A whole new animal

Sorted through the umpteen million PDFs of writing opportunities I’ve got on my desktop. Good thing, too. While many are just getting catalogued – found them too late for this year, so I’m saving the info to have a head start on next year’s calls – a couple caught my eye. One call is for a 30 minute play due September 1. I can make that. I can write Night Witches and still make that. So now my schedule is sorted. First up, my radio script. Transferring it into Scrivener, a writing software designed to handle real projects: scripts – radio, theatre (US and UK), film – research papers, books. There’s so much in Scrivener I’m having a difficult time getting through the instructional information. Pretty sure I’ll pop for the full version. It’s loaded and it works on my older operating system. But I’ve gotta see what happens when I transfer in something I’ve already written. How much formatting will hold? Probably none. I won’t kid myself there. Good news is, formatting is the easiest (tho most boring) part of writing a script. So, in goes the radio script. Add a few things here and there for the next place I’m submitting to. Take a deep breath, ’cause there’s no break allowed – straight onto the 30 minute script. One month max for it while simultaneously reading the book on the Night Witches. Have time to schedule a read through with the local theatre group if anyone’s actually around during summer (other than me). Send it out, start writing Night Witches pronto. Leaving myself a couple of months to flesh in the story, call for a read through, and still have more than 30 days left to fix any problems and polish it up before I submit it.

Also just spent time thinking about my personal schedule. I’ve got this tendency to diss myself and everything I do – you might have noticed. So I counted. Counted the hours I spend exercising for my RA, the hours in language class, the hours for doctors and physio and dentist visits, and with a mere 4 hours given over to writing Monday through Friday I’m topped out at 40 hours a week. To take care of myself, and do a little bit of writing. 40 bleeding hours – full time shit. No wonder some part of me balks at volunteering time anywhere; must have already known I’m maxed out.

Rehearsals are called for next week Monday. Three hours in the evening slated to read through the entire play (all 4 skits) and talk about character development (or some such theatrical jargon that’ll make everyone feel like they’re involved and participating when it’s really the director giving instructions to actors too dense to understand their roles). Want to watch and listen with my writer’s perspective; I tend to distance myself emotionally from the situation when I fall into observation mode. I stay calmer because people become characters acting things out in front of me. They’re not mean or nasty towards me; they’re showing me a scared and callous side of themselves. Remember that! I intend on watching the girlfriend of the director closely. Big surprise she made the cut – not. At the moment, I’ve got her pegged as the biggest see-saw of the bunch: loudest mouth, most unsure about her talent (as am I; never seen her try to act), and most likely to get thrown off balance by something not connected with the production.

My head’s wagering on what’s gonna happen. This chick is the one who was disruptive during my reading. I think I’ve sussed out all the possibilities for that behavior. Now she’s got to deal with me in this production. Cold shoulder, or false best friend? How will she react? Odds are I’ll get the false best friend. Forced cheerfulness. Inclusion when possible in order to sneak in those barbs that can’t be called out because they’re too deep in entendre. Oh, yes. Been there, done that. It’s what I expect.

But I’m not the person I was thirty years ago. I’m not so easily disrupted. I’ve a few good foundations to cling to, to remind me of what’s true and what’s not. Don’t know what she expects of me. Maybe she doesn’t know either. What I do know is this: I believe I have the capability to handle whatever she throws at me and not lose my cool. Because one thing is absolutely clear to me – I don’t care if she likes me or not. I saw her real face early on, at one of our meetings, and had that analysis confirmed during my script read through. I don’t like her, and I don’t want to be her friend. She’s got nothing to hook me with, nothing to hold over me, nothing to use against me. Wanna diss me on my work, my looks, my age? Go on! Nothing I haven’t said to myself. Nothing you’re gonna say that’s any worse or harder than what my own brain comes up with to taunt me. I shall laugh. Laugh at her, laugh at her attempts to unhinge me.

No, I’m not the child I was. I’m a whole new animal.

Glinda was right

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Went to the gym this morning. First day. I’m in better shape than I would have thought. The exercise bike was a piece of cake; need to turn the resistance up more next time. The rowing machine was tougher, and brought a sweat to my forehead in 15 minutes. Some of the arm machines are too large for me. If I sit comfortably, my arms aren’t where they’re supposed to be. If I put my arms where they’re supposed to be I’m not sitting comfortably. So I moved onto free weights. My biceps are wimpy, wimpy, wimpy. As are my deltoids. My triceps are, surprisingly – DESPITE the bat’s wings I carry – much stronger. Ended up just doing reps with 1kg weights. Spent an hour of time there. Next time, I may stay longer.

Back home, onto Dutch. Computer lessons: listen, repeat. Learn new words. Quiz. Learn some opposites. More repetition. More quizzing.

Break: do the dishes and make my bed.

Sit for half an hour playing games.

Writing, now, then off to buy things. One thing here, one thing there. All local, so more walking to and fro, and naturally more Dutch. Whip up another sauce for gnocchi tonight. Tidy up. Try some Dutch reading.

Day 1 of Keeping It Together is going pretty well. Even touched bases with friends and did a fast post (rather grumpy; it was political) on FB. The theatre group IS meeting tonight, but they need to keep the rehearsal closed because they need to work. I’m hoping Wednesday will be open. Haven’t tried writing more of the script yet. Still working on picking up all the balls I let drop the last time I wrote.

Busy. I feel busy. I’m not; not really. Just filling my life with picking stuff up around the house, getting some fresh air and exercise, cramming a word or two of Dutch into my head now and then, and amusing myself to the best of my ability. But it’s a far sight better than my days of belly-button lint picking. Even if some of it’s nonsense, it gives me something to do. Somewhere to be. Language to try. Social anxiety to get over.

And hopefully with going out on walks or shopping for small stuff or heading to the gym I’ll naturally smoke less again.

…Recorded a couple of things off tv late Saturday night and sat down to watch them yesterday. One was an excellent study for me as I write for theatre. The other…The other was a French film about the painter Renoir. It centered on the last years of his life. Didn’t know, but he was almost crippled by my old friend Rheumatoid Arthritis (he’s such a bad ass I usually feel I need to capitalize his name). It was hard for me to watch. This took place a scant 100 years ago. And they showed Renoir screaming. Waking up the household staff in the middle of the night. They had this coffin-like framework they put over him to hold the covers off his limbs. The only relief they could offer was to bathe his hands and feet.

It was 2 hours and 10 minutes of my worst nightmare. On screen, full color, stereo sound.

I had to watch. For one, the story – the REAL story, not the RA part of it – fascinated me. For another, no one catches light on film like the French. Such style!

But it disturbed me. Came too close to what I envisioned myself looking like at one point: bedridden, crying out at 5 a.m. because it’s ALWAYS at 5 a.m., twisted fingers and knobs growing on my knees.

And I’m so thankful. So bloody thankful I’m in the present. Just think. A scant hundred years earlier and that WOULD be me. If I’d even survive that long. I have my not so good days. My days when my knee gives me gip and aches. The days when my feet feel all tingly and numb. The days when my hands can’t seem to grip anything. But that’s nothing in comparison. Nothing. Today I barely feel like I should mention it.

There’s a reality check for ya. Every once in a while, it’s a good thing. Kind of snaps me out of that ‘oh, woe is me’ attitude and reminds me how bad things could be. Can’t ever really rid myself of my anxiety, though. Any snafu with my medication and that is exactly where I’ll be within a year. Twisted. Screaming. Begging someone to kill me.

Is that not a valid reason for anxiety?

Part of me tells myself I’m borrowing trouble imagining what would happen to my body without medication. The other part of me says we’re just looking at reality and not denying it. Which is right?

*sarcastic laugh* And it’s not like I can even let myself think about it too much. Anxiety ramps up the RA. So I can only consider these things in passing, then I must let them go.

Same old, same old.

Back to basics. To the foundation of myself. The first and last statement: I am. There is nothing more. We try, we kid ourselves that deadlines and careers mean something. But in the end, as in the beginning, there is only the statement I am. In those two words are the answer to everything if you take it far enough. It’s all I’ve really got in my bag of tricks. No guru stuff, just that. That’s the core. The spring from whence everything else flows, if you will.

Hm. I always envision my path before me, as a road. A line of light I follow through life. And yet, I always seem to circle back to my core statement. To that wellspring of utter stillness.

That’s never left me.

What do you know? Glinda was right.