Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dunno

I like thinking about that first improv teacher I had assuming, possibly knowing, so deeply I must be a kid who signed up for the wrong class, and this was going to be one of those once in a weird adolescent lifetime experiences that I try to forget, or do forget, as soon as humanly possible. If there had been anybody in the entire comedy summer school class she would have bet money on to burn rubber and never look back, she would bank it all on the girl who actually refused to play Freeze and could not speak in conducted story. That teacher will never know I was actually observing and thinking about what everyone did, and judging too critically to participate.

I like thinking about that teacher (I would kill to know who it was--we probably have mutual friends) because sometimes you just don't know where what you have said and what experiences you have created and who you are will go as attached to another person.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Great

It's been an exceedingly good week.

All the past versions of me would be proud. No matter what age, if I dropped off a dossier of life facts for Alice 2018, she would be relieved. Your solo show opened to a warm sold-out house. You found a puffy art installation outside the restaurant you went to for your five year anniversary and kicked off your heels and climbed in. You are creating content for two new college theatre courses. You had a candy bar and sparkling cranberry juice for lunch. This week two lit managers and one television producer got back to you. Two risers in Power Step class. This portfolio is golden, and I know it.

And yet. I wonder when it started. My meditation app asks me to rate how I'm feeling mentally from "poor" to "great." I am never going to press "great." I'm just not. How could I with Syrian refugees and landfills? The dozens of hanging "cancelled due to low enrollment" signs in my school. They rise up in the draft I make waking by. I believe in doing one's best, and I know it doesn't help the starving to feel guilty when I bite into vegan thai chili wings, and I have seen the power of joy beyond the self. It's been heightened of course since DJT was sworn in. In someways I feel less alone. And maybe if I'm less alone, that means more good is happening. I'll flip that coin into the good luck fountain. But the bad luck fountain has been a bubbling muck since I was I don't know when. What was the happiest I ever was? (The last time I could be thoughtless?) Maybe when Obama was elected, so I sailed on the what would be. A year later or so. I will never forget the woman with no teeth who asked if I had a lawn that needed mowing. She probably wasn't supposed to be in that Bread Co. It's snowing, lady, I thought. "Just trying to get by," she said, and maybe that was when it happened, when there would never be a great again.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Difference Between

The difference between girls who only eat the top of the muffin and girls who cry when they lose gift cards--I think the girls who only eat the top of the muffin know it's the best part and then, like, whatever, why would you subject yourself to less than the best? You certainly don't need the calories. I start with the stump because it's my least favorite part. And I get through it to enjoy the crisp hat. That was someone's hard-earned money, I think.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017

Produced & performed my solo show.
Disney World with Alice Sr.
Two protests.
LA: peeking, dates with Puhg, goofing with A Jar, friends & beaches.
Got rejected big time from four auditions.
Got accepted from two.
Made a new real friend.
Started my first book (3/4 done as of today).
Visited my dad & survived a tornado.
Taught third graders to improvise all spring.
A teen improv workshop for underserved girls.
Published three times.
Saw Andrew McMahon & Arcade Fire in concert.
Graduated i_.
Cast on my first Harold team.
Coached two indie teams.
Directed three sketch shows.
Visited my alma matter for spring break.
The Goodman six times.
Steppenwolf twice.
Two women's coven retreats.
Climbed Machu Picchu, explored the Amazon, best ceviche ever.
Wrote & starred in a kids comedy show at SC.
Hosted five friends on the couch.
Dallas Improv Festival: godmommin', pie, Dizz's pool, a great set.
Taught musical theatre & song parody at two summer camps.
Cried on Fourth of July.
Screamed Moana around the apartment.
Submitted three writing packets.
Made it to the final round of one for Comedy Central.
Re-learned Hiragana & Katakana.
Almost a month of improv in Maine.
The total eclipse.
Taught two sections of Theatre History & four of English.
Revised my pilot into something I'm proud of.
Took a meeting.
My first comedy class at The A.
My first playwriting class since grad school.
Workshop reading at GH.
Threw a small but intellectually stimulating film viewing.
New tattoo.
First commissioned play.
Tutored 300 hours.
156 improv shows.
After three years, found my neighborhood coffee shop.
Told my co-worker casually I am living my dream. She laughed, and I said, "No actually I am. This is the dream I had and I am doing it. Like, everyday."
The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg

Thursday, December 28, 2017

It's a Rambling Old House with a Big Apple Tree


This is my favorite selfie of 2017. I woke up in Maine, a sunny cool morning, felt the old curl of my hair and crusty eye lids from previous night's show. I snapped this. I went on a run. I likely bought a donut.

In 2018 I want to begin each day phoneless (quiet bathroom, journaling session, readings.)
I will try to spend a little more time with family and finish my book.
I'd like to eat less dairy and keep a more cohesive to-do list.
There is a plan for bi-weekly meetings on a large project with so and so. I am sure enough to ask for eyes on my things and to charge for my eyes on other things.
I have the most incredible life, and I spend it rushed. I'd like to not...somehow.

The year is laid out before me. I am booked and planned from January - December. I see it all--perhaps for the first time since I was 16 or so. That said, I welcome a curveball. In my ideal life, curveballs. And suddenly what I see so clearly now will be washed away and I will be somewhere completely new on soft baby feet. It's not impossible. It's very possible. So possible I can actually envision at least three alternate realities. I have been close.

There is allegedly something to be said for announcing this type of thing. "This year I WILL xxx." I have done it before. I WILL run a marathon and I WILL finish my screenplay and I WILL go swimming in Wisconsin." I was successful in these endeavors. But now I'm at a point in my life where I can't will the things I hope for ("hope for" even? I'm unsure).

And I wonder how to be the kind of confident that gets one unquestionably hired while also being kind enough to myself to know I will not be a failure if I don't. I believe the answer is in fulfilling motives, not goals. I do think motive-based living can accidentally set my sights too low, but who says a low sight is a bad sight if I really go all in? Again, for the millionth time this year, I feel like I'm learning I was not born to do anything but be alive--if that.

Friday, December 22, 2017

I Just Want It To Be Great

I've never felt as sick walking into a theatre for rehearsal as I did today. I've been revising my solo show all week--posting up in the donut shop, running out to the grocery store for bear claws to consume at the kitchen table, tittering away in the morning before Puhg woke up on his birthday, pushing all my notes around the table in the gym foyer, sunk into the couch. It is not fun. I am not enjoying this. My director tells me if I just do what I did last time/last year, it will be good. But I want it to be great. I want to nit-pick and fill in gaps and waste no one's time or eight dollars. I suffocate inside the context of this script. I want every word to weave and stick like a perfect spider web. Instead, I have sloppy glue traps in the middle of monologues and concepts I don't know how to implement and a pressing fear that everything is boring.

As a "break" I went to VG alone last night. It's closing weekend of a play that had an intriguing email blast, and I had a show tonight, two tomorrow. I stopped at Walgreens for a bag of Riesens. I sat in the theatre alone chewing the caramels one seat away from an old lesbian couple and next to three college kids. The lights seemed to go down early. Was there pre-show music? Was it just very quiet? I suddenly heard so much. "I'm so happy I'm seeing this with you," someone whispered next to me. Another voice: "Did you get here okay?" Settling bags, phones turning off, leg pats, and settled butts. For the first time in a long time, a bitty proscenium felt like home.

It's hard for me to enjoy theatre anymore. Certainly not making it. And often not even seeing it. I'm too involved in the ingredients and gaging what I can learn. I remember seeing and doing my first improv shows. I wished they were endless. Shark said in the green room last month that he never goes to shows anymore. "I have ruined improv for myself," he said, "I'm glad I ruined it. I was destined to, but I ruined it." Too real.

I put myself through this torture. I'm the one who wrote the thing. I'm the one who applied for the space. I'm the one who cares so much. I could phone it in. I could eat the deposit. I could move. I've considered all of it. I'm sitting in my favorite diner with buffalo tofu in my tum. People have told me this show changed them, inspired them, was a joy. Today, I can't comprehend it. I do not feel like "YEAH, I CAN DO IT" even though I desperately wish I did.