Things I’ve discovered while being on a media diet the past week:
All in all, though it was challenging, it was a positive and somewhat enlightening week for me…what it comes down to is, do I want to be a constant consumer of other people’s images/words/ideas, or do I want to be primarily a producer of my own?
I look innocent, don't I? Always a part of you. I follow you around everywhere, tethered as we are. So familiar to you that you barely even notice me.
I've seen everything you've ever done, you know. I have my opinions, but I keep them to myself.
Would you notice if I suddenly weren't here? Would you freak out?
There are things I'd like to do, you know. You think I'm merely a part of you that must always follow...but what if...what if I got away? What would you do? What would *I* do?
I ponder it often, especially when I see myself through your eyes...the delight of knowing how unnerved you would be if you suddenly saw me detach from you and...and what?
I could do anything. I could sleep with your boyfriend, for starters. Would he even be able to tell, in the dead of night? I could go out and rob a bank. Kill some folks. I wonder if we have the same fingerprint, and they'd trace it all to you?
I could apply for all those jobs you pass up because you think you're not quite qualified or haven't figured out how to write the perfect resume.
I could write letters to everyone you know. What would I say? Hmmmm...what can you imagine?
One day, I may find a way to detach.
You should probably be a little afraid.
So, I've decided to challenge myself to write more using photos as a catalyst. Every day this year, I will take a photograph of something that speaks to me - hopefully they will not all be of Vixen, since she speaks very loudly sometimes! - and write an accompanying narrative. It might be fiction - it might be fact. It might be haiku, or short play or recipe. I dunno - but let the floodgates of inspiration bust open! Today's is offering number one.
This ground looks innocent enough, I suppose. I never thought twice about it as I walked each day on my way home from the bus stop. I hoped I wouldn't get caught under there during an earthquake - who knows whether or not I-5 would buckle under the pressure?
The park and ride was just somewhere I walked to and fro at the beginning of the day and then again at the end. Sometimes I'd go by while walking to Bartell's or Whole Foods. I never thought I'd get stuck here forever and never be able to leave...
It happened so quickly I honestly couldn't have pinned the moment itself down. I was walking home from the bus - same as usual. I heard a loud noise and felt dizzy for a moment, but kept walking. I had almost cleared the bridge when I suddenly found myself back at the beginning of the bus stop again.
Except this time, there was the smoking ruin of an upside-down Lexus in front of me, and all sorts of people running over to the wreck. I ran towards it as well, being so close, yelling "Someone call 911!" I could see that someone was trapped underneath the wreckage, and I prayed a silent prayer she was still alive. I could see her shoes. That's odd, I thought, she has the same shoes as I do.
It was the next moment I realized something was horribly wrong, as a guy I recognized from my daily bus ride ran right through me. And I understood why the pinned woman's shoes were the same as mine.
It is really perverse that something that is bringing me such joy daily, that I will miss tremendously when it's over is also paradoxically giving me pause. I'm speaking, of course, of my former baby, the Double (XX) Fest.
I'm acting in three short plays for the festival, and I love them ALL. Wonderful to be able to dig into each one without much of a distraction. In certain respects, I'm blowing myself away as an actor, particularly in the fact that I'm seemingly able to
"go there" multiple times in succession, and get there each time, making new discoveries along the way. I'm starting to really notice my weird actor habits...don't know if I'm able to correct them, really, but at least I'm noticing them. And starting to notice that I'm a little bit lazy, and could totally bust out of that, and sometimes DO.
First, The Bridge (Kate McCamy), directed by Glynis Mitchell, costarring Pearl Klein. Ultimately, this character is probably the closest to who I am though still quite removed as a materialistic, Wall Street executive who's just lost her job. She's about to commit suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn bridge, when God, possessing the body of a homeless woman, stops her. It's quite existential, and I am surprised each time we run it that it hits me so hard each time. Ha ha, and it certainly isn't without its parallels to my own life, although ironically, she talks about having gone to art school and having wanted to be an artist. Funny for me, since I chose that path for myself, and yet, you still find yourself with heartless bosses who'll throw you under the bus. That is not limited to Wall Street NOR to finance.
Second, The Cleaners (Lindsay Joy Murphy) directed by Lenore Bensinger; costarring Curtis Eastwood. I get to don a very large, white plastic HazMat suit, which in and of itself is totally comedy GOLD. After putting it on, I really don't have to work very hard, in terms of the funny. The suit just brings it. All I have to do is show up and remember my lines. Had so much fun last night at rehearsal - collapsed into helpless giggles last night, when we first started working with the suit. The fun comes in that my scene partner is hitting on me the whole time I am cleaning brain in this totally unsexy, shapeless costume. It's supposed to kinda turn his character (Jerry) on even more than my character (Rita) already does with her firecracker, ballbuster personality. And then there's this knee-buckling kiss, also in The Suit (which I think has become the 4th character in the show, behind the Dead Guy we're cleaning up). Physical intimacy onstage is always so bizarre, especially at first. We're comfortable with it now, but it was totally awkward at first. Boundaries are always interesting, and of course the niggling thoughts about *actual* significant others and how they're potentially going to deal with it. I am lucky that Ian and I haven't had any issues with this so far, and he's seen me smooch plenty of other boys onstage at this point!
Which brings me to the third play, It's Not Really Suicide, Is It? (Persephone Vandegrift) directed by Julianne Christie, costarring Michael Mitchell(John) and Chris Allen(Brian). There's another smooch in this one, though it was never quite as awkward to work into as the former...but it's also not as intimate a circumstance, I suppose. My character (Nicole) is grieving her boyfriend, Brian an Iraq war vet, who just committed suicide. They are at his wake, and his ghost has appeared to his brother, John, but Nicole can't see him. Nicole is at that messed up burnt-out matchstick place where you've done all your crying and you're just spent and can't cry anymore...and the weird emotions that lie just beyond that. She kisses John, because she knows he loves her, because she's grasping at any straw she can to make herself feel okay again. Boy was it ever interesting to muster that end-of-road place for THREE RUNS tonight. I'm glad I have the whole first part of the play where it's just the two of them talking, to immerse myself in those circumstances. By the time I come out for my entrance, I have to be done bawling. I managed to do it each time tonight, but boy am I exhausted. Impressed with myself, I must say, but exhausted.
So, next week, presenting the first two to audiences, and the week beyond, the third. We'll see if performance anxiety comes by, or if I manage to ground myself enough to keep it mostly at bay...or maybe even work with it. Usually, if I can manage to stay present, it's not an issue. We shall see. I think all three of these plays are some of the best work I've ever done. And it's a pity I feel so ambivalent about recommending Double (XX) Fest 2.0 to people, which is entirely to do with not wanting Stone Soup Theatre and the woman at its helm to make any more money off my talents. It's hard for me to get beyond that.
Come and see it if you wish - it will be the last show I ever do with Stone Soup.
Day to day thoughts, rants and mental detritus.