Boyhood: A review of gender


Boyhood ImageMuch is being said about this movie.  Filmed over a 12 year period, with the intrinsic value of watching the actors grow up and/or age, ambitious as hell, and attempting to say so many things about coming of age, the meaning of life, love, abandonment, struggle.  People say when they leave the theatre that they feel that they’ve been allowed into the lives of the characters in a completely new way–as if they were friends.

I’ve seen a number of Richard Linklater’s films, and I always feel the same way about them.  I always think he’s good, and that he’s trying something different, and it interests me.  And I always feel that he skims the surface of big topics and can’t get into the strata.  I felt this way less about Boyhood, but not a lot less.  The real genius of the film was the concept–that’s always the real genius of Linklater’s films.  To conceive of filming over this period of time, to aim at saying what you can say when the audience sees change happening–the real change as well as the narrative change–that’s a kind of genius.  I just wish he’d done more with it.

I left the theatre and turned to my partner and said, “This makes me want to make a movie called Girlhood, because he just doesn’t get women’s lives at all.”  And yes, I get that it was intentionally a male-centric movie, and the women weren’t bitches–they were complicated and interesting, if not developed–but it’s the hole in the center of Linklater’s understanding that gets me.  He doesn’t understand what women’s lives are about.  Now, as I’ve said, he doesn’t get into the strata, the difficulty of need and emotion and psychology in his characters.  But even his external observation shows the need between fathers and sons.  Not mothers and sons, by the way.  I’m never sure what’s up with that.  Does this boy want anything from his mother?  Outside of stability?

So, here, in the 4th paragraph, I get to my real subject, catalyzed by the movie.  I don’t get straight people.  I particularly don’t get straight white women.  And I don’t get the romantic relationships between men and women.  I don’t get what they want from each other, outside of the biological imperative (sex and babies).

When I look at the movie Boyhood, I watch and I think that the friendships between boys, and the need for connection between fathers and sons, drive the movie.  I don’t understand what emotional need men bring to women.  Maybe to be understood?  To have that one person who gets you?  But it seems so impossible.  Straight women don’t get men.  Maybe women don’t get men.  And straight men certainly don’t get women.  They absolutely don’t get the mix of fear, hatred, powerlessness and need women bring to heterosexual relationships.

Frankly, we should all be gay.

I understand the driving need for connection that propels you toward the one other, the one person, the only one, you think, who will get you as you need to be gotten.  I understand the terrible neediness of it, and the drive to be better, to learn more, to get closer, to learn what closeness means.  It’s just that I’ve never believed that I was going to get that from a man.  Friendship, closeness, sex, yes.  That driving terrible need, enough emotional meeting to keep me in it?  I’ve stayed with my gender queer spouse for 27 years because there was always enough emotional meeting to keep me in it, and enough forgiveness and love for the neediness we both sometimes have to make it bearable.

Of course, what I know about having a gender queer partner is that a big part of her need for me is to get her gender.  It’s part of the terrible feelings of invisibility she has–I have similar feelings for different reasons.  I need to get that she’s different, that she’s standing in a different place in relationship to the world, and I need to let her know I get it because other people in her life are always letting her know they don’t get it.  Intentionally or not.  Loving her or not.

Do straight people need that?  A validation of gender?  I’m not straight, but I don’t need it the way my partner does.

I did a devised theatre piece at Endicott College with four men.  It focused on gender, on male bonding, on trying to get the right woman, on competition and love.  I watched the cast bond with each other, and if anything, I was the fulcrum, the catalyst–I was there to serve their bonding.  I love how men bond with each other and love each other.  I love how they get each other with so few words.  I love their loyalty and their brotherhood and their tenderness.  And I understand, watching male-centric movie after male-centric movie, that they are the most important to each other.  Women seem to be a much needed side issue.  And being such a close witness, I get that.  I get that women fill some need men can’t fill with each other, but that women are fundamentally outside the male experience.  And men seem to find women frightening.  Alien.  Not to my guys at Endicott, necessarily, I didn’t see that with them.  But it turns up in the canon over and over again.

So, I kind of get straight men.  I mean, I don’t get that Linklater doesn’t understand how women’s lives are dominated by the fear of male violence and the need for male attention (my life is not dominated by the 2nd, which is why I don’t get straight women).  He includes male violence in his movie, but he doesn’t enter the strata–what the fear of that violence, and also the fear of being outside male privilege (being a poor single mom versus being married to an upper middle class alcoholic in Boyhood), does to women.  That’s the situation in his movie, and he serves it up, but without any thread of continuity, without any understanding of why.  I wonder if men get that women are afraid they can’t make it without a man–can’t be safe financially or from violence.

Today I found a list on Facebook of strong female characters in literature who women all want to be.  Anne of Green Gables, Jo of Little Women, Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice.  You know what these women have in common?  They are made strong by their diminished need for male approval.  They reject the safety and protection of traditional femininity and male interest in order to determine their own destinies.

See, I’m just much too queer to even understand why someone would choose a life based on a need for male approval.  Because I never needed it that much.  If at all.  When I read those books, I knew I was one of those women.  It was relief to read about them and to see myself, because my mother and her friends lived in financial and physical fear.  (My besetting weaknesses lie in other places–self-doubt, a tendency to risk too much, an inability to settle and ground…and, okay, I have financial fear because I can’t be practical, I have to be an artist.)  All my life, I’ve watched straight white women need men to like them, to think they’re pretty, to want them, to give them attention.  And I’ve never been able to understand.  I mean, I liked the attention, and I used it to make myself feel better, but I didn’t need it.  When it was gone, I barely noticed.

I have always, however, needed one other, one somewhat female other, to give me a singular, specific attention.  I love the men in my life, but I just don’t need them in the same way.  And that makes my relationships with men such a relief.  I can relax and enjoy my male friends.  My only worry, and this has been a lifelong problem, is that sometimes they fall into wanting more from me.

So, if I was to write a film called Girlhood, what would I say?  I’d put a queer girl in the center, trying to understand what made her different.  I’d have one of her friends be raped, I’d have her mother stay with a man because of fear that she couldn’t make it on her own.  I’d have men who bonded and left women outside their bonding, and I’d have the queer girl want to be one of them.  I’d have the women bond intensely, but also betray each other and gossip.  I’d kill off at least one character, and probably more than one, because in a film of such ambition, an intimacy with death would be necessary to me–we age, but we also die.  And I’d go after that drive, that propulsion toward the one other–I’d contrast the queer girl’s drive with her straight friend’s drive.  I’d contrast their neediness and their strength, and I’d try to learn about how gender makes us different.  I would work with how a woman needs her mother, and how she needs her father, and how those needs are different.  Not the psychological difference, but the experiential difference.

And maybe, if I could find a way to fit it, I’d write about a boy and his mother.  Not what the white male canon has said.  But more about what I hear in other communities, particularly communities of color–men who love their mothers and are grateful and resentful and living in those feelings in a kind of closeness.

Life is so interesting!  There is so much to understand, so many shoes to try to slip into, so much imagination to apply.  Boyhood is a very good movie.  Conceptually, it’s great.  It just doesn’t say enough.  About what I want to learn.  And that it makes me think it is a kind of teaser.

I’m adding it to my list.  Of narratives by men that I need to answer by writing my own movie.  Or play.  Or whatever.

Which means it made an impact.

 

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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.

I Love My Life! (at least for the next 10 seconds)


Today I was in yoga teacher training after 5+ hours of working on devised theatre with 22 teens and some super talented adults.  And though I am so tired I keep walking into walls, forgetting things, adding things wrong, I am also grateful for the day.

Working backward, since I just returned from yoga teacher training, I have to say, where do these women come from?  I ordered a bunch of blankets and blocks in bulk for us, and I’m basically dealing yoga materials out of the back of my car, and everyone is so conscientious about giving me money, and trying to be generous about the better colors, or the better quality blankets, and I’m so spacey I walk away from the money with the trunk and car open and someone stays with it…I never really understood why I took this training and I still don’t, except that I really like being around these people.

Then, the yoga philosophy discussion was great.  Like church, just listening to what each person utilizes to pull him or herself toward the light, whatever that light is–but definitely non-harming.

And all this followed a day of coordinating the monologues and scenes the students wrote themselves with movement we’d found accidentally in improvisation with them, and watching it work, watching it fall into place, deep, sweet, young, holding every poignant thing about life.

So, for today, I love my life.  Even though I bought all these yoga materials thinking I was going to leave theatre behind in some way, and now I had a waiting list for my last acting class, registration coming in for fall, a new potential opportunity for a fall collaboration, auditions, etc.  So it seems like many of the blankets, straps, mats, etc might not get much use.  But, oh well.  I still get to love everything, to be doing the exact right thing, right purpose, right moment, right life.

I’m about to post on the yoga teacher training facebook why people should come to this teen show.  Not to support me.  But because it looks to be so magical and funny and moving, that the human experience of watching will be rare and full of wonder.

I’ll go back to complaining and having aversions and everything tomorrow.  After I get some f$#%ing sleep.

Chasing the Firebird…OR, Being an Artist


I’m going to start in an odd place.  Once a student of mine, who had been a professional actor for ten years at that point and worked at LORT theatres all over the country, told me that when he graduated from college he told himself that if he could just make a living in theatre, he’d be happy.  If he could work consistently and find joy in that, it was enough.

He was not chasing the firebird.  He was living a daily life.  What he said struck me because it was so unlike my own attitude, and unlike most of the artists I’ve known.  I have made a living as an arts teacher and artist for over 20 years, but I pursued the firebird, dreamed of catching it, dreamed of fame, money, the most prestigious prizes, the most enormous impact.

This is what we do.  I’ve watched the auditions for American Idol, with all the young artists crying, saying, “This has to happen, this is my dream,” and the sheer numbers of them have caused me to see the firebird whirling over their heads.  She’s beautiful, elusive, often impossible.  They see her so clearly; she calls to them like a siren.  They know if they touch her, they will be Dave Matthews, or Prince or Beyonce.  It will happen, they can feel it.

There’s a short story by Lorrie Moore that I love, called “Becoming a Writer.”  In it she talks about writing, in the middle of the night, the sweat staining the armpits of your shirt, when you know you are a genius.  (Paraphrased…too lazy to go look it up.)

I would like everyone reading this to know that I am, in fact, a genius.  I knew this when I was 15 and smoking pot every day more clearly than I do now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still believe it.

I am an artist.  As inescapable as breathing, the way creativity flows out through my skin, my voice, the beating of my heart.  I can’t stop making things.  Even this blog–when I’m making nothing else, I have this thing to make.  (And don’t even ask me how often I keep track of the stats of how many people read me.)

I knew that I had to write when I was twelve (I knew about acting at 3, but that got bullied out of me in grade school, so it took a long time to find it again).  I smoked cigarettes and drank wine with poets and painters in Arizona, in Europe, in Asia.  I thought we were a breed apart, somehow better than the rest of humanity.  I thought we were deeper, freer…that we were seekers of truth, that we saw beauty other people missed.  I imagined an artist’s life to be completely unconventional–and I wanted this, because I had always felt so different from everyone around me.  I thought our vision was bigger, less provincial, more catholic in its tastes (not the religion!  the adjective!). I couldn’t understand how anyone, anywhere, would choose another life.

I believed so much in this that I was willing to live with the absolute fact that mostly we were poorer, that we lived on the edge of poverty at times if not always, that we lacked all kinds of safety and security that money brings.

But now, here I am.  Not rich or famous, with the vision of the firebird more a taunt than an inspiration.  Studying Eastern religion to see if or when I went wrong.

I mean, nevermind that I have had so much of what I wanted–travel, adventure, inner seeking.  And more than that–that I have woken up in the morning eager to enter my day, with so much passion for the work and the teaching that I couldn’t wait to get to rehearsal, or class.  I mean, much of my working life I actually couldn’t wait to get to work and couldn’t believe people would actually pay me to show them how to get free, would pay me to talk about what I loved so much–beauty, truth, how to find these things.

But I have gone wrong.  In the last 7 years especially, I have come to see that the name of the firebird, at least for me, is “only rich and famous will do.”  I mean, truly, the realization began to creep up on me somewhere around 2000.  I’d been so ambitious about publishing my novel, with so many “almosts.”  I drove myself mercilessly, revised, revised…and then woke up one day and realized I didn’t want to go to the computer any more.  It was self-punishment rather than joy; I didn’t know how that had happened.

I stopped.  I told myself I wouldn’t write again until I couldn’t wait to get to the computer.

It took a while, but the time came.  Writing is joy now.

But here’s the thing–in one of the yoga/Buddhism books I’m reading, Stephen Cope talks about this pursuit.  He explains that there are two aspects to it–our ideal of who we should be and our ideal of what our life should be.  For some people it’s chasing the perfect love (those people better not come to my house, where neurosis and laughter often dominate).  For others, it’s the dream of being an artist–not a working artist, not someone finding joy in it, but a famous artist.  Angelina Jolie.  Julia Roberts.  Leonardo DiCaprio.  Toni Morrison.

And hell, the truth is, I’d really like to have more success in the future.  I have trouble accepting what my partner says–that I’ve had more than many people and it really should be enough.  I want recognition and to be heard, and I can’t beat that out of me.

So.  It’s okay to want it.  It’s just not okay to say nothing but the firebird will do.

I have learned that the only thing that matters is getting into this moment, right now.  And if I’m creating, and finding joy, if I’m rising up, if the beam of light from the window suddenly locks in and becomes poetry, then yes, I’m an artist, this is what I live for.

The great irony is how the chase for the firebird can make even that moment of living poetry not good enough.

And an even harder truth–making art won’t save me from death, or loss, or betrayal.  It helps me to make meaning from these things, but I still have to learn how to accept them and have peace.  In the end, if I sit with what is, and hold it, then I can hold being an artist, its challenges and joys, much more lightly.  I can want my stories to be heard, I can want to embody what I’ve lived in the characters I play, and I can be here, or anywhere, okay with what is.

Being an artist fills life with joy and light like pouring water into a cup.  But the drink turns dark and bitter so easily–when you can’t pay the rent, when retirement looms and you’re unprepared, when you don’t get the role, when the book doesn’t find a publisher, when you haven’t reached the should in your head for what life will be.

Oh, how life surprises us.  How it wants to strip us down to our own essential immanence and nothing else.  How peace is found when we just let it.

So I return to the student who taught me that a daily life fills you as the firebird can’t.  And I imagine, for those who have caught her, that her touch warms, heats, gets you very high…and then burns.  Which doesn’t mean if she slips away, you won’t crave her again.

I hope I teach my students the joy of the moment–on stage, on the page–as immanence, as the place where light can flow out of us.

And here’s the greatest irony:  the more I let go, the more success I have.

What is with that?

People I Am in Love with Starting with…


Judi Dench.  It cannot be overstated:  I am madly, truly, deeply, emphatically, insanely in love with Judi Dench.

Nevermind that she’s my favorite actress and has been for like, eternity.  I also think she’s the most beautiful woman in the world.  I say this after going to see The Most Exotic Marigold Hotel last night, and falling deeply under the spell of her warmth, grace and inner beauty yet again.  And that laugh!  That easy, affectionate, joyous, so-willing-to-enjoy-and-be amused laugh.  I mean, yes, she’s still wonderful to look at–that white hair, blazing blue eyes, tanned skin (she’s in India) and incredible bone structure.  (And I love the wardrobe.) But really, she has what I wish Meryl Streep had, which is more humanity than she can possibly hold in her own skin.  She fills the screen with it, and it is a humanity so rich in love that I leave every performance glad I belong to the species.

Like I said, it cannot be overstated.

As for the movie, it’s too sweet, and the characters are types, and you know, in this case, those things just don’t matter.  India, as a character, as a world, is so fascinating, and these veteran actors are just so damn good, all you care about is watching them do magic.  That much talent in one movie is something to swoon over.  Plus, think how good they’d have to be for me to forgive the director (John Madden, Shakespeare in Love) for taking the camera off Dame Judi for a flat second (and he has directed her again and again, lucky him).

Really, this blog is just an excuse to revel in talking about my major talent and humanity crush on Dench, so I might as well just say her name about 50,000 times and get it over with.

Or I could say that I just prefer British actors to American.  And fine, there are some youngish actors I really like, like Maggie Gyllenhaal (her brother’s not bad either), Mark Ruffalo (his performance in You Can Count on Me is still one of the best I’ve ever seen), Michael C. Hall (my favorite actor from 6 Feet Under and so deserving of his role on Dexter, which requires such range), Vera Farmiga, not to mention Viola Davis, who is my favorite American actor and has the humanity that Dench has but also a stream of real rage, sadness and passion in her roles.  I like Phillip Seymour Hoffman and James Gandolfini as well and I even like Sandra Bullock and Selma Hayek (so under-rated, think Frida).

But then think of Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith…or the less well known Benedict Cumberbatch (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Idris Elba or Ruth Wilson (these last two from Luther, and they are great together and Ruth Wilson is AMAZING and absolutely to watch.  The problem is that for the most part, you put any American actor next to one from the UK and the American may look talented, but he or she often also looks immature, not so well-layered, not so committed, and definitely not as generous to his or her ensemble.  It’s very difficult to find a single American movie with the uniform level of excellence in acting we find in all of the major league television and film from the UK.

I’m not an Anglophile.  I may be a Judi Dench-ophile, but you know, love is love.  I’d really love to know what they’re doing over there that we’re missing, or is just that pop culture undermines the deeper values of making cinema or any art form.  (Of course it does in this country.  Hollywood sucks.)

Anyhow, back to Judi.  And back.  And back.  See the movie.  I’ll probably be there, at the Kendall, swooning, even though my partner is jealous, so it will have to be when she’s at work.

And look for my upcoming blog on Yo-Yo Ma who I saw on PBS doing the Goat Rodeo Sessions and fell for immediately and again.  The man is made of joy. As with Dame Judi, I’d just like to sit in a room with him and absorb that through my skin.  He wouldn’t even have to say hello.  (Which is good, because he probably wouldn’t.)

What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up?


I thought this question got answered once and then that was it.

NOT!

And it’s not like I’m one of those people who didn’t know.  I mean, every once in a while, when I’m fantasizing about this easier life that fits more of the status quo expectations, I remember that it was never like I had much of a choice.  Until I started teaching, I stayed at jobs for an average of 1.25 years if that.  I got bored.  I moved on.  I shed office jobs, 9-5 work weeks and other things that didn’t fit fairly quickly.  I know that parents–particularly those of my own parents’ generation–have this idea that you can force yourself to work at jobs you hate.

NOT!

And it wasn’t like I was ever not creating.  I mean, outside of my run-ins with writer’s block in my twenties, but really, even then, I was always making something.  I kind of couldn’t, and can’t, stop.

What I didn’t know is that it was possible to run out of road even with things you love.  For example, I found I LOVED teaching.  I mean, lie on the bed wondering how I could even deserve to do something that made me that happy kind of love.  Especially in the arts.  After not sticking with any job for more than 2 years, tops, in my life, at 30 I started teaching Creative Writing in all its forms and that lasted for about 11 years.  But when I stopped learning new things to teach in poetry and fiction–meaning that when my artistic life started to turn to theatre–I started to be bored.  I know it’s all so mature to say that I have a choice, but even if that’s true, teaching something that’s already past for me isn’t a choice I like to make.  I like to teach on my own growing edge, because I truly love teaching and the best teaching happens exactly at that place, where I am teaching what I need to learn, or what I am learning, or what I have just learned, or what I’m incorporating, synthesizing, into my artistic aesthetic or world view.  Teaching is so alive and creative, then.

So what do I want to be when I grow up?

First, let’s debunk the growing up part.  I have already reached my full height–I’d gained most of it by age 13 (I was taller than the boys in 7th grade)–so literally, it’s just not happening any more.  And I agree with Shonda Rimes–there are no real adults, just children with larger bodies.

But what do I want to be?  Well, present, alive, kind, moral, loving, joyful, peaceful, creative, spiritual…I could start with that.  And end with it.

The only reason the question is reappearing is because I have sworn, once again, to give up producing theatre.  Honestly, if there was a 12 step program for theatre producers, I’d do daily attendance.  One day at a time, I will not produce theatre.

Did I mention how much I dislike producing theatre?  Of course there are rewards–getting to pick the projects, getting to create the organizational structure, setting the standards, establishing a mission.  But the drawbacks–you know, I have never truly enjoyed producing theatre.  I enjoy directing, acting, writing, teaching, creating, collaborating with colleagues (especially people like my friend Jeannie Marie, who is brilliant), but I do not enjoy producing.

The fact that producing paved the way for some of the best teaching I’ve done in my life is not lost on me, but.  But.

And now, the Meisner technique, which I love, love, love, isn’t enough.  My growing edge is now movement theatre, collaborative work, bringing the connection of Meisner to the body.  Opening actors to levels of creativity beyond the script, which is the Meisner technique in some ways, but addressing it directly so actors become true artists–that’s the work that’s calling, rather loudly.

So, I’ll be a certified yoga instructor by the end of the summer.  I may travel to New York to train with Faye Simpson some more.

And, I applied for a teaching job.  In a school community.  Which would keep me doing all of the above with no producing.

There’s never any guarantees–that they’ll call for an interview, that it will be a match, that I won’t be applying elsewhere.

But change is in the wind.  It’s been blowing through my life for the last three years.  Loss, illness, training at Celebration Barn in 2010, listening to these weird intuitions.  The weirdest:  I have had a feeling that when I quit dyeing my hair, I’d be my true actress self.

I DO know what I want to be when I grow up:  present, kind, moral, honest, loving….

I DO know that I can’t not be an artist and teacher.  It doesn’t seem to be in me.

I DO know that I don’t want to produce and I do want to study yoga and I don’t know what I’ll make next, but it won’t be something I’ve done before or in the last ten years.

And I know that when change is in the wind, it’s best to be curious, it’s best to have a sense of adventure.  Surrender, accept, let the wind take you, because fighting is misery and there’s enough of that around without creating more for yourself.

I am here to see what happens.

The Reviews


I am a person who is extraordinarily sensitive to criticism.

Obviously, therefore, it was a great idea to become an artist, so I could be reviewed, so I would have to audition and listen to people say, “Next.”

Seriously, what I’m really extraordinarily sensitive to is interpersonal ugliness.  And reviews often don’t have that.  (I mean, okay, outside of when your play pushes someone’s personal buttons and they go a little apeshit, but most reviewers really love art, so….)

I find myself, this time, reading the reviews while the performance is still going on, even though I’ve sworn I wouldn’t, even though I’ve been told it’s not a good idea.  But I’m not reading as actress.  I’m reading as a writer who wants to see if people understand what the hell I’m talking about.  And I find I’m able to see past my sensitivity to criticism and really hear the reviewer’s experience.

I’m really liking reading the reviews.  I wish there were many more of them!

I suppose this is partly because I assume no one understands what I’m talking about most of the time.  I trace this back to my discovery of the nature of the universe.

It happened like this:  I’d lost a tooth.  My father came into my room to claim the tooth and replace it with a quarter, and I woke up while he was doing so.  The next day I went out to the field behind our house and lay on the limb of a tree, contemplating.  I was six.  A contemplative six, but, nevertheless, six.

I reached an epiphany.  I climbed out of the tree, marched back to the house, slammed open the screen door to the kitchen and looked at my mother and father.  I walked up to them.  (Not only contemplative, but dramatic.)

“There’s no tooth fairy,” I said.  “And there’s no Easter Bunny.  And there’s no Santa Clause and you’ve been lying to me and I want to know why.”

They turned to each other in slow motion, meeting each other’s eyes in dumbfounded shock.  They glanced at me, back at each other, and then back at me again. Clearly, they were wondering where the hell I had come from.  As in, which planet.

“Don’t tell your brothers and sisters,” my mother finally said.

I thought, “They have no idea what they’re doing.”

This turned out to be true, as it does with most parents, only more so.

And I was left with the conclusion that I came from a different planet and no one had any idea how to talk to me.  That has remained my view of the universe, confirmed by much if not all of my experience during my stay here.

So, YAY for reviewers, who seem to be visiting my planet with some idea of the language spoken here.  With the exception of social issues.  I’m not really writing about social issues –I’m using them to write about the nature of love.  I find social issues boring except in how we experience them in the most personal of relationships.  I don’t mean that human rights are boring.  I just find it self-evident that everyone is equal.  And why isn’t it self-evident to everyone?  Because human beings have brains that create hierarchy so they’re always trying to one up each other to get more power.  That’s sad more than boring, but also seems, very unfortunately, to be self-evident.

I hope on my home planet, wherever that is, the species is innately non-hierarchical and takes better care of things.

In the meantime, I’m appreciating reviewers for coming to my planet.  And if they don’t like everything here…well, that’s their prerogative.  I’m just glad to read about the visits.