Monday, April 30, 2012

Tear Count Arizona 2011-12

First semester, I only cried one time, and that was because my grandfather passed away. For a while it looked like I was going to stick with the one cryfest per semester average. I already spent my crying card in February when my sister visited. We got into an argument during Sunday brunch at one of my favorite restaurants of all places (Cornish Pasty whaddup), and suddenly...waterworks. It was a brief emotional explosion that, in hindsight, we realized was probably due to accidental dehydration and sleep deprivation. Boops.

I was almost home free! One final portfolio due today, final Theory presentation tomorrow, fatty stack of grading, but whatever! I was feelin' stressed, but not freaking out. And next thing I know, it's 7 AM, and my greasy pigtails are sopping up my mucus because I'm bawling outside the library. Why? Oh, I had trouble printing. I mean, it's more traumatic than that, but also not. Luckily I have Pookie, who I texted "Meltdown" to, and despite being in a meeting, she called me immediately. Talked me off the crazy ledge: "No one is going to steal your social security number." (Believe it or not, this was legitimately part of the printing kerfuffle.) I sobbed, "MY FINAL THEORY PRESENTATION IS TOMORROW AND I HAVEN'T STARTED."

She said, "Your Theory presentation on criticism of female characterization in theatre? I don't think it's fair to say you haven't started when, as far as I can tell, you've been preparing for this presentation your whole life?"

This made me laugh, and then I had to go to work, and I worked twelve hours with a smile on face.
Photoboothed myself right now. HELLO, BOYS!

So, yeah, I've cried three times since I moved to Arizona.

Also, since I'm spouting embarrassing truths: While I biked home tonight I listened to B*Witched.

Say you will, say you won't, say you'll do what I don't.
Say you're true, say to me--C'est la vie!

EDIT: Oh, yeah, I cried a lot during Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but that doesn't really count.


Muff in DC. 2012.

I am so close to the end of this year I can smell it. But, in the meantime, I feel like I am in the middle of a swamp, wading through, absolutely icky.

I KNOW there is an end in sight, but why oh why does it feel like it will never come? I also know this stuff is relatively meaningless. No one really cares what my final Theatre for Social Change portfolio will be like, but, well, I do. So. It's almost 1 AM and I have work at 7:30 and at some point during my twelve hour shift I need to dash to the library and print these finals and that scholarship app and research the canon of theatre in reference to feminist criticism and and and...

"I'm not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat."--Michael Jordan

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Perhaps I should stop saying I'm poor. It feels like part of my definition, but I don't know where that comes from. I have known very very few truly poor people in my life, and I am not one of them. I am thrifty, aware, perhaps unable to afford a trip or to justify new shoes, but not poor. If I think I'm poor now, what if I really were? If I think I'm poor now, wouldn't I feel the same as a millionaire?
A boat in D.C. 2012.
Besides, poor in what?

You're impossible to resist,
but I wouldn't bet your heart on it.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Get to the point.

What's the point?

Right now the point is grading these screenplays
because I have to pay for school
because I'm getting my degree
because I want stability in my field
because I want to be comfortable while helping people
because I want to be happy and help others.

Monday the point was Get Home and Study Theory at All Costs.
But first--a writer's meet-up at the hipster bar near my condo. Feedback, discussion, plans, and towards the end Quarry burst into tears that were so dramatic I immediately thought she was joking. But she wasn't. She is getting divorced. It's good, but it's still hard.
The meeting was over, and it was late, and the point! The point was calling me!
One person left. Two. But, then...I stayed. I gritted my teeth and stayed with her and Boulder while they drank beers. I stayed because I knew it was right. We made this woman we write with laugh and think and we agreed with her and I knew it was right to stay if only because I could keep the laughs coming when Boulder went to the bathroom. You know? That matters.

So, finally, it was near my bedtime, and I still hadn't studied, and then I said, "Okay. Okay enough's enough. It really is time" and I walked out of the patio and biked home. And, you know, I didn't worry. Because no matter what I was getting to the point. If the point of doing well on my final was to eventually help people, then I needed to help Quarry in her time of need. That's how it works.

We say "get to the point" but probably more often than we know, we're already on it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

That Magic Moon: E-mail from my Dad

Hello Alice!

I read your blog this morning.

I was looking at the moon too, last night. The same one as you, I believe. I was coming out of the library and there it was, a crescent hanging over the treeline across the street in the western sky. To the upper right of it there was another bright light in the sky. I wondered what it was. It wasn't moving and I thought maybe it was a planet. So, I fired up the iPhone Star Walk app, got a fix on the moon and tried to figure it out. It was overcast. All I could see was the moon and the bright light. But of course the app showed all the stars. I guess that was a reminder that the stars, like so many things, are in their places even when you cannot see them. Other people were coming out of the library and no doubt saw me on the steps holding my cell phone skyward with both hands while the screen twinkled and spooky music played. Oh my.

Love you,


My dad in Germany. June 2011.

I see the moon and the moon sees me. The moon sees somebody I'd like to see. So God bless the moon, and God bless me, and God bless the somebody I'd like to see.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Can't Complain

The moon looks like the moons I drew in elementary school. A thick "C" next to one extremely bright dot of light. A planet. I was on my back in the pool after a full day.

I woke up at 6 to review my Theory notes. I also jumped with Jillian Michaels and made two mugs of soy hot cocoa with honey.

At 11:45 my hardest final was over, and I felt like taking a long walk. And also like grabbing my professor by the collar and saying, "Look. I studied Worthen's concept of producing an audience via realism really hard, and I had some pretty great applications to Marsha Norman's work, so even though the essay questions you ended up giving me weren't about that, you're gonna sit here and LISTEN TO MY IDEAS, BUDDY." But, I had to TA. Which I did.

And then I went to work for hours, and I still could not focus from final nerves. So, I biked home knowing I was destined for the water in the darkness. And after, with a slick bun and smeared eye makeup, I made a bowl of pasta, and I watched Girls, and I ate a Reese's rabbit*, and I'm thinking this is a pretty good life, you guys. I spend all my time thinking about things I find interesting and trying to help other people and trying to make stuff and listening to good music and moving my body in cool ways and consuming delicious things. I really can't complain. That's not a euphemism for, "Things are okay, but--" No. I really can't complain. To complain from my top story room in my white condo in the most beautiful climate in the world as I drink fresh water from my pink Camelback would be absurd. I can't. I can't complain.

Truck stop on the way home from LA/Fracus last week. Shellzor.

*I have been a successful vegan this month**, but I made a deal with myself that I would eat that Reese rabbit my mom sent me for Easter the day of my Theory final, which was supposed to be May 1st, but it was pushed back to today. So. Boop.
**Only one week left y'all!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Films que J'adore!

My Theory final is in 12 hours. When I am stressed I like to make lists. Feel free to judge.

Alice's 25 Favorite Movies of All Time, Age 23:

25. My Neighbor Totoro
24. You've Got Mail
23. Bring It On
22. Clerks II
21. Cinderella Man
20. Fight Club
19. Chicago
18. Philadelphia
17. Scrooged
16. Man on the Moon
15. The Village
14. Wes Anderson movies in general (I guess my favorite is Darjeeling)
13. Adventureland
12. A Goofy Movie
11. Clueless
10. Jerry McGuire
9. Good Will Hunting
8. Amelie
7. Woody Allen in general (I guess faves are Manhattan Murder, Purple Rose, Bullets, Whatever Works, Play It Again, Sam)
6. Waiting for Guffman (and all Christopher Guest)
5. American Beauty
4. Titanic
3. Scream 2
2. Shawshank Redemption
1. Punchline

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Finals Semester Dos: Grad School Year Uno

After reading this study question three times, in true self-defense, I just fell asleep for an hour:

"According to our reading, 'the linguistic sign unites not a thing and a name, but a concept and a sound image' (Saussure 4). Basing your discussion in this idea of semiotics, explain general structural and post-structural perspectives of interpretation. Discuss specifically how this relates to theatre performance by discussing how structural and post-structural interpretive perspectives might differ when brought to bear on a production of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler."

Uh...kill me?

My current fantasy:
Swimming in my pool for an hour or so followed by nachos and watching Titanic again in the theatre. Then, brownie sundaes and reading Beginner's Guide to Community-Based Theatre. Other stipulations: a cold bed and warm blankets to read in, braless day, phone turned off, no emails, boombox playing Lucky Boys Confusion while I swim. Shut up, shut up, shut up--it's my day.

Cool. Now thats out of my system...Except now that I wrote it, I just want it more.

The Pacific in 2011. COME BACK OCEAN.

The radio plays our favorite song. It's what keeps me holding on.
Baby, do you miss me now that I'm gone?
Do you miss me?
I remember the day that you told me you wanted to find another man.
Now I hear you cry every time we play Arizona Stand.
Now I'm standing here with 50 of my friends and a keg of Killians.
And you're at home with your Ani Difranco tapes again.

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's Actually Nothing

Botanical gardens!

Smirn and I were talking about the coke industry today and how even the CIA has been known to get finding via drug cartels. The drug game is totally cray, and the economics and sheer magnitude of that kind of dough blows my mind. And then I realized the weirdest thing: that all the money is being used to make, sell, ship, hide cocaine--which is NOTHING. Cocaine does NOTHING. Like, the oil industry is bonkersville, but I GET that. People use oil for gas, and gas fuels family trips, and our work commutes, and is essential in grocery-getting...but coke literally does NOTHING. It gets people messed up in their heads for no good reason. That's all it does. And more money than I can even imagine is wrapped up in that white stuff.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mainstreet Mems

It's this time in the semester I get nostalgic for childhood. I rarely wish for times before the present. For the most part, I'm always the happiest I've ever been. I didn't like my childhood. I don't want to go back there...most of the time. It's nights like tonight though--nights where I already greased up my inner kid with a comedy group dinner and playtime at Dave & Buster's, nights where I come home exhausted to a huge stack of scripts to grade--that make me long for the littlest things.

Blockbuster. It was half a mile away, and I could spend an hour browsing.
Pressing the "on" button for the tree-lighting ceremony after Thanksgiving.
The tan paper mache shapes in Ben Franklin.
Penny candy baskets. Mary Janes and candy cigarettes.
Green River at the counter of the 50s drugstore. The big medical RX on the awning.
The orange bubble letters of Golden Shoes.
The big padded chair at the window of the library, right next to the water fountain.
The sweet sugar cookies, stuck together with fudge and dipped in chocolate. Grooves like clams. The cartoon wedding cake on the bakery front sign.

I repeat, I have so much grading to do, but, I might just fall asleep. I wish I could be a bad student--or even mediocre--for these next two weeks, but, no, I will knock myself out. It's just what happens.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Looking Forward, Looking Back

For my final Theory presentation, I have to pick a critical theory and apply it in some way to theatre--in general or a specific script or performance or something or something.

The sky is the limit, and I don't know what to pick. Two things come to mind:

1. Gender/Queer Theory--which is sort of a mini-field I've carved out for myself via research projects, lit papers, communal work/outreach. I'm interested in this field, and I find gender and sexuality issues very important in today's society.

But, also--

2. Marxism--Which is most intriguing to me these days. I couldn't tell you why, but it's just what I most want to read, most want to think about. It's new.

Adult convo at Sunday coffee with the bromeo and Juliets.

Honestly, either choice will be very interesting and enjoyable. But I still stand at the junction of building upon a strong foundation--beefing up my portfolio of gender/art work--or starting from scratch for funsies.

I believe...THAT THE HEART DOES GO ON. (Sorry. I've listened to so much Celine this week that it's impossible for me to say "I believe" without a follow up belt.) But, I believe in doing what you want to do, but not everything should be new. That's not how you become an expert. That's not how you most astutely address one nugget of academia, life, art, love.

Monday, April 16, 2012


I'm not one to get too Christian woo woo here, but I read this verse today, and I was pretty inspired:

"Where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14: 3)

I think we hear a lot--regardless of what faith we are or aren't--this concept that God/Good is where WE are, but rarely do I consider that flipped. But, actually, that makes more sense. It's as significant of a difference as saying, "I ate at the same pizza parlor as Cher" vs. "Cher ate at the the same pizza restaurant I did." Do you get what I mean? I might not be clear. This is a break from studying all my theory notes and grading a billion script outlines while listening to the Titanic soundtrack on repeat.

It's not that we go to horrible places, but, you know what? Good stuff can be there! It's more like...we are inherently where Good stuff is. We encroached on God's domain--not vice versa. And that's nice. It's nice to encroach on God's domain. S/he doesn't mind. Rather, we're all quite welcome.

In two months I'mm be at camp with this one. Kath & Me. 2011.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fracas 2012

Was at an improv festival all weekend with these yahoos.

I'll leak ideas and memories from this trip in the future. For now, I must watch Modern Family and get under covers and go to bed extremely early.

A Couple Evident Things:
-I am grateful to be part of such a funny rag-tag bunch of clowns.
-It was a treat--A TREAT--to be with chums of yore (Jamin and Dizz) like we were actual friends--oh, no big, just a movie here and coffee there. I miss that feeling with so many people. I ask my sister to hang out weekly.
-Improv is wonderful, and I love it, but I am SO GLAD I don't want to pursue it professionally.
-Or necessarily any pro acting to be honest. SWEET HONEY LOAF, LA does not appeal to me.
-EVEN SO! I am quite excited to take a longform intensive in July. It is official. I have made the down-payment. Sometimes we can't see the end result, or even begin to guess what it will be, but we are called to do something, and life is too short not to follow that call.
-Laughing is great.
-It's all going to work out!

I do not want it to be Monday tomorrow, but, guess what? It is.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Half-Moon Tummy

A mousy girl with untamed eyebrows and frizzy brown hair pulled back in a scrunchie sat down across from me at the testing center. I greeted her.
"Hello, do you have a test at 2:30?" It was almost time.
"No," she said. "It's at 3."
"Well, you have a while then."
"I know. I try to get my nerves out before I actually take the test." She adjusted her glasses.
"Well, that's smart." I smiled and went back to reading Catching Fire.
Half an hour later, she was putting her backpack away, and I realized this wiry kid I'd pegged as 19 had a half moon tummy. Preggers.

At about 4 PM one of my co-workers came out of the testing hall. "There's a student who needs to ask the professor a question. Will someone walk her there?" Everyone looked down at their projects, but I felt like sunshine. I volunteered, and mousey wires came out holding the test shakily.
"I'm sorry," she said.
"Oh, it's quite alright. I'm looking forward to a walk!"
We left the building, and in the light I could see she had been crying.
"I'm just worried because he might not answer my question," she quivered.
"Well, it's just one question," I said. I smiled at some orange trees.
"It's just...none of my friends have to take chemistry" (she is a bio major I learned) "so they never know what's going on...and I never know what's going on..." Tears welled.

We got to the lecture hall. Hundreds of kids doing equations. She gingerly stepped to the professor and came back, still a little uneasy. "I don't know what I need to know," she said. She sighed and absentmindedly rested a hand on her bump. She said thank you. I said It's my job! And I love AZ in April! We walked on.

"It's okay," I said. "The great thing about tests is that they end no matter what happens. In a couple hours it will be over, and there's nothing else you can do." She nodded, and I handed her test back. As she walked back into the hall, I stared at her stomach. I had so many thoughts. She turned around to give me a final notice of..appreciation? Solidarity? But I was just staring at her middle. I averted my gaze, but it was too late. She saw.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

That Is How I Know You Go On

When I finally pulled the suction from around my eye hard enough to lift my goggle onto my forehead, I had swam a mile. I only had a minute to cool down before I had to hit the showers if I was going to make it to Theory on time. I rolled onto my back and propelled slowly towards the North wall, watching the morning clouds over the palm trees.

Tonight I saw Titanic in 3D. I was excited all day. This morning, twelve hours before I would be in the theatre, I packed my theatre loyalty cup in my backpack, so I could get a large lemonade for a dollar. Forget the haters, I love this movie. One hundred years ago today Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage. It was destiny to buy half-off Easter candy at CVS with these comedy boyz and walk through the glowing outdoor mall and land in seats and watch the love story that moved me when I was ten.

As a fourth grader I really got the "Live life to the fullest" message. I wrote, "Life is a gift.-Jack Dawson" on a small slip of paper, folded it, and tucked it into my shoe before school the next day. Tonight I liked the message of willingness. Jack could not have planned to die by iceberg. Cal could not buy his way to Rose's heart or escape from the sink. Leo said something like, "We never know what cards we will be dealt." How two years ago I had no steamy idea of my future, and, yet, I have one. I could not have willed that. It's just what happened. How one year ago, my mom was living in England, and poof poof poof, changes occur and she's in a small Illinois bungalow. How one-hundred years ago tonight people were celebrating like their lives meant something, and in four days, they were bubbles and fish food. But their lives do mean something, even if they never could have guessed their lives would mean me screeching Celine Dion into the night as I stand, arms wide open on the handicap ramp outside the theatre.

And Rose laid on her back, in pain from the suction of the propellors, gazing up at the night stars.

Near, far, wherever you are.
I believe that the heart will go on.

Are S, D, & D Real?

"Valentine" statue from VA. 2012.

If you want your life to be good, you have to be good.
Be good. To not is a contradiction of everything you believe.
If you set your sights on a good life, no one can take that from you!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Come out of the Cave

Running around the desert--cool breeze--swift steps uphill to "King of the World"--
a song I loved as a 17-year old Lucy in AZ.
Early morning crackers spread with Trader Joe's peanut butter and strawberries.
Mountains and hedgehog cacti.
Two roadrunners, quail, a jackrabbit on Easter morning.
My aunt, Maf, and I, aproned, bake a vegan shepherd's pie.
We drink pomegranate juice out of champagne glasses, and I clean my pastel bowl of carrot soup with a potato roll.
I love these people, and I believe in the power of family because here is my father's sister who lives in the North Woods and her best friend from childhood and the boy from down the block and me, and they're singing me an early happy birthday over a chocolate cake made with no animal products, sided with Soy Dream ice cream.
I head home with a saddlebag of leftovers.
It's a forty minute drive that seems much too short for the vacation I'm returning from, for the finals prep I am returning to.
I curl up on the couch and watch Don and Peggy and Joanie while my roommates study and their significant others bake Lent-Is-Over-Cookies and paint a sailboat on an ocean.
I was in a saltwater hot tub this afternoon.
The show ends, and I head to my bedroom.
I pull out this infernal writing machine. I unpack a little.
The smell of my damp swimsuit in a grocery bag.
It reminds me of being called Lucy
when that was my only name.
And I think we could all use a resurrection sometimes.

Happy Easter.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

News for Yous

Veg corn dog. Provided by Muff & Jamba.

-Being a vegan this month.
-I want a white Patagonia fleece. I don't want things often, but I have it saved as a favorite on my iPad. Give me that fleece. There's something about it. Something about a glorified $120 sweater that I KNOW I will ruin within five minutes of owning it by leaving a Snickers in the pocket on a sunny day or something.
-Free things today: going to a free recital for Ru tonight, a free quinoa dumpling for lunch, standing in the sun outside of class with Boulder and Rye--chatting, laughing. All FREE. Also free--all the baked goods set on pretty tables on the balcony of the music building post-recital. But guess who didn't eat any in order to be ethical? THIS GIRL. Pats on backs.

Everybody wants to live
how they want to live,
and everybody wants to love
who they want to love,
and everybody wants to be
closer to free.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Before You Do Anything

Still thinking about my favorite couple. Two weeks ago.


1. What am I going to give?
2. What can I learn?
3. How can I collaborate?
4. What's important here?
5. Do I have any reason to be worried or scared? (No.)
6. Am I listening?

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Chinese Crisis

We were supposed to present a Chinese Crisis--
the moment of tension, the moment right before the choice that could lead to
the biggest catastrophe or the biggest opportunity.
Our topic was bullying--these two young men and me.
"I have something, but it happened the only way it could,
so I don't know how anyone could change anything about it."
We were to replicate this true story and let our audience step in at the CC.
"Well, let's hear it," I say.

This boy was 8, and two classmates grabbed him and started punching him.
He shoved them off and ran away.
He was called into the principal's office for shoving.
They all got citations.

"So there were no other options--unless I just wanted to be beat up," this college kid says.
"There are always other options," the other boy with dark skin and sparkly earrings says.
"But, no, there's nothing else I could have possibly done."
"Yes, but--" I say.
"See? But that's the problem with this story. I did the only thing I could."
He would not stop repeating this sentiment.

It kills us to admit that just because we were victims doesn't mean we were right.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

SVC* Called Me From a Cab in Brooklyn at 2 AM Last Night:

On the road to AZ. 2011.

"Do you know my parents still ask about you? They love you. My mom was worried when [I passed up a kind of cool professional job because I didn't feel like I was ready for it]. She was like, 'I hope Alice doesn't sell herself short, because she's very talented. I hope she does something instead of wasting her life'--which you're doing. Well, she didn't say that. I'm saying that."


*SVC used to be called Vince in this blog.