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Archive for March, 2008

Notes to self

I am a fragile flower.

“Nothing gets your point across quite like shaking your own arm at someone.”  (Steve at Work, about our medical skeleton, who always loses his appendages)

night,

dawn

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I went in search of “Stepford Wives” the other day, and decided to go to a little used bookshop that has a great variety of obscure titles.  The lady there, her name is Nami, immediately asked why I hadn’t been around lately… This is the only store I know where I feel really really guilty if I don’t buy something!  And they didn’t have anything by Ira Levin (really enjoyed Rosemary’s Baby, btw), so I was trapped in the back room, desperately looking for something, while Nami kept wandering back to check on me.  Once she asked a man who came in what he was looking for, “Oh, just a book for my wife.”  “She needs to come in, tell your wife to come in!”  And she sorta chased him out… Whoops.  Salesmanship needs a little work.  She’s gotten a little more eccentric as the shop has gotten more crowded with treasures and books… She told me I live close enough to walk (I think it’s at least five miles, though…) so I need to come back often.  I read the titles of some books, and since I’ve always liked the name Fred (except for one v. scary man who was obsessed with my poodle skirt), I picked up this book.  Liked the synopsis, which usually doesn’t happen, and said, I gotta buy it, if only to get out of the store! 

At the front of the store, Nami was not letting anyone go through the treasures–they weren’t organized enough–and the couple was begging and pleading, “Fine, we’ll come back, it’s okay, don’t worry, we’ll come back, we’ll come back.”  I bought the book and escaped while she was busy.  An elderly man runs the cash register (unsure of their relation, if any). 

And I loved it!  It’s split into four personas, and the main girl, Mary Fred, who was raised in a cult that sorta follows Christianity, but sorta got it wrong, is repeated at the end.  The weakest part was Alice, the foster mother… Miss Abby is spot on for the voices of the two younger girls, but Alice was a little reaching… especially coming off the opening part, where we were sucked into this strange world of a girl who is practically amish and has never watched television before.  But it’s been a long time since I’ve  gotten sucked into a book like that.  I didn’t want it to end.  And even when bad things happened, I trusted the author (such a hard thing to do!).  I had meant to only read a few pages, but several hours later, I was halfway done, and so much for my own writing that weekend!

I rarely can recommend a book, but this time, yes.  Go for it!  Read it! 

night,

dawn

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What now??????

That was a very short week.

They promised a week.  It was less than 24 hours later… They were headed home… and… the very first thing the next morning… informal e-mail… informal acceptance… we’ll wait for the real letter…

Stunned.  Numb.

I’m always rejected from everything.  I could probably wallpaper my room with rejection letters by now.  Even though most of them are half-sheets or less. 

It’s a joke, right?  Like when I was only accepted for a workshop, instead of for a full event, and the letter was really odd… like, no, but you write well, so come to this intead.  “However, due to the quality of writing…”  Ahem.  Does that mean it sucked?  Or does that mean it was good, but…?  Sounds more like “sucked” than “good-but”. 

But this time, I’m not sure they’re just playing with my head…

What now?

night,

dawn

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Ahem.  I did research, so this has gotta work, right?

Number ONE! Be punctual.  Arrive early.  (I had a phone interview with Bath Spa University, and they said they would call at 1700 hours their time… which is a test, only a test, if this had been a real emergency, they wouldn’t have given me the answer, either.  Can the American figure out the time zone differences??  Can the silly American stay off the cell phone long enough to conduct an interview???  Well, of course she can, silly!  First off, there are internet programs that figure out the time zone difference, or you can just subtract six…  Second, this is the girl who refused to get a phone for over a year, and then was drug kicking and screaming by her mummy to get one, and still refuses to use the darn thing…  Sets her heart a pitter-patter whenever it does ring, nearly causes heart failure now…  For a while, the new cell ring wasn’t so scary as a real phone ring, but lately, with more calls, and from those certain Dr. folks calling, they’re going to send me into heart failure if they possibly can… that’s why they make you wait in the waiting room for at least an hour–Ahem.  Anyway…)

Number TWO! Be fashionable.  Wear presentable clothing, preferrably clean. 

Number THREE!  Do your research.  Read all the questions online about what they might possibly ask…  Study the questions.  Practice in front of a mirror.

Ahem, right.  Now, for the truth, after the fact.

It was a phone interview this winter morning, 1700 hours would be 11:00 am CST, and I even cooroberated that with other folks.  11:00 am!  Dress nicely!  (I wore very stylish Kermit the Frog pajamas.)  Be punctual.  I crawled my poor sleepy body out of bed and into the attic, where I get good reception on the phone most of the time, at 10:30 and began to study all the questions I had not practiced.  Who would I want to eat dinner with, dead or alive?  John Lennon, Jim Henson, and the Inklings.  What’s my writing philosophy?  The goal is to intertwine humor with poignancy! (For me.)  Who are my favorite authors?  Which authors have influenced me?  (Thank goodness I had that written out already on my blog, so I printed my list…)

By 10:45, I was sagging.  By 10:50, slapping myself and doing vocal warm-ups, since they can’t see my cute pj’s.  I should at least sound like I’m awake. 

Birds start to burrow underneath the A/C in the attic… it’s a window A/C… I run at them, meowing and barking, and run a pen up and down the vent to make noise.  They go away.  They come back.  I bark and meow and run at them.  They go away, I retreat to the phone. 

11:04.  I check reception.  None!  Not a single bar of reception!  I run willy-nilly around the house, wonder if I should try to hack into my neighbors’ internet, find reception, then go back upstairs, convinced I’ve missed the call. 

11:10 I lie down.

11:15, I renounce school.  I didn’t want to go get my Master’s anyway. Blah, blah, bleh.  No school for the idiot girl.  Stupid child.  I love my attic, and now that the bed is gone, yay, I’ll turn it into an office, and I’ll try to spend more time up here writing.  The ceiling is painted blue and has stars and moons and glow-in-the-dark stars all over.  I’ll make it cozy.  I’ll rearrange my books.

I pass out.  Zzzzz.

11:30.  The birds return.  I am unkind.  I paw at the wall like a rather large dog.  Woof, woof!

11:35.  Unconsciousness pervades.  Woo hoo!  Sleep!  Zzzzzz.  Darn school, darn it all to heck.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

The phone rings.

It’s noon.

“H-hello?” My voice has returned to pre-vocal-warm-up state.  I can’t remember anything.  I’m unprepared.  I’m talking to people with British accents.  The man named Richard has a different last name, and then there’s a second man named Richard.  I’m on the phone, but the only way I can tell them apart is because it seems that one is on the right, and one on the left.  They want informal, they got informal, dude, pj’s and all!

FYI: Between setting up the interview and now, Daylight Savings Time has come about, and apparently England does not celebrate it.  They’re not late; it’s 1700 hours their time.

I’m unprepared for the interview, but can sorta bungle my way through.  They don’t want to know who I would eat with.  They vaguely want me to explain my portfolio.  They want me to interview them (for which I AM prepared).  They ask why I chose their school, why I want to go to England, any questions I have about the program.  Influences.  They apologize about noisy children whom I can’t hear… turns out the children belong to one of the Richards… Hee hee. 

As soon as I got off the phone, I realized that I did have a Nathanael West book downstairs in my library, so I dug out Miss Lonelyhearts.  We’ll see.  I don’t remember which Richard suggested it, but I do have it near the top of my to-read pile, so I’ll move it up.

Overall, interview didn’t go so badly.  It probably helped that I was still unconscious.

They promise to get back to me in a week.

night,

dawn

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Have I hit another fork?  Okay, the re-evaluation is pretty much over, or I thought it was.  Last spring it really started to hit me that my world isn’t quite what I believe it to be…  I found out a lot of people weren’t quite telling me the truth, they were keeping me… innocent.  And I finally, after a bunch of not so great stuff happened this past year, figured out: What’s so wrong with that, huh?  So I live in my own little world.  I tried breaking out of it to see the world at large, but really, what’s so wrong with my own little world?  It’s not hurting anyone.  In fact, on occasion, when I have visitors, they seem to like my world. 

 So I took everything I knew about the world, and I thought it over, and decided I rather liked it as it was.  But it took a while to get to that point.  And at the same time, I decided I still wanted to continue my education.  I want more in my world, I just have to be careful, keep a balance. 

Do I get cocky?  I like to think I work hard… sometimes.  Okay, often I slack.  I take shortcuts.  Even in my writing, I can’t give it my all.  I’ve found… like Kyoko in Skip Beat! that I’m lacking… something essential.  And like Ren, too.  I can’t write love if I don’t understand it.  I can’t write emotional characters if I’m cut off.  And man, have I gotten in touch with some emotions I never ever want to see again.  That ultimate fear, where you just break down crying, sobbing, and life looks like it’s over.  Is it because it’s winter and I haven’t seen the sun in months, and months, and months?  Anyway, I hope I don’t get cocky.  Sometimes I write something, and I work my butt off, and I have to keep in mind that it’s just not good enough, that it’s easy for people to pass over in favor of something else, even if I worked hard and think it’s uber-cool.  No Shelterbelt V-Day for me this year.  No GPTC, either, surprisingly.  Ouch.  That one hurt.  I took everything I thought I’d learned from the “luminaries” the past two years, and from arguing with other writers about the evils of writing for entertainment vs. deep thoughts… I decided to write, instead of a zany farce, a dry living room philosophical play.  Humorous if played right, or maybe it just doesn’t come out in reading it on the page, the dry humor.  I’ll never know.  They don’t say why they rejected it.  The kicker is that they offered, thanks to the “quality of the submission” to let me come participate in the two day workshop for the same price as the entire conference.  Ahem.  Ha ha ha.  Bwahaha.  Ouch, just slap me upside the head with a carving knife, why don’t you?  Basically it’s a $300 quick class on How Not To Write for the Theatre, Idiot Girl.  I got lost in that world between literary and functional.  Hmm.  I still haven’t been able to find the mix I’m looking for in my writing.  Ah well.  I’ll keep looking. 

 But at the first of the year, even school had been pulled out from under me.  No scholarships.  No word back from the one school I’d applied to.  And my doctor said, Uh, you’re sick, sorta.  But not really.  But you could be.  And even after she said, Nah, you’re not sick yet, but you might, but who knows, shrug–the insurance companies and all their bureaucracy said that there’s no way they’ll keep me as an individual if there’s a slight chance that in ten years I might be sick, or might not.  So then what?  A dream, or health?  Future safety?  Do I want to become a bag lady just because pre-existing conditions completely preclude Americans from getting health insurance?  They said I could get on the High Risk insurance for individuals with chronic disease or disability.  And I’m not even sick!  Argh!  But they can do whatever they want, because HIPPA only regulates group policies.  The companies are still private, so they can do whatever to the individual.  Ah, health insurance.  Ah, the real world.  I’ve been slapped with it.  And hence, I crawled back into my own little safe world I’d just barely crawled out of last spring, and decided there was absolutely no reason to leave my innocent little world.

 But all that made me realize that, even though I’d been so decisive, even though I’d been sure of my path, that I’d suddenly come to another fork left in the middle of the road.  “Turn left at the fork in the road.”  “Um, Kermit?”  “What?”  “Never mind.”  So Fozzie and I are in this Studebaker, the sun is coming up in the west, and the world is topsy turvy.  Where do you go from there?  You’ve seen that there is such a thing as… possibly… evil.  Nah.  I don’t want to call it evil.  And yet, I can’t just write it off.  It wasn’t just a bad decision.  But it wasn’t… evil.  Just a little demon involved.  Ahem.  Anyway, I’m in a Studebaker, a bear is driving–he’s not a bare, he’s a wearing a necktie!–and I realize… no matter what, life is not going to always be so easy as it has been before now.  I have this looming… thing… that could happen, or might not, and I’m the bird–to I choose the cage, or the sky?  Not only that, but my writing has been rejected so many times this year, I’m getting buried.  I will never get published, I feel.  I’m not throwing myself hard enough into playwriting, so is that over with?  Do I give that up as a sideline?  Even though that’s the only place I’ve gotten any recognition?  Going to school doesn’t guarantee anything.  I want to get published.  I want those contacts.  But getting an MA doesn’t guarantee that I’ll meet anyone who will say, Ah, yes, just what we’ve been looking for.  But it might be faster than sitting here on my duff sending stuff out and waiting six months for a reply.  And even if I have the MA, it doesn’t guarantee I’ll even get a teaching position to pay off the master’s degree…  And I wanted to maybe do a PhD. Now that’s pretty much… gone. 

 Now what?  Where’s the spoon in the road when you need it?

 night,

dawn

Happy Daylight’s Savings Time!

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I’ve lost my sense of humor.  I don’t know if anything is funny anymore.  Except… a couple things.  Like one person finally found my site.  What they were searching for?  Nice legs and butts.  Which I find hilarious!  Once upon a time someone thought I had v. nice legs.  I don’t know anymore, as that person is… not at the top of my list of trustworthy folks… And when I was younger, early high school, I didn’t have a butt.  Bony butt!  So sitting on someone’s lap in a crowded car… ouch!  Thought you were light, but you’re too bony!  Ouch, ouch!  Ha.  And considering I can’t get premium insurance because I don’t weigh enough… Ahem.  But anyway, back then, one day I was v. excited, because the other girls in the theatre group had discovered a way to find out if you had a butt–you stand against a wall, heels to it, and if you can bend straight over without falling or stepping forward, you don’t have one at all.  But I kept knocking myself over, so there’s gotta be something there!  I was v. proud at the time.  That was the same year folks started carrying me around so I wouldn’t expend unnecessary energy, and feeding me an all-sugar diet. 

 Happy b-day Mom and Teri!

night,

dawn

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I’m glad I checked Rosemary’s Baby out from the library, on a whim, without reading the back.  I went through the entire movie with Ro, wondering what was going on.  I didn’t know where we were going.  For a while I suspected gestational diabetes.  Women have such issues with hormones and pregnancy.  But I could also see that her neighbors were a little strange, and her husband was acting stranger and stranger… So I was pleased that I sat through it, and the ambiguity that carried through until the end, so by the end, I still could see it going either way.  I’ve picked up the novel to compare.  So far they’ve taken most everything directly from the novel, exact dialogue and everything.  I’m pleased.  I feel I can learn something… I wouldn’t have called this horror.  Because in my head, traditional horror is all about the gore.  But I like reading different things, and learning from them.  I’ll have to check out the Stepford Wives, too (same author).

 night,

dawn

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