Today, on the inside of my head is a Party City during a blowout Sale: I worry about basically everything all of the time, but there is usually one thing at the forefront of my worry that is taking up the most space. It’s usually something fairly irrational based off of imagined scenarios. Usually, at some point, this thing turns out to be completely unfounded, and I no longer have to worry about it, and so I move onto the next thing in line. I do not even pause to celebrate the fact that the thing I’ve been worrying about is actually totally okay. Why spend so much time worrying about something if I’m not even going to take a moment of PHEW! THAT THING IS FINE! I hereby vow NOT to stop worrying, because that would actually require me having part of my brain removed, but instead — when a worry gets resolved, I will have a little worry party in my head, in which I close my eyes and enjoy the tiniest moment of peace. THEN OF COURSE MOVE ON TO TSUNAMI’s.
Dreamt I was writing in a beautiful green meadow, with a pencil in a clean white college ruled notebook. I was JOURNALING, even, writing towards figuring out exactly what it is that’s blocking me from becoming the best person and writer I possibly can be. After a page of writing, I arrived at it. The very thing that I needed to confront. The one thing that needed fixing. I stared at it there on the page, circled and underlined it, felt sort of free, and ready to fix. So what is it? What is the thing? NOPE. NO CAN DO. DON’T REMEMBER EVEN AT ALL.
There’s a thing going around instagram, Best 9, in which people post a grid of their best nine pictures from 2016, summing up a year in their lives. Whenever everyone is doing something it kind of makes me not want to do it, as I am no sheep, by which I mean BAAAAAAAA I’LL JUST DO IT HERE INSTEAD but with 24 pictures because I LIVE MY OWN LIFE (IN GRIDS.) And so with no further ado, it has been a magnificent year! I:
Ate that chicken pot pie in a blizzard, wrote for American Gods, had a beautiful production of my Heaven play at South Coast Rep, found the perfect overalls and wore them approximately 170 times, washed them about 3 times, took a surfing lesson with Elizabeth, had a Dewey’s pink lemonade cake to call my own at my Easter pot luck thanks to my Mom, ran a 5K with a little girl Monet who ate gummy savers the whole way thanks to Blaine, celebrated 2 years with Mo at Red Lobster, patroned Ru Paul’s drag con, got after that no speaking above a whisper resort life in Joshua Tree, spent some time writing at Space on Ryder farm in upstate New York, went to Carrie’s Beyonce themed beybe shower (then later welcomed and met her dear little Sebastian who I am now calling Bash / 2017 let’s see if we can get that going), and then also:
Had the most perfect of bridal showers complete with hats and tiny sandwiches, spun for 3 hours in YAS-a-thon for cancer research, made Ina Garten’s flag cake, welcomed little nephew Mojo, worked on The Cake at the Alliance, Echo and Ojai, did Vegas so hard bachelorette style, tried on a bunch of white dresses / picked one had a bunch dress fittings / obsessed over its details and its accessories namely did I ever mentioned that Ferris Bueller cropped leather coat? / GOT MARRIED / cast my vote for a woman president for the first time, attended Blaine and Jason’s non baby shower baby shower, read Vivian Howard’s incredible cookbook, and started writing for This is Us. And so, a great many things.
Last week I started to have dreams that I was left out of something creative, being mocked for output or performance. Personal favorite: I dreamt I had to play a drunk dog onstage and the reviews were terrible (this dream brought to you by the first night in Hong Kong, surrounded by every stimulus possible.) I think the dreams stem from a feeling that I haven’t accomplished enough creatively this year, like I haven’t dug enough into my own heart / brain. I’ve been working, yes, but I feel, in general, sort of uninspired, like the questioning part of my brain has been numbed. It’s most likely because the majority of all extra time and emotional brainspace I had went to wedding planning. And so, I will forgive myself, hope that 2017 brings characters / moments / stories / questions, big new ideas, but ALSO, more cakes / adult onesies / trips / love, FOR BALANCE.
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This morning on set, the Santa Ana winds were a blowin’ and we were outside filming a car ride scene containing humans and feelings, no spoilers. The dry wind whipped into my eye holes, and suddenly I sneezed 27 times and then my eyes wept for the next four hours, but not from feels. I was unflapped, because for months, my eyes have been leaking but not from feels. I have been doing nothing about it, except just making every person I interact with think I’m ‘going through something’ as tears pour down my face as I relay that the printer won’t work. I always feel oddly ashamed though, when asked, Are you crying? when I say no it’s just my eyes , I wish I had a profound story other than Air. I am not trapped in a poem. It’s just the air.
Nail person: what’re you thinking?
Me: Brown! I have a brown in my head.
Nail person: Sounds like a personal problem. Tell me about this brown in your head.
Me: a bright, happy pilgrim brown, crayola marker drawing of house brown, cartoon chocolate or wood or poop. Luminous, optimistic neon brown.
Nail person: That’s not a thing.
Me: what’s not?
Nail person: Happy pilgrim. But here are 11 other kinds of brown. Anger brown, dirt brown, sad brown, coffee brown –
Me: I’ll take the disco caramel.
Nail person: it’s called burnt leaf.
Me: That’s what I said.
When you are a lady playwright raised to please and to apologize, and you get a series of bad reviews written by OTHER lady writers who write directly and bravely and without apology because they were perhaps raised THAT way, THE PROPER RESPONSE IS TO EMAIL THE REVIEWERS AND DEEPLY APOLOGIZE AT LENGTH FOR RUINING THEIR EVENINGS AND WASTING THEIR TIME AND GO INTO GREAT DETAIL ABOUT YOUR SHAME AND EMBARRASSMENT AND THEN MAYBE ALSO FIND A WAY TO SEND THEM BAKED GOODS? THIS IS RIGHT, RIGHT?
To those who are joyous today, I understand that you are frustrated, disenfranchised, desperate for work, for a change that feels real, trying to feed your families, clinging to what you’ve been taught is right, if not a little ignorant as to how to actually change your circumstances. I am, too. I understand the way the government works just about as much as a I get how cars run or electricity happens. I do not have a brain for understanding complex systems. I have a creative, empathic brain that loves humans, good ones and bad ones too, that is constantly questioning why they do what they do. I have built a whole life, and livelihood, around these questions. This sort of brain that God gave me is exactly why I hope that you 1.) get the life that you want for you and your family, and the means with which to give them that life and 2.) that you do so WITHOUT condoning sexual assault of women, without apathy and anger towards those who don’t love exactly like you do, who aren’t from exactly where you’re from. Obama said it this morning. We’re Americans before we’re Republicans or Democrats. But even before that, we are people.
The Ojai Playwrights Conference, or WINE for short, kicked off its week of readings with a cabaret called ACROSS THE DIVIDE, in which the writers performed excerpts from their work that specifically addressed, well, a divide being reached across. Let me just revisit part of that sentence, writers performed excerpts from their work, which is an ACTUAL RECURRING NIGHTMARE OF MINE: that I get to the theater to watch a run of my play but then turns out, all of the actors in the world have disappeared, and so it’s ALL ON ME. They graciously let me go first, and while I was shaking internally and externally, and while my voice felt like a stepped on squeak toy, one that has been forgotten for years under the deck, I DID IT, with cool hand gestures and everything.
PERFORMANCE OF OWN WORK ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED / Snaps snaps poetry snaps
Classic white girl playwright spots beautiful playwright with even more beautiful accent, who travelled all the way from Zimbabwe to attend the playwright’s conference. Classic playwright girl corners her like prey.
White girl: HI IT’S SO NICE TO MEET YOU!
Beautiful Zimbabwe Playwright: Hello!
White girl: Are you – so — Hi. You’re from Zimbabwe?
Beautiful Zimbabwe Playwright: Yes I am!
White girl: Cool, I grew up in a mall parking lot! I just want to say that I think that everything you have ever written and will ever write is infinitely more important than anything I have ever written, or will ever write.
Beautiful Zimbabwe Playwright: Okay! It was lovely talking to you. I’m going to go get my wine.
White girl: OKAY COOL WELL IF YOU WANTED TO BE BEST FRIENDS FOREVER JUST LET ME KNOW!
I know that we are meant to focus NOT on What Hillary Wore, but instead on her convictions (“Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can”) and her supporters (this father), but: she wore white.
Women wear white for weddings, aggressively after memorial day, to clam bakes if those are actually a thing, on rare days when we feel brand new, on boats, but also in the women’s suffrage movement:
and also WHEN THEY ACCEPT THE NOMINATION AS THE CANDIDATE FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME.