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
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:


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.


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.


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


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


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


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


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.