Tag Archives: writing

Sleepy Times Shakes

30 Jul

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Can’t. Keep. Eyes. Open.

…Spent my blogging time working on a guest writing piece for a theatre company.

Conclusion: It’s weird writing for someone else. Going back to academic essaying legit vs the SWAL voice I’ve been talking in for the past year: also weird.

…I really need to branch out more. Like, in general.

Meanwhile…how about that Julius Caesar?! Shakespeare: a real ballbuster, am I right?!

~D

Dear Prop Diary…

3 Jun

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I’ve volunteered to fill my prop diary with “sensational entries”…so tonight will be just a blip of a blog.

…Takes me back to filling a giant spiral notebook and text book with lecture notes, highlights, margin comments and pull-quotes for “Oleanna,” several years ago.  The stage was extremely intimate, so there was no question that the notes had to be there, and a lot of them.  It also sincerely helps as an actor for every piece of legitimacy that you can be given to use to tell the story.  Tiny details, that only maybe the actors can even see, in costume, props and set pieces are a giant help in helping one to further the facade of make believe.

…And when it is such a personal prop, sometimes it helps for you yourself to invest in it.

Of COURSE I want to play and build Gwendolen’s diary. Why the hell WOULDN’T I?

…Even though it is merely her small “travel” variety.  I think of it as her “Greatest Hits” record: a transcription of all the really juicy bits from her larger, more in-depth one at home.  She’s been around a bit, and  per Algy, is frequently flirted with and proposed to, so there is certainly a legit amount of steam in those pages. 

I don’t doubt.

…Not a bit.

…Meanwhile , at rehearsal tonight: Run of nearly all first act, with notes and some set-change choreography. Small bits of delectable “yum” worked out in the lobby with dear Earnest, ‘tween scenes. At least we thought they were.  Given a couple more passes at the timing, we’ll be launching them at the room in general on our first main full run in the theatre on Wednesday.

…See how it goes.

Whether they are “keepers” or not, the ideas and the work and the finessing is excellent exercise for the characters, so totally worth it no matter what.

…But based on our own giggles, I’m betting we found some “keepers.”

Right!

Off now to create new faux worlds of delight.

…Of course, I could just fill the book with random sentences or lines…but what would be the fun it that?

I shall consider it more backstory-delight, and dive in with creativity and a mug of tea and see where it takes me.

~D

Killing Off The Lead

19 May

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I’d like to start a petition to kill off Mr. Selfridge from the next season of “Mr. Selfridge,” only they almost never will kill off the lead.  Especially when the whole show is titled for him. And it’s based on history. And he lived into his 90’s.

…I can’t take watching Jeremy Pivin that long.

…I can’t take watching him this long.

I get this horribly overwhelming empathy for every poor bastard he does a scene with, which actually drives me to continually shout at the screen in every scene he is in.  Things like:

“HOW ARE YOU THIS BAD AND STILL EMPLOYED?!”

“WHY DO YOU HAVE TO YELL EVERY SINGLE FUCKING LINE?!”

“HOW DO YOUR BRITISH CHILDREN AND AUSTRALIAN WIFE ALL SPEAK WITH BETTER AMERICAN ACCENTS THAN YOU?! YOU COME FROM ILLINOIS!”

“I’VE WATCHED TAMPON COMMERCIALS WITH PEOPLE WHO EXPRESS MORE CHARACTER MOTIVATION!”

“WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE THE ONE REPRESENTATIVE AMERICAN…YOU MAKE US ALL LOOK LIKE TOTALLY TALENTLESS, INCOMPETENT, ASSHOLES!”

“I HAVEN’T BEEN THIS PISSED OFF FROM TOTAL WASTE OF CO-ACTORS SCENE-GIFTING, SINCE THE TOM CRUISE CASTING FIASCO IN ‘VALKYRIE’!”

“HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE SEXUAL CHEMISTRY WITH THAT?  HAVE YOU SEEN HER?!?”

…and…

“WHHHHHHY?!?”

…I’ve stuck with it because the critics are right: tons of other characters are totally invested and worth it.  ‘Specially the women. Which just makes him stick out worse.  My old favorites are acting perfectly up to speed of my expectations of their excellence, and new ones have been found to join them in the ranks.  It is often delightful, always eye-candy, the wigs make me breathless, (and the Frenchman), I’m appropriately in love with everyone I’m supposed to be, and hate the ones I’ve been taught to…except for the leading character…which is just totally screwing up the whole balance of everything.

…He was bedridden for one episode and it was one of the best parts of my day. Cuz he slept through about 85% of it.

…Then the bastard woke up again.

…And I yelled at the screen some more.

Meantime, I feel I should clarify that this is not merely a matter of a “character” I happen to dislike, (as one frequently does in BBC drama…and usually for well plotted and planned out reasons, as supplied by the writers.)  I am saying that the character would be ideal if played as written…by a seductive, charismatic, likable human, with some shred of sexual chemistry, and the ability to deliver a line without yelling it in a monotone manner at whomever he happens to be facing at the the time. 

…And yes, I have to say “yelling AT” because he has yet (7 episodes in) to have an actual “conversation” with anyone.

…And I have to say “facing” because that is all he does.

…And I have to say “lack of any sexual chemistry” as he (apparently) fucks everything that moves, and yet every times he goes to kiss one of the poor women I actually, physically wince for them.

If one was looking for someone to “SHARE” a scene, or converse appropriately, or conduct some sparks with: Joe American Entourage King, sure as hell ain’t it.

…He ain’t.

…And isn’t.

…And I’ve been festing this now across some days.  

…So I feel like I’ve certainly given him more than a fair share of opportunity to prove me wrong.

…But he didn’t.

…And he won’t.

…And I know there is a second season coming.

…And because I’m a history geek, I know that bastard is gonna live forever.

…And I’m sorta really bummed out about it, frankly.

…(And that Lady Mae didn’t re-sign. Cuz she’s one of my most delicious character favorites.)

Oh, the woe that is my LIFE!

…Good thing I’m back to rehearsals tomorrow.  My artistic frustration needs a good blowout.  Obviously, yelling at the TV isn’t quite cutting it.

~D

The Parable

17 Jan

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I’ll not write what this is really about…instead it’ll be an exercise in restraint, specificity and coded themes.

…How can one mix such an oxymoronic cocktail?

I dunno.  But people seem to frequently, so lets see if I can keep up.

(And, I can.)

…I’m actually getting better at this all the time. 

The power of print is a heady beast.  Ask anyone who has it, or takes it, or prostitutes it at will.

As bloggers, we all do.  In some way. 

A point of view struck in type is just our slant on the world, coded in html text, and slapped on a server.  Used to be more of a “to-do” than that, requiring physical paper and ink…and (for a readership,) usually an editor and some kind of talent.

But not anymore. 

…Even with the editor and paper and ink, the written word often seems a dieing artform. Any idiot with a computer or cell phone can vomit words on a “page” now, with nearly limitless readership…for instance: case in point:

I have a blog.

And you are reading it.

Sucker.

Now, some will take what I say as fact.

Some will not.

Some will agree with what I say.

Some will claim that I am full of shit.

…But I suppose what I find most interesting about all this (in fact “interesting” is not quite the correct word, I suppose “annoyingly irritating” comes as a two-part substitution), is when words are put to politicking use, where there was absolutely no reason to, in the least.

…Like all those annoying FB updates belching extremism all over the place.  Cuz THAT is what you wanna scroll through on your finally achieved coffee break, or while slamming a sandwich at lunch.

…And add to that, the “hipster” craze of ridiculousness, and really…sometimes my stream makes me want to just close the account and walk away forever. Only I can’t. Cuz I’m a fucking human. But that doesn’t change the fact of how goddamn irritating it is, that it’s a “fad” now for people to quote principles they don’t necessarily believe in, or go against the agreed-upon plan or opinion, just because it is the different, non-mainstream thing to do.

It is fucking asinine to me. 

Really?

…You can’t like your favorite band now, because other people have actually heard of them at this point? 

…You’ll vote against that one dude just because they are the current establishment? 

…You hate that brand, movie, actor, car, restaurant…because other people actually enjoy them? 

…Because it makes you smarter than them to not have partaken of the Kool-Aid (or some shit), and everyone in power now is always wrong, and every choice was poorly made because you weren’t the one to make it, and now your frustrated little poser heart, (which unfathomably seems to get-off on taking the opposite opinion view, just because its “different”)…can secretly orgasm with delight tonight (alone, of course, because no one is good enough to actually sleep with you…and if they were, you wouldn’t want them anyway…)

…Or maybe not.

…Maybe I’m misjudging them, like they do to the us’s.

Is it “fair” that I should get to, if my gripe is all about them doing it first?

Do two wrongs make a right?

This is me: trying to understand what it really means…the frustration that I feel…why I feel it…as well as using the best of my conscious ability to see it from all (even the asinine) points of view.

Which is more than most people will give you.

…And you know what? It STILL pisses me off and is wrong.

…But that’s just my own humble opinion.

Only let me tell you this one thing. As my own little “case in point.” And then I’ll shut it down.

For now.

…A kind of parable if you will:

A woman walks into the ER, and after showing her ID, is taken into the IC ward. There is a young person laying there, face beat to shit, bones broken, bruises everywhere, blood seeping through the sutured wounds.

“That’s my son,” she says as she looks on in horror.

“Are you sure?” the Doctor says, bringing her closer to the bed. “He had no ID on him at the time of the accident…and he’s severely wounded.”

“I know my son,” the woman says, reaching her hand out to grasp the one on the hospital bed. “I’d know him anywhere. By smell, by feel, the way his eyelashes fall..that freckle by his left ear…I know the way he breathes when he sleeps, like he’s doing right now. There’s nobody can tell me different. I carried that boy inside of me for months. My whole body labored for him. I’ve nurtured him, cried with him, laughed with him…I know him better than anyone else in the world…because it was my job to. And no manner of beatings or broken bones or bruises could ever disguise what I know to be true. Nothing anybody says or does, will ever change that.”

“I’d guess you’d know best,” the Doctor then agrees, with a scribble on the chart before him. “Can’t argue with the woman who gave birth to him, now can I?”

“Well, you could, Doctor,” the woman comments from her station beside the bed, “but you’d look like a damn fool if you did.”

~D

Nine Hours

16 Dec

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I totally cheated on my boyfriend, hardcore, today.

Again.

…I dunno if it’s worse and counts for more by the “day” or by the “event” or by the separation of the amount of “years” in between, digging up old wounds. But either way, there I was, making a TOTALLY conscience decision (nine times, to be exact), to have a passionate affair with someone else…forsaking him for the second time after finally getting over the last betrayal, seven years ago.

This is my confession.

I feel a letter, is the least I could offer, in explanation and is what he deserves.  He deserves to know the full, unvarnished truth.  And its a useful prop after the words are done being read…to print it out so you can ball it up, or shred into a zillion pieces, or set fire to, or all of the above (which is honestly, the way I would prob’ly go.) 

So here it is:

Dear Aaron Sorkin & “Newsroom”,

First of all…It’s not you, it’s me. 

It isn’t your fault that I was seduced so easily by that one trailer they ran on the internet, before you had even aired.  After all, the creative team you were flashing with that stellar, sexy smile, included luminaries of so many lovers from my past.  I knew I would be gone on you in an instant, and only the lack of an HBO subscription kept me from total, succinct, obsession. 

…Even still, I confess to driving by your house, upon occasion, pressing my face to the car window, to watch your every move of beauty and action through internet-posted episode teasers and season wrap-ups. 

…I googled your pictures, savoring them like a kind of really classy porn. I’d post them on my computer (at home of course, because your sexiness was too much to risk during working hours.) And glory in the newest teaser clips and extended YouTubes…forcing me lap at a glass of wine, while moaning, and french kissing my pillow, just to help ease the unholy desire you would unleash.

With all of this steadfast dedication (to the extent that I was monetarily able), how COULD you but expect me to be then: forever faithful?

Believe me when I say, that I am equally as shocked as you are at this so sudden alteration in my affections. I’m usually so steadfast with my adoration. Ask any of my 16 other boyfriends, to whom I have been utterly faithful, well into double-decades.

Decades…!

…Most of my lifetime dedicated to the aching, heart-stirring, squelching, passion-filled, kind of internet-stalking that makes that one diaper-wielding Astronaut look like a total amateur.

“This feels awful-horrible. I wanna puke all the time. I cry at movie-clips. I wanna curl into a ball at every speech of rejection, of every misguided argument, of every death…filmed in slow motion…in the snow…in period costume…with music just absolutely slobbering out shrieks of horrifying grief and pity with every note. I feel like total shit. THIS. IS. LOVE!,” (I have often thought, time and time again.)

…And I truly believed it was. And it always would be. And nothing would ever stop that.

(Except for that one time, seven years ago. Which we decided that you forgave me for, and we’d never speak of again.)

Look: I loved “Studio 60″…and I frequently make out with it to this day…but “30 Rock” turned out to be this really hot cousin of yours I met at that party that one time, and I sorta had a fling with it (for until it ends this season)…but then you decided to do a guest spot on it after “Studio 60” got killed, and I sorta took that as your “blessing” (in a way) for me, signifying it was okay to move on and love again.

So I did.

…And see, then last week the Golden Globe nominations came out…

…And this one show I’d never heard of before was on the list…

…And it’s reviews were things like, “better than ‘Mad Men'”…and, “This is what ‘Newsroom’ SHOULD be!”

…And it’s not like I really “believed” all that was said, but I confess that a quick, innocent, search was pulling up a lot of drooling beauty and concept-love. Plus, you KNOW how I get around men who talk in accents…

I confess, I video searched, clip-watched, and asked it out for a drink.

…And even just in previews, it was charming and witty and sexy and smart…and we both have this big thing for whiskey in common…and then it seemed like maybe the lunches and late night flirts over drinks, might possibly be going further than either of us had intended…

…Until, squirming my stocking’d feet in my high heels beneath the nightclub table, found myself accidentally lighting up a virtual cigarette.

I smoked the FUCK out of that unfiltered tar-stick.

Then we steamed up the windows a little, when he dropped me off at home after our first real episode date…

…And when he walked me to my stoop…well…

Long story, short: We “schtupped.”

And he was reeeeeeeeally good.

…He looks even better outta the beautifully tailored, period suits then IN ’em.

(And who in the hell would have guessed that was even possible?!)

…With like this amazing rejuvenation turnover time, that allowed immediate follow-ups through all of Season One…

(With only occasional pauses to bring more food to the pillow-strewn, heavily-sexed room, in between.)

He was an animal.

…And after finally finding and ramming (pardon the explicitness) through the first three episodes of Season Two, I laid back totally exhausted. Which was fine, cuz by that time he was totally spent.

After nine hours, I suppose even an epic-sexer, runs out at some point.

It was only then (shamefully), laying in the arms of my lover…the whole house reeking of food and word-period-visual sex…that I once again thought of you.

You: my first loved in the genre, and my (now) forsaken.

…Which is why I felt that I needed to stay awake long enough to write this to you.

Do with it as you wish.

It was certainly not meant to pain you further.

…I’m confident that we will find one another again…the world (after all) is a small place, really. And I’ve loved you for so long…in all your previous artistic incarnations, that our history will always be a sweet one for me. And I thank you for that.

But I have to tell you: I sorta bought Season One at noon today, in hard copy, from Amazon.

…The wedding is on December 24th.

We both hope you will wish us joy.

Sincerely,

~D

One Hundred

20 Oct

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SWAL is now 100 posts strong, well past our 3000th view and has 75 followers in a little over 4 months since we opened shop here on WordPress.

…We aren’t one of the Big Boys with gillions of traffic hits, but we have great affection and appreciation for each and every one of you, our readers. We enjoy making new friends (which in real-life we happen to suck at.) We enjoy stopping by your pages and catching up on your days and weeks and projects…we enjoy little blurbs left now and then on our posts, and we enjoy the fact that our “likes” aren’t a popularity contest…each one of them mean that you totally know what we’re talking about and are kindred spirits in these things, day to day. Or maybe, we just made you smile, or feel glad you don’t have the 9-5 job we do. Either way, today’s post is for YOU.

Thanks, for daily giving me a forum to vent and wonder and create in. Thanks for keeping me honest, and on task with each days post…even when I’m too busy or tired and don’t feel like writing. You have saved me thousands of dollars in additional shrink fees, and help rise my spirits when they land in the shitter.

I’ve learned a lot, since writing m’first post here.

…To be honest, I would really appreciate the million-viewer blog as well, but for different reasons…reasons monetary, that could help fund bill paying and other such incidentals. And I tried. But seems that SWAL had other plans in mind. She’s decided her own fate I think, and chooses to keep it closer to home. After a couple of months, I finally got that, and let her follow her own path.

…Letting go of your children (albeit even artistic ones) isn’t always easy. You might plan out this entire bright future for them that they are not designed to fit into. You can write a play that gets at fest levels and runs the gambit, but never goes mainstream. You can write a book that took everything you had in creative resources and never sees a pressing. You can have a 40 year career in Hollywood playing “second guy on the right,” never quite getting the big break you were hoping for. But if you are doing what you love and need to do, at some point you will accept the cost of it, without expecting a big payout in dollars and cents, end-of-the-day.

Just doing it will be enough.

SWAL’s blogging voice is a different character, almost completely, from last incarnations on blogs I have built in the past. She has become this other being: a slightly more butch, openly biting, yet ultimately more forgiving version of me. But she is a “character”…and with realizing that, I’ve come to realize I’ve built this person who lets me be more balls-out than I usually am in real life, and helps me build up a little more urgency to my life force as a whole.

I like her.

…She’s ain’t elegant or necessarily subtle, is much more effusive and daring, but she’s who I needed when I needed to create something new. As I’ve learned more about her, by writing her, I’ve come to respect her own voice, and will even go back and edit out (or in) certain formats of language because they either do or do not fit her “character.”

…Essentially, (from the writing perspective), I am a dramatist, a “playwright.” It’s the medium I am most comfortable with, yet haven’t created anything new in nearly two years. It seems to me, that SWAL has winked her way into my life as a reminder of what I do best: create characters. Filter life through their perspectives, yet do it in such a way as others can relate to them. Write a person you understand…parts and pieces borrowed from dozens of others you have met, that when put together build specifications and realism’s to what is in fact only a name on a piece of paper, until you make something more of it.

After three months and 100 posts, SWAL is very much her own person, and steadily pressing on. Her daily script of Improv may change, but in the end, by reading our posts, you’ve encouraged our strange little serial Telemudo to continue to grow and further it’s grasp in the world.

…And the royal “we” just wanted to say, “Thanks, guys.”

🙂

~D

Word Fairies, On A Walk

17 Sep

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A walk.  To battle the  Monday-after-Vacation, gross obeseness of crud.

…There’s this walk I take, that we call “the loop.”  It’s the long circle that takes you down the full length of the north-end neighborhood, and round to the point, looking down on Old Town, rising up from the sea. I usually take it when my brain is too full to negotiate actual directions and choices. It’s easy because it never wanders too far from itself and always comes back home again…like a good dog. Which is really convenient when you’re clearly too busy talking to yourself like a schizo, about all the things you didn’t get around to today, but need to, and how the associated reporting materials will be filled out, and in which order.

…Also, the ocean is good to focus on after a rough day. (If you let yourself.)  It’s calming, somehow.  Maybe because it’s bigger than anything that could possibly be bothering you at the time.  Maybe because it’s so “in your face,”  that you can’t help but get sidetracked by it.

…Sorta like how you can trick a kid outta crying if you give ’em something new to focus on, instead of whatever it is they first wanted, or was taken away, that they can’t have now.

I totally know how that kid feels, today.

Those bastards stole my vacation goodness away…and I was pretty ticked about it. 

…So clearly, after work was done, (and my car payment was made), “the loop” was in order. 

…Anyway…the point I was getting at is: mid-between casa de mi, and the beginning of “the loop,” is this house:

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About once a week, they print out a poem, short story or anecdote in bulk, and plop it in that little plastic holder bolted on the post and driven into the ground, just on the corner, there. I dunno what the owner’s story is…I frankly don’t think anyone does.  And not too many people take the souvenirs, but I know I’m not the only one who stops to at least read ’em.

The rule is: it can only take up one page. 

…So far, that’s the only quantifying identifier in content or theme. And it has become an addictive reader board, like a fortune cookie’s guts, housing who even knows what words of wonder, day-to day. The top black flip-up cover says, “take one”…like those realtor get-ups you might use to sell a house.  Only this one is used to sell you “thoughts” instead.  Sometimes they’re goodish ones.  Sometimes not. Sometimes I wanna write a note back, and pop it in the box, for the Word Fairies.  Things like:

” I liked the one about the dog.”

…or…

” Sylvia Plath isn’t always totally depressing like I thought

…or…

” This one hurt my inside parts.  But that’s okay sometimes.  So, thanks.”

…Also, I wonder if they take requests?

” Maybe less Politics please…”

” Can you find something about sunshine for the next one?  It’s been raining for six solid weeks…”

” Have you ever considered limericks?  I’d suggest a good Dottie Parker…”

Regardless…its always nice to have some clean, warm air…to hear the sound of sprinklers and dog pantings and runner’s tread…and watch the sun set out over the water.  Its nice to have words like these in my head, other than the chanting of “to do” lists for tomorrow, and the balancing of my checkbook.  Those things can wait.  But a hard-earned piece of goodness and mental rest after a long day, cannot.

…So: “Thank you, Word Fairies.  Keep up the good work!”

(Here are a couple, most recent…)

***

Poem: “The Clearing,” by Gregory Djanikian
from “The Man in the Middle” (Carnegie-Mellon University Press)

**”Poetry is an act of generosity.” ~ Don Skiles**

And something will happen:
You will stand at the edge of a field

hearing the wind-skirted
leaves of the trees, and you

will try to remember
the woman you almost married,

though her life will spiral
like a hawk away from you,

and you will want her,
as deeply as you’ll want

the hawk to settle on your fist,
or the wind to empty

your eyes of grief for all
you’ve renounced to become

what you now are, but
nothing this day will claim you,

neither hawk, nor wind, nor lover,
and you’ll sense how your past

has seduced you through the years
to this field, this reckoning,

to, finally, this poem
which you will write by learning

what matters is not the words
but the unlabored

breath through which
they’re spoken and given up,

like hawks, or lovers
or this life you keep on revising.

***

Poem: “You should at times go out, ” by Elizabeth Daryush

You should at times go out
        from where the faithful kneel,
visit the slums of doubt
        and feel what the lost feel;

you should at times walk on,
        away from your friends’ ways,
go where the scorned have gone,
        pass beyond blame and praise;

and at times you should quit
        (ah yes) your sunny home,
sadly awhile should sit,
        even, in wrong’s dark room

or ever, suddenly
        by simple bliss betrayed,
you shall be forced to flee,
        unloved, alone, afraid.

***

~D

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