Saturday, February 26, 2022

Back On

Now that the play is over, my wedding ring is back on! So, in a way, is my former life. This weekend, I'll be doing laundry, visiting my parents, and mapping out March, April, and May. Many writing, editing, programming, and wedding-preparation tasks await! This past week has been a lovely transition, as we housed a playwright, visiting to rehearse and see performed a staged reading of her play. The grant-funded playwright-supportive program is called The Play's the Thing, and this play, by Lisa Dillman, is titled No Such Thing, a lovely coincidence, making it a Random Coinciday in the blog! 

A further coincidence was a reference in No Such Thing to two pretty rare first names--Bathsheba and Penelope--that were also character names in Life Sucks, the play I just finished (as Babs/Bathsheba) and the woman who played Penelope was in the audience. We laughed and hugged about that! Masked.*

In the "back on" of my poetry life, I have 1) submitted some poems 2) researched and prepared some other submissions, and 3) looked again at a chapbook manuscript I will probably submit in March. Everything feels slow...but at exactly the right pace. Meanwhile, the poetry notebook continues to fill up with drafts, including a recent one based on a nightmare (morning mare) that I call "Scary America" in my mind (and in the notebook) but which I realize was premonitory, as in one day in advance of Putin's actual attack on Ukraine, which had been looming darkly in my brain as well as the news. The dream was like a juxtposition of the June 6 insurrection in the USA if it had continued into an overthrow of our government + the Russia/Ukraine situation. I feel further and weirdly connected, as my Life Sucks character Babs was of Ukrainian ancestry. Random Coinciday continues.

*But here in Illinois, the state mandate expires as of February 28, and many places will become "mask optional," with businesses and organizations still able to continue stricter guidelines if they want. One thing I can resume, post-theatre obligations, is seeing my husband's volleyball girls play...but it will be February 28, among the unmasked...and the schools have already been mask optional for a week or so.

My transition to my former life being "back on" is very leisurely, as I notice my jammies are still on...and that's OK with me.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Wedding Ring

My wedding ring is really a vintage anniversary ring we found in a resale shop decades ago, back when we were getting married. For three weeks here in Febrary, including, alas, Valentine's Day, I am not wearing it. Nothing is wrong with my marriage! I just play an unmarried woman in Life Sucks and don't want to lose it in the dressing room, so it's safe in my (costume*) jewelry box at home for now. Here, you see it posed on a beautiful mosaic plant table (created by my friend Kim of Got Bliss?!) under the newly-blooming again Christmas cactus, now apparently a Valentine cactus!

*I say costume jewelry to ward off thieves. I am not a fancy lady and do not have real jewels. Those are in the movies. The jewel thief movies!

The play continues to be fun, with warm, receptive, lively, laughing audiences. I love this play, and the people in it and who worked on it in all kinds of ways, and it's clear that the audiences are delighted and moved by it. I'm glad we got the all the obstacles--Covid, masks, snow--to get it out there in the world.

For Valentine's Day, I will be getting the required weekly Covid test and going to the dentist. My husband will be coaching sixth-grade volleyball. I hope you all have fun plans, too!

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Scary but Fun!

Well, that was scary! But also lots of fun. We opened the play, Life Sucks, by Aaron Posner, on Friday night, coming together in the theatre for the first time in front of an audience after two snow days off. It was a sweet, supportive audience--a combination of the Friday night reservations and the cancelled pay-what-you-can preview performance audience from Thursday. I was probably well prepared to do this by having been in the Free Shakespeare Company in Chicago in the 1980s, where we memorized our lines on our own and came together as actors for the first time in front of the audience to do the whole play together. 

Last night, Saturday night, was our Sponsor Night, with the entire audience invited to a reception afterwards in a wonderful banquet room decorated for Valentine's Day. Life Sucks (like Uncle Vanya) is about "love and longing," and this February time slot, though accidental, is perfect. The audience was masked (!), vaccinated (or recently tested) responsive, ready to laugh, and had a really good time. So did we! We have two more weekends of the show, and I am hoping for a February thaw, which often happens, to make it easier for everyone to get to the theatre!

My parents, who live out in the country, have been snowed in for days. They finally got plowed out yesterday, but overnight their long drive drifted a bit again, thanks to the wind across the fields, and they will need another scooping. Fortunately, they live in a cozy farmhouse with a generator and lots of food in the cupboards! They didn't have to go to the grocery store...and face those empty (anyway) shelves!

Somehow, my poetry life and my editing life have continued underneath the heaped snow and play nerves. Drafts appear in my poetry notebook, as if I put them there. (I did.) Rejections come by email, or I figure out that I wasn't notified by seeing contest winners posted on a website, etc. Over at Escape Into Life, I edited and posted the new Music for Music column by Dan Ursini, a Chicago writer and musian (and playwright!), about the artist Heirloome--a wonderful discovery. I love their "between-worlds" music, ethereal sound and visuals...!

I realized during yoga, as no doubt I have realized before, that my double mind can accommodate many things. Rodney Yee tells me what to do, and I do it, with full commitment if not full focus, as sometimes the play is also going on in my head in the background. Though this is not exactly what is desired during yoga, what is desired--a full acceptance of the body-mind in the present moment--means that yoga and I can both handle it. I am aware of, attentive to, and accept the fact that my body-mind is 1) preoccupied 2) can do two things at once, and 3) I am OK with that. Actors need to be able to do that, anyway, in case a doorknob falls off (the past) or a hearing aid in the audience sends out a whistling-tea-kettle noise (last night). We still carry on with the scene!

Thursday, February 3, 2022

No Groundhogs

It's February 3, and I just went through the house, changing the calendars from January to February. We are snowed in. Last night's rehearsal was cancelled, and perhaps tonight's will be, too, which is really a preview performance, but, egad!--we have barely had a dress rehearsal. Anxiety balanced by yoga. I did not see any groundhogs in real life or on the news (because I wasn't watching the news), but I did see what I thought was a large owl, hunkered down in the snow, scanning the yard for small prey. It transformed, via head movement, into a rabbit, a huge rabbit, just sitting out there in the snow, flicking its now visible ears. Oddly, there is a reference to groundhogs in Life Sucks, the play. Hence, another Random Coinciday in the blog.

My husband is repairing a sort-of-inherited broken snowblower in our family room. Occasionally, I go out and press the red bar while he watches the motor. A horrible sound has been transformed to a snowblower-motor sound by the adjustment of a shredded belt. More transformation! (See above owl-to-rabbit story.) Perhaps soon the driveway can transform from drifted to driveable with less back strain!

I have been resting, eating, reading, going over lines, doing yoga, and trying to transform myself from anxiety-ridden to relaxed. Watching comic movies sort of helps, in reassuring me that comedy is organic, coming from the usual human place. Plus timing.

Reading always helps. I read The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry, which is comedy (tragicomedy), arising from the usual human places. And now I am reading At Paradise Gate, by Jane Smiley, which might be too close for comfort. A man is sick in his bed upstairs, and his daughters want to move him downstairs. My dad is in the midst of planning a creative transformation of his own house, to move his bedroom downstairs. We none of us oppose this, and we understand the impulse while dreading the disruption to my parents' usual routines...

Meanwhile, it's still winter, it's newly February, some of my anxiety is from scheduling weekly Covid tests due to the play, and I am sort of happy to be snowed in.