Friday, February 28, 2014

I Am Happy I Had To Do Stuff (Part One)

I don't think I've ever had a truly bad job. I can think of only one that deeply challenged me in the bad ways. But I had the good fortune to leave after one year. And it was part-time in the first place. I have taken something with me from everything I had to do. Sure, the season I worked at the mall ice cream shop the amount of nothing hours cleaning the hot fudge machine were vastly disproportionate to the amount of positive life wisdom I gained. But those are the odds when you're 18. That's alright. If I hadn't been there, I would have been somewhere else.

The cynic in me says, "Maybe if you were a true yuppy you would have had an internship at a theatre company." And, yeah, maybe I would have. But I really don't care at this point because I'm here and here isn't bad at all. The further truth of the matter is that if I never had to do stuff, maybe I actually just wouldn't have.

It takes some time, yes, but in hindsight there's growth. There are seedlings that sprout like face-down tadpoles. And that's good enough for me. For me standing here, staring at the dirt.
Mando explains MA consumes the most ice cream of all fidy states.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Playwright Presentation Week

It was presentation week in my Intro to Playwriting class. I love student presentations. It's an opportunity for young writers to delve into a style, a person, ideas they love. I always learn so much. I took a lot of notes, and here are a few of my favorite glimmers.

I asked one student if he felt all his research on his playwright had brought him closer or distanced him to the artist:
"I've spent the past couple days sleeping or not sleeping in my bed with fifteen books by or about Pinter. So we've gotten closer."

Two students presented on playwrights who contrastingly said write from character and structure follows, then, write from story and character follows.

The kid with half-squinted 9 AM eyes gets excited by Mamet's refusal to explain everything. "Like Game of Thrones!" he chirps, "There's all these friggin' lords, but ultimately, you're just like, 'oh, well, this is awesome.'"

Girlio with pigtail poofs sits in a swivel chair spinning yarns about Ianesco. It's dreamy like her bright green eyeshadow. And I swear, the sweet Mormon with the long brown hair is a little in love with Oscar Wilde.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Oh Hellos

Hello, my old heart,
how have you been?
How is it, being locked away?
Don't you worry.
In there, you're safe,
and it's true you'll never beat,
but you'll never break.

Because nothing lasts forever.
Some things aren't meant to be.
But you'll never find the answers
until you set your old heart free.

Tucson, Arizona. 2014.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Kierkegaard Days

"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced."
Hill on her birthday. One year ago today.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


LOOK at how gorgeous Bex is in this moment! We are sippin' iced toddies at a super hip coffee house in Tucson! We were both remarkably productive! In this moment, so much is funny, so much is at stake, so much is progressing. Forward!

I just got a haircut. I've put myself in a position of reevaluating my femininity and beauty. We discussed body image from the salon to Chipotle and into the hot tub of this Fairfield Inn.

Some maj thoughts:

-A lot of the cheesy stuff is true. Self-affirmation is a real hamburger helper. Don't fake it 'til you make it, fake it 'til you become it. We are not powerless to the attractiveness gods. We are anything but.
-Similarly, love others. Give it all out, it will come back. Probably three-fold.
-Focus on others' beauty...if you want. Why not focus on their achievements and personality first?
-Correct the erroneous thought in the first instance, or it will master you in the second. Negative imagine thought? Knock it out of the park. Then replace it. With something you actually care about.
-In a put of self-loathing, you can't do anything for anyone. DO something and you'll start to crawl out.
-Mentally atoning isn't nearly as good/effective as simply doing a new thing.

Friday, February 21, 2014


Bex is in Arizona for work, so she is staying with me in my 20s-women-bungalow. This morning I felt a pulse of power buzzing in the house. We were all up, packing our day's granola bars and blasting music, spraying the Bath & Body Works, opening blinds.

Before she left for work, Ro told me I looked skinnier. I have probably lost around ten pounds since the new year because I am training for a marathon and decided to stop eating dessert every day, or at the very least, only seven times a week. Boop.

We all support each other in my home. I tell them I ate four donuts Tuesday, and they praise me for doing what I want. I cook handfuls of spinach into my black beans and they praise me for doing what is good. I applaud our lazy MTV night. I cheer for them going to the gym. Anything goes. We should just be happy.

But that comment rang just a little too loudly this morning. "You look skinnier," "You look skinnier." I replayed it a few times. That's not obsessive. I don't know any women who re-slurp such a comment any fewer than a dozen times. I texted Ro.

ME: I hate being a woman. You saying I looked skinny made my morning. It shouldn't matter and it's arbitrary!
RO: A gay guy at a Taco Shop a couple of weeks ago said my eye brows looked good and were "on point" and I literally think about it every day.
ME: I've heard you mention it at least three times. No joke.

A couple months ago I started having some conversations about womanhood and he pressure of beauty with friends I respect. I figured I'm a pretty confident human, but I can still feel so insane about my appearance from time to time. Surely other women I revere have moved beyond these societal mental torture traps! Turns out, not really.

Over banoffee pie one night, Hill told me she'd been considering the need for people to say, "Everyone is beautiful." It's been kinda shoved down Millenials' throats since we could watch Nick Jr. And it's certainly a better philosophy than "Beautiful people succeed. Good luck lol." But, maybe we should remove all the power from beauty in the first place instead of insisting that we all have the stupid totally undeserved randito power ('COS WE DON'T).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

If You Close Your Eyes

The windows were open in the cab. We closed our eyes and leaned toward the sun, like we were sunflowers, positioning ourselves to the rays.

"Lookit those palm trees," Bisque pointed from the plane window. Three swayed in the sky.

It was strange to leave Cambridge. Maybe I will never be there again. I was so ready to get back to the hotel and out of my boots I turned around in the T too late to see the snowy El Dorado of college one last time. Only a pile of slushy stairs.

Before 10 PM room checks, Spiff, Bisque, and I cuddled into bed and watched Poltergeist. I hadn't seen it in fifteen years, and it made me feel little. It was nine degrees outside. And then half a day later we're in 80s. Like dogs against car doors.

It is truly hard to be an optimist about this one.
And the walls kept tumbling down
in the city that we love.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Be Real, Banana Peel

Writing this from my lil Marriott couch. As I drift off I've been remembering the last time I was on a hotel pull-out. Also for a speech tournament. But then I was a competitor and now I am a coach.

It was my first Nationals. The city of brotherly love. Only three of us qualified that year. The sophomore Lincoln-Douglas powerhouse. The graduating team captain, oratory queen, worked at Anne Taylor, often seen in business casual around the high school cafeteria.

Our first morning packs of kids in suits fueled diligently at the Embassy Suites breakfast bar. A coach opened a yogurt near Queen and it spit a speck of strawberry onto her lapel. The coach said, "Oh, I am so sorry," and ever-poised Queen smiled and assured it was just just just fine, no no no problems. And then she walked to a table with me and sharked, "Are you kidding me?" re: yogurt speck.

And what is the point of that? That is not graciousness. That is a wolf in graciousness clothing. If you want to portray, why not take it further? Why not be? You can get it if you really want.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Red Envelopes

So many young men have crumpled
backs from the wind,
clomping through Harvard Square holding
paper-wrapped bouquets.

Bisque points to a guy middle-age
outside the taco shop
penning a card.
"Last minute," he says
because his letter to me (the one with the s'more on it--
'I love you s'more every day')
is in his backpack
sealed, ready
for our date.

On Wednesday he left a vase of roses and
Reese's Cups on my kitchen table.
A tiny potted ivy for Ro. A pink flower for Rora.

Over high-end hazelnut cocoa
we hold hands.
We haven't been all day because there are children
to lasso. But they're all off
in the slushy streets. Doing
their own
So we hold hands and we exchange red envelopes
(mine for him, two peanuts hugging)
with messages that sound
the same.

Every day is a better day.
The ultimate Valentine.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Remember This Of All

Felt-tipped markers for lists. Lists of prison lit, revisions, screenplays to grade. A freshman with thick brown curls props his skateboard against the door, shares his script about bombs dropping on his Lebanon home. He was 14. 9 AM Playwriting gang.

Spent office hours in the heart of campus. Sunshine. Reading interviews of The Wooster Group. About their 2002 production. I was 14 then? Fast. Don shorts for a night scoot to Flour's cottage in the hip neighborhood. We walk the sidewalks and talk about her break-up. It's raw, it's red. Emotional equivalent of reaching for that last handful of M&Ms and realizing you already ate it. "I remember that," I think, but there's a sheen over those histories. It's good to be here. She squeezes my arm. "That's him." The boy happens to be bicycling by. I hear her heart plop to the road.

I am so happy lately. There are reasons, but there are always reasons. There are also always reasons not to be. I don't know why the scales have tipped one to the other, but they have. And I am grateful. It's not always this way. I thank everything. "Remember this," I tell me, "this."

Why can't you see the sky isn't green anymore?
Why don't you know what I need on these shores?

Sunday, February 9, 2014


"I feel

like all my insecurities

and mistakes

have been to make me

the person

you love."
South Carolina 2013.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

My Top Ten Fave Movies of 2013

This was my favorite year for movies in a really really long time. I loved, LOVED so many. Any of these films would be my stand out number one favorite if they had been out any other year for the past ten years. 2013, I salute you.

10. Insidious II
9. The Conjuring
8. The Spectacular Now
7. Paranormal Activity 5
6. Before Midnight
5. The Heat
4. Her
3. The Place Beyond the Pines
2. Frances Ha
1. Don John

Judge all you want. These are the films that spoke to me.

Honorable Mention: Frozen
Yet to See: Dallas Buyers, Blue J, Short Term Twelve
Movies I Didn't Like: The Wolf of Wall Street, You're Next, The Purge, Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, Mama

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


This is my 1,000th post on this blog! Wow.

Chicago Bean. September 2012.
“You are not just here to fill space or be a background character in someone else's movie. Consider this: nothing would be the same if you did not exist. Every place you have ever been and everyone you have ever spoken to would be different without you. We are all connected, and we are all affected by the decisions and even the existence of those around us.” --David Niven