I saw his ghost bike yesterday.
This is not it. This is another ghost bike for someone else who died.
I guess I feel what it means to be a writer the most strongly when I become horribly aware of how words fail me sometimes. Or rather, how I fail the words. I fail to pick the right ones and line them up just right. To explain what it was like to see that white skeleton of a bike under that filthy overpass, cold and chained up and abandoned, with his name and way, way, WAY too short of a lifespan printed on it. And to think, oh my gosh.
I continued running my errands and saw a woman blithely biking around without a helmet. This nice middle-aged woman with her cruiser bike going to Jo-Ann Fabric. I had to look away. I just wanted to scream at her.
It breaks my heart how abandoned they are. Forever waiting for someone to come back, unlock them, and ride them safely home.
There you have it. If you are a woman, dedicating your life to service of the church is equivalent to throat-punching the Pope. Got it. So you could do either one with the same result.
Vatican says will excommunicate women priests... some offences, including heresy, schism, and laying violent hands on the Pope, are considered so disruptive of ecclesiastical life that they trigger automatic excommunication, or "latae sententiae".
The decree says that women priests and the bishops who ordain them would be excommunicated "latae sententiae".
LET ME TELL YOU WHICH ONE SOUNDS LIKE MORE FUN TO ME.
Hang on. Why? I mean, last I heard, you were running a little low on young priests. Because a life of poverty, abstinence, and people just sort of assuming you molest children isn't as popular as it used to be.
The Church says it cannot change the rules banning women from the priesthood because Christ chose only men as his apostles.Oh, right. Right. Of course. That reasoning stands up ... just... from EVERY direction.
Here's a link to the full article, if your day needs some forehead-slapping.
He told me, "you're going to flounder around for a while, but it gets a lot easier when you finally figure out what it is that you do."
I understood that about 10% at the time. I'd say I'm now at about... 95% getting that.
A friend/colleague was kind enough to have a potentially very awkward meeting with me today. I bought her coffee, told her I admired her and respected her and her theater a great deal, and asked if she had any advice as to how I could become a better performer.
Then I took out my very dirty, very sharp pocket knife and began slicing slivers off my fingernails while I stared at her and said GO AHEAD. I'M LISTENING.
She gave me some good feedback. Good because it was hard to hear, but sounded fair and true. I'm trying to see myself -my skills- as a set of strengths and not a list of defects. it's not that I'm necessarily bad at X, it's just that my strengths lie in Y. You know, that stuff.
Also, I suck at X.
No! Stop that.
The problem is, I still want to be good at everything.
And my problem with focusing on what you're good at is that it's dangerously close to limiting yourself.
Me: I know, Dad. I just wanted to tell you that you're doing a GREAT job. I've been watching your clips on msnbc.com. WOW! You are so intelligent and concise! And utterly unassuming!
Tim Russert: Oh, I'm just using the same buzz words and points. It's nothing really. I'm essentially repeating myself.
Me: ... because EVERYONE wants to talk to you! And you keep saying everything SO clearly. Soundbites. Man, you give great soundbites.
Tim Russert: Tell you what, Pumpkin. Next weekend we'll go fishing and I'll teach you how to give a good soundbite, just like your old dad.
Me: Gee, that sounds swell.
Tim Russert: And for your wedding, I'm going to FINALLY tell that story about Madeline Albright at the Turkish Embassy.
Me: I LOVE it when you get drunk and tell stories about politicians and press corp! Promise you'll tell that one about Soledad O'Brien's drunk text messages! Pleeeease!
Tim Russert: Heh, heh. Alright. We'll see. Gotta go, Pumpkin.
Me: Bye, Dad! Go get 'em!
Not surprisingly, I have looooohooooooohoooved watching badass dancing as long as I can remember.
So this just makes me darn near pee myself. Fred Astaire and Cyd Cherisse highlights recut to Smooth Criminal (the video for which -also great- was actually an homage to a Fred Astaire movie. Who knew?).
Around 4:15 it hits this level that I think everyone -certainly every performer- can recognize as that moment. Where all the work pays off, and then it falls away.
And I gotta say, Smooth Criminal is just a JAM.
Dancing remains one of those things that I love enough to understand just how bad I am at it. I mean, I'm not hopeless. But I'm gangly and I'm big and ... well, I'm no Cyd Cherisse.
I am inspired to Pilates like never before, though. Damn. DAMN!
Freelance what, you ask?
Well, that depends. What can you pay me money to do?
This email showed up in my inbox today.
> We are currently looking to hire 10 Male Mascot Staffers that will be in costumed in Mexican Soccer player inflatable costumes. Talent must be able to understand Spanish for instructions but they will have non speaking roles. Talent must be between the heights of 5'5" to 5'11" only and have experience in playing soccer.In the words of Beatrice, Oh, that I were a man.
“Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; for your people shall be my people, and your god my god..."WHAT!? What happened to conviction and remaining faithful to your religion even when facing death? Ever since Sunday school, this one has made me shake my head.
I mean, what about Meshach, Shadrach, and Abendigo in the furnace? Daniel in the lion's den? Playing "Romans and Christians" at church camp? WHAT THE HELL, Ruth? Grow a pair, already.
But no. Ruth pusses out and gets a whole freaking book in the Bible for it. Explain THAT to me. Right place right time, is all THAT girl had going for her. AND she made it into the Old Testament, so she gets, like, double religion whammy: Jewish AND Christian. Barely missed the Pentateuch.
Even Biblical success is so subjective. Cripes.
(...Why, Lacy? The scripture lesson...?)
My grandmother's preacher wants this to be the Old Testament reading at my wedding.
I'm lobbying for Song of Solomon.
I know it's silly, but I think I was in awe of everyone there. Smart, smart, SMART, creative, kind people. Who may or may not see themselves as successful.
But I would say that nearly every person there, I admire and feel honored to be in their general circle. Even if I just felt like a junior member with nothing clever or funny to say, just picking at a chocolate chip bar cookie and grinning like a big dope.
i could continue to edit and tweak this entry, which I want to be more poetic and poignant than it currently is, but enough is enough sometimes.
(pause. search for way out of this)
At least we don't have feudal lords, okay?
And we can't be impressed into service.
And there are toilets and antibiotics and Joss Whedon.
Life is good now. My life is easy. I am lucky, lucky, lucky to have it.
I saw a beautiful play yesterday, a gorgeous movie this morning, I'm riding my bike to a barbeque then doing a show with some wonderful friends tonight.
The very least I can do is be grateful.
And eat the shit out of a cheddar bratwurst at that barbeque.
It's a shot of what I see almost every night when I come to bed. It's just as well I can't post it - the photo itself isn't really that exciting. You would see a sleepy guy with crazy hair and glasses and an orange cat curled up next to him in a bed, looking at the camera. Wondering why I'm taking their picture at such a non-moment.
I took it after I realized what an amazing image it is. What it represents.
Which is the most peaceful home I've ever had in my life.
It was a cool play: a choose-your-own-adventure staging in a former sanitarium of a sprawling fairytale epic involving child slavery, kidnapped princesses, and a heavy dose of Catholicism. Throughout the performance, the entire audience wore masks of the main characters based on the author's illustrations.
I'm not sure I loved the play, but I am very glad I saw it.
In a way, that is its own flavor of success, although I can't really figure out where it fits in.
As I was writing this post, I remembered that my first-ever boyfriend said the same thing about our relationship, and his moving to Chicago to be with me so we could give it a try. Although it didn't work out, he told me that he would always be glad that he took the chance.
Also its own very nice flavor of success.
That's right. I'm too busy working on high-powered ad campaigns that drive the face of pop culture. Now, I don't like to drop names, but I'm not above a little hint.
Let's just say...
Just so you know the caliber of talent you're dealing with here.
Wait wait wait wait. Hold on.
Let's recap my acting career at present.
I would type something poignant and hilarious here, but my hands are currently occupied with covering my face as I wonder, more or less, what the hell.
I think I've probably blogged enough for today.
From a company I've worked with for seven years now (but is also infamous for REDACTED UPON FURTHER THOUGHT) :
Thank you for attending --------’s callback audition last week. Thank you for your energetic response to the exercises and for all of your proposals. It was a pleasure having a chance to work with you, as usual. It was a hard choice to make amongst such a talented group, but we have determined who will be called back for a second set of callbacks. Although you have not been selected for this particular production, we hope that there will be an opportunity to call you in for future auditions and to work with you on upcoming projects.
Seriously, I could do without these rejection emails.
My friend who did a show there with me said: You know, we were part of that season, and the award is for the season.
I put that in the Fat Lot Of Good That Does Me If It's Even True, Which I'm Not Entirely Convinced Of Anyway mental file, and then this popped up in an email from a friend who keeps up with that kind of theater news:
CONGRATULATIONS on your Tony by the way!!!Hm. Well, shit.
I guess that is technically correct, in an indirect but arguable way.
Shoot. If this isn't an example of dubious success, I don't know what is.
[In a very roundabout way] I have won my first Tony Award [along with the other three to four hundred people it probably took to produce that season].
Maybe one day I'll even get nominated for a Jeff, the crappy local Chicago
Well, probably not now.
Choose two from: cheese, Vienna sausages, sweet plantains, farmers sausageand the Spanish menu goes like this:
Elige dos de: queso, morcilla, maduros, salchichasWOULDN'T YOU THINK THAT SALCHICHAS = FARMERS SAUSAGE?
I am sorry to tell you that this is not so.
I am also sorry to tell you that if you are practicing your Spanish as much as possible and ask for dos huevos con maduros y salchichas, you are gonna get fried Vienna Sausages for breakfast.
Cat: You seem blue.
Me: Brandon and I had a ... thing this morning.
Cat: Those are called fights.
Me: It wasn't a fight.
Cat: So you spent your morning shopping for shoes, ignoring his phone calls and calling Sarah in tears because...
Me: I'm unemployed and getting married in 2.5 weeks. And I'm sort of freaking out.
Cat: Let's take a nap together and I'll purr in your face.
Me: You are awesome, cat.
I almost kicked a kid out of our program on Thursday. It was awful. As far as I know, we've never kicked a kid out.
The point of the program is that it's a supportive place for kids who probably don't have many supportive places. A positive place, a place where every idea is a good idea and you can express yourself any way. Kicking someone out is practically an anathema to the entire mission statement.
I don't know if I got through at all on Thursday. I was as loving and patient and positive as I could be. She finally said she wanted to be part of the class and she got through the final rehearsal. She'll get to do the big show that she helped to write and develop next week.
But she's not welcome back next year. Also a first, albeit a less harsh one.
I wish I could shake the fear that we're one more place that is shutting the door on her.
My biggest challenge is remembering that not every backyard bbq is cause to eat cheddar bratwurst.
Especially after a few beers, when I think (with astounding clarity), why the hell WOULDN'T I take every possibility opportunity to eat cheddar bratwurst? Am I fucking CRAZY? And then I eat four.
I do not really eat four.
Besides beer and cheddybrats, yet ANOTHER wonderful thing about barbecues is the inherent ability to play word games with each barbecue-related event name.
HeidiQ, Mastro-BQ, Mime-BQ.
Sadly, the time for Mime-BQ at Tai's place got moved and I can't make it.
Me: Nutso. No BBQ for Me-BQ.
Me TV is one of the best things about living in Chicago. I don't watch TV enough to know what network shows are worth watching, so an entire channel of Cheers, Taxi, The Untouchables, The Honeymooners and Sanford & Son is dreeeeeeamy.
I've been discovering the Dick Van Dyke show. How can two people be so white and uptight and still so adorable and funny? Damn.
I can't be bothered to fool with the fancy html, so here are the lo-fi results. Imagine a map of Middle America:
What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)
You're not Northern, Southern, or Western, you`re just plain -American-. Your national identity is more important than your local identity, because you don`t really have a local identity. You might be from the region in that map, which is defined by this kind of accent, but you could easily not be. Or maybe you just moved around a lot growing up.
I lived in Texas until I was 17. My family still says Eye-talian, get meeeried, and Huw-EYE-uh (that's Hawaii).
Although I never concentrated on erasing my accent... that's what happened. It only makes sense, what with my career choice and all, but I feel like I've lost part of my identity. About a year ago I noticed that I hardly ever say "y'all " anymore.
I fall back into my accent when I'm back in Texas, but it isn't quite the same. The kinfolk at home tell me I sound like a Yankee now.
Me: inspiring is tough. Inspiring is almost always the exception rather than the rule.
Arnie: Steve and Jordan's show made me feel inspired. What's the last thing you saw that made you feel inspired?
Me: I saw a production of Our Town last week that blew my mind pretty wide open. I'm debating if I would classify it as "inspiring."
Arnie: I don't even mean inspiring in the clouds-opening kind of way. Just like, "this makes me want to go out and do more" or "do better"
Me: oh. right. Sure. Then, yes.
AND I would also say, I sat in on a barrel of monkeys school show rehearsal where they had turned one kid's story into a Bollywood number. THAT was inspiring.
There should be an opposite word for inspiring, that describes how you feel when you see something so bad you want to dissociate yourself from the art form entirely.
Arnie: "most shows"
For one thing, our props. Perhaps you recall the tiger I modified so that it I could puppet it as I ripped his head open and ate his brains (so, as the puppeteer, I was eating his brains while still voicing his screams. Forgive me, I can't contain my pride).
Regrettably, I failed to photograph the breakaway plush sheep I altered so that Molly could rip its head off with her teeth.
But have you seen our Chucky doll?
Please note the level of detail.
Why do I love Monkeys? Because we have the most ghetto-ass props and we totally love them and think they are SERIOUSLY THE BEST FREAKING THING. (I mean come ON. Raggedy Andy always wanted to be that bad-ass.)
People. COME SEE THE SHOW.
THAT'S WEIRD, GRANDMA. Monday night at 8:00 at the Neo-Futurist Theater. You will like it. If you like this blog, you will for SURE like the show.
Come see it in the next 3 weeks, cause after that, I'm getting married and leaving the country.
Also, if you cannot get enough of my
Reader Appreciation Section
Also also. As long as I'm a little buzzed on coffee. Thank you for reading my blog. When Arnie talked me into starting this thing, I didn't know if anyone ever would [actually read it], and then I would feel like a REAL ass... But shockingly, people DO. You do, and that makes me really happy and it's definitely among the Recent Life Developments That Make Me Glad. So thanks.
And seriously, come see the show.
in case you were wondering.
So I could have done without this email today:
Dear LacyHey, remember that big audition for that big part you didn't get? We just wanted to remind you: you didn't get that part. Still. Cheers!
Thank you for auditioning for the roll of M---- in our production of P----. I am writing to let you know, however, that the roll has been filled. I look forward to seeing you on stage in the future and I hope to have the opportunity to work with you soon.
...Seriously, you could have at least used the correct spelling for 'role.'
-by-someone-who-speaks-only-Gullah work. AND the client (especially the guy who got stuck writing the thing) will blame you every time for not sounding "more relaxed and natural."
But playing characters in industrials is great. Because there is NO SUBTLETY WHATSOEVER. I love it. My friend today was going in for one. "Okay," she said, as we got off the phone. "I have to go audition to be an Inappropriately Drunk Coworker At An Office Party."
Less salacious but still delightful: my character breakdown for tomorrow's audition.
Desdemona? Hard. Maggie the Cat? Hard.
LESLIE, "Everybody's Buddy?" Not so hard!
Listen to the one that I'll listen to all night tonight. It's posted on the right, at the top.
Warning, it is of the Slow & Lovely variety. I know - I like to rock too, but once in a while you should waltz.
If you have adverse reactions to anything resembling bluegrass or americana, you should probably stay away.
On a related note, perhaps you notice I have not been blogging about any a) auditions or b) jobs lately.
...Money is tight, friends.
Yesterday I found this on my auto:FIFTY BUCKS. Goshdammit.
Then, cleaning up later, I found a discarded fortune from Brandon's Chinese food.Geez, SHUT UP, fortune cookies from Ms. Eggroll #2.
You are a serious DOUCHE.
Let's not forget the last one from there:If these fortune cookies were a character in a horror movie, they would be the one who gets killed off early and everyone cheers when it happens because they were such a freaking pain in the ass.
- David Letterman endorsed "Stop Making Sense" on his show.
- My dad went out and rented this movie.
- He called me into the room as he was watching it. "Look at that," he said. He was amazed.
I'm not sure why I felt that was important. I was really trying to get to this part:
I am a huge David Byrne fan.
Here's the next big part:
OH MY GOSH. I don't CARE if this falls flat on its face. You rule, David Byrne. You rule for doing that. I freaking love that idea, would think of it, and then would shoot it down in my own mind within seconds. I do not currently have the balls to call some people and say, 'hey. let's play an entire building like an enormous beautiful instrument, because ultimately this world is suffused with beauty and we need to be reminded of that.'
Do I have friends who could do it? Yes. Do I have friends who would think it was awesome? HECK yes. Could I even possibly find a building? I PROBABLY COULD SOMEHOW. But ... [enter seven reasons here why it would probably never work. Listen to those reasons. Repeat. Go to the kitchen and make a snack instead.]
I used to push myself more. I used to
Then I quit. I quit pushing myself into things that scared me. Maybe being a professional actor was scary enough. Maybe having an honest and open relationship with another human being was scary enough.
At any rate. It's time to get back into that habit.
Body: ... Am I ... dead?
Me: No, although you started blacking out at one point. Luckily the ensuing wave of nausea was enough to revive you.
Body: Did ...I ...kill it? The thing that ...?
Me: You must have. You know... I would say that was food poisoning, but food poisoning is a walk in the park compared to the past 36 hours. And Brandon and I haven't eaten together in days, and he came down with it first. So it must have been the world's worst stomach bug or something.
Body: Glllrrrrg. Too much talking.
Me: Sorry, champ. You've been through a lot.
Body: Sleep. Sleep and gatorade. PAIN!
Me: Okay. Okay. (pause. sigh) I wish Tim Russert were here to wipe our forehead with a wet washcloth. And read us political commentary until we fell asleep.
Body: sleep. PAIN!!!!! ... sleep.
It was sunny and warm. People were walking their dogs, and loitering [and littering] with abandon, shouting to babymamas in shortie nightgowns through open windows. It was the kind of day where everyone was just happy to be alive.
I think this is going to be the summer of self-confidence and discovery. You can almost read the writing on the walls around here.
Or the vandalized windows, whichever.
YES. YOU ARE.
My friend Ricky and I were unlocking our bikes after the show last night. He lives in Pilsen. The theater is in Andersonville. It's probably about a 15-mile ride for him each way.
Me: That's kind of a haul for you, right?
Ricky: Yeah, but it's fun. Especially late, on the way home. You know what I mean?
Me: I do. It's like the closest thing to being invisible.
So I whirred through the dark streets silently on my bike, feeling like I owned Chicago and all its beautiful peaceful friendly neighborhoods. The only thing lit up was the all-night car wash at the northernmost tip of Damen. One man was washing his car at one in the morning.
In the 5 miles I rode, I thought that I must have passed thousands of people sleeping peacefully, stacked neatly in their apartments, drifting off.
I figured out that I liked Walt Whitman in 9th grade, and though I've definitely gone through phases of being too cool for him, I've still hung onto the same gray book of his poems. One of my first favorites was this one. Here's a tiny taste, just enough for a blog.
I wander all night in my vision,
Stepping with light feet .... swiftly and noiselessly stepping and stopping.
Bending with open eyes over the shut eyes of sleepers;
Wandering and confused .... lost to myself .... ill-assorted .... contradictory,
Pausing and gazing and bending and stopping.
Lately I've been pretty happy, which by the new definition, means pretty successful.
The neighbor down the road was a known drunk, and my grandfather and his dad were out working early one morning and saw his black car come teetering down the road. Not uncommon. Those being the early days of automobiles (let's say early 1930s), drunk driving was more sort of frowned upon.
So they sort of chuckled and watched him drive past on his way home to catch hell from the old lady, and went back to their work, and in a few seconds they heard a terrible CRASH and HISS and, worst of all, bloodcurdling screams from the neighbor.
They dropped their hoes and started sprinting down the road towards the wreck. They got closer and closer and heard the panic in his voice as his screams began to form words: 'I'M BLIND! I'M BLIIIIIIINNNNDD!'
They finally rounded the bend and found the car, which was rammed headfirst into a tree with the hood popped up, and their neighbor, sitting in the driver's seat, completely unharmed but drunk as a skunk, staring straight at that black hood in front of his face and screaming about his blindness.
He grew up farming, and I swear, he could make anything grow.
I spent this afternoon planting daisies, impatiens, vines and onions. Every time I plant anything, I feel closer to him.
Boy, do I miss him.
It still hurts. It still aches. I still miss him so much.
It's a common grief. I know everyone misses someone. The way you can miss someone just being alive and on the planet, in the general mix of people, making that general mix better.
My GOODNESS, time flies. It seems like just this morning I was trying NOT TO CRY over a MySpace message someone had posted to Brandon in response to news of our engagement, which was the clip from Citizen Kane of Orson Welles defiantly applauding his wife's miserable opera performance, I mean SERIOUSLY WHAT DOES THAT MEAN BRANDON'S FRIEND THINKS OF ME AND WHAT IS HE TRYING TO SAY? AND WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS ANYWAY? AND WHY DOES HE ONLY COMMUNICATE VIA MYSPACE, I MEAN THAT IS WEIRDDDDD? but failing miserably, crying and frantically asking Brandon if he regretted asking me to marry him.
Ah, yes. (bemused chuckle)
Yes. That WAS, in fact, this morning. WHAT THE HELL?
It was indeed a lovely morning, as later I went over to Sarah's. Sarah is selflessly and lovingly altering my wedding dress.
Brandon: ... I really don't think he put that much thought into it. I think it's a video loop of a guy clapping. He's just saying congratulations.
Me: Honey, I don't like it. Can you please just close the window?
Brandon: But look at him! It's a great scene! He's supporting his wife!
Me: ... WHO SUCKS!
Me: Why does Tony hate me?
Fate is graciously repaying her in ways I cannot by tagging her car with gang signs overnight.
Dear life, What the hell. Love, Lacy.
Also, because why not, I saw this and ARE YOU KIDDING ME? SERIOUSLY? No.
AIDS, breast cancer, pro football. Of course.
And y'all make fun of Texas for our football worship.
hashing a few things out, or, forgive me if I sound like an incredibly annoying freshman. The whimsy takes a quick break.
In order to be a good person, I need to essentially be a happy person. ...yes? If I hate my life and my job, I will probably be a jerk. No success OR happiness.
Obviously, success and happiness are tied closely together. Notice how frequently the words for those two very different things are used interchangeably.
Okay, here comes the big point, in case you're just skimming.
Success doesn't always bring happiness, but happiness almost always brings some form of success (even if it's not the form you were originally working towards).
So this tells me, F the success quest. Put the happiness first because the other is like chasing smoke with a colander.
I would also like to add in that old metaphor of success without happiness and a mouthful of ashes. That is a terrible feeling, to have gotten what you wanted at the expense of your own (or someone else's) happiness. Yuck. But the reverse, happiness without success, being able to say, 'wow, we totally sucked but I don't care because ____ happened and I'm so happy' - that's super.
Now. Why did it take me 29 years to figure this out, and how quickly am I going to forget it and have to figure it out all over again?