Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Eighth

I have to write yet another of these! Damn... Lets see how fast I can get it done... hmm Wikipedia > Random article > The Beast Master
Looks like this is a book written by some sci-fi author Andre Norton in the 50s. Now because I can't possibly read the article, become informed, develop opinions, and structure arguments in a very short period of time I'll just take this as inspiration for a story. Woo, story time. What have we got here... There is a devil on the cover, and a dude with a bow and arrow and a falcon on his back. It apparently has something to do with Native Americans. Cool.
The following story, like the 1982 feature film and late 90s Canadian television series by the same name, does not significantly follow the novel's plot or setting.
When Mary Norton-Legree gave birth to her first child she wept with joy.
Never had the Compound produced such a marvel as the little pink blob she held in her hands. No one else saw it at the time, but Mary knew. With her last breath she named him Andre.


At only seventeen Andre became the Compound's youngest public relations committee member. At the age of twenty three, armed with only his wits, he lead a bloodless coup d'etat against the head of the committee, Margret Compote-Williams. After realising she had been so cleverly overthrown she threw herself to the ground pledging her unwavering devotion to the bright faced youth now wearing her crown. Margret, while one of the oldest and most passionate, was not the first of his disciples. She soon fell nicely in line with the rest of Andre's following bringing the total number to sixty one. The years waxed on in much the same way.

Andre had kept his mother's maiden name but had wiped his father's from all written record. Thus he was the only person in the compound to have a single last name. No matter, his charm won out and nothing could stop him from attaining the position of Grand Master, Lord, and Leader in the 5042 election. Andre was twenty nine, yet another record broken.

His father had fled to distant lands shortly before the tribunal, but a body holds slim odds of surviving outside the Compound. It was assumed he had been punished accordingly by the gods. What was out of sight in the Compound was also out of mind and his mother's name and her scandal had almost completely been forgotten.

In 5046 there was trouble brewing on the radar boards. His time had come. He prepared the craft and himself to live and to die for the Compound.

Enough sappy shit for now, till next time on... THE BEAST MASTER

The Seventh: In Pursuit of an A

I'm at five and a half pages or so of the wretched 25 I must have written for my Comp 1 class... by Thursday. It's not a cruel assignment by any stretch. It was assigned the first day of class as just a looming grade somewhere off in the distance after after Halloween, after Thanksgiving, after I've lived the first semester of my college experience and learned all the tricks... Here we are and I must keep typing. The math is terrible. Since I have completed six blogs, each averaging about 9/10 of a page on microsoft word (the unit of measurement), that leaves 19.5 yet unfilled pages with a little less than five days to complete them in. It's about 4 blogs per day, with a little extra on the side. Shit.
Like I said, I've kept a journal before. There was a time when I would always be scribbling in my little books. I'd carry one with me everywhere I went and never feel lonely, you know? It was like opening up a dialogue with my future self. One day you'll read this and be reminded of how young you were. How sad you were, how happy. How clever... I'd think to myself while tucking the pen and paper away, another little treasure of emotions and thoughts saved from the ravages of memory, preserved for the ages.
I dig up those books from the piles of my bedroom mostly on accident when I'm not expecting it. That little bitch comes wandering into my life with all her ancient ideas to cast judgement on my time, something she simply knows nothing about. But she knows me, and better than anyone. We sit there looking at each other, both wise and endlessly ignorant, spouting of observations trying to make them fit like puzzle pieces in the gaps of time between us.
Sometimes it happens before the audience of a close friend who has made the mistake of grabbing for things closed and covered, to my shock and horror. We defend our secrets fiercely, us private writers. Jumping between prey and predator my past is safe... 'til five minutes later when I'm absorbed in the ritual and reading aloud without a thought to who's watching.
I used to write poetry. I used to write prose. I used to give detailed accounts of conversations, people, and dreams. I bared my soul on a regular basis to pieces of thinned out, dried up wood. Now I never do, or always do, but to people now. I'm not sure. It feels easier to talk and talk to the air, to other people's ears where once it's gone it's gone and I can't look back to save my life. What has changed?

March 24, 2008 6.15pm
Has it been proven that I am happier when I keep a journal? Nope, but regardless I still end up writing to myself. Either in "Notes to Self:" on loose leaf in my binder or as short sentementalities scrawled on bits of trash it happens...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Fifth: Hate for TV

Thank the Lord for our dear government saving us from analog signals and getting my ass to give up TV. There are few material objects I hold more hate for than television.... If any... maybe gigantic killing machines are worse on the scale but they sure as hell aren't as much of a nuisance. The television I have is like another member of the house hold or something. Its always fucking talking to my mother. It never says anything intelligent and doesn't have an inside voice.
When the television in on my mind can't focus on anything else for more than a few moments. Even though I despise every second that bastard is on my ears still strain to hear it through the walls and put the pieces of dialogue together. When I'm in the kitchen my legs carry me around the corner to peer at the screen regardless of what I'm doing or whats on. It sickens me that I was raised by our shining black box. All my knowledge of our culture and social mores came from that awful box. Every bit of story-telling talent I have in me came from the one eyed monster. When I was in middle school I added it up and realised I spent as much time watching television per week as I did sitting in a classroom. So much of my time was wasted that way, and I didn't even have cable!
I only watch a few hours of television a day now, if that. Maybe less than 10 hours a week - which is more than I'd like. Come February it will be no more. I don't have cable, and I wont be getting one of those fucking converters. The TV will be soled. While it's a blessing for me, my mother might go through withdrawals. I really love her but couldn't care less about that. It's been hell trying to block out the fucking noise while studying.
I thought this would be a rant to make me angry but now that the TV is off and I have a moment of peace I am so overjoyed. February 17, 2009... Only 80 days until freedom... Hallelujah

[Oh and another thing, the bill thats causing all this, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 was intended to streamline governenment programs like medicare and medicade making them more efficient and less costly. Sure. Ok. Somewhere along the line an asshole added in the maditory switch to digital television at the price of 990 million tax dollars (to pay for those $40 converter coupons each american is supposd to get). Woo, irony.]

The Sixth: To Drin...

My mother has been in AA for almost six years now. A couple times a week I hear her on the phone giving long lectures to women with perpetual hangovers about devoting themselves completely to honesty and working the program for a year, or some other mind boggling amount of time. She says how the only way to succeed at something you know is good but you think is too tough to do is just to fucking dive into it with no stops allowed. No incremental moderate bullshit, just pure living for something you believe in. I love that idea, and at times I wish I was a drunk so I could try it out for myself.
The last six months or so have been a time of distilling all my thoughts into a few core beliefs and desires. Now I can see them in front of me, but how to get there is a blur. My plans get confused with all sorts of logistical hang ups, often resting on the basic conflict between my view of life and my imagined obligations to everyone else's view of how my life should be. That sounds kind of confusing, it feels that way to. But maybe it's just easier to blame my lack of action on other people. Like mom always says, any excuse will do...
I feel like all the things I'm doing are all comming too soon, the so called responsible things anyway. Being in college, getting a job, planning my financial future, in other words settling down all before I've even shook things up. In my heart of hearts I want adventure. I want to scrape by on the skin of my teeth, but because of my own choices. The same force that pushed Thoreau to the woods is what rages within me. He said in walden, "I did not wish to live what was not life....I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion." How can I begin to live my life properly if I don't know what life truly is, or who I truly am?
It's hard to live "Sparten-like" in this day and age. There aren't many woods around anymore and they certainly are far out of my price range. The comforts of american life are overwhelming and ever present. Being poor in a U.S. city has little to do with the life of a woodsman. The life of a slave is a much closer approximation.
The life of a traveller is what I crave. I want it more than anything. It terrifies me. On one hand, if I tried it the obligations to everyone else's view of how my life should be would be totally shattered. What then would happen to our relationships? On the other hand, this impulse is strong, and if resisted might manifest in other ways. I could end up sabotaging this responsible life of mine. It wouldn't be the first time that's happened.
When you're new in a place you have a view of it that's rare. Fresh eyes see beauty in what others take for granted. You live in the moment because you have to, because you have no learned responses to what you're experiencing. Also, if you're a traveller you can be honest without much fear of future repercussions, you'll pick up and leave soon enough anyway. It's such a learning experience. Viewing many different people and lifestyles in rapid succession gives you a chance to compare the similarities and differences while they're still fresh in your mind. And it's a challenge, scraping by, packing light, adapting....
Perhaps I'm romanticizing it. I've read too many books, seen too many movies about travellers. Regardless, I need to find out.
Thanks for your blog. It was like reading my own thoughts on paper, thoughts I haven't really wanted to write down myself. I don't know if I took it all the way you meant it, I'm sure much of it got lost in translation, but yeah, thanks. It meant a lot last night.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Fourth: Self Lovin'

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, was quite a party. Pies, puddings, casseroles, mashes, 'n' salads all graced my plate ...many times! The family graced my home, music graced our ears, and even a (very) little bit of whiskey graced my lips. For ten hours I lived it up with the people I cherish most in the world but see more seldom than the postman. A strange experience to say the least.
Today, Black Friday, was a time to sit, to be quiet, and to read. There is a history test Monday on the Civil War and, until this morning, a thick layer of dust on my textbook. Weary-eyed, tired and filled with pounds of food I was not a pretty sight to behold. So I turned to my new favorite remedy...
Let me start by saying my father is a chemist. I grew up watching him mix substances I wasn't allowed to touch with names I couldn't pronounce. I remember sneaking off to the kitchen, getting out anything I could reach from the cabinets and reproducing all those experiments on my own. It's stuck with me and to this day few things are comparable to the joy of mixing up strange potions with stuff in the fridge.
A few spoons of Malt-O-Meal, an equal amount of granulated sugar, a spoonful of coffee grounds a dash of milk and swish of vanilla extract - TaDa! A body scrub that smells like a latte and feels expensive. I heard once that a dip in the sea is good for the skin. In goes a cup of salt to my bath. Somewhere I read a palm full of olive oil does hair good; I do that too and when I'm out I use the left over sour cream for the salad dressing to slather on my face!
Pampering yourself is divine. Really I try to meditate while scrubbing off dead layers of skin and getting the dirt from my toenails. Your body is your temple, your center, the one thing you can't take off. If you loose your mind body connection everything else suffers. In the past few months I've gained a new respect for taking time out to reconnect with yourself through your body. The Bacchae no doubt is the reason for this shift in perspective. I'm not one to be religious; I haven't been in years and years. To fulfil the demands of the role I absolutely had to find the spiritual side of my life, and there it be. Respect for one's mind is a thinking thing, naturally, but respect for one's body requires an abandonment of the sensible and a surrender to the sensual, much like religion. [wow what a convoluted sentence...] All of that is probably really simple for spiritual people to understand. It's in the definition of spiritual. I'm getting there...
I'm glad to have had the opportunity to feel these things and to find a fun way to get there. My hair smells awesome.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Third: Whoa, Acting

I imagine, for me at least, that there is a great potential inside me only waiting for the right conditions under which to be unleashed. With text memorized and a whisper of a direction in which to take it true, powerful, moments can happen. These conditions seem hard pressed to arise though, at least within the small amount of chances I have witnessed.
Fear, and confusion keep the magic from happening. Contradictory direction, missing cues, choreography, worrying about how everything looks - all these things spoil the moment when they run though my head. I guess that's because its not real anymore and it becomes painfully obvious that it's a performance put on by a little actor who's more concerned about hitting his cues than actually entertaining.
Last night both of these things happened to me. There were horrible hours of jumping through hoops, screwing up, and generally being dull to watch, and there was one beautiful moment of just not giving a fuck. That moment came after the director made a poetic speech about his intentions to change the blocking every single night to keep us off balance to get a better performance. I couldn't believe it. My jaw hung to the floor and my eyes began to water with frustration. If anything his artful intentions would turn me into a puddle of trembling waste - not a talented actor.
He asked if I was going to cry - when I said no feebly he congratulated me and told the cast to all get to this point of distress. He said I was "almost there."
I went off. I told him I had been there, and this was only a mild form of frustration compared to previous evenings of this glorious experience he'd created. I explained my problems as mentioned above. When he told me to disregard all cues and direction an just do something good because he didn't care ...I did exactly that and reaped enough complements to last me the week.
It would be a grave mistake however, if our brave director thought it was his methods at work last night when that moment happened. It owed little to him and much much more to an actor grabbing her instincts and owning the moment - free from fear, free from bullshit. It was beautiful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Second: Thoughts on Comedic Writing

I've been reading the Onion lately, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because its the only reading material I can manage to consume while eating. Yum. Also, it burns well and isn't as depressing to look over as other news publications of a similar paper weight.
The Chronicle and the Statesman aren't depressing because they are filled with the tragic events of the day - that's the way the world turns, bad stuff happens. However, they are so dull to read and the quality of journalism is often so low it makes reading news a chore. The Onion on the other hand...
I like the fact that it forces you to read between the lines to get the biting commentary, and it still is so entertaining. Even though it's all fake it's soo much better than anything else you can pick up at news stands.
I myself am not a funny writer. When diving into the creative waters of my brain I find mostly serious things and pretty pictures. All the comedy in there is sprouted from the seeds of others. Like Dave. Thanks Dave. His bold, brash bullshitting does wonders and makes me giggly for the whole day. Hmmm The Onion has internship opportunities. That would be fantastic.
Somehow all the funny moments I have in improv are accidental. My mouth makes words and sentences without me thinking about it, then people laugh and I get confused. Hehe. Yeah. The kind of funny that comes easiest is the driest kind: Irony. Comedic juxtaposition is about the only thing I can structure on my own. That's why narrative improv gets me so excited! It'll be great, as soon as I start attending class on a regular basis...
Ah, well, till' next time. Off to class!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The First

Let's get this straight, I'm only doing this because I have to. I've tried journaling before with hopes of relieving my internal monologue, to find it only encourages it. If I could get away with faking this project maybe I would. Now, on to the grueling self-indulgence...

Everyday is a new day. You can tell yourself that, but to what affect? Will you rise earlier and make pancakes in honor of this fresh dawn, or rush off to chores left undone by the end of the last "new day"? Will you skip class to walk by the river, pick flowers, make eyes at an interesting stranger, or what have you? Perhaps, you'll simply go to class and focus really fucking hard.
As this new day closes I worry I've made the wrong choices. I rose early from disturbing dreams to curse my mother and the cold. I made breakfast slow and patiently. Moving from the TV to the kitchen to the TV eating as I went. I watched Saturday morning cartoons, sipped coffee in the garden, drove to rehearsal and nearly wrecked several times. I meditated, played, forgot my lines, and wore myself out. When I cried the tears weren't of me, but came from me. It was the fear of failure seeping out to settle just a little farther away. I drug myself to the car, came home, and made dinner slow and patiently. I moved from the TV to the kitchen to the TV to the computer eating as I went, listlessly. I came to rest here three and a half hours left and counting. Exciting? No.
I shouldn't punish myself at so soon a juncture for I do not know how I live, nor how I should be living. The frame of reference is as of yet too small to make comparisons. Answers lie in the future, and I eagerly await a brand new day.

[Edt. Is this enough? Fingers crossed!]

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