A Little Fairy Tale I Wrote for My Partner for One of Our 26 Anniversaries Resurfaces

The Story of Two

            Once upon a time there was a little dryad and a great brown thing that that couldn’t decide what it wanted to be.  Now the little dryad was always running around the forest far away from the tree that was her home.  And the Brown Undecided often sat on a hill far away from the forest crying, because nobody loved him.

“Don’t leave us,” said the trees of the forest, but the dryad was too busy playing to listen to anyone.

“Stop crying,” said the birds of the sky to the Brown Undecided.

But he liked his tears.  “Don’t tell me what to feel,” he said.

So one day the dryad danced out of the forest just as the Brown Undecided fell asleep after a long night of crying.  Now dryads, when they go too far from their trees, grow weak and pale.  They can even die.  The little dryad didn’t know this.  She didn’t know why she felt so awful.  The world was open and beautiful.  The sky was so big.  But as she spent her last strength cusping a hill, she started to cry.

“I’m tired,” she said as she collapsed on a brown lump that seemed like it might be a soft place to sit.

“Oomph,” said the Brown Undecided.  “You’re kind of heavy for a wood fairy.”

“I’m not heavy!” the dryad said.  “I don’t get fat!”

“Well, I am not a place to sit,” said the Brown Undecided.  “If you would get up I could cry like I do every other day.”

“I’m the one crying,” said the dryad.  “And I thought you were nice.”

“I am nice!”

“No, you’re just a stupid lump.”

“Now I’m never taking you back to your forest,” said the Brown Undecided.

“Fine!”  said the dryad.  “See if I care.  I’m just going to die right here.”  Then she gave her best pout with the last energy she had.

The Brown Undecided looked at her, fuming.

Elsewhere there were dragons falling and fighting, elsewhere there were warriors sleeping, a princess singing the world into being, a prince practicing music alone in a meadow.

The Brown Undecided stood suddenly on his tiny feet.  It had been a while since he’d moved, so he was kind of wobbly.

“Where’s the damn tree?” he said.

The dryad, who really was fading, lifted one thin hand and pointed.  She couldn’t even fight any more.

“You’re not really that heavy,” said the Brown Undecided as he picked her up and took his first wobbly steps.

“I sat on you because I liked you,” the little dryad whispered.

Which is as close to romance as dryads and Brown Undecideds ever get.

I mean, after arguing like that, they had to get married so they could continue to drive each other crazy for the rest of their lives.

Meanwhile, they crossed a stream.  The dryad fell in a little bit and threatened to sue.  The Brown Undecided said it was the last time he’d play knight in shining armor if this was the kind of appreciation he was going to get.

But the trees in the forest shifted and danced, though no wind blew.  A sound of singing came toward them.

The wet dryad climbed onto the Brown Undecided’s back.

“This is my home,” she said.  “Do you want to stay here while you figure out who you are?”

“Will you always climb on me?” The Brown Undecided asked.  “Or will I actually get a little peace?”

“I’ll never climb on you again,” said the dryad, crossing her fingers behind her back (and not getting off).

And so they lived ever after, arguing and nit-picking into eternity.


I haven’t been blogging.  I feel hesitant to put words down, to commit, to say what I’m doing.  This is because the self-critical and doubting voices in my mind are having a field day already, and each morning I breathe in, breathe out, hear them, hear me.  It’s a kind of sacred thing, that listening.  I’m trying not to judge them.  I’m sinking into their fear, I’m watching the fears–my fears–get born.  And I’m getting up and living as I often have, pulled forward into the next chapter almost against my will.

Sometimes I think, for a moment, that I’d rather just be a yoga and meditation teacher.  Peace leaks out of my pores when I teach those things, I find myself in absolute center.  But a moment is about as long as I can even think it without wanting to laugh out loud because that’s just not who I am.  I am an artist.  Art is my spiritual path, the way I come into being, into aliveness, and while I imagine it would be an easier life to teach yoga and meditation, I can’t do that.  I can’t be that person.

I have to do this thing–going to New York more and more often already, way before I’d planned to, even, to audition, to get acting coaching, to connect with friends (surprisingly, too many to connect with in one visit or two or even three…how is that, when here in Boston I feel so isolated?).  I find it difficult to do this.  I find it difficult to come up with the faith, but luckily I can’t do anything else, so it is necessity that drives me and yoga and meditation that balance the drive.

I did my first audition in NYC in a decade and got the role.  I’m playing the bad mother again.  I don’t mind.  The script’s really good, especially for a short, and I liked the people and my gut said yes.  So…

I hope that I am old enough now to recognize the fantasy successes for what they are–fool’s gold.  I mean, I don’t mind money and prestige.  And poverty can and has made me desperate and miserable.  I’m glad to be financially stable.  BUT.  For so long success was something I needed to prove my worth, as so many of us do.  And now it’s just wanting to be in this necessity, this path, and to dig into what it is I have to learn as a spiritual being having a human experience.  And the fears, the critical and doubting thoughts…they are painful.  But it’s good pain if I’m moving through them, developing more compassion for myself and others, if I’m becoming more humble, if I’m knowing, as I am, that there are so many gifted actors out there, and I’m just taking my seat among them.

In college, my fiction teachers prophesized for me a success that didn’t come as fast or big as I wanted.  When I was 20, people said to me, as they do, “Remember me when.”  This only encouraged me to imagine my life rolling out easily before me like a red carpet, and while I worked hard, I was shocked into reality over and over again by how hard it all was–how I had to dig into myself to write, how I had to struggle with my own pain, try to make sense of suffering–my own and everyone’s–how my understanding of redemption kept changing…sometimes into a faith, strong and sure, in benevolence…and sometimes into doubt, sometimes acknowledging the truth that there are people who don’t make it, who are destroyed by the dark within or without.

I’ve been reading Stephen Cope again, and I know, as I have always known, that I am on this planet to tell what human stories I can know, live, feel, embody.  That’s all.  I know that with a kind of joy, and also with terror.  Because what if I fail?

I lived with fantasy covering my fear of failure for a long time.  But only in the running of Another Country Productions did I veer far away from the telling of my own stories.  And while I believe strongly in social justice and equality, while I am glad Another Country supported the mission of all voices being heard equally, more and more, over the last nine years, the voice that grew fainter was mine.  I’m not supposed to administer anything.  I’m just supposed to tell stories.  And when the critical voices in my head say that my own stories aren’t as valuable, I remember performing my first one woman show at Holy Cross College in 1998 for their Zero Tolerance for Violence Against Women Week.  I did a collection of monologues and performance poems I’d written on the subject, including my own experiences of violence, and, performing them, I felt a kind of transformation occur.  I felt free, I felt inside something true.  Afterward a young women lined up, and waited to talk to me.  More than one burst into tears when it was her turn.  Tina D’Elia turned me on to that gig, and I have to remember that if my dharma is the telling of stories, the performing of true stories, then the way I can best transform myself and the world is through just that.

So, I reincarnate, again.  Good-bye to producing theatre.  Hello to the unknown.  I’m leaping.  I’m not closing my eyes, though.  At least, not yet.