Thursday, December 29, 2011

Some more things to work on in the new year...

30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself

I thought this was just terrific... I know there's more than a couple of things on that list that I need to work on in 2012.

Happy happy and merry merry, friends and neighbours!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Year In Review and The Year Ahead...

Hello, friends and neighbours! I hope you all had a spectacular holiday weekend, however you celebrate. I had a great Christmas, in fact I didn't leave my house from Saturday morning to this morning, which was perfectly cozy. I got some great loot and didn't indulge TOO much, although I find it challenging to get back to healthier habits... especially with all this chocolate and wine lying around! And getting back to the gym today after some time off for an injury... eep!

I am so happy to have this week off, although I know it will go by too quickly and I'll be back at my day job before I know it. I am one of those annoying people who really enjoy making resolutions (it's a side effect of loving lists), and I always love the idea of the new year--so full of potential and possibilities. Thought I'd do a quick year in review and list some of the things I'm looking forward to doing this coming year...

In 2011: I lost 30 lbs, really started becoming comfortable with my writing voice and process, auditioned more, shot some commercials and industrials, saw a lot of great theatre, joined a gym, found a fabulous voice teacher, sang in front of other humans, quit smoking, developed a plan for us to take care of our debt and finances, rediscovered my love of knitting, traveled (Ontario still counts!), made some delicious food, wrote some plays, submitted, submitted, submitted.

in 2012 I'm planning to:

1) Losing the next 30 lbs.
2) Write a solo play
3) Knit more
4) Sing more
5) Audition more
6) Defy my fear of failure/insecurities and take more risks
7) Sew more.
8) Donate blood
9) Improve my French
10) Have more fun with personal style/improve my wardrobe/find more glamour in everyday life
11) Finish reading the Time Magazine Top 100 novels
12) Get my work out there, that is submit, submit, submit!

I'm looking forward to 2012 being a creative, fulfilling year for me--and hopefully I'll be blogging about it on a regular basis.

What are some of your resolutions?

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Gift of Grant

Oh you guys, today was a great day of hanging out at home, not talking to anyone and listening to Christmas music. I also decided to tackle cleaning behind the fridge, where many half-full containers of cat treats have fallen, and discovered about 20,000 bug carcasses. So gross. Seriously, it was like a Hoarders moment or something. Please don't think less of me, even though I'm sure you all clean behind your fridges every weekend as part of your regular chore rotation.

I actually meant to clean between the dishwasher and the fridge (we have one of those roll-out dishwashers that we only use as extra counter space), and then my perfectionist tendencies took over. I also did many loads of laundry of random clothes that have been sitting around for a while, which led me to realize that I must do a closet purge very soon.

But I digress--I had some good news today. Some great news, actually--the grant we had applied for to do a workshop of my show came through! We get some money to pay actors and a designer and a director, and ME to do some rewrites.


So, two workshops to look forward to in the new year. Of two different plays.
Take that Christmas rejection!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

Hello again, friends and neighbours! Today I am feeling old and decrepit and sore, due to performing the Holiday Bathroom Cleanse. While this may sound like the latest diet trend, I assure you, it involves nothing more than heavily scrubbing all bathroom tiles in a futile attempt to get them Clean Enough for in-law inspection. It's discouraging, because our house is older and wasn't terribly well cared for by previous tenants. Hence, my quest to make our (strangely pink) bathroom Hotel Clean is an exercise in futility. Yesterday we tackled the living room and the bathroom; today we may deal with the kitchen, including such highlights as Annual Fridge Cleaning (sob), and Moving The Stove To Clean While Guessing Whether We Will Be Surprised By A Mouse, Either Living Or Dead.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Am I right? Fortunately, this will leave only the back room (aka Hoarder Room, Room of Shame)to tidy, although the fact that it has a door invites procrastination, and the mud room, which really, people only pass through on their way into our house, so perhaps a quick tidy is all that's in order there.

It looks like my planned dinner may be falling through, so I may have to cook something rather than relying on store-bought loaf. J has helpfully suggested I have veggie chicken fingers, which somehow doesn't seem suitably fancy. And my shopping is done, (with the exception of the 4,351 forgotten items I will surely need to get on Christmas Eve), cards are mailed, tree is up.

Which gives me time to sulk about the latest rejection email received yesterday. It's Christmas, people! Why not reject me during that dark, disappointing time between Christmas and New Year's and let it strengthen my resolve to make 2012 MY GREATEST YEAR. Instead of pooping in my stocking?

And yes, I am thinking of resolutions and changes and all that stuff that New Year's tends to bring out. I can't help it. I love lists.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Really making it happen

I had a rather long conversation with myself last night--long story short, I had a realization that my craving for validation from other people is what sends me down ye olde insecurity spiral. And the funny thing is, I don't need EVERYONE to validate me. Just certain people. People who for one reason or another I have deemed it is IMPORTANT to think that I am good, that I am talented, that I am hireable, that I am... well, you get the picture. One of those things that makes me spend all my time worrying and wishing rather than doing.

Well, after long conversation with self, I felt sufficiently annoyed with myself for continually giving away power to people who don't even care, and some of whom I don't even like, that I am determined to stop doing that.

Seriously, how many times can I say that? The only way to do things is... to do them. Big revelation, I know. Accept that by doing I could also be failing, and be cool with that, and put myself out there and just... do it.

I have to stop wondering if I am any good, wondering what people think of me. I keep listing to myself all the times I was validated: getting cast, getting callbacks, getting good feedback, and trying to ignore the immediate "Oh, but that's only because..." that pops up in my head.

How do you get rid of that Ohbut, anyway? He's getting pretty freaking annoying.

Is this another case of "fake it till you make it?"

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How are you?

Yes, I have been absent once again. But I have been busy, plugging away at submissions, still trying to get stuff happen. Still wishing that stuff would just happen without me having to put so much work into it. Still realizing that as hard as I think I'm pushing it, I could be doing so much more.

Yesterday I posted on facebook that never hearing at all is much worse than hearing "no". Which is true. A lot of people like to say "Oh, you get so much rejection in this business", but to me it seems like you're lucky to even get rejected. Most of the time, you just don't hear back one way or the other. I usually try to give myself a drop dead date for projects I'm really hoping for--after that date, I must agree to let all hope die, and put it out of my mind.

That sounds harsh and depressing. It's not, really. It just helps me keep moving on to the next thing.

In other news, I am almost finished Christmas shopping, which is great, and nowhere near finished figuring out the Christmas dinner we are hosting, which is less great. I'm finishing my last submission for a couple of weeks today, but then realized that I promised a director a rewrite for mid-December. Oops! I am also not nearly finished my Christmas knitting, which is something I should go plug away at right now.

But you. How are you?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Taking Yourself Seriously

Hello, friends...
I'm here at work where we are having a rather shitty day due to all technological systems epically failing. Prior to that, I was at the dentist (did I mention I have severe dentist anxiety? Going regularly has actually helped.) where I made it through the whole cleaning and they were like "let's just get the dentist to check this one spot" and it turned out to be a brand new tiny cavity, and they said "hey, let's just fill this right now, no anesthetic needed!" and before I knew it, I was getting a surprise dental filling. Surprise!

But I digress... I've been thinking about how to learn to take myself seriously. A serious topic, no?

In my voice lesson on Saturday (with my lovely and amazing new teacher), she kept reminding me to "find my singer"--which essentially is shorthand for standing up like a human and using breath support--and I realized that I was not-so-secretly thinking to myself that no one would take me seriously. That if I just over-casualize things, I'll be at no risk of people thinking I'm actually trying to do something.

Because... I don't deserve to be heard?
Because... it's safer than taking a risk of possibly failing?

Which is kind of a random realization to come to. A bit of a heavy realization, really, if one suddenly understands that this applies to many aspects of one's life.

"Oh, don't mind me, I'm just kind of goofing off, don't even look, because I'm not really trying to do anything."

Right? No possibility of success, no possibility of failure. Which is rather lame, since I DO want to do things, and be taken seriously, and apparently a major issue may be to convince myself that I have as much right to be here doing my thing as anyone else. What if I've just been lamenting that no one takes me seriously, when I've been sabotaging things by not taking myself seriously?

Does this even make sense? I may come back and clarify when I'm no longer in a post-dentist-adrenalin surge.

ETA: I did come and clean this up a little. So there!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Good Things, Bad Things

Of course, I recovered from my overly dramatized insomnia. And along with Daylight Savings Time comes the flip side of getting to sleep in an extra hour--darkness by 5:30. In my particular corner of the world, we are fortunate enough to have some kind of daylight from 5am to 11pm in the summer, but the other side of the coin involves December--when it's dark when you arrive at work, and dark when you leave. Incredibly depressing. The ridiculously frigid temperatures don't help much, either.

All this talk of the flip side is bringing me back to my youth--that song "Living On The B Side" or whatever it was called. Does anyone besides me remember that?

Good things about this weekend:
I started my play. I am 10 pages in (mostly monologue, so it's a lot of writing), and still managing to outrun the "this is crap" thoughts and just write. I have promised myself that if it will be an utter embarrassment, I won't submit it to the thing whose deadline I am forcing myself to write toward. We'll see if I am qualified to judge that.

I got asked "Are you skinny?" today by a good friend who hadn't seen me in a while. Apparently I am looking quite a bit skinnier, even to a boy who is usually unobservant about these things.

Our awesome jar system seems to be working well for our finances. Tons of healthy groceries purchased, and some money left for the rest of the week.

I got a flu shot.

I finally got some more copies of one of my other scripts printed to send out to the companies who don't do electronic submissions.

Bad (or Less Good) Things About This Weekend:

I haven't been to the gym in almost 2 weeks. I was legitimately sick for about a week, and then circumstances/lack of motivation conspired to keep me away from the elliptical. Oops. The many mini chocolate bars at my disposal were not allies, either.

I managed to take two whole days off and spend them working. Not on my day job, which I'm trying to get a little distance from, but on my editing gig (we can really use the extra cash for the holidays), and this stupid play that may not really be a play. I have this thing where I feel restless and guilty about "not doing anything", but feel frazzled and overworked when I allow myself to do as much shit as possible and get everything accomplished in my free time.

Although I now have the money (or at least, thrift store money) to get some new pants, I didn't manage to squeeze clothes shopping in this weekend. Must do that this week, since my work clothes look silly.

Have not practiced singing nearly enough.

This week, I have a lot of things to do: send out at least one script, keep working on that elusive first draft, get some new pants, get some singing happening. And get back to the gym! Snow is supposed to start happening this week, which is ick, although we're already 3 weeks behind schedule.

What are you doing this week?

Monday, October 31, 2011


Insomnia is the absolute worst thing. I know they say to get out of bed and go do something rather than just lying there not sleeping, but I'm too tired to do anything besides read the internet. And I feel like I'm running out of internet to read. Plus there's the anxiety that the clock inches ever closer to the time I need to get up for work tomorrow morning. Ever have that "OK, if I go to sleep RIGHT NOW, I will get 5 hours of sleep. If I go to sleep RIGHT NOW, I will still get over 4 and a half hours of sleep. OK, I'll go to sleep NOW. No, NOW." And so on.

Insomnia always gets me a little maudlin, as well. All that time alone with your thoughts to contemplate what you've done wrong in your life, or even better, what you're probably doing wrong RIGHT NOW and don't even realize it yet--it won't become apparent until some insomniac night several years from now.

OK, insomnia may make me a little overdramatic. It's not life or death stuff. Mostly I'm thinking about how it's still so painful to try and make friends with people and be rejected. I blame this on four things: elementary school, junior high, high school, and facebook. I think I may have a special sensitivity to this issue, having not been terribly good at making friends in my formative years. I had that great combination of being a little shy and a lot sensitive, which made me bully bait, which made me socially awkward, which made me bully bait, which made me... well, you get the picture. But even now, I'm sooooo sensitive to rejection of the personal nature. I get that not everyone has to like me or want to be my friend. But it still hurts to be outright rejected, or, somehow worse, ignored.

It's funny, rejection professionally is frustrating and sadness-making, but it just doesn't hit me in the same place. I guess I feel more confident in my artistic abilities than I am in my person-abilities?

Argh, clearly contemplating these kinds of issues are not going to help me with my sleep problem. Going to go try and catch some zeds, friends.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On awaiting responses...

A friend and fellow playwright wrote something to this effect on facebook the other day:

"Along with every script sent out goes a little bit of hope, which must be forgotten."

Which I thought described exactly what it's like to send out scripts.

Sending out scripts isn't terribly difficult. You don't need to "know" people (although it can help). All you need to do is some research--what companies are developing/producing new work? Of those companies, which of them do seasons which could possibly include your play? How do they like their submissions--first 10 pages and a summary, or full script, or only on recommendation of someone they know? Really, you just have to be organized, have a strong summary and a good query letter. And copies of your script, for those companies that aren't accepting electronic submissions.

Sending them out is a little bit fun--there's possibility attached to each one, one more of those magic if's that we are so fond of in theatre. And you know, they say you have to have a thick skin to deal with all the rejection in the arts, but the truth of it is, a lot of times the only response you get is no response at all.

Same goes for auditions--if you hear nothing, it means that someone else must have gotten it, and no one is going to tell you how good you were, or what you could do to improve. No news is their final answer.

I have some scripts that have been out for close to a year, with no response. I always struggle in terms of follow up, especially with utter strangers--people I don't know, and with whom my friends didn't put in a good word for me.

I don't think about it a lot--I figure the more people I get to read my scripts, the better my chances are of finding someone who's excited about them and wants to develop them further. All you can do is keep moving forward, because seriously, you could be waiting forever and never hear a word.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Do You Have A Creative Motto?

Well, I guess it's more of an inspirational quote than a motto, strictly speaking, but this year I've found a lot of strength from this particular quotation:

Still and all, why bother? Here's my answer. Many people need desperately to receive this message: 'I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.'
Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, October 20, 2011

That kick in the ass...

Don't we all need one, sometimes?

I have a great job--an arts-adjacent job where it's understood that this is NOT where I want to be for the rest of my life, and that it's expected that I will take time off to do gigs here and there, or go to playwriting workshops, or what have you. They bank my time, so I get paid when I'm not here. They're flexible with my hours. My co-workers are divine. The rest of the organization... well, thankfully I don't have a lot of contact with them.

However, yesterday, I had to get involved in a multi-departmental situation, and to stand up for myself and my department after getting a rather dismissive email smackdown. I agonized while sending my response, thought about it and thought about what I should have said while I was leaving work. And then, at the gym, the machines with little tv's attached were full. I know, you don't work quite as hard while watching tv, but it was my guilty pleasure and a good way to pass the time. So I was forced to just listen to my ipod the whole time.

Which was great, because I realized that I was getting worked up over whether people would still like me, or if I would be successful in my job, or feeling like I didn't belong in my job, when it suddenly hit me:

I don't belong in this job.

I mean, I am mostly good (even very good) at my job, but was I born to deal with administrative issues and spreadsheets and resolving customer disputes? No. No, that's really not what I'm cut out to do. So all my wishing that I was in a rehearsal hall, or in my studio at home, or writing in some coffee shop--all that stuff is what I'm made to do. To make things, to be creative.

So why should I lose sleep and get my stomach in knots over a job that I should be working towards eventually not needing? Shouldn't I focus my energy on getting some more gigs, on writing more, on getting myself out there so I can spend my time doing the thing I really like?

It's hard. I'm an over-achiever. I like to be good at everything. I need to please people. I need to stop doing that so much. I need to stop making excuses--and isn't "I'm too worried about work which is eating all my brain time anyway" an excuse?

I am starting a new play--the one that I'm not sure if it's a play or a personal demon. I have a feeling I won't know until I get there. Starting makes me nervous. Not starting makes me crazy. It's time, people!

So that was my kick in the ass for the week. What was yours?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Readings and Writings (but no 'Rithmetic)

Just a quick update--I am doing a 10-minute reading from my latest play this weekend, which I'm excited and a little nervous about. It was one of those things that initially made me think "Aaaah! I can't do this!", which immediately made me think "Then I should say I'll do it." I've never done a reading of my own work, so there's all the fussy little details of how to differentiate between characters while reading, and what section to choose that is relatively self-contained but still entertaining.

I've also been plugging away at my submissions--I'm submitting to a couple of festivals this week that would take me to other cities. Which is exciting! But I'm not getting my hopes up too high. Yet.

I had coffee with my old singing teacher yesterday, and we had a brief chat about all the shenanigans with my current teacher, who I guess has also become my old teacher, because I just kind of took a break, which turned into an extended leave.

Which has been good, ultimately. Although it seems like it could be awkward, but neither of us have tried to contact the other re: more lessons, so I think it's best that the two of us continue down our separate paths.

I'm already in the planning stages of another workshop in January (the same play I'm reading from on Saturday), and I probably have to find a different director due to scheduling issues. I'm not exactly thrilled or bursting with ideas at the moment about this. I suppose I would say I'm open, but choosy.

And I think that's all the news that is the news. I have a vague feeling that I should be starting a new writing project soon, but I don't know if it's a "should because isn't that what I ought to be doing" or a "should because I am ready to begin a new project".

I guess we'll see.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Well, the grant is in, and now all we have to do is wait. In the meantime, I read the letters of support that went along with the grant--I was humbled. These people said incredible things about my work and my play, and I just feel--well, humbled.

It's so easy to feel alone in this business--it's easy to feel like you're being passed over, or everyone else is doing amazing things while you're being left behind, or that you're just not accomplishing things fast enough. But I felt so good that so many people were so into the project, and so excited to be a part of it. And that, eventually, finally I will get to see this play in production somewhere in the next few seasons.

So. I sent out some submissions that I've been sitting on for a while, just out of--I don't know, laziness? Inertia? But it felt good to get off my ass and actually do something proactive. I think everyone has those pity-parties once in a while. How couldn't you? But it's not how many times you fall, it's how many times you get back up.

Isn't it funny when cheesy things are true?

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Today I am rejoicing in two things, one a little more narcissistic than the other:
1) I got my first weight-loss compliment from a stranger (well, my boss, but from someone who is not related to/married to me)
2) Today is a grant deadline and I have a fantastic grant application winging its way to the powers that be!

With regards to (1), I think I probably whine about my chub quite enough on the blog, but it seems like something is finally working. I am now down almost 20 lbs from the start of the year, which is sloooooooow, but I'll take it!

With regards to (2), well, a local director with a respected and established independent theatre company approached me last weekend and said "Hey, I've been thinking--I'd like us to apply for a grant to do a large-scale workshop of your play. Only trouble is the deadline is Thursday. Do you think we can do it?"

Well, obviously we can! So I have spent the last few days writing synopses, artist statements, and helping to assemble a crack team of artists to work on this project, should it actually get some funding. I'm excited! And kind of blown away when said director told me the names of the people who were writing letters of support for our application. Some crazy important people are very supportive of me and my work. Which sounds like bragging, but I'm kind of in awe about it.

I really hope this goes through! Now, to sit back and wait for the next 5 months... no, just kidding. I've got to keep the momentum going, right?

Fight inertia!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Time To Make Shit Happen

Every so often, usually coinciding with my re-emergence from a blue period, like, say, this past few weeks, I get the idea that it's time to make shit happen. I get brave. I somewhat foolhardily sign myself up for things that I want to chicken out of when the time comes, but somehow force myself to do anyway. I get things done. I take chances.

This most recent blue period came with the familiar everyone else is doing stuff that's awesome and I'm just stuck in my job becoming more and more forgotten with each passing second. I know. Artist's pity party. Just general pity party.

So I'm going to do something about it. Like, apply to a performance creation intensive in another city in November. Like, somehow come up with the money to actually go. Send some pieces to some American festivals and hope to get invited to hear my plays read in NYC and Philadelphia. Do the rewrites I need to do to get the scripts in readable-by-others form. Get off my ass and do those rewrites for the potential workshop a director's been talking to me about.

That'll learn me to sit around feeling bad about myself.

I've also been doing a bunch of financial budgeting stuff with J, and most helpful has been Gail Vaz-Oxlade's book Debt-Free Forever. You Canadian folks might know her as the host of "Till Debt Do Us Part", which I used to watch to feel better and realize "At least I'm not one of those people", but now I watch and realize "Yikes, I might one day be those people if I don't do something about this".

I was investigating various part-time job options, mostly crappy and early in the morning. But lo and behold, today the game company that I've done freelance stuff for in the past contacted me to inquire about my availability for more projects. All of which can be done working from home at whatever weird hour I want. And which pays quite generously. Second job, BAM! Done! No worries about that until at least January, now. Not to mention that this weekend will be spent doing high-paying (yet exhausting) medical improv--that thing where you pretend you're a sick person for medical students? 12 hours a day, Saturday and Sunday.

Perhaps we won't have to have a totally Imagination Christmas after all.

Shit is getting done, my friends. I am making it happen.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I'm Still Here.. I'm Still Real...

Anyone see that movie? Anyone? Anyone?


Anyhoo. I am still here. I have been busy just doing work stuff and not enough creative stuff as of late, and trying to get my ass in gear to (a) send some submissions, and (b) start something new. Oh, and (c) do some rewrites on an old project and (d) get in touch with my legit soprano side.

Now as far as (d) goes, I'm well aware that I am in no way a legit soprano. But my assignment is to find some songs that are high end-y (in the vocal sense, not the classy sense)to work on ye olde head voice. Fun!

Did I mention we are pretty much broke? It's going to a purse-tightening-budget-making-penny-rolling autumn, y'all. FUN!

But I think I might have to get a second job, temporarily at least. Or come up with some extra money through little gigs, which I often seem to do, but now that I'm depending on it I fear will dry up and no one will ever offer me a creative paycheque again. But perhaps I just need to pound the pavement harder. I need to get those little paycheques on a more regular basis.

In the accomplishment front, I'm FINALLY down another few pounds. Heading for the 160's by the end of the month. I may even start the new year pretty close to goal. Like, within 15 pounds. Which I can't quite fathom.

Gotta get back to writing query letters, friends.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


So I'm back--we had a lovely trip to a lovely wedding in an adorable small town in Ontario. One of those one-street towns where everything shuts down at 6, and they have wifi, but mysteriously no cell phone service.

I am at work again tomorrow, after taking a few days off this past week--supposedly to go schmooze at the fringe, but in reality I spent every day going to the gym, coming home, and watching Season 3 of Mad Men again.

I also somehow fell into smoking a little bit again, so now I'm trying to nip that in the bud. Unfortunately not so far in the bud that I'm not experiencing the terrible mood swings of nicotine withdrawal, but I just have to ride that out for the next couple of days and I'll be golden. But it's resulted in kind of a bummy day for me--I'm realizing that I feel a little trapped in my job, a little dissatisfied with my general career progress. But I think I'm just one of those people who has to learn to be satisfied with now, and quit thinking Next!

I have some rewrites to do. Some ideas for new plays that I should just get written before I wreck 'em by holding on to them for too long.

But for tonight I'm just going to enjoy the last 12 hours of my holidays before the fun fun fun of work starts again.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

It has arrived!

FINALLY. It looks cute. I think. I have our hotels booked for both cities, will hopefully remember to select my seats for our flight, and Thursday morning we'll be off to Ontario!

I feel woefully unprepared to travel. Tomorrow I have to go buy new makeup, because for some reason all my makeup either broke or got used up at the same time. Of course, buying all new stuff tomorrow will ensure that the same thing happens again a few months down the road.

And so the cycle continues.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

UPS: Use Purolator, Stupid.

Arrrrgh I ordered a dress to wear to my brother's wedding next weekend. Actually, I ordered it in teal, not black as shown. But anyway, it's cute, right? Although the ruffles can be a bit of a risk, I've seen pictures of said dress on actual women, and I think it's going to be good.

Except it's not here yet. My dress has been to Kentucky, Sioux Falls, and finally Calgary. At least it's in the right country now. But we are flying out on Thursday morning, which doesn't give me a lot of time to (a) GET the dress, and (b) find a suitable replacement if the dress looks awful.

Which it won't. I hope. This is causing me great anxiety at the moment. Also that I don't really have it in my budget to buy a replacement dress at this point.

Please cross your fingers for me that the dress shows up on Monday. And that it looks great.


Monday, August 01, 2011

Accursed sugars!

So this week, I had a follow-up visit to my friendly neighbourhood dietician. The results? After 2 months of faithfully following her suggestions and consulting with my Canada's Food Guide-- nothing. Not one single pound gone. Actually, I gained a pound since my last weigh-in with her.

Which I guess was not what she was expecting. In fact, she seemed quite puzzled. And I wrote down everything. Like the occasional twizzler at work everything. And she still said I eat better than the vast majority of clients she sees.

After thinking for a minute, she said "Let's try something different."

Something different turns out to be a diabetic diet. Like, with exchanges and stuff. To somehow restrict the delicious carbs and balance them with protein and see if that works. Which seems a little more involved than my former "eat a balanced 1300-1500 calories a day" plan. Like planning x number of carbs with x number of proteins.

Which is fine(ish), and I've planned this week already-- though it involves me eating pretty much the same things every day for all meals and snacks except dinner. Which will still be fine(ish) except I'm going to be traveling to a wedding and will be having unpredictable on the road food... oops. I suppose I'll have to resist the temptation to be "on vacation and thus eating french fries all day".

I'm not too sure what happens if this doesn't work-- here's hoping it does. I was going to head back to ye olde doctor in September if, after 6 months of eating well and exercising, there is still no weight-loss action.

Then again, if it does work, am I stuck eating the same 2 meals and 2 snacks forever? With only the same 5 dinners for variety?

Here's hoping it works anyway.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Still Trucking...

Or should that be "Truckin'?"

Things are very much the same here-- still rainy, still being overrun by vicious mosquitoes. Still going to the gym, still eating healthy, still very few results to show for it, at least scale-wise.

Still, I persevere.

I have some very vague ideas for a new play, which caused me to go on a spree of requesting books at the library, never thinking that they would of course all come in at once, which they have. That's one of my favourite parts of the process-- research, not lugging 50 lbs of books home from the library. And not even specific research, just the reading about things because I am interested in them and may become inspired. So much more interesting than, say, the reformatting of a script I have to do and have been putting off. Or organizing my mailouts for script submissions now that the postal strike is over AND I have some cash to get a shit-ton of scripts printed.

And of course, I want to take on an entirely new project, which has to do with reading. I have always wanted to read all the books on one of those 100 Greatest Novels list, because although being the child of two English Lit PhD's has made me fairly well-read, I always feel like I should read more.

And I think I'm going to try the Time Magazine's 100 Greatest Novels list, at least partially because the list starts in 1923 (the year Time Magazine started), thus neatly allowing me to avoid 1922's Ulysses. It also had a pretty good selection of books from across the 20th century, and most importantly, books I am interested in reading.

I'm starting with Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, just as soon as I can back my truck up to the library.

Side note: I actually witnessed an audience member answer their cell phone at a play I was at on the weekend. I thought people only did that in hilarious anecdotes in which a Broadway star berates said audience member publicly.

The ringing (set to one of those retro-actual-phone-ringtones) took place at an unfortunate moment-- Emilia was just tucking Desdemona into bed (where we all know she is about to be--spoiler alert!-- imminently strangled by Othello), and there was a nice quiet moment. The ringing started immediately before her exit, which momentarily led me to think "She's on her way to answer the phone?".

It was someone a couple of rows behind me. He pulled out his phone, answered it, and "whispered":

HOLLISTER-SHIRTED DUMMY ON HIS IPHONE: I can't talk now. I'll call you back later. OK? Ok. OK. Bye.


So if you're not going to turn off your cell phone because you're I don't know, a brain surgeon or an army colonel, or a head of state, or Mr. Hollister behind me, please, please, please do not answer your phone. It is rude. It makes you look stupid. And no one believes you're that important, anyway.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Not that I'm one to rejoice in the misfortunes of others...

But Mr. Movie director who let me go because I wasn't available on the days he didn't need me?

It kind of seems like his project isn't going well.

Nor am I the kind of person to creep on people's facebook pages and learn the types of things that I'm not rejoicing about.

Well, rejoicing is a little strong. Maybe a slight smirk.

Just a slight one.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Rejection Letter Made My Day...

Strange but true.

Today I got my official rejection letter from the Big Time Theatre, and I have to say it was one of the nicest rejection letters I've ever gotten. Along with the usual "We saw so many people and it was a tough decision blah blah blah", there was an actual note from the director and the AD at the bottom telling me they thought I did really great work, specifically one of my monologues. And they thought I was funny and terrific and good, and that not getting cast had absolutely nothing to do with my audition.

Nice, right? Usually I banish rejections to their appropriate project folder in my email, but I actually read this one a few times over the course of the morning, because I am eight and compliments make me giddy.

Who knows, maybe they'll think of me when casting time rolls around again. And it was so nice to hear that I am not completely delusional, that I am right to keep pursuing this. Because I'm good at it.

A pulled shoulder muscle is keeping me away from the gym today, although it makes me feel lazy. Hopefully the bugs won't be so bad/torrential rains will hold off and I can take a walk later.

Happy Monday, friends!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Mission Accomplished!

OK, maybe not the entire mission. But my goal of going to the gym 3 times this week is achieved!
Hmmm, writing it out like that doesn't make it sound very impressive. Certainly not as impressive as my ability to start making excuses NOT to go to the gym the moment I get up. But I have to say, I'm a little bit impressed with myself.

Next week, I'm planning to go FOUR times. Excuses be gone!

It's pouring rain here. It was pouring rain yesterday. It was pouring rain last week. It's going to pour rain next week. My shoes have finally given up the ghost (I suppose there's only so much water exposure you can expect $15 shoes to take). Our basement is continually leaking. And even in the downpour on my way to work this morning (dressed in my miles-too-big purple windbreaker that makes me look like Grimace, but is the only waterproof thing I own with a hood), I noticed that there were STILL mosquitos flying around. How is this possible?

So it hasn't been the summeriest of summers so far. And grown-up life is sort of getting me down lately, what with its expectations that I actually pay my bills and show up to work every day (for example, on a Saturday). As my mother would say, all I need to do is write a bestselling book, and my problems would be solved.

She's serious, by the way. That's ALL I NEED TO DO. Of course, now that Oprah's off the air, it might take a little longer to become fabulously wealthy from my writing, say three or four months instead of one.

Sigh. I guess I could always write it this weekend.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Fear and Loathing in Las Gym

So I have this fear of dentists. I didn't always, it was just something that developed over the years of not going to the dentist, partially because I was too poor, and partially because I had become afraid. It's gotten better since I've been going regularly, and I accept it as one of those unpleasant things you have to go through if you don't want to end up in one of those real-life stress dreams where all your teeth suddenly fall out (I hate hate hate those dreams).

I was beginning to wonder if I'd developed a similar fear of the gym. I don't know what there is to be afraid of at the gym, but I definitely felt a slight twinge of anxiety upon thinking "Yes, today is the day I join the gym again!". There are several things that could be responsible for this fear:
* being surrounded by skinny people
* actually just fear of being surrounded by people in general
* fear of awful music remixes
* fear of some sort of terrible free-weight avalanche resulting in my crushing

Well, none of those really seem to make sense. Could I just be confronting my fear of not making excuses and just doing something? Because it's no revelation to anyone who knows me that I am an extremely non-athletic person. Gym class was one of the great banes of my existence in grade school, not only because I was a chubby kid who got made fun of, but because my utter lack of skill meant that I would only ever get marks for "effort", thus ruining my chances of getting straight A's.

Yes, I was the kind of person who worried about getting straight A's in grade school. Particularly in light of how it would affect my future of getting into an ivy league school, because these were the things I thought about when I was eight.

But I digress. Anxiety be damned, this was my day off, and the day to start going back to the gym. When I got there, I discovered that my workout pants were actually too big compared to the last time I worked out, possibly my brief couple of months of attempting to "Become A Runner" last summer. Pants too big? Clearly I'd accomplished my goal, I should probably just be-- but I stopped myself from leaving and just forced myself to get out there and do something on the elliptical.

* once you actually get started, it's not so bad
* most people at the gym pretty much universally ignore you, which is excellent
* in baggy clothes and with no makeup, I can still look like I'm about 12 sometimes. Well, a rather rotund 12 year old, or a 12 year old who's had several children, but I'm talking about the face, people!
* if your music is good enough, you can make it through almost any length of cardio.
* never time your workout to end with the onset of the lunchtime gym crowd. It's unpleasant, noisy, and there will always, always be someone spread out in front of your locker.

So, my first 35 minutes are done. The plan is to do this 2 more times this week, then presumably sign up for an actual membership once my trial membership is over.

I wish the dentist also had 3 free visits before you had to pay, it would have made my bank account a lot happier.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Summer sickness

I don't know why being sick in the summer is somehow more of a rip-off than being sick in the winter. Let's face it, I'm not exactly spending the sunny months going trail-riding or whitewater rafting or having picnics or other outdoorsy pursuits.

Or maybe it's just the fact that I have an extra-long weekend (off till Tuesday afternoon) that it seems outrageous to wake up with a sore throat and a tummyache and a host of other plague-related symptoms.

Maybe it's just allergies.

No, I know I'm sick because I spelled "outrageous" wrong 4 separate times just now. The brain, she is not functioning correctly.

I'm kind of hoping I wake up miraculously cured tomorrow so I can enjoy a guilt-free weekday off! I was planning on doing some shopping, but not getting paid on payday (which sucks, I KNOW) has kind of put a damper on that. Maybe I'll head up to Value Village. Maybe I'll even head out to a strange and exotic Value Village.

Here's hoping!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Tackling My To-Do List

So a dear friend of mine and I were discussing inertia in theatre, and how you can get that horrible feeling of never accomplishing anything and not going anywhere and ohgodwhydidIchoosetodothiswheneveryoneissomuchbetterthanme-ism. I'm sure other humans feel this way, not just artists. But anyone in a creative profession had better learn to motivate themselves to get shit done, AND to validate themselves regularly, because depending entirely on the whims of others for validation is a one-way ticket to crazytown.

And there are some awkward situations that I think just don't occur as much in the non-artsy world. Case in point:

Let's say you have a job interview, an interview that goes really well. And your good friend, as it happens, is interviewing for the same job. And although your interview went well, your friend calls to tell you with breathless delight that she got the job! And you're in that weird place of being happy for your friend, but terribly disappointed for yourself, and being externally congratulatory yet internally self-berating.

And while I'm sure this happens in non-artistic fields once in a while, the thing for creative jobs is that this can happen ALL THE TIME. Not that I'm complaining, I could always choose to go and be a lab technician, or a cash register repairperson or something completely unrelated to my field. The point is, it's important to feel like you're getting things accomplished.

So my friend has been using a strategy where she writes to-do lists of things she has to accomplish, and keeps them all in the same notebook. So she can see on a regular basis how much stuff she's gotten done and feel good about it. So I decided to try the same thing.

That's when I realized I'm scared of the list. And I did my usual trick of breaking things down into their component steps. But actually doing these things on the list is a little frightening. If I were into psychologically analyzing myself (giant eyeroll here, guys, it's totally one of my favourite hobbies), I might think that making the commitment to accomplishing something actually puts me in a position of potentially failing. Or potentially succeeding. Whichever could be scarier.

It's taking a risk, see. How much easier would it be to sit here and think "I'm going to do that, and one day I'll do that" while blithely eating bonbons or something. Or looking back and saying "I could have done that, if only..."

Not where I want to be.

So today I'm starting the list.

I should put "say you're starting the list" on the list. That way I could already have something crossed off.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Long Weekend!

After what seemed like the longest work day of my life, the weekend is here. I don't have to be back at work until 1pm Tuesday! I'm torn between making a list of ways to organize my time and just saying fuck it and chilling all weekend.

I suspect it'll be a combination of the two.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It are my birthday...

It's true. Sadly, I have to spend part of it working, which is always a pain, especially on a Saturday. Then, because we are terribly broke, we are going to Dairy Queen and possibly having drunken karaoke in the safety of our living room.

Is that sad? I've never been one to make a huge deal of birthdays, largely because I live with the fear of no one showing up to my party. I actually kind of wish I'd made a bigger deal of it this year, but instead I'm just going to chill and have my yearly Blizzard. And buy a lottery ticket, as per tradition. And if the postal strike is ever over, I'll get some birthday money in the mail (yes, even at my decrepit old age, I still get birthday cheques from my parents) and treat myself to something fun.

Happy my birthday, everyone!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Hello, friends.
It's the first day of summer! And our basement is flooded. Well, today it's actually only mildly flooded, yesterday was the real action. It'd been raining here since Thursday, which is pretty unusual for my prairie town, and combined with an old house... rubber boots time! We spent yesterday taking turns doing the shopvac/sweeping water down the drain routine.


And then the saga of the "film director" continued. Have I not mentioned him? He's some young fella who wants to make movies. He's apparently making a movie, and had asked me to be in it this summer. Now, this isn't my first experience with this guy-- way back last fall he'd asked me to be in an independent he wanted to shoot over the winter, which fell through for some reason. And I've never worked with him, but according to one of my friends, he's very nice and organized and talented.

So when he offered me a one-scene neat little featured role in his independent? Sure! No money, but experience, a credit for my resume, and a chance to practice on-camera.

Easy, right?

Er... no. He'd asked me to send him a picture of me in wardrobe, and I'd emailed him to say that because of the play reading, would it be okay to get that to him this weekend? And then he replied no, and he was worried that my play reading would leave me unable to focus on his movie, and he only liked to hire actors without any other projects on the go, because he didn't want their creative focus split. And he wasn't sure that my schedule was going to work anyway, and maybe he should look at other actors, and he'd let me know.


OK, (a) it's one scene. One day of shooting. I'm pretty sure I can maintain focus with my tiny actor's brain. (b) Do you really mean you want people who don't have anything creative on the go at all? Yikes! And (c) You're not paying me. So this kind of lessens your ability to dictate how I spend the rest of my time.

So I emailed him back and said actually my play reading was already done, and yes, I did have a job, but I was available for the dates we'd probably be shooting, but if he wanted to recast, then best of luck.

Then I get an email back saying "Oh my god, this is working out great, I can't wait to work with you, I'm so glad your play reading is done, blah blah blah!"


Now, my scene would likely be shot on a Sunday, because that's when we had access to the location. He'd mentioned that he wanted my character to be sort of background in some other scenes if possible, and that he'd let me know when they were shooting those. So yesterday I realized I wasn't available one Saturday in July, due to a work thing. So I emailed him to say, oh, this one Saturday I wouldn't be available until later in the day.


I get an email back saying "Oh, that won't work, we can only shoot in the location on Sunday, so best of luck and maybe another project will come up in the future."


Time to walk away on this one. Good luck with the movie, have a great summer, goodbye. I'm going to split my creative focus by doing some rewrites and maybe starting a new play this summer.

Well, time to bail out the basement again!
Happy first day of summer!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Free Time!

Yes, after doing a quick shoot for an industrial this morning, I am completely stunned to realize that I have FREE TIME! I have nothing to do for the rest of the weekend, except do groceries and bill paying, and I think that can be safely put off until tomorrow. It's sort of a shame that it's been pouring rain here for two days, but it's probably for the best, since it will prevent me from going shopping and spending money I don't have.

So, the reading-- went really well! It was kind of a long week, there were three nights of play readings, two plays each night. The way it worked out, there was one short-ish (say 80-90 minutes) play each night, and one EXTREMELY LONG play each night. I'm talking 2, 2 and a half hours here, people! Mine was the first play of the last night. Rehearsal was fun, we had a lot of laughs, and I was relieved to hear that the complete overhaul I'd done worked. Not perfect, but I think I am back on the right track with this one.

I've been informed by the playwright unit facilitators that I have done so well, that I'm almost done the play-- now I graduate from doing major rewrites into detailed editing work.

The reading was well-received, and I was pleased to receive a surprise paycheque from the theatre in question, which has given a bit of a boost to my withering bank account.

And with that and my little video done... I have nothing to do. Sure, I have rewrites and fixes to do on the script, but that can wait. I even got a great deal on airfare to my brother's wedding yesterday. And had a breakthrough with my new voice coach yesterday.

So what to do, what to do? New sewing project? New play? Binge on terrible television? Mystery Science Theatre marathon?

I would cook something indulgent, but the oven's still broken.

I think I'm just going to spend the weekend lounging around drinking tea and being lazy.

That sounds like a plan.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

This week

This is the busiest week I've had in a long time:
Monday: work 930-530, attend play readings 6-11pm
Tuesday: work 930-530, attend play readings 6-11pm
Wednesday: attend rehearsal 10-5, play reading (my play) 6-8, attend play reading 830-11
Thursday: work 10-530, meeting friends for drinks
Friday: voice coaching 11-12, work 130-830
Saturday: shooting for industrial video 12-3

I'm feeling a bit better about my play, after talking to the director and a couple of other people about it. I suppose I can recognize that I don't exactly have perspective on the project, and that I will obviously feel sort of distanced and strange about the work, since it's changed radically from the original concept. And of course that I might be projecting some of my own issues into imagining things that are wrong with the play.

I've also been getting work/possible gigs thrown at me-- upcoming this week a quick shoot for an industrial video (4 pages of dialogue), and a couple of scenes in an independent film shooting here this summer. Plus it seems like I may be writing a play with the person directing my reading, and obvs there will be a role in it for me. And I still think about somehow, someday, doing a cabaret.

I think I'm going to join the Y, once this crazy week is done. I'm finally down another pound, but it's wayyyy too slow, especially considering how well I eat. I think I may need to tone up some muscles to get my metabolism going a bit. I do feel like part of the reason I don't work that much is because of my weight. And I think I need to once and for all treat getting in better physical shape like it's my job. Because it's only going to benefit me health wise, career wise, and happiness wise. And no, I don't think that all life's problems are solved by getting thin. But I do think I'll be in a better position to move forward feeling good about myself.

Wish me luck and energy this week!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


So after much pathetic whining and gnashing of teeth last night, I am feeling slightly better today. Except for my tendency to burst into tears at the slightest provocation, which I suspect may be hormonal rather than related to actual events.
For example:
Seeing a baby bird (well, teenage bird) hanging out with its mom, learning to be a bird-- instant waterworks.

At my voice coaching, saying "I have a lot of tension" and being reassured-- Niagara falls.

Thought of coming in to work and sitting here well into the evening-- well, no crying there, just feelings of ugh and bleah.

Though I am still feeling just a little bit defeated. I need to figure out some things I can work on and people I can work with who are encouraging and supportive and who do the kind of work I want to do. I figure I won't quit just yet-- if it means this much to me that I get so worked up to it, perhaps I do belong here. I just need to shift perspective a little bit.

Or something to that effect.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Ouch. (Whining ahead).

Today has been kind of a disappointing day. I mean, it was kind of a bleah day with some annoying things (work computer getting fried by a virus I have no idea how I got, but can't help but feel guilty about, since it was, after all, my computer), but tonight it became truly disappointing.

Ye olde big time auditions? I was joking with my audition buddy about expecting a fuck-you email, when I suddenly realized I was going to get one. Because my friend (who I am very happy for) said "Oh... I actually got a callback last Friday." And of course, I didn't get a callback, which is more disappointing than I thought it would be, like ridiculously, disproportionately disappointing, the big sloppy tears welling up kind of disappointing. Not really because of this specifically, more that I get really, really tired of feeling like this.

Like what? I don't really know-- I guess kind of left out. Like-- okay, there's this girl in the theatre community, well, sort of adjacent to the theatre community, who fancies herself to be a brilliant performer. Only... well, she's not. She's rather dreadful. But she has the confidence of an internationally recognized genius, like one of those people in American Idol auditions who are so awful, but can't believe they're getting negative feedback. But I feel like I'm her or something. Going around saying "hey, if you need an actor...", and of course no one will ever need an actor that badly. And I just feel like everyone must think I'm some kind of idiot to be going around deluding myself like that, and people must be thinking "When will she just give up?" Because it's been increasingly rare that I get asked to do things, I get tired of putting myself out there again and again. I'm tired of feeling like an outsider here.

To top it off, not looking forward to ye olde play reading next week either. For a variety of reasons I won't get into here.

I know, this is disappointment-adjacent craziness. By tomorrow I'm sure I'll have a plan to "show em all with a great show!" or something. But tonight this sucks. Seriously.

I wish I was not a grown-up who needs money and could call in sick to work tomorrow and just wallow. Instead I have about 4 separate places to be at, including work and a voice coaching.

So is this the time on sprockets when we suck it up?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Using What You've Got...

I have a thing for kitchen gadgets. Tools, toys, appliances. I love them. In fact, I kind of have a thing for stuff--hence my love of vintage shopping, garage sales, and the like.

But it occurred to me that I have a lot of stuff that I hardly ever use. And some of it, like cookbooks, is just because I haven't really been feeling the spirit move me. That, and being so broke-- no cash for fancy ingredients means no fancy new recipes.

But isn't being broke a great time to use the stuff I already have? Which is why I've resolved to use the following two kitchen toys next week: my pasta maker and my cookie press. The pasta maker I've used before, the press I'm ashamed to say I never have. It's been sitting in its box since Christmas of LAST YEAR, people! That just ain't right.

I'm going to start challenging myself to use the things I've already got, rather than wishing I had other things, or, dare I say, was other things.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The most rewarding part was when they gave me the money...

Yes friends, it's true: I have finally, finally received my cheque for those commercials I shot all those many moons ago (actually, in March, so only a couple of moons ago, but that's a long time when you're waiting for a chunk of change)! Not only did I beat the postal strike, I am now a real, live, professional actress. Who will be on tv, no less (that's what well-meaning friends and relatives always seem to hold as a measure of true success--"When are we going to see you on the teevee?")

You know, the other day at that audition, as I was coming out, I ran into a certain local wunderkind who's often a bit of a d-bag, because I think he believes that he should behave eccentrically, and that artists should be indulged because, of course, how would anyone create art sans indulgence? But anyway, he was signing in as I was leaving the audition room, and he was quite surprised to see me there. He immediately asked "Oh, are you here with J?" referring of course to my husband who is himself a pretty successful professional actor here in town. And making the assumption that I just follow J around, holding his coat and keeping my fingers crossed for him outside his auditions, or volunteer my time to turn the pages for the accompanist in support of J's career, or I don't know, some other crazed idea.

I did solemnly inform him that no, J wasn't here, and that it was just me doing an audition. And in the back of my mind I got a little mad that "he doesn't think of me as an actor! Why doesn't anyone think of me as an actor?" But then I realized that the person who has a hard time accepting calling me an actor is... well, me.

That sounds cheesy. Like, if my life were an episode of 90210 (old-school, thank you), it's the kind of realization I'd come to in the last 5 minutes of the episode. With help from Andrea or Kelly or Dylan, who would have given me a strong talking to, or thrown me a surprise party, or come to bail me out at the police station. But I digress. It's true, I have a hard time feeling like I "deserve" that title of actor. But why shouldn't I? I trained for it. I'm good at it. Occasionally I get asked by others to do it. And occasionally, like today, I get paid for it.

So why is it so hard to claim that "special" title? Maybe I need to worry less about what others think of me, and work a little harder on how I think about myself.

That's clearly something Dylan would have said. Right?

At a bit of a loss...

Remember when I was so freaked out about finishing the rewrite of the play I wasn't sure if I liked, but is having a reading next month? Well, I finished the rewrite, extra early (like, at least a week and a half ago) because I felt pressured to give the director a script (because the rewrite was rather drastically changed from the previous draft), and I haven't looked at it since.

I haven't heard from the director, either, despite some email prodding, but that's another story. The reading is in two weeks, and it's more of a workshop-y thing for an invited audience, rather than any kind of performance. I'll probably go through it again to do a bit of a clean-up edit, but I feel like there's not much further I can go with this until I hear it out loud.

But then I got all caught up in preparing for/fretting over THE AUDITION, which is now mercifully over.

And so I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do with myself. It makes me want to start a new project. I always get these big ideas to start self-improvement projects, or writing projects, or musical projects, or whatever else springs into my head at the time.

Free time is never something I live easily with. I do have a stack of books I've been reading waiting to be finished, and some sewing and knitting projects waiting to be started. But I think I just love the thrill, the excitement of the new. I'm a little bit addicted to potential. This could be why I have trouble finishing things. Or sometimes, even starting things. It's when potential is in danger of becoming result that I get a little skittish.

It's not that I don't accomplish things, or finish projects. I do. Just sometimes I need to remind myself to follow through.

In other news, that cheque for the commercial is finally on its way, apparently. To balance this out, the postal workers may be going on strike in the next few days. And that's not the only thing I'm expecting in the mail-- the other day I happened to be checking out my credit card statement online, and noticed some weird charges-- cabs in Vancouver, sandwiches in Kamloops-- both cities that are quite a ways a way from this prairie town. So I called, and while the first guy I spoke with clearly suspected me of trying to defraud Mastercard to score some free BC sandwiches, the girl in the fraud department told me that yes, there were some other charges, but all would be taken off. And they're sending me a brand new card. In the mail.

At the moment, I'm kind of loving this website. I foresee myself visiting it on my internet breaks at work.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Audition!

Is done! The last 40 minutes before I went up to the room, I was sitting in an adjacent office building musing about the nature of time, and how it was just steadily creeping forward to 10:20, the HOUR OF DOOM, and although I wished I had more time, I also wished it was already over, because I couldn't stand being nervous about it any more.

Once I got up to the waiting area, the nervousness started to dissipate. I tried to listen in a little on what was happening in the room with the person going before me... and got a couple of little clues about what I might be asked to do. Sneaky, I know. And I asked the girl signing us in how many people were in the room, which gave me a good guess as to who might be there.

The interview was first, then my monologues, then my song. The song wasn't brilliant, but it went much better than I thought-- that old instinct to just suck it up and perform must have kicked in. And they seemed pretty happy with my monologues. I may have even gotten a kind of drumming on the table "applause" from one member of the panel. And I got told that my work was "excellent", which I'm just going to assume is something they don't just say.

I think I kind of sucked at the interview, though. But to me, expecting anyone to do the interview portion before they do their pieces is expecting some kind of superhuman composure. Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe I'm just woefully undercomposed.

Now the waiting game begins again. Of course, since they're seeing a couple hundred people in 3 different cities, my chances of being accepted are somewhat slim.

Tonight I'm going to a show, and perhaps even a couple of drinks. And this weekend, I'm rewarding myself by reading the new Sweet Valley book, which arrived at the library just in time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Day Before...

Just a quick post. I had another voice coaching this morning, which went great-- hopefully I can remember all the things I should do tomorrow morning. And at one point, he said something that really hit me, in regards to my song, but also in regards to, well, everything I'm doing.

"How much right do you have to speak here?"

Well, obviously, my character has every right to speak here, it's her song, it's her moment. And he said "Just remember, a lot of people go into the room worrying they're wasting the auditioners' time, but you have every right to speak, to have your moment. In fact, I give you permission."

Which was somehow quite moving.

I'm nervous.

Wish me luck tomorrow, 10:20am MST.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm Sick Of The Waiting Game... Let's Play Hungry Hungry Hippos.

So it wasn't enough to be refreshing my email over and over on deadline day, waiting to see if I'd been called in. Now I'm refreshing my email over and over in the hopes that my scheduled audition time will arrive.

The auditions are on Thursday. I am working Thursday. Which isn't a problem, as I have a very flexible arts-adjacent job where they recognize that while I'm very good at what they employ me to do, I certainly don't want to be doing it for the rest of my life.

But I really don't want to come to work on Thursday and have to watch the clock count down to my audition time and fret about how it's going to go all day. I'd much rather go in the morning, so it can be done and I can head straight to work and then out for several drinks at the end of the day. Of course, this means singing first thing in the morning. And being one of the first people they see, which I'm never sure how that goes-- will I set the standard for the day, or be entirely forgotten by day's end. They're also auditioning in two more cities, increasing my chances of being forgotten. I can only hope that they will be seeing me when they're still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and don't have the mid-afternoon naps, or gut rot from drinking coffee all day.

In the meantime, I've been dutifully preparing like a good little actor. I've been to visit an accompanist/voice coach, and I'm seeing him again tomorrow for a final tune-up. Monlogues are memorized and objective-d (objectified? object-lessoned?)I'm doing a sweet contemporary monologue, an intense Shakespeare, and a funny song. I feel like it shows a good range of what I can do. I am a little eek about perhaps I should be doing a funny Shakespeare, since the show is a Shakespeare comedy, but frankly, there isn't that much choice for the ladies in Shakespeare monos. I thought about busting out Viola's ring speech again, but decided against it. The AD has seen me do that one (not that he'd remember it), and I feel like I should be doing something different than the 20 year olds. I think my current choice (from Titus) will show I can handle my text.

Then there's the interview. Of course there will be an interview. I'm not sure if I'm more nervous about performing or about doing the interview.

I'm going to be so happy when Thursday afternoon rolls around, and all I have to worry about is a play reading. (Which the director, a local AD, has not spoken a word to me about, though I'm sure he's read the script. Does he hate it? Does he regret saying yes? Should I just ignore these feelings of insecurity?)

Send good vibes to me on Thursday, please!

Friday, May 20, 2011

I got called in for an audition.

For ye old Professional Development Program at the Big-Time Theat-ah.

It's sometime next Thursday.

I have to sing.

I may barf.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Our Oven Is Broken.

Sigh. Bye bye, baked potatoes and lasagna! Auf wiedersehn, cookies! Arrivederci, strawberry rhubarb pies!

This morning we were making breakfast, and turned on the oven to brown up some potatoes, and there was this weird ZZZZZZT! sound, and now the oven doesn't work.

Could it be a fuse? Do ovens still have fuses?

We are going to have to do SO much cleaning if someone is coming over to fix the oven.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th

Well, tonight's the night we finally watch the last Friday 13 that Netflix (Canadian Netflix, at least) has to offer--Part VIII-- Jason Takes Manhattan.

(Every time I see this title I think: "First he takes Manhattan-- THEN HE TAKES BERLIN!")

Mysteriously, Canadian Netflix has Friday 13th 1 through 8, with the exception of part 5. Why, Netflix? Fortunately, I was able to catch up between parts 4 and 6.

I'm beginning to wonder if my singing teacher and I aren't a good fit for each other, communications-style-wise. I had another frustrating lesson on Tuesday. I don't know what to do. I think what I really want is concrete suggestions on things I can do, not a lecture about how my past life is affecting my singing in this life, or stuff about cellular memory or my aura. I don't think it has to be quite so magical or mystical. Of course, maybe I'm wrong. All I know is that it isn't working for me, and I can't tell if he's just dealing with something in his personal life that's coming through into the studio, or if I'm being unreasonable, or what.

I'm just not into pathologizing everything any more, you know?

ETA: Friday the 13th Part 8 is pretty much terrible. It's like 4 separate horrible, horrible movies crammed into one movie that never seems to end. Like, it's not even BAD good, it's just boring.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Taking A Step...

So here's the thing-- I'm thinking about auditioning for the Big Time Theatah's Professional Program, despite feeling rather ancient and incompetent. Because (a) they had several folks in their thirties (and even one pretty damn close to his forties) this year. And (b)I'll never know if I don't try.

It's one of those gigs where you apply to audition and then they let you know if they're interested in auditioning you a fairly short time before the actual auditions. Which are about a month away.

I would have to sing. A "short song" it says, and I suspect more to determine if I have any musical ability, and whether I am pleasant or awful to listen to.

But still, I would have to sing.

And let's not forget the acting-- I mean yes, I've obviously auditioned for things before, but there's something daunting about auditioning for what could be a whole table of people I know, and who have a pre-existing notion of me and my abilities. And it's scary.

Here's my thought process:

"Self, I think we should audition. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!"

"But I'm SCARED! What if I suck? What if they openly mock me? What if I have to see them at future events knowing that they know I'm a huge, untalented fraud?"

"Well, it's not like the world will end. You'll be what they're looking for or not. It's simple! It's 10 minutes out of your life!"

"But what if I don't suck and I get in and I have to go spend 12 weeks with a bunch of strangers, all the time worrying that I'm a huge, untalented fraud?"

"Sigh. Self, you're impossible."

Annnnd scene. I'm not sure if I'm afraid of failing or succeeding. Or both. But it might be a nice way to shake up the status quo and actually take some of the risks I keep wishing I would.

Of course, it's entirely possible that they won't want to see me at all, and this whole anxiety tornado will have been for naught. But I think I'll feel better for at least trying. It's cheesy, but somehow true.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Above the Belt and Come Forth, Motivation Unicorns!

Still not tackling that rewrite-- I'm saving that for MAY, which is rapidly becoming some mysterious and magical time period when I will suddenly feel motivated to do a major overhaul of the play. I'm assuming the motivation unicorns (or whatever mythical creatures control motivation) will find me before next Sunday. Hey, they know where I live.

I realized that in this business, there is pretty much no way anyone could treat you so badly that your friends would not accept a job from said person. Money will always win out. And I can't say I blame them.

My agent almost gave me a heart attack yesterday-- once again I was following up about getting cash money for those commercials, and she said "Oh, you know, I never heard back from her. And her website is disabled. Do you know how to get in touch with her?"

Okay. There are a couple of issues with that communication. Firstly, was she ever planning on telling me she couldn't get in touch? Secondly, I was able to get in touch through the phone number I'd given my agent THREE TIMES. In fact, it was pretty easy to get in touch and follow up.
So I'm not getting ripped off (I think), the cheque (the most important thing) is in the mail.

Also: singing breakthrough! I can belt! (My old singing teacher would be horrified at the thought of me (or anyone) using the "vulgar" chest voice for anything, so if she's reading this, I'd like to assure her that I'm using a good, healthy mix). Apparently all my work on the upper register is paying off in the lower register. And it seems like some of the psychological turmoil has been resolved, to be replaced by Things I Can Work On Through Technique.

This is good news, people.

Very good news, indeed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Another Day, Another Day Job

Last week I met someone who, at the ripe old age of 25, has never had a day job. He's an actor and writer-- I know he works a fair bit, but I never thought he worked that much. So it's possible that he lives in a cardboard box down by the railroad tracks, or with his parents, or breaks into apartments to take showers, or hasn't eaten anything but ramen noodles for the last four years.

But I digress. Of course I feel a tinge of envy for those who don't have to work, but I wonder too how much life experience they might be missing out on by only hanging out with theatre types.

I've never waited tables, but I have had some pretty stellar day jobs:
* video store clerk
* call centre agent
* case manager for employment services company
* payroll clerk
* photocopy jockey
* impersonated various secretaries
* data entry operator
* customer service clerk

That's off the top of my head. And I suppose it probably seems like I'm either really old, or I'm constantly getting fired. I actually just get bored really easily. And really, most of my jobs seem to use either (a) my excellent typing skills, or (b) my ability to simulate the impression that I really, really care. That's me, transcriptionbot/sounding board for the disgruntled.

So have I been wasting my creative energies trying to pay rent? Or is this all rich, rich fodder for the acting/writing mill?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Behold, I Have Returned, or First Draft Blues

Howdy, friends and neighbours!

I was hoping to keep you up to date on my progress through the second session of the Big Time Theat-ah Play Development Unit. But my plans were thwarted by said unit, as we spent roughly 8 hours a day discussing our plays, and then I went home every night to desperately try and do some rewrites.

It was intense. I had fun, but I'm glad it's over. I'm not so glad to return to my "real life" job dealing with customers and staff, but I suppose that's a reason to work that much harder, right? So I can exit the world of service into the world of the artiste.

Or something like that.

So. My play. Well, it started out as a solo, then morphed into a two-hander with one speaking actor, one silent actor. Two monologues, one after the other. After this latest reading the general feeling of the rest of the unitards seems to be that this would do much better as a standard two-hander. I realize that's hard to envision without knowing the play, but the overall note was "does your form serve the idea of the play?" and the resounding answer is "no".

I don't know how to feel about that. I don't know if I'm reluctant to let go of my oh-so-clever initial idea. Or if I really wanted to write a solo, and I've somehow failed in that. I mean, I really do want to write a solo, largely so I can have something to perform myself (we won't get into my current acting insecurities). It just might not be this play.

So that's disappointing, in a weird way. I haven't looked at it since we finished a couple of days ago. I know what the rewrite will look like, I'm pretty confident that I can give myself some breathing room before returning to it before the public readings in June.

In other news: I am somewhat annoyed with my agent. I'm not sure if she's just not that interested in me (I know she is extremely interested in the more commercial pretty blonde friend of mine who's also signed with her), or if there's just no film work here (which there isn't), but I rarely hear from her. It's a little tough to get a hold of her sometimes, as evidenced when I booked those commercials last month and tried to get her to negotiate the rate, because, isn't that what she does? And that means yes, she does get paid for work she wasn't involved in getting me. But she definitely got me a better rate than I would have gotten myself.

The problem is getting paid. She was supposed to invoice this woman, and after an appropriate amount of time had gone by, I contacted her to say "Hey, any word on that cheque from Employer X? I sure could use the money." And her response was "Oh, I never heard from her, I guess I could email her to invoice her, what's her contact information?" And then I gave that to her. And now I'm chasing her down again.

Not good, I know. I probably need to switch to someone else. And a friend of mine had some rather interesting problems with a writing agent that he never officially severed his relationship with, so lesson learned, I need to be assertive in this situation.

And I've been away from voice lessons for a month due to scheduling, so looking forward to getting back on Tuesday.

And that's the news.
What's new with you?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


I sent in my (mostly) completed script tonight-- there are a couple of small bits in the middle that are missing. Hopefully those will get written before my reading on Monday, but I'm not going to be heartbroken if I can't figure them out.
There is a beginning. A middle. And an end.

It's a play! A weird, weird, play!


Lately I've been thinking a lot about the ridiculous aspects of this business. The ass-kissing, and the politics of being invited to certain things, or who's talking to you and who's snubbing you. It's so easy to get caught up in worrying about:

What does everyone think of me?

That you can lose track of what you're supposed to be focusing on. At least, I do. Why is it so easy to get obsessed with things you can't control? Now I'm not an Oprah person, but I've watched a few episodes in my day. And one of my favourite Oprah-isms is this:

It's none of my business what other people think of me.

Which, being an Oprah-ism, means she actually probably co-opted it from one of her guests, but I don't remember the guest, so sorry, guest! But I think it's a great mantra to try and remember. Hard to practice, though.

But I was thinking about it, specifically about how I've lived in this prairie city for just over a decade now, and there are still people who can't be bothered to remember my name, or who think I'm a stage manager (a gig I stopped doing years ago), or who see me as just the wife/girlfriend of a better-known actor/writer. Or the people who probably don't ever think of me at all, because frankly, most people think mostly of themselves, especially in the biz, where it is encouraged and admired for some reason.

And I got to thinking about it, and I was feeling slightly embittered about the state of my career in town, and how I was going to focus on out-of-town places, (probably a better market for my work, anyhoo), and how I was just going to do awesome indie stuff, and everyone else could suck it, and I suddenly realized:

Exactly who are these people? Who the fuck are these people that I'm spending so much time agonizing that they don't know my work, or think I'm talented, or whatever I'm accusing them of thinking or not thinking about me, when in reality they're probably not thinking about me at all?

And then I started thinking how great it would be to be free of that. To be free of a lot of worrying about what people have said or thought of me, artistically in particular. My parents, past teachers, past directors, current AD's, and so on and so forth. And imagined being free of feeling like I had to please those people, like I had to live up to some strange standard or negate some thoughtless, offhand comment from 10 years ago.

Wouldn't it be great to let go of that and just feel good about doing what I want to do? Not to worry if random people who can't remember my name think I'm good or talented or worthwhile?

To be free of seeking validation from others?

To be free to make decisions without going through a bunch of hypothetical opinions?

To be FREE?

And I guess I was having some kind of Artist's Way moment, because I started thinking about people in two groups: people who are supportive, and people who aren't. And I'm thinking I'm going to surround myself with those supporters, the awesome people who make me feel good. Haters, I'm sorry, you're moving out of a position of power in my life.

Because, seriously... when I, stubborn, independent, opinionated modern gal that I am think about all the ways I give up my own power...

That's got to change.

Anyone out there ever reclaim their power in that sense?
Should I go watch more Oprah?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Five To Go...

I think I'm down to about the last five pages for the Big Time Theat-ah Development Script, which is good news, because I have to submit it to the program facilitator in whatever state it's in tomorrow morning. Fortunately, I still get a week to revise it a little, and perhaps finish those last five pages. And, you know, make it make sense.

It's always a little daunting sharing something for the first time-- you live with it long enough that it becomes tiresome or boring or stupid, or whatever displeasurable adjective you can think of at the time. Experiencing other people hearing it can often bring it back to life. But a first draft... yikes. First drafts are tough. And this first draft is fresh out of my head and onto the page, so hopefully I'll at least catch the times I reworded and repeated the same paragraph three times, and all that other great stuff you do when you're trying to express an idea.

I'm assuming that everyone in the group feels squirrelly and nervous about hearing their first drafts read as well. Like me, they will just be covering it up.

I'm excited to go back into the forum, excited to hear where everyone's plays have gone, to discuss the plays we were assigned to read. I'm afraid that mine will be the worst, even in a situation where there really aren't any best and worst.

Going to try and read the whole thing through today before sending it tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Happy SVC Day, Y'All!

You mean you don't know what SVC Day is? Why, it's the day that Sweet Valley Confidential is released. What's Sweet Valley Confidential? Why, it's the novel that picks up ten years after the ever-popular Sweet Valley High series.

Are the twins still a perfect size six? What happened to the Fiat? Apparently Bruce Patman and Elizabeth are best friends now, Jessica's divorced, and Elizabeth cries when she has orgasms.

Suffice it to say that I am too cheap to buy my own, but so impatient about waiting my turn at the library that I may crack. I may have to steal over to the bookstore on my lunch hour and read a couple of chapters a day.


That's the kind of play I'm writing for the Big Time Theat-ah Development Opportunity. A solo. I've never written a solo before, at least not one that was longer than about 10 minutes. And it's hard. Like, really hard. And lonely. And you wonder if you're being a little bit boring. I did go see a couple of full-length-ish solos this year that made me feel a lot better about a single person telling a story being engaging.

Part of it I think is that for a regular play, I could say "Today I'm going to write the cocktail party scene" and there would be a separate scene, a separate chunk of script that I could write and it would be done and I would feel accomplished. But because of the nature of this play, there are sections, but not separate scenes per se. And so it just feels like I'm writing on and on and on without the same kind of guideposts as more people entering or exiting, or doing something gives you.

Currently, I'm writing 2 pages a day or more, which takes about as long as it would take to write 8-10 normal pages. It is driving me crazy.

On April 11 I have to hear it read. And it has to be done. I mean, not totally done. But to have a beeginning, a middle, and an end.

I will get there.

Oh you guys...

I'm watching "Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmerman", and he's "stranded" in the jungle in Mexico, forced to fend for himself.

My first question, which is really more of a comment, is:
If I knew I'd only be trapped for a day, I'd probably hold off on eating bugs. I'm not saying I would never eat creepy crawlies, but it wouldn't be a Day 1 priority. I know that wouldn't be great tv, but seriously, you can't go without eating for six hours? Didn't you eat before you left?

Fortunately, he's had some survivalist training. From a guy, who, no joke, is called MYKE HAWKE.
Obviously he's some kind of ex-military dude, because you'd pretty much have to machosize yourself with a name like that. Naturally this led to about a half hour of immature riffing on our part:

1) (AZ goes in for a hug) Whoa, first rule of the jungle--hands off Myke Hawke.
2) (while they're searching for food) You just relax and let Myke Hawke find something to put in your mouth.
3) (during the in-class portion of training) Myke Hawke is very experienced.
4) Etcetera.

I feel so juvenile. But I can't help it. I had this sudden dream sequence of being in this class to learn about survival, to learn vital information that I would need to make it on my own, and I wouldn't be able to focus. I would die in the jungle making jokes about Myke Hawke.


Monday, March 28, 2011


Every year I think "This is the year I'm going to do generals," meaning general auditions. It's kind of an open call for theatre companies to see actors, once a year. You go in, do a couple of monologues or maybe a song, and they say "thank you" and then you leave.It's simultaneously basic and nerve-wracking. And by "doing generals", I mean actually travelling to surrounding cities to do generals (I already do generals here every couple of years).

Needless to say, this takes some organization. And advance knowledge and saving of money. And every year, I think "I'm not quite ready" yet. And I have a lot of standard "reasons" which are more correctly "excuses" as to why I'm not actively pursuing things. So next year, I have decided, I will be ready. Next May, yours truly is going to be travelling around Western Canada, having a grand old time trucking out her party pieces for new and exciting artistic directors.

I have said it. That means it has to happen, right?

In the meantime, I'm going to try and get in on a couple of companies that are having auditions in my city. Which is a little scary when it comes down to the reality beyond popping my photo/resume in the mail. But I have over a month to prepare. And who knows, they may not even want to see me...

Another ambition I have long held... a ridiculous, silly ambition? To record a Christmas album-- specifically 1940's/1950's Christmas songs. The beautiful and talented Sarah at Size 8 Struggle recorded a fab album last Christmas (so hopefully she doesn't think I'm copying her!) and I was so inspired by it. This ambition dates back to childhood years when I thought the greatest job in the world would be to be a lounge singer. I have a couple of songs picked out already...

Would that be silly and lame and self-indulgent? And if so, is it wrong for me to be so silly and self-indulgent?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pushing vs. Being Pushy

I've been sending out my work. To a lot of different people, festivals, and theatres. I've sent my latest play to people who know me, who don't know me, who know some of my friends, and to complete and utter strangers.

It takes a while. And the expectation is that you won't hear back from anyone. Because it seems that all producing theatres have piles and piles of scripts from writers, and no time to read them all. Plus a lot of places already have plays in development with writers they already know,and it's a big risk to spend a lot of money on an unknown writer, etc. etc. etc.

So I can understand it taking months and months to even get a rejection letter back, especially when I've taken it upon myself to ask a busy stranger to read my work. But it's when people I know-- people in my own theatre community-- specifically request my play, and then don't respond to any kind of follow-up contact... well, that sort of bugs me.

And it's not like I send a script on Wednesday and I'm calling them on Friday asking them how I liked it. I mean, I let a decent amount of time go by. And I'm polite-- "Just following up, I'd love to hear your thoughts, etc."

It's no secret that I hate the schmooze. I mean, there's legitimate networking, and then there's the schmooze. The fakey-fake, poured-on, ass-kissing of self-congratulation. And I'll bet some people would say "well, you're in the wrong business, then." But I don't think it has to be that way. I just don't know the line where gentle pushing becomes pushy.

I feel like there needs to be a little mutual excitement about working together. I know people are busy, I know you have to keep reminding people about yourself, but I feel like after I've called a couple of times, emailed a couple of times to follow up, I'm being pushy. And if you're not interested enough to even say "Not for me, no thanks." or "I really liked it, but I'm swamped, let's schedule something for next month." or whatever, if it left such a small impression on you that you don't even care to get back to me, well... is it something I should be pushing at all?

And please understand, I'm talking about people I know, who I see regularly. Am I wrong? Is it not correct to assume that people should be at least a little interested in a play I spent so much time on?

Or do I just need to be pushier?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Act Two...

Yes, I am now ensconced in Act Two, still hoping that I will eventually figure out what I am writing about. And I think I'm on track to finish by my deadline.

I've realized that I have pretty much no free time until sometime after April 20, when the second session of the Big Time Theat-ah Development Variety Hour concludes. Until then, my time is eaten by:
3)seeing plays
4)reading the assigned plays for the Theat-ah Development thing-y
5)trying to make money

Making money, my favourite and least favourite topic. We are a little broke, my friends. I know, nothing new. But we're both trying to make a concerted effort to get rid of some debt so we can do fun things instead of eating spaghetti 4 days a week. This also means I accept strange standardized patient gigs, because I need need need the money. Listing stuff on Amazon (although nothing has sold yet), counting change. You know the drill.

The other day in rehearsal, a local actor/writer-type person apparently told J that she envies our life, which is kind of hilarious, because she's certainly what I would consider more successful than me. But I guess where we really went right (according to her, anyway) is not having kids to get in the way of our creative careers. If we had kids, I would make them get jobs. Ok, I probably wouldn't.

I also got to go see a dietician this week, which I thought would be lame, but was actually pretty cool. Let the healthy, balanced eating begin!

And apparently there is some kind of public workshop planned for the plays at the Big Time Theat-ah throughout next season. How do I know this? I read it in a program the other night.

Hopefully more information is forthcoming...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Awkward Encounters

I had a weird experience this morning... I got on the bus to go to work, and there was this woman smiling at me... and she looked very familiar. Now, I'm notoriously terrible with names, so it took me a second to remember. Turns out she was a shrink I saw for a few months a couple of years ago... She was a masters student at the time, and only a couple of years older than me. I think her specialization was art therapy, and we probably would have had a lot in common, had we not had that pesky headshrinker-client relationship.

I wasn't really sure if I should sit next to her, or talk to her, or what, but we ended up chatting for the ride downtown. I guess she lives in my neighborhood.

WEIRD. I mean, not pathological weird, but weird, nonetheless.

Don't Hold Your Breath...

This is the instruction that my voice teacher gave me yesterday. Like, quite literally, don't hold your breath. Which is a bad habit of mine. Because, friends, I hold my breath ALL THE TIME. It's some kind of stress management/holding back emotions/who knows why psychological quirk of mine. I could probably go on for ages, analyzing it. But I won't.

Apparently I had a bit of a breakthrough at yesterday's lesson, which has left me feeling a bit unguarded and vulnerable. See, when you hold everything back behind a safely clenched diaphragm, releasing it makes you a little loopy. Just letting it all go makes you a little anxious.

And I'm confused about tension vs. impulse vs. normal, non-tense muscle activity, and a host of other things.

I just want to sing! How hard should that be?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

To keep in mind while writing...

The only person expecting the first draft to be brilliant is me. All anyone else is expecting is for the draft to be done.

Take deep breaths and repeat.

It's startling to sometimes see so clearly that the creator of most of my obstacles is myself.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I made it!

Yes, I finished shooting yesterday, and I'm glad the 3 days is over. I didn't get fired for being lame/fat/untalented/having a terrible wardrobe, all of which was a great relief. Although I am going to miss having someone do my hair and makeup.

I get the feeling that I wasn't on the greatest set ever-- the director was... inexperienced, and there were a few times I noticed a wee bit of tension between the crew and the director (who didn't seem to have a good understanding of the process and preparation involved). I tried to be the model of professionalism-- oh, you want me to hold the plates at this level? Can do! This time don't turn my head until after I finish my line? No problem.

I'd kind of forgotten that film stuff is incredibly technical for the actor... you're kind of like a prop that can talk. An important prop, but still a prop that's expected to stand, move and talk the same way every take. We were shooting with kids on the first couple of days, which was challenging, because they couldn't keep track of things like not looking into the camera during every. single. take.

I don't know when I'm going to be on tv. From my understanding, they'll be starting the ads on their website first, then broadcasting them on television towards the end of the summer.

I'm pretty proud of myself. And pretty excited about the paycheck, too.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Tomorrow is the big day...

You guys, I am so nervous! I am shooting all day tomorrow, Monday evening, and Tuesday all day. In the first commercial I'm a harried mom (mom? I'm old enough to be a mom?), in the second I'm half of a fun young couple. First shoot has no dialogue, Tuesday has a few pages (which I need to get my ass in gear and memorize).

Here's a sample of some thoughts running through my brain:
What if I suck?
What if everyone realizes I don't know what I'm doing?
What if my clothes choices (from my very limited wardrobe)are awful?
What if I look even chunkier on camera?
What if they fire me for sucking/not knowing what I'm doing/having terrible clothes/being chunky?

Yes, it's a full-blown riot, where self-esteem and anxiety team up to make me lose sleep. Here's what I try to tell myself:
Clearly I don't suck, because I got hired. Also, we can always do another take if something doesn't work.
Obviously I won't know what I'm doing--it's my first commercial. That's why questions were invented.
My clothes are what they are-- I'm going to do my best with what I have.
I have no idea if I'm going to look chunkier or not. I assume that since they'd seen me on camera before hiring me, it's not going to be a huge shock to them.
If I get fired, I'm going to make my agent have them pay me for at least the day. But I'm not going to get fired.

It doesn't help that I had one of THOSE dreams last night... really weird dreams where I was a photographer and interviewing all these people I knew, and realizing gradually that none of them actually liked me and they wished I would just leave, so I slunk out into the parking lot, where some kind of hillbilly hoe-down was taking place, complete with a buffet of various types of live beetles.

OK, the dream itself makes no sense, but it was still one of those dreams where you wake up and feel all disappointed because of how people treated you and it takes a while to remember it was just a stupid dream. And while we're on the subject, I clearly remember being entranced by the movie "Waking Life", where they told you that one way to tell you're dreaming is that tech things don't work, and writing is incomprehensible. Yet I even more clearly remember a chafing dish of giant red beetles with a handwritten sign saying "Got to get your RED MEAT!". So am I some kind of dream weirdo who can read things in her dreams? Does that not happen to everyone?

It doesn't help that I am working pretty much constantly. I need a day off. I miss the days of working 3 hours shifts and then wandering around having coffee and thrift store shopping. I miss naps. I miss having time and energy to cook something more complex than grilled cheese sandwiches or spaghetti. Soon spring will come and I will have more time. And then the summer, when we're not open into the evenings.