Take a dump

Beginning to learn why everyone recommends de-stressing. …Yeah, I know the articles all said stress does a number on your body; as usual, I didn’t quite believe it – at least not in the context of my workhorse, which was bred and raised to work. I was meant to drop in my tracks, right? That’s what workhorses do. [Thanks, Dad, for THAT programming.]

Self diagnosis: irritable bowel syndrome. Trust me, it sounds nicer than it is. And it doesn’t sound very nice, does it? For the past 24 hours I’ve been reluctant to do anything outside the house because every time I bloody well fart I have to be on the toilet. Diarrhea, bloating, belching, discomfort, and a disturbing amount of mucus do not make for happy toilet times even if you’re rich enough to afford one of those Japanese toilets that sing to you while you’re taking a dump. Imagine what it’s like in a stripped down WC.

Yeah, thanks Universe! I really needed that constant physical reminder. I really needed that extra added stress of my body not running the way it should. I needed that extra worry, those extra jolts of panic. Oh, good on you, Universe! This is sarcasm, by the way…

To any fellow IBS sufferer out there, I’ve one word for you: licorice. It’s got to be real licorice, with natural ingredients. Go to a health food/whole foods place; it’s out there. Licorice is one of those natural gas easers. It will NOT stop your IBS attack, but it will allow you to belch really, really (REALLY) loudly and get out that gas that causes pain. I just sucked licorice for most of the evening, and about 10 minutes after eating a piece I burped so loudly it almost registered as supersonic (little doubt the neighbors heard it; undoubtedly they’ll think it was my brother). Just…keep eating licorice. You’ll feel better. And it’s an easy and cheap remedy for anyone to try.


Ah, yes. Here comes on a morning headache. Good Goddess, I’m a mess! In 24 hours this will all be coming to a head as I wait the last bit before my shrink appointment. Can’t plan or think too much about that. Can’t even try to think out the Dutch I need to use. I tear up, my breathing gets ragged, and I feel totally insecure and afraid. So I’ve been distracting myself. But I know full well my subconscious has continued to gnaw on my upcoming appointment, and my body issues are the product of this. I acknowledge that. I acknowledge also that I do not feel particularly stressed in my conscious mind. Distraction works. It’s painfully obvious to me, tho, that my body is fighting it. I am not dealing with the stress, I’m stuffing it down so well I’m not consciously aware of it and it’s coming out physically.

I mean…what do I do? Sit here for the next 27 hours and let myself cry and shake while I think it all through? That doesn’t sound healthy to me. But then, neither is what I’m doing healthy.

Fuck, fuck, fuck. Go away, headache!


…To add to this mountain, I heard from the director. This Friday, 15:30, here at my place. That knowledge dumps a lot of adrenaline into my system; I can feel it. Went off on sound ideas for a couple of hours with my bro. Talked about organics, how to record what I wanted, sourcing ideas. I can mechanize the voice to the hilt, but in analyzing the great creepiness of my favorite stuff, I realized it’s the organics that make my skin crawl. And I want people to be afraid. Very afraid (about as afraid as I am most days). Ach! We’ll be hopping between our studio equipment and computers, layering and cutting sounds, and then compressing the hell out of everything. I’m happy to find my bro excited about the idea. If he was nonplussed, I wouldn’t feel so positive about it. But with the master producer and engineer on board, I know the sound will be great. And, hopefully, we can use much of what we create in the planned podcast.

I’m so committed to this/these stories that I’m amazing myself. My head is focused continually on the story line, the ways I could change it, the ongoing and side stories that could be written off my original work. I am ready to serialize this shit. Anyone of the three parts that make up the trilogy could have numerous sequels (so many I could really sell out and sign a contract for 20 or more sequels). It’s part of what I’m excited about: creating a perfect, unending loop. The only line indicating where to stop is when the audience stops coming to see the shows.

And whereas I feel slightly concerned over the idea of me immersing myself into this circular, horrific tale for years to come, I must admit it’s a great place to store my fear. I could literally write everything that terrifies me into this tale. This aspect is so concentrated in this work that I feel I could even do silent versions of it and still convey the terror and fear I want (great idea for some film shorts, that; keep it in mind).

…*sigh* Maybe that’s the point. It’s my dump ground. Maybe I should let myself go. Explore some of those side stories. It would keep me on point with the project overall, yet give me something to do and, well…dump into.

I’d like a new camera. The vid cam I’ve used in the past is a rinky-dink affair and cost less than 100 euro when I bought it. I’d like something a step up. Even if I’ve got to borrow it…

Hm. Time to send out feelers. Anyone own a camera I could use? Yep.

But first: write. Plan. Turn this nervous energy into something positive.

lololol! Literally, and metaphorically: take a dump.


The harder I try, the faster I go

Where is my baseline? When I’m depressed, I think ‘yep, this is where I normally live’, but when I’m manic I think ‘yep, this is where I’m meant to live’ and honestly, I just don’t know. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be happy or excited without being manic. I don’t know I know what it’s like to be sad or blue without being depressed. I don’t know that I’ve spent one minute of my life in a “normal” human mode without an extreme taking over.

My fears and frustrations did what they always end up doing to me: they pushed me into action. In the last 48 hours I’ve designed and prepped a flyer for my play; designed and prepped a teaser video for said play; brainstormed on marketing and advertising strategies (three pages worth); searched in English and Dutch for venues, bloggers, and anything remotely connected with theatre and the arts; and brainstormed, researched, and decided upon a tag line for the entire production. That’s in addition to reading several chapters in my book, writing three pages of narrative in Dutch, finishing my homework, getting to the gym, and keeping up on the housework.

Just a little manic (and yes, that’s sarcastic, I’m out in the fucking stratosphere, people).

In some ways, this is just my life. My pattern is to think for a long time. It looks like I’m doing jack shit, but in truth I’m working my ass off contemplating whatever it is I’ve got in my sights. When I finally do make a move, I’ve thought it out so completely that it goes at lightening speed. The flyer I designed was a perfect example: thought about it for days but the physical process of putting it together took me less than 30 minutes, and that includes searching for and manipulating a copyright free picture to use in the background. Same with the teaser video. Boom, boom, boom – one, two, three – and it’s done. Now both projects must sit on my desktop because neither can be released before I have performance dates and venues. … But, yeah. I’m always in feast or famine mode. It’s the natural of the way I work. Catch me in famine mode and you’ll think I spend my days sitting around on my ass playing games and watching tv. Catch me in feast mode and you’ll think I never sit down nor stop working.


The internet cut me off. Yeah. Even the Universe is flipping telling me to STOP.

Trying to divvy up my time. An hour here, an hour there. Move around and don’t stay with anything too long. It isn’t really working. I’m fighting it, wanting to keep going once I get going. Or I get up and try something else to little effect and return to my obsession. Try this, write that idea down, search that. If I don’t slow down I’ll have all the ‘jobs’ finished before I even talk to the director about the production.

And no matter what I cajole my body into doing, my head stays on topic, never leaving it for long, never ceasing to think of new ideas, new approaches, new considerations. Mentally, I like being here. It is full of hope and energy. I also know it’s a danger point.

Food is never far from my thoughts these days. Don’t skip meals. Eat something. Mornings I feel like I have to shove food down my throat. Evenings I feel like I can’t eat enough. Been trying to just go with the flow as best as possible, but working out at the gym or any other afternoon activity throws a wrench into it: go too hard in the afternoon and I drop. Ergo, I need food before I do my afternoon activities. But I then I’m shoving food again, feeling like I’m eating unnecessarily when I’m not hungry. Tried riding out the morning and eating after the gym, which works to an extent. It screws up my dinner time, tho, and I don’t like that. The experience just serves to bring me back to the beginning: gods, I wish I didn’t have to eat at all.

Fucking three dimensional carbon based life forms! What a wet sack of shit we’re all caught in. My body just slows me down. The pain, the need to sleep, to rest, to eat. It disrupts my work, and that irritates me. I do my best to remind myself that this is reality as I know it; the animal is part of me, treat it like a well loved pet rather than an often kicked dog. Gah! It ain’t easy.

Thinking about tackling those big cleaning jobs around the house, the ones I do once every six months or so. It’s time; the place needs it. It would also be something else to keep me occupied and at least physically away from obsessing (and it would allow me ample time to just think about things). That’s hardly ‘rustig’, tho. My best bet is to try reading again, tho lately I’m so squirrelly I have a difficult time sitting even for that.

I can feel my routine break down. See it, even. I was so stable for so long. Get up, eat oatmeal, exercise, Dutch, afternoon writing, evening tv, sleep. Now, it’s all out the window. Can’t eat in the mornings, exercise is a vague maybe, Dutch homework is still a drag tho reading has become a joy, my only writing is my obsessive marketing information collection, evening tv is on but largely unwatched because I’m fucking obsessed and only thinking of my work, and sleep is a toss and turn and check the clock to see if I can get up and start again.

I’ve been here before. I know what this is.

And the harder I try to slow down, the faster I go…

Be open to it

I can’t figure people out. Not until time has passed and I’ve been able to review over and over what went down. I dislike that aspect of me; it makes me feel inordinately dumb. Why can’t I understand what’s happening while it’s happening? But, no. My comebacks come to me too late and I am left replaying the incident ad infinitum, wishing I’d said or done things differently.

Woke up thinking of my play. My head was obviously reviewing Sunday’s get together with the group. All those disparate parts came together – the two players who said they weren’t going to act this season, the cool reception I received on my work, the lack of enthusiasm or even the follow through on the commitment of coming to the read through, and the situation I walked in on two years ago with the poor group of actors and the director who walked out… I realized the group may allow me to use their name and their director, but the group may very well have nothing to do with this. I think I’m smacking my face against some good, old snobbery. I think most of the group will not participate or even audition for my play; they will feel it beneath their dignity. They will not take the chance on a newbie playwright unless said playwright has some medals or awards behind their name. They’ll smile, say ‘sure, we can do that’, but in the end they’ll all have excuses about why they can’t be in the play, how busy they are, etc., and it will fall to walk-in actors like I had at the read through.

Maybe I’m all off on this but…my spidey sense is tingling. It’s been going off since Sunday, despite the pleasantries. Just a few too many silences, too much eye contact avoidance, too little enthusiasm. Can’t help but wonder if this is what happened when I first joined the group. They had a second director, one who also wrote scripts. The first production I worked on was one such written by him (a dismal play, poorly written, horrible in almost every way). It didn’t escape my notice then that the ‘core group’ largely didn’t participate in the acting. I was never give any reason for that, but could it have been they were unwilling to do something that wasn’t sent via a publisher? I can’t totally rule out the idea that they all thought the script was crap and didn’t want to be in it, tho why they’d approve the script if they thought it was crap is beyond me. *sigh* Considering some of the other stuff I’ve seen and heard from them, I wouldn’t be surprised if plain old snobbery were at work.

That director/writer left the group and is now in Den Haag working with a different set of people.

I find this whole idea doubling upsetting because I wrote the trilogy and tailored it for them. Wrote characters thinking of particular actors in mind. Wrote the story, the settings, the needs with the venues I’d seen, the abilities I’d witnessed, the resources I knew the group had at hand. To have it dissed out of hand, when most haven’t even taken the time to read my words… The prospect is disheartening.

But it isn’t something that’s going to stop me.

I’ve worked with less and done more. To hell with their procedures, to hell with what “they normally do” – I’ve seen their average audience size, and what they normally do doesn’t cut it. I will work my magic for my production. If the results are such that everyone wants me to do it for them and their upcoming plays…well, then I’ll have real bargaining power, won’t I?

Began honing ideas. Roughed out a flyer for advertising. Outlined an ad video I want to make and put online to hype the performances. I’ve already scoured the internet for must invite names: artistic directors of bigger theatres that do English productions, reviewers, journalists. I will look at radio, public television, and internet vloggers and podcasts. I know how to market on a shoestring. I know about product placement, tag lines, what’s kitschy and what’s catchy.

The goal is to give my work as much chance of success as I can without killing myself.

That means taking control of some of these loosely performed aspects of the group. They’re all teachers at the school of business, but none really know about marketing. That much is obvious when they can’t fill an 80 seat theatre. Every production, they have flyers and posters printed. Where they put up the posters in this city, I don’t know. Never saw one up. Never found a place to put one, either – there are restrictions almost everywhere. Flyers are easily overlooked and most just end up in the trash bin. I’m not opposed to flyers, but…cut the size down, and rather than putting stacks of them at drop points, take a few afternoons and head down to the neighborhoods surrounding the theatre and put them in people’s mail slots. Chances are much higher they’ll at least be glanced at. Maybe you’ll only snag 1 out of 100 that way, but that’s one more than we’ve got now.

…This means, of course, that I’ve largely mapped out this year’s activity. I’m booked; don’t ask me to do more (and let’s stick to that!).

Well…good. Lateral thinking helps me. I like the full aspect of projects like this: take it start to finish (with help). Help is the area I’ve largely been lacking in past projects. One look at my vids would tell you that: written by me, directed by me, starring me, edited by me… I got so tired of it I filled in all those jobs with my pseudonyms just to make it look like I wasn’t an ego-centric mad old woman.

And…you know what they say about help; it comes from unexpected quarters.

Remember to be open to it.

And so are you

Yesterday’s get together with the theatre group went well. I felt unsure of myself, a little stiff at first seeing everyone again after months of being apart. But I was welcomed in typical Dutch fashion: kiss, kiss, kiss, first to the left then the right then back to the left and given big hugs. How little these people understand that these simple social graces make all the difference in the world to me. I worked to put my best foot forward: ask, listen, smile, participate, be there. Don’t go too deep into anything, don’t talk at length about my pain or problems, don’t crow about the film group or the premiere. I had a long list of what to do and what not to do as I walked in. I kept to it, and had a pleasant exchange. From time to time I wondered if others had a list like mine, those subjects you don’t bring up in casual company, those things you don’t talk about in order to make sure no one feels bad. Doubtful. I heard a bit of crowing. Well, more than a bit. But I recognized the corner it came from, and didn’t rise to the bait. I felt comfortable with my accomplishments over the break: the film, my writing. When asked about the film, I made two or three glowing comments about the crew and a self-depreciating joke about my body issues and seeing myself on ‘the big screen’. Got a laugh, and left it at that.

Left the question about my script ’til the very end, when things were winding down. The answer I received…well. The board member I directed my question to lifted his eyebrow and looked pointedly at the director. The director said ‘I’d like to do it’ and that was apparently that. The director said we need to meet and discuss the script and how we might be able to get it on stage. Hoping we can do that this week right here in my home so my bro can also sit in on it for the sound production.

But…honestly, it was the least enthusiastic affirmative I think I’ve ever received. I know the director likes it; he’s told me he thinks it’s very akin to Lovecraft (a writer he admires and enjoys), so I’ve no qualms there. The rest of the group, though…especially the board member, who was at the reading…totally flat. No interested smile, no sitting up a bit straighter as we talked because the idea just energized them that much, nothing. They were closer to a bunch of Sunday stoners to whom I’d just suggested we leave the house to get some munchies. ‘Yeah…that might be cool…’ as they sat there unmoving, eyes glued to the tv. Gee. I saw more interest in that crap play we just watched, and it WAS a crap play.

So, it seems I’ve got the go-ahead. But I don’t feel secure. I don’t feel it’s cause for celebration. Getting my first real script produced should be cause for celebration, right? No matter how rinky dink the group doing it. It’s acknowledgement, something I’ve craved for forever. But…I don’t even feel sure enough about this to actually claim my script will be done. I feel like at any moment I might hear ‘we can’t do it’ and that will be the end of it.

Maybe, just maybe, I owe the group a thanks for NOT being all excited. It was difficult enough for me to settle after I got home; just being in the presence of other people winds me up with excitement. If they’d been clamoring over my script, hyped on the idea of doing it…I might not have been able to sleep at all last night. Okay. Thanks, group, for your luke-warm response. I didn’t spaz out into a full blown manic episode (tho I did wake up with a headache). Still. I find it difficult to deal with, like the group collectively said ‘Go on, be excited about this if you want to but understand it’s you being excited about it, not us’. Didn’t help that on the heel of my question, one of the actors announced he wouldn’t be participating on stage this year, too busy, too whatever, but he’d put together the flyer for it. That makes two of our core group who won’t be on stage this autumn. And I need 9 actors for the script as it stands. Color me a little worried. I’ve seen the type of ‘actor’ that typically comes cold to one of our meetings or auditions. It’s not good.

Shuffling through a lot of thoughts. First, just get it produced. You’ve said it can be done by a group of not so great talent because the story is that good. Stand by that. Second, actor quality is a concern of the director, not you, so let that go. He’s made poorer plays with bad actors come off okay, so trust him. Third, this is not your only option. This story is too big to contain, and you know it. The podcast will go through, no matter what happens on stage. And you can always present it to your film group and work on it from that side.

Listen here, missy: you might be doing incarnations of this script for years to come. And you’re well aware of that. How many crappy LLR attempts were done before the big release? Loads. How many shitty Spider Man films got canned because they were just too cheesy? Even more. You know this. Let. it. go.

Let it live on its own. It’s good enough. Strong enough. And so are you.

Second Childhood

One small victory. I helped someone to ease their own discomfort. Thanks, SJ, for letting me know my suggestion worked. That gets marked up in the column that says ‘See? Talking helps. And you do have experience and ideas that can benefit other people.’ We all need a few more marks on that side of the column.

Found I was starving. I’ve been light on food for months since all this began, and the last week I was down to a small can of soda and a very small bit of one meal as ‘food for the day’. So I ate. I forced down a breakfast yesterday, which wasn’t fun. I picked up a small snack like meal for noon at the store downstairs. I ate a full dinner, loaded up with healthy carbs to absorb the excess bile in my stomach. Lo and behold, the headache stopped. Much of the pain stopped. My system, while still screwed, is better. I can tell I’m beginning to recover.

Good Goddess! The girl who couldn’t stop eating now can’t eat enough.

Getting together Sunday with the theatre crew to finally see the vids from last season’s performance. Both looking forward to it and dreading it. Looking forward to getting my ego stroked; I know I performed well. Dreading it because…well, it’s the theatre group. I’m trying my best to make friends, but I feel that barrier. Can’t seem to get past the acquaintance bar. And I don’t know why. Is it because they hold back from revealing themselves, and I’m naturally reacting to that? Is it because I sense some deeper, slightly less savory aspects of their personalities? No idea. Also expect to hear that they will NOT be doing my script this autumn. Too long since the reading, and no word. That’s never good. I’m already building up my defenses; getting ready to say ‘Yes, I expected that was your answer – and that’s okay. I know the group is pressed for time this year.’ Steeling myself to feel disappointed. Reminding myself of the US interest, and my plans to take it to podcast. The still relevant future possibility of taking it to film. I don’t want to feel that sinking out of body feeling when it gets rejected. I hate that.

Burying my head in reading. I am such a child, reading at this slow rate. Dragging that inner voice through these big, complex words. Sounding things out. Pondering, then understanding. It is annoying and delightful in equal measures. Don’t know if I’m dreaming in Dutch yet or not; I’m not remembering any dreams lately. But I can honestly say I was talking aloud to myself and I slipped in the Dutch word ‘wandelen’ (a walk or stroll) and I couldn’t for the life of me come up with the English equivalent tho I knew full well the meaning of the word. So, something is changing up there in my brain.

Studiously avoiding thinking about my upcoming visit with Dr. T, the psychiatrist. I get too wound up when I think of it. I know, vaguely, what to expect. I know, vaguely, what I want to say. That’s good enough. I don’t need to prep out a full speech (like I usually do). I don’t want to do that. I want him to see me struggle for words, English or Dutch. That’s the truth I hide. It’s why I talk aloud to myself: run through every variation of every conversation, every question, everything I can possibly imagine so I can come up with a pat answer ahead of time. And I use it. Every day, I catch myself paraphrasing my own answers – mostly from these early morning writing-rambles. If you don’t know I’m doing it, I can sound pretty damned together. Coherent, and on top of it. Oh, what a font of wisdom! Glad it appears that way to you. But now, it’s my time. Now it’s time to talk about me. To reveal my real struggles and problems. Not just my post struggle understanding of my problem(s), but the struggle itself. I don’t plan on going in there and ‘fritzing out’, as I call it in my head, but I don’t think it would be bad thing if it happened.

Picking up the day to day again. Got some fresh air yesterday. Today I plan on tackling the cleaning. Getting myself back on small tasks: short walks, dishes, making my bed. Have to sit and drag myself through some homework, too. Especially since tomorrow is a bust for time.

*sigh* I’d rather just sit and enjoy my book…

For all the years I was lost in confusion, unable to even make the simplest of choices for myself, I’m finding that I hold a strong core of very definitive likes and dislikes. The girl in me likes to read. So much so that she’ll fight doing all sorts of things in favor of sitting in a chair with her favorite book. And while the girl in me acknowledges the fact that my ever present back-pack is a far more handy way to carry my incidentals when I leave the house, she wants to be girly and carry a purse sometimes. Entertainment? Make the girl shiver. She likes horror and creepy stories, things that frighten her so much she turns the lights on. Food: while she likes it, she also hates it. She is a proponent of starving. Skip meals, don’t eat, lose weight.

It’s difficult to integrate all that. Especially when it’s so in my face right now.

Meh. Second childhoods suck.


It is NOT just withdrawal. Nope. Indulged after my 4am freak storm. While I felt a bit better, it didn’t stop the feeling of a knife sliding into my temple. It’s a light sensation compared to what I’ve been through but still there. No…this isn’t just withdrawal. This is something else. Neuralgia? Maybe. Not for me to diagnose. Just for me to live through.

My biggest fear in all of this is they’ll end up saying ‘it’s stress’. And then every time I complain about something, that’ll be their first go-to explanation. It’s a discount. And it’s why I don’t go to the doc with every single complaint. I know my body reacts to stress. I know about sleep problems, digestion problems, headaches, etc. because I’ve lived it. This ain’t any of that. Or if it is, it’s at a new, hitherto unexperienced level. That’s scary. Just contemplating it is scary.

Woke up to a shitload of crap in my inbox. Mostly junk. But one email from the theatre group. It was ‘Hey everybody! The date for watching the video is coming up fast. Where are we meeting?’ I didn’t even know the date was coming up fast; no one told me a date had been decided on. I sent a note back saying ‘Didn’t know the date had been set. I know I’m not on your social network, but please let me know when and where. I’d like to see the video with everyone.’ Hope that wasn’t mean or nasty. Didn’t mean it to be. But…really! I have to roll my eyes with these people. They’re all so “connected” yet they can’t keep me informed? If they used the tools they tout, like Facebook (which we’re all on), this wouldn’t happen. It’s their insistence that FB is old school and out of date that creates this situation with me out of the loop. In my eyes, that’s one more way to just exclude me. You’re old school, you’re out of date, no one uses that anymore. Then why try to use it to advertise the group? Why claim you’ll communicate thru one medium and then throw that away and make it difficult by using another medium that not everyone in the group has?

…Gods. Whatever. I’m not putting all my eggs in that basket.

Been talking with my bro about producing my scripts via his company. He’s under pressure to produce something, some product that uses Dutch people and is done right here. I want to see my work done. Yesterday we got a flyer from a place within walking distance that’s got sound proofed rehearsal rooms and a small recording studio. Our home studio is…well, shoved in a corner, under wraps, and currently needs some repairs to be back to 100% usefulness. This new place advertises room rates that we could afford. My brother is beginning to be excited. I’ve been spending loads of time on YouTube, culling through all the unsolved mysteries and creepy stories looking for new subject matter. Why not do my scripts? We can monetize them on-line. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing about internet millionaires while simultaneously seeing such a small trickle of income reach me. So the talk is now of renting rooms, finding actors, producing my scripts. My thriller trilogy is so sound intensive it can easily be turned into an audio script. And I’ve already got a radio script set to produce. Find a few creepy pictures to accompany the productions, and viola. The idea hits all the bases: my brother’s need to produce something here using Dutch people, my desire to have my work done, it’s within our financial abilities, and it’ll be something that can generate some money.

I like that. Something real I can hang my hat on. Something I know I can trust. Not blindly sending out, never hearing squat again. Not teasing me, almost making the cut. Not dependent on some mysterious board decision or someone else’s assessment of whether or not they can pull it off. The sound can be exactly what I want. Oh, I know how to make you shiver!

Managed to get back to reading Dutch. My language skills are weird. Don’t know if everyone goes through this or not. It’s like puzzle pieces falling into place. I look at the sentences; sometimes I get it right away and sometimes not, depending on the words used. If I don’t get it, I stare. I re-read. And then it kind of slides into place. Something clicks in my head, and I get it. I don’t know how I’m doing it. But every time I do do it and run to my dictionary to check and see if I’ve got it right, I’ve got it right. Reminding myself I did this with English. I have one or two memories of doing it. As a kid I didn’t question that kind of nonverbal understanding. As an adult, it scares me a bit. Makes me question myself. I keep asking ‘is that right?’ But the words are coming. My head gobbles them up, whether or not I want it to. I can feel it. A word becomes a stand-out for me. I become uncomfortably aware of it in all its versions. Slowly the meaning gets seared into my brain. It’s weird. Just plain weird. I’m not getting the language from repetition, tho that helps in recognition. It’s something deeper than repetition. Once again, I can’t explain it because I just don’t have the right words. Or maybe the right words don’t exist, at least in English. Maybe I’ll find them in Dutch.

Want to get out of the house today, if my stomach lets me. Go for some fresh air and walk around the neighborhood. I know I need it.

I’ve been off for months.

I need to re-establish balance.

Just for me

It’s done. I guess when you go into dental surgery, you want a dentist who’s good and, preferably, fast. I got both. In and out in under 10 minutes. Barely any swelling. Sore, but that’s to be expected.

Can’t help but chide myself a bit. Well, there you go. You wound yourself up about this for two damned weeks and it only took 10 minutes. Once more I’m vowing to myself to do better, to  stay calmer, to not panic the next time something comes up.

Yeah. Right.

Spending the weekend inside. While I woke this morning to snow outside my window, it’s nothing in comparison to what hit Ireland. I’ve been checking on Irish news sources, horrified over what I know is currently going down in that country. To say the Irish aren’t prepped for a lot of snow might be the understatement of the decade. What makes me saddest is the knowledge that the most vulnerable members of society are often the most isolated, which means out on the end of those snowy peninsulas where no one can get to right now there are elderly people without food, without heat, and in need of medical attention. People will die. And no one will give a damn.

I feel lucky to be here. To NOT be one of those people who are dying.

Only thirty pages left to read in my book. Plan on sitting down this afternoon and snuggling up with it. Ms. Polly Perfect in me is very happy and excited; she knows on Monday she’ll be able to turn that book in and clearly state she’s reading another. Gimme a gold star, teacher. I did good. Not that doing good is difficult in this situation. Ms. Perfect likes to read, so it’s no great stretch to find she’s gobbled up yet another book and wants more. Ms. Perfect is also happy with her pronunciation. She doesn’t like the fact she doesn’t know ALL the words, but she’s very happy that every time she opens her mouth native Dutch speakers compliment her on her language. Slow and steady. We’re getting there, Polly. Just be patient with me.

Have a bit of something on my desktop. Can’t really call it a story, tho I suppose that’s what it is. For me, it’s too real to call ‘a story’. It is my memories, my tale, told from my eyes and my perspective. I’m…doing my best to stay away from ’emotional’ language. There’s a bit of a disconnect going on with me; just state what happened. Don’t color it. Don’t say how much the pain hurt; pain is pain is pain. Everyone knows it hurts. Matter of fact statements can slap readers far harder than trying to color everything in. The pain went on. No one interfered, no one questioned it. Later, the child was given a spoonful of sugar that hid something bitter. That’s all you need. If you don’t read that and understand something is wrong in the child’s life then it’s you who has the problem. …Don’t know who I’m writing this for. The psychiatrist? Somewhere I think I can submit it? Who the fuck knows. I’m just writing it. That’s okay. I’m allowed to do that.

Here it is March and still nadda from the theater group regarding my script. I don’t think they’ll have time to do it. Maybe they won’t even have time to do another production this year; lots of foot dragging going on. No call for auditions. No discussion on how or what to do this autumn. And with April’s performance of last season’s play in Amsterdam, I just don’t see it happening. Plus…I really don’t want them to throw my idea together last minute. Give me – and my work – a bit more respect than that. No, you guys can’t do it if you can’t give yourselves enough time to learn the parts. No, I can’t give you audio clips if you don’t give me the time to create them. At the rate the group is currently crawling along, they won’t even hold auditions before May. Then it’ll be a couple of rehearsals before they take their summer holiday. In effect, they wouldn’t be able to really begin work on another play before September. I don’t want my first production to be so haphazard and sloppily put together. I spent a year crafting the story. Let’s give it a bit more effort than that. Both I and my work deserve it. And I hope, if the situation arises, that I’ll be able to state that clearly to the group. I deserve more than the dregs of your time. I’d prefer we put my script on hold ’til next year if that’s the way this year shakes out. Plus, I’ll need more than a month or two to do the sound effects. And I’m not gonna put myself or my bro under pressure to do everything in a short time because the group can’t pull it together in a timely manner. I’ll need to tell them that, because right now I think they think I could do the sound effects in a matter of weeks. Not that I blame them; if you don’t work with sound, you don’t get it. But I’ve had that before. What do you mean, you can’t put this all together in such a short time period? I could. I could just turn on my computer and do it. No, you couldn’t. You can’t do it, and that’s the point. If you think you can get this layered sound I want in just a day or two, you don’t know what you’re talking about. And you don’t know sound production.

Yeah. Speak up, Beeps. They gotta know that one ahead of time: I need time to pull that rabbit out of the hat. It ain’t magic; it’s hard work.

And let’s be clear: it’s hard work I’m willing to do for me. Not for you. Not for the theatre group.

Just for me.

Allow yourself to dream

Woke up this morning with all enthusiasm for my script gone. I was/am feeling certain the group won’t do it. It’s all the way through me, not just an imagining in my head. Total acceptance. Some might say I had a bad dream. Others might say my subconscious put together some puzzle pieces my conscious mind couldn’t or wouldn’t. And what has sparked this? A message – a slightly niggling message – out on my Google email regarding a reprisal of last season’s play. A theatre in Amsterdam has an opening in April, and we’ve been asked to fill it. Seems I was the only one left to weigh in on the topic, since ‘everyone else is on WhatsApp’. Hm. While I’m not opposed to doing the play again, I am very conscious of the time commitment needed to do it and do it well – a time commitment that will take the group away from deciding on this season’s play, time away from auditions and work on something new. Namely, my script. It may push the timeline back far enough that we won’t have enough days to produce my work.

…Right. Had to apologize to my bro. Woke up late and ‘loaded for bear’, as the saying goes. Slammed around in the kitchen, doing dishes. Snapped at my bro. Sheesh. Well, I overslept, obviously got triggered, and didn’t have a moment to myself to write. Hardly any wonder I’d slam around, angry. *sigh* Nonetheless, an apology was warranted. Got a hug in return, and a bit of conversation. That’s good medicine.

Managed to get to the gym yesterday. Knocked myself out and fell asleep around 6 in the evening for a half hour nap. Ah, nothing like running the animal hard to make it docile. And she was happy at the gym, smiling away as our heart rate pumped up to 150+. Out of practice, though. Extra creaky and sore afterwards. Tried to take a look at my homework, but the Dutch just swam in front of my eyes. Little wonder; it’s an article about gas extraction and the accompanying earthquakes. Important, but BORING and strewn with words 30 letters long. Oh, Gods! No wonder I feel so sluggish reading that shit. It inspires nothing in me. And it reveals no new information, other than current public reaction. Puh-leeze! I make no bones about my distaste for most public reactions. They are, by and large, mob mentality reactions, ignorant of the facts yet bullheadedly stubborn in their feelings of righteousness. …Ach! And yet I know I need these words, the 30 letter ones that make that voice in my head say things like ‘fair-kur-bick-elick-em-(mumble, mumble)’, which isn’t even CLOSE to the correct pronunciation, it’s just gibberish because there’s too many flipping letters to drag myself through! Argh! Answered a couple of questions, left the rest for later. It makes my brain hurt.

No phone calls – yet. Today is my follow up physio and I decided I’d be gentle with myself: I left the task of picking up the referral letter to this afternoon, when I’m there for my appointment. Tomorrow is a home day, while I wait for my injections to be delivered. That’s cleaning and phone call territory.

Today I just want to calm down.

Been saying that a lot. Been hearing it a lot, too: calm down (or, in Dutch, ‘rustig!’). And I work at that, reaching a delicate balance that suffices until the next calamity strikes. But it’s taking its toll. Still having tooth and jaw pain. Still snapping at people. Still feel like I want to crawl out of my skin. Nothing is fast enough. It’s only 10 am.? Only Monday[I know it’s Wednesday; this has been going on a while]? What, has time suddenly decided to crawl through the rest of eternity? Good Goddess! The only thing my mind really seems to slow down for is simple Dutch reading. The fairy tales and kids’ stories. Give me that article on gas extraction and I zone the fuck out; give me Roald Dahl and I slow down to savor it. I can’t understand the gas extraction article fast enough, and I’m impatient. I want it, now. Now, now, now, now, now!

…Had to take a moment to get that id under control. Quite a terror.

My emails continue to have nothing in them. No peep, no follow up, no telling me what the status of anything is. Don’t know if I’ll be performing in Amsterdam in April. Don’t know if anything’s been forwarded or talked about with the Board. Don’t know if the artistic director in the states has even looked at my stuff (tho, of all my gripes, she’s the least on the list). Telling myself it’s only been two days – not even a full 48 hours – since the read through. That I only replied to the Amsterdam performance a scant 12 hours ago. But I feel like it’s been months since all of that, and that little girl id in me can’t understand what’s taking everyone so bleeding long.

Rustig. If the only thing you can slow down for is fairy tales in Dutch, use it. Read. Sit in your big chair and indulge. You know you want to; that starving part of you has been screaming for more, more, more since you woke her up. Screw the gym. Take care of the part of you that’s in the worst shape – and that isn’t your ass! It’s that wonder-filled little girl who always takes the time to smell the roses, and stare up at the twinkling stars. She never is in such a hurry she can’t enjoy flowers poking up from the earth, or the smell of autumn leaves decaying under her feet, or the eggshell blue of the sky. You have been pushing for months: the play, the film, the language. Stop! No; allow yourself to stop. You keep doing it, staring off in the distance, but then you shake it off and get back to work. Allow yourself to stare.

Allow yourself to dream.


This. is why. I’m going. to a psychiatrist! So said I at midnight, still bouncing off walls while brushing my teeth.

The read through…wow. First, I’ll note how disappointed I am in the “members” of the theatre group. Other than the director, myself, and the guy who set up the read through, ZERO members showed. Everyone fucking blew it off. Trying to not take it as a diss on me or my work. But we had 9 people who claimed they had interest and said they’d show. Nine. Second: We did have six newbies show up from the FB post. Thank goodness! Without them, it would have been difficult to give it a read through at all. And it’s always nice to meet new people with similar interests. Third: oh, Goddess! Nothing will take the wind out of your sails like a bad read though of your words. And although the first words out of my mouth were and are ‘Thank you’, even I have to admit it was a BAD read through. These people claim they know English? Stumbling through simple words, unable to pronounce half the text…if I read aloud like that in my language class I’d be kicked down a level. Absolutely awful. That’s not even mentioning the flat delivery, or the almost inaudible voice of one person who sat right next to me yet even I could barely hear her! Saving grace: two of the readers were decent. They carried it.

Since everyone who mattered in the decision on this script was absent, it’s still got to be approved by the Board. Glad to say the director and the member who set it up both like the story, so I’ve got two people who’ll vote ‘do it’. No idea when a decision might come down the tube. With their track record, it might be another month. Or maybe it’ll be easy for them: We don’t have to pay her, so let’s just do it.

Best of all, yes – they all got the unspoken meaning and reason for the trilogy. And, as I walked back to the metro with the director, he again brought up Lovecraft and compared my work to that master of terror. The director is a well read, articulate guy, so I have high respect for his literary opinion.

I can write.

But, yeah. Bouncing off walls. Up late, too excited to try to sleep. Oh! And I forgot to mention the kicker (at least for me). Mentioned to the director that as long as he’s taking the helm, I’ll take a role if he needs me to. He turned to me with large eyes and said “I should hope so! I want you in this!” Ah…to be acknowledged on two fronts. My ego is full. And to have a chance to play one of these high-octane characters -! Speak my own words?!? Oh YES! PLEASE!

Full disclosure, I took a morphine pill last night to (1) calm the fuck down and (2) prevent myself from biting down on my teeth again since I knew it began from mania and I was (and am) as wound up as can be.

Today is as full of stuff – or as empty – as I want it to be. My choice. The weather is crisp and clear this morning, and it almost feels like I’m starting anew. Things I may or may not do include a visit to the gym, tackling two needed phone calls in Dutch, reading, and starting on my homework. I could also duck out of the house to meet my brother at the library so I can get a new library card. Might do that…the sunshine out my window is awfully tempting and considering everything a little shake-up of my norm is probably a good idea.

One of those phone calls I could make today is to make an appointment with a local psychiatrist. Saw my doc on Monday regarding my mental health (YEESH! It was difficult to write those words!). Cried a little. She was very understanding. So now I’m holding this phone number. Need to pop by the doc’s office and pick up a referral letter, too. Then call, set a date, get my brain picked, and get some pills. Mentioned to my doc how I often can’t even tell you how I’m feeling before writing. She thought that was interesting. Have to admit I’m a bit curious to see what this referral letter says. My Dutch is good enough I’ll be able to read all of it. Finally.

Follow through. Remember that! Steady, slow progress. You don’t have to tackle the world today, or even this week. Take a bite today. A bite tomorrow. And put on that brave persona. The one you hauled out on holidays, the one who knew she could leave behind all the angst and shyness simply by choice. You can be whoever you want to be. Finally, keep in mind that you’re harder on yourself than anyone else. No one remembers your flubs like you do. And you’ve cut all those awful people out of your life, the ones who liked to nag at you and verbally remind you of all the times you fucked up. …Hell, woman! You’ve got a cheerleading section these days.

Yes. S and the rest of the film crew. The director here. The artistic director in the states. Even my teachers. Such a glow in Monday’s lesson! And why not? Even I could hear how my language popped up a level after reading through that book. …A couple of other students wrote their essays – half sheets, a small paragraph. Me? Five pages of A4 paper with small, tight hand writing. I received a gratifying gasp from my teacher. In perfect Dutch, I said ‘I can make my homework shorter, but I really want the practice.’ She smiled, and said no, please keep writing just as much as I want.

I am, and always will be, a writer.

Post Narrative Bliss

Post narrative bliss. I think that’s what I’ll call it. That almost orgasmic experience I have at the end of a good story. You know it’s coming. Visually, you can see you’re near the end of the story. Narratively, if you’re reading a good author, you get that feel, too. The story is winding up. These characters are about to say good-bye to you. The denouement is always bittersweet to me. If the story was good enough, I don’t want to say good-bye. I want the ending, the wrap-up, that feeling of completion – but I don’t want these new friends to leave my life. I’ve heard of some people who never read the last page so they can avoid this whole mess. That’s silly to me. A good story is like a snow globe you can enter and play in. It’s always there, always the same, and always snowing. That perfect capsule of sweet imagination isn’t ruined by tasting the last drop. Just the opposite; the last words of a tale are often the ones that haunt you, that make you pick it up and read it again. I won’t cheat myself of that thrill.

So there I was, about two in the afternoon, totally in post narrative bliss. My breathing was a little ragged, I sighed like a lovesick Juliette, and my first thought was ‘I’ll never find another story like that’. Nothing could compare. But you know…I was very happy just to be there. To feel that much after reading a story. And to get it in Dutch, my new language, was a double hit. I’ve felt so dumb, trying to learn this language. But Dahl was like a skilled lover. He made me feel smart for understanding so much. He gave his typical Dahl style – that kind of adults-not-allowed childhood funny that makes the reader feel like they’re the only one in the world who knows the author’s secrets. I felt special for understanding his jokes. I felt uplifted, honored that someone would share such a tale with me. And I felt loved. The warmth of the description, the innocence portrayed in the characters…it was narrative love, and I held my arms open and sucked it all in. My soul feels fed. It’s not reaching for, wanting. It’s just dozily happy, with that crazy smile on its face.

Satisfied. I be satisfied. Thank you, Roald Dahl. And thank you, translator of Roald Dahl. You did a great job.

More childlike stuff: my brother has concocted what has to be the BEST treat I’ve ever tasted. He starts with his secret recipe for French toast, which, btw, you can’t call ‘French toast’ over here because it’s not French nor toast and they don’t know what you’re on about. That alone, topped with maple syrup, is outstanding. But here’s the twist: before the syrup goes on, he sprinkles the top of the bread with hagelslag. What’s hagelslag? American term: sprinkles, the kind you’d put on top of ice cream. Here, they put it on their bread for breakfast (an odd habit I still can’t quite wrap my head around). The heat from the French toast melts the hagelslag and forms a thin layer of melted, rich chocolate. Out. of. this. world. There is no hope of escape; when he makes it, the scent fills our flat and I dare anyone to just sit there, smell all that, and then say ‘no thanks’ to that tasty goodness. I’ve gotta ask him to stop making it so often.

Lol! On the other hand, I’ve full plans to go ahead and make my own goodies to pile the inches on around my hips and waist. LLR nut that I am, I dubbed the recipe ‘lembas’ after the elven bread Frodo and the team eat on their way to Mordor. It’s subtly addictive. Lightly sweet – so lightly sweet you barely feel like you’ve had a treat. And there’s the catch. You can eat them and eat them and eat them all day long (I’ve seen it). There’s a couple of tricky ingredients you need for real lembas, and I can get them here. The only thing that’s held me back is the time involved. It’s a double batter recipe that then gets twisted together in a marbled effect. Very hand intensive. I haven’t felt up to it, but after taking care of a part of me I didn’t know was starving I finally feel I have the oomph to do it.

My bro ran a printed copy of the trilogy for me. He put it down on the table with a ‘here’s your book’. I glanced at it and thought ‘that’s just a story’. Our two perspectives say a lot about our writing skills and style: he is at the beginning, seeing a pile of paper and thinking ‘that’s a lot of writing!’, and I am further on, knowing that the words never stop flowing and that tiny pile is just a fraction of what I’ve committed to permanent form as ‘the written word’. I have the weekend to page through it and allow myself to feel pride. Not out in orbit this is the best thing ever, but calm pride. I’ve worked on this for a year now, thinking and honing and outlining and writing. While not the longest piece I’ve written, it is, perhaps, the most complete. The tightest and fullest without being so verbose that I knock the audience out from sheer pontification. And it’s not static; I’m particularly proud of that. Not a bunch of people on the stage just talking, oh, no!

Oh, I really hope they like it.

…And what will it feel like, I wonder, to see my story produced and acted out on stage? I get that post narrative bliss after writing. Will this take that experience to a new level?

I can see it now.

A darkened theatre. The last curtain down. The audience applauds. And from the back you can hear me, moaning like Meg Ryan in ‘When Harry Met Sally’.

Post narrative bliss.