Thursday, November 29, 2012

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

Tomorrow my team heads to LA for a big improv tournament. We might win. We might not. I'm just happy to feel legitimately proud sharing the stage with all of them. I love my teammates very much. I am sick and tired of rewrites and grading, but I am not sick of these goobers even one tiny little bit.

Some scrappy boys at Tuesday's rehearsal.
Back on Sunday, y'all. Hopefully with a plaque.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Morning Inspiration

Bathed myself in inspiration to prepare for today's demands. Some essays by Brecht and an article by Paul Stark Seeley.

"It is significantly hard to find out anything about what other European writers think. But I take it that where literature, for instance, is concerned they all share more or less the same view, namely that writing is a melancholy business. As usual Shaw, whose views about anything under the sun are far from unknown, differs from his colleagues here...he likes writing. There is no room for a martyr's halo even outside his head. His literary activities have in no sense cut him off from life. On the contrary. I am not sure if it is the right way to measure his gifts, but I can only say that the effect of this inimitable cheerfulness and infectious good mood is quite exceptional."--Brecht, "Three Cheers for Shaw"

"The accomplishment of this demand may be a long-continuing one, but let us remember we cannot find any objective to compare with this one, and the rewards are immediate and continuous."--PSS

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The For Sures

Just want to take a moment to defend making choices based on the little things.

People ask me why I ended up at the school I did. Truthfully, I have a different answer for every level of depth into my life the asker is willing to go (knee-deep? waist-deep?). But, the surfacey-est answer is that it's dang warm here!

I wore gym shorts to school today (as I do probably 60 percent of days). It's almost December, and that inspires no fear into my cold toesies. Two years ago I remember the first brisk day--in September, dear sweet Lord--and feeling like my time was running out. Soon all will be a cold frozen wasteland.

Anyway, some people might say you shouldn't choose your grad school based on how many months a year your pool is useful, but those people are WRONG. Because the little things are little, but at least they are FOR SURE. If you try to make decisions based on big things, guess WHAT. YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE LIKE NEVER MET AND THEN WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF? But, if you're like, "Yo. I'm taking this job because it seems alright AND it's easy to bike to" even if the work turns out to be ridiculous, you'll always have a nice commute. It's FOR SURE.

Transition from fall to winter breakfast Sunday.
And what's "important" anyway? What's "insignificant" and what's not? I'd like to know who is making these rules. Because I think I've probably found the most consistent joy in stuff that doesn't seem like it should matter.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Making Dreams Come True

It's a double-edged sword not having a dream.

Was talking with a friend a few summers ago, and she kept referring to her future children in a factual sense. "So, you definitely want kids." I surmised. She nodded and I told her she'd be a good mom (she would). She looked down into her lap, paused, then said, "It's scary. What if I never meet the right person?" It was the first time I had considered the fear associated with having a dream. I thanked the Maine stars above us that as a gal without strong maternal instinct, I'll never feel that pressure.

We are bathed in "live your dream" and "shoot for the moon" posters in elementary school, but I know a guy who's dream was to be a pro tennis player. And at age 22, he wasn't. And, guess what? That's when you're in the best shape of your life. Dream deferred? Nah, dawg, game over.

I give thanks for my spiritual education that has taught me to seek treasures in heaven instead of the flesh. What we do is just stuff. It's who we are and how we love that fill the pitcher full. But.

Friday I told my sister how I revisited my high school blog recently and how comical my life goals were when I was 15:

"Seven things to do before death( these all are very difficult to actually accomplish)
1) find out what deja vu is
2) fall in love
3) be on SNL
4) go to state in speech or group interp
5) paint a pretty picture
6) look really hott for something important*
7) eat an entire box of chocolate while watching my favorite movies"

Embarrassing/hilarious. But, at least I'm 6 for 7...subjectively.* I mean, obviously there's one goal here that doesn't quite fit in with the others in terms of ease/lack therof...

Pookie exclaimed, "Do it! Go be on SNL!" But, one, that's not something you can just do. Two, there are formal steps I could be taking to improve my chances, but I'm not in an appropriate location for that, and I'm not going to drop out of school. And, THREE, I don't actually think that's my dream job anymore. I really don't. Each passing year edges me closer to page and further from stage. I'm no longer a performer who writes. I'm a writer who performs. Probably in terms of talent, surely in terms of preference.

There are some things I can do to keep poking at the possibility of New York sketch comedy in my future. (Oh, that's a whole other thing. I don't want to live in New York!) I can keep writing sketch (I've been distracted this semester by major focus on my newest play). I can do more stand-up. (But, it stresses me out, and it often interferes with my grading routine.)

It's not an end-all, be-all dream, so I 'm not too concerned with making end-all, be-all strides in that direction. Maybe I want to be a classroom educator forever! Maybe an English teacher! But, wait, my resume is thin. I don't have time for more English classes so I can take more writing classes.

Maybe my biggest dream is writing the Great American Play? Doubtful though. Since I'd rather go to improv rehearsal than do rewrites. It's this horrid cycle of having several key interests and no dreams. On one hand, if I have no dream, my dream can never be crushed. On the other hand, I am a hard worker and an officious person, so right now without one clear focus, I pour over lectures to give my students and don't sleep in order to edit new scenes and only break from grading long enough to show up early to improv rehearsal. Since I don't know where I'm going, every single step is make or break. You might think, "That doesn't sound so bad. We should strive to do everything well." And I agree, but doing everything you do well is different than plain doing everything. And I know this was long to read, but I've been up for hours writing and I can't even tell you why.

Hey now, hey now. This is what dreams are made of.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pookie Caught a 6 AM Flight, and I'm Just Up Missin' My Sis

Six hours ago.
She thought it was a kiss. Nope. A lick.

Pride. Disgust.


Disgust. Comeuppance. 


But I think it's best if we both stay, stay, stay, stay.

Monday, November 19, 2012

And Lights

Light is a miracle too. There's this power that illuminates! That light even exists at all is incredible. And then when I think that I have the power to erase the dark from an entire room with the mild force of my finger on a plastic wall tab...and I am given this power--no, I feel entitled to this power--without even having to ever understand it?

Biking home tonight the AMPM looked so beautiful. Barf if you want, but it did. The purple top being lit up by a trillion pennies of light. Little spots pouring down onto each pump. Red 98 CENT sign in the background. Next to the block letters of the Mexican place I've got a gift certificate to. Ro smokes two cigarettes on my porch and the end is a teeny torch, making our faces glow. The jets crossing over my condo, blink blink. Blink blink.

You little wonder, you. Wish you could see it too. Baby, how I see you.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


A moment of appreciation for water. Life is truly a miracle. Not only is my civilized life a miracle in that this magical fluid lives inside metal cylinders ready for my every need, but Life as we know it on Earth is a miracle because there is this substance that cleanses, that hydrates, that in different forms both  floated and sunk the Titanic.

I am so grateful for water right now. I am in a sleepy slump--still behind a giant paper mill of grading, but also in bed--with wet hair from rinsing on the account of chlorine in my hot tub, which Bug and I just melted into after nomming on the s'mores bars I made. A plastic movie theatre cup on my bedstand--full of the stuff.

Lil melon I picked up at the farmer's market in September. Had to bike home with it.
So I hope I never see the ocean again,
pushing and pulling at me as I go deeper and deeper in--
'til I'm so far from my shore, so far from what I came here for.
I let you surround me.
I let you drown me out with your din,
and then I learned how to swim.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Known Your Onion

I believe there is a reason you were alive today every day. It's your job to find it.

Shells waiting... 
...for "Best Dessert in AZ." September 2012.

God speed all the bakers at dawn. May they all cut their thumbs, 
and bleed into their buns 'till they melt away. 
I'm looking in on the good life I might be doomed never to find. 
Without a trust or flaming fields, am I too dumb to refine? 
And if you'd 'a took to me like--
Well, I'd a danced like the queen of the eyesores,
and the rest of our lives would 'a fared well.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thee Pop-Tarts by Anton Chekhov

In the past month I've eaten three new kinds of pop-tarts!

1. Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tart. A! It tasted like pumpkin pie! But crunchier! I wrote about it in my annual pumpkin review. Google my full name and "pumpkin." Ye shall find!
LOLOLOL PART OF THIS BALANCED BREAKFAST (Strawberries who am I kidding?)
2. Is the I-Scream Cone Pop-Tart. D-. Sprinkles on a nasty lil choco tart with sugary vanillia(ish) interior. Not sweet enough to be dessert, but definitely not breakfast.

3. I've seen "Confetti Cake" Pop-Tarts on shelves for a long time now, and I'm always not into it (ditto the Sugar Cookie'd think I'd try anything once, but. No.) But then, Kelloggs changed the little picture on the box from a block of white cake to a cupcake, and voila, it's in my grocery cart.

I TA until 7:15 on Thursdays. And the movie we were watching went a million years late. And I had to talk to students. And I biked home. At 8:30 PM I was famished and so excited for my date with these puppies.

Major A. Tasted like a cupcake! For real! Not too sweet! So enjoyable! Confetti sprinkles!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Is Appropriate (Huh)

"I love when we talk about what is appropriate for young girls." Hill Gchats me. She is at the front of our giant lecture class we team-TA, and I am in the back, while the 150 film students (mostly men) discuss Kick Ass and how that child was overly-sexualized despite there being no mention or allusion to sex with/for her in the film.

"Her clothes are tight," someone says, referring to the spandex superhero costume she wears. Huh.

I wrote "Huh?" in the feedback section of a student essay after "I don't know what you're saying in paragraph two." Then I quoted the nonsensical sentence. This guy accosts me after class: "Your feedback was unprofessional, rude, and not helpful at all."

Baffled, I followed his finger to the "Huh." I explained I meant I didn't understand, but he attacked again. And then he stood there arguing his paper was much better than I graded it. Meanwhile, he cannot look me in the face. His eyes keep dashing down to my low hanging wooden necklace and back up and down and back up and down.

In our improv show today, Skars was explaining a game, so I walked across the stage to grab my water bottle and two goofy guys sandwiched me with their bodies. I gave a faux shriek. This is part of ensemble work. Skars turned around and said, "C'mon, Alice! Get it together!" and the entire audience laughed. I scampered offstage, and from behind the flats I hear Skars, "Always trying to get attention. Look at how she's dressed!" I cry out in mock anger, "I dress like a librarian!" But it's true. I'm wearing a knee length purple dress and an extra large knit sweater that makes any curve of my body impossible to see.

Last week everyone at work got an e-mail with dress code reminders. "That's weird," I thought. "Who is this for?" Everyone looks good at work. The next morning one of my superiors comes directly up to me. No good morning. Just, "Did you get the dress code e-mail?" I say yes, and she raises her eyebrows.  I have no words. I mutter, "Is this not...?" And I reach for my bra strap, which admittedly is peeking around my shoulder, but before I can even apologize I'm hit with, "I see three violations in one outfit." I look down. It's my knee-length orange polka dot dress. I am only quizzical, so she says, "It's a bit short." I stand and show her how it is much longer than my fingertips. "Well," she says, "Definitely not shorter than that." And then she says, "And cleavage." The dress completely covers my whole front. There is not an option of anything else. I show her the cut. I say, "But, you can't see anything" to which she replies, "I could when I walked by." It's not possible! She tells me to wear a sweater and grimaces half-heartedly like, "Yup, those are the rules, wish they weren't, bummer!" My male co-worker was next to me the whole time. Listening and watching someone else define what parts of my sack of flesh that can and cannot be seen.

I love when we talk about what is appropriate for young girls. Huh.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Trust Me on This

Can we all agree that everyone has something to offer the world? I think we can. Well, okay, actually, I don't care if you think so. This is my blog and I think so.

In artistic communities it's easy to get judgmental. There's so much subjectivity for the taking! But, look, you have to dang trust that something amazing can come from any one or any idea at any time. It feels horrible to produce art and get flat out denial of potential. And, it's frankly never true. There's no such thing as a complete artistic failure. Even I like that one Starlight Express song.

So start with the standpoint of This Could Be Great. Then move on from there. I'm not saying nothing should ever be scrapped or everything is good. No! Far from it! I'm just saying, trust me on this.

Take me to everywhere,
but don't abandon me there.
Just want to say I've been.
I believe in you completely
though I may be dreaming sweetly of the--
I can hear the train, here again.
Can’t explain that midnight train, that midnight train.

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12th

Last night a staged reading of my newest play went up. This production has been a point of stress in my life since my proposal for the show was accepted last year. It was garbonzo bean size when I left school in April, rolled to the size of a lion cub by summer (conceptualizing etc.), and by yesterday morning I could barely breathe with the Taj Mahal of anxiety that had been constructed on my chest. Two hours pre-show I was too inebriated by worry to even lead my cast in a warm-up. I secluded myself and got my tech cues together and stared at my shaking hands.

I feel good now that it's November 12th. I've been looking forward to this date for a long time. Last night after the lights came on, and I ran a talkback, and I hugged and thanked friends, and the cast went out for froyo, and I got onto my scooter, and I got into bed, I felt overwhelmingly emotional: happy it went well, nervous it didn't go as well as it maybe should have, grateful for my hard-working cast, surprised by some zany comedy friendos who actually showed up, disappointed by peers who didn't make it, unsupported, supremely supported, worn the heck down from being "in charge," excited by the idea of rewrites, horrified by the idea of rewrites. Mostly? Just tired.

Hill asked me what my favorite part was, and I answered truthfully the bows (to "Hey Hey Hey" by Jack's) because I knew it was OVER. I really do hate seeing my work performed--it's part of that terror I blogged about a couple weeks ago. I know it's just an itty bitty thing, but I dunno, as an artist if you don't take the itty bitties seriously, the serious things never happen for you.
Me and the cast post-show
But, ultimately, mostly thanks to the affirmation of the people shown above, this morning I woke up fresh as a daisy. Terror at bay, emotions drained besides an aftertaste of pride, mental space immediately filled with what comes next. I am very grateful.

Where I'll be tomorrow is God only knows,
seems there's science at hand, but I'll finish the shows when I land.
I said hey hey hey. We're all gonna die.
Hey hey hey. We're all gonna die--

we're all gonna die someday.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dad on Frankl

Today is my poppa's b-day. I sent him an e-book of Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, which is a philosophical book by an academic who survived the Holocaust.

Talked to him this AM:
"I mean, you know what this is, right? Just another smear campaign on the Nazis. It's like, they got a free place to stay, food...there's just no pleasing some people!"

September 2012

Happy Day to a great Dad!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Proud to Be an American

Drones closed last weekend, and while I was relieved because I started to drown by the end of the process, it's typical to feel slightly sad when a show is over.

The cast after opening night.
Our curtain call music was "Proud to Be an American"--a song I've always despised. It takes me back to middle school when it played incessantly on the radio post-9/11. Even at that age I was skeptical of it's message. I have a vivid memory of hanging around a Poms competition and that song blasting through this giant gymnasium and all these people singing and clapping, and all I could wonder is "Why is being terrorized something to be proud of?"

I'm not anti-America. I'm really not. I love my country f'real, but the song is hokey and a bit unwarranted. Drones was about military ethics and, in my interpretation of the play, how screwed up they are. Our director chose that song kinda ironically, and I loved bowing to it.

So, while ten years ago a super emotional song did nothing for me even though it was linked to horrible tragedy, now, I will always feel nostalgic when I hear "Proud to Be an American" because it will transport me back to the black box in Arizona, waiting for my cue lines with Simba next to me making faces and scrolling through Instagram.

And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died, and gave that right to me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


You guys! So remember when I got hit by a truck? Yeah, I was carrying my computer--not awesome. It started malfunctioning, and it's now in the Mac shop until this weekend! Hence lack of blogging.

But, Macs doing an 800 dollar repair for free. I love you, Apple. And I'll be back soon.

I'd write more, but I'm on my phone, so.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Some Thoughts on Dating (Part III)

Recently realized a sexist thing I think. We all know ladies who date guys and then are hyper aware of their critical opinions. I'm not that way, but even I understand. Like when Kay and I took Poetry I together our sophomore years of college, and I valued his opinion more than anyone else's--despite him being in the bottom half of knowledgable (in terms of that class).

I was thinking about a friend of mine who is very talented, but the guy she's into has a completely different style than she does. Thus, he doesn't appreciate her work. Thus, she doesn't appreciate her work. Super annoying.

Then, I wondered if I knew guys like that, and I realized I have, but in my eyes they've always been victims of pushy and over-bearing girlfriends of doom. Uh oh. I subconsciously always blame the girl! Never fear, I  have been shocked out of my own backwards thinking, and I will go forward with more understanding that sometimes girls who conform have been manipulated and sometimes boys who have been manipulated need to grow more spine spindles.

Bug and Kale at improv rehearsal last Sunday. I took a picture because she looked like she stepped right out of an episode of Dawson's Creek on her way to Lillith Fair. But the ladies of my improv troupe accepted her ANYWAY.
I don't wanna wait for our lives to be over.
I wanna know right now what will it be?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Some Dating Thoughts (Part II)

Magazines are deceptive impish devices. I've talked about this before. I used to love them, but oh man, do they wreck you. After a ten minute browse of Cosmo, I need a new wardrobe and body and boyfriend AND OMG 60 DOLLAR MASCARA I NEED IT.


At some point in my life, probably around ten years ago, after I had exhausted every ounce of copy in a CosmoTeen, I read the Editor's note. And I never forgot it.

In summation: The editor displayed two pictures of herself--a headshot from her 20s (skimpy dress, pouty face) and a school photo from middle school (mini-fro/perm, corduroy pants with zipper undone).  She talked about how she was so much happier in the former. Who friggin cares how she looked? Pretty big idea for an impressionable teen. Then, she went on to discuss how around the time of the sultry pic, she went to a party and saw a super perfect guy there. She approached him as perfect as she could be, and he totally bit the bait. They started dating, and she never actually liked it because she was being what she thought he wanted. She broke up with him, and he was semi-devistated. Of course he was! He had no clue where that came from. She explained subjectivity in success in terms of dating. Whoa. Blew my brace-face brain wide open.

Anyway, those were some pretty rad lessons to learn at that age. And I got them from a semi-vapid place. Thank you, you CosmoTeen editor, wherever you are...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Some Dating Thoughts (Part I)

Kale's boyfriend is a weirdo. Weird-o. Doesn't help one of the first times I met him he was high off Pepto Bismol running around our sketch rehearsal and screaming the N word.

When they started dating, it was like, "Wait. Wut." And then I went away for summer, and in that time they fell in love. When I came back, it didn't take very long at all to see that they are great together. A clear case of a romantic relationship pulling both parties up toward betterment.

Because of Kale, the bf seems more tender. Like, he's still a nutjob, but now, he's like...a nutjob that someone loves. And that someone will take care of him and his nuttiness. We don't have to worry about it. When he starts screaming about harvesting babies (or whatever) in my improv class, no one is worried, "Oh no. This kid is too strange." We look over at Kale, laughing to herself, and believe there's a sweetness to his extremity.

Here dey is at Shells' birthday dinner. April 2012.
I don't think people need to be in relationships. I don't think we're here to become part of a whole. But much to my chagrin, there is a validity involved. I must admit.