Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

Lately I've been affectionately calling myself a "little sluglet" since Winter Break began, which is code for "lazy scumball."

Examples of being sluglet:

-my daily uniform of the same hot pink tank top that reads "I DON'T SWEAT I SPARKLE" and gym shorts SUP, BOOOYS!
-my diet, like yesterday's dinner of three Fannie Mays and second dinner at 11 PM of potato skins dipped in ranch
-how the same junk mail has been laying on my bedroom floor since November, RIP rainforest, I step on Children's International kids faces er'ryday
-any task I have to do takes me about eight times as long as when I'm in school (I learned about how gators go into "hibernation" but that doesn't mean they sleep, it just means they stop processing their food and move like molasses, only coming out to lounge in the sun and I can def relate)

But I wasn't always this way! No, I wasn't. It's very very hard to remember on days like today when I've literally just cleaned the debris of my disgusting vacation lifestyle and watched Sister Wives, so I'm providing a tidy lil list of neat thangs I did in 2013. It's a boring list, but sometimes it's nice to see what can be done in a year.

Profesh Ish

-taught/TA'd four college classes, one that I designed from scratch
-had a play workshopped at a theatre conference in Alaska
-rewrote and watched my thesis play get produced
-got a job writin' for a theatre journal reviewing new works
-another two semesters of classwork completed, one remains
-another two semesters working with disabled students
-auditioned for and accepted to The Program
-devised a new play for kiddos at summer camp
-did a lil freelance speech high school coaching/judging
-performed at National College Improv Tournament Nationals, did a spot at fall improv fest, a lil standup, a new works festival, a couple bits at Encylo Showz
-workin' on two screenplays

Personal Ish

-met and fell in love with a really great guy
-moved to a new home with new wonderful roommates
-took an Alaskan cruise with my mom and sistah
-roadtripped to the north woods with my dad to visit my aunt
-traveled to Vegas, South Carolina, and San Diego!
-hosted three of my best friends in one month!
-made some new frands (Cager, Lavender, Rora)
-experienced hella culture (MUSE concert, read Heartbreaking Work, saw Clyborne Park, many excellent films, etc.)
-and, of course, progressing as a human being through trials, gratitude, and reflection
Roomies.
It's not a ton, and it's not glamourous, but these small steps add up, you know? Tomorrow it begins again. Good food, good sleep, good organization, good person.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Please Do Not See The Wolf of Wall Street

People will tell you this movie is the best of the year, and there are merits, sure. Their names are Leo, and Jonah Hill. Also there are def some solid comedic scenes/lines, it's an overall entertaining movie, and it's well-made. The soundtrack is baller, it clips along, some of it is very pretty. BUT ALSO:

1. GD MISOGYNY.

Yeah, I get it. If you indulge in hotties and refuse to make serious emotional connections, you're unahppy. But do we need to keep seeing this played out over and over--meanwhile sexualizing women for 98% of films and then adding a little escape hatch of "but it's bad"? OVER IT.

2. IT AIN'T NEW.

What do most audiences think about Wall Street? That stoke brokers suck. That capitalism allows for some real self-indulgent dingbats. That they get away with everything. Well, thanks for a movie that affirms everything we thought when we entered the theater.

3. JORDAN BELFORT IS AN EFFING JERK.

The whole movie is about how much of a toolbox JB is, and what a swindler, and he totally does not get served as much justice as he should be. Because he's the worst. But guess what? He is now synonymous with only the most lovable and respected movie star in America. So no matter how despicable he truly was, we still kind of think he's awesome. PLUS, HE IS MAKING MORE MONEY OFF THE MOVIE. Not just indirectly is it screwed up that this terrible human continues to make millions in speaking events and book sales, which will only blow up more as a result of the film...I LITERALLY JUST GAVE HIM MY MONEY BY SEEING THIS MOVIE. Rage puke.

Spoilery: That final shot. Bisque said it redeemed the movie a little because it shows "Whoa, look at this d-bag, and how money didn't make him happy, and, yet, hundreds of people still want his get-rich-quickness." And then I was like, omg, it's a mirror image of the theater. All these people just staring at a monster, totally engrossed.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

He Was Somethin'

"It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come."--Dalai Lama

Beloved.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dream 12.22.13

The craft studio was sort of like the one at camp. I don't know why I was there, but so was Steve Martin. There were a lot of people milling around this studio, but no one else recognized him. When he didn't seem too busy I sat next to him and tried not to gush. "I love your work, all your work," I said. I quoted my favorite poem of his from Cruel Shoes. He smiled and asked me about my life. He set to work at his table covered in cheesecloth.

James Earl Jones was kitty corner at a wheel. He had overhead our conversation and presented me with a clay figurine. It was brown and sort of looked like an offensive rendering of a black baby. James Earl Jones told me it was a talisman. Steve Martin then presented me what he had been working on. A big card designed with light blue clouds. In cursive he had written encouragement about my future, my writing, my life. At the bottom in bigger font he had scrawled, "For I am not long for this world" over a doodle of his feet in 50s loafers floating to heaven.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

26 Snapshots of Fall 2013

Cutting berries at the kitchen island to Counting Crows in underwear.
Dancing to "Ain't No Mountain High" at the Beverly Hills Montage.
Feet up in the back row of the blackbox, hospital bed on stage.
Festive trainride to the Walnut Room. My mom's gloves.
Standing at the basement green lockers, red, getting screamed at.
Opening the garage after my dad had visited. New lightbulb.
Corner of my boss's office, scanning papers in the dark after close.
Lavender spilling her guts about love, sun blinding us. Chais in hand.
Legs across Bisque's lap. We whispered throughout Insidious 2.
Pumpkin cake wafting into living room ghost story night.
Rora, Ro, and me. Catfish buffering on the trunk in front of us.
The nerdiest kid high kicking in improv warm-ups.
Dizz running out of her house to hug me as Jamin vined behind her.
Power-walking past the tan houses at 6 AM Wednesdays.
Running a five down the lake with Bex in 100 degrees. College mems.
Two-man improv sets in my bedroom with Shells about ghost abortion.
Kevin Smith's book on airplanes. On couches. Late late late.
"Not my fault, the fault of the earth, and the sweet scent of your hair."
Inspecting the haunted house wall paint. A clown cackling behind me.
Leftover pilaf on the balcony. People partying below. Bikes chained.
Jillian Michaels to Orange is the New Black.
Blasting Frozen under my fur hood on Black Friday, northside.
The very real "Was Titanic good?" debate with my Screenwriting kids.
Everyone in playwright's workshop stumbling over the n-word.
Peeling myself off the sticky sheets, stumbling into doorless bathroom.
Opening the email from The Program after standing up from Jillian Michaels. I called up the stairs to my dad, "I got in." He yelled back, "To what?"

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Charleston

Dad texted me, "You had anscestors who were on Folly Island during the Civil War." I texted back with a rare three exclamation point response: "We're staying at Folly Beach!!!"

DAD: History repeats itself.
ME: I'm mainly eating brunches.

Cocoa & s'more cake.
Biscuit & grits.
South Carolina is an old place that neither Bisque or I had never been to. It's funny when you travel alone with someone. You sort of are on an island--real or fake, historic or not. You make jokes at the start of the trip about the street sign "Courtenay" and repeat it over and over like a Forrest Gump "Jen-nay!" until it's funny, and it always is, every time. There's a little anthropology needed to unpack the vacation conversations. It all bleeds together. There's no one else.

Angel Oak: biggest oak in da world.
We slipped in an out of Southern accents. We saw Fort Sumter because I am my father's daughter and it didn't seem right to skip it. We looked at canons for half an hour and spent the remainder of the time waiting for the boat on a grassy patch under the confederate flag. I took out the Ziploc of snickerdoodles from Hill. A deer had smelled it in my purse the day before and followed me around the plantation petting zoo. I spent an extra minute admiring the pigs. They deserve life like people deserve life. The slave quarters were white and small. We saw from the nature tram.
Slaves lived here.
Meanwhile, we took happy caramel bites where the war began. "Six hundred thousand people died for this," Bisque said as he chomped again. It was a sunny day.

We had seen it rise. Because I had been up since three anyway. Donned those fleeces and stood with our iPhones bitter and quiet waiting for the star to peek over the water.

Our final afternoon we finally kicked off our shoes to make contact with the ocean. This is Bisque's very first time touching the Atlantic. We stood at the shoreline patiently waiting for the tide.
The mome.
Famous graveyard.
It was both charming and creepy to walk on cobblestones downtown. We started the trip with a ghost tour, so that sets a mood of sorts. We kept passing the Starbucks that was once a gallows. That type of thing. One day it ends. But it doesn't. Roots roots roots.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Insomnia in South Carolina

I have it. So far, so vacay good. We have a balcony room! View:
We went to a plantation yesterday. I fell in love with these creatures called "guinea hens"--chubby little squawky things.
Also saw SEVEN gators sunning themselves! So much fun to be had on the plantation! Meanwhile! A few generations ago, slavery!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Problem with America

SHELLS: Alice and her boyfriend etc. etc.
SHELLS' ROOMMATE: Wait, I always thought Alice was a lesbian.
SHELLS: What? Why?
SHELLS' OTHER ROOMMATE: You know. She's all about women's rights and vegetarianism.
SHELLS: So she's gay because she's a...strong person?
Shells Birthday last April.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Second to Last Semester Bluez

I am in the middle of finals, and I hate everything. I can't believe how different my similar life feels from Fall Finals of grad school one in 2011 to Fall Finals of grad school three in 2013. Two years is a lot! Do not underestimate two years.
Do you remember every block?
Every minute of every walk we used to take?
We were young, so many years ago.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Toleration

Wednesday a student I was proctoring in the testing center yelled at me. He was absolutely disgusted by the Dell computers from 2000 he was expected to use ah pah pah pah. He complained about the wrist strain but all I could do was explain that's all we got. He asked who he could complain to and I didn't really know. I said I'd ask and that I knew we'd been trying to get new computers for a while. He countered, "Just tell someone it's for the engineering school and you'll get them yesterday." It's true. When I go to engineering/sciencey buildings it's like I'm in AI with Haley Joel, meanwhile the bathrooms in the theatre office building make me feel like I'm hangin' out in a Goosebumps novel about a Depression Era toilet ghost.

Anyway, this guy had several problems, panics sessions, angry whisperfests in the silent "distraction free" room. I kept outlining his options, but the truth is, he was just scared, not totally prepared for his final, and needing something/one to blame. As he got snippier and snippier, it was getting to be a feat for me to stay cool and reasonable. The guy left, grumbling, and I overheard him talking to one of my bosses. "Oh!" She chirped, "No worries, I'm sure everything will be just fine." And she really meant it. I don't know. If I had been that student, I might have wanted more. I personally need the solid answers, but apparently not everyone does, as what finally calmed this dude was actually not all the explanations in the world (my approach) but a simple affirmation of peace (my boss's game).

Yesterday as I was clocking in, serendipitously the student crossed me in the hall. "I'm sorry about yesterday," he said (sincerely). "It all worked out. I passed." I congratulated him, and he went on his way. And it's weird, he was relieved. I could tell. Maybe it was rollover from the test results, but I'm almost certain it was a "Oh good. I can apologize" in his eyes. I like this. To me this makes me realize...people are good. We want to apologize. We feel better when we do. How else would we have that strand of emotion if we weren't good?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ashley Simpson

ME: Ate two cookies for dinner. Boop.
BISQUE: That's how I know it's still you.

Sugar cookie versions of us.
Oh, it's as if you know me better than I ever knew myself.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Debris

Cobra has this magnetic, wonderful energy. Everything is BIG, which I imagine could be tiring, but we have coffee like once a month so everything's glitter canons and gossip. She came to the Saturday evening performance of my play last month. She bustled up to me at intermission, bright-eyed, "You went for the jugular!" She said and talked my mom's ear off about how much she wants a boyfriend and how no one goes for the jugular in writing anymore. In the talkback, she set the discussion ablaze piping in several times. People felt comfortable adding their findings. It was the best night of feedback for certain.

When I met with her a couple weeks ago I wanted to thank her for it. She had made fire. But when I brought up the talkback she sort of flushed and apologized for being so open and explosive that night. She had left embarrassed. "Why did I say so much? That wasn't my place." But from my perspective of the big picture, she was invaluable. You bring honesty, and you bring the party! I told her this and she was absolutely deflated by relief.

When I was a junior in high school my calculus teacher began a lesson and suddenly crumpled into sobs. Her son had been deployed to Iraq that morning. We all knew she didn't want to be there. She would have paid a lot of money to erase that image from our minds, but some of us needed to see it. This grown good smart woman wrecked by fear and war.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Well, Now They Know

A really cool thing one of my classmates said recently post-directing a staged reading of one of her news plays: "Most importantly I realized some people liked things one way and others liked them another way. I can't make everyone happy, so I might as well just do what I want. Which is a relief."



I don't care
what they're going to say.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tourquey Day


Gratitude is an all-directional activity. Thankful for what we have, what we had, and since things have always been good, what we will have.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chanel No. Five

Saw a Chanel ad yesterday on Hulu that superimposed a Marilyn Monroe quote about wearing No. Five to bed onto old black and white photos of her. It's not a surprise her presence long recedes her--the woman was an icon. But it sort of blew my mind that that little part of her entire life has receded so far into the future. The bombshell used Chanel No. Five. Marketable info for decades.

I wonder how heavily Marilyn considered taking on that ad campaign. Maybe she really did love Chanel No. Five, and she was happy to support it. Maybe she looked at all the zeros on the contract and happily signed away, a foster kid from the 30s. There's a slight chance she didn't want to degrade herself to a commercial, but it was a ritzy one. So? I wonder if it ran through her mind, "It's just a commercial, what does it matter in the course of my life?" Little did she know she didn't even have much life left. Or maybe she did know, and that was the point. Regardless, maybe she knew when she passed at age 36 we'd still be talking about her fifty years later. But even if she did, could she have imagined me? A 90s kid watching her ghost rep perfume and womanhood in general? I don't know the person who invented the creative behind the ad to begin with. He might be dead too. Could he picture me? Just because he has no face or name to the world at large doesn't mean what he did doesn't matter. It matters big. Or at least it did yesterday morning when I thought all these things in conjunction to his work. Legacy is part of the American Dream. A problematic, unhappiness suck of a black hole. But legacy need not be sought. It is part of existing.
Friends hula-hooping. November 2013.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Forks

Suns are setting. This was a particularly amazing one a couple weeks ago.

What kinda scale compares the weight of two beauties,
the gravity of duties,
or the groundspeed of joy?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Crunch

Not sure how many times I've eaten
at the student union Taco Bell.
A lot
I guess. But I hadn't been since
last January.
Not because I'm being healthier
or something. Just because I got tired of it.

"I'm eating healthy all week," I had announced
because I had a monster of a diet
this weekend thanks
to speech tournament judging, a Friendsgiving,
general Sunday ice cream couchtime.
And I didn't feel good.
Then yesterday as my shift at work ended
I was just
ravenous
for
only
Taco Bell.
So I made my way over and realized
I never see this side of campus anymore.
I saw a student from work in the distance.
When I run into them not in the context of their disability I think
some stuff
about people.
I sat outside at a two-person metal table
in the shade.
A girl came out right after me,
had to sit at the next table back.
I opened the crunchwrap. A bird
pooped on my arm.
If I hadn't been there,
it would have been the gal behind me
wearing a long-sleeve blouse.

Ran into Hill by the theatre office.
Pop cup in hand, I explained, "I was going to eat healthy all week."
Haha, taco cravings! I gestured to the Coke.
She texted me last night:
"I may have Taco Bell today for the first time in forever.
You have shaped the future."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Instead

This morning gifted me a particularly beautiful Arizona run. The week is starting. A big week. I was pounding out anxiety and grump and hope. My iPod was on shuffle, and this little gem caught my ear. Perfect. So perfect. It was from a fat playlist of albums Lazz gave me right before I moved far away from the Midwest.

Oh, I wish I had a suntan.
I wish I had a pizza and a bottle of wine.
I wish I had a beach house.
Then we could make a big fire every night.

Instead I'm just crazy. I'm totally mad.
Yeah, I'm just crazy, and ______ in the head.
And maybe if I really try with all of my heart
then I could make a brand new start in love with you.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sleepless in Seattle

Cannot sleep. Sending class emails and trying to grade. But it's so late for grading.

I miss AIM. I do! You could say texting is the new AIM, but in times like this it's not. There used to be a place you could go, a thing you could log into, and you'd find everyone else who was down to talk--whenever that may be. I'm not interested in sending half a dozen creepy "You up?" texts. Sometimes you just want to feel like it's not only you in this world of insomnia. Or! Sometimes you want to graze on a conversation over homework. GChat is so important and quick. AIM was lazy. AIM was multi-task. I miss the rush of seeing the bestie, the bf, the old pal on. It was special. It felt written in the stars, or at least in a blog. Having access to everyone makes us less accessible, kills a baby of the fun.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Difference

Tonight was impromptu ladies night in our bungalow. Pake walked through the front door with Ro right as Rora and I were sitting down on the couch. I had a huge bowl of spinach. Fistfuls of cooked spinach. I can never get through those huge boxes, but, oh, do I try.

Naturally we talked about stealing and the petty crimes we did or didn't commit as teens. Then it was time for that reality TV show about Gypsy weddings. Fascinating. Pake left and we got to talking more. No TV, no music. Ro shopped us a question she'd been considering: What do you think is the one quality you hope people see you as? What do you think that is currently?

And I guess what's the most interesting is that...there's a difference there. We know what we want to be, but we're probably not there yet. Rora kind of is. She's so great. I might be partially there, and it's not like I think I'm a Tremor*, but it's a long road. Or, actually, it isn't? We could all just be it? The seeming length of the journey to just BE is an illusion akin to the red staircase leading to the third Bowser in Mario 64.

They're good questions to ask. They're...important questions to ask.
Party time. September 2013.
It's important to reiterate how good it feels to live with women at this time in my life. The first time I really really felt this was my junior year in college. My roommate and I had the same schedule and we would get up, go to the gym, breakfast, and walk to class all together. Pretty cute actually. This meant I was on her sleep patterns more than my boyfriend's, and I gained so much from those sacred nights of laying in the dark, talking across the room from our twins. I was house president that quarter, and in a fit of guilt about my own power, I shafted myself with the worst room on the second floor. It was so tiny. But I'm glad we were only feet apart. We talked about so much. It was important.

The girls just went to bed. I'm an adult and my roommates have their own doors, but we have a living room. It is holy ground.

FYI, my answers: A Good Resource; Fair.

*Tremor as in land monster a la the films.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Birthday, Daddio

Texts, September 14, 2013

ME: What's up in [my dad's town]? I miss [the town] most in fall.
DAD: I am wearing my first flannel shirt of the season. Went to ____ to look at storm doors. Got a Culver's shake. Now on the couch to watch more of Homeland season 2.
ME: You're having the perfect day.
ME: Would love to be there.
DAD: I wish you were here.
DAD: Anytime.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Lamplight

Sometimes it feels like I could travel the entire galaxy and only be a hair closer to finding a light for the darkness. Even then, the light is barely flickering. One little teacup candle, far far away. In a windstorm. By a fan. And then the person sitting right next to me just, like, has a lamp.
Take a tip from me, don't go through the park
when you're on you're own. It's a long walk home.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Starfish: A Modern Parable


A young boy woke one morning craving to see his old friend the ocean. He wiggled into a sweater, laced his sneaks, and made for the beach. It was early morning, calm. But the previous night had apparently not been so. Thousands of starfish lay on the beach, drying slowly in the rising sun. They must have been tossed from their lives by a storm, and, now, they were goners. The boy sadly walked along the water's edge observing the loss of so many tiny lives.

Then he noticed a figure just down the bend. He started jogging. As the boy came closer, he realized the figure was a man, hard at work, picking up starfish that weren't just finished yet and throwing them back to the water. The man moved with focus, determination. The boy watched a few moments and the man continued to work and the beach continued to look basically the same despite the efforts of this stranger.

"Excuse me, sir," the boy said.
The man barely paused to look over and kept searching for the next creature. "Yes?" he murmured.
"It's just...you're working so hard. But there are thousands. It will not matter."
The man looked at the starfish in his hand. "It matters to this one," he said as he sent the little star soaring over the blue tides. Then he smiled. The boy smiled too. The man let out a fat guffaw. "NAH," he boomed. "Truthfully, I just really like chuckin' starfish."

And then the man laughed. Laughed a lot. "Wait, what?" thought the boy. But the man kept laughing. In good spirits the boy joined in. The man cackled. Like, an uncomfortable amount? The boy felt like he really didn't have another option other than to also keep laughing? The man's face turned red. The boy's too, out of sheer terror. Oh my God, is that a gun in his sock? Why didn't I notice his ICP t-shirt? Am I gonna die today?! Is today really the day I'm gonna

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Questions about Experiencing Things

1. If you discuss doing something with someone, and then you do it with someone else, do you suck? Even if there was no specific plan? Even if it's a thing you will do again (go to a restaurant)?
2. What are the benefits of experiencing something new with someone else who is also fresh to it? Benefits of experiencing things with someone who knows whasup? Benefits of being a knowledgable person in said scenario? Think about this in the context of travel.
3. Should you reserve some pieces of life to experience with certain people? The first person you tell big news to, for example. You will tell everyone, does it matter who you happen to inform first?
4. Can you ever erase initial experiences and replace with better ones?
5. What if there are things you want to experience alone, or at least for the first time? Is this offensive/ are you a sociopath?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Waiting Outside

My mom hates all things frightening. When I was growing up sometimes I could sense her confusion  as she walked past me curled up watching Lady in White for the twelfth time or examining a dead possum with just a touch too much enthusiasm. But it's who I was, and my mom shrugged it off like, "I dunno maybe she'll grow out of or into being a weirdo. Yolo?"

I love haunted houses. Like. So much. So so so much. Why aren't they open all year? I'll never understand. I have this really clear memory of being in middle school, reading about a haunted house in the newspaper one day. For some reason the attraction was closing that night or something, and I was el bummed of course. No one was free, it was a school night, etc. etc. But my mom was just super caj and all, "I'll take you." And she did! We donned jeans and headed to this dinky but creepy haunted house in a series of trailers. My mom sat at a picnic table with some paperwork, and I did my social studies homework in line until it was time to go in. I walked through alone, soaking up every drop of blood, every creep with a mask. I came out, and my mom was drinking hot chocolate. She had one for me too. She asked how it was. I told her my favorite parts, but I left out the things that would churn her stomach.

This is a thing I will never forget.
Birthday cupcakes for the Alices. Plus! A ghoul-friend! Mine was chocolate covered marshmallow.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Simple, Stupid

Exorbitance is so last season.

Campus at sunset Monday.
Now it's come to what you want, you've had your way,
And all the things you thought before just faded into gray.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Sister's Day Today

It's my sister's birthday. In honor, my favorite memory of her this past year:

I'd never seen a James Bond movie before, but I'd heard Skyfall was excellent. It was showing on the cruise, part of the "Movies Under the Stars" program. There was a giant screen above the pool on the top deck of the ship. A movie played every night. Popcorn was made, hot cocoa stand. The title was accurate. The stars were visible right above, just beyond the film. Glaciers slinked past. Sounds gorgeous, but it was also ALASKA AT NIGHT--read: face freezin' off.

Yet, my sister, even though she'd already seen the movie, gave in to my pleading to go. We joined the eight other people on deck chairs, piled on the blankets, pulled our hoods up. I brought us a plate of all the desserts and fancy cheeses offered in the buffet. She a book. "I can't feel my toes," she said forty minutes in. I puppy dog faced her. She pulled her hood in tighter and kept reading. Periodically I'd interrupt to ask a question about Judy Dench or something. We laughed a lot. We shivered. The double chocolate cookies were the best. "This movie is longer than I remembered," she garbled into her scarf. The credits rolled, we discussed the best parts, we shuffled our Uggs to our cabin.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Annoying Interruptions

I re-fall in love with Arizona every other day. It hit especially hard from the window of a tow-truck on Tuesday. I was in said truck because my scooter broke. The driver was super nice. He had a New York accent, and I knew I was in good AZ-lovin' company. A few feet closer to the palm trees up there. Fresh air in October, windows rolled down.

Got dropped off forty minutes before the shop opened. I sat in the shade on the sidewalk by an office. I made everyone uncomfortable even though I was wearing a harmless purple sweatshirt and eating ritzy Greek yogurt, reading on my iPhone. People entered the office through the side door, fiddled with their keys nervously. I didn't belong there.

I took the bus to school. The driver was a total nut and gave everyone onboard an extremely animated tour, screamed, "SEE YOU ON THE WAY BACK OR TOMORROW HAVE A GOOD DAY" to everyone stepping off. I was twenty minutes early for work. Sat on a stone bench and listened to Phantogram's new EP.

The truth is we hate anything that pops up that wasn't part of our plan. Don't mind that our plan isn't perfect. In fact, day after day, it's often boring. But, we still fret and groan about these annoying interruptions, that turn out to be not so annoying after all. I mean, it's not all rainbows and donuts. I had to buy a new battery. I was late to work the next day. But things were different. It was useful.

Monday, October 21, 2013

If You're Mad, Get Mad

It's 8 PM. Do you know where your Alice is? In bed. That's right, y'all. NOT IN THE THEATRE. My thesis play has closed. Big hurdle. Jumped.

I do not miss it. Not to say it wasn't a wonderful experience. It was. But every time the usher asked for my ticket and I responded, "Oh, I'm the playwright," I didn't feel the burst of Katy Perry triumph I Am Artist Hear Me Roar (I've got the eye of the tiiiiger!), I felt an impending doom like "I have to answer for this." I recognize how tired the tortured writer thing is, and I really don't put myself in that category, and yet here we are.

There is a lot I could say about this production and process, but the thing I want to say at the moment is that I believe in the power of reaction. The end of my play was controversial. I wrote an ending that didn't quite sit within the context of typical dramatic analysis and one that definitely didn't sit right with a majority of audience members. Some (many?) still enjoyed the thing (the play, yes, I'm calling my thesis "the thing"), but there's a squidgey discomfort about it. At the end of the play, people were confused, thirsting for different answers, and sometimes angry. And, I like that. Not because I believe in art as an inherent "stir people up and make em bonkers." But because I believe art should not only make us evaluate situations, but it should make us evaluate ourselves. And when we feel strong emotions (not just through the narrative, vicariously, but AT it--ie "I do not agree") we either reaffirm what we love, what we stand for...or we become more open-minded.
Act II, Scene ii.

I'm not saying the ending was perfect. I've got more revising to do. But there's importance in disliking things. I just wish I didn't have to sit in front of a crowd as the stamp for the disliked thing.

Earlier this week I watched the Miley episode of SNL over a bagel. Talk about someone who is disliked. But good for her for being such a THING. Such a disliked thing. Such a way for women to teach young women what not to be. But for who the media has been hounding as a complete trashball slut for the past month, there's still an innocence to this girl. She wore white, sat on a stool, performed an acoustic cover of "We Can't Stop." She really is a remarkable singer. Something in me fluttered when the camera closed in, she crooned, "It's my mouth I can say what I want to." I don't know. She stands for a lot of things I hate, but, also, I am hating AT those things, and that human is not a thing.

Plus, I love "Wrecking Ball."

Friday, October 18, 2013

Opening Night of True

Nervous. Excited.

Shells texts me emoji ghosts. The roommates yelp down the hall, "Tonight!" My sister presents me with a book of bat pictures. My aunt e-mails Xs and Os. Everyone's on my side.
True and Faith. Dress rehearsal.
Long black night, morning frost.
I'm still here, but all is lost.
Feel the storm every night, hope it passes by.
Hallucinate a shady grove where Judas went to die.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

High and Dry


Writing a play for high school girls. I have massive writer’s block, which is odd for me. But also, I’m just really grossly burnt out. I so don’t deserve to be. I just had fall break. This morning Ro stopped at home for a mid-morning cig and we sat on the back porch, her in work clothes, me in an over-sized Cosby sweater. It was like a game—“What stresses you out? This is what stresses me out.” And then we died laughing because we’re 20somethings just hanging out at 10 AM on a Thursday. How bad could it be? I mean, we recognized that, but then we paused, and all the grey stuff still hung over.

So, this writer’s block. High school girls. I plunged into some prime material: my old LiveJournal. It was just so sad. I mean, even when I was happy, it was still sad. This puddle of gloom, of “What will happen after this? This is all so fleeting.” College had umbrella’d since I was twelve. I clicked through other friends’ journals. None updated since 2006, 7. These kids stuck in cyberspace. And they were sad. So sad. Just like me! Girls I loved, girls I didn’t, girls I envied, girls who envied me. None of us were that different. But in each piddly little entry was a kind of hope. A hope that the writer was young and knew more was to come. Twinge of nostalgia for high school sure to end, but a feeling of relief that soon the confusion was over, the sad sack days were numbered.

Honestly, I liked high school, but I also grew up surrounded by TV and movies assuring me that growing up is supposed to feel like hell. At times it did, but that was apparently norms. College is more the mystery. Everyone I know went through some form of depression in college. But it wasn’t cute anymore. It's just wrong. "No one is supposed to feel this way anymore," you think. But deep down you know everybody does and this time it never ends.

Lena Dunham said in an interview last year that she created Girls to explore just what is wrong with youth culture. No one ever says they are happy when asked sincerely. For a while I took this as a challenge to be genuinely happy, and I think I was. I think I am. But it’s weird that the word “think” is in there.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mine and Yours

Woke up Sunday morning, stomach raging. I had planned to run but could only walk.  I took my time in Dizz's neighborhood. It's a nice place. That afternoon, after the schmancy brunch, after couchin', after chocolate almond bubble tea, we walked again. Dizz and I led the way, the boys trailed behind. I imagined Jamin asking Bisque "What are your intensions?" but actually they were probably yammering about Grand Theft Auto while Dizz explained how once at a wedding she led a miniature horse down the aisle. (Our lives are so different! Friendship!) I said she lived in a pretty place, and she said, "You have to take the good with the bad. The sidewalk...is cracked. But the palm trees? They are beautiful."

LA can be very bright. But also, sometimes you are going to a wedding in an hour and very angry at a gas station because there was serious miscommunication about whether or not you need to pre-pay and there are people everywhere and it is also dirty and honking is a thing. But then you, like, do get to the wedding and there was plenty of time and you look fine and you dance your booty off with your date.
This looks like a glob, but in all actuality it is one of the best desserts I've ever eaten. A chocolate peanut salted caramel bar, like, give me one for the rest of my life. There was literally a part of the night everyone was on the dance floor yelling at me and Bisque to get up and shake it, but we kept using our forks to point to the dessert the guy next to us didn't eat which we were consuming. We shrugged and mimed kind of: "Sorry? Dessert and stuff!"
As usual, it is hard not to think about love at these things. I know the couple but not that well. This is the first time I've been a weddin' date, and I have to say, it's interesting. I came to support something I'm not sure if I agree with at all. Who is to say these two are together foreva? But actually, being there made me believe it. It was just a buncha words--often simple, at times generic...but sincere. And now when I see the newlyweds around I will think that. I will think, "Yes, I believe in you and I hope it's going well."
On Sunday night we made our way to the ocean as we believe good lil travelers should do. It's just a buncha stupid water, but, my, do I love it.
Meanwhile, I shared a bathroom with my college bestie all weekend. Forever! I say.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Deux

May 2012.
Today was the last day of school before fall break. I toted my new floral purse to work stuffed with the lesson, Dave Eggers, and a banana I stole from Ro's fruit bowl. At work I coached a student through a panic attack and my boss asked me if I would walk in the homecoming parade to represent the disability center. "No, my family is coming to see my thesis play." I told her, and she asked if they might rather see the parade. She wasn't kidding, which was actually refreshing. It's just a stupid play. I left at 1 PM, trotted out in my grey sweater, waited on a sun-doppled bench under the small tree out front of the design building. I love the concrete bridge, the cul-de-sac where people kiss and ride. Shells pulled up, windows down, and yelled, straight-up yelled, "ALLLL ABOOOARD!" I cackled like crazy. She took her lunch to see Don Jon* with me. We bought matinee tickets and joined three other people in the theater. Shells and I have a very similar sense of humor, and there is nothing like that.

We snuck foil-wrapped Chipotle into the movie. In the parking lot we remembered it was the first place we ever hung out one-on-one. We'd already become fast friends through sketch comedy, so one afternoon almost exactly two years ago we ditched everyone getting drinks after the show for burritos. I keep writing and deleting what I love about her because it's just boring to everyone else, but, mainly, I am so grateful I showed up in the desert with no one and two years later am surrounded by someones. Things move. There's nothing to be scared of.

*This is my favorite movie I have seen in 2013. A+.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Snapshots of Improv Class (And Why I Love It)

Just so you know I haven't fully become a cranky theatre grad school elf, I should say I love teaching college improv. The world becomes better after each class. Kinda being cheesy. (Like, cue montage of me pushing open the blackbox doors to U2's "Beautiful Day" and like cartoon bluebirds chirp around my head as I smile at everyone in the Fine Arts Center.) But, partially, I really believe that my students and I become better after each class.

Some Wonderful Things That Have Happened Lately:

-I dismiss class, but say "I'll play a round of Beastie Rap if anyone wants to stay." They all stay.
-Two Entenmann's pumpkin donuts protected by only a Ziploc get decimated in my backpack. On my way to the trash I say, "Unless anyone wants them" and someone does.
-We play a goofy version of tag where when you're "it" you have to yell stuff, and a nice boy who always dresses in black runs ferociously after a girl in heels while screaming, "THE SUN'LL COME OUUUUT TOMORROW! BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR!"
-After getting feedback that the token awkward, shy guy always plays himself, I ask him to play the school hottie jock. He is still awkward, but adds details like, "I wasn't listening in class because I was texting my girlfriend who is a cheerleader."
-Today a student gave a history presentation on Christopher Guest.
-A kid sends me his homework via email, includes a poem with such lines like "I broke up with my girlfriend because she said like/ Hitler was a jerk 'cos of the Third Reich."
-At mid-term I make them sit in a chair in front of everyone and hear all their strengths and weaknesses from classmates. They often fidget, but no one has gotten defensive, and everyone has felt unique and appreciated. This has nothing to do with my teaching and everything to do with how you can't help but love people you improvise with.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Any Other Way

ME: I do not want this play to open. I'm going to bomb the theater.
CLARA: Why? You're good at what you do. If you bombed the theater, the theater will be gone. bombed. Sad, right?
ME: ...No. I'm a mean little grinch.
CLARA: I want to fly to you so much
ME: Me too.
CLARA: and punch you.
ME: No!
CLARA: You are going to be okay.
ME: Yeah.
CLARA: You are going to learn something you couldn't have learned any other way.
Two years ago.
CLARA: It's okay to be afraid. You don't always have to be unafraid.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Stick to Your Deal: Part II

The four of us were at the kitchen table full of markers and campaign stickers. My neighbor, vice president. Peppermint was to be secretary. Smidge the treasurer. And I was running for junior high study body president. Our ticket was SNAP--acronym of our names. ("It's a snap, vote for us!") We were writing our speeches. My big campaign promises were breakfast and a Christmas dance. Peppermint was most hesitant. She was scared of being on a ballot. She did not take rejection well. I'd seen her tear up during the thirty seconds people chose lab partners in Honors Science. Then we found out the Girl With the Best Handwriting was running for secretary too! From then on Peppermint was always muttering "I don't want to win anyway."

We drafted what we'd say at the assembly. "Maybe I don't have the best handwriting," she started. And my neighbor's mom, making up a tray of snacks for us (oh, to be thirteen again) hemmed in, "I wouldn't say that. Who cares? You don't need to make yourself look bad. Don't say that."

Humility is huge. We should be self-aware, but our weaknesses don't always have to do with the situation at hand. So don't make them. Stick to your deal.

I lost. I was runner-up. Out of six. Not bad. The faculty sponsor of Student Council told me "It was close." She leaned in, "Close." I was good. I ran for class rep and won. My mom was principal. She was there when the votes were tallied. I asked her how close. "You were definitely second. But there was a pretty big gap." She could have easily lied, but that's not how it was. Wasn't the honest result.
Middle school Poms team. Far left top Peppermint, left-mid Smidge, left-bottom neighbor. I'm also in here.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stick to Your Deal: Part I

"Stick to your deal" is a loaded phrase in improv. Practically it means if you come out on stage with a Southern accent, you better still have that accent when lights are pulled. Philosophically it means be interesting in and of yourself. Your scene partner might explode with some huge initiation, and, yes, you should cling on and support, but the scene will be flat if you're just a mussel on the boat. People use this metaphor for everything, but when the plane's going down, you put on your air mask first and then the passenger's next to you.

The darkest cove. Something was off with my ex-boyfriend. It was a lousy week. I asked, "What? You want to take a break?" And he shocked me. He didn't disagree. I shoved my face into my pillow. He got up and I started to cry. He paused in the doorway. And I know he felt bad for me. But he didn't come back. He didn't even turn around. He stuck to his deal, and it was probably one of the kindest things he ever did for me.

Fall had just begun. This is not what senior year of college is supposed to feel like. I was carved of my insides, but even then I knew how it could have gone. Who knows how many more weeks, months (years?!) of that "off"ness. I'd cry, he'd stay. He'd stay, I'd cry, and so on forever.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Look How Far We've Come

It's not uncommon for the guys in my improv class to play gay characters. I've known improvisers who introduce the fact that they're pretending to be gay as the joke. And that's the worst. That's just the worst. That kid who starts a scene with a lisp, and I'm like, "Cut. New choice."

The boys in my class end up gay because it's important to have a strong relationship in improv, and there are actually only so many of those in life: family, co-workers, friends, lovers. And which is most interesting? And because it's a college improv class the gender ratios are 1:3 girls to boys. Two-boy scenes are a thing. Two-boy love is a thing.

Monday two guys did this hilarious scene full of subtext about jealousy and inadequacy and they totally nailed it. Everyone hooted when I called Scene. The guys hugged because they had done good. No one felt uncomfortable. No one made a crack. There's a gay student in class (maybe a couple)--he (they?) were smiling. Sometimes straight boys date the gay boys' in improv land. All parties jump in free as birdies.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Not Anybody's Job

It's kind of weird that it's not anybody's job to make you unafraid.

I dreamt about my fiction professor from college last night--a courage pusher. I haven't thought about her in a very long time. Not that she didn't play a huge part in the formative years of my writing education. She's just not on the mem rotation. But there she was, with her maroon lips and long grey hair. Big smile. She's a horrible liar. I could tell she hated what I was writing, but she found something, some nugget she could sort of rally behind. I wasn't asking to feel what I didn't deserve to feel. Just to feel unafraid.

So I guess if you want to be immortal, don't worry about making the great American masterpiece, or making legislation, or even making a baby. Just make people unafraid.
May 2010.
"There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them."--Andre Gide

Friday, September 27, 2013

Be the Grace

"The thing is...the thing is, my test--it was today--but. Last night? I don't know what it was. I don't...some kind of food poisoning. I was--look, I was throwing up for, like...for like five hours. I threw up for five hours last night. And so. So. If I could talk to...potentially a doctor. I mean, to get out of the test."

This kid was rambling. Holding a peach skateboard. Built and tone, hip tank, but today scared. Poor guy. I'm just a dumb proctor. I can't ordain a retest. I talked to my supervisor. Okay, we decided. Okay, I will leave the office. I will walk across campus with this kid to his professor's class.

Today was gorgeous. Greens, a windy bluster. But this kid, this kid staring down was all, "What are the odds? I mean, I haven't been sick all semester. And...and now I'm late. I'm sure they hear this all the time, but I really really was sick." Poor, poor kid. We made a game plan. "Should I be next to you?" I asked. "Or should you ask alone?" We decided I would wait by the door. And I hear from down the hall, the kid saying the same word vomit about vomit. And the professor going "Yeah. Yup. Okay. Yeah. Okay?" Long long pause. Professor: "So, what? You wanna take it Monday?" Subtext: "This is Physics 102. I don't GD care when you take this dumb exam." I walked out, we chose a new time. The professor shrugged.

The kid WAS the sunshine. "I can't believe it!" He said over and over. "That was easy!" I agreed. "You know when you cram the night before? I didn't get to cram. I mean, I was going to fail."And he was a flurry with "So, what's your program? How do you like Arizona?" And we were a happy little two-let on the sidewalk. Because a tiny bit of grace goes such a long way.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wring

I'd rather write a play that you don't think makes sense than one that reaffirms what you thought you knew walking into the theatre.
Only know you've been high when you're feeling low,
only hate the road when you're missin' home.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Love You As Much As I Do

The first day of fall has not disappointed. Bisque and I drove into Phoenix right as the sun set. Gold over the highway. The windows are open. We didn't deserve this--it's been hot all week. But a respite, a hard-shift, for my favorite season.

This afternoon I was plugging away at revisions, feeling like a semi-failure, and I did something really annoying to my boyfrand. (The kind of thing I couldn't have gotten away with four months ago, but, here we are at eight months. I wear gym shorts on half our dates.) I set aside my computer, I tapped him, I asked, "What's your favorite thing about me?" Yes, I'm gross, but, come on, we all want to do it sometimes. And he gave an answer that did not have to do with the current play project/torture chamber I am in.


The people who truly love us in this world want to support what we do the most, but they care the least about how it actually turns out. Our primary work--ourselves--is what they're in it for. Talent, pay-off, success--these are nice things. But they are nice things that probably don't make you a better friend or girlfriend or sister or teacher or daughter or stranger or roommate.


You say I wanted you to be proud of me.
I always wanted that myself.
He says, "When you gonna make up your mind?
When you gonna love you as much as I do?"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Meaning-Making Monsters

In Writer's Workshop today we discussed some people's aversion to storytelling. "There isn't a story in that," re: a piece of pop-art. Or, "the author didn't intend that" re: a short story. But despite what is there, even if it's one image, stationary, that is a story to us. Maybe the art itself didn't give us one, but it gave of itself to our brains, and our brains make the meaning.

Lavender said, "I think it's because we all just want to believe there is purpose for everything." Without the story, do we have purpose? Perhaps not.
Relaxing rainy afternoon in Chicago. June 2013.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Take That Towel Off Your Head

There was a Muslim girl on my high school Speech team. She was quirky and her favorite game was asking people, "What if a dead body fell through the ceiling right now, what would you do?" She only wore long sleeves and always wrapped her hair. I asked her if she had ever been swimming, and yes, she had, at a Muslim summer camp.

Our team of 20ish kids gathered for our yearbook picture in brisk south suburbs February. We were all goobers, and the photographer had to shush us a few times. Right before he snapped the photo he said, sure as cement, "Will you take that towel off your head?" Silence. Our teammate tightened her jaw and just said, "No." We took the picture, shuffled back into our coach's classroom, and DIED LAUGHING. One coach wrote it on the blackboard, "Take that towel off your head." Another suggested we put it on the back of our sweatshirts. The girl's face was in a permanent "I cannot believe that just happened. What a GD idiot/lunatic." I thought the whole thing was hilarious too! Some dude who called what was clearly a religious garment a towel! See, I had never heard the term "towelhead" before, so I thought it was legitimate ignorance instead of prejudice ignorance.

Tonight I attended a lecture about humor in religion. It was interesting enough. The speaker--a professor from a prestigious school--basically tackled two concepts. The first--religion and comedy have a giant commonality: they were created to help people get through tough things. The second--a brief look at how humor plays a part in Judaism, Christianities, and Hindu/Buddhism. I repeat: it was interesting enough.

I was there because my thesis play (a comedy) explores religious themes. It also explores judgement (in conjunction with religious themes). Judgement and analysis from within a faith and judgement and analysis from outside a faith are two very different things. So I asked why is it we love to make fun of religion so much? I offended the speaker by saying, "For my demographic, religion and humor are basically synonymous." The dude stopped me and shook his head and gave a kinda PC answer, but was sure to end it with, "Those two are definitely not synonymous." But for me, it feels they are. Even religious people I know make fun of themselves--and DEFINITELY of others. If you must have faith, the least you can do for yourself as a 20something is not take it seriously.

Does my teammate still think about photo day? I hope so--because that means it was an anomoly. I truly do hope it's one goofy anecdote, and not a drop in the bucket. Did we make it all better when we joined in on razzing that moron? Or did we sweep her pain under the rug? No one else believed what she believed. Did she step forward from that day with more conviction? Less?

I left the talk repentant for speaking out of turn. Like, who am I to say what to an expert? Perhaps I THINK I look outside my own self, but not farther than others who are essentially just like me. And then this tall chick with the sides of her head shaved said, "I really appreciated your comment" as we left the hall. More.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pits

It's hot. It's really stupid hot, and I still love Arizona with all my heart, but I am done with above 100 days.

Summer is special. There is a feel. Limeade, reading novels, late mornings, what day is it. That feel is rancid in this September broil. Yes, I miss the forest of Michigan, I miss the sidewalk outside my dad's house, I miss the season of childhood freedom.

And I hate you, Arizona, for pretending it's not expired when it's roadkill.

Wisconsin in June.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Other Side of the Table

Auditions for my new play were Thursday and Friday. Call-backs yesterday. Holy toledo, what I have learned from the other side of the table.

-Everyone wants to be having fun in an audition room. Have as much fun as possible.
-Try new things. If you get direction, take it too far rather than not far enough.
-Do you.
-They say don't be nervous, but, like, actually, don't be nervous.
-You're unique, so know that and show that. In the words of Powerline, stand out.

I can't believe these words I have written on my own, early in coffee shops, late in my camp bunk, on the living room couch, were recited all day by strangers. This play, it is happening.

I'm really too young to be feeling this old.
It's about time you admit it, who you kiddin'?
And nobody's ever done it like I did it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Wisdom of Friends

Advice I have received re: my blog post on Monday about my compulsion to fix ish.

-If you're trying to make things happen, it's because you believe YOUR way is best, and, well, it just might not be. To think so usually means you're just very fearful of how things will turn out if you don't have complete control. Obvs, fear is not good.

-Be aware of the expectations you have for yourself and others. This will help minimize how much you are trying to control. What's really important? And why? Be in charge of a few things. Let the rest fall into place.

-It is important to enjoy life NOW instead of believing we must live a certain way to get to an eventual  future we can enjoy.

-Being happy is worth chucking previously-designed plans under a canoe.

-Ultimately where you're headed is good, and you're not responsible for making everything perfect in the meantime. Problems aren't even problems when seen in the correct light.

I saw tail lights last night in a dream about my old life.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I'm Visiting You In Your Sleep

This morning I was greeted by not one, but two emails from dear friends who dreamt about me last night.

I. KWall

"The setting is a little foggy, but in essence, we were in a huge group of people staying at a large house, sleep-over style.  ___ ____ won the lottery and decided he didn't want to forfeit all the taxed amount, so he decided to fake his own death and run with the cash (logical, I know). There were like 8 of us in on it...and we were ALL going to fake our deaths and live off this cash together.  

The rules were strict: we all made a pact that we wouldn't tell a soul or say any goodbyes, because the world had to believe that we were really dead.  Part of the main reason I went along with it is because you were in the group.  (If Alice S______ jumps off a bridge...)"

II. Jamin

"i had a dream last night that i was at froyo and you and your boyfriend walked out and we hugged for a long time."

Kyoto 2008.
And they'll come true. Impossible not to do. Impossible not to do.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Maybe It Would Be A Good Idea

Muffy gave me some interesting advice last week:


"Maybe it would be a good idea to be lackadaisical for a bit. Not all problems have to be resolved right now. It doesn't have to be a perfectly working machine at all times...I don't think you're imagining the problems...However, some problems are worked out in time, and maybe, if [it] were given more time, the problem could work itself out naturally."

I really appreciate this advice. Not because I like it, but because it completely blindsided me. What do you mean things don't have to be perfect all the time? Yes, they do?

Truly, when there's a snag in my life, I pride myself re: not letting it sit. I set out immediately to solve. I  have never considered myself a perfectionist because I recognize perfection is a very strange concept. But I do believe in progress. That's a watered-down way of saying I'm GD psychotic about things getting better. It's not that all changes come quickly or even at all, but I go absolutely batty if I am not at least walking toward or trying to walk toward a solution. Other options:
-sweeping things under the rug, don't ask don't tell type ish
-waiting to see what others involved might do
-deciding it's a problem not worth a solution

These other "options" make no sense to me. They make me physically uncomfortable. I must speak when in conflict with others, I must reflect when I am displeased, I must write a more interesting play, plan more dynamic lessons, run if I've been slow.

I get it, but I don't get it. Can anyone help me? How do I stop wanting to fix everything, often before it's even a problem for me? Highly responsible, highly neurotic. I know one trick is to remember problems we fixate on often do not come to fruition, or if they do, we are far more equipped to take them on than we had previously assumed we would be. I guess I know that. But, still. I can't eat it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Backstreet Boys: September 5, 2013

"I'll be the one to hold you, and make sure that you'll be alright."
Pop stars are the saints of this century, and BSB is Jesus. I'm not trying to be funny. Those boys worked their buns off last night. They seriously danced (in miraculous sync) for two solid hours. While singing. While singing five part harmony. And while sometimes wearing those stupid fedoras from 1995 that I'm positive they tried to talk their costume designers out of.
Shellz and Meep witnessed three hours of my fan-girling.
This was an event. This was big. Larger than Life. And I've really got to hand it to them. I suppose I could say I shelled out a lot of scrilla ($70) to scream at Brian Littrel from my very mediocre seat, so I deserve to want things. These men have made their living off of me after all. But, truly, what I expected of these guys, what everyone expected, was not what they wanted to do if they truly had it their way. I want it that way. I wanted them to sing every hit, nothing from their new albums, dance just like they did in 1999, and generally be charming, and thank me for, you know, just standing there. And for the most part, that's just what they did. How could you not despise "We've Got It Goin' On" after singing it for literally 20 years? And, yet, it was their first single. They do the body rolls, the exaggerated "AhHhH!" Their cross to bear.

The PR work for this concert was phenomenal. This was not just a comeback tour. The dudes have all learned instruments--stating they're not "just a boy band" anymore. And we're like, uh. Yeah you are. They were good to us! They would do a huge laser-light shooting, ground-stomping hit and then explain a little about the success of their new album. (I mean, it got to Billboard Top Ten...their 8th consecutive record to do so. Only two other musical acts can brag that in the world.) They'd give a sentence about what the song means to them (so we can try to care) and say which guy wrote it (they wrote this whole new album themselves, and, frankly, it shows). But, the audience still would sit down, literally be checking e-mails, go to the bar. If we had it our way, they would just perform Millennium in full and never progress. Our saints aren't supposed to change. That's the point. They're saints. We change, and they ground us. And when AJ and Kevin talk about being dads? We're like, "Uh uh. No way. You're not a dad. You stick to that chair routine from 'As Long As You Love Me.'" Which, by the way, was done extremely well--the backdrop looked just like the original music video, all those metal fans and bluewhite waves.
"Jam on 'cos Backstreet's got it." 
The truth is I will always love BSB. Incidentally, I actually don't know who they are, where they're from, or what they did...but I still love them. And as long as I (collective I) do, they'll still be poppin' out from backstage in that unified "Alright!" and doing the exact same typewriter arm movements I mimicked off MTV when I was in fifth grade. I mean, it was hilarious to me that I was there...and then I'd look around and realize...there are literally thousands of people here, arms raised in worship, chanting, taking pictures, feverishly trying to document the moments. We have come to collect something we think is ours. We clap at the alter, and the saints perform the same garbage city to city year after year lest we lose our faith.

They sang it on their first album, and they couldn't have known how true it would be:
As long as there'll be music, we'll be comin' back again!