23 Feb 2009, 1:07am
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construction (centering, leveling)

today after rehearsal i made my way to my friends’ apartment in sellwood, ate food and hung out for awhile, rambled my imaginary drama to willing ears. a few hours after dark, i walked the three or four miles home by myself, listening to ani difranco’s little plastic castle until my ipod’s battery charge ran out. nothing like a nice cliché to make a girl feel like she’s a part of something. i saw a heron in westmoreland park, and woke up all the ducks and geese.

i am feeling wildly uncentered these days. it’s bad timing.

in the past week or so, i have broken four things, including:
the lcd screen on my little camera;
a mason jar i used for carrying smoothies around;
my french press, by dropping a mug on it,
which also broke.

this week is tech week for the show i’m stage managing right now. in theory, that’s when all the disparate elements of the show–set, costumes, lighting, direction, etc–come together to create the finished (but not static, of course–viva live theatre!) work of art. in practice, it’s organized chaos. it’s my job to keep the emphasis on “organized” and off of “chaos.”

we’ll see how i do. (i mean, i’m not bad at it or anything. tech week is often my favorite part of the whole process. but i’m intimidated by the number of props and costumes in this show, or something.)

and then there’s the other thing that’s happening this week. i’ve been waiting for it more or less since i started writing this blog, and the waiting itself has taken on such strange significance that the imminent approach of the actual event is messing me up somethin’ bad. i am even resisting (!) it even though i have been counting down the months and weeks, even though i know the waiting is hurting me, even though i know that regardless of what happens next–well, at least i won’t be waiting. and hell, i’m hopeful. que sera, sera.

awhile ago i was talking to a friend of mine about feeling young and lost (i think. i only remember what she said, not the specific context of her advice or even, to be honest, which friend it was. i swear i wrote about the conversation in my journal, but can find no reference to it. wherever these things come from, there they are.) and she said that someone had once told her to imagine who she wanted to be when she was old, what kind of old woman she wanted to be–and then make the decisions that would help her to become that woman. oooh, i want to be here. i want to have been here. a brightly-painted house, an overgrown garden with fruit trees and blueberries and a vegetable plot. a community, houseguests, housecats, a porch. maybe a family. but i want to have done everything else, too…? yes…?

i am full of escapist fantasies, but as soon as i tell people about them and start to take them seriously, i change my mind, or anyway it doesn’t have the same urgency it did the day before. the peace corps, the pacific crest trail, farm internships, voluntary homelessness, whatever whatever, i don’t know, i know i don’t have to know.

i don’t think i like stage managing, really. the more i do it the more impatient and unhappy i feel doing it. great, great. i will abandon my very-low-paying inconsistent “career” for–what? copy editing for my parents’ business? okay. (i mean, i dunno, maybe it’s this week or this winter or the morning ache in my collarbone or the phases of the moon or or or…) maybe it’s as good a time as any… oh i am so fucking blessed. you wanna know how so? i got hit by a car this summer. and on friday, a woman i hadn’t previously met in person but to whom i’d spoken plenty by phone and email came to my house, and i signed a piece of paper, and she handed me a check, and my economic worries are over for a nice long while, probably. isn’t that weird? isn’t that SO FUCKING WEIRD?

now onto the existential worries!

please don’t ever get the false impression that i have any bleepin’ clue what i’m talking about.

come friday, i will have something else to say. unless i don’t. spring is coming; i know i’ve mentioned that. it rained today, but i can tell it’s spring rain because it smells like autumn rain. a little dusty. seasons they are a-changin’.

can’t tell you what my life feels like, but here’s some pieces of what it looks like, anyway–

16 Feb 2009, 11:02pm
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i spent valentine’s day with my awesome friend matt, wandering mount tabor and the rest of the city and enjoying the increasingly blue sky.

(v-day is pretty sappy. har har har)

spring is coming, spring is coming, spring is coming!

13 Feb 2009, 4:59pm
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february beauty

my sleepy kitty, last night:

my luxurious breakfast this morning at jam on hawthorne:

my mom:

ponderosa pine:

who knows? walking around washington park:

striped maple:

more unidentified plants:



witch hazel:

and my block:

11 Feb 2009, 2:50pm

without a map

that picture looks a lot like hawaii to me, but it was actually snowing (well, slushing) when i took it yesterday in my backyard. (the water was coming off of our gutters.) today there’s blue sky up there. spring in portland is like this. two steps forward, one step back. i am framing it that way because i am SO EAGER FOR SPRING.


i can’t remember who i was talking to recently who suggested that we are leaving the postmodern, so to speak, and moving into the pre-apocalyptic. or already there. hah! way more than two ways to look at it (glass half full/empty) of course, like everything else in the universe. we live in interesting times. that’s something that’s been said probably as long as we’ve had “time.” viva our evolutionarily-bestowed sense of self-importance!

a few days ago i took the bus to rehearsal ’cause, i dunno, i felt like taking the bus, and as i walked to the the bus stop i watched cars rush back and forth across intersections in front of me and i thought, well, the bus teaches you patience. everyone ought to ride the bus and learn some patience. you’ll get there when you get there. then the bus was really late and transit tracker (a number you can call to get real-time bus arrival information) stopped working and i didn’t know if my bus would ever show up and i finally ended up running across the street to catch a different bus. i was afraid i would be late for rehearsal and i started worrying, furrowing my brow, writing in my head already the excuses and apologies i would overflow with when i finally arrived, panting, to the rehearsal room. oh the bus! i should have ridden my bike! i’m sorry i’m late! the bus! oh i am so frustrated! i tried to guess which second bus i should catch from the route i was on in order to get there fastest. i was frustrated! and angry! and frazzled!

and then i got on my second bus and rode it downtown and i got to rehearsal twenty minutes early (usually i am a half hour early–it’s kinda part of a stage manager’s job description). and as i sat on the bus, i realized…

that the only reason i was feeling what i was feeling was because i felt like i was expected to! like if i walked into rehearsal late i would need to be sufficiently contrite, would need to express a certain level of anger and frustration at the darn bus. obviously it would be problematic if i habitually showed up late, ’cause i’ve signed a contract and am being paid for my time, and that would indicate a lack of respect for the director and actors. but this was (would have been) one time, and it was ’cause the bus was late. my frustration changed nothing. the frustration that i felt was genuine–but the impetus for it was completely artificial. and totally pointless–just a social game of sorts. as soon as i realized that, it disappeared. all it did was raise my blood pressure for a half hour or so, and that’s all it would have done if i were late, after all.

i am having such a hard time giving a shit about that sort of ritual these days. it seems very artificial, and i am eager to figure out what the fuck is real. i feel like a hippie cliché, but lately i have the feeling it has a lot more to do with the smell of tomatoes and the sounds of birds at dawn than with prop tracking spreadsheets and the tick-tock of clocks… oh i am doing my job, oh i am totally a functioning member of this culture and society, i am, but i’m making less assumptions.

recently in my interminable internet wanderings i stumbled across this blog entry in which the author talks about “walking away.” it made me think of ursula le guin’s short story, “the ones who walk away from omelas” (which you can read online here or here, and you really really should). i reread it and i thought: the child in the basement is our poverty and disease and war and hypocrisy and wastefulness. and by living with it, we are… living with it. but how do we walk away from omelas? where do we go? and is it irresponsible to walk away?

“At times one of the adolescent girls or boys who go home to weep or rage, does not, in fact, go home at all. Sometimes also a man or woman much older falls silent for a day or two, and then leaves home. These people go out into the street, and walk down the street alone. They keep walking and walk straight out of the city of Omelas, through the beautiful gates. They keep walking across the farmlands of Omelas. Each one goes alone, youth or girl, man or woman. Night falls; the traveler must pass down village streets, between the houses with yellow-lit windows, and on out into the darkness of the fields. Each alone, they go west or north, towards the mountains. They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.”

so there you go. that is some of what’s been on my mind.

i am thinking about not looking for a place to live after my lease expires this summer. in the time i’ve lived in this house (since august 2007), i’ve spent at least three months not actually here but still paying rent. what a waste–and i want to do more of that stuff, not less. i mean, i’ve been thinking about where i want to live after this (in portland), and–there is nothing. i mean there are places i would love to live, but not in my daydreams. do you know what i mean? my daydreams are full of the woods and wwoofing and bike touring and long-distance walking and learning to identify edible mushrooms and learning other stuff and theatre workshops and who knows what else. and god’s dancing lessons. this does not necessarily even mean “leaving portland” in any kind of moving-away sense. my parents are moving to portland and i would always have a place to stay at their house.* i also have a dozen friends who i think would be happy to offer short-term couch hospitality. if i find myself spending most of my time in the city, or if i am getting theatre jobs regularly, then i can maybe look for a place of my own. but i want to see if i can give myself that freedom and make something of it. of course it depends on a lot of things, and time will tell. i don’t want to give up on my theatre career here or anything, but i don’t think it would suffer particularly from a year or so of laissez-faire, so to speak. maybe i will find a new passion. remember when i wrote about that big windfall i’m gonna get sometime soon from getting hit by a car and all that? and how i felt this weird need to Decide what to spend it on? i guess this is option 3, Stop Worrying and Love Your Freedom.

you know. depending.

about six months ago i wrote this in my journal, after saying goodbye to a friend who was leaving town:

he said, “are you gonna be in portland?” (forever?) and i slowly nodded my head, yeah.

it’s that i love portland but it’s also that i can’t imagine learning the streets again and meeting everyone again and all that comfort zone stuff that may or may not be very/any good for me. i dunno. the area between my throat and my ears gets all tight and hurty and i feel like i’m going to burst just thinking about it. a year ago when people asked, “are you staying in portland?” i answered, “for now anyway.” maybe now that i am answering “oh, god, yes” i will find myself executing every plan b: bike across the country! wwoof in hawaii! whatever! i could do these things if i wanted! i know i could! i have nothing to prove! but yes it’s true i have lived nowhere but the pnw since i was 8 years old…! traveling is so easy ’cause you know all you have to do is turn around and fuckin’ click your heels together three times and have a place to call home.

hah! hah!

* re: family:

a.: does [your mom] think you’re too much of a hippy?
me: i think she’s getting used to it
a.: did she used to think that?
me: i dunno
a.: do you think your parents “get” you?
me: i dunno, i’m not sure that’s important in order for them to be my loving supportive family [and vice versa], if you know what i mean. i think that’s something we’re learning.

8 Feb 2009, 12:48am

i want everything and want for nothing

from an email:
…not that things haven’t been all right but for the last few days i have really wanted out of the city and, to a lesser extent, out of society/culture/civilization at large. but, basically, i love not knowing the answers to things. i wrote in my journal, “i want everything and want for nothing.” a few days before that i wrote, somewhat more dramatically, “my pandora’s box is opening but there is hope in there coming i know it.”

5 Feb 2009, 12:35am

sunny daze (hell yeah)

can i get a hell yeah for this dress? it’s the one i mentioned a few entries ago.

can i get a hell yeah for dancing barefoot in my backyard shortly before sunset?

can i get a hell yeah for my morning coffee?

can i get a hell yeah for friends about to leave for faraway adventures? can i get a hell yeah for vegan cupcakes at their houses on my way home? and a hell yeah for licking the spoon?

can i get a hell yeah for my bike?

can i get a hell yeah for my neighborhood of brightly-painted houses and unpaved streets and overgrown gardens?

can i get a hell yeah for moments when passion is there, when what one is doing seems like the right thing to be doing? can i get a hell yeah for desire as a healthy, motivating, beautiful thing? and just for the hell of it, can i get a hell yeah for art? and noise? and mess? and confusion?

can i get a hell yeah for hope? i mean unbranded hope. unmarketable hope. last-out-of-pandora’s-box hope. unkillable, unsanitized hope.

hell yeah.

3 Feb 2009, 11:51pm
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the good earth

oh the weather outside is beautiful. oh the plum blossoms down the street. you may say, “no, that’s global warming. that’s not good!” i say, let’s dance while the sky crashes down. i mean what else are you gonna do?

i am not really sure about the apocalypse. you know? god knows the earth will be just fine. the earth has a fuckin’ stomach bug. it’s been feeling pretty crappy recently, roiling and turmoiling, but it’s just gotta vomit us all up and it’ll feel much better. yeah you get rid of the good stuff, the vitamins and all that, when it happens but the body–and the earth–knows how to replenish all of that. it’s really just too bad about us, about the self-importance that evolution has imbued us with, our desperation to survive. i want to be long gone before the earth refreshes itself. i want to believe that the earth will remember me. as more than a bad meal. this is a ridiculous analogy. oh, the fuckin’ human condition.

i am getting more and more radical in my thoughts, but my actions haven’t figured out how to catch up yet. the disjoint is uncomfortable. i’m not sure what my actions should be. i ride my bike; i eat vegetarian; i swear to god i would grow so much food in my backyard if it didn’t seem like such a time + money investment in something i’m going to leave in another six months (but i’ve been in this house a year and a half–if only i’d known); i let myself be coerced into joining greenpeace, when by almost anyone’s standards i can’t afford it (but i can ride the bus less and make my own coffee etc etc can’t i?), by an incredibly persistent canvasser and his baby polar bear imitation; i feel guilty a lot even though i know guilt is unproductive and stupid…

time. okay.

i also feel exquisitely happy when the sky is blue and the plum trees are just beginning to blossom and i arrive at rehearsal after a warm lovely bike ride through the dusk and the city…

when i rode through waterfront park this evening, something in my perspective clicked and everything suddenly looked like a tilt-shift photograph–the downtown buildings to my left, the river and the bridges to my right. every tree and every building and all of us tiny miniatures. we are all so very small. but not unimportant, because we are the only people to whom “importance” means anything at all. how strange, how very strange, to know what we know. no wonder we make shit up, like god and economics. and souls.

anyway, portland weather is always weird. who the hell ever knows when spring will come?