take care of that’ – or he should have said ‘do this’ or ‘do that’. Not ask me what I think should be done (twice) and then kind of ineffectually help and ineffectually fade away. And now that I’ve seen the entire play I can say this with certainty: it should be done as a comedy. Half of it IS a comedy. The other half comes off even more flat and depressing because there’s a couple of lines here and there that are real belly laughs. The director I’m working with sat next to me in the back row to watch, and I had to lean over and whisper that it should be a comedy. He nodded vigorously.

He’s also the only smoker in the group and I scored mega brownie points by bumming a ciggie from him and joining him out front for a smoke.

What I have not seen, neither on Friday nor Sunday, are any of the eager people who first showed up to open rehearsals. Not very surprising. Every single one of them admitted they were there to audition for roles. I was the only one who said ‘I’m just happy to be here, and I’ll help out however I can’. And I keep saying that. Being a star is fun. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done that numerous times. But being part of the group is fun, too. I’m old enough and experienced enough to REALLY understand that no one can do it alone. It’s always a group effort. If you’re too wrapped up in yourself to get that you’re gonna miss out on a lot. And I don’t think you’ll end up happy.

Things I received for my hard work:

  • Just about everyone in the group knows my name now.
  • I know almost everyone’s name in return.
  • I’ve shared jokes and gotten laughs, and heard jokes and laughed in return.
  • Hugs. Real hugs from real, breathing people.
  • So many thank you’s I feel a little embarrassed.
  • Acknowledgements every time I’m there. They see me. They say hello. I’m included.
  • Time has flown, not crept. I’ve slept long and deep.

This coming Friday is the last performance. I’m being gentle with myself this week because on Friday I want to stay out with them and have a few drinks. I can catch a train every half hour that will take me to a station about a 30 minute walk from home. I’m looking at a long night. And it’s supposed to rain.

But I think I’m ready to take the next step.

Vomit

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Still no word from my friends, though I did read about the internet hack so maybe it’s just a matter of time. Maybe they sent out messages to me and are waiting at their respective homes, thinking ‘why haven’t I heard from Beeps in a few days?’. Not much response on my last post, either, and I’m telling myself similar things; the web is down, people are busy, I wrote it at an odd time in the day for me, etc. Figures. I have loneliness problems and the Universe just seems to mirror that and shoot it right back at me.

My head’s finally cleared, though. I’m out of writing mode and back to responding like a real human. I hear what people say and see what’s going on around me. My old doubts have crept back up on me too. Been thinking my script really isn’t all that funny, or good, or anything. That big L I generally feel floating somewhere around my forehead is lit up with neon – “Loser“. The odd thing is, it feels like I’ve come back into my old self. Like that manic fantasizing, positive about me person is just a fake. A costume I put on once in a while. I can wear it, it looks good on me, but it feels wrong. In the end, it feels wrong. It chafes at me.

How odd to say I feel better even tho my head is doing a number on my ego again!

Rain and cold weather are coming. How do I know? My knee hurts. Yep. Turning into that old cracker in films that gimps around, looks at the sky, and announces rain. How’d ya know that, granny? My rheumatism is actin’ up, child. The knee doesn’t lie. Oh, lovely! Maybe I should buy a corn cob pipe, too.

Hell.

My very cute physiotherapist made the comment last time I saw him that I was ‘a young person stuck in a body that has an old person’s disease’. Been this way for a while. RA took me down in my mid 30s – and when I say took me down, I mean took me DOWN. If you see me roll my eyes or hear my exasperated sigh when someone points out one knuckle on their finger that’s affected and painful from RA that’s me thinking ‘oh, poor you!’. I. couldn’t. move. Bed ridden for – well, if you added up all the times I was bed ridden, probably for about three to four years of my life. Three. to four. years. Years. Years asking my brother to help me get up. Years calling for help in the bathroom because I couldn’t get up off the toilet. Years of needing help feeding myself, dressing, do anything that a normal person takes for granted. Down. All the way down. For about 4 months it got in my jaw and I could barely chew.

Yeah, I feel trapped.

And you know, it’s not something I can easily get other people to understand without coming off as the world’s biggest downer. You think YOU got pain; let me tell you about painSo I stay silent most of the time. When I do talk, I hear the same shit I hear every single time I bring the subject up: but you’re so young! Young my ass! YOU get in this body for a few days and tell me how young you end up feeling. Oh – and see if you can stop yourself feeling depressed, too.

*sigh* I was told on Thursday that 51 is still young. Is it? Is it really? Because I remember my folks at 51 and they weren’t young. They weren’t doddering grey haired people, either, but in no way were they still young. Been thinking that maybe the Dutch as a people tend to live longer than I’m used to seeing, and maybe that’s why I keep hearing this stuff. If they’re used to seeing people live ’til 80, 90, or 100, 51 IS still pretty young. But I’m used to seeing people die by the time they hit 70. To me, 51 doesn’t leave me a lot of time.

Maybe it’s just that illusion of youth that seems to follow me no matter where I go or how long I live that’s garnering all these comments. But it’s weird. I hated getting slighted for my age when I was younger. You know the types of comments that can do it: you’ll understand when you’re my age. You’ll change your mind when you get older. And now I’m older. And I still hear things that make me feel slighted. Sorry, but when I tell you I’m bloody disabled with this fucking disease and all I hear in response is ‘but you’re so young!’ it feels like you’re negating what I just said. That my RA can’t be all that bad because you think I look young. I’m sure it’s not being said with that intention. But that’s what it’s starting to feel like.

My rheumatologist and my bro are the only ones that really seem to take the disease seriously. Then again, my rheumatologist has seen my blood results and my brother’s been the one helping me on and off the toilet for the past 16 years. They know. Anyone else, meeting me on a good day…Well. I was a consummate actress at one point in my life.

Blah, blah, blah. Old age and rheumatism. If that’s all I can write about, I really HAVE turned into an old woman.

Finally walked in and joined the gym near my home. No excuse to not get exercise now! I took that away from me. Even if there’s a foot of snow on the ground I can hop the metro to the next stop and the gym entrance is right there. Maybe I’ll break my gym cherry and go in this morning. Sweat in front of an open window. That’s bound to bring some stuff up. *rolls eyes*

Like I haven’t been vomiting up my issues all morning.

Wrapped and Sealed with a Bow

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Act one, 6000 words. The writing is done. Now it’s just formatting – or as I like to put it, let’s play ‘tab, tab, tab’.

*groan* And you know, I don’t even feel I can properly bitch about the formatting I’m facing because I’m old enough (uh-oh, here she goes) to remember those black and white typewriters with keys two inches off the board. I spent the beginning of my work career on one of the very first electric typewriters that had a small memory chip; I think I could input one page first and then it would type it all out at once. It didn’t have a big screen, only a very small one about 2-3 inches across. I could read half a sentence at a time. And no preview, no spell check, no auto correction whatsoever – so when that page finally came out, I just had to HOPE I’d made no huge errors in spelling or formatting. If I did (and I often did), it was back to square one.

My computer is so much easier! Yes, I’ll sit today and hit the tab button unimaginable amounts of times. Yes, I’ll do all my formatting by hand. And yes, I’ll be happy about it, thank you, oh computer gurus of the world.

Anyway. The fun part of writing is done with, for now. I had one of my not-so-secret manic wishes to get the first act done before break is over – which was far more about me being able to say (with feigned innocence) ‘Oh, that. I wrote that over the break, in a couple of days’ than anything else. I’m guessing from my inner need to have my ego stroked that I’m feeling like the little goody-two-shoes who hasn’t got a gold star in a while. Pat me on my head. Tell me I’m a good girl. Christ, you’d think by now I would have grown out of that! But that’s my ego. In the meantime (thankfully) my brain hasn’t been concentrating on that too much. I am too far gone.

Pulled my head out of my computer at 2 in the afternoon yesterday with a gasp. An audible gasp. I was working on the final lines of the act, knowing I’d read that a standard playscript generally runs about 18,000 words so my head said ‘Oooo! 18,000 words divided by 3 acts! That’s 6000 words an act’. Down, down, down the page my words crept. Up, up, up came the word total. And just like writing on this blog, I managed to wrap up the act in a natural place within 2 words of my word goal. Even got a final joke in as the curtain closes. But my brain wouldn’t stop. I had a headache – still don’t know if those are coming on due to caffeine withdrawal or WHAT; feels like I’ve just thought too much and my brain is swelling against my cranium. And I’m stuck in that world right now. Stuck in the living room with the Clarkson family as their world tears apart. Can’t shut it off. Even when my bro talks to me it goes something like this: ‘Hey, I was thinking about [Judy’s going to announce she’s pregnant…yeah, that’ll work in the second act] so I thought I’d [what do I write for the characters? I mean, saying Charlie is a middle aged man just doesn’t convey enough to the actors] and then we can have dinner. How’s that sound?’ I just kind of nod my head and agree, tho I really don’t know what I’m nodding my head and agreeing to.

Really got to get myself back on schedule in the next few days. I’m sleeping in, not exercising, and without a doubt smoking too much. I’m also writing something that might be really good, so I’m not beating myself up too much about all the rest. Just noting it. Today I’ll put my shoes on and head out for a long walk in the fresh autumn air. Stop at the gym and sign up. Buy my lotto card. Try a bit of Dutch again (oh man! do I even remember anything?).

Stop freaking, Beeps. It’s only been a day – ONE day – not a couple of months!

Really?

Oh. Shit. I guess when you immerse yourself in some other world time moves differently.

The local forecast has changed from rain, possible rain, and more rain, to sun, sun, and more sun. So I’ll get out. Remember how to be human again. Not exactly sure what I turn into when I write, but it’s far from human. Doesn’t like the light at all. Smokes incessantly. Wants a dark room, with just the computer screen acting as illumination. And don’t disturb it! Gods, it’ll take your head off!

It takes a long time to come back from that.

Small goals. Breathing fresh air. Listening to what people say to me. Finding out what’s going on with everyone else. If I’m honest, it feels a bit like coming down off an acid trip. A little strung out and out of it. You KNOW you’ve been off in orbit and completely oblivious of everything for at least 8 hours. You’ve had loads of fun, but now you see stuff like the dust bunnies on the floor which are no longer cool, nor hold any answers to the universe, but are just bits of hair and old skin cells that you haven’t picked up yet. Your perception shifts back to the prosaic, and it’s a jolt. Always takes a day for me to readjust.

So I’ll do my chores. Take a shower. Try to wrap my head around some Dutch verbs. Ugh. It’s like putting myself back on a diet after indulging in a night of cake eating. This morning, tho, I’m clear. I’ve done well. I can let act one go. It may still need formatting, it’s sure to have typos I need to fix, but the story is done. I’ve wrapped it up and sealed it with a bow.

Shallow-o-meter

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HORROR!!!

*sigh* I am developing a wrinkle around my lips. In fact, I have developed a wrinkle around my lips. By the time you notice that shit, it’s set it. No getting rid of it now. Oh, I’m lathering it up with lotions, trying to minimize it, trying to keep it from getting deeper into my skin, but I know there’s really no use. It’s there. Welcome to my face.

The first time I saw a tiny crow’s foot begin around my eyes I felt similarly. A bit of panic – when did that get to be there? A bit of self blame – should have taken better care of yourself, missy. A bit of acceptance – oh goddess, I AM getting old, aren’t I? Maybe that happens with every wrinkle. Of course, THAT thought doesn’t make me feel great, either. You mean I’m gonna feel this way every time a new line shows up on my face? Yeesh!

Oh, I am a shallow bitch.

I guess you never really know where you sit on the shallow scale until you hit an older age and everything starts to sag a bit. Or does this aging process bother everyone equally? I’ve never asked another woman if her wrinkles bother her. And why should I? Seems half the time the answer will be ‘oh, yes, and I’m getting botoxed for my birthday’ or ‘yes, and someday I’ll have a little nip and tuck’ like pumping poison into our skin or getting sliced and diced for the sake of “beauty” is in any way normal. Do not need to hear that shit. The other half of the time seems to be this breezy acceptance of aging and wrinkles, something I’m afraid is just a bit too above my level of self confidence. I want to feel that way. But I still think ‘horror!’ when I see my wrinkles in the mirror.

Shallow, shallow, shallow.

Took most of the weekend to recoup from my super-push last week. Pumped up on homemade chicken soup in case I’d been exposed to something – an awful lot of people are getting sick right now. Took it easy on my walks, easy on the stairs, no sweating, no panting. Slept a lot. Still need to watch myself this week, but I feel ready to start my work.

Did myself the favor yesterday of heading down to find the theatre I’m supposed to show up at tonight. I didn’t find it, but I did find where I’m not supposed to go, which is almost as good. My instincts led me wrong but I know now where I went wrong and feel confident I’ll be able to find the correct building even tho it’ll be dusk. Going to make a bit of an effort – this afternoon one of my chores is to haul out the ironing board so I can iron the blouse I want to wear tonight. First impressions and all that. Okay….I’m a little nervous. Public space, a lot of people I don’t know at all, and all of it back in the world of theatre which I left decades ago. I’ll be leaving early tonight, and taking a J to toke up outside while I wait. That’s the bald truth.

On Thursday I tried to talk to a fellow classmate during our language lesson break. I walked down to the ground level and there she was, sitting alone at a table. So naturally I joined her with a bright hello in Dutch, ready to make small talk with our limited language abilities. I’ll give it to her; we managed to get through the standard questions of where are you from, are you married and do you have children before I found out exactly WHY she was sitting alone. One word: God. She’s a religious freak. Once God was mentioned – and she brought it up – that was it. There was no other topic of conversation because everything came back to ‘the Lord’. And she revealed her self-righteousness to me by saying that she would pray for me, that I needed to take her God into my soul, but that even if I didn’t do that she wouldn’t judge me although I was certain to head straight to Hell. For fuck’s sake! I did NOT roll my eyes – I should receive a medal for that self restraint. I did have to resort to my standard ‘if your God is that judging I don’t want to go to his Heaven’ line which naturally she didn’t like one bit. So much for that. Pity. She speaks English, so if she’d not been such a hard ass we might have become friends. But I’m sorry….I can’t be a friend to someone who straight up tells me they think I’m a bad person because I don’t believe in a white fatherly figure in a toga being all powerful. No matter how often she told me she wasn’t judging me, it was pretty fucking evident she was.

Hoping I meet a different set of people tonight. I’ve nothing against my fellow classmates, but I have found that highly religious people and I don’t really get along. And a LOT of the people in my language class are highly religious, adhering to one dogma or another. While I feel a bit desperate for friends I’m not ready to give lip service to a bunch of crap just for a bit of company. I’m not ready to tone myself down. Damn it all anyway! I’ve been working all my life to really come out, really be ME. The very last thing I need is some uptight religious freak telling me I shouldn’t do or say or be this or that because it offends their God. Not one of them seems to understand the hypocrisy they mouth every time they say something like that.

Now THAT hits an eleven on the shallow-o-meter. So shallow you don’t even know you’re shallow.

Guess all my fretting over my face only ranks a 7.