Thursday, December 14, 2017

Crying in the Writing Center

Welp, I'm crying in the corner of the Writing Center. There are no walk-in appointments, so I am at the reports computer grading extra credit that I marshmallowed into giving some theatre history students. I'm weak.

My Thursday commute has been overlapping with a young, foreign father. He gets in the train car, passes out Kleenex packets with a photo of him and his baby on it, and a note that asks for a donation in return for the tissue. I think this is a good business plan because no one is bothered, there is a service given, and he's respectful. Today I decided to give him money, but when I reached in my purse, with him waiting expectantly, no dollar. I felt v bad. He was getting off the train at my stop, so I offered to buy him something at 7/11. He mentioned needing diapers. We walked over together. There were no diapers. I suggested formula. Nope. No formula. I asked if he wanted something else. Now I'd really strung this guy along, and I had to punch in in seven minutes or less. My building, just across the street. He asked for a hot dog.

My whole body got itchy. I looked around, eager to offer a substitution. But it was just candy bars and chips. I didn't think I was gonna sell him on a bag of nuts. It was our turn in line. The cashier asked what we wanted. I told her a hot dog. Guy interrupted, "a cheese hot dog," I put my card in while the attendant prepared the meat. My fingers tingled. I clenched my jaw. I pulled my card when the machine told me to and I said "Have a nice day," to the guy. I ran outside into the cold, just making it to work in time. And now I've helped a dad and killed a pig.

Monday, December 11, 2017

It's Finals Week, So I Am Entitled to Troll Just A Tad

No matter how many times I announce, "When you're done with your final, leave it on the stack at the corner of my desk," and how evidently the pile grows taller, there are always the students who walk right up to me as I am grading behind the computer and shove the stapled papers into my face with a "Here." I'm trying to be the kind of person who never misses a pile, you know?
Happy, leaving class at the end of September.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Theatre of Cruelty

Kath & a sunset, September 2017
I read an article yesterday about how by 2030 every other summer will be hotter than the last. By 2050, every summer a record high. Puhg and I have poke wraps and tacos before going to see In the Next Room at the theatre in our neighborhood. There are actually eight theatres in our immediate neighborhood, nine if you include the concert venue. We counted on the walk home. It was not too cold to enjoy the evening. It is November.

The air in the dive made our shirts smell like fries. "I wonder what will happen when it is is obviously the end of days," I say. Right now I am confident it is, although I do agree humans are resilient. But what if quicker than we think it's over over? Or maybe just over for everyone not in Michigan. On Thanksgiving we played Pandemic and since we were about to win, Puhg's turn was pointless. He chose to fly to Tokyo and then Buenos Ares instead of curing London. "Is that what people will really do?" I asked him, later, over the aforementioned grub.

We reasoned it might be. A year is actually a long time to die out. If we suddenly have three days we could exhaust all our resources getting to family and hugging. I've thought of last years before--but only about my last year. I would write because there would be more world left behind. With a mass exodus perhaps I would just scout for heroin.

I'm confused about people who are still choosing to make children, but I guess I am more of an alarmist than most (although like a true alarmist I do not feel like one). I'm grateful for the life I have lived and find it more difficult to worry about my future. Sometimes I forget and act like a regular person from 1980. I weigh the pros and cons of moving or investing in a new mattress...but I don't plan for ten years from now anymore. I think that part of me is gone forever. It disappeared when I wasn't looking, when I was reading the news.

In the meantime I try my best to make and teach, but more this year than any other year, I am concerned less with the lessons and more with "can you learn?" and "was I as kind as I could be?" For example, what if a student is going to get a 68% in theatre history? Should I give him a C anyway? In the apocalypse maybe no one will ask him about Antoin Artaud's contributions to the surrealist era of modern theatre.

There's a joy still in me. An eagerness to learn. I am going on an exciting trip, I am taking a class beginning in January, I'd like to finish this book I'm reading. I'm about to do two shows tonight, and I look forward to them. And I wonder if this is actually the best/ most authentic I've ever felt. There may be nothing at the end of the rainbow, but the rainbow is quite nice.

Monday, November 13, 2017


I write every day. Journaling, blogging, a hefty email--these things count--but besides all that, I also strive to work on a play, my book, or a script every day. Two pages is the rule of thumb. It's been hard lately. I'm now in five ongoing improv shows, coaching a team, teaching four classes, tutoring eight hours a week, and my list of my day staples keeps growing. Read inspiration every morning, workout, eat a protein-rich breakfast, put away my clothes, do ten minutes of Japanese study. It's been a No Time for Fun Fall. I am perhaps too honest to peripheral friends. "I would love to hang out, but honestly, I have no free nights until December 17."

Tonight I got home from rehearsal and needed to sit and be with Bisque. And then I needed to read up on all the new sexual harassment allegations of the day. And then I needed to write, but, oh, what a long day. I finally began at 11. It's 11:50. It took me 50 minutes to get two pages on my new short. But I did it.

I've been stressed the past two weeks after somehow skating over all my obligations through September and October. I guess students are desperately trying not to fail, I have six weeks until my solo show reopens, I'm trying to run myself as a business, I eat too much candy. But some things I have liked about the past week: starting Big Little Lies, the sweetness of my new theatre, honest rehash on the Argyle train platform, playing a singing rat in yesterday's set, confetti canon at The House of Blues, inspiring a stranger, a chocolate fountain at my new play opening, when I am listened to, the student in the back row crushing his monologue, goofball English students, giving new improvisers easy information, never feeling embarrassed in front of a good friend.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Halloween Heart

Being scared is my favorite thing. I revel in the spooky season: movies whenever I can squeeze them in, horror blogs to fall asleep, I sat in a lawn chair in my apartment foyer to pass out candy over the weekend. This Halloween itself was a pretty standard day. I went to the gym, I tutored at the writing center,  I had dinner and graded papers, I coached a rehearsal 8-9:30. And then when I came home the hall lights were out. The apartment was pitch black, but sheets hung everywhere. It was ghostly, the billows from white rectangles. Silence. I slowly walked through one corridor to find another. I called throughout my home for Puhg. Eventually I paused in the bedroom and he leapt from behind a door. I was scared, but not as a scared as when I realized he was wearing a frightening mask. I laughed, he laughed, he took off the mask, then he bared vampire fangs and I yelped again. Then he was gone. I couldn't see where he ran beyond the haunted house-ness. He popped out of no fewer than four hiding spots--once emerging from the ground walking like a crab after grabbing my ankles. This is my dream come true.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Very Good Day

5:30 do a country line-dance workout in the living room
6:30 catch the Red Line, grade papers as I ride
7:15 grade final paper in Potbelly eating breakfast sammie
8:00 begin fifteen minute mid-term meetings with 101 students
1:00 meetings over, I sing "Ring of Keys" in the classroom alone
2:00 submit mid-term grades and post announcements to Blackboard
2:30 finish Difficult Women standing outside the library drop box
3:00 prepare bowl of lime kale
3:30 plan play revisions
4:00 Puhg serves me a sweet potato bowl and we watch Broad City
4:45 practice Japanese on the Brown Line
5:05 meet Sabarra and walk through a teensers haunted house
5:30 donate money to Puerto Rico
5:32 have a creative meeting about out newest screenplay
6:05 meet with Dusty for a chai at Eva's
6:50 relocate to a familiar Starbucks because we weren't done talking
7:30 Dusty drive me across town to i_
7:35 we talk in his car
7:55 I have to go inside for my calltime
7:58 run-in with my coach from three years ago
8:00 my Harold team warms up in a stairwell
8:30 we do an improv show as an opener for a magician
9:00 I make the audience clap for my sister who is there
9:20 Dbag, Egg, and I watch aforementioned magic from the back corner
10:00 LC hugs me in a big pink coat
10:05 Flood text asks if we can grab a Shirley Temple at the bar
10:20 Squid & Blanco and I laugh a lot on the way to North & Clyborn
10:45 Blanco gets groped on the train
11:00 it is very cold
11:08 I step into my apartment, Puhg looks drowsy with sleep
11:15 I choose two little chocolates I took from the break-room at the Writing Center to consume while watching S2, E12 of Scream

Monday, October 23, 2017

Some Things to Love about Chicago (Very Partial List)

-calling everyone "you guys"
-when the River bridges go up
-those little yellow ladders on the lake
-everybody's a comedian (discouraging at first, homey at second)
-my nail place where they use java essential oils
-LSD at night by car, south toward the pink Drake sign
-the bakery cases at Mariano's
-nicest conductor on the Red Line who always ends announcements with "students: study hard"
-300 theatres
-the Picasso (hack, but true)
-State and Lake trash shopping
-the forever of a Clark Street walk
-the tallest movie theatre & reclining chairs
-my library--so hot and yellow with a familiar security camera
-the Lakeview rooftops at dusk
-spaceship church
-no one is too good for you