Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I rarely feel "nervous" about auditions. Instead what I feel is a sort of free floating dread and anxiety. No matter how good I feel prior, at about 30-24 hours before the audition I begin to feel hopeless. It's not just that I think I can't do the audition, I start to think that EVERYTHING I've ever done or will do is pointless and/or a failure. I feel what is akin to the deepest chemical depressions through which I've journeyed. I also begin to feel sick. I develop flu-like symptoms and frequently run a fever. Many times I'm unable to sleep at night, again, not because I feel nervous but because I feel sick or in pain. At the time I am going through all of this it seems enough to justify my never performing again. I could say, "If it's this much agony, then maybe it's your body telling you that you shouldn't be doing this." But, I also know that if I tough it out and just go to the audition, I will be fine. I ALWAYS find that burst of joy and adrenaline during the audition and even if I still feel unwell after the audition, I know that will dissipate within about 24 hours.
I've tried to re-train my mind, and actually, I DO think of auditions as opportunities and once I'm there, I enjoy them. But, my body has it's own way of responding. It's almost as if my body knows I must wrestle the demons out before I can effectively approach the creative fires of the audition process. I've learned to just acknowledge what is happening, to pamper myself a little but to just keep moving forward despite what I feel.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
This week's chapter of The Joy Diet, "Play" has helped me bring some things into focus. I have been blessed in that I have known what my "real career" is for nearly all of my life. What I do is where I feel at home, where I feel connected and where I feel joy. It has been where I play and it has also been where I work. That has been part of the challenge for me throughout my life, to allow it all to remain play even though it is my job. That hasn't always been easy.
Another great blessing I have enjoyed is the surprise of being a mother. It has been play and it has been an immense joy. For something I had never planned on doing, being a mom has felt so natural. It has the same feeling about it that singing has always had - it is instinctive, I feel called to it, and (most days) it's fun.
All of this is in flux at the moment. My daughter entered middle school this year and as several of you already know- it's a huge change. The rules are all different now and for the first time, I feel unsure of my mothering skills. Some days I'm just one step a head other days I'm two steps behind.
I'm feeling the same way about my performing as well. I won't bore you with the details here. I will just say that until recently, I felt on track. I had switched trains but I was still on track. Now, I'm not sure where I'm going.
I think this what some would call a "midlife crisis." That phraseology seems a little dramatic for my situation. However, everything is changing, my body, my role as a mother, my "career." I have been gathering in, quietly feeling around the edges of all this newness and moving toward what is next without really knowing what that might be. From the outside, I'm sure it looks like I am standing still. I thought I would be settled and rock solid by the time I was this age. I wasn't at all prepared to be in this place so it is a little disconcerting. There is a part of me that wants to get some mind numbing job just to fill the time. But, thanks to a phone call with a great friend (thanks Patricia) and a question Martha Beck poses in this chapter, I know I can't do that.
Martha asks, "what did you do after 9/11?" I, of course, connected with family and friends. But, I remember the two things that seemed crucial to me at the time. 1). loving my daughter and helping her obtain the skills she needs to blossom into the incredible woman I know she will be. 2. bringing comfort to others in the way I had to offer - through my voice. So often I have been told "you have a gift" and I say to myself "yeah, a 'gift' that cost as much as medical school." But, at that time it truly did feel like a gift. I actually had something of value that I could contribute and it felt like a gift.
So, although I'm not sure where I'm going, I know it still somehow involves these two things. This Chapter has been a great reminder to me to stay true to myself and to maintain my sense of play as I go through this transition.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
4. Aren't these Halloween cupcakes just adorable? I found these at Le Cupcake. Go take a look at these and all of the other beautiful and imaginative cupcakes. Cupcakes as art.
H A P P Y H A L L O W E E N ! ! !
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
I don't have any big dramatic risks that are tugging at me at the moment. I'm in a much more contemplative place trying to figure out my next move. So, I won't be rock climbing or jumping out of a plane (although a former student of mine did just that this past week). My risks are smaller but just as seemingly inexplicable.
I have this baffling need to make art. Painting, drawing, photography, paper collage - you name it - I need to do it. I don't know why. I have no talent or training. I HAVE a god-given talent (as they say). I sing. I'm good at what I do. I get paid to do it, people come to me to teach them how to do it. So, why the hell am I painting for god sake??? I have NO idea.
These are also the risks that call to me: "Go ahead - buy that paint," "Get down on the ground to get that shot (even if people are looking)," "Take that workshop." And I did - all of it. I'm taking Carmen Torbus's Spill It workshop. There are people in this workshop who know what they are doing - I mean - they are artists. I haven't had any kind of art class since the third grade when our teacher threw a chalk board eraser at one of my classmates because his tree was "wrong." Yet, here I am posting my work right up along side of theirs. You have to be a risk taker or an idiot to do something like that!!!! Carmen and my fellow workshop participants have all been incredibly kind and supportive and I am so grateful for that.
I'm not sure where all of this is taking me. I pull at the thread of a thought that says, as I am changing, this amorphous goo in the chrysalis, what I have to say and how I say it is changing, too. I'm not sure that the visual arts will be the final incarnation of my metamorphosis but I know it will inform it. So...I paint.
PS: the item on top of my books is a really cool watercolor palette that my husband gave me years ago. He eventually took it for himself because I never used it. I still probably won't use it much. It's a little cumbersome and at the moment it's filled with his colors not mine. Reclaiming it, however, is symbolic. I acknowledge this part of myself.
(collage done for Carmen Torbus's Spill It Workshop)
Thursday, October 22, 2009
1. This is not a great shot but that's sort of my point. The trees are GORGEOUS now. There are about 5-7 days a year when they are like this. SO, step away from the computer, grab your camera (so you don't have to resort to using your phone camera on the fly like I did) and get out there and enjoy the COLOR.
2. Improv Everywhere is so much fun. Watch the Grocery Store Musical all the way to the end, I love the guy who says, "What just happened. They did a musical - they turned life into a musical!"
3. Connie over at Dirty Footprints Studio is doing a week of art journal love. I especially liked "Dreaming of Modigliani" but you'll want to check them all out. You can feel her joy leap out at you from across the computer screen!
4. Chema Madoz's surrealistic photography is beautiful, brilliant and thought provoking - see several of his works here at haha.nu.
5. I'm reading Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko. It's a "business" creative book and that's usually not my thing but I'm finding so many really useful and interesting techniques that can apply to almost any situation.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I have never celebrated Diwali but the essence of the festival resonates with me and I add my energy to those who are celebrating.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Here's what Jarbas Agnelli says about the music: "Reading a newspaper, I saw a picture of birds on the electrical wires. I cut out the photo and decided to make a song using the exact location of the birds as notes."3. Following Dreams: I saw this documentary on (again!) my local PBS channel. It followed a variety of people who followed their dreams, often despite the odds. Check your PBS listings and catch it if you can.
4. This week I was lucky enough to catch a photography webinar by Art Wolfe on light. I learned so much about photography and thinking like an artist. It was third in a series by Art Wolfe on composition. The first webinar is available at livebooks.
5. Artsyville is one of my new fun places to visit.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Some days I feel guilty for neglecting what most would view as a gift. Some days I feel sad - like I should be squeezing every last drop out of my voice. But, truthfully, most days I don't think about it at all. It has just slipped away and I figured it was like so many other things that are slipping away from me these days - my hair color, my period, my eyesight, blah, blah,blah! But, then this past Friday, Bruce and I went to see Showboat at another theatre. Not my favorite musical but I noticed that I was breathing with the singers. My body was physically responding to the music as if I was singing. It was completely subconscious. It is what my body does naturally. When someone sang a high note - I realized that I actually had to stop myself from singing out loud - my instinctive impulse is to sing. After the show was over I spent the rest of the night humming and singing to myself.
So, now I wonder, I am really done singing? Did I stop because it was the natural progression of things or did I stop because I am subconsciously sabotaging myself? What is my true desire- to sing or not to sing (that is the question *hee-hee*)? I am so close to it I can't tell right now.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
As I meditated on this month's full moon I thought about the things that ground me -being in nature & feeling my connection to the earth, walking, meditating, yoga and my gratitude journal. This time of year I also love the "gathering in" activities of crochet (I just never have caught onto knitting) and cooking - especially rich, warm, yummy soups.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
This week I've been trying to face the truth. In her book, The Joy Diet, Martha Beck asks us to create and absorb at least one moment of truth each day. After 15 minutes of "nothing" she suggests we ask ourselves the following questions:
What am I feeling?
What is the painful story I'm telling?
Can I be sure my painful story is true?
Can I think of another story that might work better?
Here's what I know is true - I'm in transition. I'm perimenopausal, (which, by the way, pretty much sucks - I don't recommend it *hee-hee*), I'm drifting away from what once was my livelihood and full time passion and my little girl has become a teenager. I am acutely aware of all of this. The trouble with transition is - you have to go through it. Grr! My mind is full of questions, doubts, wonders and I know that this restlessness is practically oozing from my pores. So, when I plopped down to do nothing this week and ask myself the questions, I was pretty sure I knew which direction the answers were going to go. Lord knows I have all kinds of issues just standing in line waiting to unearth themselves.
I was derailed with the first question.
"What are you feeling?"
And there it was like a stretch of bright blue sky - I'm happy. I'm happy for no reason.
You'd have to know me these days to really appreciate how surprising that was to me. Content, accepting, resigned, maybe - but happy? You'd have to know me to know how hard that is for me to say - I'm happy. Bitingly funny, sarcastic - probably - but happy?
How wonderful to know that along side all of this transition there is happiness. It's right there for me to grab on to whenever I want it.
My truth is I'm happy. Now ain't that somthing?
Come join The Next Chapter at Jamie Ridler Studios
2. If you don't know of Anoushka Shankar give her music a listen. It's so rich and interesting. She is a sitar player and composer. She studied classical sitar with her father (Ravi Shankar - remember him? Seriously if you don't, you're not as old as I am) and is considered one of the best. But, (here's the cool part) she also crosses over into flaminco, western classical, electronica and so on. One of my latest favorites is Red Sun on her album, Rise. Go listen - now wasn't that great?
3. Girls in Trouble. I found them while searching through the Amazon free MP3 downloads. They are uber cool. Their album comes out later this month. Here's what they say about themselves on their Myspace page: " Girls in Trouble = informed by years of classical violin training, Baltimore punk rock shows in the early 90's, and ancient Hebrew and Aramaic studies in Jerusalem as well as shyness, Emily Dickinson, and the symphonies Alicia has heard in her head since she was a small child."
4. I love to look at Sue Doodles. She inspires me - makes me want to doodle.
5. The Daily Om is offering A Year of Rumi. They will send you a copy of one of Rumi's poems everyday for a year. Sounds like a lovely practice. They are also offering the opportunity to pay what you can from $1-$100.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I've been reading the posts of fellow participants of The Next Chapter with Jamie Ridler. We're currently reading Martha Beck's The Joy Diet. Each chapter explores a different component of joy and the first chapter suggests we try 15 minutes per day of nothing. Almost every post I've read has talked about how hard it is to quiet the mind. I have that "problem," too, but I guess I'm a bit of a slacker and I've just accepted it. Though, I must confess that deep down I've thought of it as a character flaw. Today as I was going through old Yoga Journal magazines looking for images for my vision cards - I hit upon this article which dispelled all of my fears. BONUS: I also found the perfect image for my vision card!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
In my performing life I've discovered that each audience has it's own personality. Most are friendly, some are shy and a few can be downright predatory. This past weekend I decided that even if the audience turned out to be a Polar Bear - I'd be the Husky. It was amazing how re-enforcing my sense of play with this imagery freed me to just go out and be in the moment and enjoy the energy exchange between me, my castmates and the audience.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I didn't get to my vision card this week. I have a very clear idea of what I will do but I opted to do nothing this week instead while my time is so limited.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I wish I wasn't like this. I wish I could just bop along grateful and excited for the experience. But, this is another of my "who I wish I was and who I really am" moments. Due to the fact that I know other people occasionally read my blog, there is a part of me that wants to express only positive things and not contribute to the negativity in the world. But, it's not true, it's not authentic. The truth is - I'm frequently a big fat mess before the first rehearsal. That is the truth about my current creative process.
My only consolation is that after years of experiencing this irrational behavior, I know to expect it and I know it will pass. By the time I'm at the theatre tonight, I'll be fine and on opening night when everyone else is dealing with jitters - I'll be calm and happy ( I think that comes from my opera singing years when I knew once the show opened, the conductor couldn't yell at me from the pit anymore - hee hee!). Until then, I'm going to just go easy with myself. I'll go for a little walk, watch some mindless TV and try to eat something and keep telling myself over & over that this too shall pass.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I'm very excited to begin The Next Chapter with Jamie Ridler as we dive into Martha Beck's The Joy Diet. I had such a wonderful time and met so many interesting & creative people with the last book, Keri Smith's Wreck this Journal. I have a feeling this adventure will be just as inspiring. I've also been a fan of Martha Beck's for quite some time. Anyone who makes me re-think my life while making me laugh out loud gets my vote.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
1. In case you haven't noticed - I like movies. This week I watched Kolya. Usually, I run the other way when I see the phrase "heart-warming" attached to anything but this time I'm glad I didn't let it deter me. It truly was heart-warming without being sappy. Directed by Jan Sverak and starring his father, Zdenek Sverak(who also wrote the screnplay) this film won the 1996 Oscar and Golden Globe for best foreign film
2. I like just about every thing at Compendium but I especially like these little Expect A Miracle Window Cards. They are perfect to tuck into someone's pocket, lunch or purse as a little surpise word hug for them to find.
3. Speaking of cards, the new cards Leah Piken Kolidas has just put up on her Blue Tree Art Gallery are GORGEOUS!! You can buy them individually but you're going to want them all so you may as well buy the set!!
4. Ok, I have to admit that I found Indexed while looking up a review of The Back Of The Napkin. I was looking it up to see if anyone else had the same problem with it I did (ironically, I thought it needed more pictures - less words. But, don't let that deter you too much it still has some really good information). ANYWAY, in the section that says "Hey you might like this" I was directed to Indexed which is now one of my favorite websites. I read that it is a fav in bloggerville so apparently I am once again the last to the party but I'm a very enthusiastic partier!
5.) Do you know public radio regular and essayist Sarah Vowell? If you do then she's probably one of your favorites, too. If not, give yourself a treat in insight and belly laughs and read one of her books. I just finished The Wordy Shipmates. Anyone who can make the Puritains entertaining while also taking them seriously is worth a look.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
2. I working my way through Jennifer Lee's booklist and I've been reading and working with Lucia Cappachionni's book Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams. At first I thought it would just be a quick peruse because I've done vision boards before but the book offered some new ideas and meditations that I'm finding very useful.
3. I listen to Jacqui Naylor's music so much my ipod practically steers itself there now . Her "acoustic smashes," as she calls them, are brilliant.
4. This past week I watched Ballerina. It follows five Russian ballerinas from the Mariinsky Theatre. It is just beautiful to watch and shows the dedication it often takes to truly follow your dream.
5. I don't actually own one of these stamps yet (it's on my MUST HAVE ITEM list) but I love Paula Best's rubber stamps, they make me smile.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
the baby sparrow
calls for his mama,
flapping like a sigh against the window pane.
My breath tight as a fist, I pull back the blind to see him
and there he is
Like a miracle,
a small downy earth heart
fluttering beside the cracked plaster.
He turns one eye toward me
Black as a river stone
And into that infinity I pour my hope.
Trusting one day
It will burst from the nest
Monday, August 10, 2009
Like many people I do morning pages a la Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Over the past several weeks my pages have gone from looking like this:
To looking like this:
Each day I play around with paints, pens, markers and colored pencils and make pages to write my morning pages on the next day. I have many more I'd love to show you but they're filled with pretty personal thoughts so I'll have to wait until I figure out a way to obscure the words a little bit.
As I've been experimenting with painting my morning pages, I frequently wind up with extra paint and it seems such a shame to waste it. One day I noticed a small blank journal on the table and I started to smear the extra paint there. Now playing with the extra paint in my blank book has also become part of my daily ritual.I've been thoroughly enjoying these practices because I feel no pressure. I'm not making art. In one case, I'm just going to write over the pages anyway and in the other case I'm just using up the extra paint.
In addition to doing these pages each day, I've been up to a couple of other things. On Tuesday and Saturday I helped out some friends who are participating in Project Twenty1. They have 21 days to write, shoot and edit a 10 minute film. I was "the opera ghost" which basically meant I got to wear liquid latex to make me look like a ghoulish creature and pretend to be a ghost. They'd say things like, "Um, what kind of opera would you sing" and I'd make up some operatic sounding song. Or they'd say, "What would you do if someone shined a light on you" and I'd invent some wacky appropriate ghost behaviour. I gotta say, it was fun, mostly because I got to just make stuff up.
On Wednesday I made a full moon dreamboard. I've made vision boards before but this was my first time making one for the full moon and the first time participating in the amazing Jamie Ridler's circle. It's a lovely group and it feels very nurturing to have other women lend support to my intentions and it's also inspiring to witness the aspirations of so many powerfully creative women.
Thursday evening after I finished teaching I sat down and tried to mine a poem that's been sitting at the edge of my consciousness. I sat peacefully and just played with the words. I still don't have a poem but I was very much in the moment as I worked so I really didn't mind. I can't wait to get started on this week.
My own little place to explore my creativity and imagination