Everything beautiful has been so misrepresented, so distorted and disfigured by our warped minds into some of our expressions. Some expressions are extentions of ourselves, pure or unpure. We have been infected.
From conception the power of the artist can either reflect our distortions or display them as "works of art." The audience has no less power by our choice of participation. And so it goes with our attendance with art-the same goes with life.
I sacrifice movement, I sacrifice participation and perhaps even hold love at bay for the saving of my eyes, the preservation of my sensitivity, and the prevention of the desensitizing my soul. Satisfaction lies in the knowledge that love still moves and exists, even when my awareness of it comes to a screeching halt.
When the heart thaws, at last, I hope to encounter a genuine expression. When the ice melts, I long for the journey to continue. When my feet move, I hope to meet the inspirational community of true artists that defy the status quo and know a bit about what elevation is.
I hope first to be able to give that very thing myself.
I have cast a net and spun a web for all that hindered my desire. The trap is set and the docking area is full with shipments full of disappointment, anger, disgust, hopelessness, and disdain.
I sit looking out for opportunity but nothing, yet, has sparked my fancy. The stillness of the waters keep me still for the results of striving are too exhausting. I await the ship that will carry me across to that land of experimentation and creation. Hope still lingers even when the fear remains that my waiting will turn to years as my hair turns grey and my legs and heart fail to walk any futher.
The horrorific implications of a car crash, the shock of a diagnosis, and the drought of joy, ironically stirs within me a sizeable struggle. Within this fight, I see opportunity forming. A chance for life, a journey to be taken, and love to be victorious. I carry the hope for reconciliation here, on Earth, and for whatever lies beyond.
There is my part to play both literally and figuratively and I have, at late, checked out mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. And for all this "time-out," I've stepped back on scene with a better understanding of my potential and an honesty so forthcoming that could only be brought about by such hard realities. I wish such things didn't exist and I suppose that is where the path goes from here in the creative process, my creative process.
It is obvious to me now that, while I live, I have a story and interpretation to tell. So this is where it starts and never ends, really. And so I am co-producing an interpretation and attending the premiere of a film my little self helped cast. We artists hold a bit of eternity in our hands; our wars, travels, relationships, heartbreaks, dreams, fantasies have lived and been reinterpreted for centuries through music, theatre, song, and written word. I affirm my existence by this mantra; I am alive to help give life, live life and sustain life.
My attempts to overextend myself out of the deisre to fill my days wtih muted artistic projects, have only exhausted me. With a serious meditation on what "drives" me, and the truth behind some of my excursions towards nothing fulfilling, I become grateful to recognize what it is I know to be of worth.
My small but significant network of fine visionaries have never failed to provide me with ample amount of opportunities to put in motion the talents that lie under my skin. I am encouraged by these friends to enhance the abilities that sometimes lie dormant due to illness, discouragement, or even the lack of financial resources.
After a long journey into a congested city, I failed to reach an audition that held promise to easy some monetary burdes I have. Deflated and reflecting on the disappointment of not reaching my destination, the thought of participating in a rehearsal of a new work later that evening brought me the perserverance to not want to quit at this acting thing.
The return on investment was greater than what I might have earned in dollars; I refreshed my spirits instead. The evening did not dissapoint and for that I am grateful to stick with what I know.
For a moment of silence and the benefit of peace, I saturate in the pain to concentrate on possible pleasure and fight the threat of indifference. It was what I was unfortunately taught in my upbringing; the turning of a blind eye, the cowardace and the self-absorbtion. Boredom is the result of not fighting for life and truth and dare I say, responsibility. To retreat into restoration and encounter purity was my salvation and here I long to extend it out to others. But today I retreat.
But for the safety of my soul, I walk with caution by what I encounter and what I expose myself too. Why is this important in art? It is the artist who risks becoming most corrupted because his consciously, is at times, highly elevated (although not of greater significance than any other human being) and therefore must consider carefully his expressions. I am all for catharsis when the outcome is goodness. And so I do this today with much reflection and confusion, doubt, fear and trembling. I seek to find my life anew, experience the loss of the strongholds, and reveal it in my art.
Playing the recluse for a day, I stir the pot of mixed emotions to uncover the truth through much prayer, rejecting vulgarity and emphasizing God for the little I understand of Him. I seek the higher ground and bravery to love and create as He intended the artist to do by projecting beauty and love eternal-I feel alone in this desire.
Recent experiences of auditioning, attending performances, and waiting for callbacks have the added effect of frustration to what used to be an enjoyable process. Perhaps it is my personal distaste for an overabundance of social media sites and cold connections, but what disturbs me is it's influence upon a creative sphere.
The need for virtual accessories for virtual connections in advancing a career is understandable in this age, however, behaving as if it were the only means of communicating can interfere with an artists need for sensitivity. It sure has mine, if not just turned me off to wanting to engage at all.
After auditioning for a production, I was told specifically that we would be called regarding callbacks the next day. I never recieved a call. I assumed that I simply wasn't called back-until Monday morning. There it was, an email indicating that I was indeed called back. I had missed the callback. I recieved no call and when I responded to the notification my regret for having missed it, emphasizing that I was told I'd recieve a call, I recieved no feedback. I did recieve an email, a group email, that we who were recieving it, weren't cast-no kidding.
So I put that incident quickly away and proceeded with other auditions. Two more came my way through my casting agency-great! One of the two had sent me an email asking if I were interested in auditioning and when I replied, the email address bounced back. I had no phone number to call, but they had access to mine. Finally, another email from the audition reached me indicating that they had been trying to get ahold of me to schedule me to come in and that this was their "last attempt" to contact me? Last attempt? As in no other resource for contacting me? When I answered back saying I was interested, they proceeded to ask me to send in a viral video of me auditioning.
My laptop has been damaged for three months and as everyone knows, performing artists are not the wealthiest bunch. My phone, however, works perfectly but rarely do I recieve calls anymore about auditions, gigs, callbacks, or confirmations. When the final audition that came to me asked me to send a video of me reading a script which contained, not a monologue, but scene with two other people, I only concluded that I was in contact with some very unprofessional groups or that we've not only become too relient on technology and lazy, lackluster of the very thing we as artists seek to promote; community, interaction, and experience. As one who has casted productions, I could not grasp the idea of casting someone without hearing the music in their voice, viewing the dance of their swagger, the pigments of one's skin, the rising of emotion upon their person, and a handshake of introduction.
I hope that, we as artists, never allow technology to overshadow a personal and live experience; that we don't come to fear our own natural senses and one another.
Some stories are grandiose and inspire goodness while others are developed for entertainment purposes. My spiritual discipline of listening to various pastors and instructors has now become a pleasure and their speeches often include some type of example or "story."
What we may be unconsciously looking for, more than anything, is relatability when watching, reading, or listening. When that chord is struck we are instantly jolted with a memory of a face, a regret, a dream, or we might take a glance to our right or left to smile with someone who has accompanied us on this journey.
The more I live, the more story I come to relate to. I have even taken this one step further to try my hand at creating some scenarious out of pure imagination, something I rarely dabble with but feel, now, matured enough with real life to make some fiction.
Fatigue has captured me to the point of near indifference; these world systems and its greed have taken a toll on many other artists as well, I'm sure. Perhaps it is my time management or the compounding weight of day-to-day on top of family duty, social gatherings and routine attendance that have me feeling like dry toast. My words, even now, are lackluster and derive from a sleepy mind and body. However, step by step, sip by caffeinated sip, I awaken with each remembrance of illuminating words and from the flow of lyrics streaming from my radio, all burdens drip like teardrops down a cheek, releasing their inner strife.
I am reminded that discovery is a stroll away and that a ten minute's time of stillness has the potential to open my senses and revive my spirit to become a vessel of beautiful things when I am unlovely, centered on self. When I am moved to study tolerance, I become tolerable. If I lean into accept love, I can love. When I am a participant and audience to the creation made available by my fellow creators, especially the superior works of God the ultimate creator, I am revived.
So I move forward to take a step outdoors, run accross the wet grass, take foot upon the stage, send love notes, move my wrist to the rythym of my mind, and close the evening with a glass of wine.
When the shifting of the mindset and the channeling of the insignificant negativity has been filtered, I am fully engaged in the unending outpouring of opportunity laid out before me.
A month's time between activities may seem a lifetime for some artists. Granted, the days or weeks from one performance until the next can offer a much needed rest. I too, have found myself eager to end a twelve hour shoot or remove the make-up and high-heels after a modeling photo shoot.
The search then begins again and I spy out the next opportunity of delight. The "gems" are rare and hard to come by and I am fortunate to not have had to wait too long to step right onto set or stage of that "jeweled" project.
A calendar is quite a tool for an actor trying to book events; Certainly, it is a fantastic reminder of where one has been. I have stressed the importance of observance and by my own calendar, I see that I have not been idle in my attending performances, script readings, or assistance in producing the works of others.
Reflection on the personal life is frequent but not always expressed publicly but I do not mind allowing the tragedy and exhiliration to leak out now and again. I am in love with someone and I am also stimulated by the recent opportunities to help others in need. My physical weaknesses, at times, get the better of me and I am slowed down a bit. I comprehend a great deal of the brevity of life and I grasp it full-heartedly with all that I have and it enriches my artistic endeavors, choices, and performances.
Happiness could be something that is difficult to articulate, specifically for the cynic. And rightly so, the word describes a temporal state of being. One might take to heart, by which method, could joy be best attained. We could strive for happines or we can channel it by what we are already given.
I had become intrigued enough, by such a subject, to join the cast of a small film focused on transforming our destructive negative energies into something sustainable. As mentioned before, there is some strange connection with my personal life and the placement of my artistic endeavors, all alligned, it seems, in appropriate time and space by God.
Thinking on my own happiness, I've noticed that it has been building for quite some time now. Like life, it began with a cry. My happiness was made complete by my tears, by my willingness to suffer and by that I mean, as one should, face our battles head-on, face ourselves and begin to love what we see in the mirror.
At last, the reflections and musings of the past several months have changed how I interact and now determines, significantly, all that I seek after in terms of artistic ventures. Much has come to fruition but nothing more of value than the ability to be completly honest in my relational and creative decisions; both, I believe are intertwined.
The process of reemergence, I have found, involves looking back into, not only the unpleasant past, but the foundations of creative process and experiences that had trained and stolen my heart. I returned to the arts of the culture that make up my ethnic background; the bright colors, passionate music, artists, and even food of the Mexican people inspire me. I am romanced and lured into life again and even more so, the expression of life and love.
In a few weeks, I embark on a filming project touching on the subject of returning to what stirs a soul and the defining and ultimate combat against that which blocks our dreams, stifles our voice, and delays our purpose.
In hindsight, all this observance, praise, and experience of others onstage and off has been just as productive and informative as stepping out on the stage myself. The eye must be trained and the heart must learn to heal and be still. And out of all this, re-emergence comes. Some doubts vanish and new insecurities peak its ugly head yet still the beckoning of the stage, microphone, and blank page stirs up some courage to experience another's pain, belt out the heartache, inspire the hopeless and encounter kindred spirits.
Tension had increased between this and that, here and there, them and us and past and present until my honesty severed allegience to all that drowned spirit and creativity. I am a ghost to some people and mindsets now but a revived artist walks about in freedom now.
I am aware of the power of creative choices now and place a cathartic experience over shallow financial pursuits that steal my time and energy. And with every witness of an enlightening experience, I bloom and excite over newfound words and sounds and ways of expressing ideas. Conversation had become a blessing where my words ran dry or fell on deaf ears and mute minds. And in the dry land, God had poured inspiring waters over where I walked so that no matter my failings, I became a wellspring.
My appearance will appear soon in photos of a maturer self and, through motion picture, a fluid expression of angst and heartbreak, in ugliness and false beauty. Truth and deception always lie in the balance and I would be pleased, in either performance or written word, to portray or expose them both. And so I continue to breathe and live in the tension.
There was no love or truth in my plan to audition for an experimental and rather interesting theater company in the communtiy; I confirmed an appointment because that's what I do-I act. But I wasn't honest with myself in my not wanting to commit to another summer here. Not that I have no desire for such an opportunity, but my heart simply ached at the thought of going through with it-I want something greater. I haven't been honest that I long to return to a few dreams and aspiration that were sidetracked by poor health years ago. Those dreams now require that I have no agenda to continue where I currently am.
This afternoon I cancelled a few projects and a couple of auditions and I released the anxiety of committments to the place that I have called home for so long. I feel the pull of mediocrity tugging for my attention and I sense the challenge within myself to shed the skin that I had outgrown long ago and take the risk of the unknown, even if it meant facing my inferiorities and shortcomings. I bask in the hopes of encountering new persons who are wiser and willing to instruct me in my creativity and love. So this evening I enjoyed the company of some old friends and we celebrated the upcoming arrival of one of our friends' first born child at a nearby Irish pub (pregnant lady abstaining from drinking-naturally) and I put all agendas aside.
In the wee hours, as I waited for the fish dinner and Bailey's to settle in my stomach, I let the poet re-emerge and I surrounded myself with piles of scribbled pieces of paper on notepads, journals, complete works of Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, plays, old scripts, and books on theology. I looked about my room for things to purge and things to box away even at the late hour and my thoughts were eager to rediscover themselves. The room was in an unorganized state and I quite liked it that way.
I walk ahead in life toward the assurance of messiness and uncertainty and that is the only agenda I really have; I shall participate with all five senses and awareness that I can and that is art enough for now. It is time to hit the books, expose my heart, and deconstruct a few things-and pack.
I've heard it said that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." Although my pressing intentions don't warrant such a dramatic statement, however, I have come to where the road meets the rubber and feel as if I am at an impasse and it "feels" like hell. So I'm taking a step back for a moment to return to the joy I had this morning.
A power outage had interrupted my anticipated preparation time for an upcoming audition and yet my roomate and I had quite a laugh about our inconvenient condition. I awoke with such promise and intent on tackling that audition material-just as soon as I finished my work on school and financial aid applications and budgeted my finances in order to pay off medical bills-both took up my entire day until the burden of it all led to an teary outpour and even honest recognition of my own mediocrity and insecurities.
I have said before that I "intend to" travel, go back to school, add to my monologue archive and until this past, I have put actions to my words but oh, how far I still have to go and today all the efforts exhausts me. May I go home and find the joy again in reciting a piece of literature and not see it as something "I have to do," and if I carry that attitude then may I put it aside for awhile until I see it through the eyes of love.
A bible study group that I belong to, in service to our community, transformed an elementary school classrom into an clean and organized space for art and science experiements for to take place. The thought of children discovering and coming up with new ideas brought about an "oooey-gooey" feeling. As we moved furniture and stacked books and other supplies into cabinets and onto shelves, we shared our own early shool days stories. I reminisced about my symphony orchestra experience, one of the first of my artistic ventures, and how I was a poor violin player.
Later that afternoon, before I committed to preparation for my photo shoot the next day, I met with my sister-in-law who is a student of psychology. I volunteered to be her subject study and tried my hardest, without much success, to not be too sarcastic, cynical, or void of imagination in my responses. I found discussing my life and past experiences and traumas very easy to discuss yet conjuring up stories from images and interpreting "ink blobs irraitated my quite practical and somewhat philosophical tendencies of processing thoughts; I couldn't find any sense in making up a story out of random images; I responded often that the ink blobs all looked like a uterus and I quite bluntly stated so, adding to this that I believed the originator of these pictures was quite disturbed. We laugh a lot and she was very gracious with me.
So as I prepared outfits, plucked my eyebrows, and filed my nails down, I enjoyed some music and reflected on something my brother's significant other had said. She shared with me, against the prodical of apiring psychologists, that one image I was asked to draw-a tree-supposedly reflected that my thoughts and emotions would not often connect. I was surprisingly stunned and humbled that this actually made a little sense to me and I'm very skeptical about what I sometimes consider a "pscho-babble." The drawings I created were simple and elementary, (I'm an artist and don't take drawing anything lightly and I didn't find it necessary or practical, considering time, to create specific and beautiful images), and the tree I drew was no different. The tree had no roots and no branches.
I had been aware of my emotional protectivenss and lack of emotional openess with others before and it has since been acknowledged and confronted by myself but what I really consider is that, perhaps this dichotomy (if that is the correct word) tied into my creative health as well. At risk of sounding like a psychiatrist myself by offering these attributes to a certain group, I find that artists have narcissistic, grandiose, or exhibitionist tendencies and would benefit from a frequent dose of practicality. Like flesh and spirit, thoughts and emotions also operating in considerable balance of would be considered healthy and in turn direct some of our eccentric behaviours-be they conscious or unconcious. Maturity and youth played a big party in some of those behaviours and I've come to quite dislike such characteristics. Naturally, I had channeled some unresolved angst through unhealthy activities and behaviours in my past. But I also, sometimes,intentionally drew that line between the "tree" and the "earth" out of prudence but, more often than not, to avoid the overwhelming flood of tears or other emotion that would express a load of pain when it came to more intimate relationships.
At the beginning of my theater career, as a young woman facing many trials, I found some relief in expressing emotions as a character. What I didn't know, until know, is how much more honest and painless it became being a vessel or tool used to tell a story (as it should be) once I had attended to both my unhealthy body and spirit. I now, instead of hoarding the emotions of myself and a character I would be portraying, am grateful of the life education I had and utilized to becoming a good steward of my thoughts and emotions, spirit and body, heart and mind. And these are now, for the most part, properly and happily controlled in life and art.
The bus ride on the way to the office was so serene; Or should I say that I was quite serene on the bus ride this morning? My eyelids were heavy still with sleep, but my mind was eager to jump into action. And so I stepped off that public transit vehicle and began my 8 minute walk through the park towards our building, opening my ears to the songs of small birds and widening my nostrils to take in crisp air.
Yesterday afternoon, I sat behind the wheel through a horrid rainstorm on the way to a fitting. for an upcoming film shoot. The need for caution while driving provided a calm feeling as I sang to every ballad and rock song that caught my fancy. At the fitting, I attempted to lavish all the well-deserved attention onto the seamstresses and make-up artists for of course there is, and was, one person generally on set who might not treat them with the upmost respect. I'm not a large character on this fim, I don't even have a line but I would like to consider every "limb" of this film body significant.
The majority of my days are spent behind the desk assisting with the functions of selling high-end broadcasting equipment to other "dreamers" where I shamelessly attempt to network for my own creative endeavors. I have been behind the camera, in front, and recently in the cutting room but I still have an affinity for observation and contemplation most of all. To end the day, I viewed a disturbing film that reflected, on a disturbing level, the lack of value for a human life.
Today the sun broke through and it brought the remembrance of first "re-dressing" myself with those titles of artist, activist, employee, citizen, or woman. The essentials of being human are acknowledged first when my thirst, hunger, and need for a shower come calling. So, we begin with that and not forgetting as we approach the canvas, page, or lyric today.
My experiment to re-awaken has been difficult and as I decline and subtract, slowly but surely, I am developing purposeful habits. When I want to attain something, I have the tendency to transform instantly into a sponge and gather all I can and I am careful to do so now much more gradually. I've even taken a step back and bask in the joy of growing and releasing.
It is quite humbling to be at the beginning phases of understanding new things and developing skills in areas of God-given talents. Either way, I've been going to bed with the music, words, or ideas lingering softly, hovering over me, not in forceful urgency but something more like moisturizer settling into the pores and soothing the dryness. It is both fresh and frightening.....
Let me talk a bit about vanity. I'll start out on the positive end by saying that I've commited myself to the purchasing of only natural and eco-friendly cosmetics and skin products as part of my beauty regimen. This past weekend I specifically purchased an oil for the face for an upcoming photo shoot. This specific shoot is intended to present a more "matured" and natural face along with my current long locks.
This weekend, I also met with a creative film duo who I will be acting for soon. Perhaps its common for an actress to feel that putting on her best appearance is the most significant part of the auditioning or casting process-and I too, fall into that mindset now and again. What was beautiful about our meeting was that their evaluation of me came from my performance of the blind, dwarfed and lame character that I portrayed in Margaret of Castello. Even so, our conversation turned to literature and the creative process and swiftly became quite philisophical.
One can easily be fooled to believe that the made-up and polished person that walks the city or sits at their cubicle encompasses all a person is. Even at the very least, we can come to see ourselves that way; And that is the temptation for those in the entertainment industry. Truth is that we lose so much story, so much life and opportunity when we focus on such thing--it can only lead to dispair.
I joke consistently about bowel movements and the aging process; I notice more hair on my chin and fullness on my thighs and I almost nearly embrace it. It is a bit different, to be honest, when I notice a new patch of white spots on my skin--I have vitilago and I do get upset about it from time to time and other times I go out uncovered and openly blemished. Certainly and obviously all this flesh of mine (and yours) will dissolve. Until I come to terms with that and rejoice in the new life of the soul, find the ultimate beauty in my character and mind, then will I truly be honest in loving others--I am not lovely in form or character but I attempt to holistically care for both the best I can, presenting my art and life as a sacrificial and meaninful giving for something beneficial to others-slipping in and out of vanity, repentance, insecurity and generosity.
The triangular-shaped, Engish breakfast, tea bag sunk straight down my to-go porcelain coffee mug and I thought it looked lovely. It floated to the bottom so gently and I felt myself soothe into an earnest resolve to say no.
Moved by the words of two men that I do not know, I graped that I had been provided with some wisdom and motivation to follow through with adjustments that would be beneficial to creating something beautiful if not, at the least, within myself (although I believe nothing good developed in a person is complete without outward impact.)
Saying no was not something that was foreign to me until I realized that what I was saying no to needed to expand beyond protecting my personal time and being more cautious as to what I actually spent my time doing and with whom, what I got involved with, and ultimately, what is a waste of time. Looking back onto what I expressed in my previous journaling, I'm thinking that its my responsibility to weed out the ugly that would surround me and it is God's responsibility, with my submission, to have him cleanse out all that is unsightful within me.
What does this have to do with acting or film or theater? Perhaps because the most significant research on human behaviour, character study, is with oneself and their function in the world. There are roles and projects, that at a certain level, is considered amateurish, underdeveloped, or simply pointless in porportion to one's skill or experience--same goes with the people and places of our lives.
So I say no to degrading photo shoots and films. I say no to limiting myself to the same cities and theater-houses and those egos and conversations by artists that create to serve themselves. I say no to self-sabatoge, to working at my minimum, and no to too much coffee.
After an abundance of meals and gatherings and celebrations over the past weeks, I stumble upon my lack of appetite today. Certainly this is occassion to pay special attention to my soul and, more importantly, the one who created it. Doing so, I am almost always led beyond myself.
I had been stretched to share what I own or motivated to give of my finances and it has left me longing for the increased care of myself through stillness of mind and physical exercise. I am being emptied as I should and still for my sake, I attempt to work harder and pick up the slack in nurturing my skills and I sigh for the uncreated, unrealized revelations in art. I yet to find an inspiring script, non-exhibitionist artistic community, and in the end I have found the strength to create or discover those things myself. Sometimes we have to wet our own appetite even when we find ourselves too much in our comfort zones. So with an audition and upcoming photo shoot on the calendar, my focus is on the training along with refresher courses in film editing and ballet on the agenda. So goes the striving for balance.
Dizzied by the past, I desire the unexperienced and risky paths of art and even life. I long to crawl out of the tunnel of spinning faces, lost loves, past failures, and all too familiar territories and walk the new path ahead. Even still, I consider it of some use for future expressions in writing or character formation on stage or film. I so long for the ghosts of my past to quit haunting me in the present by email, phone calls, and even dreams. I press on for the future. The delicacies I will taste are those of the unknown and I will be like a newborn. I expect no words to escape my lips until I have taken everything in. Even now, I sit stern and looked about wide-eyed not longing to speak anything unintelligable or trivial, striving to remain kind and unbothered while I learn, practice, work, and wait.
Illness struck again suddenly, and without civility. I looked down at pale hands and saw scales of undernourished skin. My vision is blurry from the migraine that wouldn't allow another illness to take all the glory from an apparent food poisioning or stomach virus. Despite a bit of weakness, I arose to live and function the best I could.
The winter day was sun-kissed and I, unable to work, still made the venture out to soak up an experience, even if it come from my own hand. There are a few errands to attend to, some artistic, but I intentionally neglect the repetitive and arduous tasks for a day of routine.
This day had become one intended for care and had been as far as I could bear with a few straightening-ups and scrubbing of counters here and there to settle my compulsive tendencies. Besides that, I made room for sensitivity to linger awhile and comfort myself with warm coffee and soft music that lifts my imagination into softness and dreaming following after the breeze that cools and the sun slowly fades.
I am extremely irritable today and at the risk of being void of any writing skill whatsoever, I will make an attempt not to overthrow any value of what I say by my congested head ( I speak quite literally about the congestion) and describe what little I remember and a bit about what I'm learning.
The final emotions of defeat are more a result from feeling ill than absolute hopelessness and even that sounds dramatic. I finally settled in my chair after running about on medical errands; doctor appointments and lab tests filled up my afternoon, and herein resides a sadist who enjoys maximizing the air conditioner in winter while I suffer from a cold, the last of three related illnesses plaguing me for over a month. The final jab of the day was the result of an ultrasound and on my way out of the medical clinic, I scheduled a biopsy. I am feeling deflated.
The weekend was filled with reunions of artistic background and I was not very alert throughout much of them. In fact, I returned home after only twenty minutes of a script-adapting meeting and collapsed in bed after reuniting with fellow dancers of a troup I belonged with years ago. It was strange to recognize how one gathering represented a past long gone and the other something to be produced way into the future where I had no sense of being part of beyond the small assistance I bring to it now.
What I suspect is that I am in dire need of refreshment and inspiration in form of travel to a distant land. I am at the brink of tears for my lack of energy and am resolved to lay it all down and learn from the prospect of doing nothing in order to heal. I am lackluster but it is the result of a void that I am eager to have filled and so I wait on God for the miracle of forward motion while I remain still. I have no desire to search but to go. I have no answers but blank stares. I have form still but no coloring. All the more for experience to fill me in.
I long to increase my vocabulary so that I could remain a bit undeciphered by some and I want to sit in a waiting room where no one knows my name, that I might easily have my mind mold all that I am into the character on the page. There lies no interest within me for the stagnancy of life.
Excited to attend dance class this evening, I expressed to a co-worker my disinterest in participating in a theatrical play. What she doesn't understand is that my lack of interest lies in the lack of intrigue in the theater companies that are closeby. Specifically, I had two or three friends speak of auditioning for one company in particular after most of us had already performed in more than a few shows in that venue. Maybe there lies a bit of snobbery in me or I it could be that I have just grown in appreciation for the new and challenging,in somewhere different. Although the upcoming piece is one of interest, I can only imagine the judgements from within the audition waiting room where some might speculate about my insistance on not speaking with or engaging anyone in conversation as I sit in the corner and keep to myself in order to empty my thoughts and even calm my nerves and dissuade my insecurities. In one magazine article, a popular actress had commented on her personal life as irrelevant in speaking about because she believed that her flexibility and, almost ambiguity, keeps herself available to recieve true criticism on her performance and not her celebrity-I understand that fully.
One of the greatest tributes to a full-life of love and artistry is my closest girlfriend. She and her husband are some of the most down to earth and creative persons and it gives me hope for the possibility of partnership with individuality. I fear I've lost some friends to self-absorbtion and disintrest in becoming enraptured in the moment and settling for the status quo and I cling to those with the spark. I suppose the proper explanation is that they have lost me, and they have lost me to the world where creation meets eternity and I go to where I might find it.
I find it in books, meditation, music, and in movement. I step into the dance class, I attend the author's reading, I explore the city and I never assume to get a different result in the same place.
The word, critic, has some negative connotations associated with it and so I try and downplay the word as I describe some experiences. The point and truth is that I have greatly enjoyed learning to critique and the reason is that I've finally learned to accept, master, and recognize my own shortcomings. I even say shortcomings in a positive frame of mind, knowing that those things I lack spark the earnest desire to strive for the desired outcome.
Last evening, I attended a dress rehearsal and was happy to have with me a good friend who accepts my comments for what they are, thoughtful observations and not empty put-downs or insults. This particular show was one which I had, unfortunately, missed the audition for. And surely growth is measured by the sincerity in seeing others succeed and that I did. I was amazed by the actress who portrayed the character I had aspired to play and felt, at that moment, that no one else could do it justice-well, certainly not I. The rough eges were hardly noticible and due to what I could only percieve as a bit of nervousness from the main actor and as time progressed, I had forgotten that I at a rehearsal. A tear managed to escape my eye and I was deeply moved by one scene in particular.
My talents have been comfortably at rest while visions emerge and my pursuit of choice is to return to the beginning-dance. For my age, my body is still quite limber and generally free of pain or restrictions and there has been a strange longing to move about in physical expression now that my voice has been freed for years as a speaking performer.
As so often the pendulum swings to and fro in culture so seems it to be with my life. Work calls me back. Old friends return to town. Finances stablize a bit.
My thoughts return to my first love, my creativity to poetry, my rememberences to music theory.
My hair returns to a long length and I rediscover penmanship, foreign languages, and dreams.
I felt like the eternal nymph, muse, and sprite only by my imagination infused with some music in the background. As I define myself as some fantasy creature, my awareness returns to my human state and I smile at the idea for I am nothing like those things. But today I have found my peace at last after some singing and some bowing of the knee.
While enduring this difficult financial time, I work hard to untangle my creative heart that is weighed down by burden. I found myself doing what I have always done, singing to my hearts content and scribbling notes of influence. I suppose I compared myself to those imaginary beings only because as I take note of how others I have loved seemed to have grown, I seem to remain a child floating about like some untameable thing. For a while I mourned it, even specifically to one I had loved much. However, I am happy to recognize that by rejoicing in the successes of others, I have matured and no longer envy because my life has been blessed. I even consider the influence I might have brought about as an artistic individual and I am glad for it.
The rain pours and my attentions come in and out of the window to take part of the natural music of drops hitting the rooftops, pavement, and dirt. Music has taken presidence in my creative life lately and I am not sure why. Perhaps it is time to develop those skills or perhaps my spirit longed for some tool to better express itself. For the time being, poetry and music are my art.
Aside from entertaining my young nieces, I have had limited experience with different dialects and still an audition required a specific one. I attended the audition only for the promise of socializing afterward with some friends that were trying out. And so I read and slipped in and out of my own American standard accent into something that sounded like Mary Poppins.
My lack of preparation ended a few weeks back as I increasingly dedicated time to not only audition material but physical fitness and spiritual health. I'm paying careful attention to my pocketbook and calendar in order to keep my priorities as it relates to my well being and the obedience to God.
There is no gap in my life between creativity and the spiritual life and it becomes more and more apparent by the events I fill my calendar with. I admit that I am not gifted with speaking in an impromptu fashion before crowds but I do recognize the talent for the written expressions be it my own or those inspired by a script or playwright. I've recently attended a revival of spiritual renewal wrapped up in a young man with powerful words accompanied by beats and I've supported the youngest child in re-creating the Christmas story.
Creativity comes in all ranges and dialects and fashion of voice, providing encouragement and reviving the soul's purpose, touching a heart and sometimes reclaiming innocence.
Choices, small and great, line up a mile long and opportunities are grasping for my attention. A creature wormed its way into my heart this morning which one might call the "Christmas Spirit." And so I decided how to best spend ten dollars until my unemployment check arrives and I calculate how to best prepare for upcoming auditions by my meagre pocketbook.
There are several plays that I have to read, and quick, before I make any appointment. I needed to get to the library, get some exercise, and eat enough to concentrate. These things come into play, I'm sure, with struggling artists and in this economy many seem to be a "struggling" something or other. I, however, count myself very fortunate for the work that I strive for. I read as part of my work, I study behaviour, and get to express beautiful and complex ideas through compelling art. I strum guitars and expand my vocal chords, I peruse through literature and collaborate with visionaries.
Not being blind to the world, I recognize my need for what the world calls "security," and I make repeated attempts for earning a paycheck in more conventional ways. In the meantime I am confessing my transgressions and filling up my soul with divine guidance and I live truly by grace and love alone. I chatted recently with an actress friend on the very subject of staying afloat by the artistic compromise, putting off artistic ambitions and devoting more time to making money. I can say that I live in a happy compromise, brought about by unfortunate circumstances and what I believe to be a simultaneos serendipitous happenstance, and there is a happy balance of strife and creativity.
Cold water washed out the stains of enchilada sauce from my fingernails and I now sit comfortable and satisfied. It might be strange to think of sharing a meal with others as something so spectacular, but this evening I certainly have happy thoughts of the last two evenings.
We enjoyed the long awaited meal that arrived between shots after seven, or so, hours of filming. My energy quickly spiraled downward as we prepared to shoot the final scenes of a short film. I had been greatly amused and delighted by the young filmmakers and my young co-stars, one being the tender age of four. As I took my break, with slice of pizza in hand, I realized that I was growing more fond of acting in films.
Acting on stage gives me a sense of a safe distance from the audience and when the show is over, I tend to head straight to the dressing room to hide and change clothes and sneak out of the theater. I am able to experience a different world as someone else, it is magical, then I return to myself-changed. It seems a very personal and solitary experience. On the other hand, what I've discovered with film is a strange comfort of the silent ones holding microphones and steering cameras as if they were holding me up in support. It seems, strangely, more collaborative and I feel more freedom in being spontaneous with my craft; I experience a faster access to my emotion and instant return to myself when the camera stops rolling.
So today, Sunday, was my day of rest and unwinding from the past week of running about on auditions and scheduling more. At a friends' dinner table , I presented my famous enchiladas and we enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner followed by a movie. More than the holidays, I look forward to more meals around the table and certainly on set, hopefully. I await the arrival of my Aunt and Uncle and the arrival of my best school friend from out of state in the next few weeks. For now, I look forward to soft music and lots of peaceful rest. I prepare for bed, pray and engage God this evening into loving conversation until I fall asleep. Shalom.
With no caffeine stirring me on, I am under the influence of something strange. I am high-strung perhaps, or maybe a little restless, and for that I opt to listen to music without lyrics.
This morning is set back by lack of hot water as I try to breathe through the compounding wieght of an empty bank account and full schedule. An overwhelming response to my resumes have this weekend packed with auditions and a film shoot and a last minute attendance to a networking mixer landed some extra opportunity.
Scheduling work and meetings with photographers and directors is an appealing alternative to the consumerism pull of the holidays not to mention the temptations of making myself sick from eating too much. I'm sorry to say, but not too disappointed by the fact that I will not purchase a single gift for anyone. I am, in a sense, forced to keep my atttitude of gratitude for every meal and every dependance on God for my provision. The greatest gift would be for me is to say that I have recieved numerous creative, paid, opportunites that would keep my schedule full.
And so I get started, again, on the preparation and exercise, the study and the searching. Somewhere along the way, I will take a shower.
Sunday afternoon was all a day should be. People gathered to reflect on music and a short film and engage in discussion over a cup of coffee and complimentary baked goods. As a discussion facilitator, I hoped to spark up conversation and was delighted that there was no shortage of opinions, sharing, or comaderie. A friend and I remained at the cafe to chat and endulge in some silliness after everyone else dispersed.
As result of my involvement with this community, I have chosen to collaborate and act in a short student film. Beyond my need for fresh reel footage for my resume, I am glad to participate in a film with an important message. I was amused by the grateful response to my acceptance of the role, the filmmaker treated me as if I was some well-known actress and it made me laugh a little. In all honesty, its a great relief to take a break from all the auditions with lights blaring in your face, blank stares, and scrutiny over my figure and appearance.
Throughout the morning, I battled some pain of one of the chronic illnesses I was diagnosed with and I simply took the liberty to enjoy an hour of television and lie on my bed with book in hand. I, strangely enough, found some relief from a cup of home-brewed Hazelnut coffee and by stepping out into the yard to water the plants and flowers.
Spending the last of my dollars on toilet paper, I strolled out to the local grocery store on a beautiful, yet unusually, warm fall afternoon. I am truly contented with the quiet stillness that is my life for the moment, despite the struggle. I go with the freedom to spend the day reading, reviewing scripts, and ensuring wellness. I wouldn't have come to this sense of appreciation without a few phone calls, charity, and the blessings of being able to create. All praise to the creator!
When the bright sun made its appearance to my consciousness, prior to my eyes opening, I quite believed that I had awakened somewhere else. It was so close that I could touch it. The air was cold just like it might be in New York city at this time of year. I would have run down some unknown street to refresh my senses and jump start my mind into positivity. Then I would head out to some theater or coffeeshop, mingle with community and act upon the urgency to improve our surroundings....
Aware but content that I was where I was this morning, I walked through the lovely and shaded suburbs and got my exercise, sang prayers on my knees, and groomed my illustrious black hair that is admired and by a regular patron, from where I write, whom I have grown fond of and who I allow touch my strands. I participate in many of the activities of my dream but they are still too far and few between for me. And I have spent my last dollars on a cup of coffee and biscotti in order to leave my room for awhile and witness life for awhile. For a few days, I will be able to afford only one outing to a library where I might let my mind exhale a bit.
I turn to my library collection and I pick up Virginia Woolf, my first source of literary inspiration, and I sigh as I hear her, almost audibly, speak about how women writers need funding.....and I just think over and over again, "I can't do this anymore." I cry out to God, please supply some freedom in this area. There are too many burdens and I am worn out by my tears. "I can't do this anymore...."
Perhaps it is not well known that I spend many a night alone, mainly due to lack of funds, also as result of a few pre-decision. I read many articles that included interviews with actors who speak of sacrifice and seclusion as means of preparing for work. One might describe these choices as self-discipline.
Today I pushed my body beyond sluggishness and onto my daily routine of exercise. For this week, however, I attempted to push a little harder for my well-being, contributing to emotional health as well as my physical body. I am sore but satisfied that my body, at my age, swiftly responds by becoming firm-fast. The nine o'clock hour approaches and I'm already a bit tired but auditions have been calling my name and I must be prepared and rested.
Tonight I felt the loneliness creep up a bit and I would certainly call out the few friends who are passionate about community involvement and art if only I had the funds. I am saddened by those who violate themselves with more destructive activity and disregard the God-given life hidden behind what our world considers attractive and significant. I doubt an actress would so neither willingly choose to have to be nude in a film nor would any painter want to draw stick figures and so it has progressed for me spiritually and artistically, not to mention my striving for influencing social change by allowing myself to change. Some do so with art, some do so with good deeds. In life, I want more than being a part of the "herd", a blind sighted consumer, casting aside the majority of precious time in shopping malls or in bars and nightclubs with the unrecognizable motive of trying to "fill" up my spirit by pseudo-frivolity or even constructing and maintaining relationships through mechanical devices. I am easily forgotten and excluded by the choice to abstain. And for that, I am often home with my books or striking up conversations with strangers in coffee shops, seeking "live" people, more in the way and manner that we were meant to live. So my desires must be content with the "less is more" mentality which I must say has been a humbling yet positive thing. The result has been healthier respect for myseslf and increased individuality and growing respect for the uniqueness of others. That is the choice.
I was laying under a white fleece blanket when one tear streamed down my cheek in combination of gratitude and petition for the brokenhearted, hungry, and despairing. From there I jolted to take note of the pending triumph sure to come, or at the very least the confidence in divine consolation. I marvel at the the thought of the whole world breathing in and out as God sustains.
I am so happy to have such friends in the creative community who are so lovely in spirit and eager in expression and generous in their support of others. I recieved many an encouraging response to an upcoming gathering of the spiritual nature. So many opinions and beliefs shall vary in discussion but I think the exploration and "awakening" of such a topic in one's heart and mind through creative arts will have us all united, if even for a brief moment.
I return shortly to my blankets and pillow laying all anticipations aside for the promise of renewal and refreshing. My lips, however, may still continue to move until I fall asleep.
A little cold forced a lot of rest, a lot of rain brightened my eyes and smile. In preparation for a small trip to a city or two in order to showcase my talents to persons unknown, I removed old sentiments and drab clothes often grey and black. I'm preparing to take another chance at opportunities on the horizon and lots of affection surrounds me.
Recently, I have found myself drawn to bright colors, perhaps to offset or splash the dreary weather, myself being similar to paint splashing the canvas with some life by wearing them on my face and body. It seems to stem from freedom and community.
Auditions are again calling for my attention and I carefully consider each one by in order to avoid chaos in overbooking or submitting myself to something I truly have no attraction to. My overall success has often come through aquantance and it has been nothing short of a blessing although I never take it for granted and continue trying out for roles in the traditional fashion. Still, I don't carry any cynicism for those I'm to meet in an upcoming venture and have a quite confidence accompanied by a twinge of anticipation.
In keeping with this awakening of spirit and calm exhuberance, I'm changing up my photos even to reflect a recently candid and colorful person.
Every year I note the rain and it becomes more fitting each year to continue in writing. I seek no scholarly approval on my gifting but I am aware of its need for improvement and training. Even so, I am glad to utilize it here for my own expression despite any great concern for accuracy in spelling or form.
In one afternoon, it appears that I had conquered mild illness. After about twelve hours of sleep, I arose with a leap onto my feet to church and I did so with such intention and eagerness. Afterwards, I earned a free ticket to see two dear friends in their matinee production by taking tickets at the door of the theater. Beforehand I enjoyed a nice warm piece of pie and a cup of coffee. Contentment and pleasure delighted my day from the beginning to even at this very moment as I take in the aroma of the beans soaked in hot peppers from my kitchen.
Some lump in my arm and pain from my kidney area leave me with some concern as I struggle to make ends meet and stop long enough to pray and recieve guidance. And performing, or even thinking about myself and all my burdens, have bored me. Still today, I really savored life in the stews, in the laughter, in my worshipful singing, not having to do anything. I do understand, quite seriously, that what I will do in just a minute will be simple and yet profound. I will love others through my intercessions and be certain to gain all the love and wisdom I seek from God in order to lead others to joy, relief, encouragement and love. Perhaps it will, in the near future, be through a performance. Even so, should I remain with this awakening, I will know joy.
Floored again by the blessings bestowed by God, I am eager to forward them on. I had been renewed by a two hour phone conversation with a childhood friend who has found his own nitche in the entertainment industry and later by an email from a cast member that expressed admiration for my characterization work during rehearsal. To top it all off, and what sent my blood surging, was a sermon on the topic of calling.
At the height of my understanding of the preacher was the concept that one's deepest desire wasn't always synonymous with what we really want to do. As a private and anyalytical person, as once stated in my previous entries, expressing emotion openly is something I least desire to do. Acting requires the full expression and vunerability, even tapping into personal resources, to produce the desired outcome. I don't generally want to do this and often find myself fighting the process until I see a performance day approaching.
Having been placed in several personal circumstances where being emotionally honest has come to mean to me, the practical and even right thing to do; I find it the right thing to be. In artistic avenues, I am grateful for a director and fellow actors whom I can trust in "baring a soul." By allowing myself to push through the thing I least like to do, I am uncovering the calling and enjoying the privelege of what has become so fulfiiling. Now go ahead, ask me how I feel!
It may very well be that I have gone into some sort of shock, self-defensive status. I'm sure some of you might be revisiting, "A chorus line's, "I feel nothing"-song. I don't know the words by heart but I get the gist of the sentiments, certainly after this weekend. Perhaps I faked a little this evening at rehearsal for I certainly didn't connect to notheing but anxiousness. My anxiousness has matured in the sense that it takes form of a busybody. My character was lost and I prevailed to have my concerns at the forefront.
There are tears that should be shed for so many reasons, all for the feelings of utter helplessness. There are some committments I fear I can't keep due to finances and an overwhelming concern for everyone that I'm close to. We are being humbled in our prosperity and its the greatest danger that we might lose our humanity--no pun intended to the title of our show.
My director read it very clear; I was not letting a vunerable side out. In preparation, I had. I watched some images of a crucified Christ to prepare and believed that Rebecca needed to feel first, release first, but I had stopped there and didn't give any of that to my work--I'm just too tired. I'm so tired that I've ceased to know what tired is. I'm wired and my heart is beating fast, but my greatest hope is that once I stop moving, lay on my bed....I might sob a little....just to get me back.
Due to a pending rehearsal schedule, we gathered who we could from our cast and charged, full-speed, into the script regardless. So I was the appointed reader for the missing actors today and switched from one character and gender, to another. The immediate dive into the emotions and conflicts of these personas was tiring but quite effective in exercising impromptu connection with my emotional resources. Reiterating to the director that I, quite frankly, welcome having my "a*& kicked" into shape, she proceeded to draw from that well.
I stifle emotion quite regularly in my own life. Admitting this is the first step to recovery, I suppose, so I was very happy with the praise I recieved for my work today. Perhaps it was foretelling some real-life heart to hearts not only that night but for the upcoming performances with other troupes. And in addition, in hindsight, the last few weeks have done more for the exposure of my heart than any other in quite a long time. It is all preparation, so well-rounded-even divine.
No heightened joy or profound state follows this but certain unfolding of past revelation or vision. I mentioned to my director on the way home, after some personal conversation, that I had always desired spending days in a theatre and at rehearsal-and I did. This was the beginning, I thought! Before we set off to our own rehearsal, I met up with my director who was costume designer for another production, at a theatre, where a mutual friend had a lead role. It was there I realized where I was; I was sitting on a stool, running lines with our friend, as they painted sets. All day doing theatre! On a weekday on top of it all! This is what I was doing with my days and in the weeks to come, there will be more (with pay, to top it all off!) GOD IS GOOD.
After being called back to perform in a show that I had scheduling conflicts with, I ended an emotionally difficult day on a happier note. The day was one which tested my patience and faith, not to mention the physical weight of holding stress and hunger. I knew that I would receive funds today and I sensed that something good would happen despite my circumstances.
The play that I return to has a new director, one that I've grown close with over the years. In our discussion of the upcoming production, we passionately agreed on the level of skill required for those wanting to participate. A proficiency in comprehending lengthy and wordy scripts is something I believe many people overlook in our age of "comment" and "reply's" in texts and message boards. I am a romantic in the desire to preserve how affections can be conveyed through lengthy letters and in books. How much more is it that an actor maintains their inner-dictionary? Where else do we find such fueling for the soul than through the work provided by a playwright, poet, or novelist?
Revived by a large meal and good conversation, I was ready to view some fine acting in a film but instead picked up PRIDE & PREJUDICED and felt my creative juices overflow and expand by crossing old familiar words and imagining the textures of the voices for each character. I was exhilarated at how reading could bring such satisfaction since I had been recently occupied and at times, consumed, by my situation and it brought conflict against enjoying great moments.
Nostalgia sank in as I brought the book to my nose, smelled the paper and remembered it as a gift so many years ago from the one man I truly loved. How wonderful! What things can trigger responses and how grateful I am that through some trials, I have reconnected with what I hope to express in my performances.
These times are the times worth noting, not because of some great accomplishment or romantic setting but for the story and the struggle that lies within. I remember that as my stomach grumbles and I long for some meaty substance for dinner. Until I recieve a check, I am a temporary vegetarian. I have made my escape to a cafe where, for an hour or two, I can feel a sense of luxury.
However, I will continue to repeat that I am far more fortunate that a majority of the world. Of the last few movies I had seen, there were two which touched upon situations that had led characters to a state of poverty (one in which I was a background actress.) Though I highly doubt I will reach either lows, the point that was pressed upon me was that it was possible. I would rather not have ever viewed a blockbuster film about the Holocaust and have it miraculously eradicated from history by simply wishing it away if it meant all those lives would be saved. But things like this have happened and happen and they are stories to be told through art, film, on print, and on stage.
I haven't the solution to a failing economy nor do I know the answer to my rising medical bills, future health, or unemployment status. Learning to take one day as it comes has been a great blessing. There is rivival with each meal, each encouragement, and each opportunity to reconnect with my passions. I thoroughly enjoy a borrowed book from the library, a downward facing dog position, prayer, and even practicing my karaoke songs on You Tube (don't tell anyone.) This is part of what makes me who I am and I remember that each character has their own.
The point is that as unfortunate as my situation is, the goal is to live my story the best way I can. Through it, I learn to comprehend hunger, illness, brokenheartedness, failure, and eventually victory. We as actors, have the opportunity to share the human experience and it should never be something exploited or even become arrogant over. I had five dollars in my pocket today, I spent three dollars and twenty-five cents to enjoy an evening telling you my story.
Spiriling down from the never failing adreniline rush that follows an audition, I decided to make matters much worse by drinking a highly-caffinated Mocha in San Francisco's North Beach. After ingesting a vegetarian pizza, I headed out to meet another prospective collaborator in the artistic field. To say I dislike the auditionin process is an understatement.
I am rarely nervous or anxious but more eager to jump into the work which, I believe, cannot be projected to work with a performer one has only known by repeating the same lines over and over again in under five minutes. Because of this, or because I question my talent, there seems to be a lot of forced exhuberance displayed for some entertaining mediums that I cannot seem to fake or exude within my imagination to channel through my body. Surely, it is lack of interest for the project. For this particular audition, money was the only motive and so I wasted my time becuase I couldn't "fake" it. Perhaps this "flaw" is a compliment to my integrity (and so I remain poor) but then would this be an insult to some actors and we return to my original thought, that I am void of talent?
I have quite an embarrasing disdain for pretentious hopefuls in a waiting room who loudly discuss their projects and list their resume experiences for all to hear and those quiet ones who eye one another suspiciously and size them up. I nestle in a corner and clutch my book to my chest to shut my tired eyes when a young woman, sweet and beautiful, strikes up a friendly conversation that doesn't include the subject of acting or accomplishments.
When finally the day ended with a series of discoveries at the final audition, where I was encouraged to explore and play with the insane mindsets, I was chauffered to the train station in an air of lighthearted conversation and continued on my way home with new perspectives and refreshed self-assurance in my craft.
Summer is by far my least favorite time of year. I am not one who does well in the heat and often am forced to push myself to keep going and find relief in various locations. I am aware, however, how events and activity run loose this time of year and I remind myself to stay awake. With all this opportunity and freedom of time to devote to creative pursuits, I am recently taken back to the rising passions and how they used to come by me.
A belated birthday gift excited me beyond any gift I can recall recieving in a long while. A film version of Hamlet brought to mind my beggining Shakespeare acting course where I, quity badly, portrayed Ophelia and all her madness. I was aroused with desire for the words and story again. It was in that whirlwind of excitement that I saw what I truly was missing was that initial drawing in when my soul recognized what it was attracted to. I needed to get back into bed with a blanket and collection of William's plays and poetry.
I collaborated with a friend photographer to get dirty with make-up and locations to eventually exhibit a more accurate me, wrinkles and newfound expressions. I climbed upon dumpsters and squatted in dust and rocks.
I ventured out to other cities to be rejected, to be praised, to meet new friends and sometimes to just turn around and go back home because a shoot had been postponed. I even allowed my female status to be delighted, but not seduced, by a handsome face even now and then.
At the end of all this, finally and ultimately, I knelt down and raised my hands for the blessings of it all. I gave a toast in form of an offering of praise to God for taking care of me when all my efforts to financially provide for myself produces little. I am then renewed with joy for coming this far all by the Grace of God, one meal at a time, one paycheck at a time for every modeling shoot or work or time spent working on a film.
I read an interview with a famous actress recently where the journalist asked quite an insightful question. She was asked if she had missed the simple life of a struggling artist, she responded with an absolute yes. The struggle in "struggling artist" has found its way to me only just recently.
My status as both performer, recently promoted to assistant director for a production, and unemployed from what one would call a "real" job, has me in a ripe position to enjoy myself. Even my new living surroundings, a former storage spot connected to a dance studio, is old but large with everything a home needs and its all for me to enjoy. I am fully equipped with every artistic necessity: a large bookcase, paints, a rose garden, a coffeepot, and an open window.
Naturally, the conflict comes in balancing it all; washing the clothes and enjoying a few frivolities and coffee and teas, and the attention needed to provide oneself with soap and tootpaste. Unfortunatley I have the added burden of bloodwork and ultrasounds and biopsies to which I have pleaded with God that I had had enough of. Herein lies my own little twists in turns and maintenance of joy and peace through it all, working and resting. To replay a favorite quote that supports the belief that "Joy is the serious buisiness of Heaven," I am consistently returned to a position of happy countenance.
It seems I'm passing the torch as I take on production responsibilites on a few productions. A repeated image of myself panning out and taking an overview of what pieces best fit in a performance, sets a pathway for my own expressions in the end.
It seems no mistake that I will be portraying a quiet, observing woman who uncovers her great ability to facilitate unions. In another upcoming performance, I will take on the historical Mary Magdalene. Both parts are based on real people and I'm surprised at the almost prophetic tone of my previous journal entry. Not only did I desire to give life to real, grown women on stage as opposed to young adult ingenues or some simple song and dance girl (not that these roles are insignificant) but I was delighted to also aide in the mentoring role of real young women and even those young to realizing their artistic dreams. It was in this that I could see my own growth and womanhood emerged not unlike a cliched butterfly. Growing generally involves mentoring.
Since the last show I participated in had ended, I have auditioned only three times. Each, I've noticed, were chased after with little thought and fueled by the confidence of having just done a show. Normally after a show (perhaps other actors feel the dwindling of their confidence or increase in their natural shyness as well) I opted to go against the mood of what the previous show projected. It never dawned on me to actually pay attention to what was going on internally.
Now I am no mystic by nature but it does seem that many of my roles were reflective of my personal life. A spiritual revival was certainly in order by the time I was cast as the Blessed Margaret of Castello. And from there I felt altered and comprehended a great deal of a relational experience with God after that. Portraying that character left me with a broader sense of purpose and nothing since then has reached me as anywhere near "inspirational" as far as my acting life was concerned (perhaps "life" should not be so picked apart and segregated.)
Finally arriving at a very serene, and almost uncharacteristic mellow state, I find myself not very suitable for the usual comedic roles I've been accustomed to linking up with. I consider that maybe God has healed the agitated wounds of my past so that laughter might become more genuinely appreciated rather than acting as a mere disguise or "comfort food" for my angst. Laughter still remains the number one turn-on for my soul but I suspect that there is something yet still to reveal on stage, women with certain properties: wise, intellectual, matronly, and virtuous. Sensing that I was always a serene person, and that many things attempted to attack that serenity, I grasp full sense of that part of myself and hopefully seek to express it in different persons on stage and not chase after the next thing. Happily I stay where I am with who I am.
With a reading around the corner, of a more serious nature, I anticipate moving into a "performance" space of my own in a few days. There I will set up a few canvasses and perhaps a music stand and corner for instruments, expand on the fullness of the creative life, refine my skills, and see what comes of it.
Too tired and too excited to grieve the closing of a wonderful show and beautiful experience, I rested comfortable and soundly-in wonderous peace. It wasn't until I crossed the street heading towards the office that I noticed a blind man guided by a dog. I inhaled the crisp air and exhaled tears. I left the theater and put the script down, grateful to recieve a bit more rest than the previous few weeks of tying loose ends, attending dress rehearsals, and urging friends and family to attend. I am left with a "good" sense of exhaustion, one of a job well done. I had shared with one of the cast members that the lines were keeping me awake and then we proceeded to joke that Margaret was "haunting" me. I don't mind that; It is apparent that her influence will remain with me-as long as I seek to be aware of it. THAT, I don't want to let go of. I have been changed.
As I look forward, I can say with confidence that no other portrayal could affect me in such a way as this one did. There were a few conversations about Hollywood, nudity, arrogance, and self-image issues that many an actor confronts. I see no end to pursuing this craft, yet, I am sure to be cautious in what I will allow to enter my psyche and heart. I think of the youth that were in this production and I will keep in mind to pray for their sense of innocence, protection from corruption, and wisdom to notice the differences between that which edifies that which is good and that which might taint them.
There are many good roles hope to take on and I hope to share in the continued work of the other beloveds in this cast of Margaret of Castello. I sign off, continuing with joy and love of this blessed opportunity and with a few tears, I smile, feeling the strong presence of God and the hope to influence all that I encounter with all he represents; Love.
Thank you my cast; I adore you. Thank you Margaret.
My tears streamed along with the rain this morning and yet I was overjoyed with the freshness and release of it all as I carried a wounded heart. The influence of Margaret and the presence of God comforted me. I had said to a friend last evening that I had, "missed Margaret." I want to live as she did, focused and secure that God would always be with her when the world rejected her. For a few brief moments, I get to embody those things.
Scents of fall and flowers seemed to rise from the pavement and it brought about a nostalgia, reminding me of school days. Some sense and excitement of the unkown, or even best to come, swirls about me unseen but felt. I'm anxious to step upon the stage this final weekend as a service to the people who hear the message of the story and as a reminder to myself where my life lies.
All these weeks of study, gathering, and memorizing led to a beautiful release and reception. What has come about from intense strain on my body, time, and mind in participation with this show has not out-weighed what I have recieved. I developing a character on stage, I've discovered that that character shaped my own beyond measure.
I look about me with new eyes. I'm seeking pure intentions or what we would call Holiness, as much as humanly possible. A denial of the world's distorted standards, looking for beauty, and chasing the truth and freedom that comes along with it. I remember more of the influence off stage than upon it. I remember attaining more peace;I've learned the art of peaceful reconciliation and peaceful endings. The eyes of my heart widened to the blind man on the street, the deaf in a cafe, and the handsome young man without arms or legs who graced me with his beautiful smile and brought tears to my eyes. And with that, a greater acceptance and bravery within myself and my minor deformities. I am humbled at a far greater level to fall to my knees.
My closest girlfriend commented on her sense of guilt in connection with her lack of devotion. I shared only what I was glad to have arrived at. That love was the flow from which devotion comes; no aughts or shoulds need apply. Simply acceptance. The devotion I take with me is to one whom I could find my source of channelling what I alone could not sustain. Laying aside pride to recieve can be the greatest challenge for it is the inconcievable gift. Love. I have loved the process of becoming Margaret and I have grown to love the beautiful souls of the cast-both young and matured.
With one more weekend left of "being" Margaret; I'm already determined to take what I've been inspired by and carry it out into everything I do. All inspired, all in faith, all in Love.
Nerves swim accross my belly only at the thought of people that I know being an audience member on this opening weekend. I've set the script aside for an hour to recognize the subject matter and my participation in this production as an act of worship.
And so I sway accross my seat with the sounds of praise streaming from the speakers. Lifting my eyes up and crying to the old hymm, "How great thou Art." It never fails to touch the deepest part of me.
It must be a common horror for almost every actor when he or she comes upon a "severed head," that moment when a blank stare is all that is produced on the rehearsal stage. I'm taking notice that these incidents seem to occur, not only at points of complete exhaustion, but after a series of continuous rehearsals. Something in the brain goes awry and a zombie replaces the once passionate actor whose speech was so profound.
It has been quite a whlie where exhaustion has had me ill, missing the first rehearsal since we've began. The word, "flu," had struck a slight fear in not only myself but the rest of the cast. Turns out that I will be just fine for our week of dress rehearsals.
Not at all inclined to superstion and pretty committed to correct doctirine, I listened to my fellow actor praise the spirit of Margaret "watching over" us. All of us in the production are feeling the pressure with this time crunch as we are a bit behind with the details. Still, my heart softened and I recognized a sense of peace. I, in my reflection, have "thanked" Margaret's influence and even dreamed of visitng her incorrupt body in Italy someday. In those moments of daydreaming, I could envision the tears streaming down my face as I stood nearby. Moments like that really save me from seeing any of this as "work, " especially when I am tired or discouraged.
It was this week that I truly realized that I was carrying a lot of weight in this show; I don't know how I was oblivious to the fact that I was the LEAD. I panicked. There followed my first real experience with stage-fright, then soon after illness. For the past two days, I have had over 10 hours of sleep a night and each day the lines have smoothly run accross the digital billboard of my mind. OF COURSE this production is different, OF COURSE it is spiritually influenced. Going along on this topic, I believe in evil spiritual opposition. There is a lot of reference to prayer and one line in particular, Margaret says, "I need to pray." This line is so simple but so very profound for me. I've heard it said by a couple of pastors that if the "spiritual hero's" prayed, how much more should the rest of us have need? (Which really signifies that we are all capabable of much and really "levels" us all.)
Tommorrow begins our full-week of rehearsal then opening. A flood of excitement and great expectation fills me for not since my participation of THE LARAMIE PROJECT have I anticipated great response from the audience. I'm hoping my prayers will improve in their passionate expression and that the message of Margaret's faith will extend beyond her lifetime and influence the souls of all that experience it with us. Amen.
We've at last reached that point of release by having all lines memorized. Here is where the nostalgia seems to set in a bit. Our show opens in two weeks and we are in that flush of excitement when comfortability with our characters and each other have allowed us a humorous comadarie. I'm happy in the moments of connecting my life with a fellow actor, learning about one another and sharing our stories. Those are the moments I always miss when a production ends.
This evening we are scheduled to work out some of the harder parts of this piece, at least for myself anyway. So tonight, I will experience Margaret's dismissal from the convent and her death to full force-all lines memorized. It is mid-week, the hump of the week (no pun intended) and most with full-time work outside of acting, often feel the final lap of business leading up to the weekend. I am a little ahead of the game having all my laundry done, groceries supplied, and confidence in my memorization. Good thing too because tonight should be quite strenous.
I heard somewhere that it takes three weeks to develop a habit. Despite the effects that hypothyroidism has upon the inflection of my voice, I comprehend that there is no escaping my responsiblity to exhibit some extra-effort in maneuvering the sounds I make. At the third week mark of our rehearsals the script work and physical embodiments are set. The time has now arrived to combine the two into one fluent expression.
Perhaps I'm not the only one who fears laying aside the lines in attempts to act, naturally akward persons leaning on our paper crutch. Soon after we release our notes, we begin to move about the stage with confident freedom. In this case, the script interferes with the literal crutch I lean on for support and the freedom I've found in "blindness."
I was exhausted last night and my voice found difficulty in acheiving anything beyond a monotone state. My body easily, though not without some pain afterwards, settled to a hunched and twisted form. But with script in hand, I missed my favorite part of playing Margaret-listening attentively. Today I needed some inspiration and spent a few hours watching interviews with some of the greatest actors of our time. Two of my personal favorites couldn't ephasize enough the importance of listening. I was aware of a vocal disconnect and became acutely aware of the challenge called upon the physical status of Margaret of Castello, the requirement of having lines memorized as an actor, and the difficulties I carry within my psychological and physical being.
I've hit several pitfalls this week and right in the center of them all I remember the wisdom and the peace provided by the words of God, my online sermon studies, and of course-Margaret. Last night I slept in a car, and pushing aside all my self-pity, was one specific line from the play that encouraged me to smile. Floods of images crowded my mind of not my own blessings but the extreme suffering and poverty of others. It was then that I began to sleep soundly in a luxury car, in a safe neighborhood, with a decent paying job to head to in the morning.
And so here I sit, tired yet satisfied, with a hot cup of coffee in hand and smiling faces all around me. The pages of Margaret's life in front of me and images of actresses and novelists, maps of the world, postcards from friends posted up with thumbtacks surrounding my work area. Contrary to my eager sentiments to have this show over so that I could, "get on with life," find a place of my own to live in, I am soaking in the anticipation of conforming my body, adjusting my mind, and interacting with the other performers this evening. Its the process that I am in; I'm in the potter's hand so to speak.
At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic or something like, I earnestly sought a bottle of wine to relax my wound-up nerves after this evening's rehearsal-alas, there was none. I am not dissapointed, angry, or unhappy. Perhaps I was thrown off slightly by the lack of concentration and seriousness in the behavior of the younger actors, or perhaps it was the muggy weather, or too much caffine that seemed to stifle a deeper expression of Margarita. I believe that a sense of unstability in the rehearsal process has something to do with it. No doubt my personal life is a little similar although today I experienced great joy in my devotional time with God; I really emotionally connected with Him by both my petitions and endearments. I was really joyful today. My personal relationship with God has deepened.
I'm sad to say, as an actress, that I am not quite as ecstatic over this production as I thought I might be. I say that not as any discredit to the troupe but as an honest declaration for myself. My mind is elsewhere but not apart from direct influence provided by the subjects this play touches upon; the soul and its purpose, relationship and community. There are, for me, personal opportunities on the horizon for real acts of service that I feel I need as example of really expressing my faith, to really feel an impact-make, an impact.
We were asked to "take it up a few notches," in terms of our expression. I can, and shurely will, the more I am familiar with the script. But more than this, I just desire so beyond "acting" at this point. More than just "playing," "portraying," and "seeming to be!" "To be or not to be" is NOT the question-you either are or not. Acting, to me, is never "being" anything. Art imitates life, as it is said, and we are to "imitate" according to our skill of making it "be-lievable." Right now, I want to feel the increase and impact of life-beliefs. (I don't know if I know what I'm talking about, or if it makes sense!)
I consider two trips of service around the corner, one to India and one to Brazil. If this production were to take place after I had returned, would I have more experiences to draw upon in playing Margarita? I think it no coincidence that my pastor has been speaking on "re-plotting" your soil-expanding one's pot size to fit "new wineskins." Like my tense nerves, my spirit longs to be stretched. My mind is settled on that for now and although it may be of no contribution to an acting website, it is the truth.
I am tired this evening but inwardly I feel so serene, secure and eager in my own purpose. Perhaps Margarita has influenced my behavior and not the other way around. Thank you Margarita and thank you God. (I'm truly tearing up now.)
Today, I forced myself to rest after a long week and a long Saturday rehearsal. I reflected on our Friday night practice and how one discussion influenced the way in which I should approach my character. Marie, an actress who portrays our Prioress drove me home and I, much like the previous blog, explained in full detail my own physical struggles and spirtual devotion.
It would, of course to most, make sense that I should draw upon my own experinces. I was determined not to, believing it a disservice to Margaret, place any part of myself in this portrayal. Marie excitedly gushed at such an opportunity, exclaiming how fitting it was that I should be given this role. I remember for a few moments being silent, not oblivious to what was being said but a little shut-down with realization that a release of my bravado in relation to my feelings concerning my own health was required to move forward for art's sake-and quite certain, a higher purpose as well. With most relationships, I've placed a resilient and dismissive attitude before my pain because I wanted to be self-sufficient and never pitied. Perhaps Margaret felt that way, maybe she had to draw on God's strength as well...but that requires honestly, with God first and then with others. I'm certain that by her devotion to confession and prayer her relationship with God was an honest one; it certainly is revealed in the script.
I preceeded to do work on the script, rephrasing the words to reveal the emotion and motives and I very slightly nestled my body into the curvature that was in my spine when finally we got on foot. I allowed myself to really feel my hips, one side a bit higher than the other and I emphasized it. My back relived the memories of that painful adolescence. One fellow actor even commented on my great posture, I merely attributed it to a strict dance teacher.
One assistant director even commented on my beauty, something that never ceases to shock me for I admit to a distorted image of my physcial self which has always prompted me to the acceptance of loving myself and others apart from one's outward appearance. He asked, "How would you make yourself ugly?" I truly laughed for I believed that not only that I was already unattractive, mostly due to my vitaligo (which I noticed another member of our cast also has), but I was confident in my skill to conform my face significantly without make-up. Of course, like I had mentioned, I have until now kept my diseases to myself. I have hidden my disfigurements well with clothing, suntan lotion, and make-up for years. More than this, I thought, what does it matter? Isn't this the lesson of this production; To look beyond one's outer shell, be it concrete or psychological? It is my challenge as an actress to convey it through behavior and a challenge to myself to be free of "covering-up," much like one line in the play addresses.
Here goes nothing...and everything....
This evening begins the second of rehearsals in which I am cast as Margaret of Castello. The story of her life, alone, brought me to instant tears. I've always longed for an outlet, in such a role as this, to combine all my spiritual, physical, and performance experiences and vunerably display them. So with that comes an intense sense of duty that makes me a bit nervous.
Perhaps for some performers it is a release to display emotions and situations that, in daily life, are difficult to articulate. I highly sense an immediate connection with the subject matter as well as, for the first time, an opportunity to have the character transform ME.
Diagnosed with a moderate degree of scholiosis at a young age, I was one fitting away from wearing a back brace. Fortunately, I grew six inches in one year and the curvature was stabilized until the doctors found little or no trace of it. More health struggles found their residence in my body including endometriosis, hypothyroidism, and the psychologically-troubling vitilago. The various symptoms often had me struggling with bouts of self-pity.
Over the years, I grew into a deep spiritual relationship with God that has since revealed to me my worth beyond my physical capabilities, or lack their of. I too, felt the longing to impart that same affection, especially those who were physcially suffering. I admit to being extremely timid and reading lines aloud, I am honored to present Margaret's characteristics and eager to carry her attitudes beyond the stage.
Conforming to her physical stature of 4 feet tall is another story....