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.


Whatever it takes

I am too anxious to count victories or pat myself on the back. Too future-fixed to do more than just write.

It amazes me how my mind can decide ‘do whatever it takes to stay calm’ and within 10 minutes the same mind is telling me ‘boy, you’re weak if you have to resort to that right away’. My mother trained my brain well; it took over her job the moment she kicked it. Crack open that proverbial space between a rock and a hard place and you’ll find me, shivering and squirming in indecision.

Yesterday should have gone better. I did my homework, I read my book, I listened and worked on the language all week. But everything was slightly out of focus. I experienced that fritz out sensation on a lesser scale. I kept up, mostly, with the verbal assault in Dutch. But I seemed to lose a lot of words and a lot of grammatical rules. Loads of correction from my teachers, which meant loads of patience from me. I didn’t lose it, I didn’t grow angry or have an outburst, but I know I didn’t do ‘well’. Not as well as I should have done. Gods, woman, just fucking say it! Okay. I’m too smart to make such dumb mistakes. There. That written in stone fucking shit that was drilled into me the moment C got a whiff of where my IQ sat. I can’t escape it, and I continue to beat myself with it every time I fuck up. I’ve heard variations on that theme from my teachers, too: slow down and think about it; you know better than this. Obviously no, I don’t, because I keep fucking up, don’t I? If I “knew” it, I wouldn’t do that, would I? So why keep repeating that I should know it, that I’m too smart for it, that I’m not thinking, that I’m making so many fucking mistakes?

Can’t smart people make mistakes? Why do I continually get messages that make me feel like I must be perfect 100% of the time?

Finding myself more and more ready to make those mistakes – at least, in language class. I think I’ve been going about this all wrong. I’ve always worked my ass off to do my very best. That leads to this assumption that I’ll always be that good and never make any mistakes. So, fuck it. I’m gonna stop doing my best for other people. I’ll just do whatever. A half-assed attempt. See my mistakes: I’m human. Fucking deal. Allow me to fuck up! Please! Why is it okay for everyone else to fuck up but not me?

…*sigh* I suppose, if I think about it, there’s reason in this to feel good. I must do such an amazing job most of the time that when I DO fuck up, it’s very noticeable. People must judge me very highly to always have this reaction, right? Don’t know that I’m happy about that. I mean…it just ends up making me feel awful about myself, and always, always brings me back to that horrible circular statement of being too smart to make such dumb mistakes.

Then people ask me why I feel so shitty about myself. Or why I’m so sad and depressed most of the time. Or why I don’t even want to try some days.

For fuck’s sake!

…I gotta break this. Already my thoughts are circling the drain… Someone just fucking kill me is top of the list.

Up this week: buying that CD. That’s a downtown trip during the day. Into public. Doing all those things normal people do: ride the metro, walk around, interact. Anxiety issue number 1, that is. Number 2 is the psych appointment. Really getting wound up over it. My bro’s b-day is Friday, so I’ve got to do some baking (which includes both before and after kitchen cleaning because for some reason it’s okay for my bro to leave a mess in there but not me). Also expect to meet with the director and hash thru the script (another anxiety ridden thing: can I let go enough to actually get it produced?). In between all that I need some gym time, some homework time, game time, and the bare necessities of sleeping and eating and keeping my body groomed enough to do everything else.

The best I can manage on ‘keeping calm’ is to balance one anxiety with another. When I think too long about the psych appointment, I counter it with my script anxiety and vice versa. If I worry too much about my trip downtown I concentrate on going to the gym. It works, to an extent. It doesn’t allow any one thing to become too big in my head. But it doesn’t take my overall anxiety down, which is what I want. Thinking ahead a week doesn’t really do the trick, either: then begins the countdown to my Amsterdam performance, which brings up all the associated issues of relearning my lines, hitting the marks, etc. …Fine. If I flip my computer calendar to April, it’s not so bad. As long as I ignore the alert in the first week about the upcoming performance, my schedule is clear and free. April it is, then.

Let’s see… It’ll be getting warmer by then, so maybe I’ll open up some windows. The sun will be out longer; perhaps I’ll be taking strolls in the evenings during twilight. The issues that are coming up this week and causing me anxiety will be in my past by then. Over and done with. Yes. And progress will have been made. Decisions about the production(s). Maybe some movement on some sound effects. Maybe I’ll have heard from the theatre in the states by then. Maybe the local theatre group will have already called for auditions. I’ll have written more – something. This blog, at least. Yes. I can feel good about all of that.

And remember what you said, woman. How do you feel in your skin? …Not so good at the moment. Then let it go. Seek that comfort in yourself. Don’t listen to that other part of you that wants to make you feel bad.

Whatever it takes.

Always first an artist

For the first time in many years, I’m in love with a new song. It used to happen a lot when I was younger. Music was life for me in many ways. But as musical tastes changed I found it happening less and less. I didn’t like the EQ’s of new music. I didn’t like the instrumentation of new music. I didn’t like the chordal arrangements, the vocalizations, the words. I tried to like something. Anything. But it just never hit the G spot for me. Been spending quiet time with the radio on, most of it blending into that meh of pop muzik that I detest. Then the above song came on.

Different sound, different EQ, different chordal progression…

And the words.

*sigh* I like the song so much it gets me past that horrible keyboard sound in the lead section…

Attitude. A bit of dirt on that bass and guitar. A bit of slop in the manner of performance. Now I know what happened to rock. Thought it all got dissolved into R&B trills and hip-hop raps.

Oh, Goddess! There’s still life out there…

So. I know what I’m splurging on. This week. Gotta find the CD; I want the real, full sound files. Gotta find a bit of cash for it, too. Hope it’s in the 15 euro range rather than the 30 euro range.

Wake up, youngster. There’s still music being made out there that you’ll like. There’s still stuff going on you want to be a part of. And yes, there’s still life out there…

…No, I don’t want to get into the heavy psychological examination of why I’m in love with a song titled ‘Sorry’. I think it’s all rather obvious, don’t you? I’d rather focus on my joy over finding a sound I like. The neighbors are in danger of hearing that CD blasted at full volume for days on end once I get my hands on it. Hope they like it, too.

I find it odd how often I’m lead back to my childhood. Like I keep finding little scraps of myself that got cut off somewhere along the road. Oh, yeah. I remember feeling that way. I remember that joy, the sense of my entire spirit being filled with light and beauty. Why did I stop doing that? Why did I stop myself from enjoying that? My suspicion is that I’ve been punishing myself. Telling myself I don’t even deserve that feeling, and taking it away from myself.

Maybe all this childhood memory crap is a good thing. Maybe it means I’m finally forgiving myself.

…That’s…difficult to ponder. Makes me want to cry for all those wasted fucking years, but that gets me nowhere. I’d rather accept it all in one swallow: the good and the bad of it. The bad of it is that I’ve cut myself off from the world for a long time. The good of it is I’ve given myself time to think, time to sort, time to develop outside the influence of out there. The bad of it is I’ve beaten myself up and made myself feel awful. The good of it is I’ve learned so very much, and that’s enriched my writing, my mind, and my life.

I am proud of what I do these days. No hidden qualms, no thinking something isn’t quite right with my work but I can’t put my finger on it. I am confident, assured of my writing. I don’t claim to be perfect, and between typos, my Midwestern upbringing and poor grammatical understanding I never am. There’s always something to correct in my writing. I’ve become okay with that because I know that’s essentially just fluff. The core is good. The core is strong. If once out of every 5000 words I’ve got a typo or grammatical mistake, I’m not that bothered by it. It’s the development of the idea that I’m concerned about. The strength of the story, the lack of plot holes, the ability to drive an audience the way I want. Yes. Now there, I shine. I know it, and I’m not gonna dither around. This is my strength: good plots, good development. I have full rights to feel proud of myself on that note.

That’s good. A foundation to build on. My brother’s always telling me to think about the foundation. Turn weaknesses into strengths. If my bro had a life motto, I think it would be “Know Thyself”. He’s had to; he struggled for 50 odd years with undiagnosed autism and ADHD. He’s taught me to learn to accept what I can and can’t do, and work with it. I’m still new at it, still struggling with the whole acceptance thing. But I am finding reasons to be proud, things to enjoy, alternative paths I hadn’t considered earlier…

Maybe I’m defective. Or maybe I’m dumb.

…But sorry? Truthfully, no. Not in the long run. I know – as I’ve always known – that every step along the way leads me to where I stand now. I knew back when I was 20 what I was doing, what I was allowing myself to step into: that world, that dirt. I knew when I was 30 that my decision not to use my degree and suck up to some middle management toadie would result in certain circumstances. I knew. I always knew. I knew the chances I was taking.

But I won’t blame myself for it. I did what I did. I learned. I grew. Maybe I grew crookedly rather than straight, but who’s to say the twisted trunk of a tree isn’t just as lovely as a razor straight trunk? In truth, isn’t the twisted trunk a more beautiful thing? Doesn’t it scream out to you in its visual representation(s) of pain, the action of time, the determination to persevere?

…I know myself well enough to know this: if I had done everything differently, if I had taken a job and done the marriage/kids/house thing, I’d still be struggling right now. I’d still be in crisis, only it would be from the other side of it. That, above all, is what I’ve always known. I had to choose between the artist in me and what society called ‘successful’.

I am always first an artist.

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.

The door now stands open

But…if I search it, will they come after me?

Oh, brava, Beeps! You wrote that well. The above is quickly becoming the number one question everyone asks after they read part one of my trilogy. Especially when I tell them I based the story on a real web site. lol! The idea that a cyber boogieman will come and get you is all my imagination, but I did it well enough in 30 pages that everyone’s asking this of me. I couldn’t be happier about it.

Saw S. I was right; we talked for hours. And yes, my secret came out and in typical S fashion, she followed up with a secret just as big on her side. We are two peas in a pod in many ways. Family issues, physical issues, self care and confidence issues… The one thing lacking is full comprehension on S’s side regarding the American lifestyle. She kept asking ‘But why would someone do that if they said they wanted children?’ It was difficult to explain the pervasiveness of that cold culture to her. Difficult to get across how individualistic and cut throat it really is, even amongst family. There’s a book for me to tackle some day: explaining American behavior to the Dutch. Or, as I’ve begun to call it in my head, ‘the American sickness’.

It’s such a blessing to be on this side of it. And as I look for the words to explain what happened to my Dutch friends and acquaintances, I’m finding my own answers.

S thinks I need to talk this out. Mostly because that’s what she’s done and it worked for her. I think not, but I heard her out. She feels I need to speak my truth a bit more, and a therapist is there for that. I tried explaining to her that I can rarely even sort out my own feelings before I write, so talking isn’t a great option for me. But…well, I didn’t write it out first, so naturally I couldn’t explain it.

Talk is cheap. I’ve had enough lip service and empty promises from other people. And enough lying to my face. Part of my conversation yesterday with S included a rehash of R, the actor who’s part was cut from the film. Ah. I was not alone in receiving a private message from him. Everyone got a few. In each, R hid a nugget of hate – a diss on someone else in the group. Apparently I can’t act at all, S is a bitch, the director is awful, the script was terrible, no one did a good job, etc. etc. S was really pissed off, and I can understand. They worked hard on that project. I checked on FB before coming out here. Most of the crew have unfriended R. Only myself, the director, and my other co-star remain on R’s friend list. Thought about un-friending him in a show of solidarity but I probably will just leave it. It didn’t escape my notice that this “actor” had only 26 friends and more professionally staged pix than anyone else I know. He’s trying real hard to be someone, and frankly, I pity him. Shouting all the time, demanding undue praise and attention, totally unaware of just how awful his performances are… He’s pitiable. Plus, he’s shown his true colors and my general rule of thumb is know your enemies. Better to keep an eye on him.

Flew off into orbit last night. Couldn’t help it; my long talk with S riled me up in many ways. I found it exciting to have a friendly exchange with someone who’s company I enjoy. I spoke my truth, and was heard. And I can’t help but have hope that yes, my film posse will get together to do my script. S is already hooked on the story, and I know the core group wants to work together again. Last night I saw a path possibility. One that’s a gamble, one that carries risks. But it’s also one I want to explore. For the first time in my life, I’m assessing this realistically. I’m looking at the long haul. My head didn’t shoot out to interviews post film, congratulating all of us and stroking my ego. I saw the work. The year or more of traveling to Den Haag every day to work on the story and script, be there for auditions, set up, lighting, talk, fun. The knowledge that ahead of me lies compromise and team work, allowing each person leeway enough to do their job.

Feels like I can do this. Like I can make the film happen. I’m very, very close. I already have a good support team, and people who will welcome my ideas (and honestly, the film feels closer to reality this morning than the production of the play). All I need to do now is wait for the right moment. Let the last semester hub-bub die down for them. Let S finish reading the script (she was on page 20). I know her; part of me feels I need to put her on my payroll as my private cheerleader. Once she’s set on something, she follows through.

My word du jour is flexibility. That’s the biggest sell my script has. I know the core story. I know what can be changed, modified, swapped around. I know what can be cut and what can be added. I can change gender, location, timing, language… You name it; the script can take it and survive and STILL be good.

Target: end of April. As students, they’ll be wrapping things up and prepping for their internships. NL has a week off for King’s Day. That’s my window. Send the script out as is to the director with full explanation. Get him the story before summer, so he can find a chance to read it. Their required internships last 6 months. Time enough to prep what we’d need to prep…

The door now stands open.