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What's been your biggest influence in making you a better writer?
There are a ton of things, but number one I would have to say Reading. Reading everything I can get my hands on - good, bad, middling, all genres, fiction, non-fiction. Building your relationship with words and ideas - other people's as well as your own - letting them explode and regroup in new and different ways. 

Number two would have to unequivocally be Stephen King's On Writing.
Current Mood: blankblank
24 March 2007 @ 10:47 am

Here I am at the Koffee Klatch, the home of internet access in Laguna Beach, on the day of Mark and Naomi's wedding. It's been awhile since I posted, so this will either be very long, or cut short so as to not be overwhelming.

For the past two weeks leading up to this trip, I have experienced the hell of my own making, namely that of running in two shows while rehearsing a third, working full-time-ish, and attempting to have something like a social life. I say hell but I only really feel that way when I'm at work or when I stop to think about my own schedule, because everything else that I'm doing has been incredibly joyful and fun and satisfying. We've had three reviews for Another Day in the Empire and they've all been raves - especially Nina's gusher in Friday's Tribune, did y'all see that? You can freakin BUY advertising like, "DO NOT MISS BLACK SHEEP'S BLAH BLAH BLAH", so we're obviously all really pleased.

This weekend all seven of the shows I'm supposed to be doing are being done by my understudies, Tiffany (3LP) and Alice (Empire), and while I would never try to deny either of those shows ticket sales, if you can see either of them some other weekend (each runs for three more weeks after this), then that would be cool. But don't tell Vance I said that. Or Lifeline.

Laguna is lovely - high sixties and the sun seems to be peeking out from behind the foreboding clouds I woke up to. I'll be doing some shopping later on and then prepping for the wedding. I'm doing a reading at the ceremony. Rehearsal and rehearsal dinner last night were great - Dana put together an E! True Hollywood Story parody video of Mark and Naomi that was really just genius and beautiful and all that. Kudos to Dana, who should do that kind of thing for a living, and kudo's to her husband Andy for the stellar voiceover work.

I think I'm in a little bit of shock, and I doubt if I'll acclimate to the "vacation" idea until tomorrow, when it'll be time to leave again. As much as I love Naomi and as glad as I am to be here, I wish I had been able to come into this in a less frantic frame of mind. From 6 until 7 last night, during the rehearsal dinner, I was just sitting there wondering how the Empire performance was going, whether the sales were good, whether Alice got my lines right, etc. This vacation is just too short me to be able to appreciate, I think, and I miss Maddie and Kevin and I hate missing te shows. All that being said, the time I've gotten to spend with Shannon, Paul, Rowan, Dana, Andy, Emily, Kevin, Denise, Mark, and Na, I wouldn't trade for anything. And when I think of all the other Really Important Events I've had to miss because of theatre commitments, I'm glad I didn't let this one stack.

As is typical of me and vacations, however, I suspect I will need another one immediately after returning home from this one, when the crazy schedule picks up again. However, with only three weeks of it left, and with the wedding and the designer run-through of Crossing California behind me, I'm hoping it will feel a bit more managable.

All right, I haven't a clue how much this internet access is costing me so I'm going to wrap this up. I'm sure Metreyeon will post some pics of the wedding when we get back, so interested parties can go look them up...

14 March 2007 @ 01:56 pm

So most of the time I am coasting like, I assume, most everybody else. I go from item to item on my schedule, I try to make time for the people and the things I like, I do my best, and I don't drop the ball on my responsibilities (for the most part). I also don't spend a hell of a lot of time wondering if I am "happy" or "okay" - usually I am too busy to think about it, and anyway the next therapy appointment is never more than a week away.

Then occasionally I find myself in circumstances where Action Must Be Taken or Something Must Be Said. I avoid it as long as possible but I know and my friends know and my therapist knows that I have to Do Something sooner or later because if I don't, my personal path will be jarred so amazingly off course in the long-term as to render my life virtually unrecognizable from what I imagine or what I want it to be.

What I would really like - if I could have one wish fulfilled - is for one fucking time to be able to Do the Right Thing or to Say What Must Be Said and not feel like complete and utter shit in the short-term aftermath, whatever the long-term results might be. That would be nice.

Current Mood: sadsad

Yeah not much to say really except I'm very much looking forward to vacation next week. The Pigs are open and selling extremely well, and Empire is in terrific shape, I can't wait for people to see it.

Speaking of Empire and people I can't wait to come see it, those who want to come to a $10 preview should show up at the Royal George on Friday March 9th or Saturday March 10th at 8 pm, pay your ten bucks, and see it!

I just had to step away from my desk for an hour because I got an email (to the entire Chicago staff) saying "Come to the presentation room immediately." Which I did and there was a presentation from our Sao Paulo office guy. Now I want to go to Brazil.

So we had a little birthday thing with honest-to-goodness Memphis barbecue for K the other night, which was fun - the Empire cast is full of some very intelligent and funny actors.

I spoke with my mother last Monday, which was her birthday, and she was very coherent and borderline upbeat, though we hear through the grapevine that she isn't going to her AA meetings anymore. She should be able to drive again soon, which I'm thinking will either allow her to return to the meetings or to get out and buy booze, and that we'll just have to see. In sadder family news (yes, it's always something), my cousin's husband sister passed away suddenly at 43, from complications from pneumonia, very very sad and sudden, and my uncle Jerry had a mild heart attack last week, but is apparently doing well.

All right, I'm even boring myself now. Adios.

Current Mood: eh
01 March 2007 @ 02:42 pm

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Current Mood: tiredtired
22 February 2007 @ 04:57 pm

We had our first True Story preview this morning, for Actual Factual Children. It was insane! And fantastic. And unpredictable. They actually voted the Wolf GUILTY, which is something we never thought any of the audiences would do, based on the enormous bias of the script (ahem), though I think the kindergarteners may have been slightly confused about the rules of voting. Anyhoo, I couldn't be prouder of this show. It's so much fun to do.

So this means that for the next week and a half or so, I am only in rehearsal for ONE SHOW. Weird! That won't be the case again until March 12th, but during the Crossing California rehearsals, I'll be running in two shows so it won't feel any easier. When the fuck am I going to do laundry?

I'm starting to think about getting away for a few days after CC closes in June. That's right around my birthday and it would be nice to, at the very least, take some time off work and have nothing to do for awhile. I could catch up on the novel (which means re-reading all 412 pages of Draft 2.5, reviewing about 90 pages of hand-scribbled notes, and re-reading the end of Draft 1) and start thinking about the adaptation I have coming up. I can do all that stuff in another country if necessary. Or on a beach in the US somewhere. Though I suppose Florida in July is not terribly pleasant.

I am having a wonderful time doing all of this, and I don't want to make it sound remotely like I'm not. But there are downsides. I haven't seen Paul and Shannon's little boy in months, and he's like, about to start walking and completing sentences and stuff. Also, most distressingly, I am having a terrible time working up enthusiasm to go see theatre, or in fact to spend one minute more than necessary in a theatre, around a theatre, or really, within 100 yards of a theatre. And there's stuff I will regret seeing if I don't make it. But with free time so limited, and my energy so tightly focused into this madcap schedule, I also need to remember to do stuff that's just for me and not for anyone else. If I spend all my energy trying to meet everyone's expectations (real or perceived) then I won't fracking meet any of them.

Maddie goes on vacation to her dad's for a week or so on Saturday, and that will be a relief. I had a hell of a busy weekend - rehearsals, tech, a bachelorette party on Saturday - and so I thought it would be best to drop her off at doggie daycare on Friday and let her have a little holiday. However the whole thing ended a bit disastrously on Sunday when I went to go pick her up and couldn't get the daycare folks to answer the door, or the phone, even though they said they were there before I even left the theatre, ten minutes before I arrived. It was fucking awful, with a small army of dogs in the backyard, behind the fence, howling and crying and screaming and barking and literally pounding on the door. It was so awful, indescribable. Finally another guy showed up to pick up his dog, and eventually he jumped the fence and let the door open - sending a spill of 6 - 8 dogs rushing into the muddy cold alley behind the house, including Maddie, shaking and whimpering and limping. I caught hold of her collar while the other guy captured his dog and got her in his van. Then he and his son went to wrangle the other dogs back in. I have no idea if they got them all or not. I hope they did. But I couldn't let go of Maddie to help. Eventually Joe and Mel saved me by bringing me a spare collar so I could walk my poor terrified puppy home, both of us frozen and more than a little shredded by the howling of all those puppies.

Turns out the wife half of the daycare couple was home the whole time, asleep. She heard nothing. If you had heard the cries of these hounds, your jaw would be on the floor right now. Needless to say, I didn't pay for the 2-day board, and I'm on the hunt for another conveniently located doggie daycare.

It's 5. I've been at work for 4 hours, and that's enough, so I'm outtie. Later, y'all.

Current Mood: chipperchipper
13 February 2007 @ 01:19 pm

Hypothetical scenario: you're dating someone for like, say...three and a half weeks. Then it's Valentine's Day. What do you do? Is this not awkward? The best advice I've heard so far is to get something small but not entirely meaningless, but not to give it to the other person...unless they give you something first. But then I'm like, what if the other person is doing the same thing? Well - I suppose in that case you've got a whole heart-warming Gift of the Magi scenario happening and you're too cute for words. Only neither one of you ever knows it. Unless you somehow surivive until the following V-Day and one of you confesses it, launching a stream of confessions that propel you into realms of cute that are circuitous with the rings of Hell. Yeah. Hm.

Anyhoo. Thoughts?

Current Mood: curiouscurious
13 February 2007 @ 10:10 am

...but I feel I've been away too long and must say something.


I'm so. freakin. busy.

Last night, instead of attending what I understand was a transcendent opening night of The Piano Tuner (adapated for the Lifeline mainstage by Jim Grote, directed by Jonathan Berry, running Fri - Sun through March 25th), I kinda just fell asleep in front of the TV, rousing only long enough to answer the phone periodically. But with the reviews pouring in I now need to figure out when I can see it. Also the hypocrites show opens this coming weekend, and I really need to figure out when I can see that, too, before I'm out of commission with weekend performances AND weekday rehearsals for Crossing California. Yipe.

I am thrilled to report that Three Little Pigs trucks right along in its path to taking over the world. We move into the space tonight for the first time and have a late ensemble-invited run. I finally have the lines and songs and dances...relatively secure, but I still can't believe we'll be doing this in front of Actual Factual Folks a week from this coming Thursday.

I have now had a grand total of THREE rehearsals for Another Day in the Empire, but one of them was a run, and that show, too, is right where it should be. I'm terribly proud of Vance, which I alternately think I say too often and not enough. Here's someone who wanted to put on a show and I'll be damned if he hasn't just done whatever he's needed to do to make that happen, and he continues to be uncompromising in his artistic vision for what he wants the show to be. Good on ya.

I haven't actually spoken to anyone in the family for awhile, which I'm going to decide just means that everything is fine out east, because there just isn't time for a crisis.

Hope all the long-lost strangers I used to call friends are doing well and enjoying themselves despite the blizzard and general lack of me in their lives. Sigh. Miss you guys.

Current Mood: tiredtired
05 February 2007 @ 04:30 pm

Every Monday at 12:50 I leave my office and catch a cab to my therapist's office at 625 North Michigan. We talk for 45 minutes, and then I catch another cab back to the office and things proceed apace. Some days I can't wait to get there, and other days I don't want to go at all. Sometimes I worry about what I'm going to talk about, and sometimes I catch myself preparing things to say. Usually when I get in there, whatever came immediately before goes out the window and it is what it is. Usually, I feel better afterwards. But not today.

Today I couldn't feel more like crap. Which is not to say this is the fault of my therapist - it isn't, and I know it isn't, but the appointment makes a convenient centerpiece to my crappy feeling-ness. When I feel bad after the appointment it's usually because I am adamantly fighting the lesson to be taken away from whatever we talked about.

I don't want to talk about the details of the monstrous stupidity of my actions lately, but I do want to talk about how fucking tired I am of analyzing myself and the things I do and say, or don't do and don't say, especially when the opportunities to do and say things that might deflect the repercussions of my monstrous stupidity arise. Fuck it. Seriously. I get it. Everything I do I do because my mother drank too much and didn't love me the way I needed to loved. I fucking GET IT. Enough already. 

Ever feel like hibernating from yourself and everyone you know? When everything anyone says to you is like a bullet in the back of your skull, and the only thing that doesn't cause a catastrophic emotion reaction is the very thing everyone is telling you is the cause of all your problems? Yeah I know that doesn't make any sense out there in the ether, but in here, it's fucking lonely.

Current Mood: pessimisticpessimistic
29 January 2007 @ 11:11 am

Has everyone seen Showgirls? If not, stop reading, get stoned, and rent it. It's a gem. A beautifully flawed, elaborately cut, obnoxious gem that can cut glass and blind innocent bystanders. I can hardly believe this movie has been around for twelve years and I've only just seen it for the first time.

We had a special Pigs rehearsal yesterday - we were scheduled to go to the Lincoln Park Zoo to observe the pigs and wolves, but between the snow and the cold Toy was worried we'd all come down with something awful so we went to lunch instead. But then we went to the mock trial courtroom at DePaul and did the play there. As if it was a real trial. It was totally Law & Order: Piggy Style. It was a blast. I love this cast, and I love this play. I'm sorry, has that not been made clear already?

Then last night was our first read-through for Another Day in the Empire, and that went well despite being down two cast members for the night. Looking forward to my first rehearsal with them - squeezed in between Piggy rehearsals - on Wednesday.

In other news, my mother is apparently home and sober. She's been going to meetings and telling people she doesn't want to drink. And for some reason my aunt doesn't have my email address, even though I've sent it to her at least a dozen times (inexplicably passive aggressive behavior), so I was spared her guilt-trip-riddled email for a few days before my sister passed it on to me. Mom's lonely and miserable and we are rotten children who never call or visit. Oh, and we're ungrateful, too, for everything Mom did for us and sacrificed for us. Good thing we already knew that or my aunt's email might have made us feel bad about ourselves.

Current Mood: irritatedirritated