Thoughts and thanks

Ninety minutes.

I’m not a big phone talker. Maybe when I was 14, but not since then. Use the phone to make a date or a plan to talk in person. So much better! But last night, I was on the phone for an hour and a half with S, the casting director from the film. Unexpected? Absolutely. But not unwanted, even tho the call came in around 10 at night (she’s a night owl).

I think I might have found a real friend.

Heard about the last day of filming, which went great. Heard how much everyone missed me, which felt great. And then, it was just talk. Talk about life, relationships, self confidence, our past…Well, we had a long conversation, so we covered a lot.

She said I was a role model. That she thought I was brave. I’m a bit stunned. Me? Brave? Maybe in front of the camera, but other than that I know how deeply chicken shit I tend to be. Yet, there it was: I was tagged as brave. I think that might be the first time in my life I’ve earned that particular label. I don’t feel like a role model. But then, I’m older. I’ve let a lot of stuff drop. I used to worry about people finding me attractive. Now I think about being a good person. I used to worry about saying too much, being too blunt. Now I state my opinions simply, without an argumentative tone in my voice. I understand how, as a younger woman, that might look brave and like someone you want to emulate. And good if that’s what it is! If I can take one day off of another woman’s internal suffering because they admire how I deal with life or men or politics or whatever, then I’ve lived a life worth living. I know how long I’ve sat in the shit. I don’t think anyone deserves to feel as bad about themselves as I have.

And I am so tired of seeing women tear themselves down. That shit that surfaces from competitiveness and petty jealousies. The nasty comments behind the back and to the face. The use of male branded put downs, male dominated ideals, male led lives. We have allowed ourselves to be led around the ring by our noses, just like the pieces of meat so many misogynists see us as. And those of us caught in that web deny it: I’m not jealous; she’s just a whore.

Can we be honest? Can we say that a lot of that surfaces because we’re all dick hounds after a good fuck? Because we all want this fairy-tale ideal we were fed from birth, that a perfect life includes a husband who has a good job? Okay, I know I’m ignoring the lesbians (sorry) and the non-sexual people out there. I’m making a point. This shaming of women BY women comes out of competition. It’s insidious, and it’s been instilled in us for forever.

Every time we do it, we play their game. Every time we do it, we support their foul opinions of us. Every time we do it, we kill ourselves and hamper our futures and the futures of all our daughters.

It’s got to stop.

If the only way you feel you can get ahead in life is to tear someone else down, you’re not making any progress.

I guess considering the world these days, that attitude alone should make me a role model. Embrace it, Beeps. You’re a knight in shining armour. Hm. And thus, comes understanding of how roles are thrust upon us. You just…live long enough that you become an oddity. An oddity that people admire, but an oddity nonetheless. And then they tell you, and you begin to monitor your own behavior. You start to become what they see you as, because a part of you doesn’t want to let them down. So you try. You reach for the bigger part of yourself. You keep doing that, keep trying.

And so you become.

That’s not to say you buy your own marketing. Therein lies the problem. I guarantee you that at the base of any star’s suicide is a deep seated belief that they didn’t really live up to their image. Maybe it’s not the ultimate tipping point, but it’ll be in the mix. It’s a big and ugly problem. Because people need those heroes. People need role models, the personalities larger than life to inspire and lead them thru dark times. But it can feel like a lie. I’m not really that good, I’m not really that smart, or that talented, or that beautiful… You need to balance what is and what is perceived.

Tread lightly, oh walkers of life! You never know when you will become. And you never quite realize, from where you are, just how difficult that balancing act is.

So. I have a friend. Admiration. Dizzying amounts of respect. It is as tough to take as the opposite. Especially after years of having no friends, no admiration, and no (or little) respect. And I don’t want to fuck it up. I want friends. I want people in my life. People who are happy to see me, people who are sad if I’m ill. People to share things with, because fun is amplified a thousand fold when you share it.

I am…at a loss. I don’t know why I’m getting this outpouring. I don’t know what I did so right to deserve it; if I did know, I’d keep doing it. All I can do is be the brightest me I can be. Listen, care. Slow down enough to really interact. Share my sense of humor. Hug people when I know they need it.

Waking every day with a sense of thankfulness. It’s totally new. I’ve had it for short bursts, over little accomplishments. This feels big, and solid. Like a river of lava flowing thru my life: huge, encompassing, and burning away all those truly inconsequential things that have been hampering me for so very long.

Thank you.

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Mainlining

When it rains…

Oh, baby! Flood me! C’mon! I think it’s safe to say I have never experienced the type of upswing currently underway in my life.

Signed into my pen name email yesterday. Usually there’s nothing there. So often, as a matter of fact, that I complain about tumbleweeds rolling thru. And, to be honest, there was only one email waiting for me. But it was a doozy.

The group I sent my first thriller, Blue Whale, to has contacted me again. They loved my story, but at the time they thought the tech requirements were beyond them. Do not know what’s changed, but they want to consider it again. And they contacted me. I’m just in a tizzy. Theatres and artistic directors don’t do that. They say ‘we’re open for submissions’ and sit back and wait for stuff to come to them. They do not pursue writers, they do not contact writers days ahead of notifying the general public to say ‘please, please, can we try your work?’. It just don’t happen.

I’m living a dream.

They’ve also asked if I’ve anything else. Think I’ll send them Taman. It’s done, it’s tight, and they might really like it. I have nothing to lose; they’re going to consider Blue Whale no matter what. So enthralled and thrilled I don’t dare ask if their tech requirements have changed. Talked to my bro about it, and he thought maybe they’ve been thinking about BW this whole time. Considering what they can do, how they could make it work.

Erk (that’s me, choking a bit). People…are thinking about my work for months?!?

…And here I am, emailing back and forth with a bleeding ARTISTIC DIRECTOR of a theatre like we’re old friends! I – I – I….I’m stuck on amazement.

More coffee, and another J.

Feels like I’ve hit a wall. A wall of excitement. I can’t be any more excited. I maxed out days ago. This…just stuns me. And I think that if more excitement comes my way, if things keep up this momentum, I’ll find that new balance of living IN this. Get the role? Exciting, yes, but no reason to jump up and down. Blue Whale gets done? Same again. Taman gets noticed? Ah, yes, add that to the list.

I’m waiting now to see if the last piece falls into place. If, when my teachers get a hold of the children’s story I’m writing in Dutch, I hear that I should send it out to get published.

Got a feeling that might happen.

Today is all mine. Did as I said, and contacted my Thursday teacher to tell her I wasn’t coming to our lesson. Got to the gym, stretched, did a long walk on the treadmill. Today I run lines, shower, prep for tomorrow. Hell! I even did my nails last night – cuticles and polishing – because I figure most women my age would do that type of thing, and it’s the small details that make a role.

…You know, I’ve had shit hit me like this. One thing after another ’til I felt like I was gonna break. Being on the flip side is weird

Weird.

So weird, it’s completely blanked out my anxiety over finding my audition tomorrow. I’m too up. I’m also too focused. Not the usual drive myself ’til I drop manic focus. Oh, no! This is a down to earth, get enough rest, think long term focus. No amount of excitement will prevent me from sleeping. No amount of excitement will prevent me from doing what I need to do – like getting to the gym for regular exercise. No amount of excitement will rile me up to the point where I can’t write. …Good Goddess, do people operate on this level as a regular thing? Or have I flipped into some hitherto unknown hyper-mania?

Television has been shit lately, so yesterday evening I ran some of my recorded Futurama episodes during dinner. Watched the one where Calculon comes back from the dead. Kept laughing at his hammy acting and inflated ego, right up to the point when someone in my head said, ‘That’s what Mom was afraid you’d turn into.’ *groan* I examined that idea, and you know what? I find it fucking insulting. You thought I’d turn into that kind of ego maniac? What made you think that? The way I was so quick to backtrack, so fast to take the blame in any situation, so immediate with my ‘I’m sorry’ exclamations? Or maybe it was how proud I always was of myself – after all, I’m the woman who allowed herself to beaten at the hands of partners and raped multiple times; obviously my ego is out of whack. What. the. fuck -?

Oh, yes! And before I forget. Had an apology – APOLOGY! – from Celtx about their original email. Ye Gods! I really will burst with one more thing.

The words of my hated sister ring in my ears this morning. You don’t know how to handle success. Can’t stop thinking about it because she was right. She said it as an accusation, obviously. My sister’s modus operandi: shame me. But it’s also a statement of fact. I don’t know how to handle success, because my family never let me succeed. Not in their eyes! Now that I’ve basically cut myself off from them (excepting my occasional nostalgia driven internet searches), I’m free – FREE! – to experience success. But no, I don’t know exactly how to handle it. It’s all new to me. The good feelings, the flattery…the sheer headiness of it. None of that underhanded nastiness I’m so used to. At least, not yet. It’s out there; I know it is.

But for now, it’s pure, and clean. Real admiration. Real compliments. I feel like they’re raining down on me in one, huge burst from the Universe.

And baby, I’m mainlining.

My writing speaks for me

Whirlwind. The dust bunnies are settling (no, I didn’t get to them) now that it’s over. What was the reason? One day of massively concentrated writing.

Taman is essentially done. A couple of typos I caught on the last read thru. But the extra scene, the additional dialogue to spin out enough time so it didn’t seem like everything happened in two days, and a few references to modify the tone here and there…that’s done. Finito. In a few days’ time I’ll take the pdf from the system and wipe it from my page.

Good on me. Good on me for thinking ahead. Had some time after the gym yesterday (never really feel like taking on a big project post workout) so I buzzed around the internet, searching for theatrical props suppliers. Wanted to know what sort of costs I was running up in the thriller, asking for a gun and prop knives. Found some articles that made me think we might not be able to get said props here in NL. Asked the group, and sure enough, it’s a big hassle. Toy guns are okay. Prop guns are not. I’m assuming at this point that prop knives are just as big a hassle. What I’ve been reading seems to indicate that.

So, knives are out. Oh, sure, maybe we could find a rubber one, but I wanted retractable knives to stab. Just wouldn’t be the same. That makes Act 2 tough: how do the two siblings kill each other? I’m thinking poison, voluntarily taken… Sad to think Act 3 might feel a little cheap using a toy gun. But I gotta have a gun. I’ve thought and thought about it, and the gun is…it’s poetic. It’s poetic and frightening and terribly sad all at the same time. The last scene just wouldn’t be the same without it.

Sat in my chair last night during telly, half watching what was on, half listing out all the ways to kill someone without using guns or knives. I like electrocution. It carries the possibility of a good scene. But it implies forethought, and these killers do not think ahead. They just kill, using whatever is at hand. Beating someone to death is basic – and I’ll use it. It will take more physical acting than I’d anticipated – I’ve got a fight scene, but not a fight to the death. Most importantly, tho, I don’t want to double up on deaths. I don’t want everyone to die from gunshots, or stab wounds, or strangulation. I want variety. Total variety.

Gotta say, spending my time looking at all the things in a room I could kill someone with is…weird. I feel a little weird doing it.

….Hm. Too bad nothing I’m writing is near water. Drowning is always a spectacular death…

On land, without forethought, I’ve got strangulation, suffocation, poisoning (a little forethought there, but I can make it work), beating to death (body), pushing their eyes into the brain (difficult to pull off without FX), pushing someone off a height, hitting them over the head hard enough with an object… There’s always variations, too.

And there’s a thought! Can we get break away bottles to use rather than the guns??? I could make that work. Easy. Make a note to check.

…Now that I think about it, I could write a drowning scene. It only takes a few inches of water to drown someone. It can be done in a sink. Hm.

Rather morbid thinking for 7:30 in the morning.

When I’m done rambling, I gots Dutch to do. Meh. Not looking forward to it. I’d rather sit and pontificate on paper. But I need to look at those verbs, and write out my homework. It gets two hours of my time before class. No more.

My bro’s been proclaiming (loudly): Don’t forget to say ‘you’re number two’. I think he’s put that in my brain at least a dozen times since my crying jag. Still don’t know how to properly say it in Dutch; suppose I should try and look it up. The idea behind it is that I’m a writer. I write. Do not ever ask me to give up my writing. Ever. For anything. Because everything comes second or lower. This is an idea I need to communicate to my Monday teachers. I enjoy being challenged – but do NOT grill me or act disappointed when I say ‘I was writing’ and didn’t study. You do not come first; you are second at best. Third, if I’m honest, because I’ll blow off all my Dutch including my class to act.

And I do not want to hear ‘you’ll never get the language if you don’t stop using English’. I’ve heard that nugget of donkey shit already. No. I’ll take longer to learn to the language if I keep using English. It’s not fucking impossible, and I won’t believe it is.

And you know what? I’m cocky enough this morning to say that I’ll eventually get the writing side of Dutch enough to do my thing with it. Maybe I’ll never speak like a native. I think I could live with that, if my writing passed the mark.

I’ve never been real good at off the cuff. I can do it, and if it’s a subject I’m knowledgeable about, I can be intimidating. But…ask me how I’m feeling, what I’m thinking at any one moment… Then I stumble. Then I say things poorly. I can’t seem to find the words to explain myself clearly; I’m too caught up in the jumble.

Which is why I write. It gives me time to think. Time to lay out my ideas – as much for me to see as for the world. Once I’ve done that, I can be as bluntly honest and quick on explanation as anyone. But not before. My verbal communication has never been strong.

My writing speaks for me.

Ready to step out

My brother hauled me out of here yesterday. Said I was going clothes shopping. Didn’t matter if I kept to the minimum or not, my b-day’s coming up and he thought it high time I had a couple new pairs of sweat pants and a fresh set of pj’s to lounge around in during my off days. He took me to a mall we don’t usually go to because we have to swap metros to get there – but it’s the only place I’ve found frozen soy “ice cream” that I can eat to my heart’s content because it doesn’t contain cow milk, and I hadn’t bought any for months and months and months, and…well, I like it.

For less than a hundred euro, we both walked away with new sweatpants and matching hoodies. I also got a spare set of sweat pants (seems I can never have enough, going to the gym like I do), a new light grey sweater that’ll be nice for class or going into town somewhere, my pj’s (men’s, top ‘n’ bottom, a cottony soft set I might not take off today, good day or bad), and 5 frozen cartons (bought them out) of chocolate soy deliciousness.

Gods, that frozen chocolate soy whatever-you-want-to-call-it is good!

Received a surprise email from a board member of the theatre group. They’ve had a request for actors from some film students, and I was asked if I want to participate. No pay, but reimbursement for travel costs and food and drink on site. Plus, the credit. Can’t forget that. Yes, yes, I’m interested! Hope to hear back this weekend. Hope they just send me the script and the shooting schedule (plans are to shoot between 7-10 December in Den Hague).

And I know! I know. Just shot myself in the foot, didn’t I? Yesterday’s post I bemoaned the idea of not having time to do what I want, and here I am making plans to jumble up my agenda and give myself even LESS time.

But…it’s a film. A real acting credit that might be seen by someone else. Something I can add to my IMDB page (yes, I have one).

And after all my crying and epiphanies and moments of self-realization, I can’t say no to my dreams when opportunities to make them happen are just handed to me on a platter.

Following that email was another email regarding the vids from the play. Nothing terribly important about it, just a ‘can’t wait to see them’ statement – but it came from the father of the board member who sent me the film opportunity. I feel a little pressure being put on me. Talked to my bro about it and decided I’ll proceed like a real, live grown-up. I’ll use his video work as a bargaining chip. I’m not gonna say ‘give me the role and get the video’, but I also feel if the role IS given to me, I need to make sure the group (and in particularly the board) stays sweet, so I’ll release it. Had to get my bro’s ok before I used his work like that. He’s all for it, naturally. He’d be all for me killing (literally) the competition if it got me what I wanted.

Now, I wait to hear from them. Have it all set to fall like dominoes at the word go.

And so, the Universe brings to me a solid damned reason to create boundaries. A real, live commitment that will force me to say at least once to my Monday teachers: I’m sorry, but I can’t do this homework. I’m too busy. Too busy with what? they’ll ask. And I want to learn how to say this in flawless Dutch:

I’m busy with making my dreams come true.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Meantime, the daily drudgery continues. Top on my list is to get Taman going. Dutch is going to the side-lines today. Maybe I’ll get a lot done and be able to work on Dutch tomorrow; maybe not. I’ve already put in a lot of time on my homework. What I will NOT do is sit around on my ass and create an emergency situation where I’m trying to finish Taman, do Dutch, and film at the same time. Forget it. I know what’s likely to come. I’ll prep for it. That includes doubling down on hand washing, eating well, getting to the gym, and sleeping enough – all that pesky shit I have to do to stay healthy. I had a passing thought of ‘well, if I fall sick now at least the play is over’. Uh-uh. Nope. Stay on the up. The wheel’s turning and I’ve got to be healthy and strong enough to grab it this time!

Goals within goals within goals. Other people stack plans or lies like that. For me, it’s goals. Stay healthy, so I can get the role. Get the role, so I can make connections. Make connections, so I can find someone interested in taking my work to film. Get someone interested in taking my work to film, so I can really have a career in writing. And if it just so happens that I become well known for my acting along the way, I won’t be complaining.

*snort* That’ll be a change of pace.

I find it difficult to stay calm in the midst of all these possibilities. Difficult to stay anchored, difficult to meld the heady dreams with the cold and somewhat greyed out reality of what it takes to get there. Difficult, too, to take the disappointments that come out of living like this. …Honestly, I don’t know that I’m ready. Don’t know that the world is ready to really see me. I’m not medicated (yet; the subject was touched on again by my bro). I still struggle with that concentrated emotion I seem to have so much of. There’s so much of me that’s unfinished.

But I’m ready to step out.

Pretty fuckin’ crude

Feelin’ good about yer English? Cool. Now let’s do Dutch.

Was worried my recent writing high would make me feel twice as bad about mistakes in language class. Just the opposite; yesterday I cut myself more slack and was more understanding of myself and my mistakes than I usually am. It’s okay, I thought. Look how far you’ve already come. Must admit it helped that most of the class wasn’t up to speed. Some hadn’t written their story for homework. Many hadn’t worked on the irregular verbs.

I picked up my third novel in Dutch. Yep! Only one in class to finish any book – and I’ve finished two so far.

And, English or Dutch, my twat side comes to the fore. The teacher’s eyes popped when she saw my story – two pages stapled together. The writing is big, and I’m using every other line so there’s plenty of room for corrections. Still…it was the longest of any student’s story. By far.

But I’m a writer. I think I’ve accepted that fact now, right down to the tips of my toes. I write, and I write well. Another language? Well, don’t expect that to slow down my brain. You’ll still get startling statements from me. They’ll just be a little immature and have a few grammar mistakes.

This week’s assignment: write something in Dutch every day. Nothing fancy, just what we did during the day. Like a diary entry, my teachers said. Yeah…like I have any hope of keeping THAT simple. And it could hardly be like a diary entry, in truth. My blog entries are stilted, many sentences lack full grammatical structure because of the casual nature of my writing, and once in a while I pull a purposefully poor sentence and/or spelling out of my hat because…well, I just do (either I think it adds color, or it’s an echo of what I think my family would say to me). I’ll get marks off if I pull that in class. Full sentences, proper grammar, proper tense.

And it ain’t so much my sentence structure I be worried about, it’s the thoughts and ideas behind my words I got the willies for.

That truth I can’t stop speaking.

Case in point: this week’s assignment. A little story about your family. I confined it to my dad, someone I felt I could be at least a little bit positive about. But what did I write? I wrote about his depression, and the depression and alcoholism of his father. I wrote about my dad’s brother, who died in WWII. I wrote about my connection with my dad, how I had his blue eyes, his dimples, and his way of looking at the world. …Pretty sure the rest of the papers are going to say stuff like ‘I have two sisters. My oldest sister is married with three children. They live in Timbuktu.’ I mean…yeah. I could write that. I could bore myself silly with that shit. I’m beyond it already, and eager to write more.

There’s so much more to words than just plain facts.

Been being extra, extra good with my ankle. Maybe it was hurt more than I realized. Took longer than I care to admit for it to not hurt when I just touched it. But now, my back is beginning to seize up. I gotta move. Been getting out, doing more each day, but today has to be a gym day. I’ve got to get walking again, for at least an hour. I can’t sit comfortably at night. That shit’s gotta stop. Tossed my agenda around; was going to get my blood work done today, but that means an extended public transport ride into the hospital. Can’t do that comfortably, so put it off a day or two. The doc told me I could get my blood tests done first thing the morning of our appointment and the lab would be able to process everything in time for our meeting, so no time constraints on that side. Tape up the ankle, get to the gym, and walk.

Hoping getting back to the gym will simultaneously fire up and calm my brain. My brain has been working – but it’s often static. Grey noise meant to distract me. Flighty thoughts, with no beginning and no end. Circular. That’s dangerous territory. Often it ends up with me berating myself endlessly, caught in some web of thought that won’t let me go. I want to find my rock, nail down an end of my thoughts, and start spinning. For that, I need a moment of calm, a little quiet pool in the river of my brain. And I can’t get that with static going on non-stop. Gotta turn that tv off.

And how do you turn that tv off? By turning the animal on.

It’s the visceral part of you you must empower. For me, that means exercise. Nothing to wake the animal up like running the body hard. I don’t think about my family or my past while I exercise. All my attention is given over to my heart rate, pumping my legs, working harder, enduring even when I want to give up. Oddly enough, tho…while I’m aware of all that and while it drives the static out of my brain, other things do come to the forefront. Connections I can’t see while I’m caught in some self-imposed web. Sometimes the connections have to do with me, sometimes my writing, sometimes the world in general. But that’s what I want. The animal push quiets that all pervasive low level angst I have over things not being right. It’s not right, what we do. It’s not right, how we treat other people. It’s not right, it’s not right, it’s not right!

How can we all have heard as children the lessons about sharing and caring and turned out to be such SHITS? How baseless, how crude is humanity, truly?

…Pretty fuckin’ crude.

I have value

Sunday, and I’m still on a high from all the praise I received at the script read thru. My brother admonished me for trying to jump right back into my routine. Take it easy, he said. Give yourself the weekend to sort yourself out. Did not help my flightiness to receive a note from the producer about the first part of the thriller series.

He likened it to Lovecraft’s work. Lovecraft. That’s like…classic.

My head’s spinning to be compared to such a well known author.

Too excited and jumbled to do much, but I did make a start. Payed for my gym membership (late; it was due on the first), picked up some groceries and needed items, took out the garbage. Spent more time on my feet than I have lately due to my ankle, and I felt it. So I lolled around in the late afternoon, and seemed very much a lady of leisure when my bro returned from the comic book shop.

Ach! And I have a weird complaint. My hands are not so good anymore. The RA’s done its thing, and my grip is generally pretty weak. Seems to me I’m always asking my bro to open this jar or bottle, or pick something up for me. And just this past week I dropped a bottle, shattering it, due to a poor hold. So what I’ve got to say doesn’t make a lot of sense. But, here it is. Every once in a while, I get super-strength. Like Hulk smash super-strength. The latest evidence of this is a now ruined pepper grinder, which I apparently twisted so hard I broke the entire thing. I swore up and down to my brother that it must have already been broken, that I didn’t even turn it that hard. He just laughed at me. No, it wasn’t broken. Yes, he was absolutely sure of that. He doesn’t blame for these things. He’s seen them too often. And he knows I have no intention of breaking anything. There are just weird moments when all the strength that’s left my hands comes rushing back, and I’m more powerful than I think. Then things twist and break like dry twigs. …I’m lucky this time it was only a pepper mill.

Spent time on my Dutch. Reading. Wasn’t really going to. Just wanted to take a look and see where I was in the book. But I began reading a few lines to remind myself where I left off, and suddenly I was sitting back, turning page after page. Only one chapter to go before I’m finished. Should be able to finish up the story and write out some verb conjugations today. Meh! Notice how I left the verb conjugations for last – my least favorite thing to do. But I feel pretty good. I’m done with the writing, almost done with the reading, and (while not looking forward to it) ready to work on verbs.

Today is laundry and dishes, hoovering and dusting. Hoping to get some guilty assistance out of my brother, which is why I left it for Sunday, when he was home, rather than Saturday, when he’s at the comic shop. Could use it. The place is bit dingy. A little too much dust on everything, a few too many pieces of grit on the floor…just dingy. I think I’ll just ask my bro to help me. Why wait to see if he volunteers? One hour of his assistance will wipe this place clean. Then I can gaze around and not feel guilty over the way it looks.

That would be nice.

Been walking the calendar out, assuring myself I’ve plenty of time to adhere to my schedule and write my scripts. It isn’t the easiest thing to do. I mean, planning time – that part of it is easy. Assuring myself that I’ll stick to my plan, that I can focus and write when needed and not freak the fuck out – that’s the hard part. Seems like a lot to do. I break it down into small bits. Do this part first, then work on that. For long term things like language, that means promising myself I’ll work an hour a day. For short term projects like my script, it means telling myself to take care of typos first and then worry about re-writes. But both those ideas are like promising myself I’ll stop eating cake and cookies. I can make that vow with incredible intensity – and have just same amount of intensity pulling me in the opposite direction when the moment of truth comes. End up having to use a combination of tough love and reward system: berate myself into doing it, then reward myself for completion. I’d like to love myself into doing it, but, one step at a time. Right now, results are more important than method. It’s important to me to finish my writing. To complete the trilogy, to send out Taman. To keep going, and not let anything hold me back because for once – once! – I really know I’ve got something here.

I’ve no mother to disparage me, no father to lovingly hold me back. No DNA siblings to shame and humiliate me, or make me feel lesser than. There is nothing to make me stop. Nothing but myself. And I won’t let that happen. I won’t let me sabotage myself. Do I hear me? Because what we’re doing is too good, too well crafted to allow to go to waste. You hear me?

I’m saying I have value.

Sip, sip

I’m a damned good writer.

Let me say that again: I’m a damned good writer.

I walked into last night’s read thru of my script feeling pretty good. A little nervous, as always, when my work comes under scrutiny. But good, because I heard from J in the afternoon. She couldn’t make it to the read thru – insert unhappy face ’cause I wanted her there – but she said ‘I hope the group decides to do this because I really want to audition for it’. And she didn’t just tell me, she made sure to tell a couple of other people in the group.

Caught some typos and grammar problems. Nothing like having six to eight people read your stuff aloud to catch things no amount of proofing or grammar check on your computer could ever find! But they loved the story. Loved the characters, loved the whole set-up. Even discussed (briefly) their ability to pull the script off – because they liked it that much. I assured them I hadn’t written it for them, but I was working on something I wanted them to do. Then came more discussion: a bit about the thrillers, and many questions from me regarding their limitations on cast size, sets, and other bells and whistles. I asked if anyone had stage fighting experience – if they’d be open to a scene that called for a fist fight.

Feels like I have a number of people on my side right now. I’ve fired up their trust in my writing by sharing my work, and I’ve fired up their imaginations by teasing them with the thriller. I feel there’s no question in the director’s mind anymore: he’s doing the thriller trilogy. But I spoke to one of the board members and got all positives in response, which felt good because I know, in the end, the board has final say.

The only little monkey wrench in my whole happy pie is the fact that this group, unusually, has more men than women involved on a regular basis. I’ve been in this women, women, women, mind set – lots of women on the stage, powerful roles for women, women pushing and leading the storyline. But I can’t diss the men, especially if I’m writing specifically for this group. Lucky for me, my stories are fluid. Usually it doesn’t make any difference if the role is male or female. I don’t write stories about having babies or prostrate cancer. Those are gender specific stories. I did write them…once. But a gender flip on my own work showed me the holes in my writing. The result was so unfunny, unappealing, and unworthy of my skills I just said forget it, no more of that. Now I just write people. And I remember the words of the scriptwriter responsible for Alien – Ripley was originally a man. Characters should be strong, interesting, and non-gender specific. And as a writer, I should be able to flip the gender on any character and still make the story work. If I can’t, I don’t have a real story to tell.

So, flux in my head because I’m thinking on the limitations we discussed last night in relation to the thrillers. A bit of pressure, because I said I’d have a finished script for everyone to read by the end of January or beginning of February. Simple brain static, caused from remembering the typos and corrections needed in Taman.

And I gotta get back on sending out my brother’s work. I gotta get back to the gym. I gotta buckle down on language. I gotta…

I gotta stop telling myself what I gotta do.

Planning on making use of my alone time when my bro is at band rehearsals. I don’t generally like to write late at night. It’s hard to get started at that time of day, and harder still to stop. But I can’t let a couple of nights every week go to waste in front of the tv. I’ve got work to do. I opened my mouth and made the verbal commitment – now it’s up to me to see it thru. Thought about this before I went to the reading. The time I’d need, the nights spent writing rather than relaxing, the increased pressure I’ll feel trying to juggle all this at once. As always, I hope I’m not stretching myself too thin.

But I had to own up to the truth. I really want to do this.

I really want to write plays.

Maybe even more than my desire to be in them.

Because I know. I know my words have a chance of living beyond me. A performance…while entertaining, maybe even great, isn’t quite the same. I can enjoy the performance of someone no longer alive thanks to film and video. I enjoy many such performances. Many times I’ve thought to myself, ‘Gods, that person could really act!’. But words…words that make you think. Words that catch your imagination. Words that stop you suddenly, that make you see the world and even time as a small thing because here, out of the millions, perhaps billions of possible words and authors and word-author combinations, someone put something down that made you realize that no, you’re not alone and yes, someone else sees it that way. It can come from current literature or the classics. Known or unknown authors. Does not make ONE whit of difference. When it’s there, it’s there – and it’s a powerful thing.

It’s a power I’ll likely never taste. Not in full. I’d have to have a rocket engine ride to fame to achieve that. That’s unlikely to happen. So I’m trying to walk that line between dreaming of greatness and expecting nothing. – It’s the second bit of that statement that I’m working on. Meh. Tough to do.

Meanwhile, I’ll sip a little from the power of my words. People like my writing. It’s hard not to feel like a cook who’s just pleased she didn’t burn dinner, tho…

Sip, sip.

Choice

Yesterday, I chose to care about myself. Just a little bit.

Hauled back two heavy bags of groceries late morning. Noticed my ankle hurt a wee bit with every step. Didn’t matter how careful I was, how I placed my foot – when I stepped, there was an edge of pain. I was all fired up to go to the gym, to push, to not care. Dare I say it? To hurt myself. But the reality of that bit of pain with each step weighed on me. I sat in my bedroom, a large bandage in my hand all ready to wrap that damned ankle up, and suddenly my bad mood telescoped out into the future. I saw myself hurting my ankle – badly. Saw the weeks, the months down. Saw the just sitting there feeling like a fucking idiot on a thousand levels. And some quiet voice in me spoke up and asked, ‘Do you really want to risk sitting around and going even deeper into this for months due to injury?’

It was hard to say no. Because I wanted to hurt myself. That’s my thing: go to the gym and push my body until it breaks. And I suddenly realized it wasn’t about health or endurance, it wasn’t even about getting some endorphins going so my mood improved. It was about punishing myself.

Hating myself.

Self-flagellation comes in all forms.

Acceptance of the moment, my reasons, my self-hate, was the key to opening my mouth. I’d not said much to my brother up to that point; still in a hissy fit. But once I stopped and accepted what was going on with me, I communicated. And I found it easy to avoid angry communication. In fact, it wasn’t even part of the equation. My anger left me as soon as I realized what I was doing. I had no need to harangue my bro over his SIM game. He enjoys it; why should I spoil that for him? And I found no reason to nag about the housework, either. It never really takes that long to tidy up. No. I admitted to my bad mood, my twisted anger, my desire to hurt myself – and all that surface shit just slid away.

So I did not go to the gym, despite my angry ‘no matter what’ declaration yesterday. And I learned something. Thought it was only exercise that would release my anger in this fashion. But it isn’t. If I can get to the core issue and admit it, I can let it go without all the sweat and effort. That’s a big IF. Everest height. And it’s not a mountain I care to scale too often. I suppose I shouldn’t say that. It should be my goal to handle my mood swings in such a manner, right? Find the cause, accept it, move on. No acting out, no mad blog writing at 5 a.m. But I am comfortable with my old methods, with the exercise push and mad writing, the slamming of doors and gut-churning anger. …How utterly sad to say that. I’m fucking used to such horrors.

…I’m fucking used to being such a horror.

Ah! I was going to say I see my sister in all this – the acting out, the hissy fits, the slamming doors. I do see it, and I do hate it. But I also realize now what’s probably at the base of my sister’s actions. Self-hate. Makes me have a drop of empathy for her this morning.

Could we just stop with the epiphanies? Just for a little while? This hyper awareness…I welcome new levels of understanding, but hey! You’ve got to give me time to digest one bit of info before shoveling a new load into my head. Feels like there’s just too much to grasp, too much to know, and as soon as I get a hold of one idea something else loosens and gets away from me…

It’s like learning Dutch. If I concentrate on the correct verb and sentence structure, I’ll get the verb tense wrong. If I think too much about the verb tense, I’ll screw up the syntax. I can’t seem to hold all that info in my brain at once. I know it’s a matter of practice. Go slow, go steady, and keep trying.

But although I suffer embarrassment over my poor language use, I do not have to go through emotional turbulence over every little word. Setting out to change the way I think…now that’s difficult. I get triggered left and right, have to stop and sort myself out, fight against the depression, reign in the mania…it’s bloody exhausting. There’s no manual out there for this, no instruction booklet to make things easy. What I would give for a big Book of Life with easy to read chapters and answers in the back!

For now, I’m choosing to care about me. It’s not a choice I’m comfortable with. Not. at. all. But I am more afraid of months down, unable to get out or do much of anything, than I am of carrying some extra weight on my body or feeling guilty from missing a day at the gym. Until I can take a step without pain, I’m choosing to be careful. Choosing to not push. Choosing to not hurt myself.

I can do this. I can learn to take care of myself.

It’s a choice.

Dissolve those blocks

A block is a block is a block. And I found my block: my silence regarding my uncle and family communication issues. All it took was one statement, one time standing up for myself –

And it flowed.

I’ve spent the last few days divvying up my time between pacing and writing. My head’s so there I can’t even concentrate on tv at night. My eyes watch, but my mind is far, far away. Tying together plot threads, modifying scenes, adapting new ideas and new information into the story.

Honestly, it was almost an explosion. I’ve pages and pages of notes and rough drafts. Hammered out all the loose ends I was unsure over. Found solid reasons for people to do what they do. More: I was able to articulate the core premise of my thriller trilogy, something I hadn’t been able to do. And I’ve got to chuckle, because the core premise is connected to all my family issues.

People are affected more the more they are in denial.

The effect is cumulative – the more you hear or see, the worse it is, but people not in touch with themselves quickly succumb.

The issue of denial – denying everything, from the insults slung to their real feelings over important issues – is a bone of contention between me and my family. It’s a long, old ache I can’t rid myself of. Essentially, I’m writing about a phenomena currently underway – in my family, and in the states. Everything is twisted. Neo nazis scream about genocide and claim that’s their right under free speech. Then they blame anyone who tries to stop them, calling them enemies of free speech. Denial. Denial of their bigotry and hate. Denial of their calculated twisting of the facts. It’s killing every bit of humanity, and it’s a disease that’s rapidly spreading. My premise is that people like that – people so caught up in denial they can’t even begin to admit the truth of what they’re doing – they’re the ones affected. They’re the ones who flip out and kill everyone (literally and metaphorically). Don’t know how many people will get that connection when they watch the trilogy. But it’s in there.

Now there’s that layered depth of meaning that’ll win me an award!

But that little gem of thought is costing me re-writes. It’ll be well worth the price; I’m just noting it. Noting that I need to increase tension in this character, have a few more verbal spats in that area… Nothing major. Subtle. I’m down to subtle writing. Taking that fine sand paper and working on the last hard edges. That’s often the more difficult kind of writing. Hacking out the rough ideas – that’s easy. Take a swing, chop, chop, and there you go. Viola. But fine tuning – that’s tough. Reading and re-reading. Changing one word in a sentence to open up multiple interpretations of meanings. Moving this, editing that – if you’re not careful, you can get stuck in this mode forever.

Lucky for me, I have readers. Willing readers. People who want to read my scripts, want to participate in the evening get togethers, want to give me feedback. Yes, I called a read thru for Taman and am getting many positive responses. I need 12 people capable of reading English to do this properly, and I’m half way there. Hope I get enough. We could double up, but that always muddies a read thru. Plus, I want the input. I want to hear people’s opinions and ideas. Used to think other people’s opinions were judgements: good or bad. Now I hear them as suggestions. Hm, she wants me to change that sentence because it isn’t clear to her…maybe she has a point. Or gee, he thinks this wouldn’t happen. If it doesn’t happen, then this might occur. Wow, that would mean… etc., etc. It takes me in new directions.

And it’s taught me (again) about communication. You can use every word in the dictionary – you can speak at the highest level, using the best grammar in the world – but if no one understands you, you’re not communicating. People have to understand you before you can claim to be communicating. If you use words they don’t know, or introduce ideas that are beyond their comprehension, you’re not communicating. You’re just being obtuse (and there’s a perfect example: if I said that to my autistic brother, he wouldn’t comprehend the use of ‘obtuse’ in this sentence). Side note: Goddess! I should throw that word ‘obtuse’ at my uncle!

…Now it’s time to reign it all back in. Back to the grind this week: classes, gym. Last rehearsal on Thursday and the performance on Saturday. Week after that, my read thru for Taman. I feel confident that by mid-November I’ll be done with Taman; it’ll be off my desk and sent out. That sets me up nicely for finishing the trilogy during Xmas break, which means I could present it to the group in January.

Beyond that, I haven’t thought. It’s a big enough deal to be back in the flow and writing again. Still surprised over how quickly all my mental blocks came crashing down the moment I stood up for myself.

Remember that. Dissolve those blocks.

Keep on rock ‘n me, baby

This morning I hit the unfriend button on FB. Unfriended my uncle. Still half on the fence with the whole idea, but I can’t shake the truth that if anyone other than a family member did to me what he did, I’d read him the riot act. Sharing DNA doesn’t allow people to treat you like dirt. So after much deliberation and a lot of anxiety, unfriend it was.

I’m worried about the backlash. The demands to know why I did it, the endless denials and accusations, the being told I’m wrong over and over. Do not know how much I’ll take before I…blow up? Finally get angry? Tell them to fuck off? Report them for bullying and abuse? Any or all of the above. That frightens me, too. So far I’ve dealt with this very level headed. I don’t want to lose it now. More; I don’t want to give them one iota more of anything they can use against me. Losing it is definitely one of those things they’ll use against me.

Found myself thinking the other day that if, when I die, my mother appears to me, waiting to guide me to the other side, I’ll grab her fucking hand and DRAG the bitch to Hell. And if that means I’m stuck in Hell for all eternity, well, as long as I know she’s getting HERS, I’ll deal. Can’t be all that much worse than living here.

Now, that’s a sad fucking thought, isn’t it?

Fuck! I’m screwed up.

…Having a difficult time getting myself motivated. Maybe I finally took the word ‘holiday’ in its entirety. You know – REAL time off. Gym time, writing, reading – even running my lines for memory’s sake has become a chore, a non-emergency, something I can do tomorrow or the day after. For my own peace of mind, I’ve allowed it. I know what I can do when I am motivated; no need to push it if I’m not. One more performance to stay healthy for. One more run thru of the play to do. Focus!

But something’s cooking. I hope my inner eye is focusing on the thrillers. I think it is. I’ve begun pacing again, talking aloud to myself, sorting out ideas. The task of taking my ideas to paper seems monumental, but that’s my lack of motivation. I’m sorting. Thinking. Plotting. Getting that film of the story to run seamlessly in my mind.

Been talking aloud to myself a LOT lately, actually. About all sorts of things. Part of that is my brother’s schedule: he’s out more and more with band rehearsals and other stuff, leaving me alone in the house. Part of it is just ME. It’s what I do, what I’ve always done. I think I give myself comfort this way. I think it helps for me to hear with my ears all those words of support I tell myself. After all, that’s why I think I began it in the first place – to allow my ears to hear those words no one ever said to me. You’re beautiful. You’re talented. You’re brilliant. In talking to myself, I can be brutally honest without fear of being ridiculed. I can be supportive without strings; my self talk doesn’t hinge on me acquiescing to political views or moral stances I find abhorrent. And I feel it, down to my toes. It’s mother-me comforting child-me.

Same reason why I rock while seated. It’s a comfort motion. My torso moves for and aft, back and forth, rhythmically, like I’m rocking a baby. I am rocking a baby: me. I’m telling myself I’m okay, I’m safe, and I can take care of myself.

And that’s okay. It’s okay to give myself what I need. It’s healthy, in fact. I’m embarrassed by what I do: the rocking and the talking aloud. Embarrassed a LOT. Part of me is afraid it looks insane, and I know what happens when THAT line of thought occurs to someone. Everything that comes after gets discounted, no matter how on the mark or true it is. Part of me is just plain ashamed of myself: here I am, 50+, and still trying to comfort that crying little girl in me. I should be beyond this. Over it. Able to let it go, and get on with my life.

I shouldn’t feel so fucking stuck.

But I do, and saying I shouldn’t is just one more way for me to reinforce that blame and guilt instilled in me as a child. It’s all your fault. If you were better/stronger/smarter, you wouldn’t be here.

Oh, yeah. It’s lovely having a war of confidence go on in your head 24/7.

I always feel so naked when my confidence is shaken. So the worm, wriggling in the mud. Nothing. Contemptible in my lowliness. It is what’s allowed physical abuse into my life: hit me, I deserve it and worse. That’s a mindset I have to fight against every day because no matter how long it’s been since I was in an abusive relationship, I still think that way. I still hate myself that much. I still think that little of myself.

Rock. Or smoke. Or do anything other than think about what you just wrote.

Ugly truths are like scabs. I can’t help but pick at them. And it hurts. Another way to hurt myself…

Run. Hide. Deny. Distract.

But truth will out. Even in my distractions. I know the music I’m including in this is a ‘love’ song. But flip it to me talking to me-the-child – because that’s the way I’m hearing it this morning.

Keep on rock ‘n me, baby.