Archive | January, 2012

All I want to do is eat, eat, eat, eat, eat.

31 Jan

Today I ate all of the following:

  • Apple Jacks cereal (with milk)
  • Two brown sugar Poptarts
  • A 16 oz white mocha
  • A PB&J sandwich
  • A doughnut
  • Two slices of pizza
  • A cookie/cheesecake/graham cracker thing

I think it’s fair to say the stress eating has begun.

I was doing a really good job working out and watching what I ate this month, but over the course of this last weekend something happened. Over the course of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I ate an entire pint of ice cream, a bowl of top ramen, a huge brunch, a giant hamburger, a whole box of Kraft mac n’ cheese, and a big platter of chicken wings. And I haven’t done so much as a single sit up either.

I guess it’s natural for me to feel stressed out right about now. I’ve got a show opening in about a week and a half (EEK!), a ton of homework/reading to be doing, some other side projects that desperately need me to work on them, and barely anytime for a social life. Once the Monologues are open and closed, life will go back to normal and I’ll be able to get back to a normal workout schedule and be a whole hell of a lot less stressed out. Who knows! Maybe I’ll even get to go to the gym! And finally start reading Clash of Kings!

Oh let’s hope!

A Daughter Without a Mother is like a Bird Who Lost Its Tail Feathers…

29 Jan

Death is a difficult subject to tackle. It’s one that everybody tries to write about and, more often than not, one that people usually fail to really captivate. God only knows I’ve written about death a number of times, and I still don’t think I’m well equipped enough to speak on it.

But on some levels, maybe I am. Death was introduced in my life when I was five years old when my favorite uncle died of lung cancer, and then again when a girl named Audrey died when I was in the fourth grade. I don’t remember much of them. I remember Uncle Dave had a thick mustache and thick glasses, and I remember Audrey was one year younger than me and was in the same Girl Scout troupe as I was, but besides that I really can’t remember them. I can’t remember why he was my favorite uncle and I can’t remember if Audrey and I were ever friends or at least pleasant acquaintances. Time and age has stolen all my fond memories of the two of them.

Then when I was thirteen my mother died of an aneurysm. It was sudden and quick and nobody saw it coming. It happened at six in the morning and by 12:15pm she was gone. That was over eight years ago, but to this day it still hurts. It’s always going to hurt, I realize, even when I’m eighty years old and can no longer remember the sound of her voice – which is already hard enough to remember as it is.

The reason I bring up death, namely the death of my mother, today is because of two things that have happened in the last twelve hours: I watched O Brother Where Art Thou and I watched the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer entitled “The Body”.

O Brother Where Art Thou may baffle some to a certain extent, so I will explain. My mother showed me O Brother when I was just a kid, about ten or eleven, probably deemed “too young” for the movie, but for some reason she allowed it. It was one of the first times I was ever invited to watch a “grown up movie” with my parents. She instructed me never to say any of the “bad words” that I’d hear, she had to explain to me why a bunch of men in white robes wanted to kill an innocent black man and she had to explain the word “nigger”, and she made me close my eyes when the Cyclops squished the toad. That being said, it quickly became one of our favorite movies to watch together and we watched it several times before her passing. It’s not a movie that always makes me think of her though; not really. I watch it on a somewhat regular basis (at least once a year?) and while she may be floating in the back of my mind as I do, there are definitely other movies that are more emotionally tied into memories of her.

However, last night as I was rewatching it and shoveling Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream into my “I-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-this-diet-anymore” mouth, I was struck with a sudden odd memory. When I was eleven, I had a major crush on Delmar in that movie. Y’know, Delmar? The short, little guy played by Tim Blake Nelson? Really simple-minded, the comic relief of the main trio, and says things like “Oh George, not the livestock” and “We thought you was a toad”. Yeah, him. I had totally forgotten this over the years and was highly amused upon remembering. I wanted to share it with someone immediately and, for some reason, the first person who came to mind was my mother. I fantasized how amazing it would be to have that one, simple conversation with her. It might seem strange to others, but the image of me calling up my mom and saying to her, “Hey, so, I totally just remembered when I was a kid I had this weird crush on Delmar from O Brother! Isn’t that ridiculous?” and then her saying something funny in response, as she always did, is the thing I want most right about now. I know it’s an odd thing to fantasize about, but geez, what I’d give for that moment.

The Buffy episode is a bit easier to understand why it made me think on my mom. (SPOILERS ahead for Buffy, just so we’re clear)

I have never seen a TV episode portray the loss of a loved one, especially a mother, so brutally honest. Whedon does such a great, poignant job when it comes to matters that are as serious as this, and he really did the death of Joyce justice… but that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt any less to watch. I got to work this morning and told myself, “Okay, just one episode of Buffy and then I’ll get straight to the homework”… well, that one episode ended with Buffy finding her mom dead on the couch and I instantly knew I had to watch the next one. And I did. And I cried. A lot. And I was utterly thankful that no one came into the office during that time, because if they had they would have found me red-faced, tears streaming down my cheeks, and choking back sobs of empathy. The part that got me the hardest was finding out the character had been taken by an aneurysm and then realizing that the character of Dawn is very close to the age I was at when I lost my mother to an aneurysm. It’s so rough at that age. And Buffy’s reaction and shock to the situation was unbearable, and seeing how all of her friends took the news… ugh. Heart rendering. Also, I thought his line was extremely accurate:

Buffy: Was it sudden?
Tara: What?
Buffy: Your mother.
Tara: No. And yes. It’s always sudden.

It’s always sudden when we lose a person; whether it happens in the blink of an eye or it’s a gradual, slow process that you think you’re prepared for. You’re never truly prepared. Not really. It’s always going to hurt like a bitch to say good-bye to someone you love with your whole heart.

I’m sure this is not the last time I’m going to write about death, and it’s certainly not the last time I’ll reference my mother. There’s still so much I wish I could say to her, and I feel like writing it down is the only way I’ll ever find that sense of closure that I’ve been looking for ever since I was thirteen.

A daughter without a mother is like a bird who lost its tail feathers…it’s still possible for it to fly, it’s just a much greater challenge.

Eight Places I Would Rather Be Right Now

29 Jan
  1. Curled up in my family’s beach house in Cannon Beach, sitting on the old couch in the living room that we’ve had since god knows when, watching the rain and the wind whip back and forth outside in an elaborate destructive dance, sort of wishing it was nice enough to walk the beach but secretly thankful for an excuse to stay indoors, the newest John Green novel open on my lap, my cat nuzzled up against me with her head resting on my right thigh, wearing my favorite blue sweater and grasping a mug of hot cocoa, and a fire going in the fireplace for the first time since I was a small child.
  2. Running through Disneyland, holding your hand, tugging you towards Splash Mountain or Indian Jones, making you buy ridiculously overpriced Mickey Mouse ears to match my Minnie ones, standing in line for a good twenty minutes to have our picture taken with Donald Duck, having you hold me while I cry at the end of Fantasmic or World of Color, letting me buy you one of those Mickey Mouse ice cream bars, and kissing you under the fireworks.
  3. Climbing the steep hills of Cortona, Tuscany, camera already filled with hundreds upon hundreds of pictures, the Italian language buzzing in my ears, the sun peeking through the slowly dispersing gray clouds, the sun flowers swaying gently in the cool spring breeze, the smell of mozzarella pizza wafting through the air, and the cathedral bells ringing out in the plaza signifying that it is time for lunch.
  4. Hailing down a cab in New York City, standing outside the apartment I have been living in for over a year that is everything I’ve ever dreamed of and more, headed on my way to someplace fresh and exciting where friends are waiting for me, a large purse slung over my shoulder that contains various objects like an in the works screenplay and a nutrigrain bar for just in case of emergencies, sporting tall black highheel boots and a snazzy matching pea coat, and I can see my breath fogging up the air around me.
  5. Riding a horse through a field of tall grass, the wind in my hair, my heart pulsing the the beat of the horse’s hooves as they gallop, the feel of the mare’s sturdy torso betwixt my legs, and that utter loss of every single care in the world I’ve ever had that accompanies me whenever I ride.
  6. Eating out at the Mandarin Cove in Portland with my family, fighting about just how much food we’re allowed to order, complaining to my dad about school, discussing the newest developments in certain TV shows with my brother, gobbling down every piece of general tso’s chicken along with every other food to grace my plate, and leaving only enough room for the fortune cookie which, as always, leaves me with not so much a fortune as a proverb, which my brother is sure to make fun of, as usual.
  7. Out in a cabin in the woods, where I am constantly surrounded by nature and I am able to walk and concentrate and lose myself and meditate on life and everything that comes with it, and it is a place where I can relearn how to breathe and reteach myself how to be myself.
  8. Hogwarts…I feel like I don’t need to go into detail on this one.

Or, y’know, I think I would gladly settle for being curled up in bed with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream watching O Brother Where Art Thou.

Instead, I am stuck at work doing homework that teaches me things I will never need to know in life.

Peachy.

I started working on a screenplay again.

27 Jan

I haven’t touched it for almost a year now and I’ve barely written anything for it up till now, so I’m a little shocked that I’m suddenly spending so much time working on it when I have plenty of other screenplays that are almost done but I have yet to wrap up.

It’s right now going by the working title Questions and it’s essentially an updated adaption of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. It’s set in modern times, and it’s about two friends, Rose and Gill, who find out their good friend’s father has passed on and go to comfort him. Initially, it follows the play quite closely, but I’m working on experimenting with the characters a bit. I don’t want it to stick too close to the script on every aspect. I’m thinking that this Hamlet will actually have lost his mind, quite literally, and the effects it has on Rose and Gill when they see what’s happened to their college bud. And I’d like to include Ophelia, Polonius, and Horatio more than the original script does.

And yes, Rosencrantz is Rose now because, I dunno, yay genderbending? When I started writing this I had absolutely no intention on there being any romantic inclinations between the two lead characters, but the more I write… gah, characters have a mind of their own sometime. I think there will be subtle hints, but for the most part it will be just a very sturdy, solid friendship. I guess I’ll have to wait and see though.

I really should be working on other screenplays right now, but I’m so drained on creativity that I will take whatever comes my way.

Music to Help Find the Beauty in Life

26 Jan

So, like most people in this world, I love sad songs. Songs that bring tears to my eyes, songs I can heavily relate to, songs that I can listen to when I’m already having a bad day. We, as a people, like songs that let us emote with them.

That being said, I don’t think there are enough songs out there about beauty. No, not the beauty of a woman or the beauty of love, but the beauty of the world. The beauty of life. Songs that make you stop dead in your track, ponder the lyrics, and say to yourself “Why yes, I am rather grateful for this life I’ve been given.”

So I composed a list of ten songs I think best do a job of this. I did it really rapidly in my Young Adult Fiction class, so I’m sure I’m forgetting a song or two, but whatever. This is what I came up with:

1. Beauty – Starship

We don’t got
Any kind of worries
Our way of life is laissez-faire
No wealth, no poor, no hypocrisy
Just beauty
Beauty everywhere

Yes, Starship, the Starkid production from last year. I think this song is absolutely gorgeous. It builds up this world where anything and everything is considered beautiful, and, sure, it’s a world made up entirely of bugs, but I think that drives the point home even more. They don’t have materialistic wants or needs; they’re simply happy doing the jobs they are assigned and living their life out in peace.

2. Good Morning, Baltimore –Hairspray

Good morning Baltimore
Every day’s like an open door
Every night is a fantasy
Every sound’s like a symphony

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t listened to this song in probably over two years now. Nonetheless, it’s still a great song. Baltimore’s not exactly known for it’s – erm – cleanliness, but even so Tracey’s able to find beauty in everything from “the rats on the street” to the sketchy people around her. It’s just a very uplifting song.

3. Haven’t Met You Yet – Michael Buble

And I know some day that it’ll all turn out
You’ll make me work so we can work to work it out
And I promise you kid that I give so much more than I get
I just haven’t met you yet

This one touches much more on the beauty of life. I just love the idea that in presents. We may be alone now, but that’s just because the person we’re going to spend the rest of our life with hasn’t been acquainted with us. Not just yet. But this idea that everyone has someone who they just haven’t met yet? Fucking beautiful.

4. Beautiful Ride – Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

It’s about the good walk
And the hard walk
And the young girls you’ve made cry
It’s about make a little music everyday ‘til you die
It’s a beautiful ride

Yes, we’re talking about the Judd Apatow film that flopped at box offices several years back. Thanks to my best friend, Nick, I have seen this movie more times than I can count. That being said, the movie ends with this and, quite honestly, it’s actually a really beautiful song. This may be hard to pick up on whilst watching the movie, but if you have the soundtrack (like me…guilty as charged), then you’re bound to pick up on this fact. The lyrics are lovely. Simple, maybe, but beautiful. It depicts how materialistic needs can never hold a candle to the time you spend with your family and friends, and also “loving yourself”…”but not only yourself.” And, in the end, it’s about everything you achieve. Life is, simply a beautiful ride.

5. Life’s A Happy Song – The Muppets

Everything’s great
Everything’s grand
I’ve got the whole wide world
In the palm of my hand

Don’t act like you’re surprised a Muppet song made it onto this list.

I shouldn’t have to explain why this song is about appreciating life; the title really says it all. Life’s a happy song, and “we’ve got everything that we need, we can be whatever we want to be.” It’s such a lovely message.

6. Beautiful World – Colin Hay

And still this emptiness persists
Perhaps this is as good as it gets
When you’ve given up the drink and those nasty cigarettes
Now I leave the party early at least with no regrets
I watch the sun as it comes up I watch it as it sets
Yeah this is as good as it gets.

This has always been one of my favorite Colin Hay songs. It just describes some beautiful moments in life. Swimming in the sea, driving in your car, drinking tea, making love, and so on. It’s got a really gorgeous tune to it.

7. Twenty Something – Kerrigan & Lowdermilk

This is it. This is what’s hot.
It’s your moment. It’s your decade.
But you’re only twenty-something til you’re not.

This one applies more to my generation than others, at this point in time. “Twenty Something” is about being a twenty something year old and having so many opportunities open to us. The world is our oyster; we can accomplish anything.

8. Follow Me – Fraggle Rock

Everyday the world begins again
Sunny skies or rain
Come and follow me
Every sunrise shows me more and more
So much to explore
Come and follow me

Yes, I am, in fact, listing a Fraggle Rock song. Not too much to say on this song, it really just reinforces the idea that everyday is a new beginning and a chance at a new adventure.

9. The Beauty Is – Light in the Piazza

I don’t understand a word they’re saying,
I’m as different here as different can be.
But the beauty is I still meet people like me.

Okay, so maybe this one specifically made the list because I’m going to be going to Italy in two months, but there’s more to it, I swear. This song’s all about the beauty you find when going to a different place you’ve never been to and still being able to make these connections with the people there. It focuses on the beauty of how, no matter where you go, people are all the same. The end of the song is really my favorite part: “And the beauty is, when you realize, when you realize, someone could be looking for a someone like you.” It really ties more in with what’s going on in the show than with the rest of the song, but still, it’s lovely.

10. Being Alive – Company

Somebody, need me too much,
Somebody, know me too well,
Somebody, pull me up short
And put me through hell
And give me support
For being alive,
Make me alive.

This, to me, has been the most beautiful song since I first heard it back during high school. It’s all about coming to that realization that we need people in our life, and that we can’t do it alone. We need other people to “make [us] alive”, even if it is being “used” and being “put through hell”. It reminds us of the beauty of lie and the beauty of making those connections with those around us, because, in the end, there is nothing more beautiful than being alive.

Make me confused,
Mock me with praise,
Let me be used,
Vary my days.
But alone is alone, not alive.

Somebody, crowd me with love,
Somebody, force me to care,
Somebody, make me come through,
I’ll always be there,
As frightened as you,
To help us survive
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive!

Sometimes I Forget the Power of Words.

25 Jan

Last night I performed the vagina monologue I wrote for the first time in front of someone. Not just someone; my co-director of Vagina Monologues. I’m glad that I got the chance to do it for her before performing it this Friday, since we’ve been going through this experience together and I felt most secure delivering it in front of her.

Anyway, when I had completed reciting it she instantly embraced me, and it wasn’t until she let go that I realized she was crying.

This is why I love slam poetry and spoken word. You get this chance to express yourself in this beautiful, poignant way. I know that I am terrible when put on the spot when it comes to specific, personal events in my life. But give me a chance to write a poem about it? No problem. Words are just so powerful. They have this ability to move others emotionally, to touch at that place inside of you that only certain things can. When I deliver a poem to a receptive audience, man, there is no greater feeling in the world.

I guess that’s really all I have to say for today. Normally I’ve got some commentary on something that happens in my day but, meh, today’s been a rather slow/dull day. I will be performing my vagina monologue this Friday and it will be recorded, so I figured this weekend I would upload both the text of my piece and the video to go along with it.

That’s all for now! Ciao!

I Miss Scholastic Book Fairs.

24 Jan

Do you remember those? I do.

In elementary and middle school we’d get handed a catalogue to take home once every couple of months; a catalogue filled with all different kinds of books. Beautiful, wonderful, life changing books. I’d race home with it gripped tightly in my tiny hands and beg my parents to let me order dozens upon dozens of books, but in the end I only ever got to order two or three at most. Then my mom would write me up a check and I’d diligently bring it back to school, along with the filled out order form, and wait patiently for weeks until the books would finally arrive. I loved when they did because, not only did it mean finally getting the books; it also meant the Scholastic Book Fair was coming to our school.

For my school, Holy Family, this meant that for an entire week our library was turned into a bookstore. The tables and ledges were jam-packed with books for all ages. We could browse books, toys, manuals, magazines, and gadgets all week long, and purchasing if we could afford it. There was even a day devoted entirely to the Fair, where, per class, we’d get to spend a certain amount of time browsing all the books, in case there were any others that struck our fancy. I remember my mom showing up for some of them, and I remember begging her for more books. She usually caved and bought me them, since she was a kindred spirit and enjoyed a good book infinitely more than I ever would at that age.

I remember these book fairs. I remember getting in trouble during class for reading. I remember my mom reading Harry Potter to my brother and I each night. I remember my dad guiding me through the first book that I ever read on my own. I remember reading ten books at a time, and switching between them whenever I finished a chapter in one. I remember how Wrinkle in Time was the first book that ever made me cry. I remember how everyone called me a “little bookworm” throughout elementary school. I remember always loving reading.

This has been heavy on my mind today because my Young Adult Fiction class discussed how reading is so heavily reinforced when we are small children, but once we get to high school adults sort of stop trying to impress books on us. High school was most definitely the time in my life when I read the least. Sure, I can chalk this up to my discovery of the internet and how I’d talk on the phone for hours with Connie about basically nothing and how TV became a priority, but… I don’t know. Maybe if my mom had been alive during my high school days reading would have stayed with me more. I still read during those four years and I guess my love of books never truly went away, but I just feel like high school forced me to read so many dull books (Ethan Frome, The Awakening, Grendel… ugh, gag me with a spoon, just thinking about those books makes me bored). Maybe if we had read more books like The Secret Life of Bees and To Kill a Mockingbird (my favorites I read in high school) then I would have never fallen away.

I’m just glad reading’s back in my life. I’m glad it’s something I now make time for every day, even if it is just before bed and I only get through half a chapter before I pass out. I’m glad I’m discovering so many better authors, like Sedaris, Green, Martin, and Sebold. I’m glad reading is, once more, my constant.

Now if only I could just ditch Moby Dick and read The Fault in Our Stars instead…