Monday, December 30, 2013

Farewell December

I'm trying something new this year.

I'm throwing things away.

I've always lived with clutter. I've always been a pack-rat, less affectionately termed a "horder." The trouble comes from the fact that I attach memories to physical objects, and it often feels like if I give the object up, I abandon the memory as well. This is why I like concert t-shirts, why I wanted a copy of John Knowles' A Separate Peace with the same cover as the copy I originally read, why I save souvenirs from every show I'm in; the list goes on. Sometimes even simply remembering who gave me the item, even if it's completely insignificant and possibly from the DI, I can't ditch it. It has too much recognition attached to it. The trouble is there's not space for an entire life of memories in this room of mine, and I can't keep saving everything riding on the belief I'll have space for it when I'm married and move out. Because life will happen in between then and now, and I'll gather more things inevitably.

So, starting today, I'm throwing things away.

I wasn't going to make this a cliche New Years Resolution post, but as I started typing I remembered something someone at church said about the way to make goals effective is to tell them to someone, to hold yourself accountable to more than just yourself.

So here are my resolutions. Here are my goals in all their personal glory.

-Do my school work so I pass my classes. Try.
-Give myself the missionary discussions. Study one every other week and plan my Sunday School lessons on the opposite weeks.
-If able with the (hopefully) new job, go to the temple every Wednesday and Friday morning.
-Save money. Budget forty dollars a month to funtivities and stick to it so you stop being poor.
-If able with the (hopefully) new job, go to the gym Monday/Wednesday/Friday, going after the temple on Wednesday and Friday.
-Go to bed between 11 and 12 and wake up at seven.
-Read John Donne

What I really wanted to do was a year in review. I really like these, and a simple post covering the year is a good way to tell the kids what their mum accomplished in 2013 so they don't have to sift through my two journals spanning the year to get the basic thread.

So here is my year in review:

January-February I was assistant stage manager for Will Rogers' Follies at Weber State, which was an excellent experience with fantastic cast and crew, and the show became one of my favorites ever. Will Roger's is an amazing man. Look into him if you don't know of him. He's one of those guys we need wandering around today, making a difference and stirring the pot.

At the same time I was directing my first musical at West Bountiful Elementary. And for the first time in my life I considered myself an artist. I've had these pictures in my head, these beautiful thematic pictures that I've never been able to sculpt or paint or sketch, and it wasn't until watching the musical come together that I realized I'd finally done it. I'd finally gotten a cookie cutter of what was in my head to exist in reality. And it looked just like I wanted it to. It was incredible to work with those 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, giving me the realization that it wouldn't be terrible to teach at a junior high. It gave me something to present at juries, something to further my ambition, practice for later in the year when I'd direct my college peers. It taught me responsibility. I didn't want to disappoint those kids. I didn't want to show up unprepared and let them down.

It was probably March when I auditioned for Pickleville Playhouse. They didn't take me, which is understandable because frankly I just don't have pipes. And because I, less than a week later, was officially made part of the Improvables.

On St. Patrick's Day I met Daphne Willis in Park City by fan-girling at her. Surprised and (hopefully) complimented, she hooked me and Emily up with a private mini concert because we'd driven out there to see her and she wasn't actually playing in the lounge that day. And even if she had been we wouldn't have been able to listen. Still 20 at this point and stuff.

Somewhere in April/Mayish I auditioned for a play at the community theatre, and went to my first callbacks since high school two years before. They had me and three other women --and I say women meaning I was the youngest-- stay later to read a different set of sides than she (the director) had us reading as a group of twelve. I'd gone into the first audition with two small monologues prepared. She wanted to see us perform monologues she'd selected from the script, and being a 20 year old girl, I didn't think they'd give me much of a part, so I prepared a more sheepish monologue. But there was another that was so biting I just had to do it. I decided if she gave me time for both I'd do the biting one last.

So I had.

And she had me stay later at call backs to read for that part.

And then I got it.

I was cast in my first show since high school, and in my first community theatre show ever. In June and July I performed as Juror 4 in 12 Angry Jurors, which has become one of my favorite shows to ever work on because there was so much power in that cast, in being cooped up in the "jury room," stuck on stage for an hour and some odd minutes, fermenting in our characters and in our discussions. I was finally able to put two years of college theatre training to use (which, side note, is another reason I want to teach, because tell me how it's fair to learn thousands of incredible things and never be given the opportunity to try them out in something more than a monologue or five minute scene). It restored faith in myself as a performer. That I can do this. I'm good enough for theatre.

Spanning January to April I was trudging my way out of being severely interested in a certain gent who didn't care for me in the slightest, and accepted a date with another I'd met my first year of college.

In June he became my first boyfriend.

In July he became my first ex.
 I learned patience, that I don't need to rush, and that I don't need to end up with everyone I go on a date with, and that it's okay if I like other guys more than some: that's the point. And it's okay if they seem to like me and several weeks later change their minds. It hurts, it sucks, and it leaves you alone, but it's okay.

I arranged to carpool with my dear new best friend Rachel (new meaning new to me not replacing the old) to school pretty much every day. I got an institute parking pass for Tues/Thurs, the days we really needed it. I became closer with her and her (ex) boyfriend, as well as made friends in my English and Chemistry class, and tried to maintain confident Erica in my theatre classes, because for some reason confident Erica didn't seamlessly roll over into that world.

I went on a blind date, I cast three fantastic actors in my scene from "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," I auditioned for another community theatre show and was cast as understudy for two roles as well as backstage tech for the nights I wasn't performing. I balanced school, work, rehearsal for three months.

I was mic tech for an original musical on campus and watched the show backstage every night, having delightful and deep conversations with one of the grips, and becoming better friends with him as well. I started hanging out with the cool kids weekly, when I could, and got to be a more integral part of the group. Sometimes I stupidly am still surprised people like them can like me.

Shortly around this time I was called as a Sunday School teacher in my single's ward. Gospel Doctrine. I was panicked and worried about time and my horrible way of managing it, but I said yes because Jesus wanted me to. And I've loved every minute of it and can already feel myself developing into a better teacher.

In October I made my own Halloween costume, the little girl zombie from The Walking Dead, dirtying my bath robe with watered down acrylic paint. People thought it was rad. I couldn't believe I'd never made a costume before. It was more fun than anything ever.

In November nothing exceptionally notable happened...just continued on with school, the cool kids, rehearsals for my directing scene and Farndale Avenue's Housing Estate's Townswoman's Guild's Dramatic Society's Production of A Christmas Carol. (I never really memorized were the possessive apostrophes go...)

December I performed in Farndale Avenue, survived finals week, had my Rosencrantz and Guildenstern scene go off without a hitch, earning me an A and several compliments from the teacher on the dynamic of the cast. I wasn't scheduled at the bakery for three weeks straight, but (Christmas miracle/tender mercy) was working as a tech for Farndale on the nights I didn't perform so I earned a bit of money during that time anyway.) Had my 21st birthday, spent with the cool kids. Started interviewing for jobs as a teller, had my Floridian cousin come home and here we are.

Back at the beginning. More happened this year, a lot of little things, but I wrote all the big things that came to mind right off the bat. The rest meant something, but not enough of a something to have a shout-out I suppose. I'm looking ahead now, to a year of directing another musical, (hopefully) meeting/hugging Norman Reedus, maybe finding a gent to hold my hand for a while, (hopefully) getting a new job, and possibly going on a mission. We'll see. There are things I control and things I don't. And a lot of things that can be handled if I simply get out there, smile, and try.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Back-Handed Compliment

I thought when he said we could talk about it at the show that night it would be to ease my pain with a friendly hand on the shoulder and a few soft pats laced with the undertone that I was never really ever considered for the part, so it shouldn't be a surprise he had to email me with negative results.

And not negative in medical terms, meaning the disease isn't present. Not negative that way. Not really.

You can understand my surprise when the producer of the black box at the local community theatre approached me with a hesitantly sorrowful face that night and mouthed "Did you get your email?" before sweeping me into a gentle hug upon my Yes.

He started talking. Said after Saturday she was in first and I was in second, I listened, my mind remembering the four other girls up for the part at callbacks, but he was only talking about me and one other. Just two of five. "After Tuesday it all swapped. Your readings were so solid." My brain started to make sense of his monologue.

It was between me and one other. Just two.

"I was pushing for you but [the director] was pushing for her. And you were so close in everything that we had to go with looks. And I hate that because I've lost parts that way."

But she looked more like Thomas More's daughter than I did.

I don't have enough English blood for English looks.

I was chipper, I was flattered, I was understanding. It was enough to know I'd been considered. Especially so closely. I felt good about my callbacks, but I had no idea I was near the head of the group after that terrible first audition. But he looked at me and told me several times that I'd been good. I'd been really good. And so had she. So they had to go with who looked more familial.

And it was her.

But you can see how, letting it sink in further, I realized how disgruntling a situation this was. I'd been so close. I was so close. And I lost it for looks. I lost it for being blonde and blue eyed. I lost it for being round faced, not narrow faced. I'd lost it for factors beyond my control.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not angry and making voodoo dolls of the other girl. Nor am I curled up with the pint of ice cream my mom bought me for my birthday. I'm taking it with a grain of salt: a back-handed compliment of sorts. Knowing that I did my best, and that my best is better than I give myself credit for. I just wasn't meant for the role. Not this time.

There's a line in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead that keeps coming to mind: "Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit being an entrance somewhere else."

I'm not meant to enter the role of Margaret More. I'm exiting from the stage for a while, metaphorically and literally, the enter into something else. Something that's more suited for me at this point of my life. It would have been amazing to do a beautiful drama like A Man for All Seasons. It would have been delightful to work with a different director and several new-found, good theatre friends. It would have been fun to wear those heavy, authentic 1600's costumes. It would have been, it would have been, it would have been.

But it won't be. Not for me. I don't need to be Meg. I don't need to enter here. I'm needed somewhere else.

I'm just waiting for the cue.

Friday, December 20, 2013

I don't know what to write today. 

It seems I've cycled back through to a realm in which I've lost the words. A realm that isn't pleasant to dwell in, mind you, and one I don't make a practice of visiting much. 

I started watching Lord of the Rings. 

It was last week, and I scrambled to finish an essay I should have written a good four weeks beforehand, knowing my friends were gathered at a house several blocks away watching hobbits and dwarves sing and adventure. Thankfully they'd started the movie late, so I made it in time to leave the Shire.

But I've never been much of a fan. I've never seen Lord of the Rings, other than several parts multiple times (how I manage to walk into the room or change the channel during the same battle sequence as often as six times is beyond me). I went because 1) it was the cool kids. The cool kids were watching the movie, and I'm sorry, but I'm part of the cool kids for once so I make an effort to participate in their outings. 

Or innings, rather.

2) We, the cool kids, were going to the midnight premier the following night of the Hobbit. For contingency's sake we'd scheduled it like this. So I went. So I wouldn't be lost.

And both that night and the following night in the theater behind two friends in hobbit garb, I was a goner. That rascal Peter Jackson, that sly dog Tolkien sucked me in. 

I miss imagination. I miss reading epics, I miss the formulation of something other than contemporary life swirling through my mind. I miss difference. I miss clarity and uniqueness and beauty. 

I want it. I want to write, I want to read, I want to watch and feel something. I want something, my heart constricting with the idea that I have nothing--which is false in every sense of the phrase, but as is said in the play Seminar, paraphrased because I can't manage to find my copy of the script, "Writer's need to feel something to write."

I haven't been feeling much lately. And now all I feel is that ache to feel, that need to feel. It's not really much, but I suppose it's enough.