This week’s distractions:

  • Signing up for a master class in acting, put on by a local professional theater company.
  • Working on my Halloween costume, which requires sewing lessons with my grandmother.
  • The program (tentative) for the World Fantasy Convention next month. This year’s focus is on epic fantasy, which is much more my flavor than last year’s military fantasy.
  • Deciding to join NaNoWriMo.

I haven’t attempted a proper NaNo in . . . years. A few months ago, I would have told you that I’m not doing it and never will again.

National Novel Writing Month: when the month of November becomes all about producing a 50,000 word manuscript. I swore I’d never do it again. I should know better.

My goal is not the word count; it’s to break the procrastination habits that have become so bad. And if I manage to hit 50,000 words while I’m at it, that would be awesome, too.

New Play Festival

In addition to the overflow of ideas in September, some bizarre part of me thought it would be an excellent idea to sign up for the 24 Hour New Play Festival.

As a writer.

This is how it works: a group of awesomely insane people get together on a Friday night and split into teams of writer/director/actors. We had a few hours of ice breakers and improv games – teams getting to know each other and writers desperately scrambling for ideas. (Or maybe that was just me.) A professional playwright came out to workshop ideas with the writers.

I got home at 10:30pm – after getting up at 5am for a long day of work – made myself some caffeine, and sat down to write a play. 1:30am I stumbled into bed, to get up less than five hours later and read it over before emailing it by our deadline.

It was still a rough draft when I sent it out.

After that, the directors took over, with some input from the writers. The shows went onstage before an audience at 7pm.

My group was amazing. And, hey, it was recorded, so you should totally go watch them be wonderful.

New Project(s)

Happy October! How did that happen?

Life since August . . .

Well the rest of August – post-Dracula, that is – became a casualty of burnout. But September? Oh, September.

Four shiny new novels have been dancing through my head. Yes, FOUR. Plus a few older ideas reminding me of their particular ass kicking skills.

To quiet the noise, I’m letting my brain work on two, maybe three, novels at once. Except my brain apparently can’t handle choices and decisions so it settle back on the novel I’ve been working on all along this summer.

Most of my new ideas have come from dreams. It’s been . . . a long while since I had proper story-dreams. I’m wondering if it’s a time of year or supermoon thing, since they started right after the new moon and stopped right before the full moon.

You know what that means?

Research project!

Because I record (and date) the interesting dreams, I want to go back and see if I can find any sort of pattern. This could be fun.

Dear A$$hat: My Water Gets More Action Than You

Dear Asshat,

There are debatably few scenarios in which, “Suck my dick,” is an acceptable thing to say. None of those involve shouting out the window of a moving truck at a woman you don’t know.

Freedom of speech ensures that you can share your frustrations to the world, but I might recommend against broadcasting the fact that my water bottle gets more action than you. I have happily lived my life without knowing that. In such cases, ignorance is bliss.

But I couldn’t care less about your water bottle fetish jealousy.

You, sir, have pissed me off. I was really happy to have found a decent water bottle to replace the one broken one. Yet now I am self-conscious about DRINKING WATER. How ridiculous is that?

It pisses me off that I’m constantly wondering if I will have to deal with another immature asshat choosing to foist his insecurities off on me. It pisses me off that I have wasted this much time and thought on your harassment.

And it’s not smart to piss off a writer.

The Devil’s Puppet Show

Oh, Internet. I have so much to tell you! Potential theatre-related opportunities are cropping up in the strangest (and best) of places. They may amount to nothing, but just the experience of trying will be priceless.

Dracula has been insanely popular. Even our “slow” nights draw decently sized audiences. An iconic story like Dracula performed in a haunted mid-nineteenth century stone fort? Yes. Just, yes.

(It also helps that we’ve had some rather fantastic reviews.)

I can’t quite believe we only have two more performances.

Something I find hilarious: we’ve been nicknamed the Devil’s Puppet Show. And that’s meant seriously. Apparently, by folks who don’t know the story. It makes me laugh. A lot.

My Massachusetts-based sister drove up to surprise me at last night’s show. I figured it out ahead of time because neither she nor our grandmother can lie or misdirect to save her life. Not to me, anyway. When Gram wouldn’t say whom she was meeting at the show, I had a suspicion. When I mentioned the mystery to my sister, she did a lovely brick wall impression. As she does when she doesn’t know what to say or do.

There are some drawbacks to reading people well, but that didn’t diminish how awesome it was to see her when we got to the fort.

And after the show, hanging out with some of the cast, I ended up voluntold into a karaoke rendition of Cell Block Tango. Even Dracula sang karaoke. It was amazing.

How have you been?

Why I Haven’t Posted

Confidence. Once upon a time, I had none.

High school theatre helped. It gave me the courage to explore, to try on different personas until I found a combination that fit right. College for me was more about the people and the experience than the academics. Funny, since I went so deeply in debt for it.

But much as I loved theatre in high school, I didn’t pursue it after. I knew the limits of my talent: I was dedicated, but mediocre. I wasn’t confident enough in myself to get out of my own head.

I auditioned for a couple shows in college and was cut each time. I would stare at the theatre class descriptions in the course catalog, but only signed up for one in my senior year.


Only a few years ago did I start auditioning for community theatre productions. And I was cut. A lot.

I managed to get a part as Cecily in a staged reading of the Importance of Being Ernest. Not many auditioned. That was in 2011.

Then last summer, I got an ensemble role in Julius Caesar. A few months later, I ended up in what might be the most challenging role I will ever play as the governess in Turn of the Screw: a two-person show with a scant month to learn all my lines. For 90 minutes, I never left the stage. It was dark, and intense, and wonderful. I still can’t quite believe I did it.

After that? I auditioned for another show. And got cut. (There’s a metaphor for writer rejection somewhere in here.) I was ecstatic to make the ensemble for Dracula.

Then about a month into rehearsals and a month before opening night, I got a call from the director. One of the actresses had to drop out for personal reasons, and would I be willing to play Mina?

I have been buzzing. This cast is amazing and awesomely talented, and I can’t quite believe that I have this opportunity.

Even if opening night is only two and a half weeks away.

And that is why I haven’t posted lately.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day . . . brings a whole mess of feelings. This weekend turns me into a bit of a wreck.

This weekend five years ago, I’d just lost my dad. And maybe I’d have better associations with the day if those two events hadn’t come so close together.

I hate the ads. There should be a way to filter them out. Which probably already exists and I just haven’t discovered it yet. Whenever there are store displays, I hurry by. They’re hard to look at directly – not just because the rampant capitalism and commodification is beyond ludicrous.

But my dislike of the day shouldn’t color anyone else’s experience. I have an amazing father-in-law and a pretty great stepfather. They deserve the special recognition of Father’s Day.

I love them.

But I still hate this day.

Maybe in another five years we’ll be on speaking terms. I can hope.