Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ask and you shall be enlightened

I am not a person who reads horoscopes, but today my eyes wandered across the Sagittarius entry at the end of a book review I read in the Life and Travel section of the Sunday paper. It read, "Once you dive into an endeavor, you will realize all that you do not know about it. Keep asking. As another Sagittaian once said, 'It's not the answer that enlightens, but the question.'- Eugene Ionesco" It's funny in an almost- but -not- quite 'haha' way that just 2 nights ago I discussed with my dear friend Wilhelm, over a glass of wine during a late night hot tub chat, all the things I have learned in the past 3 weeks of directing 'The Rules of Comedy'. It has been a month of asking questions. Directing is something that I am fulfilled by in a passionate, creative, expressive, and entirely different than acting kind of way. As much as I love acting- and there can be no minimizing that- there is something about bringing an entire theatrical process together, along with all the human and creative elements that come into play, that fills me up, too. As in Chariots of Fire, I feel His pleasure when I'm doing the work of the theatre. Directing, however, is this deep and unknown mystery that I'm still just unraveling in my own experience. There is so much that I do not know. I have been so grateful to the people in my life and my cast who have offered their thoughts and insight during this endeavor. I am confident 'The Rules of Comedy' would not be the hit it has become without their input. And it has become a hit. We have had record crowds for the black box and made more money already than any other show there has made, at least in my time there. I am thrilled, THRILLED with the product we've ended up with. My challenge to you is to throw yourself into a new endeavor. The anxiety and hard, hard work you put into it- along with all the questions you MUST ask- will pay off. There is no sound so sweet to me as an audience moved by something my team has created.

Monday, August 9, 2010

No Chaser

I've started this thing 4 times in the past half hour. I'm not going to post any of the other crap I wrote because it was insincere and threatened to make a big faker out of me and I don't want to post drivel just for the sake of it. Here's what's really on my mind tonight...

Honesty is almost always best, even when it's horribly inconvenient. I'm caught inside a mess with a friend and, although we do not and will not see eye to eye, we've been completely honest with each other from the start. We're not much closer to a solution than we were when this started, but at least we're confident in where the other stands and we don't have to live in the land of Passive Aggressiva. (Yes, I borrowed that from Grey's Anatomy.) We'll work it out and we may not like each other very much for a while after we do, but I know we'll be able to end the conflict for good because neither of us has anything to hide. That's reassuring. So, even though it's uncomfortable right now, we choose honesty. I recommend it.

Don't be a faker. Call it what it is. That's my theme for the week.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Nanny Diary

Friday's afternoon nap reminds me to exhale. Mondays as a nanny to 2 infants are filled with crawling around in the floor, playing peek a boo, dancing to the Beatles, and lots of tickle monster. Fridays feel more like lots of poopy diapers, picky eaters, and pulling hair. Nannying is at once incredibly rewarding and completely exhausting; sometimes more one than the other, depending on about a zillion different factors. We are, after all, 3 females stuck together for 55 hours per week. We love each other, and sometimes we drive each other to tears. My inability to understand what they want and need sometimes is, I'm sure, as frustrating to them as their seemingly unprovoked fits of crying are to me. It's all give and take and trial by error with these teeny people. They are the most important job I have ever had, and every day with them has eternal potential. How I interact with them and respond to their needs literally helps shape their little minds and hearts for the rest of their lives. It's easy to be patient when we're all getting along, of course. But, the days when Riley won't stop hollering in Molly's face, Molly doesn't want to eat anything but Puffs and throws peas and pears all over the floor, and both of them spend a great deal of time tugging at my ankles, fussing while I try to get bottles ready, those days are a challenge. It seems like those days are usually Fridays. Or maybe I'm just more acutely in touch with my own weakness after 4 days. Ha! But, then, there are moments when the Famous Footwear commercial comes on in the next room and Molly starts shaking her little butt and waving her little arms around as she dances to the electro-groove. And the moment when, after days and days of practice, Riley knows where her nose is. Those moments are pretty cool. Those moments and those little smiles make the fussing and the stealing sippy cups and the pulling hair just a little more bearable.

Today is Friday and I couldn't be more ready to have margaritas at my favorite happy hour downtown in just a few hours, but I still have a little bit more time and a little bit more dancing to do with my girls. So, cue music...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Well Worn

When was the last time you had one of those fitful days of thinking? Thinking without control or intent or purpose. Thinking just to drive yourself mad. This kind of thinking does not create or inspire or produce. It merely runs, each thought like that possessed herd of pigs headed full speed ahead toward the edge of the cliff, falling to the rocks below before ever doing anything with their lives but consume and excrete. That's the kind of thinking I'm doing today. These thoughts stampede in and out of my brain space and, for the life of me, I can't reign them in. It's in moments like these that the "sell everything and give to the poor" idea doesn't seem too crazy because then at least there would be no external junk to deal with, only the stuff in my head. But then I start to feel really nuts and wonder if, in fact, this is what the pigs felt when they saw the edge getting closer but couldn't stop running. And then I realize I've compared my state of mind to that of demonic swine and it seems we have more to discuss.

Some months ago I got it into my head that I would create this perfect life for myself. Beautiful new home, enviable wardrobe, fit body to slide into the enviable wardrobe, bountiful relationships, fulfilling theatrical prospects, growing IRA, chunky savings, and peace of mind. Here's the best part: I decided to accomplish these things all on my own by September 30. That's right. I planned to close on this new home (of which, don't be misled, I am incredibly proud and thankful for) 25 pounds lighter, with extra room in my savings as well as my skirts. Somewhere in between losing weight and stashing money, though, I have started to seriously lose it. This is tough, this making things fall perfectly in line in my life. When did I decide I could do this? Or even that I wanted my life to look the way it would if I could? Nothing is going as planned. I'm certain that failure will be my saving grace.

I have always held a deep appreciation for the imperfect. Lived in and loved on are virtues in my book. Although, let's be honest, I do love shiny and new, as well. I like the idea of worn in jeans and brand new gadgets. Freshly cut Christmas trees with decades old, homemade ornaments. Old family recipes in brand new Pampered Chef dishes. But life? And people? Always better well worn, and with stories to tell. So why have I let myself be swept away in this rat race all of a sudden? I heard it said once that even if you leave the rat race, you're still just a rat. Maybe that's why it's so easy to fall back into it. Maybe I need to decide every morning if I'm going to run with all the other rats or lay down with the sheep, at peace, and say, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

So, I guess in the end I'd rather be a sheep than a rat or a pig.