Monday, April 20, 2009

Oh My Site, It Is A-Changin'

Dear Friends,
I've decided to quit blogging. On this site. I'm switching from Blogger to WordPress, so please update your RSS feeds and favourites with the new URL:

Hope to see you there!


Courage, Friends

Thanks KB for sharing this. I can't think of anything better for today. Go get 'em, tigers. XO

Day 235: Back In The Stirrups Again

The video's kinda quiet because I recorded it at 12:30 am and me blabbing on the Interweb about my CERVIX is not how people want to be roused from slumber. Trust me.

There's also a spot in the middle where it skips. That's the part where I tell you how the columnist misquoted me to the point where everyone in Southern Alberta thought I was dying of cervical cancer. I'm not dying of cervical cancer. And unless something went horribly wrong between now and three months ago, I don't HAVE cervical cancer. I have the thing that comes before it.

For those of you who are interested, here is the highlight reel:
The post that started it all.
The newspaper story – read it and tell me you don't think I'm dying tomorrow and unable to bear children. Gaa!
My surgery a.k.a. date rape by BBQ utensil.
And for the truly brave, the entire emotional rollercoaster in which I get really woo-woo and weird and eventually turn into a raw foodist for several months. Ech.

My test is at 3:30 pm MST if you wanna go ahead and send some good vibes my way. If I had an iPhone, I would go Lance Armstrong on all of you and Tweet while I'm in there, feet in the stirrups and staring at the ceiling. Got the visual on that one? Ha! Happy Monday.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 232: Hey, It's All Right.

I'm heading off to the second and final day of shooting for the Depression Project. There's a ton left to do, but I'm also feeling really sappy and take-stock-y. Because this shoot has been three months of hard-ass work in the making. And in many ways fifteen or so YEARS of in the making.

I wouldn't be standing there in front of the camera for those kids if I hadn't been depressed. And I wouldn't have gotten depressed if I'd stood in front of the camera more in the first place...if I'd let my Big Dreams turn into my Big Life earlier.

So it's poignant for me that not only am I living my dream by performing, but my dream has come to include the darkest points of my life. And the capacity to help other people.

I think that's one of the coolest things about this Just One Year idea. Is that not only did it come at a low point in my life, but a low point in history. Who takes a year off just as we're heading into the worst economy of our lifetime?

I do!

But that's the beauty of it. The challenge. The impossible odds. The worst case scenario. Adversity gives it drama. It gives it power.

People are getting laid off left and right. Half of them are scrambling to find new jobs to fill in the blank their old jobs left. Half of them are relieved to be let go. They've embraced the sense of freedom and possibility and are happy to leave the life they SHOULD have liked but didn't. They're using the opportunity to create the life they LOVE.

"I'm EI-ing it and loving I allowed to say that?" one of my friends wrote me.

There's no good time to break up with your shitty life and go find a great one. No perfect moment when you've got everything together and you've saved a bunch of money and have everything under control. That perfect moment will never come. Except for the fact that it could be right now.

I don't know why it all worked out the way it did for me. Why I got depressed and depressed again. Why I chose to take this risk when I did. How I ended up helping kids who are going through what I went through.

But I do know I don't need to be afraid. Being unemployed during the worst economic crisis of recent memory means you'll never be afraid of NOT having a job. This is the worst case scenario and, hey, it's all right. The worst time of my life is now being used to help other people. That's all right, too.

I guess what I'm saying is, yes, everything happens for a reason. But oftentimes we don't get to see the reason for a long, long time, so the best thing to do is always remember that there IS ONE. Whatever is happening right now has a purpose. Your job is not to reject it or try to "fix" it. It's to embrace it and dive right into it. Use it. Benefit from it.

My tenant is leaving my condo. She's quitting her PhD and moving back home to Vancouver. And I'm going to have to either find another tenant to pay my exorbitant mortgage or sell at the WORST point of the housing market. Worst case scenario, right?

Hey, it's all right.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 231: Coming Soon To A Sound-Stage Near You

Hey, remember that jumping-out-of-my-skin day I had last week? The one where the idea to start a theatre company emerged out of nowhere? And how we were supposed to meet about that theatre company TODAY but both the other girls canceled? And remember how I got discouraged about that and wondered how I'm ever going to get my ass on a stage again as though one canceled meeting can determine the entire fate of my life?

Have no fear, friends.

Because two performance opportunities landed in my lap within days of each other. Mmm hmm. For real.

The first is a reading at a new recording studio this weekend. I'm performing along with a bunch of other spoken word people and musician types to celebrate their grand opening. Only I don't know the name of the business or if I'll be abducted and forced to join a polygamy cult because the girl who invited me only writes one-line emails. All I know is the address and that it starts at 6 pm on Saturday.

Maybe you should come...just in case.

You should also help me pick what to read. Currently, the options are:
Crotch Management, always a crowd-pleaser.
Celebrity Cervix, based on this post.
Better Known as Bacon Strip, a morality tale about stained underwear.
Or Who's Your Hammama? from my Parisian adventures with topless women.

Based on this list, it appears all I write about is boobs and boxes. I'm comfortable with that.

The second performance opp is with Mr. Laid Back & Under 30, Mark Hopkins – remember the Freak Show? He's baaaaack! That show will be sometime the week of April 28th. It's called Shhhh! I'm sure there will be many hilarious tales of unwritten scripts, beer-soaked rehearsals and last-minute panic attacks to come.

P.S. I would have written about yesterday's shoot for the Depression Project, but it went so smoothly, there's nothing to say! (Besides eavesdropping on the slumlord screaming match out back in the parking lot.) Hopefully something horribly humiliating will go down tomorrow. Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 229: The Three Day Rule

The really irritating thing about being a spiritual person is you can't get Just Mad anymore. You're always looking for The Lesson or The Message From The Universe and you can't just throw dishes and be done with it. Everything has to have "deeper meaning" or lead to "personal growth."

It's frickin' annoying.

So it really IRKED me when – after getting blindsided by the Depression People AGAIN at the ELEVENTH BLOODY HOUR – I descended into a blind rage the likes of which I've never experienced.

It was the kind of rage I can only describe as ALCOHOLIC – the rip-the-sink-off-the-wall, eat-a-plate-of-cocaine, drive-a-truck-off-a-bridge kind of fury reserved for addicts and outlaws. An out of control cocktail of self-destruction and homicidal mania.

This? Is not like me at all.

It scared the hell out of me. And I wondered how I'd let things get this far. I'd ignored the Three Day Rule for far too long.

I've learned the hard way that I've got three days without creative Me-Time before the time bomb starts to tick ominously. Before the jungle drums start beating and the air raid sirens start to howl. Before I start yelling for Boyfriend to TAKE COVER because goddamnit SHE'S GONNA BLOW!

It's strange, but it's true.

Creativity is as much a part of my self-care as getting eight hours of sleep at night. If I skip it, there are consequences. If I keep skipping it, things get ugly for those within a 30-foot radius. If I neglect it altogether, the rage goes inward I get suicidally depressed. This is how it works.

Three days to crazy.

But every once and awhile I, very mistakenly, try to get away with it and push my self-care to the bottom of the list.

I don't know how thought I could gut out a couple more weeks of balls-to-the-wall writing for the Depression Project, survive a four-day full-frontal-family weekend (where the only Me-Time I got involved a toilet and a wad of Charmin double-ply) and have enough gas in the tank for two days of shooting a hundred pages of script.

I was very, very wrong.

And I emerged from a molten white rage last night around midnight to find myself tearing a journal almost in two like some kind of steroid-addled Monster Trucker. Smashing all the car windshields on my street with a baseball bat also seemed like a very good idea. It was fucked.

But, since I knew from whence the white rage came, I chose against baseball bats and turned to Julia Cameron instead. I opened up Vein of Gold to a section entitled 'Voluntary Victims,' which goes a little something like: "Sooooo. You didn't give yourself the creative time or space you needed and said Yes to everything everybody asked you and now you're A CERTIFIABLE MENTAL CASE and what exactly did you THINK was going to happen? Hmm?"

I did one of her genius little exercises (in my ravaged journal) and felt better. But I wasn't done yet, so even though it was a quarter past late o'clock, I opened up a story I've been working on ( of the PARIS stories!).

I felt the train wreck of rage in my head clear away and the knot of barbed wire in my chest loosen. I was WRITING! For the first time since Paris and it was glorious.

I wrote until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore and then slipped into bed beside Boyfriend. Who was still wearing his riot gear and clutching his pepper spray under his chin. Adorable.

Day 228: Insert Bloodcurdling Scream Here

Dear Depression Project Team:

I have read over your changes to the Module 8 script. While I appreciate the new theme of Celebration, I have some serious concerns.

The first half isn't about celebration at all – it simply sums up the previous seven modules intercut with overly cheerful and content-lite wahoo music videos. The exercises, which we created for the original theme of Module 8, are now no longer relevant or related. What does a visualization about the road less traveled have to do with celebrating? I notice you've left the second half of the content as-is even though it was written for an entirely different theme and no longer makes any sense whatsoever. And the story for the story section was, I suspect, written by someone from the research team.

You sent me this new content at 6 pm on Monday night. Today is Tuesday, the day before the shoot where I, as an actor, need to deliver over 50 pages of script authentically and honestly. It will be a long day and an exhausting one – and I want to do my best for the production team. It is Day One of two days like this. In between the two shoot days, I need to prepare the next 50 some-odd pages of script I need to bring to life.

What you are asking me to do is completely rewrite and refocus the script of Module 8. This will take a full day of writing. A day we don't have in the current schedule.

So when you say you'd like to find a way to approach this without putting pressure on me, I'd say it's a little late for that. Once again, I feel the timely delivery of the product resting a little too firmly on my shoulders.

I am a human being. I have given a lot to this project and am just about to enter the most vulnerable phase of it. Baring my soul and history on paper is one thing, baring it in front of the camera is another. Asking me to shoehorn an entire day of reworking a desperately under-realized module into this week is not acceptable and it's not going to happen.


P.S. You owe me money.