Friday, August 30, 2013

On Knowing Everyone/Not Knowing Everyone

Everyone knew everyone at my teeny college.

Pros: felt like a community where everyone cares about you, friends everywhere, smiles
Cons: sometimes you don't want to be around people that know after a break-up everyone knows exactly why your eyes are puffy

When I started my MFA, I really enjoyed taking advantage of being at the biggest school in the country (singing on my bike, looking like an unapologetic trashball). So, quickly I realized this is dangerous because even though I don't know 98% of the student population...I do run into that 2% sometimes. And sometimes it is when I am screeching 1999 Britney on the sidewalk. And some of that 2% are students. Now, I kinda try to keep it together.

Cut to this Wednesday. I was cutting it close on making it to my improv class. I had barely parked my scooter before I hopped off and scampered to the theatre. I passed a bunch of people, and an alarming amount were smirking?

I got to class and saw in the mirror 1. My bangs had been shocked by the wind of my commute. (Like the photo below.) 2. I thought I had been wearing sunglasses. Nope. I was actually wearing my goggles. All over campus.

So I guess, I wish someone had just told me: "Your bangs are whacked and you look like you're in the middle of a YMCA soccer game." But, I guess they don't know me--maybe I'm OCD and need goggles for fear of eye infection I DUNNO and neither do they. So, I guess, one point for knowing people.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

When the Working Day Is Done, Oh

My roommates and I stayed up until 1 AM watching the newest episode of Catfish. Just three lil brunettes side by side on the sofa. Laughing our faces off.

I really loved living with a dude for the previous two years. The garbage disposal was fixed, jars were opened, he didn't care what I was writing about, he played video games alone in the basement. But now?! Now I walk around the house in tanks and undies. Rora puts Dream on the sound-system and we all sing and dance "No chai-ains to unlock!" Ro comes home to make a cuke sandwich when I haven't left for school yet and we gossip our brains out. I get home as she does, hide behind the fridge, and scare the daylights out of her.

I'd say I was in college again, but I don't think that was as fun.
March slumber party!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Family Weighs In On Aforementioned Dream

"To: Alice
Re: Dream 8.25
Cheese and crackers, Kid!
We need upbeat stuff!
P.S. The summer camp trip ruse my yet come true."


"What a sad dream! Hope your waking hours are happy! Glad I wasn't in the posse locking you up! But then again, I guess I wasn't there to rescue you."
(followed by a ton of emoji--like mother like daughter)


"Just read your blog. Chilling.
Also had a dream where I was in our old house last night."

My sister and me in our childhood yard. 1992?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dream 8.25

Pretty much half my mental energy is being used to solve problems within my thesis play, and the other half is pretty content irrationally freaking out that I'll never be able to solve any of them/my work will be a complete and utter disaster/disappointment to everyone ever.

Last night I dreamt it was auditions, my director was using sides from an old play about covered wagons. He told me none of my pages were good enough.

My dad and sister picked me up and drove me to summer camp. They were being really nice to me. Too nice? When we arrived, it wasn't camp at all. It was an insane asylum.

Then I was in the house I grew up in. I knew it was a mistake. Because I somehow knew the landlord was going to trap me. My roommates were some shrimpy kid I had never met and Huntie. Huntie sang a song about his ex-girlfriend that was so sad and beautiful I cried for hours. Sitch was there visiting. He lifted up his shirt an exposed hundreds of cuts on his stomach. He told me he did them himself, and  before I could console him, our landlord found us. He was also my professor. I tried to talk to him about class, but he told me what I had hunched. The house was being turned into a concentration camp, and I was enslaved forever. I ran to the basement, but there was no escape. I tried to text Bisque goodbye with a blue emoji heart. There wasn't enough reception for it to send.

Friday, August 23, 2013

So Why Am I, Why Am I, Taking Them Still

It was only three weeks ago that I was still very much in charge of a gaggle of high school sophomores. I lived in a wood box where I had no privacy or time to think for myself. The two minutes I was putting on my pajamas while the girls were still washing their faces in the bathhouse were precious. Sacred. I just want to think about myself for five minutes I pleaded to no one. And then one would be there. At the edge of my bed. Leaning on it and excitedly telling some story about the soccer game she played or how welding that silver charm went, and it wouldn't be so bad. In fact, it'd be nice. But some days I'd still clasp my hands behind my back and squeeze.

But some days I wake up in this desert, and all I can do is think about myself. And wish I didn't have to. But it's just me in my rectangle. The shower curtains are blue ships, sailing away.
Rainy day in MI.
Give me somethin' to believe in, a breath from the breathin'.
So write it down. I don't think that I'll close my eyes.
'Cos lately I'm not dreamin', so what's the point of sleepin'?
And at night I've got nowhere to hide.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back Alright

YEAR: 1999.
SETTING: 6th grade locker hall.

    Fran--11, artsy middle schooler, wearing flared jeans and a Limited Too cat t-shirt
   Alice--11, jubillant best friend, wearing leggings (potentially a horrendous yellow) and a different Limited Too cat t-shirt. Perhaps one that even says "Cool Cat" on it.

    Act One--Fran has just told Alice that her aunt got her two tickets to see The Backstreet Boys. This launches Alice into a frenzy of excitement...until Fran says she is inviting her next-door-neighbor to take the other ticket. Internally, Alice crumbles into a pile of 90s concert confetti. Fran explains! Neighbor and she have been friends longer! (A mere technicality! thinks Alice.) Neighbor is the biggest BSB fan ever. Everyone knows that! (But you're not, Fran! You, in fact, don't even really like them. Give me your ticket. Alice attempts to Jedi-mind her friend.) Neighbor's already been told. And there's no arguing with that. While probably realizing somewhere in the back of even her dinko junior high mind there are far worse problems, Alice cannot help but gulp the tear stings away.

     On concert night I sat on pins and needles waiting for my mother to come home and report there had been some last minute tickets available at the box office. She's a trooper for trying, but no dice. And I was so unbearably sad. I drank a Mott's apple juice. I imagined all the girls in my class singing along to "I Want It That Way." I sound like an entitled child (and I was when we're considering, you know, India), but it is so rare that I ever truly wanted things as a kid. Like, really really wanted things. Maybe I felt hurt by my friend, maybe I was predestined for this MFA in theatre by prioritizing all other wants and needs against a live performance, maybe it was hard because I "worked" for those tickets that never came. I lived at the radio--handset ready for callers, maybe the music legitimately spoke to me. My mom told me "next time" but I knew there wouldn't be one. Boy bands are a fad. I felt it in my gut.


Monday, August 19, 2013


You were not put here to be confused!
You were put here to sing out!
And reach out!
So reach!

Do you know how horrible sunburn makes everything?
If nothing else, remember that time you had sunburn
and just thinking of sitting down in an office chair
made you panic.
Passenger side made you scream.
What's the worst that can ever happen?

New Mantra 2013: ALY BINS.
Illinois from a car.
I guess that I forgot I had a choice.

Friday, August 16, 2013


"Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in."

-Leonard Cohen

“There are two things we should always be 1. raw and 2. ready. When you are raw, you are always ready and when you are ready you usually realize that you are raw. Waiting for perfection is not an answer, one cannot say 'I will be ready when I am perfect' because then you will never be ready, rather one must say "I am raw and I am ready just like this right now, how and who I am.”
C. Joybell C.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Yesterday History

San Diego. The ocean we stayed on in Pacific Beach. During the day we burnt to bits and leapt into the white caps. At night there was no one, the waves shone gold, I swear. That's lasting.
Our first night I ate an avocado appetizer and three desserts. The cookies were the best. Chocolate chip in particular. I ate half that tira misu at 11 PM with my fingers in the hotel room.
We saw this 1950s play at The Old Globe. It touched my heart, and it was closing night. There's something about actors leave the stage after final bows on closing night.
The brunches were legendary. The start to days that only go up from here.
We threw pennies in this Balboa Park fountain. 
I hope my wish comes true.

Tomorrow's a mystery.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

French Toast Goldfish

That good ol' Bisque sent me a care package chock full of staff meeting snacks for all da ladies. The high amount of Pop-Tarts both proves his understanding of me and served as the basis for his name among other counselors: "Mr. Pop-Tart." There have been worse nicknames.

One item was French Toast Goldfish. I had a few at the 'sler meeting and found them delightful. Sugary, genuine, thick graham cracker texture, cinnamony. Not sure how they got the eggy subtlety, but they did.
 Then something happened called While Writing My Final Reports I Ate Half a Bag. And now, even the thought of these fish snacks make me want to barf a million times.

Fun while they lasted, but when I smelled real french toast after the fact in the dining hall, I truly did almost flip a table in disgust.

I know a product's quality should not be measured by the quantity the reviewer was able to comfortably consume, but, come on, Pepperidge Farm. What did you think would happen? Lacing those little sea creatures with coke and smiles.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Down the Line

Sunset last night. Lake Michigan.
I. We should be healthy not just to be healthy but because our health affects our feelings and our feelings empower or disable our actions. Our actions are our relationships with others, our world.

II. A camper shared this with me: Think beautiful thoughts and you will choose beautiful actions. Beautiful actions make a beautiful life.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


2003 was my favorite summer at camp. There were twelve of us in the cabin of Breezeway. They were all my dear friends—each one. Each one. We all—as a collective, with no additions or subtractions--came back two more summers. These were my sisters. And it began in Breezeway 2003.  We lip-synced to “I Want You to Want Me.” Our bathhouse duty was to Windex the mirrors and sinks. KHo would spray and I would paper towel.  The second to last night of camp we slept on the beach in sleeping bags. We took so many pictures, and when summer was well-over, when I was back in AP Euro and doodling around the sophomore locker bay, I got them developed—lots of up-close blurry eyes and braces glints.

This summer I counseled the young women of Breezeway 2013. Eight completely unique forces. And from the beginning I loved them. I’ve said I have loved children before, and I meant it. Kind of. Like, everyone “loves” the youth in their experience. But, these ones, they were at times challenging, asked the tough questions, appeared not to listen, absorbed stories and repeated them, sang, asked me to get the mail even if I was sopping wet, cheered for one another, grew impatient with everything, were grateful infinitely for hot cinnamon scones. And I love them. I would do anything for them.

And in the night, or, heck, in the day, sometimes my sisters were there too. Their presence. KDunt was on staff this summer—repping our clan hard. The rest? Well, some I saw at the October wedding, some in college, one not since our last year as campers. But. I feel their lessons and love with me. They carry me on and up. When my kids giggled, so did every Breezeway girl through the years. The rustles around us, the gentle clouds. The sandy wood floors. The lake. This was once my home, now again. There, in the back right corner, that’s where I slept and where all those daddy long legs attached Marns and there, on the back stoop, that’s where I watched the first sunset of the summer with Slou. We told each other all the freshman year secrets.

My campers wrote their names on the walls with black Sharpie and pointed out where mine had been written in red a decade earlier.  I walked the cabin one final time, closing down after they had gone. Excited to be a real person again. Genuinely missing the kids. Tired. I found in a teeny corner: “Alice S_______ is the coolest.” My throat clenches. My heart rises in my chest, overflows.