Grammy King

I have come to the conclusion that 2016 is actively trying to die in a fire. Or kill us all. Not much of a difference, really.

Posts have been piling up on me: my birthday (come and gone), observations, rants (though nothing new to add to the Dear Asshat series). But the true shit-show that is this year keeps on going.

My grandmother – my dad’s mother – passed away this week. I at least found out from my sister. She found out by going to visit our grandmother.

Our family excels at broken communication.

I met Grammy King when I was about six (she and my dad hadn’t been on speaking terms for years) at my sister’s wedding. I don’t remember that. Even then, I had the smile-and-nod down pat. In a giant family like ours, no one actually remembers everyone.

I remember meeting her the second time. She stopped at Dad’s house maybe a few days, or a week, or two later. My sister and I (the sister who’s only a year older, not the one who’d just gotten married) were playing outside. Dad wasn’t there, so his secretary brought her over from the office to introduce our grandmother to us.

When Dad’s secretary asked if I remembered meeting her at the wedding, I said no. Awkward and embarrassed, I  knew it was the wrong answer even if it was the truth. My world was exploding. I panicked. I’m not even sure I’d known I had another grandmother. What should we call her? “Grammy” was taken and it felt wrong to call someone else that – like I was erasing the grandmother I’d known my whole, short life.

After that, I saw her a few times a year. I loved listening to her stories. She had a lot of them, and they even stayed mostly the same between retellings.

Storytelling runs in my family.

And bad news keeps rolling in, whether from news sources or people I love. I’m still looking for a turning point to all the bad news this year. It has to come sometime. Right?

Dear A$$hat: Hands To Yourself

Dear Asshat,

Your hands belong to YOU. They do not belong on someone else’s face. Not without consent.

Hint: you did not have her consent.

Your hands were gross – green and black from cutting grass and who-knows-what. This is why you thought it was funny. (It wasn’t.)

That and you’re a juvenile in an old man’s body. You’ve had decades to learn shit like this is not ok. Which, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, means you have even less excuse for that behavior.

You have no one to scapegoat. The blame for your bad decision lies with you alone.

A hand in the face without consent is aggressive. You covered her whole face. Touching someone without consent is assault.

Your laughter does not mitigate those facts. Your laughter does not make it ok, let alone funny.

Try that on me next. I dare you.

To the others present: “Why would you do that?” is not an appropriate response. I should not have been the only one saying, “That is not ok. Don’t do that. Get out.”


June is harder this year.

It’s funny: when Dad died, I thought June would be a terribly difficult month because of his death day. I figured his birthday would be a chance for me to celebrate him and so be a happy day.

As it turned out, his birthday is harder for me to deal with than his deathday, because of all the memories of him and the association with his life. His deathday wasn’t a part of him and who he is in my memory. Those memories are of him, but not ones I shared with him.

Now Father’s Day . . . don’t talk to me on Father’s Day.

But this year, June has more. My brother-in-law’s birthday (today) and his and my sister’s wedding anniversary. I can’t begin to imagine what my sister is dealing with right now.

So June is tough. The longest days of the year help – as I type this, I’m watching the setting sun turn the forest to gold – though only a little. It’s hard to balance that much grief.

But we’re ok.

Seasonal Confusion

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.

A Reason For Silence

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.

Burning Out

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!

Why I Write

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.

Pretty non-hallucinogenic flower!

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.