Archive | January, 2016

The Old Woman

27 Jan


…some brain away time…


There’s this old woman.

…She looks a little like me, and she spends a lot of time at this book cafe, sipping at endless cups of coffee, leaving large red slash-stains along the porcelain lip.

…She doesn’t talk to people, mostly remains consumed in her books and papers, only sometimes, will sit back…take off her reading glasses, put a perfectly manicured hand to the back of her neck, and ease out a kink of stiffness settled in there, from too many hours of bowing over her work.

…And she is working…always…on something. Her interests are totally eclectic, but somehow themed across pockets of time, which only the wait staff will notice, because she has come here…for years…doing the very same thing. Alone at her table.

…But never, “lonely.”

…When not absorbed in her studies, she does manage to recognize the human beings all round her. She watches them, in fact. Rather closely.

…The students taking up multiple tables together, books, laptops, and papers everywhere. The quiet and comfortable husband and wife settled in, consumed in their newspaper and magazine, as they prob’ly have, in exactly the same way, over Saturday morning breakfast for the past however many years. There are the young people gabbing back and forth “at” one another (rather than “to”)…as one cannot hold actual conversation with a person, burried in their cellphone news and social  feeds.

…Sometimes, there are the awkward couples on first dates, the families with little people and their weary parents,  focused on the coffee reader board ahead and the promise of help that it will bring to their harried day.

…Sometime, it’s a man or a woman, alone. Some used to it, some visibly uncomfortable, as if wearing a new skin.

…She imagines their fuller selves as she watches, these pairings and singles…what they stepped out of to come here today…what awaits when they get home. What is their work? How do they play? Is the marriage one of old friends? Will there be a second date?

…The old woman watches all of this. But not with longing, or necessarily a sense of disconnect.

…She knows these stories. Well. In some way, you could say that she has lived all these lives, parading around her, and even holds special memories of the minutest degree, about them…from when it was her time…her sister, her son, her lover, her friend… “her,” thirty-five years ago, sitting alone like that one there…fully confident, hard at work, totally at ease…being the single, solitary lady at a table, in public, consumed in whatever the hell she was doing.

…But the secret she holds, sitting at her far end table, is one that no one in the cafe would ever imagine, or believe… to just look at her…even if they did.

…Which, they rarely do. Because why should they? To the eye, she is just an old woman, sitting in a cafe. Alone. So: a “spinster” or a “widow”…but of nothing any more complex or engaging to the curiosity.

To the young: she’s nonexistent. To the couples, perhaps a lonely peek at their one day inevitable future, to the singles…a potent gut kick of panic, “Dear God, what if someday, that is me? Alone. At a table. Just the same as I am now?”

…And every once in a while, because the old woman is keenly observant, she can feel these thoughts actually eeking out from the looks and gestures of those who are thinking them. For she is quite good at interpreting these even slightest of facial hints.

…After all, it is her profession.

…And I say, “is” not “was,” because she has been lucky with a job description one cannot age out of. In fact she is working, even now…at that table, as she has been for years on end. She is at study, waiting for a peek of something curious and extraordinary, blended into the everyday average of the average person’s busy day.

…She studies them like a scientist, interprets as an analyst, clicks in with their emotions, builds them in her mind as characters in say…a book.

Of course this doesn’t mean she knows the answers, that isn’t the point. It’s the art form of “what if” that she is after. Because life has so much endless possibility in even the most mundane of appearances.

…For instance, just looking at her…this old woman, alone at a table…could you imagine her true actual self? That she’s been a high end prostitute, a nun, an inventor, was once mostly blind, had been stabbed and shot a good many times, and had done her fair share of brutality, up to murder…several times. She was a lesbian with many male lovers, and a mistress…but also a spinster, with countless marriages, and children now dotting the globe in all ages, races, and colors.

…As well, as can toss back a neat double of whiskey as swift as any burley biker, holds more secrets than a government official at voting time, and has plans to meet up later with a gob of people twenty or more years her junior, where she will have love affairs, in public, and then go out drinking afterwards…just for the fucking fun of it.

Not for a moment, would this occur to any of the occupants at the other tables, nor the wait staff she’s known by sight for a decade or more. For despite her volcanic and tumultuous past, she is an introvert, and had always preferred to be the keeper of the secrets, than “out” them. It’s always been more fun, that way.

…Except sometimes…

…When she takes a look round a crowded cafe and spots a woman, alone, also sitting back and taking in the room. Their eyes meet. Across time and space, a connection is formed lasting perhaps only a beat.

Maybe the younger woman nods her head slightly. Maybe the old one winks. A smile begins on both mouths…saying nothing and everything. Kindred spirits: a meeting.

The younger woman holds the glance as if to say, “I see you, I know you, I will be you someday. And I’m pretty damn cool with that, actually. ”

…To which the old woman manages an actual chuckle and tilt of her head, as if to say: “Honey, are you in for a hell of a treat…”


A New Chapter

25 Jan


I am a very strong person. No, not only as a woman, as a human. I don’t take shit. I’ve been programmed not to. Preconditioning in childhood, saw to that.

…The thing is, sometimes difficulties tear you down and down and weaken you, sometimes they do the opposite and stiffen your guard. It isn’t always one way or the other, nor from person to person, a consistency. Life is too harried and messy to allow for this perfected conclusion and plan of attack. Which means that even very strong people can get caught up in a circus freak-show of an abusive and toxic relationship every now and then, which in any other circumstance, they would see for what it is, and set fire to the bastard, instantly.

…Only life is…messy. Politics are messy. Relationships, friendships, family ties, can get so deep and scarred and reheal over twists of rusty barbed wire and promises, which shouldn’t be allowed to. Allegiance is a wonderful thing, but not to a cancer. The thing is, when these deep seeded relationships are finally seen for what they really are…the cancer is already alive and well and breeding. It takes over. And your history and time and family and everything else becomes twisted up into the mix as well.

…So what do you do?

…Ignore it? Excuse it? Try to relabel and reclassify it to sound like it isn’t what it really is? Because that way might be easier? Socially. Politically. And even in that deep down part of your heart that says, “Yes, but it wasn’t always like this, some good has come of it.” Or, “But family, is family…the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

As a strong, imperfect human, who sucks at forgiveness of others, who builds walls (plural) around them, and trusts almost no one (related or otherwise)…the fact that when someone actually scales the walls, earns the trust, and then fucks with it…should be soundly aware, they will swiftly be dealt a death blow. In case they aren’t aware, I have thoroughly educated them.

…Except “sometimes.” And I don’t always know why?

…The inconsistancy doesn’t make sense. Even to me. Why is this person excommunicated, while that one gets a slap on the wrist?

I don’t know.

…It’s a thing that has bothered and baffled me about myself. Upon further reflection, sometimes I can find a “reason,” but is anything worth ignoring a deep seeded “wrong” at a level so spurious that it eats at you across weeks, months, even years at a time?

…Do you owe anyone your self respect? For any reason? Do you “owe” anyone anything?

I feel that an uncomfort I have lived with for far too long, a history of me that I have always felt ashamed of…for no reasons which I was responsible for…a thing which shaped so much of me and my life…somehow became a mantle I felt I had to wear and suffer through for reasons which were never good enough.

…The truth is: no reason would have been good enough.

I have been a very strong person who has allowed an abuse, long scarred, to eat at me. There are no visible bruises, no scratches, no bodily violations. But there were lies, manipulations, continual boundary crossings, assumptions, and suffocations. There was a loss of innocence, a reiteration of trust issues…together with family and hardships and what I believe at the core, might have also been real actual love. It is after all, family.

…But that does not excuse, it does not diminish, the egregious wrongs.

…And when I see its pattern start to reveal itself again, in a whole new light of circumstances…only then can I truly see-SEE it for what it truly is. And was.

I am a very strong woman. I am a very strong person. And I am at last saying to this circumstance: I am done with you now.

I owe you nothing.

I never did.

I am free of this thing, whatever it has been.

And I am putting it in print. Not because you will read it. But because I needed to say it.

…And for all the strong people out there, feeling stuck in a circus merry-go-round of fucked up exceptions and reasons to know:

“You are amazing, and I know it is difficult to imagine: but it’s okay to let go now.”

It’s okay to say: “I’m done.”


Whew. Whoa. WHAT?!

15 Jan


All the ink is dry in all the reviews for our show, which just seems to take this sizable monkey off my back, and let me settle in to do the work without outward distraction.

…Reviews aren’t supposed to matter, and some shows I don’t read them on purpose, because I’ve got a bigger plateful than other times, and need to be focused on “my show with my team” vs what other people are flinging at it. It’s difficult, because artists want feedback. But sometimes that feedback gets in the way, and just in case…I chose not to follow that yellow brick road, this time around.

…Course you can’t really get away from it anyway. Other people talk about it, drop you notes…you can’t do a show in a social bubble. So what I do know, is that whether people are “feeling” the content and amount of work they personally have to do to keep up with watching a Stoppard: consensus is — we are doing ours to help them out at it. So: that’s success. Not everything is for everyone, but the fear of en-mass walk-outs and angry refund demands, is over now.

…Now I just getta work and play, with the team. Which is pretty outstanding.

…And pretty essential. This week, especially.

When the world loses an entertainer, an artist, it immediately knee-jerks to its polar relationship with them. That one song, that painting, that movie, that concert. Because ART MATTERS, TO EVERYONE, even when they don’t realize it a lot of the time. It becomes like this crazy few days or weeks of manic memory bumps, and articles, and YouTube tribute videos…an explosion of new DVD, MP3 and CD sales.

When the Artistic world loses an entertainer, an Artist, we immediately knee-jerk to devastation. Because it isn’t about that one song or film or concert. It is about the loss of “family.” They were our teachers, our collaborative companions in countless instances, because of what they inspired, and wrote about and expressed when laymens words couldn’t scratch the surface. They made us want to be and do what we are. They were our freakin heroes, paved the way for us, encouraged us, showed us limitless options of looking at the ordinary and seeing the extraordinary.

…We lost two big ones. Within 4 days.

Too much, too soon.

The tributes keep coming (as they should), and everyone mourns them in their own way. Sometimes it’s hysterical blubbering, sometimes a silent pictorial tribute, sometimes it’s about festing their work, reminding oneself of what a gift we’ve been left behind. I’m more the latter style, but I understand why people can take it to the extreme.

Art is so incredibly personal and builds a relationship like nothing else, between one stranger and another. What was meant by it in the creation might not be how it is received, but that is kind of the magical thing about it. Your interpretation is purely yours. It’s as private as you want it to be, and builds relationships based on that. It’s why we have favorite singers and writers and actors. Because somehow, though we’ve never met, they get us, and where we are at, and can show it better than we can even put into articulate sentences.

…And because of that, the loss of every artist means the loss of this matchless person who you should never be ashamed to mourn, tear up over, get pissed off, about. Guess what? Their job on this earth was to make you feel something, think something, consider something, that you never could have, with anyone else. That intimacy can’t be bought and sold in tickets…that, is personal.

It’s personal.

It’s family.

It’s a hero.

It hurts.

They went too soon, but dammit, the job they did while here…

Rest in peace dear Sirs.

…And, “thank you. From all the Family.”


The Crawford

9 Jan


A love on Facebook posted this like yesterday.

…I laughed my ass off, commenced with the rest of my busy workday, mid tech week, and then went home and Opened a show.

…And then I got up this morning after my first solid sleep in four days, after a not-at-all bad performance, feeling like an emo mess.

…The kind of sad that you can’t express, without rhyme or reason or substantial circumstance…

…But then Cecil texted: “Breakfast?” And I’m all like, “Yes! That’ll fix it! Bring me Starbucks and I’ll love you even more than I already do…!”

…And she did. And I did. And she went on about her day, and I sat with my empty cardboard Starbucks cup, staring at the still present Christmas tree across the room.

“I should fix that,” I thought.

…And where before,  what with a show going up and all, I had felt I had a “pass” at letting it ride this long, I was still tired. Still ambiguously sad. Still in pajamas, and not able to come to terms with what I “should” be doing, versus just sitting there.

…So I went to the Facebooks to post about it…like you do…and everyone was all, “No, yeah, my trees still up too…” So you’d think this would help. But it didn’t. So I was sad, and tired and striking Christmas.

…And then mom texted and was all, “Hey, what about more coffee, and a walk?”

…And I thought, “Yeah, that’ll fix it!”

…So we took one. And it was caffeinated and fresh, and green, but it didn’t.

…So I said, “I’m in a really bad, sad mood, I need to go home, and sleep or something.”

…And we went through a drive-thru on the way, and I’m all like, “A strawberry milkshake! That’ll fix it!”

…So I got one. But it didn’t.

…Which bring us to an exhausting conclusion of now: where I’m back in pajamas again, sitting on the couch, knowing that I’ve got this whole show to do in a few hours, which requires me to have my shit together…

…And what comes next is my last resort: A long-ass, very hot shower, where I will sob uncontrollably until there is nothing left.

…Which will fix it!

…Because it fucking HAS to.

…Because Jameson doesn’t make a PMS pill, and I’ve got some shit to do.

Today, girlness can kiss my ass.


Another Tech Week

6 Jan

I dunno how many blogs have been dedicated to this subject versus all the rest, but I’m fairly certain that based on the stress blowout needs that they bring: it’s gotta be a lot.

…Someday, I’ll attack one of these without topping onna 40 hour office work week as well, and am sure it will be like adding a great big dollop of cream cheese to a dry bagel.

…How much easier must it be to get it down without such harsh requirements from all corners and directions. What if you actually did these things on a full night’s sleep? With time for proper meals? No need for five cups of black coffee before noon? Or after 4 p.m?

…Being awake at two a.m. fixating on lines you fucked up in the run, wouldn’t cost so much the next morning. You wouldn’t have to be fighting so hard not to get the office cold everyone has…because there would be no “office”…

…And your “mind”…

…Your mind would be totally focused on only one major thing: to open this show and not fuck it up.

…Your whole entire day would be spent just in the service of this. To sleep until you wake up. To take a walk or workout or detox in your own favorite manner. To eat meals like a human being: at a table. With silverware. With nothing coming from a greasy bag or box. Time to run your lines and do more book work, time to blow out the stiffness that can happen after a long rehearsal process when the words start to become too taken for granted or automated. You could spend three hours just rehearsing that one scene with mock props, to get it as clean and seamless as it was back when you were just miming.

…How awesome to not have to wear out your voice all day long on phones and over report explanations, but be able to vocal rest, and warm up slowly and specifically, to exactly the parameters which service that particular role the best?

…In every way, on every day, it would be infinitely easier to do the Actors job, if it was the only one we needed to do. If every discipline of it could earn a living wage so that non-Hollywood-elite could have personal trainers to keep us fit, get us prepared for physical makeovers, smack fast food out of our hands and replace them with green high energy things. How much easier to have the beauticians do all the coloring and styling and preshow makeup. To just show up and do our job, and that would be enough.

…Sadly, of course, this isn’t the way. We do all that shit (and more) on our own, plus hold down whatever job we can manage to pay our bills.

…Which is what we all expected when we started this gig. But it doesn’t make the job any easier, knowing that.

…And it doesn’t make this Tech Week any less of a general living hell, than the last one was. It’s just a long-ass labor, you know is coming from the beginning. It’s mostly always worth it. This one will be. You just gotta think of that beautiful baby being born on Friday, suck it up, and take the sleeplessness, exhaustion, anxiety, and (often) literal pain, like a Boss.

Own it. As best you can.

Almost there…



…And stop fucking up that line…


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