action · despair · dreams · fear · friendship · god · miracle · perseverance · persistence · spirituality · surrender · theology · trying · vision

Men at Work.

  2/17/09: G-d Jar Projects:
  – My band
  – my mural
  – the play or musical I will be in
  – the songs I write
  – the essays and poems
  – the bass I play
  – the vacation I take to Hawaii
  – the sketches I make
  – the painting I do
  – the creative job I am making
At the time I wrote this list, none of these were true or in my life. Today, of this task list I wanted “God” to complete, all except two have come to fruition.
It would be a year from putting this list in my “g-d box”
when I would apply to graduate school for creative writing in poetry. It would
be two years from then when I would take my first oil painting class at that
college and start writing my daily blog.
It would be 4 years from putting this list in the jar when
my friend would become a flight attendant, and ask me if I wanted to escape winter and my chemo treatments and go to Hawaii for cheap.
A few months from there, a year ago, I would finally accept
the invitation to be a part of the band my friend had been asking me to join
for years, and actually use the bass I’d bought for $5 when I was 19. And not
long from then, I would begin auditioning and taking acting classes, and eventually be cast in a play.
The only items on this list that haven’t come to fruition
yet are the mural and the creative job.
The mural seems less important than it did 5 years ago, though
it would still be very cool to do.
The creative job “I am making” (whatever that means!) is still in
flux, in process.
Astonishing, isn’t it, that things I had no idea how they
would come to pass have all come to
pass? I could never have imagined when I wrote that list that I would actually
be in a band, or be able to go to Hawaii. Those were
the gifts and “rewards” of successful, other people. But, some part of me has
always believed that I can be one, or they wouldn’t have been in the box.
I love looking at this list. It is so concrete. I can check each off with a stroke of joy and elation: I
painted! I wrote! I acted! I vacationed! WHOOP! Look at me, enjoying a life (in spite of my self).
We all know what I’m going to say: If everything else on the
list has come to pass except the last one, then there must be hope that even
that can come to pass as well.
I am not sure I’m exactly an optimist, but I am a believer
in the efficacy of asking for help, not doing it alone, but doing it. Eventually.
Because, I should mention that going to school has saddled me
with nearly $90,000 in student loan debt and sent me into a recovery program
around my relationship to money and scarcity. I should mention that my airline
friend offered me the trip to Hawaii because I needed a break from cancer. And that I only finally reached back out to my
friend with the band as I was sitting alone and bald in my apartment, listening to a CD,
and busted out crying because I wanted to be a part of something like that –
because I didn’t want to be taken from the chance to have that in my life.
It’s not as if this list got checked off according to the
“easy way,” is my point. It took a lot of work, help, reaching out, despair,
action, pleading, and god damned willing it to be.
I would not have
chosen this route to getting these items checked off, and yet, here I sit
elated that so many of them have been. They say that it’s the journey not the
destination, but these journeys sucked. The routes to getting here, to crossing
off these accomplishments that have brought me joy, were really horrible, scary, and
It’s a strange dichotomy to sit with: The immense gratitude for being where I am, and the questioning
of the benevolence and efficacy of the path that brought me here.
So I guess what I sit with now is whether I want the road
to crossing off the last item on this list – “my creative job” – to be as
arduous as the roads before it. It is true that sometimes we don’t have a
choice, and choices are made for us, but I feel today that I do have a choice
on whether I want to struggle toward this final goal, whatever the
circumstances, or if I want to acquiesce toward it. Maybe not even “acquiesce,”
but move with joy. I mean I have a whole list of accomplishments to buoy this
part of my journey, right? 

Maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t have to be so hard. 

action · career · despair · exhaustion · friendship · hope · hopeless · job · jobs · miracle · perseverance · persistence

"We Need Back-up!"




I have no back-up, she said.
My friend with two kids, impending divorce, move, life,
told me a few weeks ago. Trying to figure out if she could go back east
for a family reunion and see her great-aunt probably for the last time. To
figure out if she should bring her kids, even though she couldn’t afford it.
Trying to figure out who would take care of them if she went, because “he”
wasn’t available.
She felt alone, lost, and hopeless.
When I was leaving, she picked up her phone to check a text.
The kids’ other grandmother would be happy to come up and stay with them, it read. No
Her eyes went wide. She laughed. I laughed. We laughed about
the energy we put into feeling terrible about things. 
A few days ago, I saw her again. She was telling some of our
friends how she’d found a house in the town she wanted to be in because of its school system for her son. I hadn’t heard this part yet. Only how pained she’d been in the
looking, months and months of looking. Fearing, wondering.
She regaled us with how she went online on Wednesday, saw
the house on Thursday, and on Friday, signed the lease.
She told us how there was another house that she really wanted for $800 more a month. The kind of dream house she “really” saw herself living in.
But guess how much the tuition will be for her girl at the
school she wanted to be in? $800 a
The litany of things that lined up were astonishing.
Each little piece of it having fallen firmly into miraculous and perfect place.
Each need met, better than anticipated. And “right on time.”
My friend was ecstatic and a bit winded with all the
resolutions that worked out in her favor. Eventually.
I said that it was like the “Universe” was tittering with a
present hidden behind its back. “Oooh… Look how upset she is that she has
nothing, that nothing’s coming out right – She’s gonna be SO BOMBED when I show
her what I have for her!! What I’ve had for her this whole time — Ha! It’s
gonna be AWESOME!”
And it’s true. It’s not that these things just came about
“miraculously.” It’s that she had been reaching out for help, grasping at any
straws, and finally, some of those straws bore fruit (to mix metaphors).
Desperate and despairing though she was, really distraught
at feeling abandoned by the Universe, lost in this HUGE transition in her life, she was asking for help. She
was taking action.
And that’s what
produced the miracles… to my mind, at least.
I report this whole story, I think, for obvious reasons.
I am currently grasping at so many straws, I could line the Augean stables.
I am reaching out to places I haven’t before, and listening
when people have things to say. (Even if I’ve heard their advice or platitudes
before and are silently telling them to shut it.)
I am feeling so lost and desperate and hopeless and
wondering and flailing and floundering. In short, I am feeling just as she was.
I know that we humans are meaning-making animals. We, or at
least I, want to make sense of
everything, even the things that don’t. So, I know that I want to make meaning
out of her story, make it into a tale of heroic action and
I want to make this story Job. Because if it is, then in the
end I get a flock of sheep, too. 

* Epilogue

Look. I know this sounds like a lot of self-obsessed, self-centered bullshit. I know this isn’t Rwanda, or even East Oakland. I know that no matter what happens, I’ll likely have clean water to drink.

I suppose, having always been a late bloomer, I just am getting an advanced jump on the whole mid-life crisis thing.

I think the argument with authenticity is an important one to have. I think the screamings of a soul that feels trapped is an important one to answer. I get that that looks like a lot of navel-gazing sometimes, and I get the pain all that staring causes in my neck.

But I just want to say that I see both sides, here. I see that I have it immensely “better” than a hundred million people around me. I get that my life is infinitely better than it was 10 years ago.

But, I also have the capacity to listen to myself at a level that I have never been keen enough to hear before.

Last night, someone recommended I read the chapter on Withdrawal in a 12-step book. I did. This “not quitting my job without having another one lined up” thing IS withdrawal for me. It’s causing me pain. It’s causing me to act out. It’s causing me to have conversations and intrigue with inappropriate people, and to eat enough cupcakes to stock a shop.

I’m in pain, and it comes out here. This is my place. I feel badly about putting it up so that you have to read daily about it. But, you don’t have to read. And I don’t have to feel.

And yet. Here we both are. Xo.m

change · community · connection · courage · fear · isolation · persistence · recovery

Nasty Jenga Partners.




I wanted to be a botanist. In 8th grade, I decided that if I
were a botanist, I could live in a tree, far away from people. It had little to
do with botany.
It’s funny to see that what I wanted most, isolation, is
what I’ve actually been fighting against most of my life, into the present. For
someone who purports the necessity of community, and told my interviewers that
what underlines all of the work I want
to do in my life is a passion for bringing people together – they sure do scare
the crap out of me most of the time.
Not surprising. Not unique. But funny to have a primary
motivation in my life be the thing that is also hardest for me to let in, let
percolate. I suppose it’s that way for most people. Or not.
I told my therapist the other day that I want to strive
without questioning/battering myself at every step. I asked her if that was
possible, if “normal” people can actually do this? She said, Yes.
I told her that I’d once admitted to a mentor that I was
scared I was too analytical to be happy. I told her I still have that fear. If
at every turn in your life, you hound yourself, where is there room for
happiness, satisfaction, self-acceptance?
Where is there time?
Because time continues to be a mindfuck for me too. I’ve
been typing up this woman’s life stories she’s compiling at a workshop where I
work. The one that’s sticking with me is entitled, “Turning
80.” At 60, her family brought all her old friends from her home town whom she
hadn’t seen in years, and had a big party. At 70, she got together with the
close friends she’d met while living here in the “new” iteration of her life.
What will she do at 80? How will she celebrate? What’s
I was driving my boss’s dad to and from dialysis in San
Francisco several years ago a few days a week for a few months. He was probably
about 80, too, and I asked him the key to life, as he seemed happy and
satisfied enough. He answered, Do what you love, and Travel.
Simple enough… if you’re not also standing at your own heel
questioning the importance and wisdom of all your moves, like a crappy Jenga
But, my therapist seems to think it’s possible. No. She knows it’s possible for people to go through their lives,
interesting, interested, engaged, without the “itty bitty shitty committee.”
I’ve said that I don’t think that committee ever actually
“goes away;” I just think the volume gets turned down. On good days, it does.
And certainly, I can admit with fervor
that my own self-doubt is light-years (light-decibels?) quieter than it had been.
Because it is those voices – those nagging thoughts to be
better, wiser, travel more, act more, play music more, paint more, engage more,
be friends more, be available more – that serve to do the exact opposite. Leave
me the fuck alone, voices!
And the lie is
that being alone is the antidote, is the cure, for those voices. That isolation is the cure for
The lie is that isolation is the cure for loneliness.
Of course I’m not meant to live in a tree, or observe the
apes, or tick away hours in a lab, or in front of Netflix. My primary
motivation for living is to engage with
people, connect with them and help them connect with each other. I am the diplomat incarnate.
“Did you meet so and so? They make jewelry, and you make hand puppets, maybe
you should talk.” “I know someone who just did what you’re looking to do, I’ll
give you their number.” “You’re both writers, bakers, candle-stick makers, let
me help you connect.”
Bringing people together means that I have to be willing to get together with them. I know
my hesitations, I know my underlying reasons and history, I know all the “justifiable” reasons not to. And I know how that looks like me abandoning
relationships, abandoning hobbies, abandoning myself.
But this path has become boring. Not to mention lonely. And
if I’m such an intrepid world/life traveler, then (my breathing becomes shallow as I
even contemplate this) I will have to allow myself to try this other
route, this one called Sustained Human Connection and hope the voices get bored
of me not listening, and fade out.

community · inspiration · love · persistence · service · spirituality · willingness · writing

Did you live happy? Did you live well?




I don’t really believe in heaven and hell. I suppose if I
believe in anything, I believe in some kind of version of reincarnation. Not
that my soul gets inserted into some new being on the planet, but that the
anima that makes my heart pump disseminates into other things – surely, the
worms, and dirt, and grass that’ll be fed by me, but also, I feel like there’s
some way our spirit gets to try again.
Maybe not. Maybe we’re all worm food. But I think about the
concept I’ve heard that we choose the life that we’re born into. That
we somehow float cosmically one step outside of this reality, and when it’s
time, we are born into the lock that our life provides the key for – and the
lessons and situations we walk into in life are what turns the key. Toward
what? Who knows. Enlightenment sounds like such a heavy word. I don’t know that
there’s ever any “fixed” or “done” for us. I think that’s part of what our
souls, for lack of a better word, enjoy about the whole thing.
It’s sort of like an infinite book of Choose Your Own
Adventure. We’ve all heard me talk about how the lessons we’re here to learn
aren’t always the ones we want; it’s not like I would have chosen some of the circumstances that have surrounded my life
or the situations that occurred in it. But, on some level, perhaps I have and
did. And perhaps for some benevolence greater than my own. – Or not.
Sometimes I ask my cat what she did in former lives to be a
cat this time. What she was before? And who she bribed to get to be as pretty as
she is?
Sometimes I think about the Indigo Girls’ song Galilleo, and how maybe the being we’re born into next time will
have so much baggage from our fucking things up, or not “evolving” enough, to be
the next great writer and artist, or inventor fixing the world.
Sometimes I sit home sick and watch Saving Grace on Netflix and write a blog about theology. Like
I have heard about the whole Pearly Gates thing, and we (or
Christians, at least) get asked questions. And I wonder if I were asked the
questions in the title of this post, what my reply would be? And if it will
continue to change, as it’s surely changed before.
A friend of mine has a mission statement for herself and her
life, and squares the actions and activities she engages in against it. If it
doesn’t jive, then she finds a way to align her wants with its message: To be
of maximum service to myself and others, for the good of all involved.
The other day, as I was sitting in my car, waiting for
the call with my potential new somatic therapist, I was struck with a phrase for
me and for my life that feels pretty appropriate. It was less a mission
statement at the moment, and more a simple observation of the sum total of my actions & endeavors, at least in
adulthood: To voraciously expand my consciousness of love.
It’s sort of what I have been doing lately, I think. It’s
sort of what I think I want to continue to do. It’s a tall freaking order, for
sure. And it’s uncomfortable and vulnerable and occasionally plain biting, but
at its base, at my base, I think it’s a pretty good mission for my soul to have chosen.
Once, in meditation, I got this edict for my life: To love,
as much as you can. What comes to me from that is that it’s also really as much
as you can on any given day. Do your best on any given day, and that level will
change, and sometimes will be really freaking low. But if I believe, which I
do, that I am here for a purpose, and if I believe today that that purpose is
to voraciously expand my consciousness of love, then it’s sort of like when
they put those bumpers in the gutters of the bowling lane: I’ll never be too far off center. 

acting · action · change · commitment · confidence · kindness · laughter · life · performance · persistence · progress · recovery · relationships · self-support · sobriety · time

For those of you playing along at home. . .

For those of you playing along at home, below are a few
updates on things I have here written about:
  • The
    caffeine-reduction experiment has been a near-fail since beginning the
    temp job, but continues to remind me to feel guilty.
  • I realized this morning that the free bus I sometimes catch to BART can take me all the
    way to the city, instead of transferring to BART (thank you to my school’s
    student bus pass, making bus transit in the East Bay free).
  • I put
    back up the series of my paintings that I’d taken down during Calling in
    the One
    , at which time I’d realized that women
    not looking at their lovers was something I wanted to move away from. I
    put them back up when the okJew was potentially going to come over, and I
    didn’t want a blank expanse of wall over my bed. I’m not sure if I’ll take it back down. 
  • I have
    not yet finished, but I have begun, the art project for my friend’s
    wedding. It sits on my desk, accusing me.
  • I
    bought cat food.
  • I graduated with a Master’s degree a month ago. And I was offered a weekend job at said pet food store. Generously offered (not the compensation), but no thank you. Not yet, at least.
  • I have
    art that I need to make for the September art show my friend invited me to
    join. I’m not sure what I’ll do, but it’s been backstroking through my
    psyche for a month or so.
  • I must
    follow-up with the boss at where I’m temping to ask her precisely what she
    meant when she said she would be happy to give me “a recommendation” for
    auction houses here and in the city (um, I meant NY city – I guess that habit still dies hard).
  • My dad
    will be closing on the sale of my childhood NJ home in the next month or
    so, and is planning to move with his fiancé to their new Florida home
    toward the fall.
  • I am
    eagerly awaiting June 20th, when the results of the daily
    sweepstakes I’ve been entering for a trip for two to Italy will be
    announced. You may be the lucky winner.
  • My
    writing style is influenced by who I’m reading currently.
  • At the
    moment, I just finished Nora Ephron’s new book, and began a collection of
    essays by David Foster Wallace, whom I’ve never read, but seen the
    author’s name so many times on my BART rides that I thought to give him a
    whirl. I’m not sure I will continue.
  • I will
    be art modeling this Sunday for the artist who I first worked for, and two
    of her friends. I’m not sure I will continue.
  • I have
    9 new voicemails I haven’t checked.
  • I went
    on the walk I’d planned to take on Tuesday evening yesterday evening, and
    it was glorious. I ate what must have been a small, cherry-sized peach,
    unless it was of course, a cherry, from a nearby tree which I jumped to
    pluck from the low hanging branch. I’m not dead, so it was not poisonous.
  • As
    soon as I get paid this cycle, I’m going to register for the summer acting
    classes at A.C.T., and I can’t f’ing wait. I looked up all manner of
    electronics yesterday that I could hypothetically use my more regular
    income of the next 6 weeks to purchase, and yet, I realized that what I
    really want are those lessons. And new shoes.
  • I’m
    now working one-on-one with a woman who’s found recovery around negative
    patterns of behavior with sex and men, and I’m infinitely looking forward
    to freedom around some of this.
  • I’m
    continuing to work with a woman one-on-one around financial recovery
    stuff, and am looking forward to being “placed in a position of
    neutrality” around money.
  • I love
  • I haven’t
    yet played my bass with my friend with the drums up in Berkeley, and it
    too stares at me, not gently weeping, but with silent mewling.
  • I
    realized that most of the writers I’m reading right now have written as freelance
    writers, and it occurs to me, that I might be able to do that, if I look
    into it.
  • I
    haven’t applied to any jobs since last week.
  • I used
    my 3 lb weights yesterday after my walk for about 3 minutes. And began to dread the 3 hour posing/drawing session on Sunday.
  • Dr.
    Palm Reader’s office wrote to ask after me, and so I looked up my
    soon-to-end chiropractic benefits “in network,” so that I can get back to
    that kind of thing, without breaking my bank, or participating in a
    somewhat murky flirtatiousness.
  • This
    is the end of my list. 
acting · adulthood · crazy · family · forgiveness · humilty · love · money · persistence · receiving · self-support · the middle way · work

Day Jobs.

Yikes. Unintendedly, I apparently freaked my mom out. I
guess “What goes around comes around” is a less than spiritual comment here.
When I was camping this weekend, one of the women said she’d
used this 23andme site that did genetic mapping and testing. She said she found
it to accurately confirm things she knew she had and “labeled” her cousin as
her own on the site, so she felt it was reliable when it came to the things she wanted
clarity on or might not know. So, on a whim, I looked it up yesterday. Part of
it is my own rampant curiosity about my dad’s father’s side of the family, about whom
we know nothing (very hush hush, gramma got pregnant at 15 in an Irish Catholic
family under-the-rug), so I’d like to know about that fourth of who I am.
Secondly, and importantly for me, my mom’s mother died from
Alzheimer’s and I want to know if I have the gene or not. You can get it
without the gene, and you can not get it
with the gene. But, I’m curious. And a little excited. If I don’t have the
gene, I can (and would) worry less; and if I do have the gene, they’re coming
up with all kinds of new things people can do these days to stave it off or
minimize the effects – and I’d look for more information on stuff like that.
So, in an effort to “share the good news,” I emailed my mom
and brother yesterday to let them know about it (though women are more likely
than men to get Alz). I got an email back this morning from my mom saying that
no matter what to never [BOLD FACE] EVER tell her the results of it.
Yikes. Granted, my mom is a class-A worrier,
anxiety-disordered woman on medication, but… yeesh. That obviously wasn’t my
intention, to freak her out – I guess I imagined she’d react as I did – “Cool,
what can I learn, so that information can be useful in how I lead my life?” …
Best laid plans, I suppose.
It’s Friday, so it’s a little rough to go into what I
remember of my mom’s parents’ deaths, and what I consider to be and have been
“wrong” ways of grieving. And so I won’t do that today. It’s NOMB – None Of My
So, I’ll undeftly switch topics, as I’m uncomfortable. 😉
Yesterday, in reading Tina Fey’s book, I had a sort of
realization about “day jobs.” Fey worked at a YMCA for $5/hr in Chicago when
she left undergrad. She wanted to take improv classes, so she angled for a job
“upstairs” in the office of the YMCA. When she was asked on the interview why
she wanted the job, she replied unabashedly, So I can afford improv classes.
She got the job, took improv classes, and quit the job less than a year later
when she got work with the improv group.
I had my informational interview with my former acting
teacher last Friday, and she said nice things like I have “great instincts,”
and that “it’s obvious [I] really enjoy it.” She didn’t really give me the
“constructive criticism” I was looking to get – areas that I could improve in,
and as I was recounting this to my friend last weekend, she said it sounded
like I wanted to hear places I could just do X, Y, and Z, so that I could “fix”
it, and suddenly everything would fall into place. Yes, give me a set of
movable problems, let me fix them, and then let me be free of problems forever.
That sounds about right.
So, I didn’t get that. I got what felt like nearly reluctant
suggestions. Again, I guess I had expectations. But, I heard that acting
classes would be a good idea to continue with. So, yesterday, I looked up the
classes at A.C.T. Studio, and their summer program. It’s not very expensive,
but surely more than I have now.
And I remembered what Tina Fey had said: she took a job so
she could afford to do what she really wanted to do. For SO long I’ve been
agonizing over what is my “ideal” job, or what will feed me spiritually,
intellectually, and creatively – what one
thing would fit all my needs. I don’t feel this way about people, why would I
feel this way about work? I don’t expect one person to fulfill all my needs –
that’s ridiculous, unfair, and leads to disappointment. So, why should I feel that a job
would or ought to do the same.
There’s something in this. It takes a shit ton of the
pressure out of whatever job comes to me next. That it is a means to an end. And further, I’m honing in more
closely on what I’d want those “ends” to be – what I want my job to afford me
to be able to do. Lessons, classes, (acting & music, for now). I’m not sure what
this realization will bring me – except that I already feel less internal
pressure about “What I’m going to do next.” Chances are (G-d willing!!!!!!)
that the job that I get next
afford me the disposable income to take classes like that. Or, rather, the
chances don’t have to be there, I can just start angling the satellite dish of
my focus in a slightly different direction, picking up on things that I’d
dismissed, as they wouldn’t “fill me spiritually.”
Like a person, it’s not a job’s … job to fill me spiritually. That’s up to me. That’s up
to me to take the kinds of actions that will allow me the freedom from financial
worry to do things that
do feed
me spiritually and creatively. I have a phone call date with another acting
friend next week, having been inspired by the new angle of my satellite to be
able to continue having these conversations with people.
What comes of it? Who knows. But I feel more open to things,
and I’ve noticed that makes a world of difference.
(Sorry, Mom – didn’t mean to freak you out. LU, m.)

adulthood · authenticity · band · compassion · courage · dance · discovery · letting go · life · maturity · music · performance · persistence · poetry · receiving · responsibility · self-care · singing · surrender

Pulling a Carmen: 2

When I began this blog-a-day back in November of last year,
my first post was called “Pulling a Carmen,” as I’d been reading and was encouraged by her own blog-a-day postings. In the time since, sometimes I
just find it hugely funny how parallel my path is to my fellow blogger and
For recent example:
  • I also just starting going back on to the internet dating
    scene. In fact, I have a coffee date today with someone I met on JDate
  • I too have said fuck it, and asked out a dude yesterday.
    Unfortunately, turns out he’s married, but it felt really good to do so.
  • Several of the books that are lining my desk and bedside
    table are travel books about Europe, underlining my intention to take a real
    freaking vacation some time this century.
  • And, I also rented a camera and video camera from the
    school’s A/V department to begin taking pictures again. 

Sometimes I feel awkward about our exceedingly similar
trajectories, as if I’m copying her, but the reality is that independently, we
come to these things, and then come here to write about them. It’s really
funny, and also somewhat comforting to know that there is someone who is
traveling a similar path toward “To thine own self be true.”
On that note, I went to see my friend’s band play in the city
last night, and then headed with my girlfriends to go out dancing in Oakland.
Prior to both these… we went to the Dharma Punx meditation – nothing says
spiritually fit like meditating for 40 minutes before downing coffee with an
add-shot. 😉
But to relate it to the ‘self be true’ part – each of these
are places where I want to feel more connection. I hadn’t been to see live
music in MUCH too long. It’s on my current list of “Serenity Moths” on my
refrigerator (a list of things that aren’t cataclysmic, but slowly and
subterraneaously eat away at my serenity and foundation). Yes, “Absence of live
music” is on there, and so should be “dancing.” I’m a white girl. I have no
ambition or goal to be anything but a mildly flailing Elaine Benice, but … i
love it. The absence of self, the absence of self criticism or posturing or
need to be anywhere or anything else. Lost in the music.
The band brought something else up for me. Like the
“dropping” of the whole acting bent at the beginning of this year, what I’ve dropped
more often than anything is the “being in a band” idea.
As you may know, I have 2 guitars, a bass, and a small USB plug
in keyboard. Each as dust-covered as the next. The bass amp sits as a monument
to abandoned dreams in my apartment.
Last night, watching my friend’s band, I remembered that this is
something I want to do. In fact, I’d emailed one of the guitarist’s wife about
6 or more months ago to talk to her about her own process of getting toward
singing in a band – embracing her inner teenage rock chick. If I had my … well, if I had my own back, I guess, I’d play
bass, and I’d sing. Talk about vulnerability.
This week, I stood practically naked in front of an audience
and spoke my poem into a microphone in a moderately full theater. That isn’t nearly as frightening to me as
standing in front of an audience, singing, or playing.
The truth is that for several years, I’ve been gathering information
about the whole bass playing thing. But, no, I haven’t been playing. A few
years ago, I asked a guy I knew for bass advice, and he sent me a long list of
places to start (which I didn’t pursue). About a year later, I contacted this other guy about bass
lessons (which I didn’t pursue). … And the guy I asked out yesterday is also a bass player. Apparently,
I have a thing.
Every few years, I’ll troll craigslist, and I’ll answer a
few ads for singers. I even recorded myself a little on my computer’s
Garageband to send as a sample. I got a “not a good fit, but thanks anyway” from one,
and no reply from another. And, hey, I don’t blame em. When I’m terrified, it
comes through. I don’t know. I’ve written here about it kind of frequently –
and dismissed it and been “embarrassed” by it just as often.
However, once again, the thing that occurred to me last night as I
watched my friend’s band was another case of “I want to do that” … followed by
“I can do that.” There is no one stopping me, obviously except for myself and
my fears, and that critic that says “Not good enough” and chops me off at the
knees before I start.
One thing I’m working on releasing at the moment, a pattern
and belief and behavior that is just not fucking serving me anymore, is my need
or habit to stay small.
When I was living in South Korea, my friend nicknamed me
“Ballsy Mollsy.” I had the absolute chutzpah and hubris to ask anyone anything,
go anywhere, and do pretty much whatever I felt like doing in the hedonistic
way most drunks do.
However, there is a quality of that Ballsy woman who still I am,
somewhere, and who I want to resurrect or reveal or uncover or let loose – or
even just let into the light a little tiny bit.
I find it’s happening in some ways. And I know to have
compassion for myself as I try to aim in this direction which has been a Siren
song for me (uh, no pun intended) for … oh, 15 years.
But compassion for slow progress, and acceptance of
stagnation are two different things. And I’d really like to move forward from
So, for your reading pleasure, here’s a poem composed about
a year ago. Reading aloud is encouraged.  As is recalling the line “So let it be written, so let it be done.” Cheers. m.
Band Practice
Tnk tnkTNK thwap
Tnk tnkTNK thwap
Bzzzt FLARE feedback
TNK tnktnk THWAP
Tnktnk THWAP tnk tnktnk THWAP
TNK tnktnk THWAP
Tnktnk THWAP tnk tnktnk THWAP
Tnka tnka thwap
Tnka tnka tnka thwap
Tnka tnka thwap
Tnka tnka tnka thwap
Tnka tnka thwap
Tnka tnka tnka thwap
acting · friendship · love · persistence · self-care · synchronicity

In All Its Forms

Yesterday, I got to cross a few more “Serenity Moths” off my
list, including letting my apartment get messy (kitchen, another story); no
fuzzy socks (my clothing allowance this month will now be worn on my very
toasty happy feet); and not using my art and craftyness.
Today is the birthday of the woman who I have known longest
in my life, second only to my family. We met when we were both three-years old
in a story both our mothers love to tell.
Soon after my brother was born, my family moved from Brooklyn to northern New Jersey. Maybe that same or maybe next day, our new door bell rang.
The story goes, that the little blond girl who lived just next-door stood on the door-step, looked up at
my mom, and asked, “Does a little girl live here?” I peeked my head out
from behind my mom’s legs and we have been friends for nearly 30 years. (wow, I’d initially wrote 20!, but no, it’s 30!!)
Like most friendships, it’s seen its fair share of trials,
but through a fair share of miracles, we have found ourselves to be strong friends again,
across the sands of time and Minnesota.
So, yesterday, I made a crafty little gift for her. I took
out my tools I laid down since my Christmas card puttering-out, and infused as
much love as I could into it.
I also put up a handwritten sign in my apartment, just below
the very tall almost 12 foot ceiling: “Love, as much as you can.” And put little
hearts around it. ;P This was the edict, the command, and the hope, from the
workshop I did a month or more ago when we meditated to ourselves as really old people, and asked ourselves what lessons we needed to learn. Today is the final of the 4 in the
series of workshops on relationships. Spiritual Contracts and Inner Archetypes.
On the note of that type of work, I did get an email back
from the Sacred Stream meditation school, and they do have a scholarship, but
it’s itty bitty, and I can’t afford the course right now – particularly after I
pay the security deposit to the Bay Area Modeling Guild, which I found out last
night that I got in to 🙂  But,
that’s alright, I feel like I’ve got enough spiritual shenanigans happening
around and in me at the moment, that I’m not quite sure
now is the right time to blow the top off myself anyway. Sometimes, I just need
to regroup. Ground myself again.
So, doing these sort of “of the earth” type activities has
been nice, cleaning my apartment, making art, finally in-putting my numbers on
what I spent in December. (which, I was probably right to fear! oh holiday
spirit…) 😉
On another note completely, so, I’d been praying for an
acting coach. That was the suggestion I got from my acting friend in SF, and
although I’d been half-heartedly looking, I’d also been dragging my feet
feeling that I didn’t have the money to really afford a coach.
Then, I went to my Thursday afternoon class. Acting
Fundamentals. I had completely forgotten that I’d signed up for this course.
But I had. So, maybe I don’t have an individual acting coach, but I now have an
acting teacher. Included in the price of all that I’m already paying for school.
She’s the casting director for Berkeley Rep, and has been teaching acting
forever, and has acted forever, and although at the moment she seemed a little sharp at the
edges, I think this is just what I’ve been asking for.
After class, she said that it seemed I had more experience
than the other girls, and I said, I’m open to any help she can give, and she
said she tries to challenge and meet people where they’re at. I also found it
rather hilarious that I’m more experienced than anyone in my theater experience, as I feel like such a
novice I can’t even tie my shoes straight!
But, it’s not about comparison. It’s about what I can learn,
and how I can inhabit my body and my emotions more fully. It’s about WAAAAYYY
tuning down the cacophony of my heartbeat in my eardrums when I stand in front
of a panel at an audition. I think the audition is the hardest part – for me at
least. Good thing I have two more over the next two days. 😉
So, here’s to Love, which finds it’s way back to us, over 30
years of friendship, in the form of a needed teacher, and in the self-care
which buys me these awesome fuzzy socks. 
fortitude · joy · laughter · persistence · recovery

Ocean Liner

I retract my endorsement of Airborne.
Just kidding. I just am not feeling as better as I’d like,
especially as it comes up to New Year’s Eve tomorrow.
Although I remember the last several New Year’s, which was a
new development, none of them have been particularly outstanding. Last year, I
was on the roof of a friend’s condo in SF, watching the fireworks over the Bay
– which was wonderful – with my soon to be ex – which was less wonderful, but a
great attempt at shoe-horning romance into a moment.
This year’s remains to be seen, with a party with some local
friends’ bands, and some dances out in SF that could be a raucous good time.
But I’m not feeling particularly raucous at the moment. But things change. And
this is the season for it.
I was reminded this morning as I was writing my Morning
Pages about a conversation I’d had with my friend Luke on our Misfit Christmas. We
were talking about the economy, and he was saying that people’s expectations
are that things can change on a dime, in an instant, immediately show results.
Whereas the more accurate truth is that change is like the course of an ocean
liner. It.does.not.stop. when you want it to. (See: Titanic) ;P
He drew his finger in a long, wide arc along the coffee shop table and said that
as an ocean liner begins to change course, it continues to look like it’s still
going along its original path, it continues out into the treacherous water, slowly evening a turn-about. It is not instantaneous, and
it is not immediately obvious or apparent.
Which means, that for anything that does change in this manner, like most things in this world, it requires patience.
This morning, I was reflecting that the change of the year, a
sudden WHAM BANG HELLO NEW YEAR!, might not equate with the reality of the
subtlety of change. But, personally, I feel it. The planet changing
its course in the cosmos, slowly slingshotting back around. The impending
change of the year has begun – it’s not one moment at midnight when Dick Clark
leads us all in some bedazzled primal chant. It’s more covert, and ultimately more kind
than that.
Changes that happen all at once are called emergencies.
Lucky for us, life is not always in the habit of confronting us with change in
these violent manners.
I’m not sure of my entire point here, but I suppose I’m
attempting to provide a bit of cosmic comfort, reinforcement of the
positive course I am on and perhaps you are on, and g-d willing the economy is on! Or maybe I’m just being wistful at the close of a
year, which, of course, it also is.
I was 14 and at a new year’s dance and a girl friend of mine
was in near hysterics. She said that the change of new year’s always gave her
anxiety. I got a text just now in which a friend asked me if I didn’t also have
the new year’s depression.
Lucky for me, no. I’ve bought my ticket on this ocean liner.
Cast in my lot. Threw down the gauntlet. Thrown in my hat. I am down with you,
Ocean Liner. I am concerned that I don’t know where you’re going once you make
your change in course, but I’m also mildly thrilled to see where you will go. To call on the spirit of “Must be present to Win”
and “Just Row,” I will make my best attempt to stand like Rose at the bow of
the ship and throw my arms open unto the unknown. 
action · integrity · joy · performance · persistence · self-care

"Forbidden", Make that "Attainable" Joys

I have a piece of paper dated in October of 2008 from an Artist’s
exercise. It’s entitled “Forbidden
Joys,” and is a list of ten things that we would love to do, but feel we can’t
or are not allowed for whatever reason. It could also be called a Bucket List,
I suppose.
Dated about 6 months later is a strike through of the word
“Forbidden” and above which is now written “Attainable.”
I’ve added three more things to the list, but the last thing
added was dated in 2009. I’ve carried this list through my move, and
found it maybe two months ago when I took The Artist’s Way book down again while looking for quotes for my
workshop on Creativity and Spirituality in the Spring.
The list is only about a third accomplished. And I’ve decided
not to “update” it from what I’d written, as I know there are now more and
different things I’d add. But, I want to honor this list, because there are still things on it that I would really love to do, if I
let myself.
The things that are now crossed off are: Go blonde; Audition for a play; Get furniture and paint my place (prior to that, I’d been using Office Depot boxes as night&coffee tables); Ice
skate; and Paint a canvas.
I still want to continue to audition for plays, and I still
want to Ice skate, and I want to paint more canvases, but “breaking the seal”
as it were, or going on an inaugural run through each of these is a great
Those that still remain are: Bass lessons; Camp in the
wilderness; See the southwest again; Go on a real vacation; Sing in a band;
Have a dog (not sure if now having a cat counts, but I’m leaving it!); Build a
(non-Ikea) bookcase; and Take flying lessons.
This last one, I am most poised to do at present, as I got
one of those LivingSocial, Groupon-y type emails last week…For a two-hour
introductory flying lesson.
Typically, these are really expensive. I’ve actually looked
up this company before, during this past summer, when I was trying to find
work, and thought that maybe volunteering somewhere I was interested to learn
would be good experience, so I emailed a whole bunch of flight schools in the
area, as well as a whole bunch of sailing schools. But none had any openings.
But, I did get to see what was available out there. … And to see how insanely
expensive it is to get licensed to fly a small plane, which is ultimately what
I’d like to do.
I love flying. I have found over the past few years that I
write pretty well and pretty prolifically at 30,000 feet. There is a level of
suspension of reality, of detachment from every and anything that may be going
on – I feel freer and more unfettered than I almost ever feel. The only thing
comparable to me is really hiking out somewhere, or being up in Sonoma, for
whatever reason. I once about Sonoma that “my guts release the strictness I didn’t know
they were in.” And it’s true. I feel open, unclenched, serene.
So, in an effort to follow my nudges and listen to myself
and take responsibility for my dreams, I bought the intro flying lesson. It’s a
step. And I’ll get to cross it off my “Attainable Joy” list. And “Sing in a
band,” I know you’re there, and I’m listening.