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.

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Time travel

There is one thing I am eternally grateful to my computer for: it automatically changes the time twice a year. I cannot even count the number of late or early mornings, my schedule thrown off entirely because, oh yes! It’s that human-created time jump that’s so damned nonsensical. *scoff* Who says we don’t time travel? We do it continually (moving forward) and then twice a year we jump thru artificial worm holes in hour chunks (tho not the entire planet; some chunks stay behind…or ahead…).

Whatever.

…Hmmm. Had to admit to being poor, darling. Poor, poor, poor. Too poor to even afford a metro trip to Den Haag right now poor (that’s less than 8 euro). It’s true. I can ill afford 8 euro right now when things are so tight.

Have yet again heard the ‘you really need to slow down’ speech from my bro. Ah…it’s not really a speech, and it’s not said pettily. It’s a reminder to take it easy because I’m barely on my feet again. It’s a ‘I care about you, so please take care of yourself’. I hear that. And he’s got reason to say it. Took more than 24 hours after the script meeting to begin to settle, begin to be able to draw a real breath in, not a half breath that I can’t quite open myself up to (I’m still working on it). Been having headaches again, too. Blowing them off because they’re ghost headaches – there, then gone, only to return.

Proud of myself. Managed to get downtown for errands yesterday, and squeezed in a trip to the library to return Matilda and find a new Roald Dahl (I picked up The Witches). Came home, did my laundry, took out garbage and recycling. Ran downstairs for groceries, did the dishes. Despite feeling so strung out I managed to get quite a few things done. Still gnashing my teeth at night, still waking up biting on that damned mouth guard.

Have to tackle my homework. Already put in time, but I want to do a bit more. This week’s subject is: politics. I’m not pleased about that because the topic winds me up. My bro suggested a very funny story line, which I might write out, but in the end I decided to give the topic a serious try. I know part of the assignment is to attempt handling a more difficult subject. This is a writing assignment for a teenager, not an eight year old. It’s not easy. I choose a side tangent; the subject of representative systems. I can address it cerebrally, dispassionately. I can’t do that with other political topics. And I’m not upsetting myself unnecessarily.

Still not back at the gym. Bad me. Telling myself I’m doing other things, and I am. I know it isn’t good for me, tho. I know I operate best when my body is at a certain point of fitness. Hm. My problem is I don’t want to build back up to where I was. I want to just go. Ah, yes. This is when I hurt myself. …Well. Walk it back, like it or not. Slow and steady. Get on the cross trainer for 10 minutes if you feel you must, but not 30. Drop back down on the arm weights, but do a few reps. Stretch. Move. I’ll only help myself if I work out the anxiety kinks and tight spots.

Today feels like a good day to start.

Langzaam. Rustig. Much of Dutch society lends itself to a relaxed pace, and for that, I’m grateful. Btw, if you’d say that to a native I don’t think they’d agree. I think most feel their society is quite uptempo and stressful. Comparatively, I find it a cakewalk. No one ever told me to slow down in the states. Just the opposite; they wanted to know how fast I could go. They’d pile on the the pressure, and watch me break. Bosses, lovers, friends…jump to it. The question was never if I’d jump, just how high I’d jump. And I felt I could never jump high enough. Never clear that bar. Here…here, they tell me that bar isn’t set as high as I imagine it. They tell me I’m jumping too high, and they’re worried I’ll hurt myself. Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are capitalists here just as single minded in their pursuit of monetary wealth as they are in the states. There is pressure to have wealth, to own things, etc. Definitely, and I feel it. But there is also an underlying layer of humanism in the culture, and that changes things for me (again, I don’t think most natives would agree with me, but that’s down to experience).

…Finding it difficult to commit right now. Difficult to say ‘yes, I’ll do this and this’ today. I want to get to the gym. I want to get to my homework. Definitely….no. Wrong syntax. I feel I should get to the gym. I feel I should get to my homework. That’s better. I don’t really want to do any of it. Been letting my id run a bit wild lately. Cookies for breakfast? Sure, at least you’re eating. PJs all day? Well, you got up and cleaned the house; that’s okay. Games rather than homework? You’re allowed. Problem is, my behavior adheres closely to Newton’s first law: once I’m ‘at rest’, I find it doubly hard to get moving again. And not moving creates its own set of problems. Ugh.

And it’s an hour later than I keep imagining. Yep. Better correct those antiquated non-digital clocks I’ve got around the house. I used to keep one clock at the old time, just to remind myself that yes, I’ve time travelled, here’s the evidence: a left over timepiece from that other world that’s just an hour off of this one. I found it confusing, because then everyone else jumped back into that old reality and I could never quite remember if the world was on the same time as me or not.

Confusing. Yeah. Well…that’s time travel.

Blend me

There. Downtime taken. Not easy. I was super squirrelly. Couldn’t actually nap, but I rested as much as possible and applied arnica lotion to my bruises throughout the day. Kept getting little jolts of excitement every time I went online, seeing posts from my film friends and friend requests and happily confirmed friendships and DAMN! I’ve never felt like I’ve had this many friends before.

Those feelings from the set are still oozing out of me. No longer from my hands; that part is over. Now it oozes from my eyes, as I tear up thinking about how much fun we had. I just felt so included and wanted. I still do, because of the continued online explosion.

But today it’s back to reality. The big equalizer: scrubbing out the toilet. Doesn’t matter if you’re King or Shit-Sweeper; scrubbing out a toilet brings everyone down to the same level. There’s dishes to clean, garbage to take out, a few items to pick up at the store, laundry to shift around. Get up and get moving again at the gym. Try to keep it all light, drink juice, take a break if I need it.

I still don’t have my holiday lights up yet.

Winter has come to the Netherlands. It’s been here for several days, but I’ve been too busy to pay much attention. Hail, sleet, and snow rain down from the cold skies every day. We might even get a little accumulation before the day is out. Almost hope for it; some of my new friends are from warmer climates and they talked about wanting to see a real snow. 🙂 I refrained from saying anything about ‘real snows’ or drifts five feet high when they said that. Dutch snow, I can handle. Even if a lot comes down, it doesn’t stick around.

…Have to admit, my deepest dreams are for family members to notice my posts about the film and show some interest. Maybe say ‘well done!’ I’m not holding my breath. They’ve had 52 years to tell me ‘well done’, 52 years to support me doing what I love, and so far all they’ve offered me are half-assed jokes at my expense. But I’d be lying if I said any different. I want that recognition from them. I want my mother to be proud of me. I want my father to acknowledge my beauty. Even with both my parents dead, and voluntarily cutting myself off from the rest of the family, I still want it. There’s the saddest thing of all, because I know I’ll never get it. Not from my mother or father. Not from my oldest brother or sister. Not from any of my aunts or uncles on my mother’s side. The extended family from my father’s side has always supported me from the moment time I met them. That was my very first clue: here were family members who took me as family, shared their lives with me in words and pictures, and supported me. Said ‘wow!’ or ‘well done!’ or ‘I’m so excited for you!’ They barely know me – we’ve never actually met in person – and yet they are so much more open and loving than my real family. It told me so much.

And it made me so sad. Oh, I’m done asking why. At least for today. The why doesn’t bloody well matter in the end, does it? The only thing that ends up mattering is what the hell you’re going to do with the mess you got dealt in life.

I see now, in hind sight… Ach! I was going to start saying I should have this or that. Fuck that. I did what I did. Chose how I chose. It taught me things, things I wouldn’t have learned any other way. I’ll embrace that. It’s hard to say thanks for it. Felt like a lot of shit to go thru, but maybe that’s because I’m bull headed and stubborn.

For now, I feel inspired. Fired up with standing up and being noticed. Moving forward for reals. Feels like my feet are firmly planted on the ground. I’m not building castles in the air. I’m not living on pipe dreams. I’m doing. I’m being.

And while part of me wishes I could take this knowledge back to myself and change things, let me make this abundantly clear to the Universe and anyone who’s listening: I DON’T WANT TO GO AROUND AGAIN. I want to see and be in the now, take the joy I can, love who I trust, do what I’m meant to do.

Holy fuck. Am I saying I want to…live?

That word has new meaning for me now. Live used to mean exist. I existed. I put up with the pain. But there’s a whole other dimension to that word. To truly live. Wow. It’s an immense feeling.

I want to keep that feeling, even when I’m scrubbing out the toilet today. I’ll live it. It’s just a tiny seed in the huge fruit of life. It’s hard, and tasteless. You might hurt yourself if you bite down on it too hard. It might be a bit bitter tasting, or slimy, or just gross. Don’t eat it. Consume the fruit. Spit the seeds. Everyone’s been telling me that, in their own words. Stop focusing on all the bad in life. Look on the bright side. Why can’t you take a compliment? But I didn’t have enough fruit. I was getting all seeds. My life was a pomegranate. And I don’t like pomegranates.

I’d been eating life raw. Very raw, and with no help from a cheery television chef telling me how to make this shit edible. Now, it feels like I’ve got a fully stocked kitchen with all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Just hit a switch and all the work is done for you.

Go on; do it.

Blend me.

I love it

It’s done. Everyone is dead.

Three days of hard writing. Concentrated, like those frozen juices you can buy. It all came out in one big lump.

Part three is done. Now that the story is out of me, I realize that yes, I really did need to get that finished before I could move onto the rest. Start with the end. No matter how many times I try to write a script from the beginning and just power through, it doesn’t work. I get the opening scene done, generally…but then I’ve got to stop, and write the ending.

Ends and beginnings…I’m good at those. It’s all the in-between that’s a muddle.

But now it’s done. And it’s magnificent in its action. Plays can be…too much dialogue. It’s easy to do. Especially with so many rinky-dink groups around. They don’t have a lot of money, they don’t have a lot of skill – so it comes down to having them memorize dialogue to tell the story. But I asked! I asked. And the group said they’d be willing to give some physical acting a go – specifically, on-stage fighting. Did my best to give the story enough of what it needed without demanding too much of the actors. But someone’s gotta take a few punches in Act 3. And can I say, I envy the actors who’ll get the roles. I’ve people going insane, panic attacks, screaming arguments – the kind of roles I, as an actor, would like to have a shot at.

Well…maybe I’ll get a chance at acting in my own work. It is a small group….

Have this tickling kind of sixth sense that tells me I’m gonna create an entire report on this trilogy for the group in order to sell it. A list of props needed – with notes on what I think will work, how much I think it might cost, etc.; a list of sound needed – easily covered; a list of lighting shifts – messy to write but easily done; and a list of general things to think about, like the fight scene, or the fact that I really don’t think we should attempt to do this two days in a row because it’s so demanding.

Eh. There’s the twat in me. Write a bleeding report -! Though, considering I’m a woman who can turn yesterday’s errands and her stray thoughts into an easy 1000 word blog, I suppose it should come as no surprise to think I’ll write up a summation of the trilogy, and address every objection and concern before anyone in the group can voice it.

…Is that a control issue? I imagine it is. Already trying to take my fantasies down. Deflate the mania balloon. Anytime I imagine the play being done, the thrills, the chills, the applause – I shrink it. My head is going too far, too fast, and the last thing I want is for the group to do it and me to be disappointed because I built up this big fantasy in my mind.

And let’s. be. honest. I know where this is going. I’ve known from the start, tho I’ve been reluctant to admit it. I’m working it to a screenplay. My stories are too visual to begin with, and include lighting techniques, camera moves, and tight edits even when I’m writing for the stage (those elements are not included in the play, of course…but they do influence what I write). Not thrilled about the idea of learning how to write a screenplay. I’ve a fairly good idea of the elements needed. I did drive my brother nuts while he was in film school, asking questions, reading his homework, learning almost as much as he did. But I haven’t tried to do it yet, so I imagine my first attempt(s) will be slow and not my best work.

That’s okay. It took me almost a year of writing stage plays before this story came out of me. The screenplays may take a while. Hell! Maybe by the time I really get around to writing the screenplays, I’ll be able to do them in Dutch. Take them straight to the National Film Works right here in the Netherlands. And even if they’re in English, I’ll start there. If I could get someone interested, get the ball rolling here…

Yeah. Squash that thought before it takes hold. I’ve loads of work to do before I can start thinking like that.

In the meantime, I’m pleased as punch. I’ve painted the floor with blood, and found it lovely. My brother has begun teasing me that I’ve finally let loose the killer in me (yes, I talked scripts to him and no, he wasn’t as closed down as I’d feared). He’s started calling me ‘Castle’, after the tv program (which we both enjoy). Hm. If I’m Castle, that makes him Beckett… Wow! That mash-up hurt my little brain in so many ways, not the least of which was a flash of my short-haired bro with long, flowing locks. And high heels.

For the record, I have not gone to the gym lately. Nor have I yet touched my homework (due today). Did manage to get some laundry done, but…the sinks are dirty, there’s clutter everywhere, and things are just a bit let go if you know what I mean.

I have managed to smoke a lot. Gee. Not a huge surprise, considering the trance-like state I was in. …My ashtray is a disgrace, no matter how many times I empty it.

But look at the bright side. It’s done. I’m dripping with blood. I stand here – metaphorically, of course – a Berserker Warrior, feasting on the hearts of the vanquished. And it. is. glorious. To mentally let go of every inhibition, every taboo, every law and just…destroy. I think I understand (a bit) that mad-dog mentality now.

Everyone’s dead.

And I love it.

I can feel it

Sent a prayer out yesterday around one in the afternoon. Please, Goddess, I asked, please help make my travel to and from the theatre easy and safe. And please help me remember my lines and do a good job.

Headed out. Checked at Centraal station on the late night bus; everything was a go and the bus still ran. Walked the five minutes from the station to the theatre. Greeted a few of my fellow actors and the director. Scoped the space – cozy is a kind euphemism. Spent most of the afternoon re-staging all four acts. We didn’t have wings, didn’t have a good off-stage area, didn’t even have a step UP to the risers the stage was set on. My acting partner told me not to worry about getting home; we were forecast for high winds, so he brought his car (ah, I thought, there’s part one of my prayer answered). Went thru the usual mish-mash that happens before curtain up and somehow fills the hours of waiting with things to do. My bro came and set up the camera. Then it was up some very scary stairs to a closet-sized dressing room to change.

Nailed it. From the moves, to the lines, to the new stage directions (thank you, Goddess, for answering both my prayers in one night).

We sold out. SRO only. Even the limited view seats went.

Afterwards, talk. A director from my neck of the world (Minnesota) attended the performance. I’d met him once or twice before; he worked with the group last year, but now he’s formed another acting troupe. He was eager to talk, and sought me out. First thing out of his mouth: I loved seeing you in Act 3, dancing at the party! That brought a round of loud laughter from myself and my acting comrades because I’d just made a comment on how everyone seems to comment on that tiny little cameo I do more than my actual acting. I could sense the underlying message in the director’s words. He, like many others (too many, in my opinion) seemed to have a low first impression of my abilities and was caught somewhere between surprise over my acting and desire to use it in connection to his own work. I get that a lot lately. Must have grown real good at hiding myself over the years. Mentioned the upcoming reading of my script, and ding! ding! ding! I could see the change come over the director’s face. More than interested. He wanted to come, wanted to hear what I can do, because I just blew his little mind and went up three notches in his book.

*sigh* That’s fun. To so turn someone’s opinion around like that. To really show them what I can do. But I don’t want to make it a habit, nor do I want to kid myself about the hard edge these people carry around – if they dissed me out of hand once, they’ll do it again. They’re only being nice to me because they think the can use me or my abilities.

That’s hard to remember because once someone decides to be nice to you, they can be really nice to you.

Almost seemed like some minor god became jealous last night. Jealous of the Goddess answering my prayers. Felt like the Universe was reaching out to hurt me – first I smashed my hand against a door, later my ankle gave out and I fell on the sidewalk. Both injuries are rather minor, but I’m bruised and hurting this morning. The hand looked bad last night – noticeably swollen on the side. In fact, when I saw it in the light I was a bit worried I’d broken something and not realized it. Have full range of movement, though. The ankle is another issue. Soft tissue damage. It hurts the worse of the two, but looks the best. Figures. Right on the eve of returning to my gym routine.

And it’s fall back change the clock time. Got up earlier than I thought. Shit. Well, it’ll help in the long run. Get me back on track to my regularly scheduled madness…

Today I have to push thru a little hangover and memorize these irregular verbs for my lesson tomorrow. And write that damned letter! Hell’s bells! I got work to do.

But this is what’s happening: I’m getting respect. Respect as an actor, and respect as a writer. Got to say, I have a hard time knowing what to do with it. Takes me a moment to realize that’s what I see in other people’s faces. It’s not an underhanded or sly communication style. It’s far more upfront. And it shocks me. I look for the hidden sting in people’s words. I expect them to be sarcastic with me. But I watch them closely. That half hidden anger fueled smile isn’t lurking in their eyes. Their eyes are clear, and looking directly into mine. Oh, maybe they flip their opinions depending on their judgment of my abilities, but they’re not being covert. Just the opposite: they can’t seem to hide their surprise or their eagerness to work with me. And it just feels so strange. I expect things to flip any moment, for people to stab me in the back. To suddenly be the butt of all jokes. And I get kidded, but it’s not a put you in your place kind of kidding. It’s a you’re a part of the group now kidding.

These people talk to me. Really talk to me, and with me.

…One other thing. I’m blurting out truths in their presence. Like, deep truths. Things I would normally reserve for this blog. They just fall out of my mouth, time and again. And I’m listened to, sympathized with, understood and above all not judged. It’s more healing than any therapy I could imagine. The Netherlands is healing me.

I can feel it.

No One Makes it out Alive

Success. Responses to enquiries, searches that reveal that yes, Virginia, my press release about the upcoming performance is out there. Sadly, there’s only half a dozen sites in Rotterdam written in English – but I hit them all.

Headed to the gym early. The woman never showed. Kept an eye out for her – which is why I saw, for the first time, the way people look at me while I stretch. That woman is not alone in stopping whatever’s going on and standing still with a slightly open mouth while I move. Everyone in the gym did it at some point during my warm-up. Don’t you people stretch? – Oh, wait… You don’t. I ‘member now. You’re all about jerk lifting heavy weights, and running on the cross trainer for 10 minutes. Yeah…

There’s not much reason, in my opinion, to be jealous of me. I’m not super beautiful, or super fit, or super rich, or, (seemingly) super talented. Just a bit of this and that. But my flexibility…Now that I can acknowledge as a thang. You can be jealous of me over that: next month I hit 52, and I can still take my forehead to my knees and straight down to the floor while stretching. Don’t know anyone who gets turned on by that, nor any way to market it as a talent and make money off it. But it’s mine, and when I stretch deeply I automatically begin Ujjayi breathing – a thing I learned long ago as a child, watching Hatha Yoga on PBS. I focus. It’s one of the beautiful feelings I can create in my body without thinking or trying.

Surprised to find more energy in me than I expected. Did my full-on work-out, no holds barred. Pushed hard, sweated loads.

Doubly surprised then, to find myself pacing at 7 p.m. Up and down, back and forth, maniacally stalking the tiny walkway in the apartment. I was unsettlingly unsettled last night. My bro was out at a band rehearsal (second band; they REQUESTED his uber talented presence – yea!) for the evening, so I was solo for tv time. That never goes very well – I prefer, in the evenings, to have someone with me so I can talk to them and have a bit of companionship to slow me down. But I expected, after such a push at the gym, to be tired.

Ha! 

Had to force myself to slow down. Forced myself to sit in the chair, watch the film I’d chosen. Forced myself to keep lighting up (thought: good Goddess, something has to slow me down!). Took it down to reading. Quiet, still. Relax, I told myself. Finally began feeling less manic. Slept.

I’ve time off from language lessons this coming week. Need to read thru Taman and make a few corrections and changes. Also need to begin the process of a read-through. Ask the teachers if they’ll come so I can use a classroom at Erasmus. Set a date. Get emails out.

But what I really want to get back to is my thriller trilogy. My experience with the theatre group has made me re-think a few things. What I once envisioned as three stand alone one-acts that have an arcing storyline are now expanding for the stage. I’m pulling the surviving characters through the one-acts for continuity. Wasn’t part of the original plan. However, while performing this play I’ve noticed what people have said to me. The number one thing people comment on is my tiny cameo in Act 3, where I’m seen dancing at a party held in the other room. Part of that, I know, is because it’s the last time they see me on stage. But there’s a definite glee the audience gets, seeing a character from an earlier story inserted into a later story. It offers a thread of continuity to the audience, and seems to bring the entire play into some sort of reality: this is the real world, and people’s paths cross. Here you go; proof. Okay. Good. I’ll use that. It’ll take a bit of re-thinking, but the basic story lines can hold.

Might use the following as a tag line for the production: No one makes it out alive. It’s a good overriding line for a thriller trilogy done over Halloween – though I’m concerned it’s too old hat and cliche for my production.

…It’s not a bad tag line for life. …Damn! I might have to get a T-shirt with that on it. Just for me.

Reality check: another comment from my uncle on FB. Ugh. Meh. Not even sure if I want to honor it by deleting it. Maybe I should just let them stand, without comment, and let the world see what a fucking eejit the man is. This one was strange. Or, at least, I found it strange. Re-posted one of my press releases from a site I successfully loaded the info into. This is not the first post about the play on my FB page. Maybe the 10th. Something must have finally clicked with my uncle, because for the first time he’s commented on it: “I imagine this will be funny….sorry, I won’t be in the area then. LOL”

LOL? Um…I realize he probably thinks he’s making a joke (which is weak in and of itself, because there’s nothing joke-like about his statement), or that’s what he’d claim. But is it really? I see a pandering to me in the first half (I imagine this will be funny: note, though, the comment is in general and not directed towards me or my acting ability) and a discount in the second half (he lives half way around the world and I never imagined for even a split second that he’d come for a performance). Pat on the head, and a slap in the face. Or so I see it.

For now, it stands without reply.

I got bigger fish to fry.

‘Cause it’s true. No one makes it out alive.

Shallow footholds

Breathe.

My uncle, who claims to have been “inoculated” against bubonic plague (yes, you read that correctly; he’s that ignorant) is on the commenting rampage again. This time? A superfluous comment on a post about the theatre group’s last performance. No idea what was going thru his mind…if anything. The damned post was in English, but he seems to have translated it. A tag that caught his eye was ‘Friday in Leiden’, which was a reference to our Friday night performance in the town of Leiden. His comment? What’s Friday in Leiden? Free day later? – or some such nonsense. Deleted it. I’m not talking to someone that stupid.

Saw a Graham Norton show on which a guest said he loved Twitter because ‘it was created to wind people up’ and he found ‘winding people up was a lot of fun’. I believe that puts my uncle’s behavior into a nice box. He enjoys winding people up. If I was his child and went to him to complain about being bullied, he’d say what those people always say: Ignore it. Yet, when I do that, I receive all sorts of negative comments about how immature I am, how I can’t even hold a conversation, etc. etc. Same double standard their president is trying to pull, and it’s the same obvious bullshit manipulation.

My brother has this idea that he’ll post the video of my performance and somehow THAT will open up my uncle’s mind. I expect flak. Bullshit wind-up comments. Back-handed compliments that aren’t really compliments. Stuff I’ll delete immediately, because I don’t want to deal with it.

Reminding myself I must apologize to the group in case anyone saw his comment. I’m sure my uncle would be angry if he knew I felt I had to apologize for his behavior. But I do feel it. I feel I must apologize for much of what Americans say and do.

Now THAT’S sad.

Language class: oh, I’m a prat and I know it. Brought along the book on Anne Frank that I finished reading. I believe that’s what prompted the teacher to ask all of us for impromptu book reports. I was the only person who had read more than a few pages. Swapped for a new book – a detective story. Lots of words in there that I don’t know. But that’s good; picking up meanings while reading is the BEST way to get it into your brain. Sometimes I have to resort to the dictionary, but hey! I did/do that with English, too. There are always words you don’t know. Did pretty well with my homework. A couple of mistakes; that’s okay. I learn even more from my mistakes than I do simple repetition. Really appreciate the level of this class. High enough, but not too high. Stressing what I need stressed. Feel myself falling into my student mode: open, accepting – almost like a sponge. Absorb first. Question later.

It’s a decent mind-state to carry into the world.

Keep telling myself I’m gonna cut back on smoking. Keep failing. Keep making excuses for myself, too. I’m still stressed from performing (true). My system hasn’t settled yet (true). But I’m bending the rules, being too easy and forgiving of my bad behavior. It’s got to stop.

Going to the gym today. My big excursion into out there. Want to come back so worn out I can barely keep my eyes open. Want it. Need it, even.

Keep telling myself to hang in there. Just a bit longer. A bit longer to what I’m never sure. Success? Easing of some of the financial restrictions? I’m afraid things might get worse before they get better. Once again, I have tumbleweeds rolling thru my e-mail. Not word ONE on my script, which I sent out a month ago to half a dozen places with very high expectations. Winter is coming on, which means more watching my health and being all over hand washing and juice sipping. All of that is discouraging, as are the bills that come in unexpectedly, throwing our budget out of whack.

But doors are opening. Just a crack – enough to get my foot in. Checked the film website my acting partner told me about and it’s everything he promised. Casting calls for all sorts. Already found one I’d really like to apply for. Need to get my info online. Told my bro about it, because there’s plenty of calls for sound engineers, something he’s more than qualified for.

Do not want to jinx myself, so I’ll just say all of this is on the table. As is the production of my scripts via the theatre group. Stepping slowly, cautiously. Nothing is settled or for sure, so there’s no real reason to get worked up. There’s just…interest.

Another note: J, the other feminist in the theatre group, asked for my blog address. I was thrown, dithered a lot by saying it’s nothing, just my empty thoughts. Truth is, I was and am afraid to share this blog. Whether or not I have anonymity, I feel as if I do, and that makes all the difference in how I write. But with my last post on sharing, I wonder if I’m being a bit hasty to pull back on this issue. How better for someone to understand me than to read my words? Must say, I’m honored that she cared enough to ask. That alone weighs heavily on the ‘give her the address’ side.

My head keeps playing back compliments I received for my performance. Particularly compliments from the group, because these are the people who’ve seen me do it over and over. These are the people who’ve heard some of my opinions, talked to me, gotten to know me a bit better… Truth is, I have no idea what they might say about me when I’m not there. Last autumn, I was a fly on the wall, so I know shit happens.

They might end up being very shallow. But even a shallow foothold is better than none.

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13 hours.

Home at 1 in the morning. Excited, because Leiden went well. Really well. Maybe the BEST for the group as a whole.

My feet hurt. My voice is iffy. Hope I won’t lose it completely. I’m tired, even after a decent sleep.

And I’m triumphant. Did the Universe take all possible positive comments and roll them into one night for me? Seems so. Two guys were pleasantly surprised to find my normal speaking voice wasn’t that horrid accent I do on stage. People loved this and that about my performance. But the best? Well…the group is getting more and more comfortable with performing and with each other. I’ve got this bit in the third scene – I’m supposed to be dancing at a party just outside the door, and the audience sees me every time the door opens. So I took it up a notch. Last night, every time the door opened I was a bit more drunk. Saved the best for last; even told my acting partner I was going to try and throw the actors on stage a bit. The curtains parted, my hair was bedraggled, my lipstick smeared, my shirt buttons were open and I staggered, took a drunken stance, looked straight at the director’s girlfriend (who was holding the curtain) and asked very drunkly ‘What?’. She told me later the scene went on longer than she wanted because she was laughing at me and couldn’t turn and let the audience see. In fact, she told that story to everyone at the bar afterwards and she couldn’t stop laughing even then.

Made me feel real good. I think, maybe, I’ve diffused any lingering resentment towards me through humor and honesty.

Other: J, the South African actress who is my fellow feminist in the group, told me she thought I was cool and wanted to keep in touch. YES! I might have FRIENDS out of this, as implausible as that may have seemed to me a few months ago. And my acting partner clued me into a Dutch website for actors to find parts in films. He told me they’re always looking for English speaking/American women.

Three weeks to chill before the last gig of the year. Defo everyone is planning for further performances next year. Hope to get up to Amsterdam to a theatre that will actually pay us to be there (including travel costs).

The only thing I’m planning for this weekend is finishing my homework, which should take me all of 20 minutes when I put my mind to it. Other than that, I am slothing (bloody hell; spell correct doesn’t like that but shouldn’t it be a verb?). Putting my feet up, maybe soaking them if I feel like pulling a warm foot bath together. Watching films. Not getting out of my pj’s unless I’m forced to. Not planning on a gym visit, but I’ll go if my body tells me it needs it. Juice, soup, naps, games. Sloth.

These upsets to my schedule are hard on me. 13 hours yesterday away from home, away from my comfy chair, not smoking (Gasp! I know! 13 hours with no toking! Though I did  have an emergency J on me just in case). Can’t help but feel it’s worth it. I’m happy, up, jazzed, and feeling great after a night full of positive, light-hearted social contact.

Laughing is so much easier in a group than it is alone.

That’s a lesson I’m taking with me. I tend to be a hermit, usually by choice. But with other people, with unexpected things being said and done…well…let’s just say I’ve long noticed that I don’t laugh out loud very much if I’m alone.

Laughter is something you share.

I like laughing. I like the way it makes me feel. I like making other people laugh, too.

So my path is clear.

Time to open up my world and share.

I’m ready

Dutch is a tricky language to learn. Any native will tell you that. Not only do you need to learn how to pronounce their ‘G’ without spitting on anyone, you also have to figure out the trick of spelling. In most cases, spelling isn’t bad if you know the combinations of letters and their corresponding sounds. There’s just one problem: the Dutch like to use d’s and t’s at the ends of their words, and both letters are pronounced the same. Is it a D? Or is it a T? Or one of those pesky words that uses both?

There’s a rule for that. Thought, at one time, I got it. After my lesson yesterday, I’m so fucking confused I don’t know if I understand it all.

Suppose I should feel good about all this: my lessons have surpassed my Thursday instructor. I’ve gone where she can’t follow. She’s got all the conversational skills, sure, but like many Dutch natives she doesn’t know the finer points of spelling or grammar.

Received an apology at the end of the lesson. The other student showed up, and conversation was limited to simple Q&A because she’s let her language skills slip so much. Barely got into my homework questions, and those that were looked at ended up confusing my teacher and muddling my own understanding.

At the rate this is going, I’ll be ready to teach beginner Dutch in six months.

Took the rest of yesterday off. Needed to let my mind rest, needed to let go of the irritation I was feeling. Good thing, too. My bro came home from his language lesson angry as all hell, so I let him vent. He’s not getting what he wants out of his lessons, either. He’s given stuff to read, which he struggles through, but there’s no correction or time taken to answer questions. I get that these instructors are all volunteers. It’s great to just have enough warm bodies to fill the positions needed. But there’s got to be some sort of structure everyone follows.

And shouldn’t instructors take some basic test to make sure they know how to read, write, and speak correctly?

Went out to FB today to make sure I didn’t have any comments from a certain uncle and found my page changed. I can’t comment on anyone’s posts. Don’t know if that’s some block that’s put up on me. Shouldn’t be. I don’t comment on anyone else’s stuff most of the time, and if I do it’s supportive. I’m not the troll. Also, when I visit someone else’s page, I only see part of their home page. Used to see the whole thing. What up wit’ dat? If it’s across the board on FB, okay. If it’s only me on my page, I must protest. …Sometime. When FB becomes important enough in my life to protest…which, granted, may be a while.

Staying out of the rain. Keeping warm. Resting, but moving enough. Had a very satisfactory POP out of my back last night. It’s what I needed: the spasming on my side eased off immediately. This morning, as I write, I have no pain. Glorious! No pain! This boost of physical comfort is still not enough for me to break my health cordon. Oh, I want to go. Go to the gym and work hard for two hours, feel that exhaustion. But no. 36 hours to go to curtain up. I’m no fool.

My bro is hoping to get a tripod for his phone/camera today so he can film my performance. *This is me feeling an ass for ever saying he doesn’t support me and he wouldn’t come to the play.* I hope things go well. No doubt over myself, just other people. Is that my trust issue, or just my good sense? Well, if anyone gripes over not doing as well as they want to, the group can bloody well let my brother in for free to film it again (if he’s willing to sit through it again, which I’m not guaranteeing). I do not look forward to seeing the camera’s perspective on my body. I always wince, no matter what my size. Then again, I always see myself as a whale no matter what. Or I have in the past. My only comfort is that this character is supposed to be awkward in her skin, and THAT is something I know how to convey.

Well. The excitement-o-meter is beginning to ramp up. I can feel that dump of adrenaline in my system. What do you know! I still get that feeling. Maybe as a kid it scared me. Hell! Horror films scared me as a kid. Now I love ’em. Same sort of thing: what once might have sent me over the edge is now something very familiar, very intimate. I know what to do with this. Concentrate on calm. Get to the gym, yes, but only for a walk and a stretch. Focus. Pack my bags for tomorrow. Take a shower. Make sure my outfit is ready. I’ve rituals at my fingertips, and plenty of smoke for when my rituals run out.

This is it; the final countdown. I’m ready.

Holding Pattern

There may be no such thing as a perfect day, but yesterday tried damn hard to get there.

Weather: gorgeous. Autumnal sunshine, fallen leaves smell, warmth enough to sit outside and have a meal. That alone gave me heart.

Got to immigration before noon. Had the entire metro trip to figure out what to say (in Dutch) when I got there – and I nailed it…but then I went blank when a forty foot high wave of Dutch came back at me (know I had that deer in the headlights look). Took a number and waited.

Twenty minutes later, I walked out with my new residency card.

Shocked. Shocked at the speed, the efficiency, the ever present politeness and common courtesy shown me at this government office. Shocked, too, that the card was in my hand. No photos, no fingerprints; they used my file from last time. I came home to find another letter from immigration telling me just that – that there was no need for me to have a photo or my fingerprints taken, I just needed to pick up my new card. Ha! Guess they didn’t count on me being as efficiently speedy in my response as they were in their work (note: almost spelled that ‘werk’, the Dutch way, and right now using a ‘o’ looks weird).

And this is the pink residency card. When I first got here, I received a pink card. It’s the top of the top in residency cards. The do not stop all access guaranteed card. I had one of three to be issued in the entire country. Don’t know if they’re still that rare, but I do know someone out there likes me. These things are difficult to get.

By noon, my bro and I were staring at each other outside the immigration office. We have our cards. That’s what we kept saying to each other. The question came up of what to do next, and I answered with the only place I KNEW would card us: a coffeeshop. Btw, it’s not that we look all that young anymore, it’s just that you’ve got to have an ID on you if you go to a coffeeshop. Usually, they have bouncers outside. Naturally…they didn’t. Walked straight in. Still enjoyed it, just sitting there and knowing we had our IDs. We’re official.

Back home, I found myself restless. Off to the gym for stretches and an hour’s walk on the treadmill. Want to do more, but holding back right now. I will not risk my knees or wrists just before performing.

Dinner was a semi-fast food sampler. Gotta say semi-fast food because it wasn’t McD’s or Pizza Hut: this was Dutch fast food. Dutch fast food means you go somewhere and they make your food to order fast. You don’t walk in and ask for something that’s been pre-made and sitting under a warmer. You order, they jump. And the ingredients are higher quality, too. Had some Turkish pizza and loempias. Nothing like mixing your ethnicities up with dinner, but the two vendors were close together and it just so happened that change from one purchase was the precise amount asked for by the other vendor. Therefore, Turkish pizza and loempias. Doesn’t everyone think like this?

Went to sleep after watching some Heroes (found a dirt cheap DVD copy of Season 2) and knowing I read through the first 30 pages of a book in Dutch. Felt good.

Hiccup this morning – from my uncle. Another comment on FB. Noticed his comments are becoming less and less inflammatory – so much so I’m feeling that guilt creep up on me when I hit delete. I’m also reminding myself how angry I was, and my promise to take care of me. So, delete it was, and will continue to be. I’ve no time nor temperament to deal with him at the moment.

Another language lesson today. For the first time, I’m not worried about a lag in my lesson. Just the opposite: I’m concerned I’ve too much material to go over, especially if the other student shows up.

Wanted – still want – to head out today and try to get a few posters up for the show. But it’s very grey, and very wet. Bad timing on me. Maybe it will pull back enough this afternoon to allow me a decent walk without the risk of getting too wet or too cold. Until then, plans are on hold.

Keeping calm, staying distracted. Not thinking too much about the play other than to be careful because it’s coming up.

I’m in a holding pattern.