"- don't be so quick to knock it. People don't usually part with the weird shit they personally know because they know how easy it will be to punch holes in. Now I'm tellin you somethin. It's for you to poke through the soup and find the meat." John Patrick Shanley's 'the dreamer examines his pillow'

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sometimes I stay up too late, and this is what happens. Screw it. call it Art.

There’s something about dancing…
It can be a dismal slow flowing of you alone
A desperate attempt to fix everyone else’s eyes on oneself
It’s often a sharp and jarring expression of hopeless conformity
A familiar silent conversation between a couple, almost like breathing
It might explode from your heart, zapping feelings through your arms and legs that you half unwittingly and joyfully define with your movement

It’s kind of like living.

Everything’s kind of like living. Sometimes I have to laugh at myself – why create fanciful examples of what life is like when I could instead be living it? I suppose the former is sometimes more interesting than the other. But then again, what is true living? Could the working of the imagination be living as much as the actions required for everyday life, or simply an escape from them? Meh. Whatever the answer, I go on thinking about doing rather than simply doing and moving on. I think it’s the considering that makes the actions worth doing. Considering the appreciation you have for someone. Considering the feel of the breeze. Considering the fact that you are working toward some purpose. Thank God humans think too much. Where would be the joy in life – where would there be life without the considering, the confusion, and the imagination? It's worth it to daydream.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The sun comes out again. I guess I forgot.

A continuation (sequel?) to March 4's post

I used to smile. All the time. I still do in public – it’s habit by now. But when I’m alone I just as often find myself with several involuntary wrinkles above my brow and a turned down mouth.
I found myself in this position recently on a brisk morning walk through my uncle’s neighborhood. Occasionally a car or two would drive by, and that natural self-consciousness would arise; that awareness of your demeanor that comes when you think others are looking at you. I realized that, sadly, my face probably only darkened their days as they passed. And what reason for that? Well, I was thinking. And yet all around me was green grass, blue sky, beautiful trees. And ahead of me lay two more relaxing days of wonderful fellowship with my cousin, aunt and uncle, and I didn’t even have to get up in the mornings. Still, I scowled as I pondered the heaviness of the future.
That sucked. So I got to thinking.
What about those people that you see smiling? Just, whenever. To themselves - however rare it may be. There’s nothing special about those people. They’ve been through as much life as I have, if not more. And they’re still enjoying this moment. I make a fool of myself if I decide that the magic is gone and therefore life is some sad affair. Men and women have been through infinitely more than I have, and still come out laughing in life’s face. What right do I have to put on some ridiculous mourning mask just because my training wheels got taken off and I fell over? What is there left but to stand up and keep trying, scraped knee or not? I will not let college life beat me – what a wimp that would make of me!! I WILL take joy in life. Only now I won’t be so surprised when I get knocked over. And that’s a good thing.
Alright life, bring it on.

P.S. I will totally tell you about New York! But right now (insert really great excuse that sounds a heck of a lot better than "I'm too tired").

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Breakfast at the Reedville Cafe with the Ya-Yas. Mom, Trisha, Jyneal, and MJ. I'm one of the Ya-Ya babies, but I get to come celebrate MJ's birthday today. Oh, Lord, sitting around a table with these women I love. Women. Real women. Who've been through immeasurable pain and come out laughing. Do you understanf me? Laughing inevitably louder and harder than anyone else in the restaurant! Just to mock themselves, to grin shamelessly in Life's face, they don leopard-skin hats and red lipstick. They're starting to wrinkle, and they're beautiful. MJ is 49.
And they bang noise-makers and shout and sing when she walks in the room, and I'm not embarrased. I'm proud. They deserve more attention than they get. There should be books written about these priceless souls.
I am excited to grow old, to be middle-aged. As I am sitting there among women who have remained oh so tightly knit through death, divorce, children, distance, therapy, children, and time, I look inward. What emptiness in youth and beauty!! These before me hold true beauty and value - they know who they are. Their hearts are complex, beaten and brought back to life, their minds and very bodies are full of the good and not-so-good of life. They know where they've been and how much of it to speak of. They will be exactly who they are.
This youth, with its vigor and what looks like fullness of life, knows nothing. It is good, but not better. It dances through life's pain and the joy, without the weightiness and realization of what living really means. It is empty, without depth, plays by the ear.
When I am old, I will have a personality. I will not blend in, because I will have had enough experiences to know who I am and enough to learn to want to stick around. I will not fit in with my "peers". None of us will fit in together, except for the togetherness that comes from the joy of one another's company, the laughter, the bitterness, the understanding. I will not listen to the music you are listening to just to have something to discuss when I see you, to feel like I'm part of the world. I will have earned the wear on my body: it will truly be mine. I will rejoice in my age, like the Ya-Yas do, and I will find someone to rejoice with me.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Tonight, a friend and I looked at Molly, one of the sweetest hearts I have ever met, from across a few tables. He said "wow. She really deserves someone perfect for her. Someone wonderful." And tonight I knew that just because she is an amazing person does not mean she'll find her lover. She may find someone. But her goodness does not guarantee her happiness, as much as I want it to. I may never find someone. Some of my closest friends will be miserable either in their career, with their family, with themselves...
There's something that's happened to me, and it's not sad. I suppose it was just waiting to happen.
I remember at a cast party, we were all sitting in a circle playing truth or dare (let's take a moment to appreciate the sheer joy of playing this game ... thank you) and Kevin's turn came around. He had to tell us, if he could take anyone on the room anywhere in the world, who and where it would be. After a moment's consideration, he looked at me and said, "I would take Elizabeth to the Red Light District, because she would come back... different." He smiled mischievously, everyone had a good laugh, I reflected briefly on how innocent I must have seemed to them, and life went on.
What does that mean? No one ever believes they are - until it's gone and they realize they were.
At the time I thought innocent meant nice. I thought it meant not knowing about bad things in the world, and yeah I was nice, but I knew about all the malnourished babies and AIDS-ridden humans and dads beating their children, so I secretly thought I really couldn't be any more innocent than the rest of them.
Now I know differently. The loss of "innocence" is not knowledge of circumstances. It is the loss of detachment to those circumstances. When one of your dearest friends calls to tell you she's just had a miscarriage from drinking too much and she doesn't know who to tell that he just lost a child, a part of you DIES as you realize that nothing will protect you from the world. Life hits you and those you love fiercely and without apology.
When you finally discover that real love means that you are wounded on a regular basis, and that you hold in the palm of your hand the tools to wound ever so deeply as well, and you have to honestly ask yourself, in a very solemn way, if the good is actually worth the bad, because you'll stop if it's not, that's when naivity flies out the window. It's incredibly easy to let cynicism creep in.
I was reading Kara's blog this evening, and I was struck with how beautifully innocent her heart is. I know that she has experienced more pain in many ways than we could ever begin to understand, but there is still a questioning, a hope that I admire her greatly for. It's so fresh - how quickly people dry up when they allow it to happen. Don't ever dry up, Kara. I love your spirit very much.
To speak simpy, I know in my heart that the world is bad. I also know there's enough somethings out there that sort of shine - not to eliminate the dark spots, but to glow next to them, to give us something to look at when we're shivering in the gray. Makes things more interesting. Makes us slide our legs off our sheets - most mornings. But there's no magic that dances in our souls. Just the best we can make of what we've got.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

And then the world came crashing down...

In a good way! I think.

Well God, I hope you know what you're doing, because I sure don't.
Big News: I got the freakin role I wanted!!! YES YES YES!!!!! Hallelujah!!!!! I worked my butt off for that role, and I am so excited!!!!! Only trouble is, it's in the middle of summer. So I probably won't be able to touch Oregon soil until mid - July. But that's ok. Kind of. I got cast, and I LOVE THIS ROLE! Guess what my name is? That's right, I'll be playing Lenny McGrath in Crimes of the Heart. I think it's a very good name, although it looks better on a certain Mr. Noller. I'll do my best to live up to it anyway.

The frightening news? There was another role I really really wanted - the lead in one of the three spring shows. Her name is Iriana. The play was just written, and it's juicy and challenging and raw and beautiful and the brilliant playwright will be working with the director and actors, changing the script as needed in rehearsals. I tried my best, but I didn't get the role, and I was okay with that. The girl who got it, Sara Alvarez, is absolutely amazing - she's this fiery little down-to-earth Junior, and she was perfect for the role. Since it's a new play, the whole department got together once it was cast and listened to the actors read through it on stage, so we can see how it changes from now to the performance. Yeah, she was great.
However, she got offered a four-month job at the Utah Shakespeare festival. She couldn't turn it down, so she had to give up the role of Iriana. And guess who the director wants to replace her?
Yes, I'm thrilled. But more than that, I'm scared Spitless. It will be the opportunity of a lifetime to work on a play like this, but
Holy Sausages, how could I ever live up to Sara Alvarez? The guy in the show Iriana is on stage with the most is one of Sara's dearest friends, in my opinion he's the most talented actor in our department, and he's always felt kind of awkward around me; how must he feel having to do this with me now? And there are some very disturbing scenes in the show... This is the most challenging role I have ever attempted - she's naive, but wild, almost animal-like, with a expressively sexual side. She sings haunting melodies she hears from the memory or ghost of her absent mother, and she has green skin - the play deals partly with racism. I will need to work a hundred times as hard to prove to myself and others that I have this in me, that I'm right for the role, even in the absence of Sara. I just need to get rid of this huge wall in my head that tells me I can't be good enough. That's the hard part.
No, it's all the hard part.
But what a priviledge...