I’ve Missed You

So. What have I missed?

The Turn of the Screw – this show has been fantastically intense and challenging. Terrifying, because I’ve never had a lead role, because I’ve been out of it for a decade, because the line load is ridiculous and this play – this character – goes to some dark, uncomfortable places.

The director is amazing and so much fun to work with, but this is a show he’s wanted to direct for years. So extra pressure there to do well.

Then last Friday, we opened. And it was awesome.

Something else I managed to accomplish in the non-stop rehearsals leading to a crazy performance weekend?

I finished the Damn Novel draft.

Now I just have to type the damned thing. This is when I start bitching and swearing. Not that I wasn’t already doing that, but at this stage, I have no patience for my own process. But composing on a screen just doesn’t work for me.

Oh, well.

For the rest of this week, I plan to type like a madwoman, survive our second and final weekend of shows, and somehow pack for next week’s adventure to DC and World Fantasy 2014.

No idea what I’ll do after that, when life goes back to “normal.” Thankfully, I’m too busy to think about that.

Release Day: What Follows

So today is the release day for an awesome anthology, made more awesome by the fact that is has a story of mine.

What Follows

Check out the Goodreads page with links to your favorite digital formats/retailers. (And I’ve heard a rumor there might be a print-on-demand option coming.)

All to ask the burning question: how would immortals face the end times?

 

Selfish

I have been incredibly selfish lately, and it’s only going to get worse until the show’s over. I haven’t made the time to spend with family that I really ought to and I avoid committing to plans so I won’t feel too guilty when I flake at the last minute.

The Flighty Artist is about to make a comeback, too. Sorry.

A little selfishness is a healthy thing. I am a believer of the idea that emotions are contagious, and that whatever you put out in the world is what you get back. And if you’re constantly running around to make everyone else happy, leaving yourself for an afterthought, that doesn’t leave you with a whole lot of joy to spread.

At least, that’s been my experience.

I don’t have the time I used to, to spend with friends and family, even without getting involved in theater again. I miss it. And being so busy makes for crazy times. For sheer mental health, I need breaks – quiet time to myself. Which means that, with Turn of the Screw gearing up, my life involves the day job, theater, and writing. The end.

It feels incredibly selfish, but everything else – mainly family and friends, anything resembling a social life – will have to wait until November.

And guilt won’t stop me from enjoying the hell out of it. Lately, I’ve been handed some amazing opportunities that aren’t likely to come knocking twice. I’d regret not doing and following through on them a whole lot more.

I Can’t, I Can

“I can’t” were words I used to say a lot. Don’t know where I picked up those always-erroneous ideas. I was that gullible child who believed my parents when they said I could do anything I wanted, and fortunate enough that life has never really proved that wrong.

I just auditioned for the role of the unnamed governess in Turn of the Screw. The stage adaptation calls for only two actors, which seems mostly to be (I haven’t read it yet) monologues by the governess, interspersed with short scenes. It’s dark and complex, psychological horror more than the gothic ghost story it parades as.

Part of the audition process involved a cold read of a short monologue packed with different emotional beats: panic, anger, fear, determination, and maybe a few more. I have taken to calling it the Damn Monologue.

I read it. I sucked. The director gave me some direction. I read it again. I sucked less. By the end, I was (mostly) happy that I’d done my best with it.

And it hit me, as I was driving home, that never once did that little voice in the back of my head say, “I can’t.” Those words did not cross my mind at any point in struggling with that Damn Monologue.

How that voice shut off is a mystery. In high school days – and even through college – it was never far away.

I’ve done precious little with theater since high school, until this summer, so why am I back in it? Why do I love it?

Like the deeper ‘why’ of most of my actions, it’s to prove that I can and help me find what I can do – what my limits are. I want to find my limits, and in finding them, break them.

I played capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art/dance) for two years. It was intense and the culture was fascinating. I loved it. Capoeira taught me where my physical limitations are, and taught me that those can be pushed and stretched. What I think are my limits can be broken over and over.

With theater, with acting, I am testing another part of me. How well can I tell a story through someone else’s words? How well can I create this illusion with my voice, and face, and body language?

And, really, I just want to know how good I can be. Even with a ten year break, I am better now than I was then. The proof is in the fact that I stumbled through that monologue without thinking even one “can’t.”

I got the role, by the way. It’s more than a little terrifying.

To Do Lists And Crazy Goals

Things to do before next weekend:

  • Reread Turn of the Screw to prepare for auditions
  • Freak out (in a good way!) because a really awesome amazing person is coming to visit
  • Clean like a madwoman because said awesome amazing person is coming to visit and my house is not currently fit for company
  • Sign up to participate in a 24-hour playwriting festival – something I’ve wanted to do for years
  • Write a novel

Editing

All right, that last one is a little extreme. I do not intend to write a novel in a week. (I wish I could!) I’d known finishing the novel by July would be impractical, but I hoped for it, anyway. When that didn’t happen and I decided I would audition for this next show (Turn of the Screw), my new “finish” goal was audition weekend. Next weekend, in fact.

Because two chapters a week could be doable, right?

They weren’t. I did just write a chapter in three days, but that was shorter than most. And this novel has a minimum of seven chapters left to go. Ugh.

I don’t know how to go easy on myself. I keep proving this over and over. But, hey, at least I have fun. ;)

Wish me luck! I’ll need it . . .

Happy September

Labor Day means two fantastic things: an extra day in the weekend and an end to Tourist Season. (Not that all the tourists will be gone, just that it will be a little less of a circus getting where I need to go.)

If traffic is any indication, this might be the best summer we’ve had around here since before the economy went to hell in 2008. That means great things for the area, but a lot of frustration when you live and work here. Our roads and traffic patterns are not designed to handle the seasonal population boom.

Schools are starting again. My youngest niece is off to her first year of college (or university, for anyone outside the US). In two weeks, I’ll be auditioning for another show, and I have so much writing to do before then!

Though still technically summer for a few more weeks, it feels like it’s already over. Can anyone tell me where it went???

Festival Season

In the short times I visited and lived in Japan, one of my favorite things was the festival culture. Like the way even the tiniest of villages has something it’s famous for, every place has its festivals.

(I’m serious. It’s really strange to come from a tiny town on the coast of Maine and suddenly have people asking me what it’s famous for. Uh, nothing?)

White Snake Festival

The White Snake Festival

My then-fiance-now-husband and I stumbled on a White Snake festival on a lake in Hokkaido. At the time, we had no idea what was said or the history behind it, but there was music and dancing and lanterns floated on an inky lake with their flickering votives looking like fallen stars across the water.

Bon-Odori

I was so serious and those hats were so crazy . . .

Another time, we got to wear ridiculous hats and dance in the Bon-Odori . . .

Can you tell I really like this sort of thing?

Fairs and carnivals are about the closest we get. (This is likely also one major reason I enjoy Renaissance Faires.) I’ve always loved them, and summer has always been their time. Now that my day job allows me weekends off, I might even make it back to the Commonground Fair later this year.

But perhaps my favorite event of the summer is this weekend: the American Folk Festival on the Bangor waterfront. And this year, they’re featuring a capoeira group for (I believe) the first time. I only played for two years, and that was about seven years ago, but that doesn’t make me any less psyched about this.