Thursday, December 31, 2009

Musings on a holiday

After walking out of Target Christmas week- and musing on the ridiculous amount of money my husband and I spent, he said something wonderful to alleviate the guilt.
"We used to blow this amount of money on stupid stuff when we first started dating- now it is on our house and our children."
And suddenly that perspective melted the guilt away.
I want to be out of debt pretty badly but more I want to spend money in the right way- and I realized it was the right way- even if it wasn't perfect.
We were investing it into our family and our house.
I'm pretty much in the same place I was before except now we own a house and I'm building towards a career and I am taking risks that are healthy and not harmful.  I feel pretty good about what I'm doing instead of waking up and trying not to remember the stupid crap I did- or drowning away the misery in self defeating behavior.
I think I can still believe things happen for a reason.
And part of that is about that shining, tiny face on Christmas morning.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sarah Palin ruined it

I have currently changed the title of my blog to "to be announced" because Sarah Palin has temporarily ruined the word 'rogue' for me and I don't want to be identified as someone who has anything to do with her.
Also, having recently learned the multiple definitions of the word rogue no longer feel it is appropriate for me.
I have no doubt she will be crushed in the primaries and hopefully will crawl away licking her wounds but until then, I need another name for my blog.
Creativity girl some how does not cut it.
I will ruminate on it.  But meanwhile, if anyone has any suggestions, would love to hear them. :)

Film Making 101

I remember the first time I got to direct a play on my own. I had been assistant director for more times than I cared to document and I had been ready for quite some time. It was always something I knew I could do, instinctively but I am really glad I took the time to train and have the confidence and security behind me. There I was, getting a chance- it was what I always wanted. Sometimes when dreams come true, you just have to sit back and take a moment. Let it sink in.
There I was choosing my cast. I learned a lot of lessons out of that experience. Not a lot of people showed up for auditions, I didn't have a lot of choices with actors and I had not yet built up my reputation as a director.
I was handed a difficult set of circumstances with a couple of young actors who questioned every decision I made, never properly learned their lines and essentially gave me a hard way to go.
You wouldn't think I'd be grateful for that experience- it was a pain in the ass. I would go to rehearsal thinking- this is not what I expected it to be- I'm not enjoying this, I'm stressed out, freaking out, crunched for time and wishing I had better choices. Where was the fun, the joy, the play?
But, you know it all came together, and my mother was proud of me on opening night and I was pleased with the play and the reviews were not glowing but they were good.
I have a tendency to have an all or nothing attitude. I tend to pour everything I have into a much wanted experience thinking- this is a dream- I may never get to do this again! I have become to overcome that a little bit by bit as I have been fortunate to be able to do it again and again.
This was not my first film. Gosh I wish people would understand that. This was not even the first time I produced something I wrote. That first time was in college and I wasn't nearly as nervous about it. Still, lots of people are sure I just came out of nowhere. But I have been training for this for years.
I've been around all this time, plugging away, looking for a way in. And I found it, it's mostly believing in me and knowing intimately what I am capable of. So, as I go through this process, and it was a challenge and it was difficult- and I was so stressed out, I know that in a way, it was only the beginning of so much more.
I don't know that I have felt that prolonged level of stress for a very long time. And yet, there were moments of pure joy on this shoot. This is the life that was waiting for me. I feel awakened.
In so many ways, I will over the next few posts describe how difficult this experience was for me. When will it be easy? Probably never easy but I have to say, the last play I directed was such pure joy, it felt easy and this will get like this as well. It may not every get easy, and I hope it doesn't but it will become more effortless as I become more of the me I am meant to be.
I have never gone backward- I learned new strengths. I am ever more grateful and I will find a way to do this again, and again!
More of this journey to come...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I've conquered a lot of fears over the years, it is in my nature to be adventurous, in contradiction to the shy child that I was. Shy but wanting. But that does not mean that my fears don't exist, I merely appear fearless.

Yesterday my daughter said to me "my friend just made reservations and got on a plane and flew to New York for the weekend, by herself. And suddenly I realized that I could do that."
Freedom is a beautiful realization, isn't it?
Also terrifying, but beautiful. I remember the first time I knew that I was only limited by my own imagination.

A couple times today I felt my throat close with fear. That's when I knew I had work to do. I have to turn the fear into exhilaration. Yes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bizarro World reunion

I suppose there are levels at which we're comfortable in our life. We surround ourselves with the people who make us feel safe, friends in our life that are like us. We don't want to under reach or over reach. We want to travel around in a job that lets us feel competent, in a social circle where our friends understand us.

I am a contradiction of many things. I'm usually as comfortable walking around in a room full of glitz as I am hanging out with the boys in the dart room talking smack, smoking and cussing. I've walked around seedy druggie houses where I noticed that different rooms were for different drugs. I have sat in the room with millionaires at charity events. People are fascinating to me. I'm not scared of them. I've partied with the elite and the fashionable and people that had not showered in a long time. I have always walked the middle of the road. Who were you in high school? Who are you now? What does that first social experience and place in small society say about you?

I am interested in what makes me feel dirty and last night I came home and felt dirty and I was at a party with the elite. Maybe it is because my motives weren't pure. Maybe it is because though I walked with them, I never felt I belonged with them. Maybe it is because I always did feel like a fraud. I feel that way other places. When I walked around the drug house, I knew I wasn't one of them. I knew I was just an observer in a world that wasn't mine. I knew that these people did not want to look too closely at themselves for fear of what they might see. I feel the same way at church. I don't share all their beliefs. That I secretly disagree, that I believe that homosexuals are made by God and not an abomination. That I believe in evolution. I pretend for the sake of my daughter so she can benefit by getting a better education.

I have pretended at jobs I hate. Maybe I fit in a little, more often I spent a lot of time thinking, knowing, this job is beneath me but I am afraid to push myself to my full potential so here I am and here I will stay until I take myself more seriously but meanwhile, things like eating and having a roof over my head were important.

Still all of these things I am glad that I did. I'm not afraid of different class systems, some people are terrified to ever step out of their comfortable worlds. I have noticed the sour grape syndrome. Rich people are snobby. Poor people are disgusting and filthy. I don't want to hang out with them. Well, you haven't met them, you have only made assumptions.
I walk wherever like. I have clothes that I can put on my body that allow me to go where I won't be noticed as different. I can put on the shell of whoever I need to be and talk the required talk. There was no cussing last night. I noticed that. Polite company requires polite talk. How funny. The worst word I noticed was bitch. You would think when they were all drunk at the after party, a naughty word would have slipped out.

Sometimes I think movies are the great equalizers. Maybe it is why I am so drawn to acting and illusions. I can put on the shell of who I need to be. The wealthy can go to the theater and see a glimpe of another world and feel something without being intimately involved in it. The poor kid can go to the movies and see the fantasy world of the wealthy and feel a part of it, get a snapshot that rich people cry, too. We can live in each other's world from the safety of our seats.

So I went to this event last night with the hope of connecting and networking with people with disposable income. I went ready to sell some of my talent and my ideas, you know, fitting it into polite conversation. I did not meet nearly enough people there, and probably did not make nearly enough connections but I definitely made some that may or may not pan out. And for some reason, I came home feeling dirty. Maybe it was the asshole I encountered right at the end of the night. He was a total insecure playboy, the only thing he had going on was the fact that he had hung on to a decent head of hair, because underneath it, he was pure snake.
I knew who he was going home with. The drunk blonde. I wondered if she knew he had herpes... (okay I don't know that but it certainly seemed like he was a good candidate)
Maybe it is because as a writer in me observes these things when I meet people, that I try to draw out who they are. Maybe I felt dirty because though I have mastered a certain form of manipulation, I always feel terrible about it. Is it because I have a conscience?
Though I had a certified invitation to this party and crashed it anyway, I think that I will never be completely comfortable with this group. I feel great with certain individuals who are a mutual part of this whole experience with me but as a whole, I don't belong in this world.
There are places where I feel utterly myself but am still bound by social conventions that even there make me feel like a fraud. I had to sit down afterwards and analyze this dirty feeling. Was it the snake? Was it the whole clandestine operation complete with agenda and material preparation?
This is the same way I felt after the 10 year reunion and not even any of those girls were there.
I suspect this is the way I feel about me. I have to untangle the lessons I need to learn out of this experience.

First, I am going to have to deal with wealthy patrons if I am going to fund my films. I have to learn to raise this money and even though it is distasteful to me, I have to deal with feeling like a fraud while still being the authentic me. Those girls worked very hard to make me feel like I did not belong back in high school but the simple fact is, just by virtue of me being there, I was a part of their shared experience, a part of their club, a member whether they wanted me or not. And I deserved to be there, I was among the best and the brightest and I was not a dumb kid. I really soaked up being intellectually stimulated.
Many of them were not the best or the brightest and I am sure they felt that way every day. Many more kids toiled along without the opportunities I had and deserved to benefit from a good education but did not get it. The best and the brightest are out there every day. Life is not fair that way, some kids are given better opportunities than others.
I met people working at restaurants who had brilliant minds but never believed they could acheive. Brilliant minds stuck in drugs or agoraphobia.
I'm glad I step out of my comfort zone, even if I feel like a big fake sometimes. It enhances me as a person and as a writer.
I guess I will never enjoy playing the game but I will enjoy making my art and finding out about people and digging deeper to see who they are. I even enjoy meeting snakes, I just cannot let them attach themselves to me but I love writing about them.
I'm already feeling better about this now. Less dirty. More me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Okay, so I have been quiet here for a while. I haven't quite figured out what I can say and what I cannot say. I feel right now I am caught between two egos. I need things for my film and it's always like someone is trying to talk me into something.
At one point I was asked what it was that I wanted and I was like, you know what? I can't remember because all I can hear is you telling me what you want- on both sides. I spend so much time trying not to get bullied. Make up your mind guys. Do you hate the fact that people try to bully me or that I won't let you do it? Can't have it both ways cause you bully in a more subtle, palatable, less noticable way.
I hate the giant game of manipulation all the time. I hate that I have to manipulate back. Why is it so much work to get the prelimiaries out of the way. I produce myself so that I can keep creative control, but people still try to push you around. I like collaboration. I hate bullshit.
So I have been quiet because I don't know what to say. I'm scared, I'm ambitious and I am desperate to get things done well. That is really all I want to do is get things done well.
At some point, things should be less difficult, right?
I know that there is probably a point to the suffering. It teaches me, right?
I have pushed my shoot dates up one month because of all this crap. I hate it, but it had to be done. At this point, I am grateful for more time. I need it.
The other thing that is going on is that we have finally reached an agreement on the house. We have a purchase price, we have a loan officer, we have finished negotiating over who pays for what.
We begin signing contracts this week. I guess the best part is we don't have to move. We're buying the house we live in.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Auditions Round 2

Wow- it was a long day Sunday. I auditioned people from 12:45- 6:30 PM. I think between the two days, I saw 70 actors, though I would have to sit down and do a real count. Most of them came on Sunday and it was a really steady stream of talent.
I was so pleased to have such a great turnout. So many talented actors came through that it gave me some really serious casting options. It was brutally difficult to not be able to cast all the talent that walked in the door. I only had ten roles to cast.
This is becoming more real as we go along. Now there are actual people in those actual roles. This week, I'm continuing the search for locations and beginning to put the legalities in place. I'm going to be setting up a bank account in the name of the company and getting an LLC for Inspired Films. A few years ago I was just dreaming about this and now it's happening.
So many things that were just possibilities are realities.
Much of me wants to go further but when I think of where I came from, the place that I was when I got my first computer and hatched my first business plan-- it's quite a distance.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Round One of auditions

So, last Saturday was round one of auditions for my film. Overall, it was a great day. A couple of things happened that bothered me.
I had a few last minute cancellations and one no show.
The no show was from the guy that spent twenty minutes on the phone telling me how great he was and how talented and how fabulous. Don't know what happened to Mr. Fabulous!
The Saturday before, Mr. Fabulous called me from the location of the auditions and announced he was there. I informed him that he had the wrong date. Maybe he was embarrassed that he messed up but I don't think I'm crying over Mr. Fabulous not showing up.
Truly-- it's awesome that your acting teacher thinks you're great.
Wow-- it's amazing that some director picked you out of a bunch of extras to stand next to a famous actor.
Oh wait-- no it isn't. It's a cool story to tell your friends but it says literally nothing on your resume.
Don't tell me how fabulous you are, Mr. Fabulous--- show up and blow me away. Show me what you can do. Believe me, I want actors to show up. I want to see what you can do. I want to see what you all can do.
The great thing about last Saturday is how many talented actors did show up. I put about 10 actors on my list of people that impressed me enough to give them a second look. The hard part is going to be that I cannot cast all the people I liked. I only have ten roles and fortunately I have a wealth of good actors showing up. This was just the first half. I'm auditioning fifty actors this Sunday.
That is really going to be tough. I feel pretty blessed that I have the turnout I have for this. It has been great. I love doing this so very much. Directing is such a joy for me. I have to note this. I always get somewhat nervous at auditions. I used to shake like a leaf. Not quite as much like a leaf any more but I noticed even the actors with full resumes... the one I had worked on ten shows with... they got the shakes a little.
It was oddly comforting to know that we all get nervous, that it gets us all in that same place. I've learned so much sitting behind the table. Every time I get up on stage/in front of the camera or take on another directing position, I learn as much as I teach.
It's a blessing to be able to do this.

Friday, August 28, 2009

They took it down!

PETA removed their disgusting ad and replaced it with a smartass one-- "GONE-- just like all the pounds lost by people who go vegetarian"

I am still going to consider this a victory-- even with their smarmy smart ass comment.

An unpopular opinion

Okay, I know that this will shock a lot of people but I support Nadya Suleman. In prinicipal. I know having 14 kids is more than a little crazy, but even if she can't afford it right now-- this is the USA. Her circumstances can change!
She's getting a masters degree, she could potentially make more money than most of us- who knows.
I think this is mostly about bashing a single mom.
If she was married, this would be less likely to be such a bashing opportunity.
Today on facebook, there was a poll wanting people like her banned from having children.
Really? Banned?
And who gets to decide this?
Does a panel of your peers decide this?
Does a panel of Roman Catholics get to decide?
Who gets to tell me I am not allowed to have children.
Shall we have forced sterilization?
Because when I was 17 and decided to have my baby and keep my baby, there was a panel of people that disagreed with me.
And disagreed with my second pregnancy and my third and my fourth.
I was married for my fifth so no one said anything. Ha.

But I want to know. Who do you want deciding for you?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My last name

In reading the above article about taking your husband's last name. I remember the day I realized my mother was a feminist. She laughed at me and said "of course I'm a feminist. How could you not have known?"
She didn't advertise it.
She always worked but took care of the house and yard and did everything domestically while my father did nothing, so it really was something I had to discover slowly. She was like a closet, mostly quiet, behind the scenes, not burning her bra, but doing the real work of change. Standing up in the office and saying "I'm not going to be paid less than my male colleagues."
But she took my father's last name and I guess I never gave it another thought.
My whole life, I wanted to get married to rid myself of my father's last name. I hated it and everything that had to do with him. I had the ball and chain of my father's name around my neck, dragging me down. He was attached to my identity and I hated it. I wanted my own.
It never occured to me that I would be co-opting an identity from my husband- aligning with another male clan that I would be attached to.
When my little brother got married, his wife did not take his last name.
I didn't even realize it until I forgot their phone number and called directory assistance and it was under her maiden name.
I reported this to my mother and she said "Oh, of course she kept her last name. I knew she would."
Then my mother said "I would have kept my last name if I could have gotten away with it. Your father is still furious with me that my PhD certificate is in my maiden name. But I was determined to do that, that was my hard work, it had nothing to do with him."
Still I never really considered keeping my last name. I always thought I would rid myself of it. I even considered keeping my first husband's last name even though we had only been married for four months, but ultimately, that was ridiculously impractical, so I changed back quickly. I didn't even have time to change it all.
But mightily traumatized by a very bad first marriage, I did not jump into the second. I was well into my thirties when I got married the second time- and even then I thought that I would immediately change my name. But I didn't. I didn't come home from the honeymoon and fill out all the paperwork.
I waited.
I started hyphenating a little.
I started putting my maiden name in the middle.
I realized my professional name was all people knew me by and if I just starting posting my married name, no one would know who I was.
So I began what I thought was a transition process.
Four years later-- my social security number is still in my maiden name-- and I only changed my driver's license this year and my maiden name is still in the middle. All my credit cards are still in my maiden name.
Somehow in that time, it became not my father's identity so much but mine, and I refuse to lose my identity inside a marriage.
Now I actually prefer my husband's name and it has a lovely tone to it and goes with mine quite nicely.
In the last five years we were dating before we got married, I became quite afraid of being swallowed up by a marriage and resisted it quite mightily. He never pushed me to take that step. It was all internal. I think he would have lived quite happily for the rest of his life with me in an unmarried state.
I did discover this beautiful unexpected comfort when we did get married.
All of a sudden, I had sister in laws and a brother in law and a wonderful mother in law and father in law. This was not just my kid's family-- it was my family, too. I mean, they had never made me feel like an outsider but I had steeled myself to that reality-- that this was HIS family. Now it is our family, I can say "my niece" instead of "my boyfriend's niece". I like that. I like owning my part in this whole family. That we belong together.
Still I developed an odd attachment to my last name. I think in this transition, I will let go of it eventually but it's going to take some time but I really have a complete understanding now why some women want to keep their names.

This week, I am a vegetarian

I'm disgusted by this ad campaign but also ready to challenge them.

Okay PETA-- I'm throwing down-- this week I am going to eat no meat products whatsoever and see if I lose any weight. I had waffles for breakfast. There was no meat in them. Lots of vegetarians eat eggs, so I will continue to eat them.
I want to mention the following things that have no meat in them that I will be eating this week.

Potato Chips
Pear Pie
Dr Pepper

I will be eating vegetable and fruit-- as I do every week.
I want to see if this meat free diet will make me lost weight.
I won't overeat, I will eat as I normally so, three regular meals and a snack simply without meat.
Here I go to weigh in. I won't be sharing that number by the way... you'll just have to trust me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

my auditions...

Announcing auditions for a locally produced short film, Play Dead, a suspense thriller
by writer/director Vanessa Roman.

Saturday August 29th from 10 AM - 2 PM

Webster University
Sverdrup Business/Technology Complex8300 Big Bend Blvd.
Room 131 (Video Studio)
Please call 314-662-3686 for appointment.
There will be at least one more audition date if you cannot make this one-
will be announced later

Auditions will be monologues and cold readings from the script.

Roles available are:

Claire-- Age 15-18, Claire is a bit of a mystery as a character, she has an ethereal, angelic demeanor and speaks with detachment.

Doug- 30-45 very easygoing father figure kind of good guy character with a no nonsense quality to him

Jan- 30-45 a very tense, uptight and angry character, worn down by a lot of bad breaks in her life-- she doesn't have a lot of patience

Jessie- 20-25 the babysitter- very sarcastic and smart alecky

Adam- 20-25 Jessie's boyfriend, laid back, very easygoing guy, very friendly

Secretary any age- She is a caring, helpful, means well

Warden- any age- very professional and by the book

Jason-- 30-40- a dark and frightening character, very intense.

Prison inmates-- can be any age, there are two. Both of them are very nasty characters

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A little existential death

I have become convinced that we humans have internal clocks that cannot be reset entirely, or at least mine can't. I started sleeping late when I was a little kid. I remember one morning my mother coming into my room and saying "Get up Vanessa, it's 10 o'clock!"
This was, I think, before I started school, so I would have been four or five. I remember thinking-- wow I slept late but it feels SO good, I want to do this every day!
I never could go to sleep at bedtime either. I would always lie there for hours, my brain refusing to turn off. I remember pestering my brother lying in the bed next to me, trying to stave off the boredom. I never wanted to go to bed until I was really tired and it seemed to take later at night to make me tired.
By the time I was a teen, I had pretty much cemented myself into my night owl ways. I had my own room and I could stay up as late as I like if I didn't get caught. I remember the first book I read by flashlight when I was seven. It was Fantastic Mr Fox.
It was only the beginning of my sleep rebellion.
When I was fourteen, I went to ninth grade camp and we were sent to the Wichita Mountains. I was starting a new school and my parents thought it would be a great idea. It wasn't.
I hate hiking and camping and mountain climbing-- all of which was required. And they would say "you don't have to do anything you don't want to do." but they didn't mean it. The first time I said "I don't want to climb that," someone got behind me and pushed me up.
I cannot tell you how resentful I was of that. Still, I tolerated this great 'get up early and see the sunrise' experiment. It was supposed to be life changing, amazing, this dazzling experience, we were so close to nature...
Very reluctantly, I got up at least a half hour before the butt crack of dawn in those very cold pre-dawn hours and then we had to hike three miles- thanks for that- before breakfast.
We sat in the middle of a clearing waiting for the sunrise. I yawned, and waited for this life changing thing to happen. I waited, and waited AND waited. We were not allowed to speak at this time. Any conversation was certain to RUIN the moment.
Finally, this weak, pale yellow sun peeked over the horizon. I waited. It grew more and more light and I waited, I shivered a little, the warmth of the sun was really taking its time.
Okay-- hang on here. Where were the lovely colors? Where was the breathtaking beauty in the sky? Where were the pinks and oranges and deep darkness? Oh right, this was not a sunset. This was a pale and pathetic imitation of an unwilling sun, weak, tired and merely doing its duty getting up in the morning to groggily make its way to the kitchen and pour itself a nice cup of java. That sun was not even going to hit its full glory until 8 AM-- by then it would have stretched its hydrogen filled arms and woken up a little, given us some light.
Silently, we trudged back to camp. And all I could think was: I got up for THIS? I have missed nothing over the years!
I have always regarded the sunset as the deepest beauty in nature. The coming of night thrills me-- the dark mysteries, the evocative shadows. This is what poets write about with flourishing pens. Not this mamby pamby sunrise crap.
Sure I have stayed up all night and witnessed the sunrise but I have always looked at it with a critical eye. For me, it is a little metaphorical death. It is the death of my freedom. I used to be able to stay out til dawn and when the dawn came, I had to crawl back home. It is the death of the darkness, the murder of the night, the killing of the soft shadows.
I tried to acclimate myself to a morning world. More than once. Once I had a job that required me to be at work at 9:30- and that lasted a year or so before I switched to nights-- but the real horror came when I took a job that required me to work 7AM til 3PM.
I thought to myself, I'll just reset my clock. I tried my best to be in bed by
10 PM but I tossed and turned til midnight. I tried to fight it, I tried to acclimate to this morning world. I saw that dang sunrise every single day. I finally gave up, stayed up til midnight and took an afternoon nap. It was the only way I could cope with that schedule.
But I learned an important lesson. My clock is set.

Monday, August 17, 2009

How I accidently became friends with my husbands ex

When I start dating someone, early in the relationship, I try to have the ex conversation to sort of get things out of the way and clear the air. I like putting my cards on the table and letting people know who I am-- no illusions.
On a first date, if I'm feeling it, I'll say "I like you, and I'll probably want to go back to your house later and make out for hours but I won't be having sex with you-- I don't sleep with guys on the first date, so you may as well get it out of your head now."
So, I would say that within the first couple weeks, I had had the conversations I wanted to have about my exes and had asked my husband pointed questions about his previous relationships. I have to thank the one before me. J sort of laid the groundwork for me in a lot of ways.
I could take the temperature of our relationship by things that had happened with her-- without him realizing it, she had opened him to the possibility of something long term. They weren't right for one another but she had got him thinking.
Naturally, he had run away from her and had behaved in a completely immature way. When I met my husband I saw 'potential' and 'possibility'. People ask me how I found such a great guy. He did not present that way. I saw the diamond shining inside him, but it took years of polish for the rest of the world to see that. None of us start out that pretty, there's a lot of work to do to get that way! And along the way, the previous women have left their marks, for good or for bad.
When I met my husband, he was wanting to be in love but commitment phobic. He had attempted a commitment with J, and it had scared him so badly, he broke up with her at the first signs of happy domesticity.
She lived in our neighborhood. We'd pass her walking along Delmar, see her coming into Blueberry Hill. The two of them would not speak. He would hurry along away from her, and there was no contact. But I knew what she looked like.
Somewhere in the first year of our relationship, I heard she moved to California. I had no feelings about it either way. She was a benign, non interfering ex girlfriend. I didn't really pay much attention to her. One day she was just gone.
Fast forward five years. I was a manager at Cicero's and had been for a couple years. J had gained quite a bit of weight and moved back to town. The first time she came into Cicero's, I didn't recognize her. There was something familiar about a tattoo she had on her shoulder, but I couldn't place it. J was friends with the guy who ran sound for the bands and started coming in every night, kind of late, waiting for her friend to get off work. So, pretty soon she was hanging around after hours.
If she was hesitant to talk to me at first, I didn't notice. If she was ever stand offish, I didn't pick it up. Because she always knew exactly who I was, from the very second we started talking. But I soon had her warming to me and she and I had an easy rapport. We would talk about everything and then one day, the other manager hired her to fill a position that had recently opened up, so she was working for me.
We saw one another every day and we had a great time.
I had no idea she was living in fear of me finding out who she was.
This is another story but during this time, I was going through a tremendously taxing emotional ordeal. I was being harassed and threatened by a crazy social worker-- it's a long story. The woman was eventually fired- but during this time, I was a wreck and that Sunday I hit the wall of emotional capacity and had a breakdown. I started crying and couldn't stop.
My husband(my then boyfriend) drove me to work and sat with me while I begged the general manager to cover my shift.
The GM was my dear friend and he took one look at me and knew I was in no shape to work. It was the first time that had ever happened.
As I was sitting on the rail, sobbing, J showed up for work, walking by me at a distance.
She shared a look with my husband. It was a slight nod of acknowledgment between the two of them. It was such a small moment of recognition that passed between the two of them. I stopped sobbing for a moment and said to him "Do you know J?"
He blinked at me. "Do I know J?"
And the bolt of lightning went off in my head. I looked at him and looked at her and started laughing almost as hysterically as I had been crying. I felt so foolish for not recognizing her, for not realizing who she was.
But I realized that I was meant to have this friendship for some reason and the veil that was in front of my eyes had been there for a reason, so that I would take the friendship without the baggage or the guilt.
J came to me the next day and begged my forgiveness.
She said "I thought you knew and the point that I realized you didn't know, I couldn't bring myself to tell you because I was afraid of losing your friendship and I liked you so much, I couldn't bear to ruin it."
Forgiving her was easy.
She was a friend and she had made a little mistake.
Then I had an opportunity to get her side of the story of what happened between her and my boyfriend. It gave me an insight I wouldn't otherwise have had.
That moment was one of the most powerful moments. I don't know if I can accurately describe it, but it's one of those mysteries. She just found me on facebook and sent me a friend request. I accepted it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A little of my journey

What Saved Me Current mood: luminous Category: Life
I think quite literally, theater saved my life. I wish, in some way that I had found my way in earlier, but that "things happen for a reason" sometimes seems to apply.
When I was five, the first thing I knew was that I wanted to be an actress. I was absolutely fascinated with all things television and movies. Wow. I think I bravely voiced it outloud once to my family and was soundly ridiculed so I kept quiet about it. My mother confided to me that she had always wanted to be a performer, notably an opera singer, and that she took lessons for years and years but was never quite there.
She wrote stories and poetry quietly and then someone told her she was terrible (she isn't) but I think a part of her still believes it.
Maybe that's why she took the practical route and suffered silently, unfulfilled in so many ways, eeking out ways of expressing herself, taking to the stage once in while at a benefit. The woman has published five books and still doesn't consider herself a writer. They are only academic books, she says.
The women do a lot of that in my family. "It was only... it wasn't a big deal... I just got lucky..."
We are pink cheeked and embarrassed at our own naked ambition. But it blooms in us, nevertheless. At seven, I knew I was a writer and that it would be added to my dreams but that I had a better shot at that than anything else. Still, it was my mother's angst and my grandmother's bitterness that drove me. Dreams growing quiet with the years.
Every time I saw that far away look, that unshed tear, that quiet acceptance of "this is not for me", I rebelled further. I made a secret plan. To run away to California when I turned 18. It seemed only right that I go back to where I was born and pursue it. I was just waiting for the courage. But I was going to find it.
I was going to arrive with $200 in my pocket and luck on my side. Sounds absolutely crazy, but that was my plan at the age of seventeen. I didn't care about college or the smart way or the compromises people take. I had the stupidity of youth and a track record of calculated risk, and I was not afraid of it. I was more afraid of not doing it. I don't think I really fleshed out my plan to my then boyfriend. He was moderately supportive but mostly just an ass. He probably listened to some of it and dismissed it, and me.
Maybe I get it. I don't know. I hate that people ridicule and marginalize our dreams. I still hear it today.
"yeah... you know that is going to be quite difficult."
Really? Cause in my imagination it was going to be easy... you idiot. Shall I not do something because it presents a challenge? Am I not smart enough? Not lucky enough? Or is it YOU, naysayer, with the lack of imagination? Of course it will be difficult, I wouldn't want to do it if it did not give me a challenge. Anything worth having is worth working for.
But at 17 and 1/2, the stick turned blue and I knew I was now facing the biggest choice of my life. I think the easy one was having that baby. I turned 18 on a beautiful day in May, and I remember vividly sitting outside on the front steps of the apartment I shared with my boyfriend and breathing in the sweet spring air and wondering what was going to become of me. I was still wearing regular clothes, that little baby bump, barely visible to the outside world, moving inside me. Me, knowing that the practical thing to do, the thing that made the most sense, the smart thing to do, the right thing to do would be to give him up for adoption.
But I have never taken the strictly practical route because I have always believed that I can do the impossible. Find a way. I can always find a way. So, I hit a bump in the road, I will find a way. I've done plenty of things for practical reasons and done the practical thing many times but I rarely argue with my heart when it tells me to love and give.
We never have children for practical reasons. Let's face it, the reason is never that. That beautiful day when the weather was a little chilly in the morning but the sun peaking at noon told me that it would warm up nicely, I knew that the best laid plans of mine were forever burned away. But maybe there would be another way.
Four years later, I drove to California with my good friend who had been pregnant at the same time as me and she gave her child up for adoption. She was moving there to be with her boyfriend. I cannot tell you how many things died inside me with jealousy on that trip. It was... my dream she was living... it was... the road not taken.
I was there for a week, that Saturday was my 22nd birthday and we went to Disneyland. It was a wonderful week, a magical week. My two kids were at the sitter and I was free for the first time to sleep and go places unencumbered. A thousand joys and a thousand deaths plagued me that week. I kept thinking, I belong here.
We went out to Santa Monica beach, where I was born and lived the first few years of my life. I don't remember much but being lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean, and the salt air always seems to bring back in me a visceral, tangible memory of a time that was ripped from me.
My friend took a picture of me into the sun and all you can see is a shadow surrounding me. It's one of my favorite pictures. I am there but the shadow of my child self lingers over me.
For the next few years, all I talked about was getting back there and finding a way back there. I talked to everyone about it. Like I could finish school out there. My brother and his wife even kind of offered to take the kids so that I could find a place and get my crap together. Why did I not take him up on it? I think because his sole motivation was to get me out of my parent's house. And a solid plan was never made. It would have been hard to be away from the kids and to burden someone else with them.
Life intervened. I thought I would get there with the next boyfriend who promised me we would move there. He had lived out there for two years and we would go. But being black and blue dissuaded me from his promises.
Life intervened. I threw myself into school, determined to finish college and move out there with a degree. After two years of persistence, the slide began. The depression was overtaking me. Here it comes. I fought but it was like a wave, just when you thought you could breathe and swim, it takes you under again.So there I was in my twenties, sinking fast. I think I gave up on everything, gave up on myself. There was a period of time, years, when I didn't write a word. Not a letter to a friend. Not an email. Not a word. Dropped out of college again and began the slow process of drowning.
The dream was choking. The dream to do what I love. I think I would just turn on Oprah and watch all those people following their bliss and it was quite literally killing me because I could not imagine how to start. For me, every tiny little thing was potentially the last thing I would do. It was of utmost importance that if I got even a little of it, it was something that wouldn't last.
I had gotten cast in a play at Webster, my first, and I was quite literally convinced it would never happen again, that I should squeeze every ounce of joy from it as it would never happen again.
At the depth of my depression, I remember reaching through the darkness and touching something...a light that would be my daughter...a hope that would begin things anew. I did the practical thing when she was born and went to work for Cicero's to dig me out from that debt, and it was okay for a while but the spiral began again.
In that dark place, there is always a candle I keep burning. I never could quite give it up, the dream. It seemed impossible most of my life, it seemed improbable once I gave my life to those babies. After a series of fights with the owner and back and forth, I was moved to night shifts at work. Managing nights has it's own series of problems but I much preferred it to days.
There was a couple that came in that were regulars. I really liked them, but the wife was rather particular about how she liked her food so I saw a lot of them. They were pleasant. Fix the problem and they were done complaining. They were never unreasonable, just particular. As with many of the regulars, I grew fond of them and began to have long conversations with them. He taught high school theater and they were both very active in the theater community.
Recently, they had just joined a local community theater group and he was directing a play. They were a directing team, and they brought the whole cast in after the show. I looked on with happiness and angst.
"I always wished I could do that." I said.
"Why don't you?"
"Because... I...." There were no words... why didn't I? Because I didn't know how. Because I didn't know this existed, because I couldn't believe that any group would possibly want me.
The husband said to me later...
"You really want to do this? I'm directing To Kill a Mockingbird this summer. Come be my assistant director."
"I've never done anything like that before."
"I'll teach you."
And he did. That was seven years ago, and I was hooked. And it quite literally saved me and saved my dream. I didn't know what we had here. In one year consecutively, I was a writer, actress and director, and that is all I ever wanted to be.
I'm so glad I didn't give it up and do the practical thing.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I hate waiting. I sometimes have so little patience, I just want my life and the good stuff to start right now!!
Like I have this project in the works. We're shooting a ghost story I wrote and I cannot wait. I am so eager to start on it right now, right now. I want to have meetings and talk about everything and focus on the work and get it all together and I am so excited about it, I cannot think about hardly anything else.
I know I need to pay attention to what other people have going but I am just so excited this one is happening- that I get to do this and it's real.
I also find that because this is going to happen, the jealousy I used to have for other people getting to do this has just melted away. Instead, I feel generous and lucky and like giving and helping.
Amazing what a little life fulfillment will do for you.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bit by the Past

I've spent the day in tears. It's amazing what comes out of confrontation and the unwillingness to back down.
I'm beginning to understand the phrase punish the victim. It took me a long time to see myself as a victim in that situation. I'm afraid it's embarrassing to be taken advantage of and to have been used and abused. But what is worse is when you're then years later accused of bringing it on yourself. It took me years to realize what had happened to me, and let go of the guilt of the situation and accept that what happened to me happened. That I was groomed from a young age by someone waiting to pounce on me as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
But now, how dare I confront him? How dare I stir it up? How dare I speak my mind? It's in the past, and I am supposed to submit to being a victim of his the rest of my life. I'm supposed to be over it. Well, I am over it, what is your point?
I have not spent my life in limbo over this. I've moved on successfully, I think. But that doesn't mean I don't have the right to confront my abuser. I have that right, and gee, I'm sorry it makes YOU bystanders uncomfortable. It's really none of your business how I deal with this or when I bring it up.
How dare he leave a trail of victims and we are penalized for not keeping our silence?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ok-- things are getting creepy. I often write the thing that won't leave me alone, the story that follows me around in the dark and pursues me non stop.
I love that story, it's the most powerful-- the one that won't leave me alone. In light of this new blog, I've been looking at my old blog for my 'greatest hits' so to speak-
Not that there isn't enough going on but, first you must know that I have written a ghost story-- my daughter helped develop the story (she is still convinced that this house is haunted-- I often laugh about that, having never even gotten a hint of a haunt) but I digress.
I'm getting ready to go into production on this script and there is a scary guy named Jason- he's a ghost. My daughter insisted we name the ghost Jason. Mainly, she wanted to do that as an homage to Jason the dude from Friday the 13th, which I found annoying, but I let her name the character because nowhere in the script do we ever hear his real name.
Honestly, even though I said this dream had stuck with me, I had forgotten all about it until I read this just now.
So now, it's a leeeetle bit creepy-- but cool. Now I really think we need to shoot this film in my house! We are currently scouting some locations but have not settled on any-- hmmmm!
Below is the post:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Ghosts / I dream about dead people
Current mood: imaginative
Category: Dreams and the Supernatural
I had the coolest dream. Kind of. It also scared the crap out of me.
I was sitting on the couch with my bare legs under the covers and my leg kept itching and I kept scratching and finally I couldn't take it any more and I threw back the blanket and there was an essay written on my leg. It was something like "My name is Jason and I'm stuck here in this house and I need you to help me..."
Okay, weird. So I immediately called out to John who was sitting across from me. And he read my leg. The indentations were beginning to fade. It's like he used some kind of heated pressure thing to write that essay. So I was like, what do you think we should do?
I turned to my left and there was this disembodied head, transparent and in black and white on the back of my couch, inches away from me. One hand dangled over as well. It was like he was coming through the wall from behind the couch.
Since it was a dream, I can't recall the nature of the conversation that took place, what was said simply faded away from me. I was scared but not scared. I woke up several times during the night and kept getting back to that dream. It seemed very real and very important. Somewhere in the night, it occurred to me maybe I should write a ghost story. When I told John, he was like "Been done!"
I said "Not by me!"
But I often think of writing about my dreams and it seems silly in the daylight later. This one really has stuck with me.
I think I dreamed it in part because I saw that silly movie Ghost Town on Friday night. It was funny.
This morning, I dreamt I was talking to my deceased friend Dan. Another ghost. I love those dreams because we are just talking. I was jolted awake suddenly and was disappointed we didn't get to finish our conversation. I have these dreams about him many times. Because he isn't here, it's the only way we can stay current with eachother. It's always comforting to dream about him.
Yeah, I know, I'm dreaming about dead people.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The old and the new

I've been looking over my old posts from My Space-- here is one of my favorites in personal growth:

That date won't own me
Current mood: pensive
Category: Life
There are anniversaries in our lives, some good, some bad and I am blessed and cursed with a terrific memory. Some of it because I replay things in my head over and over but mostly just because I was given that gift.
It's a gift because I can recall things with better than 90% accuracy though I do not have a photographic memory.
Cursed because I forget almost nothing, but it does happen, sure I do forget things. Where did I put my car keys? Yeah, I'm human...
But the point of this is, when bad things happen, I tend to remember the date. This happened to me on November 19th...on March 31st...and then the anniversaries happen. I had a friend who is no longer a friend basically encourage and reinforce this behavior in me. She did a version of the same thing.
Recently I have decided to not let those dates own me. I don't celebrate those horrid (and they are truly traumatically horrid) things happening to me and should not be forced to re-live them and torture myself with. I refuse to let those dates own me. The fact is, those things are not happening to me on this day NOW and I have learned what I need to learn from those terrible things and now I won't let them own me.
From now on I will celebrate the wonderful anniversaries and not give room to the traumatic anniversaries. It isn't like I will ever forget those things happened but I can't undo them and should not continue to torture myself. If I happen to think of it, I have simply moved on with my day, telling myself I don't have room in my life for that negative energy any more.
Yes, that date doesn't own me.

First One Here, First one there...Becoming

Hey everyone. I'm migrating over here from My Space from my small, intimate audience who have heard my everyday trials and have stood by me and given me support and comments.
Let me tell you a little bit about me. I dream the impossible dream. There, I said it. Now that being said it, I'm going for it, full out. No one ever said this was going to be easy but I'm making my dreams come true a little bit at a time.
I'm a writer/director/actress.
I write plays, fiction, screenplays and well... whatever I want.
I think I can write anything-- except maybe a news story. I tried in college, hats off to news writers, I'm afraid I am hopeless without my juicy adjectives, and I am afraid my skills were sorely tested trying to stay in the lines of just the facts. Okay, I admit it, I am an embellisher, you may as well know that going in.
I can't seem to help myself sometimes.
It's the truth, only with glowing globes of interesting details that make it all seem shiny.
Below is one of my early posts on My Space, I cannot pinpoint the exact moment where thing changed but I do believe they have. Here is my first vision of what I wanted.

Monday, June 04, 2007
The Vision

Current mood: optimistic
Category: Writing
I'm taking some time out to think about my life and have begun to dedicate time to dealing with my own dreams and taking control of things and not being lazy, frightened and avoidant.I have now officially begun the process of stepping out and putting my work out there, although I haven't sent anything anywhere, yet. I now have a list and have different categories in my head and I'm actually really excited about it.That is because the rejection letters have not begun to come in yet!Still, I feel very optimistic NOW because I know that I am better than I have ever been and I am beginning to have a plan.Things I have been missing for years: Being my own life coach!Treating my dream like a job until it becomes one!As I was describing my long and checkered college experience to my former English teacher, I was really beginning to understand how far I had come from where I began.Ironically, no one regards me as a screw up anymore but a mentor. I guess making all those mistakes really paid off (ha!)I had to learn the hard way in some ways but what I really learned was never give up your dream. Line from Flashdance "If you give up your dream, you die."
I saw that movie when I was...15?And I thought, I will never give up my dream and then two short years later, I was considering it, resigning myself to it as silly...or having it beat out of me, maybe a little of both.But somewhere deep in there, somewhere I nurtured it, gave myself permission to keep it. So now I don't have to be idealistic but realistic. It's a part of me and it isn't going away and every time I try, I get to experience a piece of it.So, here is to the next phase...

Ok, so I wrote that two years ago and the miracle of that is I actually stuck to it, after so many disappointments and setbacks (and I know there will be more) I'm actually doing things that I dreamed of doing, instead of losing momentum, I am gaining it.
Next month, I will be beginning the process of auditioning for the short film that I wrote and will be directing. This is a huge step in the right direction for me. I just had my first piece (a trailer) in the St. Louis Film Maker's Showcase and I have moved forward from there to my next project. I'm shopping a feature film in Hollywood-
The Vision is becoming.