Sunday, December 30, 2012


Hey there friends and neighbours,
Long time no see! I hope you've been having a merry merry and a happy happy this holiday season. Just like everyone else on the internet, I've been doing some reflecting about the past year and the year ahead.

2012 was difficult for me--I'll be happy to see it get the hell out of here later on today. I struggled with an increasingly bad work situation, with a long-ass bout of depression, with getting rejected to pretty much every.single.thing I applied to, with feeling creatively drained and wondering if I really belonged in this business of show.

There were some good points--a week-long workshop of my play with some amazing artists, a couple of little acting gigs here and there, meeting some great writers, making some truly supportive friends. I started running, and just yesterday I ran nearly 4km, which is pretty impressive considering I could barely run for half a block just a couple of months ago. But still, I'm not sorry to see this year go.

2013 is looking pretty good from here. I've just booked a gig (that I've told hardly anyone about) at a big theatre: tiny part in a big-budget production. I am simultaneously stricken with anxiety and excited to start work. I'm doing a workshop out of town in May, and I'm waiting (skeptically) to hear on something that may fill in some of the intervening time. I have some ideas about some other things I'd like to do this year.

I'd like to say I'm someone who doesn't make resolutions, but frankly, if something involves a list, I'm on it. I have a couple of specific ones (the usual--lose some weight, update this blog more regularly), but I'm mostly envisioning a general direction for 2013: creating and rediscovering myself as an artist. Giving myself permission to be an artist again. Taking risks. Having more compassion for myself while I do all that.

I'm feeling pretty optimistic about this year--what about you?

Monday, November 19, 2012

I know this should be Nine Days Left, but...

It's actually one day left... tomorrow I'm going to give my notice. I'm a little nervous and a little excited.


Saturday, November 10, 2012


According to all of the many "How many days until" websites (why so many?), there are 20 days until I give my notice. Now that I've decided to do it, it's hard not to just throw it out there at work. But I'm holding back. I don't think they'd say "Well, just leave now, then", because they will be (and this is not ego talking) be kind of screwed without me.

Some of my friends have said "Don't give them a second more than two weeks' notice, because they've been terrible to you". Ultimately, I'm giving them three weeks' notice, and I've been planning the conversation... I think it will come as a surprise until they think about it a little.

So, new year, new start and all that... and once I actually quit my job to be an artist again (I mean, there are other reasons I'm quitting, but this is the big one), I actually HAVE TO DO IT. No more "Oh, if only I had the time to do this project", or "I wish I could just try this thing out". No ifs. The time will be NOW. Well, now being January, but you get the drift.

And I've been thinking a lot about my struggle with feeling worthy as an artist--despite having a fair amount of professional success creatively, I still have trouble with saying "Here I am and I have this to say and it has value". I've been thinking about how to fight that... I have been making a list of all the things I CAN do when I feel like there's nothing I can do to further my career. Stuff like get new headshots, or submit even more scripts, or get some friends together for a play reading, and all that good stuff that empowers you in what can be a very disempowering business.

I think that for me some of it lies in indulgence. I mean, creating things is a very self-indulgent process--you sit with your idea and dedicated time to thinking about it, shaping it, dressing it up differently, asking other peoples' opinions. Very self-indulgent... in a good way. But it's challenging for me to be self-indulgent for stuff like, say, practicing singing--I feel weird taking up time and making these sometimes terrible sounds that people have to hear. It's easier just to deny myself and not take the risk. But that's a risk that should be taken. And there are plenty of examples like that where I don't feel like I "deserve" to spend time on something, or to have time and attention spent on me.

So I'm going to be thinking about being self-indulgent for the next few weeks--trying to sow some seeds and creating some new habits. It sounds fun... and difficult.

Twenty days! (And then twenty-three days after that.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Survey says...

The workshop went great--I got a ton of work done on the play (an entire new draft, actually), and the actors all really loved the show. We also had a set designer come in and come up with a design concept and groundplan, that we used to put some scenes on their feet. It was pretty amazing to see it in three dimensions, and also to think about the play in terms of another person's interpretation of the visuals.

The reading also was great! I just wish a few more people had seen it. I mean, I asked a lot of people to come, and I know they aren't all doing shows/going to a friend's birthday party/staying home washing their hair. And I know that if I were someone more "important", they would come. And I guess I'm speaking about the people in the theatre community, rather than the general public at large. I think I need to stop putting so much stock into the opinions of other people (or at least those particular people, because I get disappointed so often.

To be honest sometimes it feels like I'm going to have to convince every single person in the world of the value of my work, one by one. Okay, that sounds wanky. But do you know what I mean? Sometimes it feels like such a ridiculously arduous slog to get anyone to even look at my work, I start to question if it will ever be worth it.

My job is definitely not helping. Interestingly, I learned today that the "budget overage" that meant our department was accused of spending double the usual amount on staff wages and of mismanaging our whole budget by a ridiculous sum... was not a "budget overage" at all. It's either some kind of accounting error, or something someone forgot to label, or something that got charged to our budget by mistake. But this is the reason we weren't allowed to hire new staff (leaving us seriously understaffed), that ultimately caused my boss to quit suddenly in June. And those two things were what caused my other boss to go on stress leave, leaving moi in charge of the whole operation.

But it turns out it was just an "oops". An oops that, had it not happened, could have made my life significantly different for the last 4-5 months. An oops that, had it been addressed rationally rather than accusatorily could have meant a LOT less stress.


I still haven't decided if I will wait to give my notice until December 1, or if I will do it sooner. I think it might be a relief to have it out in the open.

I'm excited to start thinking of all the things I'll do in January--my goal is to have that month mostly off, even if I don't get the grant.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Workshop Week

Today was rehearsal day two of workshop week, and I have to say I'm not always sure what my role is... I mean obviously, my role is to learn about the play and improve it--to make sure that any group of actors and production team members would come to largely the same conclusions about what the play is about, whether or not they ever have access to me to explain things.

But I think I miss being able to really dig into a script and discuss it the way the actors get to. Part of it is that I've been working on this play for five years. I've had quite a few workshops, I've heard a lot of people read it. Some parts of the play haven't changed substantially for a long time... because they're right and don't need to be changed. But there are parts of the play that I am SO TIRED of hearing. Is that terrible to say? I'm ready for the next phase, which is to see people on their feet with it.

Work is work... the miracle of today was that this crazy lady who'd threatened to call and impart her crazy on me apparently called her crazy sister who brought the crazy down in person. All while I wasn't there. I am toying with the idea of telling them now that I won't be back after Christmas. I don't want to screw over my boss, who's done nothing to screw me personally. I don't know what to do there. I don't want a big drawn-out production about me quitting, which is what I think it would turn into if I gave my notice now.

I think I'm going to table thinking about it until after the reading on Saturday. Tomorrow they should get on their feet a bit, which will be pretty exciting.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tomorrow... my first real voice lesson in about a year and a half. I'm excited and a bit nervous. I've studied with this teacher before, she had moved out of town and is now back. I think she and I are on the same page about a lot of things, so I'm hoping working together again will be fruitful. Even so, it's always scary to sing in someone's studio for the first time!

I've just told work "I have a commitment on Friday and I'll be gone for 2 hours", which, considering Friday is the second of 4 10-hour days in a row, they can hardly say no to. I was just thinking yesterday about how this job used to help me be an artist, and now it seems to be blocking me, just through the sheer amount of energy I'm expected to put into it. Too many hours, not enough brain time left for creative things at the end of the day.

Also: MEETINGS. I have 4 hours of meetings scheduled for tomorrow. What is with that? I want to actually get work done, not talk about the work I'm supposed to be doing.

My play reading is a week from Saturday. I just got the email confirming the time and place of rehearsals--I suppose I will know if my rewrite was enough soon enough.

Still two more hours before I can go home!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Too late to say yes?

Howdy, y'all. 55 days left at my job, in case you're counting. It's Thanksgiving weekend up here in Canadia, and I am so thankful I don't have to go back to work until Tuesday!

Lately I've been doing that thing where you look back over previous decisions you've made and try to figure out where things could have gone differently... and I've realized that there have been more than a couple of times when I've said no to things... to offers of gigs, to workshops, to stuff like that... I think mostly because I was afraid.

Afraid of what? I don't know. Of sucking. Of not knowing what I'm doing. All those pesky insecurities. And of course, now I'm complaining that my career isn't where I want it to be, and maybe that's because I said no to things before. So now I have to start saying yes to things, consciously saying yes and not letting myself back down because of fear.

But I wonder... is it too late to say yes to things? What if I said no too many times and I used up my offers?

I'm really hoping that doesn't happen. I mean, I've been guilty of being angry at the universe for not being fair, which I know it isn't, but still...

In exciting news, I'm now starting week 4 of Couch to 5K. I was feeling pretty triumphant yesterday at the gym, until, that is,I got lapped by a speed walker. An older gentleman speedwalking. Who didn't even seem to be working that hard.

Coincidence? Or lesson in humility from the universe?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

65 Days...

...and counting. Which is how long I have until it is December, at which point I will be giving notice at my job, after which I will be freeeeeeeeeeeee. Well, either free or begging temp agencies to please let me answer someone's phones before I starve to death.

Time is moving slowly on that front. What I really want to tell some of my colleagues is "If you'd just stop your dickish behaviour, everyone's job would be a lot easier". But I think calling people "dickish" is frowned upon, at least when you do it to their faces.

I was thinking about Facebook today (get it? Faces--Facebook?)and how in some cases it's given me a chance to resolve situations (like when I apologized to someone I'd had a major falling out with in high school, and it still bothered me all these years later), and in other cases it offers a chance to perpetuate dysfunctional, self-esteem-crushing relationships (coincidentally, also a person from high school). I'm sure in days gone by you would just never see those people again, but now they can always find you.

I mean, technically, I could always find them as well, but it seems creepier if they're looking for me.

Sweet Ford above, I cannot wait until it's 50something days left.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One of Those Days

So today I happen to be at work with a vicious red wine hangover--it's been so long since I was seriously hungover at work that I forgot how terrible it is, and how very, very old I feel. I went out with some old friends from work--a combination of folks who have gotten out of this place, and folks who are still here, but with plans to go. It was fantastic... except for dragging myself out of bed this morning.

The day before yesterday, I was feeling quite sorry for myself, because I lost a gig. That is, I got unasked to do a gig. That is, I got unasked by not being asked to do a gig I had previously been asked to do. Totally clear, right? Ugh. It was one of those moments where I thought "CAN NOTHING EVER BE EASY? MUST EVERYTHING ALWAYS BE THE HARD WAY?"

Apparently, the answer to that is... yes.

Did I mention I'm doing a junk food-free September? Because I was eating a little too much deliciousness and figured it might be impacting my ability to lose weight. Of course, I decided to do that just in time to get prescribed a long-term medication that is RENOWNED FOR WEIGHT GAIN. So despite eating better and running, I have been gaining weight, little by little. I have resolved to continue trying.

Now that all my various grant applications are behind me, I can start working on the next draft of my play. Onwards and upwards...

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Spreadsheet of Rejection

Ladies and gentlemen, the McConaughey approach to office interaction is working well so far... even today I've thought to myself WWMMCD? And the answer is, as always... all right, all right, all riiiiiiiiight.

So I have this spreadsheet. It's meant to be a spreadsheet where I keep track of where I've submitted what script, and what the response/followup has been. But lately, it's become the Spreadsheet of Rejection. And it's getting a little discouraging, what with the "no response 1 year, assume rejected" and "no response to followup, assume rejected" and the "form rejection". I was joking about it to one of my friends, and she said "That's horrible! Why would you do that to yourself?"

Well, I do it to myself to remember where I've sent a play... I didn't intend for it to turn out so depressing! But it has turned out a little depressing, hasn't it, friends? I'm trying to think of some things I want to do that have no bearing on whether or not someone likes my work, just things that would be fun. And so far I've come up with:

Take an improv class.
Take a dance class.
Get published in McSweeney's online.

OK, the last one has a little bit to do with someone liking my work. But it would be work other than a play, which seems to be the thing no one is liking at the moment. The improv and dance classes scare the crap out of me, because I'm (a) a control freak and (b)completely uncoordinated and self-conscious. So I have to be careful not to make them "this thing I'm going to do", and instead make them "This thing I'm doing."

I'll try and think of some other things, some of which will hopefully be less frightening.

Until then, may you be all right all right all riiiiiight.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday and the McConaughey Office Theory

I've been oh-so-terribly busy lately--my one remaining supervisor colleague has gone on stress leave, so I get to be the head honcho at work now. I'm working ALL the time, and I miss having the occasional afternoon off. But I'm going to try and stick it out until December, and then I will be free, free, free.

Last time I wrote, I'd been working on a grant. Now I'm working on another grant: I just found out that I've been accepted to a really cool month-long program in another city next May, just in time to make a grant deadline... once I finally get done writing applications and grants, I can get started on the new play draft for the reading in October.

I've also started running again--2 runs in to the Couch to 5K. I'm assuming that eventually I won't feel like I'm going to die, right?

There's not too much more to update--all I do is work.Essentially I am just out of fucks to give... I'm going to do my best to get all the work done and keep the department running, but in the last three months I've seen two other people get so burned out they had to leave without notice. I've been thinking that I should put a picture of Matthew McConaughey at my desk, to remind me that my new attitude is "all right, all right, all right". Seriously, it's not worth it to my mental health to get into a Kobayashi Maru situation. And if I've learned anything about my workplace, it's that people spend a ton of time arguing about things that would never get done anyway, even if they immediately said yes.

Does that sound terrible? It's not that I don't care--I am still doing a good job. But I also care about not burning myself out for the sake of a toxic organization that tolerates shitty behavior from some of its employees.

All right, all right, all right, people. That's my strategy until December.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

End of Summer Blues

Autumn is absolutely one of my favourite times of year, but I think that was borne of growing up somewhere that it stayed brisk but warm-ish (sweater weather!) for a while before the snow came. That and the multicolored leaves crunching underfoot. Here most of the leaves are just yellow (and not orange, gold and red), and they stay on the trees for approximately 1.74 days before they all just drop to the ground. Then the temperature drops and the snow comes.

I am, however, looking forward to wearing sweaters, baking pies, making soup, and doing a little Christmas knitting.

I've been feeling a bit blue lately, which means back to the doctor for a crazy pill adjustment. Tapering off of one, starting another, with all the exciting side effects that brings. This particular magic pill is something that's worked for me before, so I'm hopeful this will all start to clear up in the next couple of weeks.

Still working on that grant--I was smart enough to REREAD THE INSTRUCTIONS before submitting, and realized that I was working off of a previous version, meaning I need to rewrite and expand the whole thing. I have till Monday to submit, but I'm hoping just to get it done in the next couple of days and get it over with.

I got the rehearsal schedule for the reading in October, and I'm getting excited!

Plus today I'm getting paid for that show--not a princely sum, but more than expected.
Hopefully things will continue on an upward trend!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

So a couple more reviews came in with slightly higher star ratings, and nicer things to say. We've just got two more shows left, one at 10pm this eveing, and one on Saturday around 6pm. I can't believe it's almost over--traditionally around this time of year it starts to get super-cold here. (I was horrified and outraged the year it snowed the first week of October and it just stayed on the ground till May.)

Things at work are really coming to a head... more flooding at the beginning of the week, and since our office is in the basement, that's not great news for us. I was thinking yesterday about how I would handle "Why did you leave your last job?" in a job interview, and I'm not sure... they say it's poor form to badmouth your previous employer. I'm torn between telling something of the truth, and just going with "It was time for a change." Although I'm pretty sure anyone hearing about the organizational dysfunction, flooding, fruit flies, and mice would probably understand why I left.

I have no immediate plans to go yet, but I'm thinking I might start applying for jobs. That's a big, unnerving step, because it means I really might be leaving. Brings the abstract into reality, as it were. I think things will ultimately break down here after the Labour Day weekend, which is the time of a big event here. I think my other colleague is planning on leaving immediately after that, and I have no intention of remaining here to do 4 people's jobs for no money.

That doesn't mean it's not scary, though.

Theatre-wise, what's going on... I have renewed my commitment to submit, submit, submit, which can be discouraging when there isn't a lot to submit to. But yesterday I was bold and submitted to A Big Fancy Theatre for a show. I've also submitted a couple of plays to some US companies, and I'm currently working on a grant application, and have the following stuff waiting in the wings: another grant application, application to Big Fancy Play Development Program, application to an artist intensive next may, and a new draft of the play I've been workshopping.

Theoretically, all these things should happen before the middle of September.

I think it's going to be a busy three weeks!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Reviews and rethinking

So, the reviews are in, and they are less than kind... one reviewer just didn't like the play, and two others said very nice things (to the effect that they really enjoyed it), but we are low stars across the board because we are "fluff". Now, I think fluff has its place in any medium--sometimes you don't want to wrap your head around some high-concept, philosophically challenging, intellectually provocative thing. Sometimes you just want to watch something that's entertaining and have fun. I think that's what this show is--just an entertaining amusement that's fun. We have fun doing it, and audiences don't seem to have been affected (though I suspect the producer is comping some folks, so we'll see how that affects the bottom line).

I have written reviews before, and it's difficult. As a practicing artist, I can't help but remember that every project, no matter how well or poorly executed, was once a thrilling germ of an idea, once that moved the writer and collaborators to go through the hard work of creating it and bringing it to fruition. I tried not to be a mean reviewer--I think sometimes reviewers are tempted to make their review about how clever and funny they are, which of course makes the review about them and not about the project they attended. As a reviewer, I tried to give the reader an idea of what they could expect, what the overall experience would be. Of course, I did give an opinion, but reviews are just that: opinions. If you read enough of them, you'll start to realize whose taste you agree with, and who you think is just a complete nimrod.

We have a couple of days off before we go back to it, and this means that I'm back at my job. There's been another high-level sudden defection, at least according to the rumor mill--nothing has been confirmed. It will, of course, send everyone in the higher echelons spiralling into crisis mode and panic. And my compensation (for doing the jobs of a few other people along with my own since June) will fall farther down the list. I can't help but feel it's a bit humiliating to have to ask to discuss this for the FOURTH TIME. I mean, if it were a priority, it would have been taken care of one of the first three times I asked, right?

My colleague here has asked me what I'm going to do. Part of me thinks I should just cut my losses and go. Part of me thinks I should ask one more time, and be clear that it is for the last time--I'm well aware that I could be paid more elsewhere for less work. Part of me wants to just bring it up publicly at this week's staff meeting, but I'm not sure I'm ready for that kind of confrontation. Anyhoo, happy Monday to you all!

Monday, August 13, 2012

August Update

My friends, where does the time go? Has it already been a few weeks since I last updated? My apologies. Where were we? Well, things at work continue to be rather enshittening. I had sent my request to meet and discuss my compensation no less than 3 times before it was actually acknowledged that I had sent said requests--apparently we are "meeting this week" to discuss it, because it's "very important" to the organization. I have my doubts, but we shall see.

I've been thinking about exit strategies... my initial plan was to stay here till December, when I would a) hopefully get this awesome grant that would pay for my living expenses while I do some writing, or (b) just make a clean break for the new year. My main decision is: do I go back to freelancing, or do I just suck it up and get a decently paying joe job for a year or so? Freelancing is ultimately happiness for me, but the variable and uncertain pay may not be so great right now. A decent joe job would give me steady (and good) money, and possibly even allow me to continue to have health coverage, but I will likely lose the flexibility that I've had here. It's kind of a tough decision... happiness vs. financial stability. Ugh.

Rehearsals for the show are going well, we have just one more rehearsal tomorrow before opening on Friday. I can't believe it's almost the end of the summer! I've been struggling with my usual career doldrums, and have decided to counteract this by submitting plays... every time I feel particularly depressed about nothing happening, I submit one of my plays somewhere... I've been researching many places for some time, but it can be hard to get over the initial ugh of actually sending the email/mailing the package. I'm hoping to have a whole bunch more possibilities lined up, perhaps I will do a blitz of submissions for a week or a month or more.

I have to start draft seven at some point of the other play. I'm probably going to wait till after we open before I attempt that, as I have some other projects to do. You guys, someone higher up than me at work just sent a suggestion that is SO IDIOTIC that I cannot believe it is serious. And yet, I think it must be serious. I don't know how to respond to it. And yet, I must respond, or else said suggestion will come to fruition and it will be terrible. These are the things that make my job so miserable. And yes, I know there are idiots everywhere, but at least as a temp I could maintain some sort of detachment.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tough Week

And it's only just begun... The workshop went really well on Friday, did I mention that already? I have some good feedback to put into my next (and what I think will largely be my final) draft. I have some time off from the play until September, when we're going to be doing a more intensive workshop, with blocking and design elements. Then a public reading in October, and... who knows? Possibly production next season, but I don't want to get my hopes too high on that one.

J's mom had a bad fall and broke her hip yesterday, so she's in the hospital recovering from emergency surgery. It was a bit of a long night for J, and he's been at the hospital with his parents today. I'm alone at work, who knows when my request for higher compensation will be dealt with, since I'm swamped and my boss is not around that much. It's the first day of 2 weeks of being in charge of the department, and it's been a long day. Coupled with a tornado watch for the area (a tornado is really all I need at this point, I can't wait for this day to be over! Anyone who tells me I've got a case of the Mondays will receive a swift punch to the face, or a kick to the nether regions...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Work vs Workshop

Howdy friends, Just thought I'd pop in for a quick update. Sadly, I got laid off from my part-time (also fun and well-paying and related to my actual career) gig this week. I'm going to miss the extra money! (Not to mention I'm fretting about finding a new second job to replace the old one in our budget!)

My day job is still pretty terrible--just overloaded with work, my request for a salary increase is being ignored (if they don't acknowledge the request, it never happened, right?). I'm trying to stick it out till the end of the year, at least for the health coverage and the stability, but these are trying times. The real trial by fire will be two whole weeks being the only supervisor here... yes, I'm going to be the big (wo)man on campus! Thinking about it makes my stomach churn, so I'm trying not to think about it.

But in good news, not only did I finish the next draft of my play, but I'm hearing it read tomorrow! And I will most likely be PAID for my efforts, which is thrilling. A theatre company here in town got some money to develop my play, so we've got regular workshops planned, culminating in some sort of public reading in the fall. So I think I get my paycheque for the whole thing tomorrow... oh, as well as hearing my play read. I haven't really touched this play in many moons (like, probably coming up on a couple of years), so it was both nerve-racking and exciting to make some changes. Although there's always that nagging thought "What if I ruin the play?" I know, I know, I can always change it back.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Act One - Done

I finished my rewrite of Act One today, which puts me squarely in the middle of the play--41 pages done, 41 pages left to go. As always, the trick is to wrap everything up in Act Two that you introduced in Act One... apparently these "plot points" and "character journeys" have to "pay off" by the time you get to the end of your "play". Today is the first normal-ish day at work since all the mayhem started, which I attribute to the lack of contact with other departments, including my own supervisors. Amazing how much work you can accomplish when you don't have to answer the phone 20 times an hour, or respond to a million emails.

I am thinking that I'm still going to try to stick it out till Christmas... another bonus of leaving at Christmas is that there's NO ONE AROUND to make a big deal. Or talk you into staying. I don't know if I can make it that long, so I'm not going to think about it for the moment. It's supposed to get murderously hot here over the weekend--water-the-garden-twice kind of weather, it seems. I will likely not want to do anything at all, except I have 2 rehearsals and a bunch of house cleaning to do for some guests who're staying here next week. Not to mention start tackling Act Two.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Perfect Day

If I do say so myself, I had what I would consider a perfect weekday today. Being located in the Great White North, my job was closed today in observance of Canada Day. My husband was working, however, but I got to sleep in exactly the right amount (9:30 am), get up and go to the non-busy gym, ran a couple of errands, came home and did some rewrites (Scenes 1 & 2 to be exact), and then did a wee bit of (NERD ALERT!) Christmas knitting. To be fair, the knitting is actually for a Christmas present that didn't get started at all last year, and is so frustratingly complex that I can only knit 7 rows at a time. Oh, and put love into it, of course.

I was kind of dreading rewrites--I always think that I'm not very good at them, but I've started to get more comfortable. For this particular play, I hadn't touched it in a couple of years, so it was daunting to think about getting back into the mindset of the play. But I also realized that it's very cool to know your way around the world of the play. To be able to poke around the edges, or look at things you haven't looked at before. To know, as it were, which columns are load-bearing, and which can be knocked down and rebuilt.

I'm not sure if the changes are big enough, or if more of a shift is what's required this time out--I guess I'll find out at the next reading, which is scheduled for the end of July. If I had any editing to do this week, I suppose that would have been included in my perfect day, but there isn't any to be had. But having a beautiful day to spend working on my own stuff was amazing. As J points out, I guess every day could become like that soon, depending on how work goes. I'm already getting that dread-y feeling about going back in tomorrow. The other supervisor will be back from holiday, and there's a fairly good chance that she will also quit, or go on stress leave. I'm trying not to think about it. Instead I'm going to watch stupid television and eat curly fries and egg salad sandwiches.

Friday, June 29, 2012

I'm every woman...

So,what's been happening? I had a birthday. My boss quit--on my birthday, since I had the day off. My other boss is on vacation. For the last week I've been doing the jobs of 4 people, and having to have some pretty crappy conversations with the staff about the situation, about how everything's up in the air, what's going to happen next. I haven't been sleeping, I have headaches and stress tummy all the time. Not cool. I'm so, so glad this week is over. I have no idea what's going to happen next week.

The other supervisor may very well quit. And then, my friends, I will have some decisions to make. I had already been considering leaving at the end of December. But seeing how the organization has handled the situation, and feeling pretty certain we're going to lose more staff,I'm not sure how much longer I'll last. One of my friends at work said "The work you do outside of here is FAR more important than the work you do here. Don't change yourself for this place."

Speaking of which, I was supposed to start Draft Six this week, but all I want to do when I get home is sleep, eat, and drink, not necessarily in that order. To top it off, I actually had several pages of notes that I'd typed up about revisions I want to make, and I clearly remember putting them in a safe place. The exact place, however, is somewhat hazy at best. Another reason to house clean.

I have a three day weekend to think about work. My second job, mercifully, didn't have any edits for me this week, which is great. But also a reminder that the gig isn't steady work... I'd still need to temp a couple of weeks a month. But that sounds pretty good right now--having time to get up and go to the gym when it's not crowded, do some writing during the day, be able to socialize with friends, maybe get to go out on more auditions and work on projects. Sounds pretty good, if you ask me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Oh, you guys. Work is just miserable. Like, the most toxic, depressing environment miserable. I found out today my colleagues (we have a tight little alliance in my department that works really well) are fairly confident that they will be fired/made so miserable they will just quit by the end of the summer. And once the house is cleaned, they think I'll be asked to be "the saviour" and be in charge of all these things I don't know/care about and work and stress until I die. The crazy thing is: even though that sounds completely insane, I can absolutely see that happening. Well, maybe not literally working till I die, but something approximating a living death of SELLING ALL THE TICKETS.

I don't know what to do. The thought of getting another job is a bit overwhelming at the moment. I think I could tide myself over on my part time gig for a month or two, so I'm not terribly worried. I'm more worried about everyone else quitting/getting fired and then being asked to run things and having to quit. It's a complicated situation. It's like, junior high complicated, people. And that shit is COMPLICATED.

I am feeling old. I'm not THAT old, realistically, it's just that I can't shake this feeling that I have missed my shot, that all opportunities have passed me by and I HAVE FAILED. This is all unrealistic, I know. Probably related to the fact that my birthday is coming up on Moday. I got a rejection email today, and I am trying to remember that it was very nice of them to send me a note and not just never get back to me like many companies would. Always look on the bright side, and all that.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Hello, chums! I cannot wait for my day off... Saturday. And for once I have the entire weekend off! That seems to happen so rarely, I feel like I should do something decadent in celebration. I have found a way to do some stealth editing for my bonus job during the downtime of my primary job, which leaves me much more free time in the evenings. Perhaps that's not entirely kosher, but I'm struggling with my job at the moment. It's just such a negative environment, and I'm tired of all the bitching and backbiting and drama. Even theatre doesn't have that much consistent drama.

I am going to try and get back into knitting--I have a few friends who are expecting little ones, and I do love to knit some tiny socks and hats. As well, that Christmas present I never finished last year awaits. I got a little too ambitious with what I thought I could accomplish in a limited amount of time... sound familiar?

I didn't hear back from that big audition for a callback, so I'm trying to put it out of my mind. I haven't heard from anyone else that they got a callback, so I don't know if they've done them or not, but there's really only so long it's healthy to keep hope alive. If I stop putting anxiety towards it and I do hear back from it, great. If not, then I can move on to bigger and better things... whatever those are. I've also already decided my gym days for next week, working under that popular theory that if you schedule time in your calendar for healthy living, you will just do it. I have tested that theory before, to varying degrees of success. Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Surviving Saturday

Well, that last post was certainly a downer. I am feeling a bit less stressed out and anxious today, yet still frustrated. I think some of this comes from working every single day of the week, and being broke. Some of it is coming from a weird doubting place, where I think I just realized for literally the first time in my life "Maybe I won't be successful at this art thing." I know, that sounds weird, because the arts are such an unstable, uncertain endeavor. But I always knew "I am going to be successful." That doesn't neccessarily mean being wealthy, or famous, but other markers of success: getting produced. Getting to perform. Getting recognized for my work. I'm having a hard time believing that will happen lately. Is this what everyone I knew who quit to do something else felt like? Is this a sign I should quit and do something else? I think I may need to take a break from the theatrical world at large and focus on my own projects, and on the people who are supportive of me. Screw the haters and all that. Or perhaps I need to engage in some other creative pursuits: I've been having a hankering for some baking and sewing time lately. Maybe I just need to recharge. Or quit worrying so much about everyone else and how well they're doing. Or some combination of both. What do you do when you need to recharge?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Complaining Wednesday

I was going to call this "Bitching Wednesday", but I was afraid you'd assume that my Wednesday was... BITCHEN'! Which it most certainly is not. Here is my list of petty complaints: * my job is becoming increasingly unpleasant to work at. There are many power struggles within my organization, some hours cutbacks, and general increasing tension. I am rapidly reaching the point where the crap I am forced to put up with is exceeding the amount I'm being paid. * theatrical award nominations for my community came out this week, and they are disheartening. It's clear that the folks on the jury and I (also on the jury) have very divergent tastes. And some of the stuff that is nominated was just... not very good. It makes me sad that this is what people in the community think is the best we can do. It makes me sad that what's rewarded is so different than what I do. * I'm not writing anything new. I need to be writing something new to submit to some residency opportunities. But I'm not. * I feel like I'm basically getting up in the morning, going to one job, going home, doing chores, working my other job and going to bed every day. * We are still miserably broke. * A good friend of mine who's a very talented writer is having great success--winning competitions, getting productions, etc. I am proud of him, and a bit jealous. * I am having a case of the wallows... where I think the word that will best describe my career is "ALMOST" Ugh. Here's to this day being over as soon as possible.

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Big One Down!

So I thought I should post an update as to how my big day went on Friday... the workshop was great. It was a bit difficult to get back in the mindset of this play, especially because I can't help thinking of it as "the play that everyone likes but no one wants". But we had some great actors and a lively discussion, and I have some good ideas for what will happen next. My next workshop is scheduled for July 20, so that's about a month to get a new draft done. Scary! The audtion... well, I don't know how that went exactly. The chat portion was very positive--I was honest about why I wanted to be in the program, and they seemed impressed that I'd put so much thought in it. The acting/singing portion could have gone better. I dried in the middle of my Shakespeare (a very obvious dry... one of those pauses that is clearly not an acting pause, but the pause of an actor suddenly forgetting their lines), but I soldiered on. It happens to everyone once in a while, but it sucks to have it happen in an audition situation. The contemporary monlogue went quite well (according to me), but I got no re-direct on either. Does that mean something? I don't know. And the song... was not the greatest. It wasn't the worst, but I did get some comments from the music director about things I had written in my music, and how maybe those weren't the best choices, and how maybe we'd have the opportunity to discuss those further. I was so relieved to be done with the stress when it was done, I totally busted out in tears in front of a couple of friends. Which is SUPER EMBARRASSING. Just because a) I don't usually cry in front of others and b) I'm not a person who cries about auditions generally, and I don't want to seem... I don't know... frivolous? I was super-depressed about the whole thing for the rest of the day. Anyway, they are auditioning in 2 other cities, for several days in each, so I'm assuming a lot of non-locals will be chosen. I'm giving myself this week to hope to hear for a callback, and then I'm giving up. This afternoon I'm acting in a new works festival--rehearsal this afternoon, performance tonight, which I'm looking forward to. As well as the tiny paycheque! I'm so glad that all the stress is over with... for now, anyway.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

One down, one to go...

So yesterday, I had the first of two auditions this week--this was the lower stress one, although it was a little more awkward than usual due to my being good friends with one of the AD's. I think because you always want your friends to think you're good and talented and so on, it's strange to audition for them. I guess because a friend's opinion matters more than someone I'll never see again. But it went well! The chat portion was good,and my monologues were decent--I did have a bit of that out-of-body experience doing the monolgues, but I think that happens to a lot of people. Particularly because you're not doing it in context, or after a couple of weeks of working together on it. But it was a positive experience, and I'm glad it's over! I had a vocal coaching this morning for my second audition, which also went very well. We talked about the order of my pieces, and I may end up singing first. I usually put off singing, just because I'm the most nervous about it, but it makes sense vocally and thematically to do my sweet love song before the murderous rage and cold revenge. I just keep telling myself that singing is muscle memory... the more I practice doing it with good habits, the more easily they will come to me. In time, of course. I'm nervous! But I'm feeling quite prepared. Another couple of days should solidify that.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hell Week

Howdy friends, So shit is going down at my day job--long story short, it's possible that either I will be laid off, or I will stay but the new situation will make me so unhappy that I will realize that I can be unappreciated for a lot more money and go elsewhere. Naturally, I will try to stick things out as long as possible, as is my nature. But I have to say I am so tired of not feeling supported by the mucky-mucks in upper management. I feel an exit strategy may be in order. I have an audition tomorrow, which I'm reasonably well-prepared for. It's a little bit extra awkward, since I happen to know one of the artistic directors quite well--it's somehow worse to audition for friends than it is for complete strangers for some reason. Friday, I am supposed to have a half-day workshop of a play I wrote. This was all fitting nicely into my schedule, since I am required to be at work in the morning. Unfortunately, now I have an audition scheduled at a Big Fancy Theatre about 15 minutes after the workshop is supposed to be finished. Since they're across town from each other, this is not ideal. Also, I am preparing new monologues and a new song for said audition. I am FREAKING OUT. I need to reschedule one of these things, but it isn't working so far. I'm also supposed to find out about another audition at a Big Fancy Theatre in the next two days. If the universe smiles upon me, I WILL get called in, and I will NOT be scheduled for Friday. And how is YOUR week looking?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Busy busy bees

Oh you guys. I am so looking forward to a time when I do not have to accomplish so much every single day: going to work, going to shows, working at my freelance job, writing/submission requirements, and various other commitments. I have a tendency to overbook myself. I feel guilty for not being active and accomplishing things 24 hours a day. The side effect is that I tend to burn myself out. This week, on top of my jobs and show commitments, I've also had voice coaching, audition prep, and a first read for a show I'm in later this summer. Next week: 1 audition 1 voice coaching 1 half-day workshop of my play (hopefully the first of many steps on the way to production) Many hours of editing freelance gig (I am trying to do as much as possible because it pays well, and it means our huge debt will be paid down sooner) The week after that, I actually have an acting gig--doing some readings of new works. I love being asked to do things. Especially when I don't have to chase/beg for it. That's rare. That someone actually just thought of me and then asked. I'm going to try and build some momentum to get more of that kind of thing happening. In garden news, all three of my tomato plants have sprouted! And two are already growing their second set of leaves! It's hard to imagine that these tiny little sprouts will one day produce piles (I hope) of tiny tomatoes for my salad. If the weather holds out this week, I'm hoping to plant my lettuce and cucumbers outside this weekend. I do like being busy--I just wish more of my time could be spent doing things I *want* to do, and less time doing things I *have* to do.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dear Playwright - Part II

So, my cold still lingers. But on Friday night, I did get an email from the very same folks who had sent me the Dear Playwright email the day before. The gist was: they're unable to acknowledge plays individually, but every year they do like to let a handful of folks know that their work was appreciate, and they hope they'll submit again. And my play was one of those. And since the jury for this thing includes a couple of well-known folks, I was a tiny bit thrilled that said well-known folks had mostly likely read and liked my play. This is in the category of the Almost, one of those victories that's difficult to explain to people why it's a victory. Of course, I sent a brief thank you note (always, always be polite kids--whether you are Canadian or not), and didn't even suggest they start using Mail Merge in their rejection emails. One of my tomato plants has started to sprout, I think. It's a tiny sprout, but they are tiny tomatoes, so that makes sense. The seeds were practically invisible, so it stands to reason that it couldn't hold a lot of stuff inside... right? Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Dear Playwright"

Is how the email I got this morning reads. Needless to say, it's a rejection. Well, not a rejection, since it was for a competition, but a "you didn't get shortlisted, but these people did!" email. Hmmm, I guess that is a rejection. Not my favourite way to start the day, but it happens. And the finalists' plays do sound interesting. But I had managed to put this particular competition out of my mind, since it was such a long shot, so it wasn't a rejection that I was expecting. I do have an expected rejection whose arrival I am checking my inbox for daily. Who says the creative life isn't glamourous? My cold lingers. The body system that is most affected seems to be the part responsible for motivation--going to the gym, running errands, getting out of bed. The part of my brain that stops me from lying on the couch and taking the tater tot cure is withering.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


So despite it not being summer yet, I have a summer cold. And it's the special kind of illness that instead of making you really sick for a day or two, makes you miserable-yet-functional for a week. So I find myself sitting at my desk, feeling wretched, having been oh-so-efficient that I've finished my work for the day, and trying to stealth do other things. Of course, other things are: 1) re-learn 2 old monologues for audition in 3 weeks 2) learn 2 new monologues for an audition I hope is in 4-5 weeks 3) read the Shakespeare play one of the new monologues is attached to 4) finish the stupid first draft of this stupid play I'm supposed to have done for stupid next week. None of these are particularly appealing, but my resistance is strongest when it comes to writing, as always. It's not going well. It never feels like it's going well, but in this case I know I'm going to have to rip out most of what I've written, so why continue? I sort of feel like I should sit on it for a while and figure out what to do. But I made a vow to adhere to this deadline in front of a famous playwright and a room of fellow writers. So I feel kind of obligated, sick or not! What I have has a beginning, middle, and end. It's skeletal, but I think it counts as a first draft. But does it count? Should I be worrying about what other people say "counts" if I'm satisfied?

Monday, May 07, 2012

Value Village Treats

Yesterday, after spending some time searching for the seeds I want to plant (I know I'm a couple of weeks behind schedule, but I'm still hoping the container garden scheme will come to fruition--or is that vegetablition?), I decided to take a trip to Value Village. One of the things I miss about not being on such a tight budget is the ability to go to VV and randomly spend money on random things. I know, it just enables my hoarding tendency, but I am a sucker for vintage kitchenware. And cookbooks. Particulary when I have limited cash resources and should be looking for work pants, cardigans, and nice solid coloured tops I can wear to camera auditions. So it makes sense that I should spend a hard-earned $3 on a Betty Crocker book. Even though I think it's a first edition and not the reissue. And even though it has all those darling and inexplicable drawings, and even more inexplicable food pictures. How can I resist my impulse to know what "Olive Creamed Potatoes" are? Or "Flaming Chicken"? And don't you just want to double-dog-dare me to make the infamous "Sandwich Loaf"?
I am really in love with vintage kitchen stuff, vintage entertaining. So much so that I considered writing a whole blog about it, where of course I would make these recipe experiments, and would make them vegetarian. Or at least make the desserts. Should I do that? I should do that. But it may have to wait until I get a new cell phone (which I know, I know, I will never afford as long as I keep piddling away my money $3 at a time on cookbooks no one needs). It's so disheartening to realize that every single person in the world has a cell phone with a more powerful camera than my crappy camera, which I can't even make phone calls on. Aren't you just dying to know what the green frosting is on the outside of the loaf? Aren't you dying to see pictures of me making and eating said frosting?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Confidence building

I just had a very positive meeting with the 2 facilitators of a playwrights program at a Big Fancy Theatre. It's coming to the end of the 2 years that I've been in the program, and today's discussion was: where does my play go from here? The thing about plays is that they're meant to be produced, to be done, and not just read. That's how you know you have a good play. Well, one way you know, anyway. It looks like with this particular project, independent production is going to be the way to go--getting a production up, getting a decent video of it, and marketing it to festivals, to theatres that may present it, etcetera. A lot of good, hands-on work of the kind that I enjoy doing. And I think the future of Canadian theatre is going to be independently driven. That's the way things seem to be heading. Anyway, I have a lead on a possible space and resources to do this. I'm kind of excited at the idea of having a plan to move things forward. We talked about how I know exactly what has to happen, and it's just a matter of confidence. Confidence, that thing I lack. How exactly do you build confidence? I assume you just have to get out there and make shit happen, and you get some kind of boost from having been able to put something like that together. What's the difference between gaining confidence and looking for validation? Not sure. Perhaps I need a copy of Confidence For Dummies. I don't know if that exists, but the title Self Esteem For Dummies always made me laugh when I saw it in the bookstore. "Hey, Dummy! Feel better about yourself!" Anyone have any hints for confidence for this dummy?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Appropriate or inappropriate?

Those of you who lost sleep over it last night will be pleased to know that I did NOT eat a chocolate bar yesterday. Nor did I eat any of the cookies that I forgot we had at home. And today I have still not eaten a chocolate bar, even though they are still sitting there on the communal treat table. I have an audition at the end of the month. Coincidentally, I'm also learning new monologues, since another place I'm auditioning for has already heard my party pieces last year. But I am in the position where I must ask myself: Is it appropriate to do a monologue about someone deciding to murder their child for a TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) company? In the pro column: It's a pretty kickass monologue. In the cons: Should I really be talking about killing a child in front of a company that does plays for children? You see how these situations can become awkward. Yesterday I saw an ad on the side of a bus and realized it was the print campaign of a tv ad spot that I auditioned for a couple of months ago.... so I guess I didn't get it! No, I wasn't surprised, but I have to say I was glad that I at least didn't recognize the lucky actress who booked it. OK. Off to pretend to work while writing another scene of the play.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm engaged in a battle of wills with a chocolate bar.

I'm trying to eat healthier, y'all. Trying to prevent the diabeetus, drop a few pounds, that kind of thing. And I work in an environment where there is always some kind of treat/snack out for communal consumption. Today's treat: fun-sized Coffee Crisp chocolate bars. This of course follows yesterday's mental statement "I'm going to make it one week without eating crap at work!" Followed hard upon by another mental statement: "I will try to make it 3 days without eating crap at work." Followed by today's rebuttal from the bowl of chocolate bars: "Come ON! We're fun-sized! FUN-SIZED!" Clearly I'm a living embodiment of a Cathy cartoon. I'm also out of my healthy snacks. But I only have to be here for 2 more hours, then heading to the gym, and even though my co-worker has been on a mail run for about four times as long as usual and no one would even see me eat the chocolate bar, I am not going to break. Oh, my play? How's that going? Well, as you can see, I've already written a couple of paragraphs on my blog so far. So I've written something. And I have the script open on my desktop, so it's, you know, open and ready to receive my creative musings and whimsies. The secret is really in getting the writing to coincide with the open document. It's tricky like that.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Customer service would be great if it weren't for all the customers...

That pretty much sums it up. I'm feeling a bit burnt out by the entitlement, the yelling, the unreasonableness, the fact that people are going this mental over TICKETS. For concerts! It's not like I purposely destroyed your last vial of insulin, people! I also woke up this morning to a blanket of snow. For reals. It's really being a bit of an ugh day. When it seemed like the weather might actually be appropriate for the season, I was thinking about trying my hand at container gardening. For vegetables. Historically, I've never been someone who was into gardening. The bugs, the sun, the outdoorsiness of it... these are not things I am great with. But I do love eating stuff fresh from the garden. I remember my grandparents' garden (my grandfather was a farmer in the old country, but his family had to sell the land due to the dastardly acts of a distant cousin named Hannibal--I know, right?) was always amazing. My mom gardened for a while as well, until she realized that the railway ties she'd been using for her raised bed gardens were probably surreptitiously poisoning us. So I'm thinking that I'll try a couple of plants--just basics. I'm thinking cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and maybe some lettuce. Oh, and perhaps some hot peppers, just because. But that's it. I'm sure I can handle 4 pots of plants, right? I do have a history of getting overly ambitious with projects like this. Today: I am going to write something on my play, dammit. I hate when people complain that writing is HARRRRRDDDD and consider that their writing time. But writing is HARRRRRRDDDDD, y'all! I am also going to brave the snow/rain/sleet/plague of frogs to see a play tonight. Hopefully that will be the last time I have to wear my winter boots this year!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


So I'm gradually chipping away at that 3-month plan I keep vaguely mentioning. I think I've found a fantastic new monologue that is slightly terrifying to start approaching... it's both Canadian and contemporary, which kills two birds with one stone for many audition requirements. And I'm narrowing it down in new Shakespeare land. Now I need to find a song. I have some ideas. But. My voice teacher, who's one of those fantastic songbirds who was just always encouraged to sing, always enjoyed singing, and is just plain megatalented asked me "why do you think singing is so nervewracking to so many people". And I said "Because if I'm getting up there and singing for someone, I'm implying that I think I'm good." I suppose it's the same for anything you agree to get up and do in front of people--from a job interview to a whistling contest to being an auctioneer.... you are in some way saying "Yeah, I can do this" just from the sheer act of saying "Let me show you this". It's audition season. I've pledged to submit to as many things as I can and see who will take me. I'm also going to start writing a play. I've decided to startle myself into doing it. Essentially, when I was at the Big Important Writing Workshop in the Mountains a couple of months ago, I was given an assignment to have a first draft done by May 15. At which point I am to email the Big Important Writer and let him know whether or not I did it. This has been hanging over my head since the beginning of March, and while I've been noodling about with it, I haven't really sat down to tackle it in a major way. But I've resolved. I've come up with a kooky idea. And I will be bold and possible bad. I will potentially suck at writing this. This could be a HUGE MESS, folks. But I have to start writing it this week. Coincidentally, my boss, who sits in a position directly behind me where she can see my screen, is going on a 2-week vacation tomorrow. Could it be the universe giving me the green light?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Perhaps I should have been a plumber...

For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is our success with DIY fixing the toilet last weekend. Plus, I think that plumbers make crazy amounts of money! And some of them start ghost hunting services in their free time! AND our shower is now broken. I have a feeling that the expiration date on our house may be fast approaching--everything seems to be falling apart. Take last night, when I went to take a shower, pulled up the little knob, and it wouldn't pull. And wouldn't pull. And I asked my husband to give it a try, and the little knob pulled off right in his hand. Oops. Internet research tells us that this may be a cheap, relatively easy fix, but we have to take the faucet off. And since we have one of those weird hand-held shower things, I'm not sure if we have to replace the whole thing, or can just do parts, and do they still have parts from eleventy-billion years ago when the house was built? I think we may need to call an expert in on this one. A professional, expensive expert. So there's that. Then this morning I had a dentist appointment, got to work late, then got in shit from a client for something they think is my mistake, but the error was really in their assumption. Well, and possibly my mistake, a little. I did things the normal way, not realizing that for several years said client has been a special snowflake and has come to consider that the norm. In any case, it will be fixed, but it hasn't been a great start to my day. I think I have a case of the Mondays, amirite people? How has your week started off?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Everything's coming up Milhouse!

Well, at least in the home appliance department--I've just found out that we are getting a BRAND NEW washer this Saturday! Our old washer died a gruesome death about a month ago, after J tried to wash an ill-advisedly large load. This means that we will finally be able to have CLEAN CLOTHES again (apologies to my ancestors, but my hand-washing skills are decidedly not up to par), rather than wandering the earth looking for quarters for the laundromat, or kindly friends who have in-suite laundry themselves.

Of course, the price of clean clothes means that we will have to clean the basement before the blessed machine's arrival, or suffer the judgement of the delivery men. Also the judgement of our landlady's son, which we will never stop hearing about. It's quite amazing that an area of the house we never use can become so hoard-y so quickly. It's not quite so fun to clean, as I am always hypervigilant to the possibility of spiders/other random creepy crawlies.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Winter is here again?

That is one of the downsides of living in ye olde prairies--apart from the urge to vote even more conservatively when people think the government needs changing, there is the changeable weather. While I read on facebook that my friends across the country are enjoying unseasonably warm weather, I often come home and think "the snow has FINALLY melted" and wake up the next morning to find my lawn has been blanketed anew. No snow in the forecast today, but it's just above the freezing mark. I don't know how to dress in the morning. It's tragic, I know. Since I haven't had the chance or the finance to hit up Valoo Village for some spring/summer work clothes that fit, it's probably just as well that the cooler weather hangs out a little longer.

Some updates: J's mom is extremely ill, and he will likely be reducing his work hours to spend more time with his family, as the situation is... not good. This means that I'll more than likely need to take up the financial slack, as we're on quite a tight budget already. My contract gig says they'll be coming through with a new offer/contract sometime today, but of course that's no guarantee of what kind of work will be available, or how much. I've kind of slacked off on the shitty part-time job search, but I may have to step up my efforts, depending on what my new contract looks like. We are gradually chipping away at our debt, and I would surely like to keep at it.

Waiting to read a script for the show I'm doing this summer--I've worked with the playwright before, so it should be good fun, and a sweet little paycheck in September.

My efforts to include other creative work besides writing/singing/acting in my life include making a pile of new recipes this week. Yes, it's Jamaican Week at our house, which goes so nicely with the weather. I've also returned to my poor half-finished sock I started many months ago--I am boring and prefer to make plain socks, but I decided to branch out into a more challenging pattern. I can't say I'm a fan. I like to watch tv while I knit, without the distraction of remembering how many repeats I've done, or if this is the double increase or does this look wonky because I did the pattern for round 4 when I should have done round 7?

I know, there's just no satisfying me.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I can't stand the rain...

Mostly because our basement is in grave danger of flooding--there is a leak in our old house, and every spring we are faced with a depressing couple of days of shop-vac-ing out water for hours at a time.

In other watery news, we are going to attempt to fix our toilet today. Nothing like a little diy plumbing to start off the weekend! I am confident in our combined mechanical abilities, as well as the helping powers of the internet. I can't imagine how people must have screwed up their home repairs without the internet. Of course, the internet basically says it's dead easy to do this kind of stuff yourself, so perhaps it has resulted in more disasters overall.

In exciting news, I just got asked to do a show this summer! And as much as I am trying NOT to focus on outside validation, I must confess, it is awfully nice to be validated. It sounds like a funny script, and the folks involved are good eggs all around. This is a classic example of how you say one thing ("No one is EVER going to call me for anything!") and the universe thwarts you two days later by doing just that.

Thanks, universe!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Small bits of progress

I am still feeling like le poop, but am working to keep on keeping on. I've started trying to figure out some new monologues, Shakespeare being my current challenge. It seems like the majority of Shakespeare's women are either 18 or 60, which is a bit problematic for those of us in between. And, of course, you want to avoid the ones that get done a lot, or the ones from the play that has recently been done by the theatre in question. I do think that if you truly kick ass at a piece, you shouldn't worry about it being overdone, but it's nice to have something a little more rare, all the same.

I'm leaning toward some of the goodies in Henry VI, Part 3, which I have never read. And I should probably read parts 1 and 2 as well. I am a little overwhelmed by the complexity of the history, but I guess I'll just have to get over that.

Last night I actually did some mending. Even though we're horribly poor at the moment, there's just no reason for us to look like hobos (or hobettes, or whatever the female version of a hobo might be). Just a Werner Herzog documentary on Netflix, tacos, and mending. Ah, this frugal life.

I've also started applying for that second job I've so been looking forward to. On one hand, it will be so great to have a little money left over at the end of the month. On the other hand, I'm feeling a bit ugh about the prospect of leaving my current job at the end of the day to go pour coffee or check out groceries or whatever I end up doing.

I still have that play to write. And baking to do. And all the other ands on my list of stuff to do in the next three months.

But my taxes are done! Praise be to the gods for House Hunters International marathons for giving me the boost to get all those receipts sorted. Every year, I vow to change my receipt-storing habits, and every year I find myself sorting through various pieces of paper.

And how is your Wednesday?

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

I'm having a real "Hulk Smash" kind of day...

Which has improved by the news that I have won a free bottle of salad dressing from Safeway! Apparently, that's the reward I get for finally dumping the accumulated receipts from my wallet. For this year, mind you. I have been putting off dealing with last year's receipts, which may or may not be in a huge pile in my office.

My day job is turning into quite a toxic environment, which is not news, but sometimes it is either more toxic or my tolerance is lower, or both. I have four hours left today, not that I'm counting.

I am off to a bit of a slow start with the 3 month plan, but I am not giving up! I am currently looking for a new Shakespeare monologue, as well as new contemporary monologues. And a couple of good songs to add to my book. This month's extracurricular creative activity is "Bake Something". I have my eye on the mustache cookie cutters I got for Christmas--I think some chocolate roll-out mustaches may be in my future soon.

In mentally-interesting news, I have already switched medications once, and the new one is better but gives me crazy, intense, epic dreams. Like, multi-layered, multi-part dreams that seem to span years in dreamtime and leave me feeling a bit exhausted when I wake up. Also, one of the side effects is weight gain--not from metabolism, but from the appetite increase... which I am starting to feel the effects of today.

In writing news, a fellow from Germany requested to read one of my scripts this weekend. I'm preparing to be rejected on the continent as well as in the colonies.

And in achievement news, I can now do 30 girlie pushups!

How is your day going?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Third time's the... charm?

In a truly shocking turn of events, I had a third audition this week--yes, three auditions in a month's time! I really didn't want to go, because I was full of self-doubt and such, but I'm trying to get better about saying "yes" to things, and not letting that fear/doubt/angst control my decisions. So I went, and of course they were running almost an hour behind, and there were all kinds of skinny blonde types there, but it ended up being a really great experience.

For one thing, I had one of those moments of realization--I knew a few people who were also auditioning (for a tv pilot being produced locally), and chatting with them I realized that I always assume people will think I don't belong there, acting-wise, I mean.

"What is she doing here? Who does she think she is? Does she actually think she deserves to be here?"

Because obviously I'm not only psychic, but everyone is thinking about me ALL the time, right? Anyhoo, I realized "Hey, these people aren't questioning whether I can act/should be here/whatever negative thing I impose on them. They accept that I am here because... I'm here."

So... I spend all this time worrying about not being validated by others, when in reality the person who isn't validating me is--me.


But I digress. Not only was I having all these staggering personal revelations, but I actually did a really kick-ass audition. I mean, I totally killed it. I made them laugh, I did great with redirects. I heard the director comment "Excellent" on my way out of the room. I was so glad I went.

Even though I didn't book it, I did an awesome job. And it was FUN, which is something I can't always say about auditions. It was fun because I totally forgot about trying to impress anyone (I'm not really suitable age or physical type wise for what I think they're looking for) and just acted.

In other news: I have a three-month plan. Of things I can do to work on craft, vocal technique, writing, this whole creative life thing. Small steps, totally doable, totally changeable if I wish.

Annnnnnd it is looking like I can no longer avoid getting a second job. Freelance gig is not coming through as they promised, and things are getting a little strapped all up in here. Will it be retail? Food service? Toilet cleaning?

Who can say?

Friday, March 16, 2012

400 Posts!

Friends, Romans, countrymen... I have not forsaken you. I suppose I wanted to save post #400 for something special, then realized I might be waiting a long, long time. Since my last post, I have had a couple of auditions--one somewhat disastrous, and one quite good--both directors went with someone else, though. I got rejected from a big fancy playwriting retreat in the mountains, and am still waiting to hear back from several places about a couple of plays. My freelance editing gig has left me somewhat in limbo. I have done countless medical improvs where I pretended to be a sick person for the benefit of medical students.

I have to admit, I could really use a "yes" right now. I am feeling a bit beaten down at the moment. I admit that I have had fleeting (and not so fleeting) thoughts about quitting. I have a feeling that these are just escapist fantasies--the idea of running off and doing something totally different and starting over is vaguely appealing. I think these are just fleeting thoughts and fantasies, though. Really, I have just been feeling like le poop for a couple of months, so much so that I have elected once more to seek chemical assistance for it from my new MD. Life has been a little rough on all fronts--money, sick family members, toxic day job environment. It's fairly easy to get buried in all that, not to mention my usual struggles of being soincrediblyjealous of others (a habit I am trying hard to break).

HOWEVER, I read a great post on another artist's blog today, about the benfits of being grateful. Yes, it sounds quite Oprah-ish, but the post was about how being grateful for what you have is sometimes the best way to get to where you want to be. And I do have a lot to be grateful for.

So, no exciting news after the first 400 posts, folks--I will just keep on keeping on for the next 400. I would like to post a bit more about creative stuff over the next 400, maybe about creative process (because who doesn't like to hear artists wax eloquent about their creative process?), but I promise not to be wanky about it. Or maybe I'll post some not-related-to-theatre creativity, like knitting and sewing and baking.

I need a bit of a fresh perspective, I think. Just in time for the change of season.

Be well, friends and neighbours!

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I am back from my workshop--suffice it to say, it was a very intense time. There is something about Banff that really seems to amplify whatever is going on creatively and emotionally. I know I'm not the only person who's experienced that. I don't know if I came away with a new play I'm excited about, which was a little disappointing. But I think I got something more valuable--I was forced to confront some of my feelings about my need for validation, about giving away my power, about how I need to make my own place. A whole bunch of stuff. Plus I met a really terrific and talented group of people who are supportive and excited about each other's projects.

I think I'm in a better place about my feelings of failure/non-achievement. I think I may even be in a better place about figuring out how to move forward and get some stuff done.

A good place to start--I have a commercial audition tomorrow. It involves playing a mom, so I have a feeling a lot of the casting will be determined by how much I may look like the kid they end up casting.

Glad to be back and moving forward.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I made it!

After a long day of travel, I am here.
I had to wait for my room to be ready. But when it was, I found out I am in the same room as when I was here a year and a half ago.
It's a strangely comforting coincidence.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I was going to think of something clever and self-deprecating to write, but then I couldn't. But happy pancakes,everyone!

Today I am working till 1pm, then I have a voice coaching, then some errands, then seeing a show, then packing, then going to bed so I can head off to my class in the mountains tomorrow.

I am nervous. Nervous to the point where part of my brain thinks "Gosh, I kind of wish I didn't have to do this", which is ridiculous, and not at all indicative of what I really want. Just the nerves talking. So I am excited and nervous.

I realize sometimes how much I crave validation, which is an ugly thing to realize about yourself. And creative work that comes from a validation-seeking place just isn't...grounded? Authentic? I don't know, it just isn't truthful somehow. I suppose realizing ugly things about yourself is the first step towards changing those things.

But still.

Also, I am only going away for 5 days. Also, the class is only 3 days long. Also, contrary to what my anxiety tells me, I am in fact talented, deserving, and likeable. And adventurous, even though I think I'm not.

How do you get to the point where you don't have to consciously remind yourself of those things? Or do you have to keep reminding yourself until it becomes autmatic and you don't think about it as reminders at all?

Anyhoo, here's to new adventures!
And mountains!
And pancakes!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ce soir...

I had a franglais conversation (that's a mixture of French and English) with a real live francophone tonight... he was a playwright whose reading I was at, and we got to chatting about theatre and Montreal, and we were just switching back and forth. Usually I am too self-conscious about my French to use it with a native speaker--I'm so aware that I'm probably making silly mistakes, or that it's so much more of an effort to THINK of the words I want to use. But why not go for it? What did I do all those years of French immersion for if not to speak the language?

Actually, I was pretty pleased with myself for being socially... well, socially competent tonight. Usually I'm content just to nod and smile and listen to everyone else, but tonight I actually made the effort to not just give in to shyness.

This is great, because I have been feeling a bit defeated by life this week... some crap happened that has changed our financial situation a bit, and it was just one of those times when all the little things sort of piled up to make life much more difficult. I need to get into a better frame of mind before next week's workshop.

Onward and upward!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Why have I never realized....

That I can just wear Spanx? Seriously, I saw both my actors putting them on the other night. And they are people with lovely shapes who just wanted to smooth things out a little bit.

Although in my case, it might be the off-brand, cheap version until I can save up to purchase actual Spanx, which I think are pricy.

None of this nonsense of layering several pairs of Spanx, though. I call shenanigans on that. That sounds (a)uncomfortable to the extreme, and (b) like it would put me at risk for some kind of flesh explosion somewhere. I don't want to spend my time on constant alert for that quiet tearing sound that results in bulge-mageddon.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The reading and other updates

So I had my play reading, which went really well--out of the 80 people invited, roughly 20 showed up, which, sadly, is a pretty standard turnout. Based on responses, I do think emailing people or contacting them personally on Facebook was the way to go--a lot of folks were in rehearsal/otherwise engaged, but they seemed to appreciate the fact that I'd thought of them. There were a couple of people who emailed me to say they'd for sure for sure be there and they were so jazzed about it who didn't show up, which is... well, what it is. The workshop itself was pretty intense (I've discovered that people enjoy discussing the issues presented in the play, to the point where they really want to make things more complicated than neccessary. Maybe that needs to be clearer writing on my part, maybe it just means some additional notes up front. I haven't decided.)

I got a mysterious email from a certain Artistic Director, with whom I had Some Very Big Drama a while back. Apparently he's still interested in my plays, and while I do not wish for him to direct my plays, I did float the idea by of a co-pro with a different director. We'll see if that goes anywhere.

Yesterday I found out that my awesome, amazing doctor is giving up her family practice and I have to find a new doctor... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Although Canadian healthcare isn't the dying-in-the-waiting-room-over-four-days mess that certain media outlets and anti-socialized-medicine types would have it seem to be, where I live, it's hard to find a family doctor accepting new patients. So there's that. My doctor did suggest someone in her same clinic, so I guess I will go meet him and see how it goes.

Also in doctor news, I am STILL GAINING WEIGHT. Seriously, on 1200-1400 calories a day and workouts 4-5 times a week. WTF? So off to the thyroid test I go once more. I think it was approaching borderline last time, so I am almost hoping that it has nudged over the edge. I mean, not that I want to have a thyroid condition, but at this point it would be almost relieving to know that there was SOMETHING going on and I wasn't just some metabolic weirdo.

I am contemplating doing a giving-up-sugar thing for a month or so to see if that helps. This will be very hard, because I loves me my sugar.

Annnd I think that's it. It was rough coming back to my regular job after time away doing the thing I actually want to do. I suppose I should take it as a reminder of where I should be aiming to be, and all that.

Oh, and my agent never did respond, if anyone's keeping track. I think it's time to make a move on that front.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Got In!

To one of the workshops I was applying to--a totally amazing opportunity to learn about performance creation from an amazing artist. In the gorgeous, fabulous mountains. In one month!

I'm so thrilled! I'm a little bit eeeeek about how I'm going to pay for it, but it's going to be so worth it. I just got paid for some of my gigs, which can go toward it, and then I will have to installment-plan myself to pay it off without running up a ton of debt.

I also spent last night sending personal facebook messages/a nicely worded group email to invite folks to my play reading--and I have actually been getting responses. I think some people may actually show up!

2012, you are MINE!

Monday, January 23, 2012

In summary...

There is nothing worse than writing summaries of your own play. Nothing.

I either have to get better at summarizing, or start writing plays that are more easily summarized.

I am writing an email to invite people to a reading of one of my plays next Monday. As a dear friend pointed out, it's important to promote your work, because no one else is going to do it for you. So although I feel a bit "Really? Me?" about sending out such emails, I am trying to just sound like a normal human who happens to be a professional theatre artist, and whose work you would naturally want to see and take seriously. I decided against a Facebook event, because I kind of feel like no one takes them terribly seriously, and an email at least suggests that I am personally inviting YOU to come, rather than just clicking the names of everyone I know.

Who would have thought email would be a more old-fashioned way to invite people to things?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It is -30C, but feels like -44C with the windchill. Today my hair froze to my eyelashes, which also froze a little bit to the top of my scarf, and when I got on the bus all the little ice crystals abruptly melted, causing my eye makeup to dissolve and run down my face.

It's that kind of day. But I finished and submitted all that editing work, despite technical problems, and I don't have any more shows to see until Sunday. I am looking forward to going to the gym and then going HOME. Where I will unashamedly relax in my leopard-print Snuggie.

There has been no response from my agent. But I did read a terrific blog post that reminded me there are many things I can do to get creative. I'm looking for new monologues to work on... not because I have any auditions scheduled, just--well, just because. I mean, yes I will be ready when audition season rolls around, but I think I sort of forgot that you can work on things just to work on them, without having a reason. Just to practice your craft, to explore, and to get better.

And yes, I feel like a bit of an idiot for having lost sight of that. I get so focused on having something lined up, some specific goal to work toward, so focused on what everyone else is doing/achieving that I forgot it's ok (and neccessary) just to work on craft. Because I love it, because I need practice, because it will make me ready when the time comes.

I wish there were more opportunities to do real scene-study class here. For now, I'm going to organize my own personal class.

I hope your day is going warmly!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Am I expecting too much here?

Last week I sent a "What's up/Here's what I've been doing" email to my agent, since I realized we hadn't actually chatted in a while. I haven't heard back yet. I realize that she has other stuff going on/other clients, but am I wrong in expecting at least a brief reply within a couple of days?

I have been putting off getting a new agent because (a) I have really been focused more on writing stuff than acting stuff lately, (b) There isn't a ton of choice as far as agents go where I am, and (c) I totally dread any kind of confrontation.

Though it is beginning to seem like I should just SUCK IT UP and start shopping for agents.

In other news, I am a little overscheduled with editing work, which is due much sooner than I think I can actually get it done. I spent the weekend either working at my day job or working at my freelance job, and I can't wait until I have a weekend where I have no scheduled commitments. That doesn't look like it will be happening any time soon, though.

What is with this compulsion to always be doing something useful? Why do I feel guilty if I have free time?

On that note, I did just pick up some craft books from the library with some adorable projects in them. I'm thinking something small will be a good foray back into sewing.

Back to work!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Happy New Year!

Is everyone still happy about the new year? I myself have a little bit of a combination of "I miss Christmas" and "for the love of God, stop blasting Christmas music in the mall".

I decided to get my resolutions rocking a little bit early and got my hair chopped off (with bangs!) on New Year's Eve Eve (known to the rest of the world as December 30), and to donate blood on the 31st. Which was a bit of a gong show, the blood I mean, not the hair, which is cute.

I had tried to donate once before, but it was very anticlimactic, since they tried to get a vein twice, missed both times, and then said it still counted, so come back in 56 days. Which I didn't, I let it go for about a year and decided to try again, full of fluids and eagerness to give my blood to the blood needy.

It was all going quite well--I don't really like needles (but who does?), but I'm not squeamish about medical stuff/blood. In fact, I find it all quite fascinating. I was chatting with the nurse, who had told me to mention if I felt unwell, when it sudden occurred to me that I was feeling quite unwell--sort of dizzy and nauseous. And I casually mentioned it, and it suddenly became Trauma Centre or something--she immediately yelled "Can I get some help here?" and there were literally 4 people on me, tilting my chair back, putting ice packs on the back of my neck, compresses on my forehead, and sliding a garbage bag in front of me in case I needed to throw up. It was all quite surprising and a little intense, which one of the ice-pack people assured me "it's perfectly normal to feel emotional when this happens", which was good because I felt very emotional. And a little embarrassed, just because.

But they did tell me that my blood would be used, and that it sometimes happens to people when they give blood, but it didn't mean I would feel like that every time and please come back at the end of February and give more. Which I am thinking about. Perhaps the third time is the charm?

Anyway, I am working hard to be positive and get stuff done this year, and I'm looking forward to voice lessons starting again next week.

How is 2012 treating you?