Really really?

Wrote and sent off an extended fight scene to the director. Been thinking long and hard about the final scene; it’s more action than dialogue. When I wrote it, I thought I was writing for two male characters. But now, the agent is being played by a woman. …Maybe I’m sexist in this thinking, but I don’t imagine a female character would throw a punch as readily as a male. I imagine female characters might go for containment over physical superiority – less punch drunk and more hold ’em tight so you can lock ’em up. There’s also the inherent physical differences between men and women, because the agent is female but the protagonist is male. While there may be plenty of women out there confident of their ability to punch a guy straight in the face, women just don’t bulk up on muscles the way men do and therefore a punch from a woman is a bit less intimidating. Jabs to the throat: now that, I can get on board with. It’s fast and effective, and something every woman should know how to do.

Used my little toy soldiers, moving them around on my desk like it was a stage. Wrote and wrote and wrote: at this point, so and so should be facing the audience. Turn, now the other character faces the audience. The blocking is vital; throw a fake jab at the wrong angle and no one will believe it. Do it at the correct angle and everyone will gasp.

Per usual, nadda back from the director. I wonder what he thinks. He teases me that I bug him, but I’m getting it as a point of teasing rather than real irritation cloaked in a joking form. I think we’re on the same path, and I’m just providing him the elements he’d ask for if I dragged my feet. But I ain’t sure. I hope he looks on all my messages as helpful. That’s the way they’re intended.

Still trying to amuse myself during evenings with 24. Not easy. I’ve found the entire experience is better by leaving the tv on while we watch it. I tune the tv to something colorful and bright to combat the continual blah look of the series. That works. But…my head wanders. At one point last night my bro turned to me and said: Aha! That’s a vital plot point! – and I’d missed it entirely. Have noticed, by episode 6, the story is turning to something more people may be able to empathize with: the story of the kidnapped maiden. The senator’s story is devolving into a story about his kids; daughter raped and son implicit in the death of the rapist. Ah. Guess they agreed with me: give people something to bloody well care about. …But. And. Points of griping: Did no one think to try and track the daughter’s mobile phone? Keifer keeps harping on how he doesn’t have any leads, but that’s bullshit. His wife told him about one of the boys who kidnapped their daughter. He’s a damned federal agent. Run the fucking name through the system. Find out where he lives, track him down. A cop show would do these things. I don’t understand why 24 isn’t. The portrayal of Keifer’s office looks high-tech. In the background. But that’s it. Once they’re out of that room, it’s all lost. No one uses their smart phone for anything other than talking (with the exception of the grunt teaching Keifer how to scan from his mobile; obviously a sponsored thing). Really? Really really?

It struck me last night how European I’ve become. How I expect good wifi, public transport, certain amenities. I remember those long, unpopulated stretches of the states. I’ve been through and in many of them. But…really really? Last night I heard a character use dial up access on 24. Dial up access. And they were in a hotel in a big city. Really? I’d always heard the US is 10-20 years behind the EU in culture; now, it seems, I have proof. Seventeen years ago, when the series began, I was here in NL on a working holiday. And a highlight at the place I went was a souped up wifi service that was so instantaneous in its connection ability it took my breath away. It was a preview; the country didn’t have (and still doesn’t have) that kind of speed. But, that was the threshold. Dial up was a thing of the past. Not so in states. It just reminded me how poorly the US is constructed. The cities all decay because they’re shit to begin with. Tiny kings buy up tracts of land to build expensive castles on which they can’t maintain. It’s not for me. At all.

Remembered to order my injections from the pharmacy. Made an appointment for delivery on Wednesday. The cotton circles I’m using for wound trials are dry from their tea-staining. Still gotta dig out my old camera and see if I can breathe life into it.

… Been contemplating how, when you do your job really well, the tendency is to only receive negative comments. How everyone thinks you know you’re doing a good job when things are just silently taken care of without fuss or muss. It’s tough. Really tough. Case in point: did some tidying up the other day, and the only thing I heard from my bro was an admonishment not to use a certain shopping bag for recycling. He didn’t acknowledge the dishes I’d done, all the work I’d put in. Just that negative comment. I feel the same about the theatre group: that I’m only hearing the negativity because I’m doing my job so damned well that no one thinks I need to hear what a great job I’m doing. They only open their mouths when something isn’t perfect. I don’t know how to turn this around.

And this. is. life for me. Always has been, which is why I feel like I’ve received more negativity than positivity throughout the past 50 plus years.

But…

Really? Really really?

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Mindless

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

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

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

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

Moving on…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mindless it is.

Pressure off

Lucky 13. Just got the rehearsal schedule in, and we’ve 13 rehearsals blocked out before December. That’s it. Holidays are still an unknown with this group, and the director can’t make more plans until everyone settles down with what parties they’re going to and where they’ll be on holiday. That won’t be an issue with me. …Not too bad, tho I’ll have some heavy weeks with 3 nights on (whether or not I’m in the scene), taking pix and notes for the blog.

But…it asks a lot. This schedule is asking the actors to begin going off script within 2 weeks of now. I can do it; but then, I did it last time. First to memorize her lines, first to get the blocking down. Others in the group are notorious for needing their script right up to the week before curtain up. He’s left me room to try and schedule in fight practice and make-up work. In truth, I might be down there more often than the director. He doesn’t have to be present if I work with backstage people on make-up looks. He doesn’t even have to be there for the physical fight prep. Me…I gotta be there. I’ll either be doing it myself or supervising the process.

Took my Dutch homework to bed last night. Propped myself up with my pillows, laid my stuff out on the mattress and just did it like some teenager with her legs crossed. It was fun. A childhood scenario I never got to experience. The room I had as a kid wasn’t insulated. In the winter it would get so cold I could see the nails in the drywall frost over. In the summer it was an oven. So I just didn’t spend a lot of time in my bedroom. I still don’t. Sleep, cleaning it up, getting dressed (and storing my clothes)…that’s about all I use that room for. Sitting there last night, with my colored lights on…I was comfortable and relaxed. Homework became a fun exercise, not some boring task. I’m gonna do it again, as soon as I can.

Must do’s: Must write to the person with the camera and ask for it. Gotta get some practice in. Must make the trek to the theatrical supply shop for a look-see. Must get on recording the roughs we need for Act 1. Must attempt wounds again and see if my new idea is better than the last. Most importantly, I MUST get back on taking care of myself: regular exercise, specific times for eating, everything I can do to keep myself healthy balanced.

One thing I’m very pleased about. The schedule includes a night for each act, going thru the whole thing and my motivational analyses. The director took my writing seriously. Couldn’t tell from his short messages, so I was feeling a bit anxious. Have I been overstepping my bounds? No. Obviously not. He wants the actors clear on the story, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Wherever it goes from here, at least I know we started with my story.

Took the time to explain to my bro Dr T’s philosophy of bipolar: depression periods always follow manic periods; it’s the pattern. Stop the highs and the prevent the lows from happening. Apparently, I didn’t get that across to him before this. It’s definitely a push me/pull me thing for me. I don’t want the depression, and I don’t want to burn out. I want steady so I can keep going. But I’m not sure what life will be like sans obsessive mania. That insecurity makes me cautious. If we get rid of the manic highs, will I have the oomph to keep doing this? I don’t want to get blasé about my own work. Too often I discount what I’ve done. I don’t need a medication that’s gonna make me do that more!

Don’t they have a self-confidence pill yet? I mean…tap into 45; he’s got enough ego juice for the entire world…

And wouldn’t that be great? To be able to go to the supermarket and pick up a can of Ego Boost: self confidence in a can. Lacking that drive to see your project through to completion? Seeking a source of inspiration and confidence? Try Ego Boost! Self assuredness and the confidence to see your ideas come to fruition. Ego Boost; self confidence in a can. Yeah. I’d buy some.

I have a very strong sense of the now. Yes, I’ve a lot to be anxious about. There’s a lot to do. But today, I’m still sitting in my pjs. I’m here, at home. My bro is tinkering with an old computer, loading up a zone-free DVD player so we can watch some old disks. The sun is shining and the most worrying thing I’ve got is an afternoon in the company of people, some of whom I actually like. Current stress level: 0.5 (10 being maxed out). Very chilled. Brushing my teeth might take 20 minutes ’cause I be so chilled. No reason to hurry today.

Thank you, Goddess. I prayed; you answered. I don’t know when. I don’t know what tipped the scale for me. But the calm is here, and today I feel like I can proceed. Thank you.

I suppose there’s a good lesson in the last 24 hours for me. That small thing of setting myself up to have fun while I did my homework… THAT’S the type of thing I need to concentrate on. Not big events. Not things that try too hard to be fun. I need small, every day things to be fun right now. Colored lights on in my room makes homework fun. Good music on when I clean makes it fun. Up that stuff. Too often we rely on big events to bring fun into our lives, and when things don’t go well we feel disappointed.

But how can you feel disappointed when you’re constantly having fun? When so many things bring you little bits of pleasure, you don’t rely so much on the big things.

Pressure off.

I still don’t know

I heaved a sigh of relief when my computer connected with WP. A sigh of relief! ‘I’m getting sick of hearing about shit that those people should hear, that’s all.’ Mild statement from my brother. Yeah, I’m trippin’ out.

Struggling with doubt. Maybe I’ve been inactive too long and my endorphin rushes have all been used up. Maybe replaying the negative statements I’ve heard has just taken its toll. Don’t know. All I do know is that I’m full of doubts. Doubt that the theatre group will do my script, doubt that the production will go ahead, doubt that they’ll ever understand my reasoning behind the story. What began as a chink in my armor has led to a full-out attack in my head.

Told my bro, once again, that I must at times verbalize my frustration in order to get it out of me. Even apologized that he’s the one who has to hear it. He acknowledged the apology, but he’s still unhappy.

Does not help my feeling of isolation.

Still…T took the time to reassure me of the sound and the work load ahead. He’ll be there, helping. I won’t have to do it all alone.

He’s off now, down to the library to print some things up and stop by MediaMarkt to pick up Seasons 2 and 3 of The Magicians, a series we’ve both gotten into. The tv is off, the internet connection is working, and I can (hopefully) get this out of me before he returns.

Received one rather cryptic message from the director. He acknowledged the motivational analyses I did, and said he’s ‘sending rehearsals tonight’ – though I didn’t receive a link to a calendar. Must have meant on their phone app they all share (but me, naturally). One more thing that keeps me out of the loop.

*sigh* So, no idea. Still don’t have my hands on the camera I’m gonna use. Still don’t know when rehearsals are. Still don’t have answers on the scant half-dozen queries I sent out. Just sitting here, spinning my wheels and re-hearing ad infinitum in my brain the negativity I feel I’ve received.

NL is still in a warm spell, so I’m staying off wound creation. Wanted to do it today, but last time I used the hair dryer on a warm day I blew out the fuses to half the flat. So…wait for cooler weather, just to be safe. Took a shower to wash off the dust and grime; spent a few hours yesterday cleaning the house (and made SURE my bro knew about all the work I put in). Have to put in 30 minutes on Dutch homework today. Other than that, I’m twiddling my thumbs…

Interesting perspective my bro brought to my attention yesterday. I was griping, naturally, about the theatre group. He said that they may be very intimidated by my approach, and mentioned the possibility that they really want to keep this group low key. Have to admit he’s got a point; they certainly haven’t stretched themselves trying to advertise their stuff. I’ve been going on the idea that they just can’t put what they know into practice. Maybe I’m wrong. Made the executive decision that I just won’t overload them. Ideas about hidden codes, press coverage, reviewers – I should keep all that under my hat and not tell them. Do what I do, bring in the audience I know I can, but keep silent.

Gods, this is tough stuff! More than ever I’m aware of my verbalization during these manic periods. The continual line of thought I spew out. I need that, on some level, to organize. But I see how it’s intimidating and tiring, and others don’t really want it from me. Really need to talk to Dr T about this! I’ve done my best, turning this unending flow into writing, but obviously I’m still verbalizing the spew. I’m hearing the backlash. And seeing it. Feeling it. …Shit.

Deep breath.

My head has begun working on the book version of the script. Or, should I say, books. In the plural. Because each act is gonna get its own. That’s the plan, anyway. Learn from the production, keep fleshing things out, write from there. Starting to get a handle on the teenager who commits suicide and the side characters not really in the play. …By the time I get around to writing the book version, it’s gonna be more an ordering of my notes than creation.

… … Ugh. I just want the people in the play to be happy. To look forward to some fun. For the most part, that’s what’s happening. I shouldn’t let one or two comments bug me so much. Experience has taught me how one or two comments can spiral out of control, though, so I’m cautious. I’d like to address people’s concerns and feel like we reach an understanding. That may not be possible with everyone, and I’ve got to accept that. I’ve got to step back and let the director handle it. If I feel too under attack and that I’m continually looked to for answers, I’ll mention it to him. I feel I’m being clear, and restating the same thing ad infinitum. If I’m saying it in a manner that’s not being understood, someone else (ie, the director) has to step in and handle it. I don’t know how to rephrase myself or say it any differently.

And a reminder to myself that I’m walking a thin line here. Remember: be careful what you write. The deeper I delve into this semi-conscious thing I’m writing about, the more likely it is that I see the effects of it in my own life. It’s a double edged sword: it’s both what makes a good story, and what drives some writers to a paranoid edge. Have I already experienced that odd glitch or shift I sometimes see in groups of people around me? Yes. I’ve never known if this was me, or something else. I still don’t know.

I still don’t know.

Can I do it?

A flurry of work on my part; a wall of silence from the group…

Social interaction is not my strong suit. As a child, I was either berated or left on my own and I have very little experience with cooperation. There comes a time in any group when leaders emerge, and usually that’s preceded by a tipping point – something that sets them apart from the pack. These are the people who offer ideas, who break down tasks, who become the cheerleaders and backbone of the project.

As for the theatre production, I feel very isolated in this respect. The director has not responded to any of my messages. The Board has not answered my questions. The old PR person hasn’t got back to me on anything.

Worst of all, my head keeps replaying the negative comments I’ve heard. Spinning the tales out into negative consequences. I’m now imagining certain actors demanding I change their roles to fit their perspectives of the characters. My brother has told me: Be prepared to walk away if they give you too much shit. And he’s right; Blue Whale is being produced in the States, and I’ve little doubt that the entire trilogy will end up doing well overall. I don’t need this. I want it; I think it will be immensely beneficial to me both as a learning tool and to fine tune the script. But I sure as hell don’t need it.

Now I’m caught in my head, imagining walking away because the group just disses me that much. This is something I want to break. Subconsciously, I know it’s putting me on the defensive and I know that’s the wrong way to approach this. So I’m smiling. Overriding the negativity in my brain with laughter and thoughts of all the fun we’ll have creating this play.

Win them over with positivity.

This is not my strong suit. I have problems staying positive day to day, dealing with my own triggers and issues. Now I feel I need to take everyone in the production under my wing, assuring them, boosting them up, staying positive because no one else is. It’s very taxing on me. I’ve got it, sure. I’m more than enthused enough about my work to carry it. But it wears me down like nothing else.

Thinking Dr T may want to up my nighttime med. That’s the one that’s supposed to keep me from going too manic. I’ve warned him that as the production proceeds we may need to do that because I’ll just get more and more wound up. Actually looking forward to my next appointment with him. To say all the things on my mind, to verbalize everything – and get some support.

You know…kudos to me. At least I’m at the point where I can ask for help. I recognize I’m getting in over my head. I couldn’t admit to that for decades and my history shows it: manic years of untold work followed by shutting down completely. Dr T and I are trying to avoid the overload because my deep depressive periods are always preceded by manic overload. Avoid the first, avoid the second. I’m glad I’m seeing him.

Today I’ll run down to the smoke shop. Just rolled up the last in the house. I’ve prepped up some of the cotton rounds I use for wound creation. They’re white, naturally. I found that too stark a contrast the first time I used them, so I dyed a few with tea and coffee to bring them into my skin tone. Want to try them out today and see how they look. Take a few pix and post on the theatre blog. The weather has grown warm again, and I feel like I should get out for a walk. Fresh air, movement…seems the thing to do.

…*sigh* I just can’t stop my head. Even when I say I’ll walk away from it, I’m working on it. Ideas pop up out of nowhere. Agendas and strategies pounce on me, full blown, and I have to work my ass off just to get my plans down for me to remember. I only half-hear, half-see life right now. That part of my head doesn’t ever shut down, and the effect is kind of blinding. Yesterday my bro chided me for not reminding him to pay some bill he told me to remind him about. I never even heard him say that. He’s getting annoyed with me, because I have to keep asking ‘When is it? What are we doing?’ But to give myself a break here, 85-90% of the conversation coming from my bro right now is about his online SIM game. I don’t play it, I can’t relate, and I certainly don’t need to know about every in and out of the game. So, yeah. I tune out when he goes off on long discussions about the game and the characters. I can hardly blame myself for that; honestly, I’ve bigger things on my mind. And if once a week he slips in something actually important in those discussions my ears discount, well… Learn brevity. Make sure my eyes don’t have that glossed-over look I know they get when I’m not quite in the room.

I feel fat, and torpid. That’s a good word I rarely get to use: torpid. Sums me up to a tee. It is more than lethargy; I feel clogged. Like I have to burn something out of my body before it runs correctly again.

Goddess, help me get clean. Help me re-establish the flow. Help me through this; I am so frightened! I don’t know that I have the strength to see this through.

Is this leadership? This burden? This responsibility?

Can I do it?

My baby

The first thing that caught my eye this morning as I opened up my email was – ta da! – Issue 1 of the newsletter. I’m a bit blown away that it got sent out within 24 hours of me passing it on. Maybe that whole example thing is working??

Want to gather myself up and make the trek to the theatre shop today. It’ll take 40 minutes to get there, by metro, bus, and walking. *sigh* It’s sunny out, and looks like it’ll be a great day. So I kinda feel like I gotta go. Tomorrow rain is coming back into the area. But…ugh. All I want to do is sleep.

Splashed out another ten euro on make-up basics. Found a great deal on a multi-concealer; been wanting one of those. I need the green base to cover up the dark circles under my eyes. Picked up a liquid red lipstick to help with that wet blood look of wounds. Found a yellow eyeshade to help construct pus pockets. Bought a new mascara ’cause the cheap one I purchased had about two applications before it dried up totally. What I wanted and didn’t find: green eyeshadow. Not one green eyeshadow in the entire store. There was a time when green was a standard color. You’d always find some shade of it available. Now that I need it, not one anywhere. O-o-o-o-kay. *rolls eyes* I know how to create a green shade with what I’ve got.

Been worried about my reaction to all the negativity during our last meeting. Too worried. I know I wasn’t that bad. My head is blowing it out of proportion. I’ve made the decision to offer an apology, in case I did offend anyone, and a promise to do better. As my head’s mulled over (over and over and over) the conversation that night, something’s popped up and begun to annoy me. Three guesses, anyone? Give yourself a gold star if you said ‘the director’s girlfriend’. Bulls-eye. While talking about the upcoming meeting and our make-up needs, she managed to slip in a, ‘Do you know how to use make-up?’ Now…I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say she meant to ask did I know how to use make-up in that manner. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t grate on my nerves. I chose to not wear make-up that night because my RA is flaring up. And I can’t help but wonder if that was a subtle dig at me after her director-boyfriend teased her all night about me replacing her as his girlfriend.

Truth is, I sense L (the director’s girlfriend; might as well give her a letter for a name rather than writing that out every single damned time) is the one person I’ve met with a LOT of hidden agendas. Most Dutch are very blunt. What you see is what you get. But I’m dealing with actors, notorious in any country for making their living out of lying. That sounds harsh, I know. But it’s also true. There are nights you have to lie on stage. You have to smile even when you want to cry. You have to pretend to care about someone you just had a huge fight with. While acting is truth because to do it well you need to connect with your true feelings surrounding the persona you’re playing, it’s also lying because you’re asked to do it on cue rather than from an honest outpouring of emotion. It’s been known to screw with people. I’ve seen it. Add into that mix the hungry egos that generally seek out that kind of adulation at work, and you’ve got a really volatile situation. These theatre people do not follow the rule of thumb for the Dutch. They are sneakier, suaver, and more manipulative by nature.

It’s good to keep that in mind.

Must start to get back to the theatre website. They’ve changed up the name to a domain (it was THAT easy), and chosen a ‘.nl’. Probably a good choice, considering where we’re at and the whole swing of the internet. I’ve made the executive decision to move ahead with an on-site blog, which I’ll hook up to the FB page, and a new YouTube channel. The group already has a YouTube channel. It has 4 vids on it from six years ago. No subscribers and zero views. They were surprised when I said it was out there; no one can remember who started it or what the password is. Cutting thru all that and just starting a new page. I want a certain look on it, too. I know what I’m after. It would be great to find a few helpers for all of this. I’m not holding my breath, but I am thinking ahead. How I may be able to break down some of the tasks, like prepping the vids. Maybe I can train someone else to do it. It would sure help me!

Also taking the bull by the horns and creating Motivational Analyses for all the characters. I’m concerned over the negativity, and how it seems a lot of the actors don’t understand what’s going on. But I realize I’m so deep into the stories that I forget people don’t know everything I know: the long history of each character. So I’m writing it up. Also adding, as a last thing, current cultural references; ie, examples of similar characters in pop culture. It’s keeping me busy.

As is everything else.

… Doing my best on phrasing. One word in a slogan can make all the difference. And I kinda feel like I’m living that now: even in speech, I’ve got to be careful. I’m shepherd of more than just myself now and I have to be sensitive to that. While still getting work done.

No wonder I go into Mother Mode during these things. The Caretaker. I never had children. And generally, I’m not the motherly type.

But, this is my baby.

My first trigger

Panic. I couldn’t access anything on the ‘net yesterday. My bro told me about the latest FB hack and, sure enough, I was one of the millions. Finally, finally around 7 p.m. I was able to get back online and change my passwords.

Undoubtedly, the people who did this are amongst the dumbest hackers on earth. Why? I received a ransom email, asking for bitcoins. Several messages, actually. The first asked for 700 bitcoins. The second for 2000. Whichever the number they picked, if they’d actually hacked me beyond finding an old password that I’d changed two years ago, they’d have known I have nothing. Less than 50 in my bank account. Yeah. Great person to hack and hold hostage, eh? Someone who couldn’t even afford a decent hair dresser…

Took the last several days down. After the board meeting, I woke up with a sore throat and stuffy head. Juice, naps, throat lozenges – the works. I’m now feeling better but am still cautious. I know how my health is. Not thrilled to find I’m just on the edge. *sigh* This winter is gonna be tough.

Got down to Dutch homework. Really tough to write a business letter addressing 6 issues and keep it at a page or under. But, that’s what they want. Think I did okay. Without internet access, I haven’t yet checked it with Google translate. That catches some of my mistakes. Some of them.

Made an appointment with my dentist. Whoo.hoo. Just pleased I followed thru enough to set a date. Ignoring everything else about it: costs, pain, more appointments because I still have to have a deep cleaning done… Yeah. Hit ‘ignore’.

Have been getting in some bulk emails from my uncle. Need to learn to hit delete on those before I even open them. He wins no points from me now that he’s turned tail on 45. I don’t need to hear about the man whom you thought ‘deserved a chance’ despite the mountain of evidence against him. I don’t need to hear about his lies or deception; I was the one pointing those out two years ago to you. I mean… Really?

Sent out 12 pages of production notes to the director. Yeah. It was as tedious compiling it as you think it was. Have not yet received anything about rehearsals, the October meeting, the PR stuff promised me, the replies to the interview questions I sent out a month ago… There’s only so much an organized person can do if everyone else drags their feet. I refuse to put myself under pressure because they can’t pull anything together until the last minute. But they are testing me!

Thank the Goddess I’m well prepped for this. That’s something my 50 odd years have taught me: rely on no one. Not, at least, when you do something like this. People have loads of good intentions at meetings months in advance, but when crunch time comes they crumble. They throw up their hands and claim they had no time, even tho they had months. They say they didn’t know how to do it, rather than asking for clarity. The excuses are always the same. As a ‘leader’ (by circumstance rather than choice), I’ve learned to compensate. That’s why I prep as crazily as I do. Because when crunch times comes, it’s not crunch time for me. I can handle it since I’ve handled everything else ahead of time.

know how to juggle. That’s life, not a carnival juggler (couldn’t coordinate my RA hands that well). *snort* Another part of Beeps they haven’t seen. I can see it, in the director’s eyes. He knows what’s ahead, and he wants to observe me to see how I handle it. I keep my experience well hidden beneath my still ingenue eyes. The years don’t show. So I have them a bit hoodwinked. I did it for my own protection, to prevent others from taking advantage of me. Play dumb. Widen your eyes with that innocent look only one in a thousand can resist. It stumps most people, and prevents me from being overloaded.

But make no mistake: I am a general. No one can coordinate better, persuade better, or pull more rabbits out of hat than I. I operate best in the background, out of the spotlight. Say nothing, don’t give anything away. To borrow a well worn phrase, just do it. Offer up the pawns, prepare the calvary, set alight the cannons. I’m a one woman army when needed. Everywhere, handling everything. It’s bleeding taxing, and I’m trying not to do it because this IS the steam roller effect. I roll over everyone, and I’ve lived to see the aftermath. It ain’t pretty.

The trick this time is knowing when and where to let people fall of their own accord. Sometimes people have to fail. It teaches everyone a lesson. I just want to pick ‘safe’ failures: things that won’t affect the production overall. Hm. Might need some outside input on this so I can focus my efforts. Talk to my bro and the director. Maybe even Dr T. I’m willing to accept help from any quarter.

…*sigh*

Remember your promise. Do. things. differently.

Sitting here with Modern Family playing on the tv. Can’t wrap my head around how stereotypical and offensive this show is. On SO many levels. But, like Friends before it, it’s found favor as the comedy of the generation. Maybe next gen will recognize the slights against women, the pigeon holing of gays or straights, the entire shudder effect I get every time a new line of dialogue about something other than their cooking comes out. For F’s sake!

I just find it hard to react in any other way. I get angry that other people are so damned slow. That it seems it must be ME who points these things out, and when I do, everyone says ‘oh, gee, you’re right!’

Breathe. Different, different, different. It’s Sunday, no one who’s triggering you is here. Chill. out.

Fools. Always my first trigger.

They shall receive

I was ready for a lot last night. As usual, I got something I didn’t expect. All in favor of making Beeps our newest Board Member say ‘aye’. And there it was. I am officially the theatre’s PR person, their go-to bundle of energy on marketing. My name will be listed with the government as a board member.

My planned look was as good as I expected it to be. The outfit looked great on me and I took my time with make-up so I didn’t fuck anything up. I asked my bro, before I left, how I looked. You look like you. Okay. Not over the top, then. Good. Down to the restaurant.

Two members were there when I walked in. They didn’t even blink at my look, and said nothing. Then, the director walked in and I received the reaction I was looking for. Wow…you look really great. You’re all…you’ve got make-up on. He then proceeded to tease his girlfriend, telling her that I could replace her at a drop of a hat. That went on for most of the evening, until we parted.

I heard more reservations from the director’s girlfriend. Maybe it was a knee jerk reaction to her boyfriend’s teasing. I don’t know. But she gave voice to her concerns, and I was glad of it. She really thinks this will tough to pull off because the group is used to doing comedy rather than horror. She wanted to know if I’d be willing to change dialogue if people thought lines were clunky or unnatural. She had a lot of conditions and concerns, actually. Did my best to assure her, told her I consider this a dry run of the play and of course I’m willing to have dialogue changed as long as the story remains the same.

Possible bad news: one of the board members who has a role is expecting a child with his wife in April. That means performances have to come before mid March or after summer. We discussed the possibility of early performances and autumnal performances. And they mentioned an international English theatre festival that will come to Den Haag in two years; they’d like to submit my work for consideration. So I’ve walked away with the feeling that they’re willing to take this play and work with it for a while, showcasing it in different venues. I feel good about that.

Heard a lot of negativity couched in polite terms. Gentle laughter when I said I’d like to earn enough from my writing to live off of. Reminders that, since I’m an unknown, I shouldn’t expect much in the way of audiences.

Held back on many ideas. No reason to blow them away like that; they were blown away by the newsletter rough I’d printed up. I’ll prove myself by the audience numbers. They’ll learn. I can get 70 people in a city this size to come to a performance. I know I can.

Have the green light on securing a domain name for their website. The newsletter is a go, as is the open meeting. The director’s girlfriend wants to hold the general meeting in the back room of a pub/club that’s having a Halloween karaoke party on the 31st. Her idea is to do everyone’s make-up in the back and then party in front. Not sure if that’s the best idea, but I’m staying silent on it. Gotta let other people run with their ideas. But I feel she’s putting some pressure on me. I mentioned that I wanted to visit the theatre supply shop here in Rotterdam and ask if they have a make-up artist who’d come and show us some make-up effects. Asking someone to come downtown at night to the back room of a bar (which, let’s face it: are always grotty) to do some make-up for free… Tough. Anyway, I gotta wait on announcing the meeting now because she’s got to do the leg work on the venue.

…So here I am, a board member. Active, dependable, part of the group. Me, part of the group. I feel a bit overwhelmed by it. I’ve moved from the back stage person, the fly on the wall props person who works in the dark, to playwright, actress, and Board Member in two years.

🙂

Oh, how little they ask. And oh! How much they shall receive.

Here we go!

Tonight’s the board meeting.

I’ve planned my day. Chill. Take a shower by noon so my hair has a chance to dry before I leave. I know what I’m gonna wear. I’ve practiced my make-up. Even printed up a newsletter rough for them to look at and a list of topics we need to discuss.

Not thrilled to find the meeting turned dinner party is being held at a place where main courses run €20. Yeesh! Couldn’t we have sat around a room at the University and ordered pizza? Plus they want drinks… Planning on sticking to water. May have one beer, but honestly, drinking just isn’t worth it anymore.

I’m loaded up with pertinent facts and interesting ideas. Undoubtedly that means the ‘dinner party’ will degenerate into a ‘drinking party’ and little to no work will actually get done. Will do my best to get answers on the most immediate needs and then back off, if that’s what happens. Don’t want the reputation of the wet blanket in the group.

My bro came back from choir rehearsal last night so wound up I had to sit up with him ’til 12:30 – and even then he was still manic. Yeah. This is why I went with him the very first time, to avoid what happened last night. Hoped that it wouldn’t happen like this. But there he was, walking in, that half crazed, half desperate smile on his face that says “See? I’m dealing with this,” when in actuality he isn’t dealing at all. Then it came: the outpouring. An hour and a half of talking, complaining, bitching, whining, pointing out a thousand arguments he probably should have said to them and not me. His frustration led him to lash out, too. I heard what had him worked up: pressure to perform, to bring in money via the company. So I got a “hit”, too: a very loud complaint about the play and how it wouldn’t do him any good. I think differently. I think it’s a great way to get the word out and build a solid reputation. But the play was bashed, and I was bashed for getting caught up in it rather than concentrating all my efforts on promoting my brother and his work.

Now, I’ve tried to explain ad infinitum to my bro how his frustrations put people off. How his voice raises, his face grows angry, and he looks bleeding intimidating. I’ve tried to teach him some tact, too, pointing out easier ways to phrase things that wouldn’t be so offensive to others. But, no. He wants to be offensive when he’s wound up. He wants to be confrontational. Then after he calms down he comes back to me and whines about no one wanting to be his friend, no one wanting to work with him, etc. But somehow it all comes back on me; I’m not supporting him enough and that’s why he doesn’t have this or that.

Worse still: if I hold his hand through life, he gets angry at me for that. If I let him handle it on his own, he gets angry for that. I can’t win. He won’t listen to my advice, he never tries to do anything different.

It’s not my fuckin’ fault, dude!

…Class yesterday was mixed. Fun to be back, fun to find my brain more focused on Dutch. Did well on homework, even scoring 100% on one of my papers. My teachers said I didn’t have to keep doing the verb conjugations, but I will until 100% becomes common place. A few mistakes during dictation, but not too bad. I even managed to slip in a Dutch turn of phrase during the lesson (which P, the woman who did our summer lessons, noticed and praised me for). Loaded up with letters to write, along with a warning to keep my letters to one page only. Gotcha. Brevity. I’m all for that. I enjoyed everything that happened in the classroom. It was the time during the coffee break that was the problem.

No one was at the front desk when I entered the building, so I still had to sign in and collect my tickets for free coffee or tea. The woman at the front desk was on the phone when I went down. I stood quietly to the side of her, waiting. Then two other students joined me. When the woman finally got off the phone, she ignored me and served the two other students first even tho I’d been standing there at least 3 minutes longer than them. Why? Well, they were all from the same country, of course. They knew each other. Okay. Not happy about that. Missing some basic Dutch courtesy. Sat down at the table with everyone else, a little to the side. Tried to open up their tight conversation ring, but it didn’t work. I sat there, sipping my tea, listening. No eye contact, no word sent my way, until one of the women touched me on my knee (I later described it to my bro as if she’d reached out to stroke a dog that had been hanging around the table) and offered me a bone. I said two sentences, and was then promptly ignored again.

Now, if I sit there and read my book my teachers come over to ask why I’m not talking with everyone. But when I try joining the conversation, this happens. They all sit there talking about their homelands and children, two topics I can’t really join in on other than as an interested by-stander.  I dislike this break time. I only need ten minutes to pee and get a tea. Then I’d like to return to the lesson. But, no. Talk. Socialize. With people I have nothing in common with. With people who ignore me, week after week. It’s not fun.

I’ve a few short hours to drop all of this and concentrate on today.

And now my brother just woke up.

Joy, joy. Here we go!

Dazzle ’em with the peacock

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

This is not a mindset that’s natural to me. I have to work at it. I don’t like it very much and think it rather barbaric, but I’ve found thru time that it’s sometimes necessary to protect myself.

To wit: an in-depth search resulted in finding the website of the theatre group in Den Haag. You know – the one headed up by that idea stealing jerk I need to keep an eye on. I surfed around their site, checking out what they had and didn’t have. Also signed up for their newsletter (so far, have received nothing in my inbox). And I haven’t heard from the jerk himself about the synopses for his two one-acts our group performed in 2016.

They ponied up for a dot com domain. That’s one score up. They have a blog attached to their site, talking up what they do. That’s two. All in all, their marketing is stronger than ours – tho they failed miserably on SEO coding. I could only find their site by googling their name specifically. Personally I find their site ‘static’ – lots of white, stark pages with a few pix or words on them. I’ve already set up slide shows and use more color on our pages. But I’m a bit…what’s the phrase? On edge? Irritated?…that they’re so far advanced in their marketing set-up. Especially when you weigh out who they have and how long they’ve been at it compared to us. I mean…they were the break-away group.

So I’m keeping an eye on them. Both to watch the situation and to network. And until D proves himself a friend and not an enemy, I’m adhering to the above statement.

Decision: Must head back to MS Mode and buy one more pair of pants in grey. That’s what I want for the production. I’ll worry about shirts later, knowing I can go just about anywhere and pick up cheap tops for €3 each. Will probably do so tomorrow.

Today I’m just chilling. My bro called me out on my pacing and worry. There’s nothing you can do, so don’t let it eat you up. He’s right. I need serious attitude adjustment.

*sigh* And last night, even tho I stayed up later watching tv, I had to reach for a book to read something before closing my eyes. It’s automatic now, like brushing my teeth. Part of my night-time wind-down. Handy to my bed, I have a small shelf with some books. The Odyssey in English – which I tried to read and just couldn’t. An Agatha Christie, Bridgette Jones’ Diary, and Kruistocht in Spikerbroek (all in Dutch). Picked up the Kruistocht book and just began reading. I bought it last year, but it was too much for me. Just breezed thru it, catching phrases and passages I know I didn’t fully understand the first time. Good. It’s the first in a series, so if I pick up the story I can find the rest at the library. And it’s a reading level up.

Haven’t heard back from the director’s girlfriend on the graphics. No idea what’s going on with that.

Will prep up a letter to the board today. I need several questions answered about past productions, and Monday marks the return to ‘normal’ hours in NL. Time to start sending out enquiries and asking for answers. Also need to start crowing about the newsletter and get a few more subscribers than just myself.

My bro is planning on heading out tonight to a local jam session. I really don’t want to go, especially after his description of the last session. So I’m thinking ahead about what I’ll watch. Need something to distract me, and keep me relaxed in my chair.

Back down to minute by minute. Organize my life around the clock. Eat at these times. Take your pills at these times. Distract. Keep relaxing your shoulders. Keep breathing.

Wish I could just trust the situation, but I can’t. I won’t discount my instincts on this. Sometimes I think I have a sign around my neck, or something written on my forehead that says: Sucker. I just seem to attract certain types of people around me. People who use me in one manner or another. I’m fully aware of this, and try to stay on high alert. Unfortunately, that causes stress. But so does getting taken advantage of, something I’m intimately experienced with. So…I try to balance it. Watch it, keep everything in mind, and move forward as best as possible. I also rely on the advice of the only person I do trust: my brother. And yes, sometimes I even question his motives – tho I know any hidden agendas are not in place to hurt me, they’re just a reaction to his triggers. Much easier to deal with than those snakes who’d sell you down the river for a piece of silver.

Today it’s all me. Nails, facial masque, maybe even deep hair conditioning. Yesterday I cleaned out my closet, ruthlessly throwing out the items I never wear and making room for my new purchases. Thinking about stepping out fully made up. Clothes, hair, make-up. See what happens. I haven’t done that in years. Don’t know when or where, just think it might be happening sometime soon. After all, I should test the durability of the make-up, shouldn’t I? That means wearing it around for a while. I always find it interesting to watch how other people treat me. See me. And mirror-wise (double entendre meant), I find it interesting to see how I treat myself and see myself when I do that.

…Let’s not kid ourselves. I know when it will happen – the first theatre group meeting. They’ve seen the scruffy me, the natural me, the me running around with awkward and ugly looks. I think it’s time they see the flip side.

Time to dazzle ’em with the peacock.