R-e-s-p-e-c-t

Draft one: done. Once I got to a certain point in the script, it just went. Have begun reading it through for errors and typos. Changed up a few things; found I’d gotten two of my characters muddled in the middle of an argument. And, despite my sticking to my outline and often feeling like I was writing a term paper, this script has given me some surprises. I was going to set up one character for stealing, then realized that I had another, shadier character to actually take the fall. My attempts to add subtlety into the dialogue led me to ambiguous statements (as it WILL do), and by the end of Act 2 I found a couple of my ideas modified without me even realizing it. Hm, now it sounds like maybe this person did that in secret because of her earlier statement… It’s added color and a refreshing slap to a story I worried was getting too predictable.

Now it’s dead-head time. Stop thinking, start editing. Not looking forward to the hours needed to get it into the formatting software. Sure, I can upload the text – but nothing else sticks, and I must go through it all, line by line, marking each character, each line of dialogue, each production note, again. Ugh.

Good news is that without pushing myself, I’ll be able to format and print the script for final inspection before my language lessons begin again.

I want to say it’s good. I think it is. Been very persnickety on military details (which often go lacking, or are incorrect in many portrayals) – but I’m not focusing on them. They are not the story. Nor is the war itself; there is only one scene with the women in battle. In fact, as I read through my work for errors and corrections, there was only one word that surfaced in my brain. The reason for the entire story: respect (and yes, Aretha is singing it in my head). Respect for these women – or the lack of it – is central to this piece. It comes up, again and again: the male commander shouting that women shouldn’t be soldiers, the male soldiers’ flirtations…Even amongst the women themselves, the question of respect comes into play. The characters’ alliances shift, in response to action both on and off the stage. Everything funnels down to the end, to the most combative roles in the play, and a final handshake – a sign of respect.

And I have settled on a name. ‘The Night Witches’ (or some form of that) is damned tempting. Kind of hooks you into it right away, doesn’t it? But it’s been used. Like, a million times. For articles and books, videos and films. Despite how much I want to use it, I won’t. Thought about calling it ‘588’ for the regiment number, but then it should really be ‘588th’, not ‘588’, and I felt the ‘th’ at the end was something that might trip people up. It tips you off this is a story about the military (at least, for me it does). Besides, the regiment was renamed after receiving recognition. So using a number is just confusing. …The script is called ‘Taman’. It’s set on the Taman Peninsula, in 1943. I know ‘Taman’ is a bit misleading as well – it should be ‘The Taman Peninsula’ or ‘The Taman Offensive’…but I don’t like either of those. And something about just calling it ‘Taman’… Although it’s not an English word, it’s not something that would frighten most people. It’s not Tzuychrswski or some similar foreign word with that string of consonants that always trips up English speakers. And it’s neutral. What is Taman? A person? A place? Immediately you ask questions, want answers. I’m hoping that curiosity will transfer into audience members. Plus, this is where the women made history. This is battle front that earned them their honors.

…Since it be about respect, y’all…I figure I be allowed a little of that there ‘artistic license’.

Keeping up on exercise, tho skipping my 30 minutes on the bikes. Pushing myself on the mental front right now. If I do it mentally and physically, I’ll run myself into the ground. So I’m being a little easy on myself until I feel the push is really over.

And it is a push. I’ve put so much into this…including a rape scene and the aftermath – accusations, shame, humiliation, fear… I’m tearing up every time I read it. The battle scene, when two of the characters are shot down and die, is also difficult to read: full of emotion, raw and ripe.

I sure hope other people are as moved by it as I am.

For myself, I feel I can put another notch in my belt. Didn’t know if I could write something military. Certainly doubted my ability to write something historical. Yet, here I am. I won’t lay claim to having written some fresh, new perspective. Don’t know that I’ll ever be that arrogant. But I think I’ve written well. I think the story is engaging, the characters believable.

…Maybe underneath all my writing, there’s another message: respect for myself. I rarely give it.

Today, I will.

Just DIE already

imgres-1.jpg

I don’t get it. I don’t get how or why people are supposed to love extended family members. These aunts, uncles, and cousins you may see once every five to ten years. Even grandparents. I saw my grandparents twice a year, a few days at a time. Grandpa terrorized me with his two day unshaved face, swooping me up in his arms to rub my tender three year old cheek against his rough old one. I hated it. I squirmed and screamed. His beard hurt. I felt it was punishment, and I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. Yet he did it, every time he saw me. And I was supposed to “love” him. It wasn’t until two years AFTER my grandfather’s death that I saw a vision of him in my dreams and finally received the love I felt I never got. Only THEN did I cry for him. Only THEN did I mourn. Only THEN did I understand that yes, underneath all that sadistic cheek rubbing was someone who genuinely cared for me.

My uncle is yanking my chain again. Asks my opinion on something and then blows me off with a single dismissive sentence. I spent six hours yesterday hot under the collar, trying VERY hard to settle down. I paced. I smoked. I listened to soothing music (even wrote a new piece). The culmination of my effort was my ability to turn on my computer and delete the conversation without comment. Then I had another few hours, telling myself I did the right thing. More pacing, more clenched gut.

It is days and times like these that I used to get a lot of ‘don’t let it bother you’. Still do. I don’t bother pointing out that giving me a negative statement (using ‘don’t’) isn’t the best way to go about letting it go. Nor do I point out the fact that I had I been able to let things go throughout my life I’d probably be in a very different situation. Nor that the people who tell me to let it go and calm down generally have problems letting go and calming down themselves.

Like my brother. We disagree on some very basic ideals and when we argue, that’s it. We can find no common ground. Worst of all is his tendency to cut me off mid sentence because he THINKS he knows what I’m going to say. He puts his words in my mouth. Doesn’t listen to me at. all.

None of my family angst is helped right now by my recent viewing of Absolutely Fabulous The Movie. *sigh* Two things are now terribly clear to me. One, Jennifer Saunders has been riding the same jokes for 25 goddamn years with her characters. Two, as Saunders ages she looks more and more like my mother (the hair is wrong, but the face and the wrinkles she’s sporting give a pretty good imitation). That’s the real kicker.  I was a big fan of Ab Fab series 1. Loved the second and third series, too. But then…then Jennifer began to age noticeably on screen. Then she began to do this thing with her mouth that set off such a hard reaction/memory in me I really kind of freaked. Now, all I see is my mother and old jokes I’ve seen since series one. It’s really a turn off. I’d like to like the series again but I’m finding it impossible. And I couldn’t really like the movie. It was bigger, it had more money put into it. But better? Not really. Just a rehash of every episode you’ve already seen. There was Saunders, doing the same gags she’s done since the pilot. The same jokes. Even Patsy’s ‘Gabon? Gabon?’ line was resurrected and reused. Characters and guest stars we’ve seen on the show for ages made cameos, doing and saying things very similar to what they did and said in the original episodes they starred in. And Saunders orchestrated it all, in my mother’s face. The wrinkles around her mouth and eyes. Her thinning upper lip. Her sneer.

It was an unsettling 90 minutes.

How am I supposed to feel something warm and fuzzy for people who don’t care enough about me to listen to what I say? I’m not asking for AGREEMENT, just hear me through. Give me a nod and say ‘we don’t agree, but I’ll respect your opinion’.

I’ve never heard that. Ever. Not from ANY family member.

And do NOT give me some holier than thou advice. Do NOT say I’m the one that needs to rise above it. That if I want respect, I must give respect. I was raised in this manner – verbally beaten down so bloody often I have a hard time making ANY choice as an adult. I feel guilty for just about everything in the world because at some time, somewhere, I’m to blame.

I am TIRED of trying to be the better person. Sick to fucking death of it. It’s so goddamned bad that it throws me right into suicide ideation; might as well bloody kill myself since no fucking person in my family is even decent enough to give me the most basic of respect due any person alive. Fuck them. Fuck them for fucking with my head so fucking much. These are the people who are supposed to be my support system. Instead, they’ve always been the most damaging to my self confidence. They’ve always made me feel wrong and bad. They’ve always made me angry. I just feel like if my FAMILY treats me this way, no one else is gonna treat me any better so I might as well just check out.

But I hang on. I LIVE for the time when they’re all dead, when I no longer have any echo of the childhood shit that’s been pressure sprayed under my skin. And here, the only place I have to speak my mind and NOT be interrupted or made to feel bad, here I will say what I haven’t said to those family members that treat me this way.

Just DIE already!

Songbird

images.png

Yes! Slept past 4 a.m.; that’s rare enough right now to deserve a celebration. Whooo-hoooo! Let’s grab a cup of caramel coffee and fire up…um, oh yeah. That’s what I do every day….Well, let’s do it anyway.

Tackled a stack of dishes yesterday before heading out. Even made my bed. Then I dithered over what outfit to wear. ‘What outfit!’ My wardrobe doesn’t offer a lot of ‘outfits’; it’s mostly just sweatpants and t-shirts. But, you know…I was headed downtown amongst people. I felt I needed more than my usual trampy look. On went my purple pants (Everyone should have a pair of purple pants. They make you feel different.) and my cute boots. A clean, newer deep blue T completed my look. My teeth AND hair got brushed. I almost felt like a human.

For my own peace of mind, I cut my ‘to-do’ list in half. It was taking too much self talk to get out the door; I did not think I would be up to stopping at half a dozen places to make small transactions. That was an excellent choice.

Downtown was a shock. Not because of the crowds, but because of the LACK of crowds. I got off the metro and wondered if I’d miscalculated for a minute and the shops were all closed there were so few people around. Never before had I see the main shopping drag so empty. It was spooky. Needless to say I made record time, managing to hit five stores with my guerrilla-style window shopping in less than an hour. I found two new bras, after sorting thru the numerous numbers on the freaking tags. Damn! Can’t we just decide on ONE fucking way to note sizes for bras? C’mon! No undies on the horizon, unless you want to count plain, boring white ones – which I don’t. I may be old, but my ass doesn’t need to be boring. Still, I know where the granny pants are if I really get stuck. Wish Bjorn Borg had one of his shops here in Rotterdam. I purchased undies from the store in Amsterdam – underwear that’s 100% comfortable AND funky cool designs. Expensive, tho. But I’m beginning to wonder if the extra cash isn’t worth it to keep my ass in comfort. After feeling mega disappointed in the undies selection, I topped up my chip card so I didn’t have ANY reason to panic next time I saw the doctor, walked to the coffeeshop for more smoke, and headed back home.

Time outside: 2 hours. Amazing how far and how fast you can tromp when no one’s in your way. My feet were aching, and all I wanted to do was chill.

I opened my computer to see my emails – something that’s been nagging at me for weeks now. Finally just deleted everything that was over three days old. I kept meaning to get back to posts I’d missed on WP, etc. etc. Time to wipe the table and start over. That backlog was just making me feel bad. It was too big to really take care of, unless I’m willing to devote a few DAYS to getting it done, which I’m not. Had to laugh at myself – gently, but with a note of ‘oh, god, here she goes again’ in it – when I felt that drop of disappointment on opening up my inbox this morning and seeing so few messages. A backlog of unanswered notifications does not make you important OR popular. It just makes you lazy. *sigh* Let it go…

Managed to finally sit still for 46 minutes and listen to my brother’s new music to give him my opinion. An hour discussion ensued. We ended up having a good laugh at ourselves; at one point I told him how amazed I am by what he does – he’s very progressive musically and rhythmically, and I could NEVER do what he does – and he turned around and said the same things about me; that he could never do what I do and he’s absolutely floored by what I put out. We both think what we do is moronically easy, and what the other one does is really difficult. The precise BALANCE of this between us is what made us laugh – and even knowing all of it’s down to our own perception, we still laughed. The truth is, he writes on equipment that lends itself to progressive music, while I write on equipment that lends itself to trance/techno. If we could swap equipment (and our mastery of said equipment), we could probably do each other’s type of stuff. As it is, it’s great to have that respect for each other. We can work together or on our own. It’s a good combination.

Today, fina-fucking-lly, I’m back to my own music. Come hell or high water. I know precisely what I need to do. After a bit of drum re-recording today, the microphone needs to come out. I’m at that point. Three ready songs and one in the wings if I can just manage to record the piano the way I want it. All waiting for vocals. Oh, the anxiety over not knowing what’s going to come out of my mouth when I try to sing again. Once Ol’ Nelly (my horse of a voice) wakes up and gets going everbody’s gonna hear me. Ach. This is where home studio work gets difficult. I can do a lot in headphones musically, but I gotta sing out loud – and I got a LOUD voice to sing with. Also…for some reason, I’ve been writing material that’s difficult for me to sing. Not the notes; those are easily within my range. It’s the words I’ve written. They make me cry, and when I cry I can’t sing. What I need is simple rehearsal, to take the triggers out of my words and just get through the song. But the before part…that’s what I don’t want to experience. The trying to sing, then breaking down and sobbing. Still. I need it to be done. I need these songs to come out.

Difficult or not, the songbird needs to sing.