Moment to moment

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

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

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

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

Does this mean I can’t take success?

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

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

Oh, dear Goddess.

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

…And the morphine pills have a refill.

Fuck.

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

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

Watching Downton Abbey. Beautiful fantasy.

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

This is moment to moment living.

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My kind of Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My kind of Monday.

Let loose

I get to be someone’s nightmare.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why can’t I just be accepted as different?

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

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

No.

I just want to let loose.

Dead from the belly-button both ways

Your brain isn’t broken. It’s not! It’s impossible, so just stop saying it.

Do not know how long I worked on Dutch yesterday. I can tell you I began before my brother came out for breakfast, and finished just before dinner. Several times walking away in there; I kept telling myself I’d done enough, stop, take a break. I’d get up, walk away for half an hour…then come back and do more. Couldn’t stop. Don’t know if it was guilt from not doing enough last week or just stubbornness.

And I looked up every word I didn’t know. Wrestled with every sentence to fully understand the little turns of phrase. I even bloody well wrote my little story for next week, keeping it short, keeping it simple, and doing my best at every turn to use our current homework words.

Determined to make notes on what my instructor tells me today, but not necessarily change my answers. Last week she let four mistakes slip by her. She’s not infallible, and unless I really understand her corrections I’m not making them. Better to learn from my mistakes than give a wrong answer she told me to write down – that just frustrates the hell out of me, because I have no justifications or logic behind my answer other than ‘my instructor told me that was right’, which is NO justification at all.

I DID take the time to read part three of my thriller trilogy. Just enjoyed it. Think I want to expand one scene, add a bit to it and give one character a few more lines. Other than that, it’s ready to go. It’s tense and creepy (just what I wanted) and other than having to buy a prop gun for the finale, it doesn’t call for much in the way of props.

Also took the time to walk my agenda out. Gotta light a fire under my ass. Time is slipping away from me. To make my commitment to the group and present them with a finished draft of the trilogy, I’ll have to write non-stop over Xmas. So, this weekend I have to start correcting Taman. Can’t put it off any longer. Need it done and off the system so I can move on.

Trying to stop saying ‘I’m doing my best’. I’m always doing my best, but it’s beginning to sound like an excuse. I’m one of those people who always did well at whatever she tackled, so it’s difficult for me to accept my errors and mistakes. Trying to make sure I always AM doing my best: putting in the time and doing as much as I can without driving myself insane. Or making myself ill.

Feels like I have very little me time. Which is silly, because everything I do I do for me, but… I guess I’ve grown accustomed to having ample time to sit and think. About stories, about the news, about my past, about life. That’s the time that’s disappearing. While I agree I need a balance – time to think AND things to do – I don’t know where that balance is. And let’s face it: I tend to overdo things. Exercise? I have to go run myself into the ground. Dutch? I want to master everything overnight. Writing? Days lost in a concentrative trance. I don’t do things on a small level. So I’m naturally worried about overload. That side of me that bites and growls, that side of me that people stare at…

And there’s my problem. I lost in for a short time in Monday’s class, and one of the instructors shot me that look. If you’re a person who loses it on occasion, I’m sure you know the look I’m talking about. That startled deer in the headlights gaze: frozen in surprise, with just a hint of fear showing somewhere around the eyes.

I have made an oath to not do that kind of thing a million times. And a million times, I’ve broken that oath.

That’s what’s bugging me. I did it again. (Can you smell the blame?)

Fuck.

Maybe I do need medication. Lately… Let’s just say I’ve had this small stream of people’s facial reactions run in a loop in my brain. Those startled looks I get, all piled up, one after the other. I feel wrong. It’s my fault. My fault that I do it, my fault that I’m too fucking chicken shit to go thru the whole process and find a medication that works for me. And I just think, you really never feel this way? It’s hard for me to grasp. No. Not just hard; impossible. I can’t imagine it. Can’t imagine being so balanced, so calm, so together that I never lose it.

Where’s the bloody passion? It just makes me want to grab people and shake them. Shake them and shake them and shake them until their eyeballs fall out of their sockets. Feel something, damn it! React! Wake the fuck up!

I realize a society based on passionate people would be very chaotic. But sometimes it feels like I’m the only person awake on this planet. Everybody else is asleep. Busy in their little worlds, with their little dreams. They see but don’t see, hear but don’t hear, care but don’t care. And while I can blissfully experience that kind of distraction while obsessing over something like my work, I cannot fathom being there 24/7.

To quote my dad, you’re all dead from the belly-button both ways.

I really don’t want to lose this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m writing; leave me alone.

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

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

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

This is you

Friday. Final rehearsal last night. No big surprises or hiccups. May have another reader for Taman; it’ll depend on how healthy he is (sick at the mo).

No word, either, on much of anything. Saw J as she walked out; said she’d begun reading the script and liked it so far. Told her I wanted her to read Nina on the night. She was excited.

Word is we’ll have 45 or more people during our final performance. That’s doubled from the last time I heard the number. Did not ask if there was a trackable change from my work, but can’t help but feel that maybe I had a little to do with the numbers going up. Hopefully a time will come when I can actually ask about sales. If there was a peak sales day after I posted notification on the web, well…I’ll take well-deserved bow.

Was hit again last night by the little green monster. One of the actors discussed how he and his wife ‘flew on a whim to France for a few days’ over our week off. Can’t help but feel a bit envious of that type of ready cash. Well beyond my means. But, then, I thought about what he did over the break versus what I did – and decided that my time was better spent. He went and drank wine with his wife. I created something.

And meh. Made mention of my difficult week of language lessons. The people present broke into Dutch – jokingly. Too fast and too advanced for me to try to answer them, but I caught the gist of their words and replied – in English. Tried a little Dutch with them, but honestly I’m so damned embarrassed by my lack of knowledge! I KNOW I talk like a damned kid – mixing tenses and using the wrong verb form. I’m getting better each week, but I’m painfully aware of how poorly I speak. Still. Had a compliment on my pronunciation, which is the first step to being understood. I’ll take what I can get.

My mind has drawn a curtain down. Saturday night after the performance is when time stops. A bit worried about making it home; the handy metro system stops running out to my house around midnight. And my acting partner is not driving, so I’m making my own way. Found notice that the city is running a late night bus on the weekends. It leaves every hour. Need to double triple check the wording – been caught out more than once because I missed some added fine print at the bottom – ‘no longer in service’ or some such phrase. But I’d like to stay after the performance. Enjoy a beer or two. Chat with people. Problem is, I also want to make sure I get home without having to walk for over an hour because there isn’t any public transport going out where I live that late at night. So I’ll do what I can to cover my ass. Maybe that means walking into Centraal station to confirm there’s a bus running that late. I can do that.

But there I am stuck. Just…getting home. Sunday is a blur to me: I really have to buckle down on memorizing this page of verbs that don’t follow the rules. And I have a new letter to write, today or Sunday…probably Sunday. I’m in the last 24 hours before performing, and I don’t want to break the character. Will be going thru the body language from here on out. Walk, move like her. Don’t do the voice; it’s too taxing. Besides, get the body language right and the voice comes out naturally. The hand movements, the nervous gestures, the tilt of her head, the way she raises her shoulders…these are the things I’ll be doing.

Honestly, sometimes I think I’m nuts. To do a role properly, I become that person. For this role, that means becoming a nervous, unsure older woman. My body reacts to this as if I really am that nervous – meaning I’ll get gassier and less and less comfortable in my skin as the performance approaches. I don’t look forward to it. But I don’t want to fake it, either. I could. I could fake it all and get away with it. The audience would never know.

But I would…

And that’s something I’m not willing to accept. So I have to mess with my own system. Bring up those insecurities, let them eat at me a little. Nibble, nibble. Open the door to the darkness that drives that kind of behavior.

lol! That’s never been the problem. The problem has always come afterwards, when I try to turn it off and shut that door.

*sigh* Fuck and oh, well. I’ll live. And maybe I’ll do something great.

The sudden influx of insecurities is NOT helping me when my mind turns to my writing. Someone pat me on the head – please! …Which is why, I suppose, I’ve drawn that mental curtain down in the first place. Put an end to the chapter of performing before I open the chapter of writing.

…I gotta trust myself on this.

Fuck it all. Sunday will be a whole new world. I’m afraid of being afraid in that new world. Feels like my self esteem issues were much better of late. And I’m worried I’m gonna need to claw my way back.

So…put a bookmark in it. We stop, here. Just a pause. Sunday we’ll open this up again. We’ll find strength through reading our work. We’ll know, in our gut, it’s good – regardless of reader comments, regardless of other personal agendas we have no fucking idea about. KNOW that. Cement it in here. You do it with your insecurities to bring them out at the proper time; you can do with your self confidence. Regardless of what you write, regardless of who you become on stage, remember ONE thing:

This is you.

Progress as a verb

Run.

Nothing like watching a horror film to make you remember why working out is important. What if. That’s all you really have to ask yourself: what if. What if disaster struck, what if you were being chased by an axe wielding maniac. Three years ago, my answer would have been ‘lay down and die’ because I was stiff, out of shape, and in a lot of pain. Yesterday, my answer was run. Run fast, run hard – and the great thing was, I found I’m still capable of doing that.

For the record: 8 minutes and five seconds in I passed my first kilometer. Passed the second kilometer in 7 minutes. My knees felt good, I felt strong. Did my stretches and abdominal exercises and free weights, too.

These days, I have a fairly decent chance of getting away from natural disasters and axe wielding maniacs. Not if I’m with a bunch of 20-somethings. But give me an average group, and I’ll be able to outrun a couple of them. I’ll also be able to fight if needed. I’m lifting more, getting some real muscle definition, and while it may be a while since I had any martial arts lessons, I still know how to move.

Don’t underestimate this old broad.

I said I’d laugh at myself if my plan worked, so HAHAHAHAHAHA BLOODY HA! My letter on behalf of my brother was answered – in less than a day. Fastest response I’ve ever seen on flipping ANYTHING. They want a PDF sample. That’s my must-do today: check the text and pick what to send. And since I didn’t send a sample of the manuscript, let me crow because it’s all down to me. My letter, my writing, my pitch got this response. Bloody hell! Wish I could do this for my own stuff! But envy aside, I’m very pleased and working to contain my excitement. This next letter is as important as the first, so I’ll work on it as well. Pleasant, friendly, open and willing to compromise while at the same time holding a high degree of professionalism. That’s what I shot for in the first letter, and I’m holding to the same standard in the second.

Goddess, please help me not fuck up!

Just a few, short weeks left before performing. Don’t know I’m actually ready for it. You know how things go – once someone knows the jokes, they tend to not laugh. That’s what’s going on. My funniest bits go un-laughed at, and I’m starting to doubt the comedy of it all. And I know how much laughter from the audience can throw you. Hearing other people laugh can set you off. I’d like a bit more indoctrination on that, but it’s gonna be feet in the fire, and keep a straight face because you really only get that experience by performing. I keep in mind that the funniest bits on the old Carol Burnett show were often when they’d lose it a little and struggle to keep straight faces. In other words, don’t be afraid of the process. Or even more simply: trust yourself.

…For the very first time since beginning my heavy cross trainer exercise, I find myself wanting to go to the gym two days in a row. I’m not as exhausted as I’ve been in the past. Tired, but not exhausted. Feeling pretty good, as a matter of fact. That’s why I want to go. And so I will. Not to cross train, but to walk on the treadmill and do some biking and lifting. Won’t let myself fool myself into two hard days. I know how that goes! I’d do it, and burn myself out so much I’d have problems the rest of the week. Nope. Simple movement today. If I can live through that and begin doubling up on days at the gym, then I’ll consider two hard days in a row.

Wow. Can you imagine? When you spend a lot of time sick or in pain, you begin to think that’s it forever. It’ll never get better. And let’s be clear: it ain’t easy. I invite anyone into my brain during my work-outs to experience the nausea, the pain in the push, and all the shit I have to shoulder my way through before I get the endorphins everyone talks about. But it IS getting better. The image of me toddling around barely able to walk, or the one of me using some sort of walking aide…they’re beginning to fade from my possible futures. At least, in my head. I know RA; later today I might not be able to move. It’s a bitch of a bitchy disease, striking when you least expect it, taking you down when you’re not prepared. These are things I always need to remember. I just enjoy not dwelling on them.

*sigh* Got to admit I’m wound up. Received a letter from immigration the other day. It was just to pick up some paperwork, but I thought maybe it indicated a positive response in our case. It wasn’t, yet it was. It wasn’t the magic ‘yes, you can stay’ answer I wanted, and I must admit I feel disappointed even though there’s no reason for it. I also feel a heightened anxiety over the entire issue, which again is nonsensical. What the letter does indicate is movement. Progress. A forward motion in life. The great gears are turning, and things are changing. I’ve lived through this often enough to know I might not be pleased with the outcome, and I guess that’s what’s worrying me.

We risk everything to move forward. I risk my health every time I work out. I risk my brother’s shot at the best music publisher in the biz if I don’t get that package just right. I risk failure on stage. And, the hardest to admit, I risk facing deportation if my immigration case doesn’t go through.

But stagnation isn’t the answer.

Progress is. Not as a noun, but as a verb. I progress through life. Yes.

Bow, wow!

And so…

Went to the appointment for my shoes. Talk about trepidation! I know they’re built for me, but my orthopedics have caused me so many blisters and so much pain I grew scared of putting them on. Haven’t had them on all summer, as a matter of fact, because they’re leather, and ankle boots, and hot. Plus, aforesaid problems. Tried the shoes on before my appointment and GOT them on, which proved to me once and for all that yes, my feet swell up during summer, it’s not my imagination. Had a bit of luck at the shoe shop; not all shop help are created equal! Some know their stuff better than others. Got someone who really understood shoes (and my terrible Dutch with English interjections) and in less than 20 minutes I walked out with shoes that no longer hurt my feet. Glorious! Better still, I made it to the first corner on the street without pain. Yippee! Then the rain picked up, so I quickened my pace – still no pain.

I wore those shoes all day yesterday without incident one. YES! They’re finally what they claimed to be in the ads.

Made an appointment for my second pair. Asked for (and was shown) softer material. Picked out a sneaker type of style they had on file. Asked for (and was shown) a thicker tread for winter ice. Will I be able to wear these at the gym? I asked. Yes, I was told. They’ll be just like sneakers, only better. In fact, we’ll make them wider right away, so you won’t have any problems, and you should be able to wear them year ’round…

Hot damn!

Chose to NOT run errands in the rain yesterday. Plenty to do, but…I’m worried about my health. It’s cooling down quickly, and people have a nasty habit of continuing to wear T-shirts on days like today because they’re unwilling to give up summer. Then they get sick, I get exposed, and that’s it. My bro understood, and picked up some slack for me. Thank you!

Want to get back to the gym today. Still beat from my all-out on Thursday, so I won’t even try to equal that. But I need to move. Also need to do a full ‘dress rehearsal’ here at home, and video myself. Trying out this new take on my role, and I want to be as tight as I can be on Monday when I spring it on everyone. Plus, I gotta put in some practice time with these false eyelashes. It’s the first time I’ve ever tried them, and they’re a little tricky to put on. And I’m still not sure of my accent, so filming myself should give me an objective view (and hearing) on what I’m trying. Then there’s housework: dishes, hoovering, laundry, and the dreaded (ugh) cleaning of the bathroom.

Been perfectly happy the last 24 hours to sit still and do nuthin. Watching tv, playing games, sometimes just staring off into space. My mind has truly gone blank; I’m not thinking about writing or my stories – at least, not consciously. Who knows what’s being whipped up in that kitchen sink in the back of my brain? Allowing it. The last thriller was only half-cooked when I looked at it, so it needs more time. All the ingredients are correct, and the heat is on low. The chef can take a coffee break.

Feels like I’ve been on a manic streak again. Still got that over-riding positive attitude. My stuff will be discovered and produced! It’s good! I question my own reactions. Toyed with the idea of utter failure (again). Imagined it – the long waiting, the silences, the incessant beating down of rejection after rejection. Can’t honestly see myself keeping my positive attitude if I don’t get a tiny bread-crumb trail of hope. I try to prep for failure, but it’s almost impossible right now. I’m as quick to discount the negative possibilities when I’m manic as I am to discount the positive possibilities when I’m depressed. Doing my best to see all the alternatives and keep my feet on the ground.

…*sigh* And can’t some shrink just read this blog to analyze me? I’d really like some prescription medicine around this time…

Because I’m scared of the fall. I know it’s coming; it always does.

And I do my best to not be scared of the fall, because fear always makes a situation worse. I’ll get through it; I always have. That’s what I tell myself. But there have been times I’ve not been sure I’d make it. Black times, hard times. Down the well with no light times. I’m as scared of that as I am a full blown RA flare up. I’ve lived through both, but I never want to go back there. I mean never. Both extremes had me begging for death.

…Doesn’t help that I know (I know!) this conundrum of worry is a by-product of my mania. It’s not happening now; you’re getting stuck in the future again! Yeah, yeah. But once you start chasing your own tail, it’s difficult to stop.

Bow, wow!

Trust

I murdered four people before breakfast yesterday. One I poisoned, and watched him twitch and foam at the mouth before his head fell onto his plate. One I suffocated, holding a cushion over her face until long after she stopped moving. Two I knifed, slipping the blade in like I was sheathing the damned thing, until they fell to their knees, blood dripping from their mouths.

And it was glorious, glorious! I wrote like one possessed, and for all I know, I am.

My day out at the comic shop seeing the guys was fine. Spent most of the time talking to E, which is becoming a habit – but E just volunteers some time in exchange for a few comics; the rest of the guys are actually trying to make a living out of the shop, so, you know – I get it. While I’m kind of sad not to talk with everyone, I’m always happy to see so many customers. Means the shop is doing well, and the guys have a chance. …Gotta admit, I kind of begrudged the time on the way there. The place is all the way on the opposite side of the city, two metros and a 15 minute walk away. Takes me an hour to get there, and that’s if I make a quick metro connection downtown. Couldn’t help but think that I should be writing during that time – I left the script just before I killed everyone off, and was hot to trot to get to some mayhem. Somehow that begrudged time off was a good thing (again). I’d been fuzzy on how, exactly, everyone was going to die, but I found when I boarded the metro for the long journey home, I’d worked all that out. I knew not only how to kill off the four characters I was writing, I also knew more about the final installment of The Terror Trilogy – that’s what I’m calling it. Catchy, no?

Got to the gym for a decent sweat. Didn’t push. In fact, I was off the cross trainer early because I felt something pull by my ankle. Figured it was from standing in the comic shop for three hours the day before, stationary, talking. Did my abdominals, the treadmill, and the free weights without any pain.

Came back and read thru Taman again. Hallelujah! My head is now so deep into my new script that I was able to read it with fresh eyes. Found a couple of lines to change, and one typo that escaped my previous perusal. Bothered by one line of dialogue. It fits, it’s tight, and it works – but I believe I’ve borrowed the line, or paraphrased from something else. Gotta modify that. …Think I may pass that script onto J for a read. I don’t know if I’m still just very invested in my characters, or if I’ve really written something this engrossing. All this time after writing it (I know; real time isn’t long but writing time IS) and I’m still tearing up at certain points. It’s poignant and heartfelt without being schmaltzy. Or so I hope.

Tonight is rehearsal for the upcoming play. Looked again at the schedule, and found I’m paired with the director’s girlfriend almost every damned time. Ugh. The one person I don’t want to see again. For one, their bit isn’t really that funny. For another, it’s her… So I’ve decided three things. One, I’m going stoned. Two, I’m bringing an emergency joint. Three, I’m leaving as soon as the rehearsal part is over and they begin talking about money and jobs and everything that triggers me.

My brother surprised me yesterday. He’s made no bones about the fact that he does not like the theatre, he doesn’t think the play sounds funny, and he just doesn’t give a damn. I’ve been making sharp remarks now and then about it. Oh, I understand…and I know he doesn’t like theater in the first place. But I wanted him there. It’s not like I’m guaranteed to bring in a bunch of friends! I’m bloody well asking shop keepers and practical strangers because I still haven’t broken thru that Dutch barrier to real friends. Anyway…I knew the sharp comments were petty and small when they slipped out, and chided myself every time something came out of my mouth. My brother…he said he’s coming. Coming to film me, so he can put it up on the internet. Part of that, I know, is just his wanting current stuff to promote us on our site. The other part is the part more important – the part that realized this is important to me, and whether or not he actually likes the damn performance, he’s going to support me.

Oh, and let’s face it all, shall we? There’s a third part to his compliance: a chance to play with his new phone. He’s been hooked on it non-stop since he got it (it really feels like a modern household; he even watches television glued to the damned thing).

…I’ll concentrate on that second part…

No more excuses, no more dithering. This week my language lessons start. Haven’t picked my books up at all over the break. Been trying to tune into conversations and what I hear on tv, though. Lately, anyway. Trying to get my ear back into hearing it. I’m intimidated by it again – though I shouldn’t be. I know it’s there, somewhere in a file marked ‘Dutch/Nederlands (which is an improvement, because it used to just be marked ‘Dutch’). Just gotta access it, and trust. Trust to my memory and my intellect. Trust that I’ll fuck up a few times because I’m rusty. Trust that it’ll be okay, I’ll pick it back up, and in reality my brain never stopped working on the language even though I haven’t opened a book in weeks.

Trust.

Flurries on the brain

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is this person I’m becoming?

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

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

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

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

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