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Arrrg, so much to update, so little time!  Been writing, classing it, auditioning nonstop.  Actually got to put my Sign Language skills to good use during an audition today which was pretty fun…more like riding a bicycle than I expected.  Jack and I are no longer associated with the theatre company, UA;  there’s no purpose or value in elaborating on the subject, so I won’t.  Onward and upward!  And we definitely are.  Jack’s been submitting and auditioning just as much, and in fact he flies out to Vermont this Sunday to shoot a commercial for Nokian Tires.  Because of the long distance, he had to submit his audition through video, so I taped him last Sunday (two separate takes, second with added direction) with my phone and we sent them in.  If you know me personally and would like to see either of these awesome HIGHlarious audition submissions (and haven’t already), email me and I will send you the private link.   The second submission he went for it so hard that I had to stop twice and restart because I couldn’t help laughing.

 

Quick summed-up update:  Regarding my herniated disc injury, I’m still in PT, have 5+ more weeks at least.  Improving, kind of the two steps forward, one step back kind of deal.  BUT when I go back to work, I already have the most amazing job lined up: I will be working for this incredible, innovative start-up dog walking company(the company itself has been around for a few years, but with this particular focus for 8 months).  Super great, young, motivated energy and forward thinking company that uses new ideas and modern technology to provide top notch service to dog owners.  And I will be doing a flash mob (my first ever!) with them!  We’re going to be participating in a huge adopt-a-dog event where we’ll be breaking out our mad skills.  In addition to dog walking, I’m going to be doing freelance babysitting and maaaaaaaaaaybe working with a company that specializes in kids parties. I have specific companies I can work with, but am also going to focus on getting jobs on my own, starting with giving 3 families in my building a “free night of babysitting” (up to 4 hours).  The exchange will be that they can see if they like me, and then if so allow me to use them as a local reference.  I’m thinking of also doing a referral program where for each new unique referral someone gives me, I’ll give them a free hour of babysitting service.  Or something like that.   I think I might have enough work without all of this, but summer is right around the corner, so we’ll see, and if it seems not then I might add on the kids birthday parties work.  I’ve been getting called in for a lot of auditions (including for paid gigs), and acting’s what I’m here for, so I want to leave plenty of open time to allow for those opportunities.  But I AM totally freaking PSYCHED to soon be working with doggies!!!!!!  Seriously you guys, I can’t wait.

 

Speaking of acting, my classes have been A-mazing.  I did a Viewpoints Composition weekend workshop a couple of weekends ago that BLEW MY MIND and opened up my world and took my mind down the rabbit hole with regards to acting and art in new ways I never knew were possible. LOVED it.  I’ve also been studying dialects (Spanish and British RP so far, Scottish starts next week) and while I still definitely need practice, practice, practice, I am not nearly as intimidated by it all as I used to be.  In fact I actually (if you can believe it) find it all really fascinating and fun.  Definite props to my talented and passionate instructor.   My solo performance class has one more week to go, and I’ve hit some highs and some blocks, but I just keep going (because what else can I do?…I’m in a current block with it, can ya’ tell??).  I have a good foundation and will continue working on it long after the class is finished.  Lastly, I’m taking a new Monologues Audition class (taught by Karen Kohlhaas) that a good friend recommended and I am already completely in love with.  As in…maybe…possibly…just perhaps…working and doing monologues auditions could actually be…fun.  No really ya’ll. NO. REALLY.

 

Speaking of all this work, I have to get back to it, sooooo…I’ll do one more quick post after this to upload some recent photos.  I’ll try my best not to be so long in between future blog posts! One photo teaser; this is what makes me officially now a New Yorker (MY GRANNY CART):

 

 

And noooooooow… why I actually signed in tonight, to quickly post (then felt guilty for not updating, so there you go) this video below that a friend of mine from my Alexander Technique sent me yesterday, which is absolutely freaking ridiculously  INCREDIBLE.  This is especially for all  of you actors out there, but really for anyone who is pursuing the arts and/or creative field.

 

Susan:
There are some people in the world who say that writing stories,
or composing music or dancing sparkly dances is easy for them.
Nothing interferes with their ability to create.
While I celebrate their creative freedom,
a little part of me just wants to punch those motherfuckers in the teeth.
This song, I sing this song for you guys and for all the rest of us. Help me out y’all
Backup:
We’ll sing backup
Susan:
You have a story to tell, a novel you keep in a drawer.
Backup:
Old sock drawer!
Susan:
You have a painting to paint, but you lazy like an old French whore
Backup:
Je suis whore
Susan:
You have a movie to make, Shrinky Dinks you can bake
but you best grab a stake, cause,
in sweep the vampires, in creep the vampires, knee deep in vampires,
Filling you with doubt. Insecurity, ’bout what you art should be
in sweep the vampires
All:
Die vampire
Susan:
You sketched that turtle you saw in an ad on late-night cable TV
Backup:
Tippy Turtle!
Susan:
But your fourth grade teacher said
Female Backup:
You can’t draw
Susan:
Aww, those vampires just won’t let you be
Backup:
Fuck you Ms. Johnson, Word!
Susan:
And when they come run like hell, see those bats in your belfry, then call on Van Helsing.
Susan:
In swoosh
Backup:
Ooh, the vampires
Susan:
in a whoosh
Backup:
ooh, the vampires,
Susan:
Babaganoosh
Backup:
ooh, all the vampires
Susan:
Filling you with thoughts of
Backup:
Self consciousness
Susan:
Feelings of
Backup:
Worthlessness
Susan:
They’ll make you
Backup:
Second guess
Die vam-
All:
-pire!
There are so many vampires, inside, outside, and nationwide,
it helps to recognize them with this vampire hunting guide!
Listen closely,
a vampire is any person or thought or feeling
that stands between you and your creative self expression,
but they can assume many seductive forms.
Here’s a few of them!
Backup:
Tell us Susan!
Susan:
First up are you pigmy vampires.
They’ll swarm around you head like gnats and say things like:
Male Backup:
Your teeth need whitening
Female Backup:
You went to state school?
Male Backup:
You sound weird
All:
Shakespeare, Sondheim, Sedaris
Susan:
Did it before you and better than you, or they might say that you cannot
sing good enough to be in a musical, or they might say:
Backup:
Ooh, your song’s derivative,
Ooh, your song’s derivative,
Ooh, your song’s derivative,

Susan:
To keep that song from you! Just tell them:
Backup:
Die vampire, die!
Susan:
Brothers and sisters, next up is the air freshener vampire,
she might look like you mama, or your old fat-ass, fat aunt Fanny.
She smells something unpleasant in what you’re creating.
She’ll urge you to:
Backup:
(Spraying sound)
Susan:
It with some pine fresh smell ’em ups.
The air freshener vampire doesn’t want you to write about
Backup:
bad language, blood, or blow jobs
Susan:
She wants you to clean it up and clean it out.
Which will leave your work toothless, gutless, and crotchless
but, you’ll be left with two tight paragraphs,
All kittens that your grandma would be so proud of.
You look at that air freshener vampire in her fat ass, fat old fuckin’ face and you say
All:
(Chanting)
Susan:
The last vampire is the mother of all vampires and that is the vampire of despair.
It’ll wake you up at 4am to say things like:
Backup:
Who do you think you’re kidding?
You look like a fool.
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good enough
Susan:
Why is it that if some dude walked up to me on the subway platform
and said these things, I’d think he was a mentally ill asshole,
but if the vampire inside my head says it,
It’s the voice of reason.
Backup:
You have a story to tell, pull your novel out of that sock drawer!
You have a painting to paint, you best paint it and then paint some more!

Susan:
Oh baby, you must escape and grab it by the nape of its neck, by the trachea
fuckin’ break it, go on drive a stake in,
Yeah there’s no mistaking, now you’re shake and bakin’
All:
Die, vampire
I said, “Die, vampire”
I said, “Now die vam-pi-re, die!”
All:
In fly the vampires, oh my the vampires, then die the vampires,
filling you with life, creativity, all that you heart should be, out go the vampires
Die vampire, die vampire, die vampire, die!

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Before heading off of facebook for my little vacay, I inquired to others on any recommended websites for creative writing prompts.  What I had come across in my own search were a lot that were just not that inspiring for me personally.  Either the prompts themselves were too boring or common, or some would be a supposed start to a story, but they would basically be a prompt giving away the whole story–which to me didn’t leave enough for it to go in crazy, fun, imaginative directions.

 

One of my friends, Greg, pointed me towards creativewritingprompts.com, which is a website with numbers 1 to 346.  On this site, you hover the cursor over any of the numbers with your mouse and then a prompt pops up.  This has been one of my favorites, and was the first one that I used.  They have some really fun abstract prompts like “write about the color of hunger,” or “write about the fickle Finger of Fate.”  Other prompts  include lists of words that must be included in your piece,  those that are written from a different point of view (like that of a wedding bouquet), or those that start with obscure questions like, “how would a broken plate feel?”

 

Some of my prompts have sprung up organically without having to search for them; meaning my writing took me to a place, which then made me curious, so I did some research, which led me to new information, which then led me to my next day’s writing prompt.  Kind of awesome.

 

I also like visual prompts, and in my hunt for these discovered the incredibly awesome Smithsonian Institutes’s photostream on Flickr.  I especially love old pictures of people I don’t know and to imagine who they were, what their lives were like, etc.  I haven’t used it as a prompt yet, but here is one of my favorite pics that I’ve found from this site:

 

Bob Bartlett and local inhabitant aboard ship during Bartlett’s Arctic Expedition, 1933

 

 

 

My newest delicious discovery is Story Starters from Scholastic.com.  It is a fantastic story starter generating “machine.”  You type in your name and then pick your grade (K-1, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th-6th).  I mean who wouldn’t want to be a 2nd grader again?  It then takes you to the elementary school slot machine, where you can either pull the handle to have all four components come up at once, or push the individual buttons and do them one by one.  Once the four part “story starter” comes up, if there is a part that you’re not that excited about, you can change that one by spinning it again, but still keep the other three.  Or you can change two, or three, or all of them.  Some fun ones I’ve already been gifted with include, “Write a brief newspaper story about an overweight jellyfish that is afraid of spiders,” “Write a brief biography of an Arctic flamingo who paints murals,” and “Describe the secret wish of an unpopular carnival clown who only talks in rhyme.”  A lot of my creative writing pieces have been steering towards the more serious and philosophical side, so this was a really fun and refreshing change.

 

The piece I started today (I left it at a nail biting cliff hanger) was “Write a fairy tale about a hopping fire truck who loves peanut butter and jelly.”  I won’t spoil it and give it away, but let’s just say that Boris the Fire Truck may have been born with all of the natural attributes of a fire truck, but in his secret heart of hearts, he dreams of being a Monster Truck….and on this particular day, on his way home from the playground, he happens upon a magical, shiny, sparkly________….yeah I know…..you’re DYING to know the rest.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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It’s actually been  more than a week, but here goes.  I have a lot to write about, or perhaps more accurately said, a lot brewing.  For tonight, though, I will keep this brief as Breaking Bad episodes, season 2 via Netflix are waiting (thank you dear sister for this new ADDICTION).  Normally it would still wait, but it’s Jack’s one day off this week, and while he knows I have self commitments I am wanting to stick to, I also want to capitalize on the time with him.:)

The 30 minutes exercise daily has been getting the least attention, definitely not by choice, as I’ve been pretty sick  this past week+ (and actually was ordered to have bed rest).   In addition to the “calcification” or whatevertheheck is trying to exit my body, I also woke up on Monday with an oh-joy cold/sore throat/sinus infection medley.  Doc says this is actually good as my body is trying to cleanse itself. Well cleanse away body. CLEANSE AWAY.

The daily creative writing has been mostly good….I did miss 2 days this week, but it was due to low energy level and how I was feeling those days health-wise.  Yesterday was one of them, which I also missed doing a blog post (the only day missed so far, however).  The writing I am LOVING and am fascinated by the themes that keep showing up (as well as what keeps showing up in my life to feed these themes): spirituality, religion, honne and tatemae, authenticity and/vs audacity, grace vs nature, ho’oponopono, shame, blocks, cleansing, release, lies, truth, etc.  As my goal was to have this daily writing prepare myself for work on my solo performance work (and beyond), I find these themes to be exciting and I am open and ready for what is to come.

Through my morning pages, meditation, and constructive rest, I am reflecting and opening to how this all relates to me personally as well as my life’s work.  The shoulder still has not healed and I have opened up to the possibility that it actually might not heal enough for me to return to restaurant work.  I’m not as stressed out about this as I was in the beginning, but rather continuing my work (along with my healing) and being open and actively inquisitive as to “ok, then, if not that then what’s next?”

I have stayed 100% vegan:  SUCCESS!  I have cooked up some pretty incredible vegan dishes this week, so keeping Jack happy in the process= double success.  Constructive rest has happened daily without fail, and I am really noticing the difference it is making in my body and my awareness (where I unconsciously have been holding tension, aka “protecting”).   There is a definite shift happening in my back and neck, and so I am completely motivated to keep this up and feeling all around pretty good about that.

Staying off Facebook and websites of the like has been easy (I did go on to  “exit the conversation” of a couple of mass emails (that I’m not able to participate in at this time, as I was constantly getting emails as a result).  While I do not miss the inundating myself with constant information that drowns out my own creative voice and/or using it as a huge mode of procrastination, I DO  greatly miss the connection with my family and friends.  This has become exponentially true with the isolation(even though I’ve still been in touch with many) of being at home so much to due to injury and illness.  There is one friend in particular that I think about daily as she is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and has been very forthcoming in her moment to moment experience of it all via facebook.  Her status updates (and those of others like her) being trended would be a lot more beneficial to the spreading of true awareness of breast cancer and the likes than silly little hidden messages in status updates that really don’t mean or do jack shit (sorry but it’s true!).  I know that’s harsh, and I have a number of friends actually participating in this facebook status trend (which I know about from the emails until I logged in to drop out), but I feel like if people want to spread awareness, do it in a way that is real and deep and actually has some meaning and the potential to really impact and awaken people to something they don’t already know.  It’s not like breast cancer is some big secret.  We are all perfectly aware it’s there.  But my friend (who is undergoing treatment) and the sharing of her experience…now THAT’S some effective awareness spreading right there.  I’m just sayin’.

Ok, off soap box.  The only thing that truly got neglected this week was the working on my PATH. Oh wait, that is somewhat a lie…..I did buy a new 2012 planner.  I just didn’t do anything with it other than admire its newness and beauty.  So that is something for me to really look at  and think about why and how it can be approached differently.   We’ll see what new news I have to report about it next week.  To finish off, daily meditation and morning pages happened without issue (and I have found myself already lengthening my meditation time), as did my artist date (which is in my last blog post).  I am already aware of a pretty big shift happening in myself;  a slowing down to notice details so much more as I am doing things even mundane tasks, an increased calmness, a new sense of enjoyment of  even the smallest things.  I’m laughing a lot more, too.  This is good and is keeping me motivated and focused toward my daily tasks and I look forward to more and more and more.   As I wrote out today, every writing or meditation or creation of every kind doesn’t have to be golden.  It’s awesome when it is, but it’s obviously not always going to work out that way.  What’s important is the practice itself, showing up, and how you show up(and sometimes just saying “hey, I’m here okay” has to be enough, and that’s okay, too).  The rest will eventually somehow, in Its Own Way, start to work Itself out.

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Because I, in general, like to set myself up for the next-to-impossible, I’m beginning 2012 with just that.  2 months from now I will be taking a 5 week “Solo Performance” workshop class at ESPA  (through Primary Stages), of which I fully intend to come out of with a completed first draft of a solo performance piece. And then…of course… the dreaded…the awful… the evil:

AUDITIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

And so, you know, just to make my life an utter living hell (and by hell I of course actually mean  totally freaking awesome), I will be starting out the first month of 2012 in Creative Incubation. This means:

1.DISTRACTION DEPRIVATION: Exactly what it sounds like.  I am the Q-U-E-E-N of distraction procrastination. This was my safety zone, by binkie, my warm and cozy blankie as a child, and sometimes I forget that I don’t actually (always) need it anymore. For me, the biggest culprits are: Facebook, computer/phone games, and news and entertainment websites. Soooo, for the next month, if it isn’t directly related to acting, creative “work” (re:  play), personal connections (emails, letters, phone calls, in-person), bills(gotta be responsible sometimes), and/or work, it ain’t happening. So,  DEAR, lovely black holes of my precious sweet time, I’m sending you on a little va-cay for the wintery month of January. Sayonara.

2.  30+ Minutes DAILY Intentional Movement: Gym, walking, sit-ups, yoga, dancing, whatever. As long as I am purposefully MOVING.

3.  DAILY Morning Pages

4.  Daily Meditation

5.  Alexander Technique’s Constructive Rest Exercise Daily (At least 15 minutes)

6.  30 Minutes Creative Writing Daily (this will be left up to flexible interpretation, but will always mean some sort of 30 minute nonstop writing-just-for-the-sake-of-writing exercise)

7.  Weekly Artist Dates

8. 100% VEGAN!!:  I’ve been riding the edge  on this for a while now, not fully BYALONGSHOT giving up the dairy. This action definitely supports a happier, healthier, more creatively nutritious me.

9.  Making and keeping my appointments with myself (and weekly POW meetings) on my PATH. (I fully give myself permission to have all of the appointments be creative-play-based, as long as they fit within the perimeters of my PATH.)

10. New (VEGAN!) Recipe Each Week!   Jack’s not likely going vegan anytime soon (and by soon I mean NEVER), so I gotta keep things tasty and interesting to keep him happy, as well!  Happy husband=happy wife, and vice versa.

11. DAILY (did I just type that?!) Blog Entry: Yes, folks, you heard it here first. This blog has been sporadic to say the least, but not this month!  It might be a one liner, a simple picture of something inspires me, or it might be a 300 page novel.  Let’s play it by ear.  (And honestly, I’m totally stealing this daily posting idea from Bekah Brunstetter, whose blog I adore:  http://blog.bekahbrunstetter.com/ )

12.

 

 

 

Ok, actually I don’t have a number 12.

 

Ok.  Maybe that’s actually what number 12 is.  Not having one…an end goal,  a specified outcome, or a needed result. Just a daily  re-commitment for the next month to being more fully present with myself and life, caring for and nurturing my creative and spiritual sweet Self.  And then…whatever hatches, hatches.

 

 

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