Friday, May 31, 2013

Haircut (Cute without the E, Cut from the Team...Okay, Going to Light Myself on Fire for That Ref Sry, Guyz)

1. I have previously had problems with stress-cutting my hair.
2. I have no talent for hair styling, so it's not a cute problem.
3. Please reference any photo from the year I transferred high schools.
4. If you have none, take a picture of me you do have, and then add a little boink of hair sticking straight up in the back.
5. When I moved to the desert, it was time to have hair I could style like a grad student and instructor. It was time to grow my hair out for Locks of Love.
6. It took two years, but it was finally long enough to cut this month.
7. I was very scared. I loved my locks of love.
8. But, summer is hot, and I will be spending some weeks in the forest and lakes of Michigan. Long hair is a sand trap.
9. Locks of Love is a semi-lame insitution. This I learned from an article in Forbes sent to me by Bisque.
10. So. Exactly two weeks ago, I chopped off eight inches of my mane and put it in the mail to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.
11. I feel less put together with short hair. Younger. Goober-y. And I don't think I'm making it up that people treat me differently? Now that I write that, yes, it sounds made up.
12. Regardless of if I like it or not, my hair is what it is. It's lighter and freer and easier to maintain. I know it's not exactly volunteer work to just put your unwanted fur in a bag and send it through the USPS, but I do feel good. Right before I sat down in the beautician's seat, I almost called it all off. I gulped. I remembered people I love who have been taken by disease. And I relaxed. Little actions matter.

Cut off all of your hair.
Did you flinch, did you care?
Did he look, did he stop and stare
at your brand new hair?
Local boy, local news.
Power lines, hangin' boots.
Firemen in their trucks cut loose
a local boy's shoes.
Cadillac, cadillac.
Businessmen dressed in slacks.
I'm gonna buy one for us when I get back--
a big cadillac.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


When I die I'm coming back as a ghost. I'll be at the help desk and the lady will say, "Now, if you take our basic package, you spend some time in purgatory and then eventually head on up. Or, for a premium we can send you express to heaven--"
"What about your ghost options?"
"Well, we usually reserve that for our embittered or rage-filled guests--"
"Sure, but I am just really interested--"
"According to your file, Ms. _______, we have heaven as...a giant trampoline made of Peeps? You're not interested?"
"I just really like ghosts is the thing."
She sighs, "Well, let me get my manager over here. And! You know you don't get any powers, right?"
"Not even ceramic skills?"
"Ha. Ha."
"And I have hungered for yooooour touch--"
"Yeah. You and every other person that comes through this office. Look. You want the haunting program director or not?"

My sister and I visited the cemetery for people who have died trying to climb Mount McKinley. (Some years two, some eight. In 2002 three brothers all together--27, 21, and 15.) I liked being there. I told her--my sister, I mean--that she will know my spirit remains because I'll be blowing on her with peanut butter breath for all eternity. I tell this to Bisque and he says he'll find my face in a burnt marshmallow--like a Jesus watermark. I tweet that and Shells counters, No, a Pop-Tart. Options.

AliceSr and I went on a ghost tour of Anchorage on Sunday. A woman committed suicide in the bathroom of the hotel we were staying in. Apparently something would snatch at women's ankles and shake walls until the stall was locked permanently. The chicas on the tour trickled in, took photos. One announced, "It smells like blood! It smells like blood!" and I rolled my eyes. It often smells like blood in the ladies room.

You flew out on a plane,
came crashing into the ocean,
and then you haunted me.
Don't have a clue what's the motion,
so every now and then it feels so soothing
when you float on a bit and move right though me.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


This morning I had blueberry sourdough pancakes while looking out the window at the tallest mountain in the country.
Yesterday the summer opened up, and although there are mounds of snow on the ground, the sun was bright enough to bake in (which I did on a deck chair on a bridge over a creek).

I needed that. I truly did. Valdez was breath-taking, but it was not home. Everything was grey and chilled. The Midwest was fine, but the moment I stepped out of the Tucson airport in 2005 I knew I was meant to be a desert rat. It felt right.

If I had never been to Arizona, I probably would have gotten along in Chicago. Heck, I might go back. But now it will be harder. I know it's not my fit. And Alaska! Alaska! What if I had been born in Alaska and never left? I would have thought life was about being uncomfortable? I mean, perhaps I would have mended my ways, but sometimes I think we are who we are and that can't be sewn differently.

So, I guess what's weird, is that traveling to Alaska has made me feel a lot of compassion for transgendered peoples.

"We are who we are."--the immortal Ke$ha

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


It feels like Alaska is still selling itself. Like, every corner has "Alaskan halibut!" signs. But, like, this is YOUR city, Alaska. Don't you know you have fish? It feels disingenuous everything is moose-themed and gift shops are more abundant than what the people require (shoe repair? groceries?).

"Be who you are" and "Say what you mean" seem to be the two most prominent themes of my trip so far. Either because that's what I'm being shown or simply what I'm seeing.
Motorbike to cemetery.
Picnic on wild berries.
French toast with molasses.
Croque and baked Alaskas.

Side: extremely spotty updating as the second leg of my trip begins.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Leaving the Last Frontier

So. The final conference gala is in two hours. I've been here for exactly one week. My jaunt up north has cost seven days of my life and a couple thou from the grad and theatre schools' budget. What am I taking home? (A partial list):

-What are we ever taking home--a nice consideration.
-Transactions. Give the characters something to do. Move the stage.
-"Why is this a play?" is a good question.
-It's not hard to make it serious. Make it enjoyable.
-We know the end: we die. So, what's so important in the middle?
-I don't care enough about playwriting maybe.
-I don't care enough about having fun maybe.
-Get personal.
-A stupid idea, written well, is often better than a new idea.
-I can eat a lot of Cap'n Crunch if there is a Sex and the City marathon.
-You can judgit or you can lovit.
-React as if nothing is personal. It actually never is.
-If you don't want to be concerned, don't be concerned on behalf of someone else.
-Pretty much everything can be overanalyzed by some loser as a metaphor about gender in society. And that is me. I am that loser.
-It might be beautiful objectively, but it's still okay if you don't like it.
-You also don't have to have a reason to have your taste.
-Or to be you. (Barf, but, y'know?)
-Audiences need some built-in discussion time. I believe this, but I'm not sure how it can happen.
-I need to perform periodically to keep myself unblocked.
-Feel guilty or don't about shutting down when you need to shut down?
-Say the real thing.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five Best Sights So Far

All the chubby Alaskan bunnies.

A playwright watching his own work read cold in a bar cabin, trying not to laugh (because it's kind of tacky to laugh at your own jokes), but beaming through a tight-lipped smile.

The tail of a humpback whale.

Playwright who wrote a one-act about a little girl obsessed with killing things performing "Kiss" by Prince at karaoke.

This photo Bisque texted me. A close up of the map that hangs in his bedroom.

You don't have to be cool to rule my world.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thoughts on John Logan's Red

-Reading the bio of John Logan is like Holy screenwriting credits, Batman.
-As a general rule, I get a little bored by art about art. But, it was good, so what can you do?
-Why are we obsessed with leaving an imprint on the world?
-It was so refreshing to see a character completely self-absorbed who made no apologies for it. There are times we all wish we could be so egotistical. Seeing it let me feel it, and just feeling it vicariously through an actor feeling it vicariously through Logan feeling it vicariously through Rothko was enough vanity to last me at least a year.
-There are many cliches in the beginning of the play. It's hard to mind too much because the dynamic of the characters is rich. Then, when the cliches are actually called out, to the surface, wow. Wow, wow. Just say what we all know.
-To hate the world's progression (even if it's not progress) just leaves you poorer and bitter. Roll with the punches, be who you are.
-The play takes place in the 1950s, but nothing about it made it seem so. I actually didn't like this. I want to see America in the 50s. This is America in the 50s, is it not? I see 2013 everyday. Let me draw my own connections past to present.
-Movement is not boring.
-I wish I could see theatre and not think things like, "I wonder how much this company's budget for canvas is."
-We've got to figure out how we expect/shouldn't expect intermissions. Red was a 90-minute one-act. I did not have to go to the bathroom, so I was pleased every time the lights fell and the house didn't rise. I was pretty entrenched in this world, and I had zero desire to make chit chat with the other conference attendees around me. I think the best solution is to be sure intermission and run-time is always in the program. Perhaps that provides audiences too strict a format, but I think it's important to know. After the 70-minute mark, one starts to worry there WILL be an intermission...and this is the longest play ever. Never worry your audience about being an audience. As humans, yes, worry them. But as seat-fillers, please do not.
-It's hard not to see suicide as beautiful when all the best people keep doing it.
-The last line should have been cut. Super cheap. Come on, Logan. Leave the question open.
-To me, this play was more about the intimacy we come to find with whoever keeps showing up. I believe Ken and Marc portray a type of terrifying relationship. Their arc seems to argue, in intimacy you have nothing of your own. And one of you must leave.

When I was your age, art was a lonely thing: no galleries, no collecting, no critics, no money. We didn't have mentors. We didn't have parents. We were alone. But it was a great time, because we had nothing to lose and a vision to gain.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here

"Seriously though, eating eggo waffles braless in ALASKA is unforgettable."--Ro

There is very literally nothing I'd rather be doing this night of May 19th than enjoying a s'more scooby snack, writing a commissioned piece of theatre criticism, wearing pjs, and listening to the Annie soundtrack in this luxurious queen. And there's a new Mad Men on in an hour?! Like what da heck, get right out of here! It's so powerful to know what you love and to make it happen for yourself!

Get me now, holy cow, could someone pinch me please?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Z to K

Left for Alaska this morning. Boulder pumped his fists in the air when I got to the bar Thursday. "We goin' to the last frontier!" And I barely smiled. I couldn't put my finger on it. Well, yes, I could. It's just that we kept getting emails from the conference director that it was still snowing up there, and I only got a week of summer vacation, and will the conference even be fun, and I just like my life right now! Why botch it?

Flew all day, writing criticism articles with deadlines so so fast approaching. Tired. Cramped up from three planes. The last, a roller-skate. But when I set foot in my final destination, a dinky town surrounded by snowy mountains with dat frash fresh air, WHOA. I am staying a luxury suite on the grad college's dime. Everything is gorgeous. It's snowy, yes, but there's a harbor and a giant fish sign and oh YEAH, I'm here for a VERY EXCITING CONFERENCE, which I had forgotten. Poof. The woes, they woe-no-mo'. That ain't me! Keep moving forward. The important stuff moves with you.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Tramps Like Us

24 tunes for the year I was 24 (in chronological order):

1Call Me Maybe--Carly Rae Jepson
so many summer runs
2. Starships--Nicki Minaj
singing with/at the kids at camp
3. I Won't Give Up--Peter Hollens coverin' Mraz
Chicago afternoons
4. Comfort and Joy--Bat Boy
numba one biking tune
5. Born to Run--Bruce Springsteen
writing and directing pump-up/read Battle Royale this year
6. Dancing on My Own--Robyn
so much belting on my scooter, dancing in my bedroom
7. Internet Friends--Knife Party
lots of scary stories/houses this fall
8. Payphone--Maroon 5
so much ironic singing with Dizz during Trel's wedding weekend
9. God Bless the USA--Lee Greenwood
curtain call of the play I was in
10. Sweetie--Carly Rae Jepson
feely-goodest jam of 2012
11. We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together--Taylor Swift
singing on Thanksgiving with my sistah, on Disney roadtrip with Hill
12. Perfect Day--Hoku
24 was a year of (mostly) just being HAPPY
13. Never Quite Free--Mountain Goats
John D in concert, this ditty is so inspiring
14. Red--Taylor Swift
listened to this in LA morning of improv Regionals
15. Holland Road--Mumford and Sons
rough winter, but emerged with hope
16. BedRock--Young Money
I dunno why I got into this again!?
17. (What A) Wonderful World--Sam Cooke
ah yes, forever stuck in my head after watching Witness EVERY SEMESTER
18. Starlight--Muse
19. Barbara Ann--The Beach Boys
the sing-a-long of choice for my improv team
20. Come Back When You Can--Barcelona
so much gratitude for the best people in my life
21. Hang with Me--Robyn
Coke Rats Number One Hit! (and only)
22. Totally F*cked--Spring Awakening
anthem for finals obvi
23. Call Your Girlfriend--Robyn
screamed this during Muffy's entire vizz
24. Synesthesia--Andrew McMahon
I mean, new Andy, you know?

Last Year's List: 23

And you tell her that the only way her heart will mend
is when she learns to love again.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cuke Masks

One of my favorite photos from the past year:

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep."--Shakespeare

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Few Good Men

Be a supportive person. You have no reason not to be.

At his backyard party Friday, I asked Blue Eyes what summer held. He smiled a "you're not going to like this" and told me the job in Alabama reopened.

Blue Eyes is one of the most supportive people I have ever known. It was bad enough to think he won't be in workshop anymore. I waited until I was outside to slump my shoulders. To breathe the puffy, huffy breaths.

But. I wasn't alone on that suburban street. One: there were stars. And two: this man person to hug me tight and exhale. And three: all the goodbyes I've said before. Never gone.

It's so simple, but it means so much. To be supportive.

You did your best with a hopeless case.
That's ludicrous. You are the best thing about this place.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Muver's Day

December 2012.

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."--Abraham Lincoln

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ideas from Clybourne Park

When I read Clybourne Park last year I didn't really like it. I got its merit, but I was like, "Meh." To be fair, I read half, and I was in a bonbon coma trying to read 30 plays in a day for a Production Committee meeting. I was still excited to see it, and oooooooh my God, ohmygod you guuuuuys (yes, that is a Legally Blonde the Musical reference) did it blast my expectations away. Last theatre I saw that I loved this much was on Broadway (Faith Healer).

-Challenging someone's taste that is the biggest offense. If you're ignorant, you are the idiot. If you don't like someone's taste, you are insisting they are.
-It's unclear whether or not simply saying what you really really mean to say, what you really really are thinking in the smallest darkest most primal, disgusting, rude, hateful corner of your mind is what the world needs (hey, we're all thinking it) or if it is impossible to truly access and convey, so might as well leave it unsaid/buried.
-Things never stay buried. But, those graves may outlast you at least.
-There are many outcasts. Some because of ignorance, others because of awkward, some because of practicality. It is better to include them in the trash you're shoveling than shovel around. At one point a character yelled "F YOU" to the deaf girl who had been ignored all night. This was a kind of act of love.
-Music is so moving.
-Movement is so beautiful.
-The benefit of being on bottom is having the moral superiority of being there.
-The benefit of being on the top is having the superiority of being there.
-No matter where you are on the ladder, someone is above. Someone is below. Most of of the time we're probably side by side. (I realize I am white middle class, so that may be the most naive view, but sue me.)
-Saying a horrible thing that happened can be both a scare tactic and/or a considerate necessity.
-I honestly don't know if it's just best to keep living in polite lies because the terrible things that arise from honest rashness are so juicy, so chewable, so ALIVE. And we are all supposedly ALIVE, so what a splash of cold water?
-Everything was to the T literary from the choice of Neapolitan ice cream (racial divides) to the repetition of a few key phrases ("you can't live in a principle"). I avoid this in my own playwriting because it seems so OBVIOUS. Like, what am I, Tennessee Williams lame-o Pop-Tart-eating feminist predecessor? But, when it's on stage, it's not obvious. It's like, cool. Ya dig?

"Can we come out and say what we're actually trying to say instead of doing this elaborate little dance around it?"

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

26 Snapshots of Spring Semester 2013

Kath sitting on my pool deck, legs in.
Accentuating attendance policy questions with minor piano chords.
All the women in the hot tub talkin' Italians.
Kissing Bisque at the orange patterned crossroad in my neighborhood.
Educational bug website always open on my iPhone.
Ro egg shaking in her backyard of lights and bikes.
I have finally seen the light. I have finally realized what you mean.
Salmon cardigan. Jean jacket. Chestnut Uggs. Blue Andy sweatshirt.
Palgrave open. Red and white sprinkled cookies on the table.
Boy with huge eyes yelling, "SOMEONE HAND ME A COMPUTER."
Three hour brunch on a Monday.
Cobra stretched out across Ethiopian carpet, peekin all the guys.
Beasts of the Southern Wild on living room sofa, nose stuffy.
Fishtail braiding Muffy's hair.
Tearing up alone in the ugliest hallway, texts from Jamin.
The honest voice of Sitch. The honest questions of adulthood. The cold.
The best improv set in a hotel room for four people.
"But you're not trying not to be."
Balcony monologue aloud. Wood floors.
Slow swing of Ru's body during "Touch Me."
Falafel crumbs on the steps behind the lecture hall.
Four lovers all wearing the same deodorant in Whole Foods.
Planner open to July. Pencil marks everywhere.
Huge room, four professors, vegan cake puffs center stage.
Looking down at a greased peel. Unwashed hair.
Straw Dog day, kicking around gravel, holding the phone.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Other Things Happened

At 1 AM last night (while procrastinating final grades) I had a feeling to text my dad. It was 3 for him, but no matter.

ME: Arf.
DAD: Woof.

He was awake. Because of our cat, he explained. He referenced Catch-22. He asked me about my impending move. Then--

DAD: Tell me again when you head for Alaska.
ME: May 18.
DAD: I have a BD card for you. I better send it early.
DAD: 25!
ME: I can't believe it.
ME: Sounds v old.
DAD: Sounds v young to me.
ME: Pssh. Cos you're a geezer.
DAD: Yeahhhhhh
DAD: When I turned 25 I was just starting my senior year at ___. I knew I was old then.
DAD: Just about ready to lay down and pull the sod over me.
DAD: Take the old dirt nap.
DAD: Yet, other things happened.

Monday, May 6, 2013


To live for rewards is to believe in a majority of times/experiences that are Less Than. Each moment is its own reward. Muffy and I discovered this concept on the train, tummies full of scone, hands full of small boutique bags, cheeks scrunched by sunlight. Easy to say then, right?

But I remembered it so strongly this morning as I ran on a structure that secured me over a large body of water (also known as a bridge). My feet felt so GOOD to be moving, my lungs so powerful, my stupid day full of grade meetings and test proctoring so full of opportunities to be grateful and helpful!

Summer vacation starts at 6 PM on Wednesday, but now is also perfect! Even these dummy screenplays by the freshman at this Arizona state school! These are perfect! My bed is full of them! And they are all little rewards for living. Stapled paper trophies! I won! I won!
Excuse the high schooly bathroom mirror shot, but our outfits were matching!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Tuesday was Hill's last day of classes. Ever. It's on and up to her dissertation now. I met her outside the library. It was hot. That's a given now. Our classmate who I think looks like Edward Norton walked by and joined us. A friendly guy.

They discussed "___Cake" (an affectionate name for a professor who I do not know very well). ___Cake loves you, they tell me. Or, rather, loves to talk about me. This is news. I ask About What? and our friend says, "Oh, mostly your rack." Which is said so sweetly I would never feel uncomfortable, plus also he is of the gay variety (although I definitely don't think that is a Get Out of Harassment to Women Free card). Anyway, there was a real reason about playwright's rights or something. Neither here nor there.

What is here and there is why I am telling you about this exchange, which is to properly offer exposition to the next chunk of story. Friday night Hill and her beau (Neek) and me and my beau were having post-theatre* drinks and dessert at a swanky downtown restaurante/bar. I had the Aztec hot cocoa with pumpkin whipped cream and s'more.** There was a DJ, whom we were seated right next to. At one point boys were talking about sports*** and Hill and I were all academia on our side of the tabletop. She referenced the ___Cake mentions of me again, and I jokingly was all, "Oh, about my rack?" But, I actually was more like, "OH, ABOUT MY RACK?" because the Regina Spector had been like, supes loud. But at the very moment the DJ was actually like taking a break? So he was like, "..." and the boys were like, "..." and my face was like...I mean, insert clip art of a tomato I guess. Real stuff that happened, y'all.

*We saw Clybourne Park, and it was phenom, and I want to dedicate an entry to that alone when I have more mental space/sanity LOL FINALZ.
**I told this to Chelle yesterday, and she said, "they literally put all your favorite things together" and I was like, "I know. Believe me, I am aware."
***I wish I were less of a stereotype so I didn't have to type that sentence, but, YOLO, how many quarters are in a basketball game?! idk.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Summer Before High School

Jimmy Eat World was always in my Discman. I wrote the lyrics on my arms. I wore my baby blue tee with wings on the back. The Princess Diaries trailers intrigued me. I loved the song that played. It was by Myra. It felt happy and hopeful and I liked this new Anne Hathaway chick. Fran promised not to see it until I was back from camp. I found the novel and read it hungrily in my cabin. My bunk was right next to Wizzy's. She would throw her towel into the rafters and swing on it to practice her pointe. I decorated a root beer bottle with magazine cut-outs. It was supposed to represent parts of me, and I would look at it when I was trying to fall asleep. The bold, "LET'S GO CRAZY" and the Britney Spears ad. My favorite shorts were light pink. I wore them the night I babysat for five kids. That night _____ had called my cell phone four times and hung up before finally staying on the line and asking if I wanted to see a movie. "Have you been calling and hanging up?" I asked. He responded too quickly No. But that fall in Honors Biology, by the microscopes, he told me the truth. He was already going out with ____ _______ by that time. I didn't know what to expect. I felt excited. The girls all swam at Peppermint's pool by day and watched American Pie 2 in her basement by night. We invited the boys, who would ride over on their bikes for Truth or Dare. Everyone liked everyone, but I was over the kids we knew. I was the worst student in the summer improv intensive. I never volunteered. I was too quiet to be heard. That one kid sat on my lap on the bus ride home from Second City. He said he'd get up when I had a conversation with him. I didn't. He did. No one spent any money. We were fridge-funded. I could never eat anyway because my braces hurt. I asked for red, white, and blue. There were so many graduation parties, but what did we even do at them? We were fourteen.

I don't need wings to help me fly.
Miracles happen once in a while when you believe.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Five Times

Hill: I wonder if at Muslim schools they have special prayer times.
Me: Is it by time, or is it just pray 'five times a day and you're good.'
Hill: Isn't it by sun something? I know I'd be a Muslim who'd be like, 'It's 9:45?! Shit!'
Me: [mimics kneeling to pray five times fast]

I looked it up today. It is based on sun stuff. So the prayer times change. Woof. To be a Mus. It's hard enough for me to remember one obscure meeting in my day, let alone five new by-the-minute times to roll out the God mat. Annoying. But then I remembered, if it's what brings peace, perhaps it should be difficult to remember. Like when you order fries unsalted so they must be made fresh. There is no option for auto-pilot when we are forced out of habit. If something isn't easy and we still do it, it is truly a priority. Maybe therefore or maybe because. Either way. If one abides by the structure, I can't imagine she would be able to shove her spiritual priorities to the bottom of her backpack...down there with the half-cracked sticks of gum and paper clips. She would be a Muslim who studies/works/lives instead of a student/worker/liver first and a Muslim second. Or third. Or nineteenth. With this in mind, it's crazy the 'lims only pray five times a day.

This semester (over in one sweet sweet week--thank all the Muslim prayers in the world) I have had a mantra. It is this: Your motive is love. I have written it on notecards, in my planner, in my phone notes. I  mumble it on my way to class. I state it in the bathroom mirror. And yet I can still forget. Am I dull to my own handwriting? Do I not take enough moments surrounding the sentiment to let it sink in? I could use some strict proclamation appointments. I want to be a lover first. All the other garbage second. Eighty-second. Whatever.