Seasons cling in Maine. My corner of Maine, anyway. They’re slow to change. They can be subtle and take their time coming in and are often reluctant to go out.
Twice a year I forget which season we’ve left, which we’re in, and which we’re changing into. They come in the spring and fall while the branches have no leaves and weather and temperature change fast enough to cause whiplash.
Maine seasons are stubborn and deliberate. You don’t wake up one spring morning and find everything has suddenly blossomed in the night. (Unless of course you have opened your eyes for a couple weeks.) I guess our seasons have faith that we can figure them out . . . though sometimes a hint would be nice.
In the fall, after frosty nights and warm sunny days set the trees on fire, when those flames begin to fall, it’s like watching a tapestry unravel one thread at a time until you’re left with only the weft.
Our seasons argue. They don’t get along like the seasons out in Seattle, where they mixed and mingled until I barely had any sense of the passage of time.
A week ago, it felt like winter all over again, and now it feels like summer. I love these stubborn, argumentative seasons.
Except winter in March. Still can’t find much to love there.
I take a long, long time to work out the things that upset me. And 2016 has been one hell of a year for upsetting things. It’s taken me weeks to figure out this blog-silence.
It wasn’t the traveling – which was great, if exhausting – or the fact I had a couple roles in a show with a murderous commute, or even my dad’s birthday. (One of these years, I’ll actually remember that I tend to shut down in May.)
One of my aunts passed away suddenly a couple months ago. She was one of my favorite aunts. To little-me, she seemed so confident and self-aware. She didn’t let herself get pulled into the mini-dramas and countless squabbles that are part and parcel of siblings. And there were twelve siblings.
We connected on Facebook a few years ago, and she quickly found me here. She liked to leave comments. Often encouraging, cheerleader comments.
We weren’t as close as either of us would have like, but that was a small part of herself that she gave me. And I guess I haven’t wanted to really face the fact that they’ve stopped. That there won’t be any more.
I can feel it coming. Burnout tends to follow theatre shows, anyway, and the current one has the longest commute of any to date. So of course this hits when we’re barely halfway through.
At least it’s good to know what my limits are. Unless I’m extremely passionate about a show, I likely won’t do this commute again. Not with a full-time day job, anyway.
I was going to audition for another show – one much closer – but the thought of going made me want to curl up in a corner and hide.
Not a good way to start anything. So I didn’t go.
Tonight, the weather is keeping me home. These winds are the kind that down trees and power lines, and driving over an hour home through that late at night when I’m exhausted? I’d rather not.
An extra evening to cross items off my to do list is priceless, at this point, so I don’t feel as guilty over missing rehearsal as I might otherwise.
Pretty soon, I’m headed out of town. Flying to Florida and back, then immediately turning around and driving to southern Massachusetts and back. In the span of a week.
Just what am I doing to myself?
I’ve been trying to cram in time to see friends and family around this trip, and rehearsals, and the day job, but it took last weekend’s shut-down – this inability to force myself to go to an audition – to tell me I’m burning out.
Definitely time for a break. Whether or not this crazy, travel-intensive week coming up will be the right kind of break remains to be seen.
Wish me luck!
I’m currently savoring my way through Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook and came across a section that made me question why I write.
Telling stories seems to have always been a fact of life. Somewhere, I still have notebooks filled with a toddler’s illiterate scrawl in crayon rainbows. My grandmother still tells me I can stop breathing easier than I can stop writing.
How I came to declare writing as my passion and life is a story I’ve told perhaps too many time. The why is something else entirely and, after some thought, I believe I’ve figured it out.
Jeff Vandermeer suggests that are born out of negative experience, whether a terrible tragedy or a minor disappointment. For him, it was his parents’ divorce. Mine was a small child’s constantly disappointed search for magic.
Magic is everywhere, if you choose to see it.
I wanted fairies, and unicorns, and talking cats. When I couldn’t find them, I made up my own adventures.
Even better: I found that magic, after all. It’s a conscious choice in how I experience the world, but that makes it no less the magic I searched for as a kid.
So here is a different sort of love for Valentine’s Day. Whatever your love, I hope you take time today to celebrate it.
January was a terrible month for too many amazing people. Please do better.
You are the shortest month, even with your extra day this year, but all the short people I know are fierce and awesome. Please be like them. Especially the awesome.
So Kiri, my Seattle Roommate of Amazing Talent and Awesomeness, started Joelmas a few years ago after she lost her brother to depression. She explains it over on her vlog.
In honor of her brother Joel, she has christened January 30 as Joelmas: a day to take for ourselves and no one else – or at least to do one thing just for you. Because self-care is integral to mental health.
Today, I celebrated by having lunch with a wonderful friend I had seen all of twice since August. We talked about creative things, and life, and frustrations. Now I feel more grounded and focused.
And I took my car through the carwash, because I find it incredibly soothing and relaxing. Bonus: a clean car.
Who else celebrated Joelmas, even if this blog post is the first you’ve heard of it? What is one thing you did for you?
We buried my brother-in-law today. My sister’s husband. He battled a diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer for the past three years.
The call came from my grandmother at 4:47am Sunday, January 17. By the end of the day, I was in Massachusetts.
I’m no good at eulogies, and I’m certainly not the best person to give his. Anything I can say comes out wrong. When someone dies, there should be more than platitudes.
He had hope. A lot of hope, for a long while. I don’t know how anyone can conjure up that much hope, and I admire him for that.
He loved my sister. Loved her the way she deserves to be loved.
And my sister has shown so much strength these last few years, and especially in this past week. I am in awe.
I can’t even imagine the hell she is going through. I watched her all throughout the funeral today and the wake yesterday – not looking for the breaks but to be there when she needed me.
This woman is amazing, and I am honored that she is my sister.
Thank you, Justin, for being my brother. Thank you for everything you were and are to my sister. Thank you. And good bye.