um…Help?

It’s as bad as I’d feared.

Been working over the last 24 hours to find English theatre in NL with December performances. Stuff I can fill the newsletter with. Is it there? Is there one place to find it all? No. Of Course not. Not even with STET, which is supposed to be a sort of umbrella org for all English theater in NL.

I’m finding a great deal of competitiveness in Dutch theatre. Not quite what I expected.

Had to cull thru multiple posting sites. Go out to theatre’s websites because they don’t advertise on any of those sites. Pull info, dates, descriptions. Ye, Gods! And I was still light for the newsletter.

Out to filmpeople.nl, which posts calls for films. Mostly student stuff, unpaid. Nonetheless: I pulled six interesting posts and put them in a special section.

Expanding the section for L’s December performances with her other theatre group. It’s just blank right now; gotta figure out what to put there.

Have not changed the opening yet, nor written the announcement about my script. Leaving that for last. Hope to quote or paraphrase the director, keep it simple.

Been searching, too, for scripts we might do. I’d like to come to the table with at least 2 suggestions. Nothing more aggravating than having people throw up their hands and say: I’ve no ideas. Bring some ideas in.

Sent out a FB message to the board. Kept it light: been working on filling the newsletter, found this site to search for scripts, will change the website once the newsletter is done. Received a reply from one person.

Proceeding as if I’m still on the board. That may change, I know. But I feel like my behavior in the next week or two might tip the balance. Can I bounce back and give it my all? Can I keep being the cheerleader and newsletter writer? Determined to keep my promises.

Did my hair today. Sitting with a wet head right now, letting it air dry. Don’t know if you’ll see a big difference in it, but I can tell I didn’t go Carrot Top orange or anything like that. Good enough.

Pffft…. Have to put in more time on the newsletter. I want to get it out tomorrow. But not right now. Now I need a break. Cheerleading when you’re down…that’s a skill I didn’t fully appreciate before this. Whoo. hoo.

No word on a board meeting yet. This coming week, maybe? As usual, I expect the notice to come in last minute.

Stripped all the vids from the camera. Filled my back-up memory; need to find something new now ’cause I ain’t done. Haven’t looked at them yet. Haven’t wanted to add to my depressive feelings.

Talked with my bro. Excellent; we’re on the same track. We’ll ask for no favors from the theatre group. Rooms will be rented to record in. Travel expenses can be reimbursed. We may even be able to pay them a token amount for their time. We will not: put up with attitudes nor waste our time. Miss a recording date and you’re out (tho we’ll find something to do and not totally waste our money). Dick me on any aspect of the story or dialogue and you’re out; this is mine, and I’m directing it. Sign the release or don’t record. If none of them want to comply, the call goes out on filmpeople.nl.

That feels good. Knowing I’ll at least have the audio versions done precisely the way I want.

… Aaaargh! You know what the toughest part of the newsletter is? That damned opening. How do I say Happy Holidays! and We’re canning our current production and really sad about it at the same time? Talk about bipolar writing -! I’ve no flipping idea how to do that.

Tough weekend. Glad I took the time to do something for me. Maybe I’ll do my nails, too. Gotta find some comfort for me when and where I can.

um…Help?

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I got stamina

Mm. So, two of the people from the film crew wished me a happy birthday. S, whom I thought I was tightest with, did not. Wrote her a message on FB and noticed she hadn’t responded to my last message sent out in April. Thinking she might have had more hard feelings over my critique of her story than she led me to believe. *sigh* That’s too bad. I tried hard to be positive even in my criticism. But it was script written from a film standpoint, not a story standpoint. The story didn’t make a lot of sense. It was as if she wrote the script because of one or two scenes she wanted to see. I sense that a lot in films: visual hooks you know the writer wanted to use while the overall story lacks a strong narrative. I am first and foremost a story teller, so it’s natural that’s what I concentrate on. Ach! But I’m afraid her young ego took a bruising, and she’s avoiding me because of it.

That’s sad. I truly love her. Just as a person. I think she’s bubbly, bright, and warm. Easy to talk to. Lovely, in a word. And I felt we really connected on our issues.

Her silence doesn’t change the way I feel about her. She could coldly tell me she never wants to hear from me and I’d still care about her. I wouldn’t be happy, but… I consider the fact that I can feel that way about anyone or anything a good sign.

I’m not dead inside.

Not sure if I’m going to language class today. Don’t really feel like it. I’ve no reason to avoid it; I just don’t want to go. I want to sit around and putter today. There’s that once I’m at rest it’s difficult to get me going again stuff. But I’m weighing out my schedule: 3 nights this week and an unknown amount of rehearsals in December coupled with sound and video work.

My bro has finally said he’ll help me with the sound editing. I’ve just got to figure out the steps: what effects when, where to cut, etc. Then hand over my notes and he’ll put some work in. Excellent. If we can get the first trials around this week I’ll be happy. And we’d have just enough time to get the trials to the director so he could book a short time in the school’s auditorium – a theatre-like room with baffling and sound – to test it. Make sure the compression works, find out if we’ve got the correct frequencies pushed to combat the sound dampening.

Tonight is Act 2. No memorization needed this week; we’re tackling new scenes. Good. One more thing I don’t need to worry about right now. Want to ask about D but won’t. The director will either tell me or not. A bit apprehensive about the possible fall out. M is in Act 3 and we’re doing that tomorrow, I think. But G will be there tonight – another FB friend of D. G is far more gregarious and open than M. She may just tell me or bring it up, her eyes wide, asking me what happened. Guess I’ll find out.

Need to fill in the paperwork for the theatre group, too. They have to file with the government about my new (unpaid) position. Thought I told them the name I used was a nickname, but there it is filled in on the ‘name’ section. I guess I’m just supposed to put the corrected info on the page; what they really need is my signature. Might message someone about that. Some government agencies won’t accept corrected paperwork. It has to be a perfect print. I suppose it’s not that big a deal since no money is involved.

Nope, I really don’t feel like sitting in my language class today…

My bro picked up the first 5 Hellraiser films. Whoohoo! Seeing as I’m writing in the same genre and Clive Barker is one of my big influences, I’m really jazzed. Plus, that mythology is unique and wonderful. Masterful. I love Pinhead. Absolutely love him. I think we’d be friends.

…Screw it. I’m staying home this afternoon. Don’t like doing that – taking a day for my head – but I feel like I still need it. I’m back into the lion’s den tonight, not quite knowing what I might face. I’ve got to be calm and cool. Rested. Totally relaxed and focused on my job(s). Only I know what this is costing me.

Saw the blizzards hitting the US. Immediately thought of my friends. Most are right in the middle of it. Those that aren’t have been coughing from the forest fires in California (luckily, they weren’t caught in that). Makes me happy to say that all I’m saying is ‘brr!’ because it’s chilly out. Not even truly cold. Cold for the Netherlands, sure, but not really cold. I’ve lived through winters when the temps never got above the freezing point. Winters with snow heaped higher than the roof. Temps hovering around 20 below (F). We’re chilly. Brr.

All I can think is ‘self care’. Me, me, me. Make sure I eat. Make sure I rest. Make sure everything is cool wid my bad self before I do anything for anybody.

This is the long haul.

And baby, I got stamina.

Mindless

Today’s word: squirrelly. Too much energy with no direction. My goal is to find a channel for it. Some outlet that’ll burn it out of me safely and quietly.

Had fun yesterday. Wore my iPod even on short jaunts out, blasting my favorite punk songs. Felt that nervousness I feel before wearing out a new outfit. Warm weather continues and I had an opportunity to wear one of my recent purchases. Happy to say by the time evening came ’round I felt confident and pleased with the way I looked. Had a wonderful conversation with a student during my language lesson; someone new. Sadly, he’s not staying in the group. So I’m back to the typical coffee clutch breaks, talking around me but not including me. Bummed about that. Did my homework, and by the time I was done I felt disappointed I didn’t have more. Read my book, enjoyed it, had good sleep.

Beginning to see a pattern emerge in the people around me. I recognize my trigger: it’s when people begin to brainstorm on their own and tell me things I’ve already thought through that I lose it. And that’s the problem. For the most part, the issues I bring up are new to the people I’m communicating with; they haven’t thought about this aspect of the production. I, on the other hand, have. I’ve been thinking about it for two years. While creating, while writing, while editing, while reading it, while fleshing it out… Two years. Get it? Anything you think of I’ve already thought through, so if you see me get a little impatient it’s because I’m three steps ahead of you. I need to recognize this is the process everyone goes through, and I need to let them do it. I hope I can shorten the process by bringing up the inevitable flaws in their plans that I see after all this time. But then I run the risk of being Negative Nellie, and bringing everybody down.

Fuck! The difficulty in allowing people to fail! It brings me new appreciation of parenthood.

Moving on…

Have next week off from class. It’s some autumnal holiday that I didn’t have marked on my calendar. Color me disappointed. I am thrilled my teachers have upped our homework and given us more difficult assignments and reading. But…I’m just about the only person who does them. Once in a while someone else will do a bit, but for the most part it’s just me and everyone else claiming they can’t find 30 minutes in their week to sit down and do it. I can tell my teachers are disappointed in this, too. And it makes class difficult; everyone is asked the questions and given a chance to answer. They stumble, give some incorrect answers, they give answers that prove they don’t even understand the directions, and then the teacher looks to me for the answer. Do you understand what this assignment asks you to do? asks the teacher. Yes, they all nod (like sheep) while the entire time both I and my teacher knows they don’t get it. *sigh* This is the last year we can do this. I can’t ask my teachers to keep pushing the others just because I’m ready for more.

Good news: we’ve finally saved up enough money that my bro can buy his new computer and needed software. Whew! That was really hanging over my head. I now know we can get all the recordings I want. Experienced that he’s-behind-me-in-thinking with my bro. I told him we need to set a specific date, probably in the first week of December, to bring everyone in and do the recordings. He didn’t listen, and went off on coming to various rehearsals. I then had to slow down, and take several steps back. I’ve already culled through the entire script for the lines I want for the teaser trailer. I’ve also been making notes of everything we need for all three acts: foreign languages, screaming, etc. You can come to rehearsals, but understand their focus will be on the scenes they’re working on – which may or may not include the lines of dialogue I want recorded. Finally I got him to agree it would be best to just set a date and stagger the actors; 20 minutes each should do it. Come in, do your lines, scream a bit, maybe I’ll ask for something else. In and out; everything in one night. It minimizes the stress of carrying the computer and mic down to rehearsals several times. It gets everything I want or need in one go. It minimizes the actors’ time. Best option. But I felt I had to fight for it. I had to slow down and explain my reasoning. And…if you really respect me, if I really have authority, why is it I feel I must always explain myself so bleeding thoroughly? Is there no one on this planet who’ll just take me at my word?

…Hm. Well, that paragraph meandered off into a rant.

Had a message to write today. My work on the theatre website has upped its status so much that I’m now receiving requests from people who want to send me their CVs even tho it’s stated very clearly that we’re totally amateur. I feel bad. I’d love to be able to say yes, come work with us, but that’s just not possible. I didn’t close it down totally, just reminded the person we can’t pay anything but I’d love their help. I don’t expect to hear from them again, but, you never know!

*sigh* Once again, from down the hall, I hear a smoke alarm go off. It’s on my bro’s SIM game. But how smart is it to include that sound in the game when the effect is (at least on me) to ignore it when I hear it? Not very, in my book.

Yeesh! I’m all over the place. Fine. There’s plenty of things I need to do that don’t take any brain power.

Mindless it is.

I am home

Taking care of myself: check. Getting really bored: check.

I was right to treat myself as if I was ill. I was! Now I’m on the other side of it, stuff draining out of my head. Getting over it quickly, thanks to all the down time and juice and vitamins and throat lozenges. But I’ve run thru every film I’d recorded off telly. I’ve napped as much as possible every afternoon. I’ve played on my computer and eaten more than I usually do. *sigh* And it is boring.

Suffered thru a few days of lousy internet access. Whether it was the fog and rain we had, our provider, or just the left over hiccups from getting hacked, I couldn’t get online. Everything timed out. Glad to be here today, to have access again. Didn’t really want to say to my bro that we HAD to get that stripped down internet tablet for me right now. Yeesh! Money scares. Do not need any more of those.

Heard from J. He’s found a lump, and he’s panicking. Can’t blame him. I’d be doing the same. It took me a few hours to reply. Just…didn’t know what to say. So I re-read his message. Tried to read between the lines, because his words were all technical: a bit of medical history, a description of what’s going on, etc. If you’re old enough, you know what I’m talking about. You’ve received one of these messages from someone you care about. The slight disconnect the message has, the total and utter stand-still shock and fear – it all comes thru. No matter how it’s put, it comes across blunt and shocking, because the news is shocking and they’re just putting it out there. Boom! I’ve found a lump and I’m scared I have cancer and I’m seeing a doctor on Wednesday. I’ve been in the mindset that creates that type of message. It’s shock and fear. Did what I could in my reply to address all he didn’t say to me. Told him his first priority is to chill, if he can. Getting himself wound up with worry will only compound the problem. Taking care of himself, no matter what that looks like, is his second priority. I thanked him for sharing, knowing how hard it was for him to tell me his news. I assured him he was doing the right thing, going off to the doctor right away. And I told him I loved him. I said what I knew I needed to say, right then and there. How much he means to me. How grateful I am to have him in my life. I have lived too long to do anything else. Say it, now.

Read thru The Grove again. I want to fall out of love with it a bit. Get myself used to the thrills and chills so I can see it clearly. But I’ve already begun changing a word here or there. Thinking of two passages that are clunky, and how I’d like to re-write them. And I need to go back out and check on the horror market. Length, pay, rights… Sort it all out (again).

Been contemplating writing. In general, as an abstract, as well as specific story lines. I remember the all hallowed phrase that was hammered into my head as a young kid. Probably by some wanna-be hack. Write what you know. That’s what I was told: write what you know. But that’s all I was told. Not how to discover my voice, not how to turn that rather cryptic four words into something real. My question at 19 was always the same: But…what do I know? The life of a young woman in the Midwest during the 80’s. To me, it was boring. Normal. Average. I hadn’t yet learned that my life was far from average; that would come later. I was not hailed as a wunderkind. The people around me did their best to keep me down, as a matter of fact. I wrote fantasy and sci-fi, because those were the genres I read and loved. I did okay. But I still hadn’t accessed the real me or what I really knew. Now, it’s clear to me. There’s one thing I really do know. One thing that’s been my constant companion thru the years, day after day: fear.

Never would I have thought that I’d throw all my angst and anxiety into my writing. Never in a million billion years. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to handle my own fear, much less write about it. Thank the Goddess for the Netherlands! Between the culture, the health care, and re-wiring my brain to learn Dutch, things have really changed for me. I have a handle on things, or at least I feel like I do. I don’t panic at every drop of the hat. That’s immensely useful. The bluntness of Dutch society, the confidence these people have… There’s very little negativity. I mean, the Dutch will tell you if they think you’re an asshole. They won’t hold back. They’ll call you out on every uncomfortable thing you do. So they think themselves negative. But by being upfront about that rather than passive aggressive, they nullify the effect and come off as positive. At least, to me. I love it. I have been amazed at the stories I’ve heard and seen: the support amongst family and friends, the kindness to strangers, the incredulity I receive when I share my very different experiences.

This quiet place built out of the ocean floor… It’s true healing energy. I felt it the first time I holidayed here, and am now enjoying the benefits of daily contact. This is a safe haven, not just for ocean faring ships, but for your soul.

I am home.

Basics

10 a.m. Well done, me! Now I’m getting into the ‘sleeping in’ range.

My brother found a choral group singing in English that meets Monday nights. I half reluctantly went along. While I’ve spent years singing in choirs and enjoyed it, it takes a different kind of singing voice than the one I’ve developed. Ah, be honest! I went along so my bro wasn’t so nervous. And to check it out for myself. But mostly for the comfort of my bro. It’s almost an hour on the metro to get there, so that’s a minus. It’s a very small group, only ten people at most when everyone (including the choir master) kicks in with singing. And the music! Yeesh. I spent years mastering Latin, German, French, and Italian singing. I’ve done near impossible masses and stuff so tricky most professional groups don’t even try it. What I got last night was pop medleys. And not even pop songs I like. All of that’s negative.

Now, for the positives.

I’ll admit the director’s enthusiasm for my skills and voice has to be put in the positive column. Yeah; I like getting the attention. What part do you sing? I responded in my best purring contralto voice: alto. I can hear that, she said. Then later: Can you read music? Yes, I can. The director’s face literally lit up. Visibly. It was there for anyone to read: Thank you for sending me someone with some talent! To say my voice was rusty is an understatement. I have to relearn how to sing with a group. I’m so used to belting things out, and now I’m being asked to keep it light, keep it airy, pull it back. It’s actually damned tough for me. There was only one other alto, so they need me. And when we finally pulled the warm-up scales down into my comfortable range, the director heard my fog horn voice and tremolo. Hell! I heard it come out of me, and she stood me directly in front of her.

Was upfront about the play and my commitments. Mentioned I didn’t want to let anyone down. Still I was encouraged to come when I could. And I think I may.

Yesterday was also my first day back to language class. I messed up a few times. REALLY messed up. But I laughed it off, and said my brains weren’t quite on Dutch yet. A lot of the people in the class aren’t coming this year. Either they’re in another class (really surprising) or they’ve just dropped out and not returned. We’re down to 4 students and two teachers. I’m sure we’ll pick up some more people as the semester goes on; seems we always do. Good to get back to it. And my teachers are upping the anti; we worked on dictation from group 6 (a level up).

Seems we have a bit of an Indian summer going on. The days are back into the 20s, the skies are sunny, the breezes warm. Would like to get to the gym today, but I’ll have to see. My laundry piled up to mountainous heights and today’s the first day I can start on it. Plus there’s shopping to do, garbage and recycling to pick up, and 6 pages of Dutch homework. Plenty to keep me busy.

…Ah. So my brother slept in even later than I today. He’s up now, and one of his first comments was: I’m going back to the choir; I need the rehearsal. I don’t know if you will, but I’m sure you’ll be the one everyone asks about… *wince* Yes, that happened, too. I got the lion’s share of praise and attention and he was sort of shunted to the side. I told him that was the director’s problem. There’s only one other male singer, and the director should have been more enthused to see my bro than me. But, yeah. That little tidbit falls into the negative category. I do not need outside forces trying to pit my brother against me. That happens all too often.

I’ve gotta just get serious. Stop dilly-dallying and get down to it. Ugh! Metaphorically it feels like I’m putting on a pair of hygienic gloves to clean out the Universal toilet. An ugly job if ever there was one. I just don’t want to do it.

Well… Let’s try to remember what we want, shall we? First thing: stay healthy so your projects keep on track. So getting to the gym or taking a walk in the sunshine is priority. The laundry can be squeezed in around taking care of yourself. The choir…that will depend on your mood and energy, as well as the weather. Cold, wet nights in November will not be the time to ‘go and sing a bit’. The director will send the sound files to your bro. Listen to them; you practically picked up everything last night. A couple of times thru and you should have it. Play all that by ear. You’ll get to your homework, no problem. Remember to keep working with make-up, checking the various inboxes, staying in touch with everyone. Keep on top of what day it is, the medicines you need to take, make sure you eat regular meals, and sleep as much as possible.

Stay on the basics. The rest will take care of itself.

Ow! My ass – !

There is nowhere below my midriff that doesn’t hurt. Butt, thighs, stomach… My back’s been snapping and even my shoulders are popping every night.

Two days back. Back to the gym, back to the dreaded cross trainer. Thought about walking myself into it. Building back up to it. Decided I just needed to power through that first wall and went for it.

Ow! My ass – !

And this is a good thing.

Today is an off day. Give my body a bit of time to heal. Plans were to head out, find the theatre supply shop. At the moment, I’ll be lucky if I just stay awake without a nap. Everything else gets shelved into next week. I have to retrain my body, get it used to the push and exercise, before I let myself do anything else. Any reluctance on my part is totally destroyed by my shaking my butt. Feel that jiggle. Get to the gym and do this. Period.

Have not responded to my uncle. Keep thinking about it, but haven’t done it. Chicken! I know what I need to say. I just don’t want the fall out. Seems to me just holding everything in place and not responding for a bit is my best option. At least until I see Dr T again. Run it past him. Getting a little outside support telling me taking care of myself is the best thing I can do.

Posted D’s write-ups about his plays. Need to add the new graphic to the site. I’m not thrilled with it, so again it’s something I’m dragging my feet on.

Yeah, yeah. Maybe I’ll just fuck off today. The weather is iffy, and promises showers throughout the day. I deserve it, right? Two hard days at the gym, sweating up a storm. …Yeah, I deserve it.

Nothing from the director about getting started. No rehearsals, no messages, nothing. Meh. Might have to poke him to get him going. Set up the calendar dates, at least. He always does that online sign up to see where everyone’s schedule is at. Get it going!

My bro is headed out to a taal (language) cafe this morning. I should be going, too, but please reference my above rant(s) about my ass pain. Me, me, me. Maybe I’ll go next week.

*sigh* Integration is heavy on my mind. The tv is talking about it, and I feel for the first time it’s really in my face. In the last six months, there’s been a lot of turn over in the building. Most living here are immigrants. Smoking on the common ways – halls and stairs – has become a daily pastime. Cans of cigarette butts litter the halls. Arguments and phone calls are held in the halls so everyone can hear them. This is not Dutch behavior. Neither are the open doors, pumping out incense and music. I have not felt truly threatened in my own building, but I do find it intimidating to have to ask several men to move out of my way just to get to my own front door. And on at least one occasion I’ve had to yell at people holding arguments in the halls late at night. Add to that the slamming doors at all times of day and night, and the very loud call to prayer music that’s played every week, and…well. Like I said: it’s in my face.

I guess I just have a very unique mix in my background. Where I grew up, we had something called a Folk Fair every year. It celebrated cultural differences through dance, music, and food. It wasn’t just okay to be proud of your cultural heritage, it was something everyone was aware of. I’m Italian and Scandinavian. I’m German and Polish. I have 10% Cherokee on my mother’s side. Just the way it was. But things here are muddled. So many immigrants still feel their home country is their land. They haven’t truly taken the Netherlands into their hearts as their home. It’s their home away from home. You can sense it in their closed communities, the way they lapse into their native language when they’re grouped together, their utter lack of courtesy as they move around in large masses that shove everyone else off the walkways, their refusal to meet your eyes or return your greeting.  Make no mistake: I feel for these people. I sense their fear and wariness. I even understand their desire to return to the land they consider their true home. But there’s a basic cultural clash here at work. I think it may be based on the way Europeans think about guests and the way the immigrants think about guests. In some lands, guests are sort of kings. Anything they say goes, because they are the guest. I was brought up that guests should be considerate to their hosts. It feels like that’s what’s going on. That some of the immigrants coming in consider themselves guests, and as guests (in their culture), they get to call the shots. To me, they appear brash and uncouth. Lacking any common decency to the point where I wonder what the fuck is going on in their heads.

In that sort of clash, no one is right and no one is wrong. It’s just a culture clash. If we could really talk about it and get down to the point, we might be able to clear things up. Instead, I see resentment building. In all sorts of right wing fanatics. And it’s not just here, it’s everywhere.

Everywhere.

That sort of knowledge hurts as much as my body.

Ow! My ass – !

Whatever that is

Yeah. I bought the popsicles to balance out the cake. I can have a treat if I’m feeling good and I can have a treat if I’m feeling bad.

I felt bad, and had the cake.

My stomach shows my time off from the gym (as do my butt and thighs) and my sighs are that tell-tale sign of me knowing I have to get back into my routine while simultaneously not feeling ready to start.

Amazing at how fat you can get. And so quickly. My shortened summer holiday is almost at an end.

NL has still been in drought, despite the occasional shower. One of the big growers in the area is losing all their tomatoes. Drought hit at the wrong time and none of their crop developed ‘correctly’ (which means perfectly shaped fruit), so they’ve been giving away the misshapen crops. I’m grabbing tomatoes to dry in the oven. For a few euro I can buy a ton of fruit, slice them up, and dry them at home. Been thinking of buying a few long term storage jars to can up some good tomatoes. We use a lot in the house, so why not? It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than buying what you need when you need it.

In between racks of dried tomatoes, I’ve been sitting on my arse. Literally. Going thru Desperate Housewives again because our system has it for free. Playing hours of solitaire with the tv on. It’s wonderfully relaxing. My mind can hover between a simple game on my computer and the narrative on tv. Telling myself it’s okay to take a few more days like this. I rarely just chill on this level.

Was contacted by a Board member of an international women’s group here in Rotterdam. She wants a talk on the theatre group, and the email was passed on to me. Guess I’ve become the public face of the group. The go-to person to take care of this or that. Personally, I find that a bit intimidating. I’m not a founding member and haven’t been involved that long. But I’m the ‘writer’ now – even the board member who sent the email my way said that: ‘…since you’re the writer…’. Yeah. Okay. Guess that’s the jack of all trades in the theatre world. But what the hell. It gives me a chance to talk up the production, which I can do like no one else. The women’s group is on top of things and said my talk would be taking place next year. Wow! They’re scheduled that far in advance. I don’t even know when I should expect the first email from the director saying it’s time to start rehearsals.

Sketchy weather has meant I haven’t had full sunlight to shoot any vids, so the backdrop remains up, the furniture is moved, and I’m waiting for the damned sun to come back. Still haven’t figured out what I’m doing for the wounds. Found a couple more do-it-yourself suggestions online. Thinking more and more that I should just take that field trip to the theatre supply shop and look around. Thinking even more that I should take the time to talk while I’m there. I mean…I could run the October meeting and offer up my meager make-up skills. Or I could ask some of the professionals to come in for a demonstration. Three guesses where my head is at.

Saw my shrink, Dr. T. Staying on the levels we’ve got right now, but he’s watching me for higher levels of mania. Good. Everyone is on the same page with me. Watch me! When I go it takes me a while to realize I’m there. And by then, it’s too late. I’m in it and need a flipping sedative.

My uncle is obviously feeling better these days. Have received several right-wing messages from him. The latest is about kneeling during the anthem. I’ve just been hitting the delete button. What else is there to do? Reply? To him? He’s so stuck in his ways it would be like talking to a brick wall. That’s the way my family gets. And they’ve no experience with ‘the other side’. They know no people of color, they know no Muslims, they’re friends are not disabled. They may all be on heavy prescription medication for various ‘ills’, but they’re not disabled. Nor mentally unbalanced. Everyone drinks. A lot. But no one has a drinking problem. And anyone who has an alternate view on life is a liar, a loser, and someone to be vilified.

Wish they would just leave me alone.

There’s still a second piece of tempting cake in the fridge. Hm. Suppose it’s no surprise that my mind moves to food the moment I begin thinking of those people related to me via DNA. That’s an old habit and defense mechanism.

As is sitting on my ass getting fat during summer.

Well. All good things come to an end, and this weird fat-inducing summer holiday of mine is no exception. When I’m done with all of Desperate Housewives, I’m back to the real world.

Whatever that is.

Is it me?

The roads are melting. That’s how hot it is. NL has deployed gritters to try and keep asphalt on the streets. Sweden is burning, Greece is burning, and we are sitting in the middle, the grass now so dead and brown it might need replacing in some areas.

Watched some heat lightening strikes yesterday. Good ol’ Mom Nature teased us. Brought in some huge black clouds, rumbled around and made a lot of noise, lit up the sky for over an hour of huge jagged strikes, but we only had rain for about 2 minutes. Enough to make the earth gasp, enough to make the streets sizzle, but not enough to really do anything. Today is forecast to be 37C.

Saw my very cute physiotherapist yesterday. He’s getting to know me. First thing out of his mouth in a teasing manner: Okay, what did you do to yourself this time? He pulled my legs, pushed my back, wrenched my hips around ’til he found the tender spot. Then he pushed in with his elbow (OW!) and manipulated me in a new stretch that really targeted my side pain. I feel better than I have in weeks.

Naturally, the building’s lift is out. Well…not quite out. I tried it yesterday. It came to the appropriate floor, and the doors opened. Then they slammed shut and opened and slammed shut again, for a total of four hard slams. I wasn’t gonna trust it; the stairwell was hot, but no way as hot as getting trapped in a small box with no air ventilation. Ended up doing the stairs twice, in rather quick succession. Strange thing: both times I miscounted, or forgot to count. Got the top thinking I still had one more flight to go. My bro thinks that’s just my body adjusting to the climb up. I wonder if I managed to ‘move’ a flight somewhere. I know how crazy that sounds; I also know it’s not impossible.

Doing loads of not much. Staying cool, eating popsicles. Drinking water, watching tv. Getting up earlier than usual, like today, to drag down the garbage and try to get shopping done before 10 a.m. Can’t even do much on my computer. The whole thing weirded out yesterday while I was playing games. Froze up; had to restart. I coulda fried an egg on the screen it was so hot.

Ventured out with my bro the other evening. We needed smoke, and wanted to buy the full Grimm DVD set. Summer tv is here and there is jack shit on. So off we went: first to the big mall by us, where we picked up the DVDs for ten euro less than downtown. Then off to eat in Markthal: fish from the fish guys. We stayed indoors to finish off cans of soda (our table was in the shade), then gathered up our things and headed into the heat. Down to the coffeeshop, get in the queue, pony up funds for smoke (I got a freebie; hoorah!), and back to the metro. Home by 6:30 with smoke and entertainment plus a really good meal under our belts.

Need to just ride this heat out for a few more days. Then it’s supposed to break and the temp should return to the 20s. It’ll feel like autumn after this…

Received a reply about the robot text for the theatre site. Ugh. Basically they walked me thru the same instructions that were online (which I’d already read). I think if I go to the text page and just change ‘Disallow’ to ‘Allow’ it’ll work, but I want to check with my bro. He’s been doing SEO coding for years; he’ll know.

Hope to drop off the fabric I use for a video backdrop at a dry cleaners. Get it brightened up. Tried yesterday but the place I stopped at wasn’t going to open ’til later. I wasn’t about to go back in the middle of the day. I’ll just find somewhere that’s open in the mornings.

Have not taken the time to just write, and maybe that’s a mistake. Once again, I find my head mulling over diverse story lines. Some scenes are crystal clear in my brain. I am editing up there. Cutting things down to the basics. I keep thinking: No, I don’t need to show all that. It’s unnecessary. Just do this and you’ll get all of that plus more in one scene that the audience will understand. Excellent. Now, tell me what the full story is, please…

August is literally around the corner. I’ll have a short breathing space, then I’ll need to dive right in. My goal is to release the first newsletter in September. Thought about beginning with the first release in October, but that makes things tricky with advertising for the new production. Better to push a little on the first issue and get it out quick so my months line up: September, December, March, June. I’ll be able to churn out three whole issues before our first performance. That allows time and space to whip up interest and showcase any sponsors I manage to snag.

Am very ready to get going on all this. Keep imagining a very large gathering for my October make-up/general interest meeting. Keep seeing in my mind people who will take the extra time and effort to learn what I have to teach because they want to help. Focusing on those positives; I won’t get them if I don’t put it out there.

My feet won’t stop moving. I sit, but my foot just goes and goes, whipping back and forth in a tempo that has to be locked in my subconscious ’cause it sure as hell isn’t in my foremind (suck it, spell check; I’m making that a word). I wonder if my spirit is running that road, back and forth, fast as a hummingbird. I wonder if my unsettled foot is evidence of that. If, somehow, I’m creating this heat.

Is it me?

A change I like

“Talking to your mother is a great stress reliever.”

The above is a quote from an FB meme that showed up on my feed. You can tell it’s a meme: generalized statement, zero proof or links to studies to back it up, and it’s couched in language guaranteed to alienate a certain percentage of the population.

*ahem*

FUCK YO-O-O-OU!

One: my mother is dead. Two: talking to my mother was never a stress reliever, it was a stress adder. Three: most of my ongoing stress and problems were caused by my mother. Four: this blanket know-it-all attitude really pisses me off. It assumes my childhood and your childhood were similar. It assumes the reader comes from a loving family. It even manages to throw a bit of guilt at those of us who do not feel so comfortable with our parental units. Go talk to your mother like a normal person. What do you mean you can’t talk to her? What’s wrong with you?

Guess I’m particularly set off by considering it came from a person I think has HUGE mother issues. She just keeps posting this shit in an attempt to convince herself that things are okay. And…she reminds me of me. She’s in her 20s, struggles with depression and poor self-worth. I see so much of myself in her. And just like me, she isn’t ready at 20 to hear what I have to say. She won’t be ready for quite some time at the rate she’s going. I don’t know how to convey to her what I see. I feel quite helpless to help her.

*sigh* Focus on what you can change, not what you can’t.

My mind is finally quiet(er). Not totally shut off, but I managed to hammer out a master list I’ve called Breakdown of Jobs that’s got everything in one place: website, newsletter, videos, production notes. That seemed to be the thing driving me; my inability to list out everything on one sheet. Now I’ve got it. Now I can rest a bit.

‘A bit’.

Been hitting the website hard. Removed all references to our old production and put them in their proper place on the ‘Past Productions’ page. Changed the ‘Current Production’ page to information on the trilogy. Updated the ticket sales page (we were still ‘selling’ tickets to our old performances) and redirected it to the Current Production page. Tried to turn the entire site on for robots but my old browser doesn’t seem to do it, so I sent a note out to the help center asking them to do it for me. Asked my bro for advice on the vids – good move, there. He ended up in the same place I  was: gotta move furniture around to get it right. But it was his idea, not mine. I didn’t just do it and irritate his life. Now he knows what’s happening and expecting the change.

Went to class on Monday. The heat is above 30C every day. I know that’s kiddie shit for a lot of places, but here it’s damned hot. Did really well on the first section of homework and bombed on the second section. Oh, well. That’s what I’m there for: to learn. My teacher is stressing Dutch turns of phrase. She wants us to incorporate these idioms into our daily language. I’m all for that. I know languages live in their idioms, and that’s where I want to be. Had a conversation with my teacher before class. She asked if I’m still reading anything. Yes, I said, every night before sleep I read for 30-60 minutes. I told her about Dahl’s autobiography. I’m around page 180, almost half way thru. Soon I’ll need to search out another author to go thru. Dahl’s autobiography is the last book of his I’ll read. This time, I’d like it to be a native Dutch author.

The entire country is on heat alert. I’ve had notices from the government to stay indoors, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid physical activity. Using it to cop out on exercising. I know the gym has air, and I know going there would be fine for me. I just don’t want to make the walk to the gym. Yesterday’s alert included a warning that just 15 minutes of sun exposure would cause burning. It takes me 12 minutes to walk to the gym, so that puts me in the danger zone.

Tomorrow I see my physiotherapist. Good thing, too. My right side is still painful – that makes two weeks. It’s slowly getting better, but I need some attention. The heat is forecast to continue, so I’ll make a follow-up visit with him sooner than I normally would. Summer is horrible for my RA.

Today I’ll move the furniture around. Hoover under the bookstand when I finally move it. If I’m gonna hurt myself, it’ll be doing this. Since I’ve an appointment tomorrow, do it now. That way I don’t have long to be in pain. Will take the time to do some homework, too. Might as well do all those things I don’t like to do in one day. Get it over with, and reward myself.

Began working yesterday with GarageBand. It came on my Mac. I opened it once to take a look at it long, long ago – didn’t like it. Give me a real instrument and real studio, please! But I want to do some roughs of the recordings we’ll need so the group can use them in rehearsals. Found how to record in my voice and do some effects on it. Pulled some sound effects from my system and will try to do some layering today. The more playing I do, the better of an idea we’ll have over our needs. Plus if I can give my bro a good rough and say ‘Here’s all the layering and stuff, it just needs to be perfected’, his job is much easier.

I always heard if you do something you love it doesn’t feel like work. They’re right.

And that’s a change I like.

It’ll get done

Despite the thunderstorms, despite the flooding, even despite the roof leak in the building, auditions went well last night.

The skies opened up and poured as I got on the metro. There was the lightening and thunder I wanted, and there was the torrential rain we’d been promised for days. By the time I reached my stop, the shower had largely passed – but it left a swath of water in its path. I was flummoxed several times, and had to search for the driest path available. Very glad I wore my sandals and casual harem pants. Ended up pulling up my trouser legs and wading thru several spots.

The director eagerly took down notes on the horror films I picked out for the actors to look at. The original Night of the Living Dead, to emphasize the story is about everyone’s reaction and not the monsters. The Fourth Kind for genuine fear reactions. If they feel it, the audience will feel it. Yes. Communicated that clearly.

Had a couple of ughs. A couple of people who speak so stiltedly I’m shocked they thought they could audition (I have not yet auditioned for any Dutch production because of the language barrier). Also had a couple of real gems show up. Heard eagerness in the actors, saw smiles and laughter. Funny to sit as a fly on the wall and hear other people talk about character motivations. I recognize how they put themselves in the roles, imagine how they’d react. Letting that happen without comment. Breathe life into it! Make it real. You’re teaching me every minute about how people interpret my words.

*sigh* And contrary to most years, we have more women showing up than men. Already talking with the director about gender flipping some roles. I’m not opposed to doing a female heavy cast, it’s just that I worked my ass off to tailor it for the group and of course it still needs some adjustments.

But I’ve got three core members involved now. We’ve enough good actors to fill critical roles. Still could use a few more to fill out the cast, so we’re scheduling round 3 of auditions. Back to relaxing into the behind the scenes roles: writer, marketing guru, make-up artist, props master, sound direction. Decided I’d like to make an announcement prior to each performance. A little addition to creep the audience out: tell them that yes, what they’re about to see is based in fact and if they choose to search or google for any information they do so at their own peril. That’s a great set-up. Weave that mythology a little tighter.

Loving this whole process. Taking it all the way, having a hand in the production. It allows me some control, yet I’m not totally on the line for everything. I can take some of the burden of it off my shoulders, but still shape aspects of it to my satisfaction. Yeah. I’m all for this.

And I mentioned that when the production hub-bub has blown over, my bro wants to produce a pod cast of another script. Get the actors excited now.

Time has kind of stopped for me. I’m not writing, other than this blog. I’m not really getting to the gym or getting regular exercise. Everything is hot and sticky, and I just can’t find much oomph to accomplish anything. Dutch has become a real chore. Anything other than existing during the hottest part of the day is a chore. The only energy I really feel like expending is towards the production: walking thru flooded streets, staying on top of the auditions, communicating with the director. Cutting myself slack on that. I know where my priorities lie. Everything else – exercise, the language work, even housework – that’s all just means to an end. I’ll exercise so my back doesn’t bother me. I’ll work on Dutch because that’s the language here. I’ll clean up around the house so the general filth doesn’t make me sick. But that’s it. Get it done to the minimum level. Everything else goes into the play.

Today: exist. Try not to sweat too much. Monitor the windows for when the storms hit. Should probably open up my homework and take a swipe at it. The gym would be a great idea…but let’s face it: I probably won’t go. If I do, I’ll be as surprised as anyone else.

This stillness… It runs so deep in me I’m shocked. Shocked, yet grateful. I thought I’d have to be dead to experience this type of relaxation. And even then, I figured I’d be a restless spirit. Mmm. All those years never feeling like I ever had any time off. And I didn’t; I had zero time off from my fear and anxiety. Holidays, work days, birthdays, school: didn’t matter. The anxiety and fear were always there with me.

So take the time off, Beeps. Enjoy it. Roll around in it, wallow in it. You can trust yourself to chill and not fuck off on everything.

It’ll get done.