Satisfied

Curl. your. toes.

Let’s talk about sex. Usually it’s not a subject I bring up. I don’t get any, my libido is legendarily next to dead, and it’s just not something I discuss much any more. Even my masturbation episodes tend to be disappointing, and end up me with me just stopping because my wrist hurts too much to continue. So when I say I not only reached orgasm but a toe curling orgasm last night, just know it’s a big deal. The big O is something I rarely reach: either I’m too uptight, or too tired, or just not there. Always been like that. There’s only one guy I really orgasmed with during sex. The rest were fun, pleasant, and stimulating – but not curl your toes explosion. Did not know what a full orgasm was for many, many years. Too many years.

So, yippee. My lady parts still work.

NL is headed for another heat wave. National warnings out for the rest of the week. I feel fat – really fat. But I still won’t go knock myself out when the weather is like this.

Pleased with myself. Got out and ran my errands yesterday before the sun got real hot. Walked into the chemist and bought toothpaste, floss, and dental picks. Asked at the cashier if anyone knew of a dry cleaner – and received six answers in Dutch. Everyone in the store tried to help me. Heard ‘tegenover’ – a word that means ‘opposite side of the way’ in Dutch. Ah, yes. Found the place with little trouble. Inside, a lone woman stood behind the counter. I began with my usual saying (should get it on a T-shirt): My Dutch isn’t very good. From there sprang a conversation in Dutch for the next 15 minutes. She was friendly, intelligible, and kind. I felt buoyed up. She told me how well I spoke, congratulated me on my skills, and asked the standard, first year questions: where do you come from, how long have you lived here, do you like the Netherlands? I answered in perfect past tense, using prepositions and proper verb tense. Still feel good about that. Thinking I may return to the store before my stuff is back and talk some more. Introduce myself properly (we didn’t exchange names), and see if maybe she’d like to get a coffee during her work break. I’d like a native Dutch acquaintance/friend to talk with. She fits the bill perfectly: my age category, clear speaker, very friendly and open. I’d like to get to know her.

Bought some glue. I have a very old bottle of professional make-up sticky gum from when I bought a fake mustache and eyebrows. It’s so old the gum has separated and I don’t think I should even try it anymore. My research tells me I can use non-toxic kids’ glue, so that’s what I’m trying first. I’ve a week before my backdrop is returned from the cleaners, and I need to use that trying out wound creation. So I’ll be tearing and gluing tissue paper to my skin, drying it with a hairdryer, and applying make-up to see how it goes. I need something that looks good and that can last under a wrap for two acts. Also need to make sure it’ll hold during movement; I wanted a wound on my knee and that means it has to bend and work with me during the entire play before I reveal it. Fun, fun, fun! I so enjoy playing with face paint when the goal isn’t to entice some sexual liaison.

That’s it. I’m staying lazy and fat because it’s just too damned hot to exercise. I’m playing with face paint and experimenting for the production. I’m curling my own toes at night, and saying a heartfelt thanks for the experience. I’m doing my Dutch: reading, speaking, homework. Finding more and more things just falling out my mouth. I know I’m correct; I just don’t know how I know I’m correct (think it’s all the reading). Most of all, I’m just relaxing. I have myself honed to a fine point right now. Everything that can be done ahead of time, is. Everything that can’t be done ahead of time is all set to fire off the questions I need answered.

Damn! I think I’ve finally satisfied myself.

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Warpaint

It’s been many years since I’ve thought of make-up as something you normally use on your face. I call it warpaint for a reason: it is, truly, paint for your face and once ‘made up’ you become something other than just yourself; you become the person ready to handle the world and everything it has waiting in its catapults to throw at you.

Aging does things. Makes your skin texture different, increases those fine wrinkles where make-up gets bunched up into visible lines, screws with the elasticity of the skin around your eyes. I haven’t actually considered wearing make-up as a thing for over 10 years.

So color me surprised, because my first ‘test run’ on make-up was pretty damned amazing. I ended up taking several years off my face and looking very much the way I looked about 15 years ago. And I’m using the cheapest stuff I could find! Good to know. When heading out for looking for sponsors, I’ll wear it. It works, it looks good, and most people expect that…gee, what do I call it?…that sort of made-up on the cover of a magazine look. Especially from women. Especially from women coming at them asking for money. (Gee, Beeps, are you sure you want to continue down this line of thought? You’re making yourself sound like a lady of the night!)

Have decided I need to invest in a backdrop for my vids. Shot one during the first test; it was good, and I may use it, but the area behind my head is unappealing and busy. I should head down to the big market this week, stop at one of the many stalls heaped with bolts of fabric, and buy several meters. Don’t need much for my make-up vids, but I’ll buy extra. Plan on using the same technique (simply hanging fabric as a backdrop to cover up ugly walls) when shooting the theatre troupe (that’s shooting as in video filming…). Not usually what I’d do, but this time, I’ll buy red fabric. Red for the theatre, red for our newsletter…hmm. Red for lady of the night again.

Fine. I’m a marketing whore.

Looking up the biggest suppliers in Rotterdam. Make-up, electronics – anything, really, I can think of. It’s not like I want to spend my time talking to these people. I don’t. But I want their help. Their stuff. So I’ve got to try. Telling myself the worst thing that’ll happen is they’ll say ‘no’. A supplier giving us €100 worth of make-up is a LOT to the group but next to nothing for the store. I’ll plaster their name and logo over our newsletters and playbill. I’ll remind all 10 of the cast that THAT’S where we should go if we need anything. I will push. I also figure it’s a small ad campaign in and of itself. I gotta go out there are explain myself – the group, the production, what I want. Could really use a native speaker by my side to help with translation, but I’m not counting on it. And I hope if I can talk stores into giving us anything that’ll make a ready made-interest. Here! Come to the show and see what you gave us! See how we use it! Might even give away 2 free tickets to a show to entice managers (and fill the audience).

But that’s future stuff. Gotta run all of it past the board members, who are all out in the sun on holiday. Last message I received was more than slightly garbled, and probably sent to me while the owner of the phone was driving, drinking, or trying to water ski. I’ll do the leg work now. Find out who I need to talk to: store managers, or headquarters. Get names, start that contact work. Feel them out.

Terribly proud of what I’m doing. Keep opening up my newsletter rough to look at how good it is. Keep watching that first vid for the same reason (tho the ugly background bugs me). Keep giving myself pats on the back. To me, it all looks great. Appealing. I’ve learned to edit myself, to keep things short and punchy. No long credits in the vids, no unwanted this or that. Fast, tight, clean. The newsletter is shaping up the same way: short, but tight. Marketing, but informative. It’s a strong combination. Hope others think so, too.

Today is my first summer school day. At most, I’m expecting three other students to show. That’s at MOST. It’s forecast to be really warm and sunny today, and I might end up being the only person there. Want to clear out my school folder, lighten up the load. It’s grown thick and heavy over the term with my homework assignments. I expect pretty much the same as what we’ve been doing: dictation, reading, drills, talking. Don’t really want long assignments, and I’m sure the teacher (who’s doing this totally out of the goodness in her heart) doesn’t want to spend hours correcting poor Dutch, either. I am pleased. I won’t lose my skills over the next few weeks because I fall out of practice.

Already getting worried about time. Will I be able to get all this done by September? Can I keep juggling this and that? One thing I’ve learned: worrying about something takes up time. Don’t worry; do. Put that worry aside and work. Then you’ll have less to worry about. The lists I use to keep myself on track with work are growing. And growing. And growing. Get those lists too long and I’ll discourage myself. Keep them too short and I’ll forget a vital element. Back to balance.

I feel encouraged to know I can put make-up on and look good. That I can go out in public and not look old. Ach! Sorry; I should be more of a feminist and say it doesn’t matter to me, right? Well…it does. Even at my age. But it helps to have that layer between me and other people. Especially when I need to talk to them.

It’s my warpaint.

Theatre people

Theatre people.

Had an email yesterday asking if I wanted to attend an English speaking play downtown. Our theatre group had discounted tickets, and a group was going. Sure! I said last minute, worrying about the discounted price. Managed to get money on my OV chipcard, borrowed a tenner from my bro, tidied up, and headed out.

More than anything, I felt I was appeasing the Gods of Theatre. I’m a big believer in karma: if I want people at my play, I have to support others in their efforts. Plus, it was a kick to be asked and included in the group. All of that was proper and good. The production was at a theatre we use every year, and it wasn’t that full. We were noticed, thanked for coming, and talked to as fellow theatre performers.

But Goddess! I had to sit through a show that was the reason most people don’t like going to the theatre. Two monologues, back to back. Zero action. It was two hours of someone sitting in a chair on an otherwise empty bloody stage, jabbering away. How fucking pretentious can we be? The acting was good – that I can’t fault. I can rip the writing apart, tho.

Typically British writing (white, white, white). Obviously 30 to 40 years old (bigotry, racism, and such stereotypical and old set-ups I had problems staying awake). And it’s a well known author and play. Afterwards, I had to hear the gushing praise of various people: Oh, the author! His words are so fantastic! or The deeper psychological impact of the statements were in direct opposition to the characters. They might as well have said something like ‘The synergy of empty space and lack of action perfectly mirrored the desolation and depression the author wanted to portray’. Utter bullshit. I call it lazy writing. Can’t think of anything new? Well, try one of the stereotypes. The gay man who still lives with his mother and can’t quite admit he’s gay. The vicar’s wife who’s sex starved and begins drinking and having an affair on the side. Ho, hum!

I just sat there, pleased with myself, imagining the action I’ve written. The actual story – something that seems totally lacking in many “professional plays”.

Tried out calling my stuff horror. We were asked, as a group, what we’ll be performing next. Everyone looked at me, smiling. Actually, we’re doing one of her scripts this year. So I put it out there: it’s a horror trilogy. Found some interest, some back stepping, and a lot of ‘oh, gee, isn’t it sweet that they’re willing to do your little writing attempt’ attitude from the actors. I smiled, and didn’t feel bad at all. Just kept thinking You have no idea what you’re in for with my script. Hopefully one or two from last night’s audience will attend our performance. But I realized very quickly: this is NOT my crowd.

Avid theatre goers… They’re a different breed. They like sitting in dark room watching people sitting in chair talking, no action, for two hours. They consider it cerebral and entertaining. Some may even view my script as stupid simply because it has action and a clear story-line.

But I realized long ago I don’t write for the typical audience. My poetry has long been heralded as the poetry enjoyed by people who don’t like poetry. I’ve been stopped innumerable times after performing, grabbed by someone in the audience who says, “I’ve never seen anything like that before! I hate poetry, to be honest, but so-and-so dragged me here. But you! What you do is incredible!” I expect a similar response with the play. I’ve never seen a play like this before! No. No, you haven’t.

Spending long hours looking at creating my own blood effects. Simple and cheap methods. Will be experimenting with water filled sacks over the summer, trying to perfect it. Found a theatrical supply store here in Rotterdam; planning a trip to their warehouse just to check everything out.

Also thinking hard on marketing. I saw the audience last night, and this was a visit from a professional acting group. Didn’t even sell 60 seats. Part of that I blame on the theatre. They’ll announce upcoming productions on their website, but if you don’t know about the theatre you can’t find the info. The location of the place is off an alley-way, so you can’t even count on curious foot traffic.

I have to find a way to get the word out. The real word: You want to see this. This is NOT like your typical play. This is a performance for people who hate theatre.

Rotterdam is a hard nut to crack. Millions of people live here, and a professional theatre group can’t attract 60 people to a Saturday night performance.

…Need to switch gears. Been off with my late nights out, and I haven’t begun writing the letters I need to do for homework. Will try to put a few hours in on it today and get one done. Ugh.

Battling a nasty cough. Still. It gets better, then it gets worse. Total allergy thing; I can feel the drainage down my throat. Having to take cough medicine and allergy pills. Need to assure anyone who hears me cough that no, I’m not dying, it’s just allergies. Bloody annoying, especially since I have to really monitor it and treat it like I’m sick because if I DON’T I will, 100% certainly, get sick.

*sigh* And once again, like with my poetry, I feel I’m stepping into a world I’m not quite ready for. I am a theatre person, an actor, one of the willing. I am not a pretentious prat (a prat, yes, but not pretentious). But here I am, mingling with those who want to delve into the deeper ramifications of a 45 minute monologue about someone’s mommy. So I’ll say it once, and be done with it.

Bah! Theatre people!

Just. be. me.

Why don’t you leave your notebook at home and just treat this as a social outing?

I got that freaky funny laugh, the one that comes from nerves and uncomfortableness. And I thought, yeah, why aren’t I treating this as a social outing? That was 6 pm last night, as I was walking out the door for our theatre group meeting.

I left my script and notebook at home. Downtown to a student bar that had hundreds of beers. Couldn’t resist a raspberry beer…two, actually. Seven of us made the meeting, and it was, as my brother had pointed out to me with his question, more of a social gathering than a work gathering. The night was warm, the beer was good, and the conversation lively.

Difficult to remember most of these actors hadn’t read the full script. They didn’t attend my first read through. Many thought their characters were gonna live thru the play; I had to correct them: everybody dies. If you survive an act, it’s just so you can die in another act. How do I die? I went around the table, telling them each what happens: you set yourself on fire, you get strangled, you’re shot, etc. And oh! The shining eyes that greeted me upon that gruesome news! Never believe an actor who tells you they don’t want to do a death scene. We all want that chance.

Tonight the director and I are meeting with a few people for the last role. Two, maybe three should show up. I very hesitantly put it out there that if we found someone spectacular for my role I’d step down. The director quickly said: No way. The subtext in that, I felt, was that no one can do that role like I can. Maybe he meant he didn’t want to go thru the whole audition thing again, but that’s the way I’m taking it. I’m more than pleased by that.

Much of the work conversation was kept to a minimum. Instead, we did the sort of thing that generally happens when a group of people don’t know each other well. Questions like Do you have children? or What do you do as a living? came up. I was surprised (a bit) at the drug discussion. Even tho marijuana is okay here, it’s still a little taboo. Everybody’s used it, or at least tried it. But most Dutch people don’t partake. Last night I heard about ‘the time I got really stoned’ or ‘when I had a few extra pills and rode the day out on them’. I’m still rather hesitant on admitting I’m a stoner, but did own up to smoking marijuana on a regular basis. I just…I know what most people think of regular smokers. You’ll see their mimicry of stoners all the time. That wasted, hungry, not really moving or thinking version. The ‘Duh-uh Dude’: catatonic and unfocused. That isn’t me, and I don’t want people to think it is. I haven’t yet told them they’ve all been seeing me high this whole time. I haven’t once gone to a theatre group meeting, audition, or rehearsal without first toking. I wrote the play stoned. I got my degrees stoned. And yes, I’m learning Dutch stoned. Pretty obvious I don’t go to that stereotypical state. But despite the culture here, that stereotype still lives on. I don’t know. Maybe I’m one in a million in that respect. I just chalk it up to my artistic temperament. All the greats had something: heroin, cocaine, alcohol. It’s too late in my life to be worried about it. But I still find myself reluctant to own it due to what I perceive as this bias against it. Maybe that’s just me, and the scarring I received about it during my lifetime.

Made a few age jokes about myself last night. Find myself doing that more and more. Conversation zoomed off into games played as kids: remember this console or that game? I sat there, thinking about my first video game: Pong. Yep, you heard me. Pong. Two paddles and ball, back and forth. And later: gee, I had to use a typewriter back when I was in school. My reply: when I was a kid, we had to use a chisel and hammer on stone. I got the laughs I wanted. But I know myself well. I’m using my humor to cover up my uncomfortableness.

It’s weird and odd being the oldest person at a table. I’m sure it’s a bit of a lark if you’re dealing with children, but when it’s adults… Then it’s another matter. Especially when I don’t feel like I’m the oldest adult sitting there. In fact, it makes me feel more child-like and immature than ever. No, I don’t own a home. No, I don’t have children. No, I don’t have investments or a large bank account, nor do I go on holidays every year. I don’t even have a concept of ‘retiring’. My ‘retiring’ is just death.

Also found myself joking about Dr. T. Used the old ‘my shrink’ a couple of times. That’s me getting used to owning up to it.

And I caught the director looking at me a couple of times, as if he saw beyond my jokes and knew what was going on. I wouldn’t be surprised at that; he’s perceptive. He approaches scripts looking at the psychological aspects of the play (and yes, another actor made a comment about what my mind must be like to write something like this).

I’m finding something in this group I didn’t expect: acceptance. Their acceptance is making it easier for me to accept myself. To own up to my depression, my mental health treatment, my problems without shame.

This is a whole new level of social interaction for me. No pretense, no feeling like I have to go along with the group just to have friends. I’m finding how I can be me without coming off overly aggressive or angry.

I can just. be. me.

Just one more

It was three, not two. Three humans showed up for auditions last night. I guess I should be happy we snagged a whole other person to come in. Happy enough to say the three that did show were decent, and we’ll probably use them all in the production.

Ah, man…it was cool to sit in the back of the room with the director, like the cool kids. It was cool to give the text to the actors and go out for a smoke while they rehearsed. It was cool to see them get through my words, interpret my directions. And it was cool to see and hear their enthusiasm. My play. My script.

Lots to learn and accept, tho. I heard some lines delivered absolutely opposite to the way I wrote them. I just thought, man! how can you screw up the delivery of that line? But…let it go. This is where it begins to breathe. The director was helpful, pointing out that he finds it a good idea to let people go and do there thing first whether or not it’s good. That way, they feel like their creativity isn’t stifled. I saw that in action, and it worked well.

Hashed out role ideas with the director. We both want to see everyone, give everyone a chance. But knowing some of the actors coming in, we’re already honing ideas. We know, for instance, that the two females coming in next week are both solid performers and either could do any of the roles in the script. We know the scope of one of the male actors who’s always around, and narrowing down the role he can play.

Ugh…okay. And I felt a tug at my heartstrings when roles were discussed. I guess I really do want to play in this, tho I’m also very firm with my decision that I’d like to give everyone a chance. I had this moment of realization: shot forward after a performance, seeing the small venue and small audience. Heard the applause, saw the reaction. The usual reaction: the audience tends to react to the actors more than the writer. Someone in the crowd might say ‘It was a good story!’ but that’ll only be the one. The rest will be saying things like ‘You did so well!’ or ‘I really liked it!’. Their comments will not come to me. Trying to mentally prep myself for that, tho I think it might end up being like the whole role thing – I’ll do my best to say it’s all okay, and I’m okay with it, and expect nothing more, but when that moment finally comes I’ll feel a bit stung.

Well…scout rule. Be prepared. Expect to feel disappointed at some point.

Counter that reaction with your mantra: I’m a real playwright. The US premiere of my work happens in 2019. Yes, another theatre group is doing my work. That’s what happens when you’re a real playwright. Oh, yes…it’s a theatre festival. Possibility of more than 10,000 people seeing my work. No, I can’t fly out for it. Not this time.

And remember to do your happy dance once a day. Shake your butt, swing your arms in the air, and say “I’m a real playwright”.

Hope to stop all this napping. I get up, do some things in the morning, get tired from the medicine, sit down in my chair, and the next thing I know I’m falling asleep. I know it’s what I need to heal, and I’m trying to not fight it. But I feel very out of shape, unhealthy. It’s time to kick this cough and get back to the gym. Back to moving, breathing, pushing my body a bit. We finally have some rain, so that should help pull all the crap out of the air that’s making my nose so bad. Crossing my fingers that this will be it; whatever set me off is done now and I can just get thru the rest of summer.

Tomorrow is my shrink appointment. Meh. Gotta think in Dutch. Try. Maybe I should put on one of my Dutch films this afternoon. Hear it a bit, get it back into my brain. There’s a lot of info I’d like to communicate to him, but I can’t do it in Dutch.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t got back to my artist friend. I haven’t got online and responded to something I need to. Still getting headaches, tho I feel like I’ve just got to deal with it now and then and get some damned work done.

Here comes the lethargy. Took my allergy pill an hour ago.

Maybe one more day of napping. One more day of chilling out.

Just one more.

I be so ignorant

Gentle and patient. That’s what I said, and that’s what I went with out into the world.

I took some time choosing my clothing. Brushed my hair and teeth. Washed my face and applied some moisturizing lotion. The weather’s cooled off and it feels like spring again rather than summer. I wrapped up warm, not caring that other people were walking around in hoodies or lighter clothing. Get sick if you want; I’m staying healthy.

Language class. …I know my teachers are babying me a bit. They used to be a bit tougher on me – right up to the point where I broke the tooth and told them it was from stress. Now, they emphasize the positive. Um…is it okay for me to say I like it? I like the support and the positivity. I like the assurances that I’m gaining ground and getting better. I like feeling like it’s okay for me to speak up and ask the definition of a word I don’t know, or to mess up and make mistakes or draw blanks on answers I really should have down. Doing those things more and more now, and my learning is improving because of it.

Remembered to take my book to class to read over the break, and I had the occasion to be damned happy about it. Total shut-out, and there were only 5 of us in class so it was pretty damned obvious. Once again, people were willing to speak to me before class but not during the break. Difference? One of those two women who seem to be spearheading this ‘ignore her during the break’ movement walked in a bit late to class. She wasn’t there before the lesson. But she was there for coffee. I hesitantly tried, choosing a seat next to their four person table that was full. I half turned my body towards them and dithered around, pretending to check my phone and sort thru my backpack. All things to give them a chance to turn their chairs slightly and include me, say ‘hey! come join us’. They didn’t. So I took out James and the Giant Peach and began reading. Only took two sentences to fall into the story. Then I was reading for real, at my regular pace. I smiled to myself, enjoying the language, the story, the jokes. It didn’t matter to me that I wasn’t talking. Let those people with their pidgin Dutch talk about homework or their husbands or children or the immigration process. I want more.

Ach! And one woman had the gall to complain to me that all the reading in class was ‘too childlike’ for her. This from the person who’s lived here twenty some years and can’t speak properly or read with any great comprehension. My response was simple and un-confrontational: Oh. I have noticed a great difference between myself and the other students: they are still grasping at the big words thinking they’ll have the language if they learn all the 36 letter long shit that stumps me, while I am concentrating on those pesky little words that pop up over and over in every sentence knowing that’s where the real communication lies. It’s not in the big words; it’s in the small words that color every sentence. I know I can look up a long word, or ask what the hell it means. But it’s the ‘just’, ‘only’, and ‘yet’ words that everything tips on. Even, maar, toch, al, nog… The words that seem, at first, easy to fly by in reading – yet when you get them, you realize it’s precisely what you need to fully understand the message.

Have the option of coming in next week, a scheduled holiday, for an extra lesson. Of course I said yes, and of course the teachers weren’t surprised. Three or four of us said we’ll come class. More one on one with two women I respect the hell out of! Oh, they intimidate me. I sweat in class, trying hard to do my best. But I know they hold the keys to learning, and I am so hungry for that. They see it.

I’ve finished the first viewing of the third Twin Peaks event. Wow. Got off into a discussion of alternate realities and time loops with my bro. He thinks Cooper and Laura have jumped into an alternate reality, one where Laura never existed. I think they’ve time travelled to earlier, before Laura’s family bought the house. I need another viewing. And another. But I recognize the tight loop Lynch created and hats off to him for it. It’s a great nut to crack.

Chop block today: wear in that new pair of shoes again. Back to the gym, more movement. Work on Dutch; I’ve a pile of homework. Work on tech notes. Find time to take care of me – something I’m doing without bitching and moaning. Been working on my cuticles, applying some moisturizer late at night while I watch tv and can I say they’ve never looked better! Nor felt better; those pesky fly away pieces of flesh that often bled and hurt seem to be a thing of the past. Didn’t realize with a little perseverance I could help myself so much.

And there we go, because I need to learn to persevere with being gentle and patient with myself. Somehow being gentle – and particularly being patient – seems to be at loggerheads with persevering. Patience seems passive to me. You patiently wait. You have patience with a tantrum throwing child. I am only aware of working on being patient when it becomes difficult to maintain, when I must persevere with patience in the face of whatever the hell is setting me off. …In other words, I feel I need to practice being patient. Is that even possible?

The gentlest and most patient answer I can give myself is: I don’t know.

…I can accept that. Admitting your ignorance is the first step to learning.

And I be so ignorant.

That’s the way to use it

So, now I’m pissed off. Yesterday’s discussion of my problem with my fellow students was an intellectual note. Something that nagged at me, but that was all. Today it pisses me off. Lucky for me, I’m reading Roald Dahl. He specializes in long, insulting sentences. I’m ready to whip out something along the lines of: You’re a horrible, slimy, nasty, mean, and evil bitch of an witch – and I can do it in Dutch. Fair warning, Universe. If I am laughed at one more time, or dissed, or spoken over, they’re getting it. I’ll write it the fuck down and memorize it. I am not putting up with that shit any more. As for the break issue, I’ve determined I’m just bringing my reading with me from now on. Screw everyone.

My teachers have asked me not to swear in class, and I’ve obliged because I care about their opinion and respect them as people and as teachers. But I can still put people down – thank you, Dahl! You’ve drilled those words into my head with every book.

And if all else fails, I know two Dutch insults to sling at them. One: drop dead. Effective in any language. Two: tell them they’re cancer. That’s a strange one; a big Dutch insult is calling someone a disease. But, okay. I’ll go with it. You’re cancer.

I prefer the long winded, descriptive sentences of Dahl, tho. Use what I’ve learned.

*sigh* The hoover broke. Overheated and didn’t recover. The only thing I’m not unhappy over is the fact that it happened while my bro was using it. Thank the Goddess! I do not have to hear about what I should have done, or what I should have noticed, or anything negative. He did it. Not me. I grew up hearing I was a mechanical jinx, that I broke any machine I came within three feet of. It wasn’t true, of course, but it was repeated to me so much and so often I’ve developed a real complex about it. I was 32 and still hearing about a lawn mower I “broke” at the age of 4. So if the damned hoover had to break, I’m breathing a sigh of relief it didn’t do it while I was using it. My being a jinx is a family myth that’s hard to shake. Unfortunately, it happened at a time when I haven’t cleaned the house regularly, meaning we have dust bunnies in every room. My room, in particular, was on the list of ‘needing to get clean’. Now I have to wait ’til I don’t know when. ‘Til we can find a decent, inexpensive hoover, I guess.

Meanwhile…

Opened up and looked at the production notes. Did a fast spot check and, yes, I found pages moved. Shit. That means going thru it line by line, checking 13 pages of notes against the script. Not a fun job. Did manage to work on the dialogue I needed to pull apart; tabled it, diagrammed it, and ended up pulling out 50 cuts to record separately. May not use them all, but it’s a good place to start, I think.

Got out for a walk. Spring is here. It pussyfooted around, timidly playing with us for a month. Now it’s moved in and pregnant with summer. In one day, the trees went from that feathery bud stage to leaves out. I passed four freshly cut lawns. There was so much green smell in the air it was rushing up my nose and tickling my brain with an almost electric feel of excitement. Gods, bottle that! I’ll buy it. It was so warm even I didn’t need a jacket or hoodie. Just a t-shirt. In 48 hours, temps are forecast near 30C. Well, that was it, then. That’s too hot. My wrist already hurts from the temp increase. Time to shift to summer life: early wake ups from the sun and the noise, afternoons in the gym where there’s air conditioning, open windows rather than turned on radiators. Makes me glad I got outside for a walk when I could.

Tapping my feet a lot more. I try to stop, but then I get busy with something on my computer and the next thing I know I hear that tap-tappa-tap-tap rhythm that I do. Palms still sweating, tho not as bad. Sleep is something I do. Something I tell myself to do. It’s bed time; turn the light off. Or it’s light out; get up. How rested I feel has very little to do with anything. Food…desire comes and goes. I eat, twice a day minimum. And it’s not the food; it tastes good. My mouth waters. I just…I think I’m hungry, then I drink some water or something and I’m not, and I just go back to whatever I was doing for a few more hours until I start to feel cold. That’s when I know I need food: I’m cold. Not hungry. Cold.

I’ve got a plan. I just gotta stick to it. Get up, blog. An hour on Dutch. Eat. Go to the gym. Back home, work on the script. Dinner. A little game playing, then tv time. Read, sleep. It’s a solid plan, guaranteed to get me thru the work I need to get done. Honestly, though, I just want to sit here. Don’t know why. I’m tired of every damned computer game I’ve got. I don’t even pay attention to what’s on the tv half the time. But I keep finding myself doing it: droning out, playing solitaire of all things. Mindless. Repetitive. Nothing surprising, nothing challenging. A few strong story plots surfaced the other day while I was on my walk. One came complete with characters, plot line, and scenes played out in my head. Fairly obvious what my next play will be.

And I owe it to my fellow students. That nagging feeling, that anger…it’s turned into something. It’s given birth to a veiled woman. Mysterious. Intriguing. Heartbreakingly sad.

That’s the way to use it.

I’m not stopping

Life just has to keep giving me evidence of the two opposites I orbit ’round. Up and down, high and low…it gets mimicked in my life so often I’m getting sick of it.

Language class. Definitely a mixed bag. Thirty minutes before I had to leave, I remembered the underlying cause of my reluctance to go: the stone wall of diss I’ve encountered during our class break. I have sat at small tables with people, nodding, trying to get into the chit-chat. But it always seems to devolve into the other students reverting to Farsi, or some other language, and/or totally ignoring me. I sit there, either trying to listen to just zoning out, while they talk back and forth faster and faster, not even making eye contact with me. This has become the norm, and I don’t like it. I’ve gone out for fresh air, headed to the bathroom to diddle around so I didn’t feel so awkward, gone back up to the class early, and sat reading or working on Dutch. One or two women seem to head this up: they’ll see me somewhere, come and join the table, then take over the conversation and monopolize it. Right. I get it; you don’t like me. I don’t think much of you, either. I’m just trying to use my language skills here, and when you don’t give me any opportunity to form a sentence, well…fuck you.

There is one exception to this behavior: the only man in class. He often seeks me out for conversation, at least before class when we’re the only two students in the cafe. Every time he’s done this (and yesterday was no exception), he ends up asking me out for coffee on the weekend. Every time he’s asked, I’ve said no politely, saying I’m too busy. And then…then one of the women walks in and joins us, and he drops it like he never even asked. I suspect that he’s looking for a little something on the side (he’s mentioned a wife and family in our lesson) AND that the other women are somewhat aware of his intentions. It explains his hot/cold potato behavior. Sad. Once again, I am given an example of men’s behavior that I just find repellent. Does the Universe want me to become a lesbian? Sure as hell feels that way. Why do men only talk to me if they want to get into my pants? Why are women so fucking catty to me when I’ve done nothing – nothing!! – to deserve it?

The answer is obvious, if I just ignore that fifty foot wall of self hate I’ve built up: I am drop dead gorgeous. …Feels good just to say that for once. I do not mean physical beauty; there are many women more beautiful than I am. But there’s a combination in me that’s hard to pin down: something between my intelligence and my sense of humor, that kid or big dog that comes out in me wanting to play…people find that attractive. Combine it with looks that aren’t hideous, maybe even a bit attractive on their own, and boom! You got me. I have always believed it is my soul people are attracted to, not really my body. Men…they react to the body. Anyone sexual reacts to the physical. I don’t truly believe for one second that’s what’s behind all this. And the physical reaction…I find it tiring. Good Goddess, can’t we get beyond your penis? So many can’t. Then they find they’ll never get what they want from me, so they leave because they have no idea how to be friends without being sexual. I’m am tired of that. I just blow them off before they even start.

*sigh* Still. I am uncomfortable with the reaction from the women. They’re pleasant enough in class, in front of the teachers. But on break, it’s a whole other ball of wax.

More separation. Our teachers talked to us a bit about another, higher level language class. They thought some of us might be ready for it, and they invited us to check out a class or two this spring to see if we liked it. The man popped up and said he thought he could go to the lesson. The teachers were quick to point out his problems with the simple prepositions and sentences we’re working on. You’ll be lost. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go. Then their eyes focused on me. You could do well in that lesson, but it’s up to you. Go to a few and see what you think. It’s your choice. A few other students were talked to, their progress discussed. No other student was told so boldly that yes, they were ready to move up if they wanted.

And if I have to choose between my fellow students or my teachers, I’ll choose my teachers every time. Hands down. One had done some spring cleaning, and came to the lesson with four hard cover children’s books for me. Three Roald Dahl even the big library downtown doesn’t have, and one JK Rowling I’ve not read. I am thrilled. Even when I have to puzzle over an idiom’s meaning, I’m thrilled to be able to read and understand at the level I’m at. Ha! to everyone who ever said to me that Dutch was a clunky, unexpressive language. It is rich and full and beautiful. You don’t read well, do you?

Give me more, please.

So. Super high on my teachers. Super low on my fellow students. It’s so like school during my childhood I feel like I’m on a continual, low level LSD flash-back.

And, like school during my childhood, I’m ignoring what I can from my fellow students and holding onto my hunger for learning. They can sit on their asses if that’s what they want. They can do the minimum if that’s what they want. They can even resent me for it, for whatever they perceive in me that trips their trigger.

I’m not stopping.

Screw the rules

Did you take your pills?

That’s one, I thought. Yes, I replied, two, two, twoExcellent verbal skills, no? Well, I was a little hyper, which is why the question was asked in the first place. But, Lordy Loo! We are at that point. The first go-to question will now be did you take your pills? *sigh*

It wasn’t so much that I felt hyper, I just did things yesterday. It didn’t start that way. I left off from my blog, still pondering my long ‘to do’ list, wondering where to start. Laid out my tasks to my bro, who asked me what was on my mind (a rarity). He got me to laugh at myself by pointing out how far ahead of everything I already am. I relaxed enough to ask myself the Golden Question: what would you do if you really cared about yourself? The answer was obvious.

First up: pick up my meds at the chemist. I had enough to get to Monday, but I didn’t want to add stress on a future day (that’s not caring about myself), so that was the biggie. Second: give myself that CD. No more delayed positive reinforcement. I need it when I need it. Third: get to the library, turn in my old book and find a new one. Before I left, I began my laundry – much needed, as I was down to ankle or heavy, wool ski socks.

I dressed in fresh clothes. Brushed my hair and teeth. Fussed a bit over how I looked, and headed out.

The chemist was far less busy than I thought. I took my number and waited. In walked a couple. The woman was there for something, her boyfriend (obviously, no husband quite hangs on a woman like a boyfriend) just stopping in with her. They paused at the machine, nudging each other the way lovers do, taking three times as long as needed. Then – the man looked at me over his girlfriend’s shoulder. Thought nothing of that first glance until it was followed by a second, and then a third. Took a while to dawn on me: he was checking me out. I judged him to be 10 years my junior at least. My thoughts were harsh and judgmental. That’s men for you, I thought to myself. They can be with any woman and they’ll still look and wonder about every other woman they come across. Then I checked to my left. A younger, 20 something darker skinned woman sat there four seats away, complete with four inch high spike heels. Was he looking at her, not me? I checked and judged the angles of our seats versus his stance. Nope. He didn’t see her at that angle, and his eyes met mine. Then I thought: Racist. There’s a much prettier woman sitting just to my left, and the only reason I can see that you won’t look at her is that she’s darker skinned.

It wasn’t until I was walking out that I considered the idea that maybe he just found me attractive enough to look at.

On the metro, downtown. It’s been a while since I’ve been downtown, in the heart of the shopping district. Things have changed. Shops are gone, closed down, replaced by shiny new markets called ‘market’ with all black interiors designed to show off their low, aluminum shelved products at their very best. The first record shop I stopped at was a victim of the Dutch online shopping obsession; it was gone, no sign of it ever having been there. Okay. I knew another record shop a few blocks away. Walked down, found it, searched – what a mess! There are NO OCD people working at that store, let me tell you! But everything was used, and old. Not what I wanted. I sighed, and headed off to the library – walking, for exercise and fresh air. On a whim, thinking it was the slimmest chance possible, I stopped at Media Markt and looked. Took a while, but I found it for 8 euro. Meandered thru the aisles, looking at all the goodies I couldn’t afford (DVD and book shops are the only two places I guarantee I’ll take my time and window shop). Saw the latest Twin Peaks revival for sale; excited about that, but didn’t have the money to pop for it. My purchase paid for, I headed to the library. Up the roltrap (escalator) to the one shelf I know in the entire six floor complex: the Roald Dahl shelf. Chose a shorter book, knowing I’ve been having trouble with concentration and reading lately. Got home at 3.

My brother was cooking, so the the moment I opened the door my nose was hit with a mass of delicious smells: hot sauce, onions and peppers, garlic. He was making his famous enchiladas. Sadly, he kept forgetting needed items. I just got back from the store myself. I forgot I needed tomatoes! And later: Um…I forgot sour creme. I’ll go and get some, if you could just start the rice… My game was closed before he could finish his sentence, and I was up and chopping onions before he left. Dinner was delicious. I finished first, and rinsed my plate off. Hm. The food was still in the pans. Without thinking too much, or dithering, or asking, I just quietly put everything away in containers, rinsed all the dishes, and put them to the side. My brother was watching tv. Later, when he rinsed his own plate off, he looked around in wonder. The food…it’s already put away? Yes, I replied, without snark or any hidden desire to be told what a good girl I am. And later, I sprang out of my chair and checked for hot water – good, we had some. Tackled the dishes.

That’s when I heard the question.

It didn’t bite at me, though I suspect it will in future. Or…it could. I had far too much of ‘are you on your period?’ shit when I was younger.

Meanwhile, I be da woman wit’ da bomb plan: keep asking myself the Golden Question.

Screw the rules.

Time to shut down

I can never sleep well after a performance. My body, like it or not, is set on its schedule and performances and the world be damned if it’ll stay in bed an extra few hours because I’ve been up late.

Ah! And now I understand. I’ve heard so much about performing in Amsterdam; the audiences are tough, the standards are high. Yes, the audience was tough. By the time the third act rolled around, they were laughing loudly but the first… The first act’s job is to warm up the audience, and I was never so aware of that as I was last night. Sure fire gags to get a big laugh stuff suddenly fell on silence. It was a cold audience, no friends or family there to cheer us on, just people who came to see a show. I felt it and folded it right back into Wendy’s nervousness. I looked towards the audience more often, used that fake smile that fell in an instant showing she really wasn’t enjoying the situation, fidgeted, blew my nose loudly, belched, whined in that whiny voice, and finally – finally! – near the last 10 minutes of the act began to get real laughter in response.

The owner of the place met us in the afternoon. He shook my hand and said hello. The group went to dinner at a place nearby (good food), and when we came back I transformed: the lashes, the blue eye shadow, the bright red lipstick, the ugly leopard print blouse, the hair pulled back with two garish clips, the glasses. The walk came in, and the voice came out. The owner passed me again, in make-up, and said hello: Wendy responded. We did our thing, hitting lines and marks the entire time. Curtain call. Then I hurried backstage to take Wendy off before joining everyone at the bar. The owner was serving, and I had two beers on tap. Finally, after most of the guests had left, the owner stopped by our celebrations to speak to us once again. He looked straight at me and a puzzled frown came over his face. Sorry, what was your name again? he asked me. I introduced myself. Then the penny dropped. Oh my God! You were in the first act! I would have never recognized you! Jesus, what a transformation! You’re one hell of an actress! The owner looked dazedly around at the other members of the group, as if to ask do you people know what you have here?

Most of the conversation before the performance was geared towards the performance, as you might imagine. We were all focused on the task. But the conversation afterwards… I have been accepted as a full-fledged member of the group: they’re teasing me. One would ask: So, do we have any idea what script we might do next? And the director would answer: Oh, I don’t know…maybe I’ve found one… all the time with sly looks aimed at me and grins they couldn’t quite hide. Auditions were discussed. Timelines. I found more enthusiasm from the members than I initially expected.

Oh, they’re not doing it because they feel they have to, or just because they can do without paying royalties! They like having me there! I was included in backstage pix, crowding around and hamming it up for the camera just like I see other people doing. I was hugged both formally and informally – sometimes just an arm slung around my shoulders in an inclusive camaraderie that I felt on a new level. Yea! I’ve found it so difficult for so long to find people I have anything in common with. And although I still would like a bosom buddy, I find having a circle of friends like this is almost as good. It is immensely gratifying to honestly say I’m not worrying about what was said or done last night; there is nothing to hash over. Nothing other than the warm memory of the smiles and the laughter, the excitement and expectation.

Wow. Put that one down on the calendar! I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say that before.

Class on Monday is looking less and less likely. I heard from my friend and film co-star; she plans to be shooting until the evening, so I’m looking at a late night again. Good time to catch me, when everything’s topsy turvy from the performance. I’ll nap this afternoon with the tv on and stay up later.

Snick. Wendy is gone; the magic silver ring is back in my ear.

Auditions might be called yet this month. The re-writes are done. Still have to check page numbers on tech notes. Still have to think about the legal end, too: I want releases for recorded voice and/or video sequences, and I want something between myself as the playwright and the group just to cover my ass. Those things fall to me to write. I don’t need complexity, just clarity. This is mine, you can’t do it without my permission, you understand your voice will be used in a performance and all rights to the recordings remain ours, etc. I’m not a fan of legal writing, but I can do it.

Will need another meeting with the director. Need to map out the schedule, especially the sound which I suspect will take longer than the actors. I want to move on that over summer holiday, so we have at least the roughs to use in rehearsals. …Ach, I will not have my notes fully made for any podcast/audio versions. I just won’t. It’s too much to pull it apart and re-write. Damn. Oh, well.

This production will help me in the next. And the next will help me in the first film version. And the first film version will help me the next time, when it goes full-length and big budget…

Yeah, yeah. We all know where that line of thought takes us.

…It’s Sunday. Time to shut down.