Hope in the Ruins

He had a bad night’s sleep after the argument

Barely made it to the train on time

He only saw bad news in the headlines

And nearly tripped over a little boy on his way

He barked “watch out!”

 

He was nearly stepped on by a man on the train platform

Didn’t want to face his teacher

He was afraid he couldn’t pass the test today

He didn’t say hello to the new kid in school

Instead, he pretended not to see him

 

His new buddy didn’t even acknowledge him

So lonely in the new town

He hated new and missed old

He didn’t want to do this again

And cried when the teacher introduced him

 

Her heart broke for yet another troubled child

How could she reach this one

She felt so ineffective and ill-equipped

Should she quit before it got worse?

She couldn’t feign cheer for her perky teacher’s assistant

 

It was hard for her to work with someone so sad

This is what she wanted to escape

Her mother became more difficult each day

She felt such shame for resenting her disease

When the coach flirted with her at lunch, she looked down

 

He knew she was out of his league

But she was the most beautiful girl in the world

She was always smiling so sweetly

Until he flirted moronically just now

When the mechanic gave him his bill, his wound turned to anger

 

He wanted to be a lawyer

Days like this reminded him of that

He wished people understood that cars are not simple

But they don’t want to hear that

He didn’t want to burden his wife with his angst

 

She was so frustrated with his silence

Why wasn’t she good enough to confide in?

Would he ever trust her and did she make a mistake?

Browsing FaceBook, she sees yet another post that irritates her

She replies and goes to bed.

 

She read the curt post and was surprised

Her friend was so gentle

But married life had not agreed with her

She wrote a kind note and signed it with love

And slept peacefully

 

Perfectly Dysfunctional You

When I wasn’t sure you wanted to hear me, I questioned my value

I drifted off into an abyss of possibly and maybe

But probably not

I did not really know what it felt like to be heard

 

I don’t blame you for this, though I do recognize it is your fault

(That’s a strange twist of thought we unheard share)

You wouldn’t understand,

Please tell me you didn’t know and do it anyway

 

When I think of you, I hope to eventually remember only sun and snow

For now, I am still at a loss for joy

No words form in my mind

To describe my relationship with perfectly dysfunctional you

 

I Grew Up in Church

I grew up in Church

With a God who loved me conditionally

 

For God so loved the word that

If you think or say or do or are the wrong thing

You must suffer eternal damnation

 

I grew up in Church

With a mom who loved me conditionally

 

For mom so loved her daughter she told her to

Sing in the choir and be there for Sunday School, Advent, Easter, and Lent

Or you’re not a good girl

 

I grew up in Church

With a dad who loved me unconditionally

 

For Dad so loved his daughter that

If she behaved incorrectly

He was ashamed and walked away

 

I grew up in Church

Where I loved me conditionally

 

For I couldn’t love what I learned in that Church

So I couldn’t be loved

Not even by me

 

Release

When I died, I flew away

Away from want and frustration

I flew away from confusion and obfuscation

I flew away… just away

 

I traveled over lust and curiosity

I saw anticipation and tingly feelings of joy

I watched longing and ache, melancholy and shock

I flew above them all and didn’t react

 

I saw myself cry

I saw myself leap for joy

I saw myself laugh so hard I held myself with my arms

I saw myself hiding in pillows and blankets

Waiting for the awful to subside

 

When I died, I felt and didn’t feel everything

It all traveled within me while I named none of it

Everything washed over me like an impossibly warm waterfall

The exact same temperature as my body

 

When I died, I left all of this

I left unrequited love and jealousy

I left I can’t remember and I don’t want to

I left you should have known better

 

From not too high above

I watched myself not have

I also watched myself hold and treasure

For a moment I worried that I might fall back into it all

 

I was heartbroken

I was ecstatic with life

I wept in spasms that I thought would rupture me

I remembered that I lept into anything, with people I loved

And I felt happiness too powerful to name

Without knowing I should label it for safekeeping

 

When I died, I felt everything

It all traveled within me while I held none of it

Everything washed over me like an impossibly warm waterfall

The exact same temperature as my body

Perfekshunism

I bought an ukulele and have begun teaching myself a few cords. I’m also taking a script writing class and continue experimentation with watercolors (as opposed to the acrylic paints, with which I’m much more comfortable). I’m really making a lot of effort to continue learning wherever and whenever possible.

All this on an island where I am constantly surrounded by and do not speak the native language and am trying to absorb and understand a culture that is seemingly entirely separate from my own.

… and it’s working. I’m not putting pressure on myself to learn any of these now. In fact, I’m giving myself permission to be awful at everything I’m attempting to learn. THAT permission to fail is much more foreign to me than the language here and I secretly love it. I love my immature paintings, fumbled strummed cords and garbled language and misunderstandings. Because that permission to fail is so foreign and thrilling… it’s exciting to finish something and say “wow, I really fucked that up – and it’s okay!”

Weeee!

What will I fuck up next? surfing? Well, maybe I won’t go quite that far… but I could try making nice with someone I really don’t like… or perhaps shutting the hell up when every fiber of my being wants to shout about something.

I’ll tell you what – something that’s been really pretty cool is giving myself permission to fail while meditating. Actually, that may just be the key to meditating for me… FAILURE to keep my mind in one place for more than a millisecond!

Okay, so to wrap this up… I’m discovering that my success in any one attempt/field/project does not define me. My ATTEMPT and the honest outcome of it – now that’s the sweet stuff.

Define me? Oh, who the hell cares. I don’t think I really need to do that anymore. Do you?

I know full well that most of these will get better with time. I also know full well that my [perfectionist] nature is also getting better with time. Who knows, a few more awful renditions of Under the Boardwalk on my ukulele, another awful scene written by Donna and another mispronunciation of a really common name here in Hawaii and I just may learn to never again beat myself up for anything less than perfection!

The First Rule of Art Club…

Private Art is my new obsession. Remember, I’m an actress… the opportunity to create something strictly for myself, is tantalizing and fulfilling, and damn near naughty. I love it. Whatever I do within this realm, is for me – for my growth as a person – and nothing else. Ahhhh.

As a director and acting teacher, I have always preached to my actors that the “end” result of their performance is not apparent when the curtain falls; it is what you, the actors, the designers, technicians and audience members take with you when you leave the theatre. It is REALLY difficult to convince a theatre artist that performance alone isn’t the most important thing in the world. The best I believe I have managed to do, is convince an actor or two that this performance will probably make the next better. Harumph…

As a theatre Managing Director, I preached to our audiences, Board and committee Members (and anyone else who would listen) that we were supporting our own growth through the act of enabling the creation art. Frankly, I don’t think very many people took that idea seriously. Some nodded their heads, more rolled their eyes or simply voiced their tacit disagreement/disapproval/ennui. I obviously have not yet found a way to express this idea clearly and in a compelling fashion. Well, I’m not giving up, dammit!

When I research a character, hone my performance skills, craft a song, paint, sculpt, take a photograph or write a poem or story, I choose to grow as a person from the experience of the process of artistic creation. I learn about myself; I teach myself; I develop skills that you cannot see or hear or experience in that construct itself… only in me. I grow as an individual.

Now, you may grow as an individual as a result of experiencing my artistic product – my performance or piece – and that’s lovely. I really appreciate that idea, but that is not what this is about. I’ve spent most of my life trying to create something that will move you. I don’t mean to sound harsh here, but that’s enough for you – I want this for me. I’m putting the oxygen mask over my face first, as it were.

Okay, now imagine a room or a town or a Town Hall or a company or congregation, filled with individuals who purposefully grow and develop themselves through the act of artistic creation. Do you see it? I honestly believe we are all doing our best at any given time, most of the time. I don’t mean to belittle your best or that of the person next to you. What I’m suggesting is that our best can improve if we find a vehicle to facilitate activation of some different brain cells and a fresh point of view.

And now we’re back to my painting again. And please, insert your form of art in the place of “painting.” If you don’t have a form of art, decide on one, it won’t matter if you feel you can do it well or not, you don’t have to ever show it to anyone or even talk about it. In fact…

The first rule of our new art club: Do not talk about art club.

That’s the second rule too.

The third rule: Do not show, exhibit, print, frame, re-enact, record or otherwise raise up on a flagpole whatever artistic expression it is that you choose to bring to Art Club. Don’t talk about it, show it, share it or think for one moment that anyone but you will experience whatever you choose “it” to be. The thing itself is absolutely relevant, but only to you in this moment.

Back to my Private Art [painting] again. I’m not going to talk about it, but I will talk about the growth, pleasure and stimulation I receive as a result of it. I am learning patience and acceptance of my expression of process. I am learning to see the world around me without judgment or editing. I am learning that what I thought was true – that which I would have sworn was true… have committed hours and years to… have dressed and worked and said and done for the sake of… have begun and ended relationships because of… have hated and loved in the name of – has not been true and in fact, was only real, substantial and relevant to me, in my mind, in that moment.

That is what I’ve learned thus far from my “it.” Jeez, I can hardly wait for the next visit to Art Club!

I’m still a conventional artist. Hell, I’m posting this blog, right? This is not exactly the front page of the New York Times, but then again, it’s out there to be seen. My Private Art is separate from any piece or story I choose to share with the rest of the world – My Private art is what I bring to Art Club. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.