Thursday, July 31, 2014


It's been just over a month since I returned from the land of cacti, and I must admit, I really do believe Chicago is the best city in the country. For a little sunbug like me, it's still not MY place because omg winter. But in general...I truly don't know how you could argue.

1. Dopest skyline. I took this for granted growing up. I had heard of other cities and I assumed they were all like mine. But every time I go to a new place my question is frequently, "Where's downtown?" Chicago's heart is prominent and breathtaking.

2. It's a city and people act like it, and also crime, but in general it's not dog-eat-dog. Chicago is known for it's bang in creative work environments and generally helpful city employees, yo.

3. Culture not to be topped. Art Institute, Science and Industry, Field Museum. Okay. Bias here. Obvs NY is giving it a run for its money. But would you rather have the sparkle of Broadway or the development of Steppenwolf? You know? It's a different vibe.

4. Similarly, comedy. This is the comedy capitol of the world. So. Whattup.

5. Lake Michigan. Honestly, it's as majestic as the ocean with no sharks or salt. Plus it's PART of the city. You're got gonna walk on the beach in the middle of your LA day. But here. Yup. Go for it.

6. Pizza.

7. Get going. Middle of the country. Go anywhere! All destinations are basically the same. Inside the city, best public transit IMO.

8. Is cool enough to have tourists and tourist destinations but not too cool that everyone you meet is a transplant. There's a way of life here actually largely informed by our creature comforts. I am the way I am not parallel to the fact that hot dogs are a diet staple and the huge population of Irish Catholics mean constant wakes and parties to soften them, I'm who I am because of it.

I'm writing this in Millenium Park, waiting to meet a friend. A jazz band is playing, a traffic cop's whistle compliments the tunes, the fountain spits.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Best Policy

I continue to believe in honesty. Tact is an important sidekick, but vagueness is nobody's friend. I had an interview today for lil gig, and right away I didn't have a credential. The interviewer was so super nice including sentences like, "It was so cool to meet you. We'll see!" And I really appreciate that he was trying to make me feel special, but we wont see, sir. We won't! And that is okay! Say so.

The good news is I probably didn't want that job anyway because the commute would be murder, and I just got a job in the city today. So, yays for days obviously! I also took two cookies from the snack table on the way out and put them in my purse and a lot of people saw.

Life is no game! We get one go. Why would we spend the turn faking?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Only the Lonely

It's Saturday night and my dad's going to a party. My jobless, apartmentless, boyfriendless days are numbered which is pretty darn exciting with a little droplet of something else. What will I do tonight out in farmland by myself? It feels nice.

I made a brownie sundae and turn on Only the Lonely. It is perfect for new Chicago Alice. John Candy, all the Irish pride, shots of Lake Michigan and the skyline, Illinois Lottery pot emblems in windows, the el, and perhaps most importantly that sincere feel of 90s filmmaking.

At one point though John Candy re-musters his courage to pursue his dream girl after a friend of his dies with no family. Never got married, older sibling in a home, parents gone. This is a common trope thrown into movies/TV. Protagonist realizes might die alone, changes life. I obviously am sympathetic to this concern, but for once I'd like to see someone go, "Huh. Maybe I won't care if no one is around to make my funeral arrangements because I'll be dead, and I was happy until then." I mean, it's not the worst thing in the entire world to be alone sometimes. At least that's my attitude right now when I had a dessert for dinner and my night is still young.
Sunday night movie date with lady-prov post-rehearsal. 2012.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Right Right, Sure Sure

I wonder where the impulse to be right comes from. I suppose there are a lot of possibilities, and I would assume they vary person to person. There may be people who truly don't care if they are right or not, but I'm having trouble thinking of any.

We all have that memory of the time we fought a little too hard for something we were a little less than half sure was right. And yet, something compelled us to do it. Is it a power thing? The need to be respected? Why did you need to be the expert about what Alec Baldwin said in that one interview all of the sudden? What made you do that?

For me (I think) it's mostly the need to validate my memory. I used to have a flawless one. It's a little hazier now, which is kind of nice, because I shrug a lot more and am like, "Yeah, okay, could be, idk, pass the Oreos?"But when I know what I know, it seems wrong to not do what I can to make the truth heard. No matter how dumb it is?

I've mentioned the mantra of my favorite college nomad Stripes: "Do you love yourself enough to be more happy than right?" There's a lot of healing in that. Sometimes, just be what you are, and make what you are happy. Yet, Right can't fly out the window.

You know, people used to be wrong and not know it forever. Pre-smartphones. "When did Good Will Hunting win the Oscar?" "1999." "That's way too late. It was '97 or earlier." "No, it never won the Oscar." "Huh, well, I don't know. Wanna call someone and ask?" "No, you idiot, we're playing basketball, and that's way more fun that trivia minutia. SLAM DUUUNK."

Maybe this new possibility of fact-finding will breed people who learn not to fight as hard because facts are in pockets. So that could be nice.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"A love

that loves only because it is Love"

Muffy reminds me via text what kind of love we are supposed to emanate.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Andrew McMahon at the Castle Theatre, 7.17.14

1. Opened with "I Woke Up in a Car." First song of Andrew's I loved. Driving in high school fall. Windows rolled, owning the world. The first notes plunked. I was there.
2. He always plays with his feet. He always jumps off the piano. Scottsdale to Bloomington, I applaud his earnestness to be his brand.
3. He doesn't body surf anymore. Now he just stands in the crowd. And that is somehow more electric.
4. This time, I decided to be in the waiting line. My fanship has changed significantly in the years I have adored this music. I recognize bits of it in other fans. I troll the Instagram posts with his hashtags and see our happy faces among the desperate souls who cried, who had to tell an important story, who couldn't speak. These things are okay, but I did not want them to be me, and now they aren't. So now I am ready to happily shake hands and say thanks and go on into the night and not think about it think about it think about it.
5. There are songs I can barely hear. This is the 8th time I've seen him. 8th time I've heard "Dark Blue" live. Billionth time not live. It has been stretched like taffy. But this time was pretty exciting because this crowd was insane. I could barely hear a word of the song from the speakers. The screaming, the screaming.
6. His new single about his daughter is fantastic. This could be the year this name means something to the universe. Fitting as he's the satellite.
7. His music is still my favorite. That doesn't change. It is not him, though. He is the pane through which I have lived. Yes, SoCo is nostalgic. Yes, I heard the new Jack's in Japan, then my first year of grad school on a walk to the lake. This EP in a cabin in Maine. That single in my St. Louis bedroom. I know exactly where I was. Like these songs are a natural disaster (come on, sweet catastrophe). So, yeah, my arms fly up during "Resolution." I jump at the sight of the telltale harmonica. We all know what that means.
8. The song for a long goodbye sends us away, off, into the night.
I can see the colors runnin'
when I hear the music play.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Square One

There is something very special about the little house GPS icon. The "Go Home" button. It's comforting in a 21st Century way. No matter where you are, in one tap, you can go home.

The net of things that bring me comfort in these days of nos and missed attempts at improv sets: the Lake Michigan trail, knowing the kids on the other side of that water are in swimsuits at my childhood place, reading S on the sofa, Bisque on the phone and I can imagine him there in that room with the tan carpet and the fan whirring, scooping the almond butter out the jar with a spoon. I stand across the train platform from two classmates headed north while I wait for southbound. It's too far to talk. I watch them bond and feel like Sandra Bullock grabbing onto dumb handles. Who will know me in this wide world!? Rain pitters, like, on cue. But then in a blitzkrieg of texts with my best friend, I am a real boy again! Filled up like a little balloon. Hope floats.

There's a dry gust up on the eleventh floor of the building, the window is half open. Who knows what flies in. But "nothing can be a parasite to you," I listen to the podcast at 5 AM when I have woken up sluggish and out of sorts. I play it loud plugged into the wall across the dark room. I fall sleep free and awake in clear cool light. Go home. Square one.
South Carolina creperie.
Square one, my slate is clear.
Rest your head on me, my dear.
It took a world of trouble, took a world of tears.
It took a long time to get back here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Trying to Be Positive about Chucking my Time and Energy into What May as well Be a Black Hole

Applying for things sucks. I have somehow chosen a life full of rejection not on one-side, folks, but somewhere around 3-4 sides.

I apply for jobs all the time, and you so infrequently even hear back, it's hard not to get discouraged. Will someone even see this? This cover letter I just spent two hours writing? Plus I write, like, outside of cover letters, which is like, synonymous with rejection. It's hard to spend all that energy revising a play when you know you're going to have to send it to like ninety festivals to get one little reading...and even then, that's not guaranteed. I am reentering a life with auditions, and just when you find the perfect apartment, someone snatches is up from under your nose.

I already feel my skin thickening from this new year in this new city.

Yet, there is a different perspective. One that could be a lie, but one that is necessary if I want to survive. That perspective is It Adds Up. Maybe this cover letter no one even opened, but I still wrote it. I still got better at writing it. There will be plays that never see the light of day, but they were exercises. Exercises I didn't know were exercises. But you just have to accept that.

Shell and I love our move in the making. Our goal date is June 1st, 2015. Even if we make it, then we have to make it, and those odds are just ridiculous. Yet, we will write anyway. Because it's part of the whole (again, at least I say to myself). For some reason this is harder for artists to accept than most humans? A mathematician doesn't think her entire education to become what she is was useless because it didn't get published. But for us goobers at the laptops it's like, "Yeah I wrote that poem. It was bad. Nothing ever came of it." No, you dingo, the thing you're doing now came of it.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


An interesting thing about the Badlands is that their namesake comes from people trying to settle in South Dakota. On maps you'd simply note "Bad land" because a bunch of rocks is pretty crummy land for your family bungalow.

But now many generations later, "Badlands" evokes many different connotations--very little of which are accusatory or critical of the geography. It is a place people go out of their way for. I know because I was one of these people, WHILE I WAS VERY HUNGRY no less. (Thus is the nature of family road trips--someone flouncing around with a camera while another someone stews angrily in the front seat. But ultimately we stopped at Wall Drug Store and I had half a maple donut plus a s'more ice cream cone, so things worked out.)

Monday, July 7, 2014


Is dependant on a community. You want to be successful for the good of all, so encourage all to be successful. DUH!
It doesn't actually matter who does what if the doing gets did.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Hidden

Where do the things we've never told anyone go?

I've touched the bottom of that one warm man-made lake in Michigan. It never ends. There's gloop, leaves and all that, feet and feet (a mile?) deep. It composts and compounds and you don't feel it unless you go diving, even then, it's a mushpit more than a collection of debris.

Where do the things we've never told anyone go?

Volcanos erupt with all the disease they've pent up. Lava flows, destructs. But sometimes not in a lifetime, or in human existence. But sometimes in your granddaughter's.

Where do the things we've never told anyone go?

The stains on the Wendy's table. Frosties spilled over. Right in front of everyone. You did it in purpose. You spilled it in a grand gesture. TAKE THAT, DAVE THOMAS.

Where do the things we've never told anyone go?

The puff of smoke from the fireworks, everyone is already walking away.

The smallest rose in the bouquet, thorny and pink on it's own, invisible with it's brothers.

The manuscript she begged him to send, sitting in the starred file.

What are the things we've never told anyone? No one asked. We forgot.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Can 'Do

Been told so many times you're not supposed to wash your hair every day. Healthiest to wash every three or something. I could never get on that level. I know, I know, once you start doing it, your hair responds, and it doesn't get greasy by the end of the second day.

Anyway, since I got my hair chopped I started washing it every day because greasy long hair can be braided or ponyed but greasy crew cut just looks nasty. Also, how much can I be ruining my hair? There's an inch of it, ya know?

But yesterday after my long Lake Michigan walk I decided to forgo the shampoo and just let my head do its thang. My only plans for the rest of the day were to buy stickers at Michaels and probably try to time dinner so King of Queens would be on. Gosh, I'm so glad I just spent three years getting an MFA.* Whatevs, point being, I wasn't exactly going to the governor's ball, or even a monster's ball (whaddup Halle Berry) so who would care what my hair looked like.

I really missed that fully clean feeling. I missed it all day. And my face felt shinier? I was super stoked to get the utmost clean today. The thing is, I just really like washing my hair every day. So, like, maybe I'm just gonna do that for the rest of my life. It seems like I just should.
Current state of the quaff. Dizz and I saw Aidy Bryant last week. She ordered "root beer for the table."
And you know that when the truth is told
you can do what you want or you can just get old.

*The funny thing is I really am very glad I spent three years getting an MFA. It's chill, things will happen.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Little Brown Line

Last night after my second class of The Program I stuck around for the free improv set on the mainstage. It was a beaut--the performers on full throttle. It's really strange being in this world of comedy and rising up through it. I never see things for fun anymore. It's professional development, and while it's still a good time (and sometimes even more a good time because I am more active than the average bear), after comedy shows I can feel like I just ran sprints even though I was on my butt and silent for an hour.

Side: It just occurred to me that I should really get into watching sports more. I love film and all, but sometimes I feel so exhausted analyzing something for two hours. I can't turn off the creator in me. I'm either playing "How would I improve this?" or "How can I improve my work to be this?" But when I watch basketball I'm just like, "Yay, dribble, pretzels etc." I do have pretty fond memories of watching an ex-boyfriend's college swim meets because it was like, a super lazy but falsely productive Saturday afternoon.

Anyway, I was so dead tired come show close. And I was doing that game where you feel tired so you just want to be in bed so you increase your pace to get there quicker, but then you realize it's going to be at least a 40 minute commute and you slow down again, but then oh man! 40 minutes! Put some spring in that step, girly, you wanna get home at 1 AM?! I walked through town alone listening to Tori Amos for some reason. As I got the the brown line I thought I heard the train rumbling through. Yeah, I did. But two flights of stairs. Not gonna happen. But, similar to my walking mind game I ran up the first half-flight, then was like, "Okay, I'm gonna miss it." But then was like, "Well, with that attitude!" And then I ran for like two more seconds and then I was like, "Seriously not for all the tea in China can I muster the lightening speed to make this train."But then I was like, "Maybe someone will fall down on the tracks, you never know, I better just hoof up there." So I did, and right as I crowned the top of the steps, the train doors closed.

Sigh, I can wait ten minutes. But then I heard a "Hey." It was the conductor. He was leaning out of his window. And then the doors reopened! I scuttled in with a "Thanks!" It was such a small thing, but I felt so cared for and so important. It really made my night, which is weird because it was a very good night to begin with.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Reason #867 I Have to Move Back to Arizona

I just remembered ice cream places in the Midwest have "a season." AKA THEY CLOSE FOR HALF THE YEAR. AKA packing up my stuff, burning rubber back to the dessert, and SITTING IN A VAT OF FROYO IMMEDIATELY.

When I was dating Kay he and I took a short trip to Chicago some summer before heading back to school. I wanted to go to Tastee Freeze, but Labor Day was approaching. While we were driving by I asked him to run inside and asked when they closed for the season. He asked me to repeat the sentence like ten times. "Closed for the season?" he kept parroting. "Yes. Closed for the season." "Closed for the season?" Like I was speaking Greek.

He finally went in shaking his head. When he came back he looked stunned. "They said they were closing September 1st. How did you know they were closing?" And then it occurred to us that he was a California boy, born and bred.