What is the most important question?


I fought through the brambles and barbed wire to get to this one.

And it’s so simple.

The most important question is: What do I want?

Not what should I want, not what can I get because I’m afraid I won’t get what I want, not what do I deserve (too many self-esteem issues).

What do I want?

And then, at each stage:  Do I want this?  Will doing this juice me?  What is my gut saying to this part?  To this project?  Do I feel clear, right and excited, even if I’m scared?

Marie Forleo covers this in Start the Right Business, but I would like to offer myself as an object lesson of how you can convince yourself you want what you really don’t want.

In 2002, I graduated with an MFA in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College.  My two years there had been gloriously happy, even though 9/11 lanced me through the heart, as it did all of us.  I landed 3 leading roles in independent films, my first film work ever, right out of school.  My short plays were accepted into festivals.

Then I decided to start a theatre company.

What did I want?  I wanted to act in film, to do meaningful roles, hopefully at least some about social justice and all bringing my own unique understanding of the human condition to life through my body, voice and spirit.  I wanted my work as a writer to be produced according to my original vision of the work, so my stories were told with truth and depth.  I wanted to set myself free in doing these things.

In two of the films I was in, I played mothers or mother-figures in stories written by young men, and the mothers were–let’s just say, written to be less than sympathetic.  One of my plays–an absurdist comedy–was directed as a drama.  Being a mild-mannered, non-dramatic person, this made me want to SCREAM MY HEAD OFF.

So I started said theatre company with an immediately sell-out even called SLAMBoston, Diverse Voices in Theatre.  Based on the poetry slam format (I’d been a successful slam poet prior to studying acting), it presented works by all people–all minorities and mainstream–in a competition.

It was a great idea.  In the ensuing 9 years, I produced over 30 slams, and the slam is still being franchised today.  I helped hundreds of minority artists in their careers, had the experience of seeing audiences awaken to more tolerance, and brought together unlike groups to learn about each other’s lives.

The problem:  the more successful the theatre company became, the less I acted in movies or sent out plays for production.  And when I acted in my own company, or produced one of my own plays, I wore so many hats it made me INSANE.

I didn’t trust the world or myself enough to just do what I wanted.  So I tried to grab control and change the world, going for what I knew I could get instead of risking everything for what I wanted.

And I helped so many people!  I also made the people most involved in the company insane with my craziness and stressed out energy.

Betraying myself comes in this disguise–the cool, multicultural activist, the go-getter, the one who makes a difference, living up to her own political values with complete and utter gusto.

Dying a little inside every day.

What do I want?

The easiest question.  Or maybe not.  Maybe the hardest.

I am struggling with my new business idea, tempted by what I know I can do, what will be successful from my current skill set.

What do I want?

Not the temptation.  I want the leap, I want the risk, I want to do it again knowing all these pitfalls.

I still want to act, in film and television, to tell stories with my body, voice and spirit.  I still want to see my writing in the world, being heard.

So I vow it, every day, to only do a business based in performance and writing.  And to trust that my commitment to social justice will find this venue as powerful as any other.

I vow to answer this question, over and over again:  What do I want?

As for you, what do you want?

Take heart.  There is an answer in the center of all of us, unreasoned, waiting to explode into our lives.

What do you want?

Please feel free to say it, at the bottom of this post!

The Presence of Strangers


This past weekend I did an acting showcase at TVI, which was so fun, rewarding, challenging…I got to fight with my ego for three solid days, which is part of acting.  Sitting, watching other actors work, being glad they’re good, but also comparing yourself, fantasizing about your future, feeling not good enough…I have to tell you, I felt so grateful for Buddhism and yoga I could have cried.  It’s so different to watch those thoughts and be like, wow, I’m really not liking my feelings right now, obviously, so I’m having these thoughts…only I don’t like them either and wouldn’t it be terrible if I BELIEVED THEM!  This weekend, I didn’t believe my thoughts.  I heard them, I listened, but I knew them as statements about how hard it is for me (or anyone) to put myself out in the world, to show not only whether I possess talent, but also who I am–my take on the world, the way I see and feel, my body and what it can openly express.

I loved this weekend not only because everyone in the showcase was good, and not only because I learned and got to do what I love, and not only because I could hear my own craziness with some real equanimity, but because the weekend started with a human connection that had nothing to do with acting.

I was taking a cab from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and my driver did this rare thing–he turned off the meter and stopped charging me after he made a wrong turn.  Then I didn’t pay with the credit card right away, so the machine clicked off.  He talked me into letting him drive me back to Manhattan–and without having been paid, went to the bank to do some business to give me time to get ready to go back.  In other words, he trusted me.

My friend Sam, watching me hurry, said, “How did you get a NEW YORK CABBIE to let you not pay while he waited?”

I said, “I just figured that I’m trustworthy and he could see that, so he trusted well.”

Sam was like, “Nice.”

So I get back in the cab, and I started talking to the driver.  This is from traveling all over the world–I’m really curious about people, so I often ask cab drivers their names, and where they’re from, and how they got to this country and what they think of it.  Or else we talk about sports.  I’m kind of happy to talk about whatever.  But in this case, the driver told me that he had been educated in France, then went back to his native Cameroon, where he taught farmers to use technology so they didn’t have to be swallowed up by the corporate farming coming in, and so he was an activist and was threatened with jail and expelled from his country.  Then, here in the US, he was a victim of racial profiling by the NYPD, falsely accused of assault, and spent four years in court trying to prove his innocence (he mostly did).  I asked how he felt about driving the cab when his education qualified him for better work, and he told me he couldn’t work for corporations, and he had learned not to hope, but just to take each day, and enjoy what he could.

I’m not a fan of injustice.  I have also been an activist, and have been a recipient of some pretty heavy rounds of homophobia and sexism, so though he may not have known it–he talked; I listened–we are very alike.  When the cab stopped at the yoga center, I decided to just tell him how I felt.  So I said, “Thank you for telling me your story.  I want you to know that I have fought for justice in the world, and part of the reason I do this is because stories like yours make my heart hurt.”  And then, to my surprise (and certainly his), I started to cry.  I contained it as well as I could, but the look on his face wasn’t only surprise.  His face grew suddenly younger, and that hope he had foresworn made a brief appearance.  This moment happened…when I was as connected to him as I have ever been to anyone in my life.  Then it passed, and he asked me to take a picture of his name and cab number in case there was ever a way to help him, which I did.  And I got out, went into the yoga center, cried again, and then did yoga.

We so often think of listening as the gift, but truly, to tell someone what has hurt us, what we have struggled against, how we feel in the world–that is also a trust.  I love when people trust me.  I love when I can live up to it.  And here’s the thing–he gave me that gift.  I went into my struggles with acting with the knowledge of my own humanity, and my connection to the suffering of other people, and how important it is that we find a way to reach each other.  It gave the usual struggles, the ego, the insecurity, the desire for affirmation, a context.  I felt, ironically, worthy of my place on this earth.

The gift was trust; and I was the recipient.

The gift was witnessing; and I was the giver.

Thus do we heal the world.  In such small moments, that mean everything.

The Fault in Our Stars


That’s a stolen title.  From a book I just read, in which the main character is a teenager with cancer.  Read it.  If you want to be ripped open and sobbing at 2am, that is.  (Yes, like me.)

I’m just back from NYC, which always seems to be revelatory for me.  This trip, I got to see how acting, meditation and yoga come together in my life, as well as to take this little dive into early morning mortality and despair.  What a strange, strange trip we’re on (which is a misquote from the Grateful Dead, and I know it because I gave my younger sister a Dead album and then she and the next youngest brother became Dead Heads and followed the band around the country.  Oh, how our simplest actions come back to haunt us).

Anyhow, I rode Megabus back to the city, nauseated the whole way (why do I use that line?  $3 ticket is why…), and in the middle, because I couldn’t find my Ipod or my headset, and I was too nauseated to even try to read, I called my friend A., who reads Noam Chomsky and just about everyone else (though he may not have finished college, he is the smartest person I know), and talked about doing my new monologue, about a woman who’s ex neglected to watch their youngest, knowing the girl was uninhibited and impulsive, and so the girl drowned.  After 15 years of refusing to take responsibility the husband shows up to torture her again by absolving himself and threatening to take away her house (which he owns), so she kills him.

My kind of monologue.  And A., who misses nothing, said, “Why is it your kind of monologue?”  And I said, out loud on Megabus, “Because I can just really relate to a life of unbearable and endless injustice.”  And then we started cracking up.  Which is, of course, why we’re friends.  I mean, not everyone would see that as funny.

I don’t know what the people on the 6:10pm from New York to Boston thought.  Probably not my business, anyhow.

Here’s the thing–in America, we are taught to be happy.  Pretend-happy, as it turns out.  At least, I find true joy to require open heartedness and a willingness to be dashed against the rocks.  Pretend happy just requires that you pretend all the bad shit happening around you isn’t happening.  My family specialized in that kind of pretend happiness, and I couldn’t stand it.  It has left me with a lifelong passion for unpleasant truths.

So today I sat in an acting workshop in New York, having a bad day at best, watching the perfectly made up (everyone was super made up and super chosen in their outfits as only actors can be) and very talented actors try to hit.  I saw some great craft, and some very skilled acting, and heard some very great instruction.  I thought about how acting requires an ability to not be thrown while truly opening up to the unknown moment in which we live while everyone is judging you.  I thought about how acting requires a comfort in your own skin, with your own body, a comfort in revealing your personality, at least, and hopefully your soul.  I thought how I don’t want to forget that acting is about that kind of meaning and courage for me…and I do.  My ambition has always made me unhappy, because acting then becomes about staying thin, and getting my teeth fixed and other ridiculous shit.  Like every other actor, I keep asking, how do I get them to let me in the game?  And if I get too scared that they won’t, I’ll go start my own theatre company and make myself miserable.

It’s not just actors, of course.  We’re all dreaming of things we may or may not get–who knows.  And, going back to the cancer book, there are both possibilities and impossibilities.  That’s the problem, really, in this United States, where supposedly anyone can pull her or himself up by the proverbial bootstraps.  We look to the possibilities, and we are pretend-happy.  Or, we are happy where the possibilities open, and try not to deal with where they don’t.  (Jane Goodall, miracle woman, but so much trouble in her marriages.)

I love that Buddhism is the bummer religion.  I love that meditation is about coming to terms with “what is.”  I love that yoga challenges me to find the truth of my body in so many ways.  My love for unpleasant truths tells me that acting asks me these things:  1) to get over my insecurities, 2) to be relentlessly present, 3) to reveal what I most want to hide, 4) to have openhearted joy and be willing to be thrown against the rocks.  I did manage to spend years learning the craft, but if I’m not relentlessly present, the craft can be pretty useless, and if my insecurities get me, I can’t be relentlessly present.

I find, that because I relate to lives of unendurable injustice, I have a story to tell.  I find that this story is mine, and it is as much about impossibility as possibility, as much about surrender as accomplishment.  It is, in other words, a human story.  And because I relate, I have depth, but because I relate, I have insecurities.  This means I don’t find it a walk in the park to be relentlessly present.

You have to take that paradox somewhere.  I take it to the mat, to the cushion, to the page, to the phone, and then I find myself laughing with A. about the absurdity of everything.

We don’t get to be happy all the time.  As it turns out, happiness isn’t about resting, or stopping.  The real joy that comes seems to require the pursuit of something terribly difficult, a dharma you don’t necessarily get to choose.  As Stephen Cope quotes in his book, The Great Work of Your Life, “You can be anyone you want, as long as that person is you.”

This is me, at 2 in the morning, after a bad/good day, nauseated on Megabus, not relentlessly present in NYC, not having a day in which I can show who I am, and loving my friend A. because he laughed, and my partner because she understood my shame enough to give me a lift out of the hole.

This is me, understanding teenagers dying of cancer, and the impossibility and possibility of dealing with unendurable injustice.  My own, and therefore yours, and maybe, if I meditate enough, everyone’s.

This me.  May we all be well, may we all be happy, may we all be safe and protected, may we all be at peace with what is.

Excerpt from Saint John the Divine in Iowa


Image

I was telling someone that the piece of writing of my own that I love the most is a sermon that’s part of a play & screenplay.  The character is Reverend Alex, and I got to play her.  I was saying that while I LOVE acting, like big passionate love, often, in performance, it ends up a little disappointing–like I’m not ultimately present, or I’m not connecting as well as I’d hoped with my scene partner, or the laughs don’t come the way they did the night before.  Of course you roll with that, but when it comes to this monologue, it was different.  Just getting up and saying these lines, that are my manifesto,  to say them as a woman committed to a spiritual life in community, to a life of integrity and love, so that the words became bigger than me or my life, meant more to me than any other artistic moment I have ever experienced.  I got to do it 14 times.  Here are the words.

(Frances exits.  Reverend Alex walks forward and addresses the congregation.)

 

Reverend Alex

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:

Have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:

Have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:

Grant us peace.

Reverend Alex

In the Gnostic Gospels Jesus says, “If you bring forth what is inside you, it will save you.  If you don’t bring forth what inside you, it will destroy you.”

Most of the time, when we think of bringing forth what is inside us, we think of the gift of who we are that comes from God. Our ability to love, the truth of our self-expression, the naming of what we want in life, the claiming of our own strength.

But sometimes what is in our hearts is dark. Sometimes we find fear, or jealousy, or weakness, our deepest flaws, the ones that hurt the people we love. Jesus knew about this. In the garden of Gethsemane, he said, “Father, let this cup pass away from me.” He knew what it was to be faced with something he might not be strong enough to accomplish.

I imagine Him alone in that garden, with darkness falling, with the soldiers on their way, and I think of what He did not tell his disciples, of what He must have felt He had to suffer alone. I think of His return from that death, when He could finally say, this is what I understand to be my Father’s will, this is what I have seen that I can now share with you.

Be part of me. Touch my hurt. See how I am wounded and redeemed at the same time.

Jesus knew about wanting the cup to pass and having to drink anyhow. We can turn to Him for this. But we do not have to be alone in Gethsemane. We can learn to turn to each other. When we bring out the dark side of our own hearts, we say, “I am weak here. Help me with this.” We heal in the humility of acknowledging the human condition we all share. We confess our weaknesses, knowing we are already forgiven. We are all, one way or another, in need of the Light that comes when we bring forth what is inside us.

(Slowly, the light fades on Reverend Alex.  As it does, Jesus appears, the lights shift. 

They look at each other, and this time, she does see Him.)

 

Reverend Alex

Everyone wants to be known.  Everyone.

 

Jesus

(Softly.)

Thank you.

(Lights go to black.  End of scene.)

Reincarnation…Again


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.

Reviews…or, Is My Opinion God?


Of course it is.  I am the deity of this blog, and don’t you forget it.

So, my reviews, in reverse order from what I’ve watched most recently back into the distant past of 2 months ago:

Hope Springs:  I have long thought that if a role didn’t depend on a great accent and physical interpretation, Meryl Streep just doesn’t look as talented.  I thought that when I saw her in the violin movie a million years ago, and I’ve thought it again.  In Hope Springs her character borders on caricature and sometimes downright crosses the line.  Tommy Lee Jones has an equally recognizable type, but he brings something beyond the recognizability–a journey of revelation into this shut down guy’s heart.  I loved his performance and love him, hated the writing (I’ve been married for 25 years and there’s a lot more beneath the surface than this writer seems to get) and knew ahead of time exactly what expression would appear on Meryl’s face.  Recommend:  skip it.

Other Desert Cities:  I have great admiration for Speakeasy as a theatre company–I like the plays they choose a great deal and love what they try to do for and with theatre.  So I hate to say that this play needed an intense rewrite (what happens to playwrights who have written for television?).  I’d heard a lot about Karen MacDonald–and I thought the character and her performance of all those complication and layers really stole the show.  Anne Gottlieb was probably miscast and overacted almost every single moment.  I’d skip this one, much as I hate to say it.

Les Mis:  I have written on FB about the redefining of the film musical, done here with great vision and commitment to the medium of film and to the close up used to reveal the bottom of human suffering.  Yes, the singing is raw and hard to hear.  Yes, Russell Crowe sucks.  But Anne Hathaway’s performance of I Dreamed a Dream will haunt me for years.  I think the film is imperfect and uneven and a great risk, and it gives me hope for the art of film-making…there are new creative ventures still to be made outside of special effects.  BRAVO!  Own it!

The Wire:  I am totally and completely IN LOVE.  Idris Elba is my new fantasy actor–okay, I loved him already from watching Luther (where his co-star Ruth Wilson is even better than he is).  But almost without exception this show stays true to the bone.  FANTASTIC!

The Impossible:  Do writers think we’re stupid?  And what’s with the critics saying this is the best film of the year?  Okay, a disaster film that really takes you inside the experience of disaster.  Showing a great deal of human kindness under pressure. And, okay, there isn’t a bad performance.  But there also isn’t a story.  NO STORY.  Which means no real revelation.  Disaster happens, people lose each other, find each other, over.  There isn’t a point of identification or an exploration of any one character’s humanity to the point of showing what people are capable of under terrible stress and calamity (okay, a little with the oldest son).  If you like to watch disaster, great. Cinematography, great.  But, again.  NO STORY.

Lincoln:  I’m not sure what keeps this from being the best film of the year.  Maybe it’s that we don’t like intellectual movies–because the story is about political chess moves, and the passion of Lincoln, and his goodness.  But here it is–I think Tony Kushner is one of the top 5 living writers, and to hear the gorgeous language in a film with that kind of performance by Daniel Day Lewis…see it.  It’s nice to remember courage, and artistry, and the thinking brain.  (But don’t go sleepy, because the film is really more like theatre, and you have to ENGAGE.)

Silver Linings Playbook:  You know, after the fact I forget how disturbing the movie was, because it has a typical Hollywood ending (cheapening what’s come before, and undermining the grit of the beginning and middle).  I think of it as a comedy.  But this is memory as revision, and the truth is that the grit and the neurosis and dysfunction of the movie are so real in the beginning that the movie is almost an indie.  I say that as a compliment.  Up until the stupid dance competition, the movie is excellent.  Bradley Cooper did okay, and the rest of the cast was much better than okay, with Jennifer Lawrence stealing the film as I suspect she will every film she’s ever in.  Anyhow, see it.  Try not to let the ending ruin it for you.

Argo:  I thought Ben Affleck was exceptional and don’t understand why he isn’t nominated for acting awards.  I thought everyone else was excellent, too, and the filming was excellent, but this is another Hollywood ending and I wasn’t on the edge of my seat…I knew what would happen, everyone did, but I didn’t get as interested in the machinations as I did with Lincoln.  I just knew what had to happen to make the next thing happen.  Good movie.  Worth seeing.  I admire Affleck and think he is underrated in many ways.  But, not enough surprise, sorry.

Marigold Hotel.  Judi Dench.  Maggie Smith.  Need I say more?  I don’t care about expected or unexpected, just about the most fantastic ensemble maybe ever.

Downton Abbey:  Season 1 was great, but by the end of season 2 I was getting a little sick of all the soap opera instead of really good new ideas.  I mean, can everyone quit picking on Bates, already?  I hate to say that the death of Lady Sybil is the best thing yet, but it is.  And I liked both the character and the actor.  At least it was a surprise.  I’d like more surprises, please.  Less groaning soap opera and some real insight instead.

Django Unchained–Haven’t seen it.  I’m a complete wimp when it comes to violence, so I unfortunately have never seen a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Zero Dark Thirty–See above.  I regret my inability to watch torture, but there you go.

Ayurvedic Cleanse, Day 3: Down and Up and Down


So, I signed up for an audition at the BPT, because I love Marc and Kate, and I like black comedy and there were a couple parts in my age range.  I dragged myself off the floor on Friday, assisted a yoga class, and made it to the BPT to read the script.  Then, today, day of the audition, I got up and drank oil.  Then I felt sick.  Then I did work I had to do for Endicott rehearsal tonight.  Then I tried not to throw up.  Then I meditated.  Then I ate and my stomach blew up like a basketball.  All I could think about was whether I would ever take a shit again (sorry).  Then I took a shower.  Then I drank hot water and took some Triphala in the hopes of taking said shit.  Then I did 10 minutes of yoga.  Then I did my hair, make-up and clothes.  Two pairs of my pants are now tighter than I like, so I think I’ve gained weight on this cleanse in spite of all the hunger and suffering.  Then wished I hadn’t given up dyeing my hair so I could look younger.  I also began to wonder whether the pain and bloating would resolve itself before the audition.  I had the thought that with my luck, on this cleanse, it would all move, resolve, whatever, 2 minutes before I had to audition.

Which is exactly what happened.  I got to the BPT, sat down, and then had to run for the bathroom (or walk, acting all cool).  And get this, I was so relieved to be relieved that I didn’t care that I felt light-headed and out of it.  The world has narrowed considerably.

I came out of the bathroom at the BPT and after about 1 minute, the lovely and generous Kate Snodgrass called me in to the audition.  But, first she hugged me.  I’m pretty sure she was hoping I’d do well.  Meanwhile, I was wondering if she could smell the sesame oil from the self-massage last night.  I thought I might smell like Chinese takeout.

We went into the theatre.  I thought maybe I’d left myself in the bathroom.  The completely distant energy-less feeling of the cleanse made the whole thing seem like a vaguely bad dream.  Someone else’s bad dream, since I wasn’t quite there.  I read the side once.  The director very generously laughed on the laugh lines, even though I wasn’t funny.  Then Kate and I switched parts and she was really funny–just the right touch of bitter sarcasm.  I did better as the insane Christian, which is probably no surprise to anyone.  My energy was just about coming out of the bathroom and making its way down the hall to my body when the audition ended.

Oh, well.  All my auditions lately have been great, so I guess I was due.  And there is this–I am no longer 100% constipated.  But I will go lie down on the floor again.  Then I will consider entropy, and how it’s a new thing in my life.

I wonder if I will recognize myself when the cleanse is over.  Today Superwoman is in remission.  It’s all entropy here.  And lying on the floor.  And waiting for bodily functions to occur.  And wishing I’d gotten to audition sans cleanse, because the BPT is a great theatre doing important work and whoever did that audition was the Cleanse Queen of Entropy, a non-event all to herself.

So basically, the morning sucked.

After lying on the floor and talking to two friends to whom I can say anything at all (how rare and wonderful that is…though I wish they were local), I picked up enough to drive to Endicott College.  Traffic was horrible–I left at 5:45 and got there at 7:10.  Yuck.  But the guys!  This used to happen when I was teaching, after Don died, sometimes a class would pull my best out of me against all odds and these guys are like that.  They are so invested.  We did script analysis and their answers rocked my world–smart, insightful…they did my work for me.  Then we read the play again and a ton of notes I would have given weren’t needed.  Love, love and love again.  We started blocking.  It made me so happy.

I am now home, and my partner had set up abhyanga, the oil massage, so we could do it together as soon as I came in the door.  I tore off my clothes and went at the exfoliation, then got in the tub with her to do the oil down.  She finished first, and for some reason–mental absence, exhaustion–I put the glass bowl on my head like a hat because I couldn’t figure out what else to do with it.  It promptly slid off the oil slick called my hair and burst into a thousand pieces all over the tub and my feet.  Ouch!  Typing, I think I found another sliver in my thumb.

So, the oil down ended quickly for me, though my partner meditated naked for a while and is now in the shower.

A day.  In the life.  Of an insane person.

I am now admitting that I don’t like being on a cleanse.  I don’t like not being able to think clearly and being weak as a kitten.  But I love the men at Endicott, so that’s something.  They deserve better of me, to quote Reverend Alex, which is really quoting myself, since I created her.

I hope that this cleanse provides me with a new digestive system, because frankly, I deserve it.