The loveliest short story. And there are many lovely short stories. Happy February!
The loveliest short story. And there are many lovely short stories. Happy February!
This year I…
…graduated from university!
…magna cum laude!!!
…attended my last portfolio review,
…my last stage management soiree,
…and my last midwest theatre auditions!
…celebrated the important birthday of an incredible man. 75!
…quit biting my nails! the habit of my lifetime, kicked cold for 7 months. (and i only fell off the wagon three times!)
…moved to north carolina for my first post-grad gig.
…professionally stage managed three incredible productions: sweet charity, the 39 steps, & a christmas carol.
…visited the nation’s capitol with my father.
…and the big apple with my class.
…remembered how much i love to paint at midnight.
…saw “casablanca” on the silver screen. (and for the first time ever!)
…refereed the beer olympics. i really did!
…attended my first baseball game!
…saw myself in an art gallery!
…spent my spring saying goodbye to st. louis.
…and my summer on the shores of lake michigan. (i jumped off a pier!)
…and my autumn in sweet carolina.
…and my winter with my wonderful family.
…drove 4,566 solo miles in road trips.
…watched 5* broadway shows.
*and one tech rehearsal!
…took myself, by myself, to see 15 movies!
…read 33 books. (not quite my new year’s resolution of 52!)
May 2013 be filled with adventure, love, and laughter. Happy New Year!
30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 13
I am thankful today for a room of my own - a place where I’m allowed to paint, and read, and write, and be me.
Virginia Woolf and I are in agreement: every woman needs one.
For five straight hours this afternoon, I sat in front of a copy machine, watching ream after ream of paper get gobbled up and spit out. Four reams in total were printed with the melodies of Christmas carols, and the lines of a certain Mr. Scrooge, and calendars and schedules, and cast lists and contact sheets. Tomorrow, on our first day of rehearsal, each one of my actors (all 42 of them!) will receive a pretty packet of paper, about an inch thick.
Today I am thankful for all the trees I fed into the copy machine. After all, I wouldn’t be able to do my job without them. Paper is the stuff of theatre, of course — the physical record of our living, breathing art. And if I didn’t copy those scripts and scores and calendars and contact sheets — well, tomorrow would be a very tragic day. Rehearsal would be chaos! Confusion! Ebenezer Scrooge would never learn the meaning of Christmas! And then where would we be?
And so — to the Lorax, or to Mother Nature, or to whomever speaks for the trees these days, I ask you to please pass on this message: we, the cast and crew of A Christmas Carol, wholeheartedly thank you. We won’t waste you. We’ll make you proud! And we’ll recycle. I promise.
30 Days of Thanksgiving: Days 10 & 11
I’m thankful for my father, and for his father, and for all the veterans, and all the heroes, and for all they do to keep us safe.
30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 9
I’m thankful tonight for insomnia. Sleepless nights are my favorites, because I get to draw until my eyelids get heavy, because I get to fall asleep with pencils in my hair and paper underneath my pillows.
Counting blessings: the alternative to counting sheep.
I’m behind a day in my month of thankfulness, for no good reason, really.
Maybe it is because I was feeling a little sick and shaky yesterday, and so nothing looked very beautiful to me. I had to tear myself away from my bed in the morning - the experience was physically painful, and eventually I only sat up, dizzy and cloudy, in stubborn, contrarian anger against my apparent inability to pry my own eyelids open. One, two, three, I thought, otherwise you’ll be late! and I wooshed myself up, my head spinning, my limbs tangled and strangled in blankets.
I spent the rest of the day with a cloud over my head. That morning, I picked a bright, floral dress to wear. Buck up, I told myself, and pulled up the zipper in defiance of my own bad mood. On the way to work, I drove past a forest of trees that sizzled in the sun, glowing in a perfect autumn palette. But I didn’t care. I turned on my windshield wipers and swatted the falling leaves away. During rehearsal, I glared at my lap, very much hating the pretty flowers that blossomed on my skirt. They were mocking me.
I wouldn’t pin it down, though — the cause of my bad mood. I refused to see, to open my eyes, to the reason for my cloudy day. Until, around midnight, tangled in my blankets again, with my stupid, floral dress abandoned on the floor, the autumn trees sleeping in the darkness — until, with the quiet of the night around me, I thought about why I was so melancholy.
The night before yesterday, I had spoken with two different men from my past. You can call it whatever you like - serendipity, coincidence, fate (ha!), the power of positive (or not-so-positive) thinking - I certainly use them all, depending on my mood. Whatever your choice, it always seems to happen, somehow, that when a man I once loved appears out of the shadows of my memories and into my present line of vision, another one follows soon after.
The night before yesterday, tradition prevailed. I was painting at the time, and watching the presidential election, sitting on the floor of my bedroom in front of the television. My laptop was precariously balanced on the suitcase I was using for a table. My palette of watercolors, a bouquet of brushes, and a cup of paint water kept my computer company.
My phone buzzed. I picked it up, sticking my paintbrush behind my ear. A text message. Hi.
I shouldn’t tell you what we talked about, and I won’t tell you who he was. He was a man, that’s all, who I once loved, who once broke my heart, who always seems to know the perfect thing to say. It’s an amazing skill of his, honestly. It’s the thing that will probably keep me talking to him for the rest of my life, even when (…especially when) I promise myself that I won’t. We talked about a novel he liked, and a writer I liked. We talked about how I paint now. We talked about the election. We didn’t talk about the past. We never do. It never ends well when we do.
And then a sound bubbled from my laptop. It was open to the New York Times, a red and blue map of the United States refreshing with each new victory, and it took me a few seconds to open up Facebook again. But there it was when I did, blinking at the bottom of my screen. I dunked my paintbrush into the cup of cloudy water and rested my fingers on the keyboard. A message. From a different man. You there?
I won’t tell you what we talked about or who he was, either. He was a man, a beautiful, dangerous man. He was not the man who was telling me all about Hemingway through buzzing text messages at that very moment. He was different. But not by much. He also was a man I loved, who broke my heart. He also has a way of speaking that pulls me into his gravity and doesn’t let me go. We talked about struggles in his life, and challenges in mine. We talked about the books we were reading. We talked about how Colorado had just legalized marijuana. We didn’t talk about us. We didn’t talk about why we hadn’t spoken in nearly a month. In fact, we didn’t talk about any matters of the heart. We never do. It never ever, not surprisingly, ends well when we do.
I didn’t type I miss you into my phone or my computer.
Or, I loved you.
Or, What happened?
Or, My heart had almost forgotten you.
Instead, we talked about books and politics and painting and nonsense. And my phone buzzed, and my computer chimed, and I painted, and I watched a President get re-elected.
A lot of time passed. Hours or minutes, I couldn’t tell you, because time always seems to bend irrevocably in the presence of the men I once loved.
But eventually, the two dangerous, beautiful men went to sleep. One first, and then the other. And my phone stopped buzzing, and my computer stopped chiming, and I finished my painting, and I turned off my television.
And I, crawling into bed, wrapping myself in blankets, fell asleep nauseous and trembling. I dreamed of cruel, horrible things. I awoke the next morning with a heavy heart and a dizzy head. I put on a dress with flowers that I wanted to tear off. I ignored the lovely falling leaves. And I spent an entire day being thankless and ungrateful.
The truth is that speaking with an old love (or two) is painful, even when nothing too special is said at all. It awakens a whisper of hope, which, when dancing with memories and nostalgia, is a dangerous thing to have beating in your heart.
Yesterday was wretched. But today was a different day. It wasn’t hard to wake up this morning. When I got dressed, I slipped on a soft, pink sweater that had absolutely no expectations of mood attached. I pulled over on my drive to work to take a photo of the most beautiful tree — the leaves were so vibrantly, amazingly, incredibly yellow that they seemed to catch fire in the sun.
Yesterday, I was ungrateful for the melancholy lessons of life. But today, I am thankful for the human heart that never forgets how to love, no matter how many times it may be broken.
What are you thankful for?