Writer's Block: News development
michellcat
What's the first major news event that you remember hearing about as a child? Where did you learn about it? How did it impact your world view?


There was a small black and white TV in the front of the classroom. I was 6 years old, and they'd had all the different grades come together to sit and watch TV. I was expecting something truly amazing, but really, I was too young to appreciate what I saw, which was a very blurry, static-ridden live broadcast of the moon landing.

To this day, I think it's a terrible shame that we landed on the moon, before we had cable TV.

Never let your parents' friends meet your heroes.
michellcat
I've loved Stephen Fry for years, for oh so many reasons. He's a voice of reason and articulation in a world in which language is a disappearing art. He's an extraordinarily gifted writer and actor, and at the same time seems to be an unassuming, kind sort of person, a good sport.

I enjoyed him as Lord Melchet in Black Adder, and he broke my heart in "V for Victory." After a few years of catching him in things accidentally, I became a diehard fan, watching any and everything that had even a brief glimpse of him. This of course, includes his documentaries.

Imagine my chagrin to discover that not only had he visited Kansas, where I live, but he'd actually gone to my home town. Not only that, but he'd stopped there specifically to visit my father's best friends, the Pedens, Ed and Diana.

Ed and Diana are marvellous people who run "Subterra," a drumming and spirituality group, out of their home. They and their house are world-famous, and so it's not surprising that Fry wanted to feature them as half of his segment on Kansas. His film captures their sincerity and idealism rather well.

It's not in the film, but there's a photo that shows that they actually got him to drum. I wish he'd left that part on the tape, but I understand why he didn't. His eyes are a bit deer in the headlights, in the photo.

They had never heard of Stephen Fry. They still have no idea who he is, actually. They weren't terribly pleased with the segment he used in the video, and I can understand that. The Pedens love to drum, dance, and sing. Fry assiduously avoids these things, cheerfully admitting that he can't carry a tune in a bucket and has possibly three or four left feet.

When I heard that he'd been to their house, I had two reactions. The first was a groan of envy, and annoyance that I hadn't been there. The second was a wince, because I could have predicted this very scene from the get go. Two very sweet people completely missing the point of one another. It's funny, but it reminded me of that saying, "never meet your heroes." I'd like to amend that to, "never let your heroes meet your parents' friends."

I'd still like to meet Fry, although I will be careful not to sing, if I do.




Writer's Block: Hard habit to break
michellcat
I have so many bad habits that if I got rid of them all, I might vanish into thin air. It would be easier to list the ones I don't have. I don't smoke, bite my nails, chew my hair, or any of that disgusting stuff. I don't drink to excess, or shop til I drop.

But I procrastinate. I procrastinate about absolutely everything. I put off doing things that I need to do, I put off what I want to do, and I tend to throw up my hands and just accept in the end that I'm not going to get anything done. I spend an awful lot of time staring at the ceiling or my computer. I'm capable of playing Morrowind or Oblivion until my eyes feel like boiled onions, or discussing a plot point in a TV show online for hours and hours.

Worse than that, is my habit of overeating, which has finally pushed me into type II diabetes, in addition to insuring that on virtually no occasion in my entire life, not even my wedding day, have I EVER been happy with the way I looked, nor have I ever gone out of the house wearing what I actually wanted to wear. I have never tried on clothes in a store and been cheered and uplifted by what I saw in the mirror. On the bright side, this has kept me from the shopping habit that plagues so many women.

I also have a bad habit of kvetching and ranting that has lost me a number of friends. Dammit, it's supposed to be funny! My mother carried on and on and people LOVED her for it. I'll never be able to accept that I can't carry it off.

But by far my worst habit, worse than leaving dishes in the sink, worse than talking too much, worse than saying I'll do it later and then not doing it, is my habit of telling everybody exactly what I really think, as if it's of any interest to anyone. I am my own worst enemy in this regard. If someone else went around saying the things about me that I freely say about myself, I'd want to slap them. But I have this idea that if I express myself often enough, honestly enough, eventually it will lead to self-awareness, maybe even art, and that it will cause me to bond deeply with other people. Unfortunately the times when I babble the most, are when I'm unhappy about something. This creates the unfortunate impression that I'm terribly negative, and scares people away. When I'm happy, I'm perfectly capable of shutting up. Go figure.

Women's Stories About Love
michellcat
Have a love experience you want to share? I'm collecting true stories about women's feelings about love, for a book/play I'm writing.

Send to titania3@juno.com.

In keeping with the scientific concept of entropy,
michellcat
It's just gone from bad to worse. Read more...Collapse )

OMG. Horrible, horrible, day.
michellcat
I can't find my date book. I've got things written down wrong on my calendar. I'm having memory lapses again. I was 100% sure my interview today was for 1:30. It was for 1:00. So that's screwed, although they did tell me I got more done in my quickie interview than the others they interviewed that day managed in the full time. I told them truthfully that's me--I do more with less than anyone I know, in terms of money, time, and everything else. They were very nice but I'm sure I blew it. And I'm equally sure that if I'd been as early as I THOUGHT I was, I'd have gotten it.

I went home and continued to try to make two identical bag hats for Antipholus. I was making them out of a black velvet skirt and some black and gold fabric I sacrificed from one of my Goodwill trips. Had I been making flat caps, they'd be done by now. I had enough fabric for a two identical black flat caps, trimmed in gold and orange. It would have been impressive, esp with a red jewel and black feather.

But no. She likes the bag hat because it slips and slides over the actor's eyes and he makes a funny bit out of the constant struggle with his hat. (IMO, that's for a Dromio or a Grumio, not an Antipholus.) So to have enough fabric I had to bumblebee the black and gold, then cut it into a circle, then gather it. Gathering fabric's easy, normally, but this stuff didn't want to gather evenly. I had to pick out every seam and start over so many times.

I began to freak out.  It was getting close to 2:30.

The director had, at the very last minute the day before, scheduled a 3pm rehearsal right before our show, and I knew I wouldn't make it. Our curtain was at 6, so when I said I would be late, and the SM asked how late, I said I'd definitely be there at 5 and she freaked out and said "but call's at 4:30," so I said I'd be there at 4:30 no problem, just not the 3pm rehearsal because of a "work" matter I couldn't get out of. Which really was almost the truth--I did have some clients who wanted to schedule readings today. I still believed in the possibility of identical hats. And then the needle broke. I broke down, pulled it together and rushed to the theater, early for the original call, but having missed the impromptu rehearsal.

At 4:25 I approached the theater, and was met by a furious director who told me that had I been 5 minutes later I'd have been re-cast.  She had seen me at my interview and therefore "knew" I didn't have a prior work commitment. She added that there was more she'd say but she wanted me to be good onstage.  That didn't help. I had a full-on crying jag and anxiety attack. I did ok onstage, but I don't think it was my best work. I felt disoriented and awkward, fake.

So we got the performance over with, and I went home. I guess we're going to the cast party but I really don't want to. I really feel like a failure because of those stupid hats, and because I've managed to do so many things wrong during this rehearsal period. I'm not deriving any creative satisfaction, nor am I getting any personal satisfaction, nor have I made friends with the people I set out to make friends with. I wanted to get closer to the director and her buddies, but that hasn't happened. On the bright side, I'm okay with that now.

Last year I held curtain for half an hour for Kate's damned dress, and I didn't do a number on the costumer/cast member the way this lady did on me. I doubt anyone remembers that. LOL!

It's going to be a nightmare having two strikes in one day to go to. But at least after tomorrow it will be over for awhile.
I may not leave the house for a very, very long time after this. I'm considering backing out of everything I've scheduled after that, finding homes for my cats, and just checking out. Life has gotten steadily worse over the last 20 years, and was really not that great to begin with. There's no reason to expect things will improve. That's kind of like expecting water to flow uphill or entropy to reverse itself. It is what it is, as people are fond of telling me.

Musing about Shakespeare
michellcat
I am currently working with two directors doing two different Shakespeare comedies. Neither one of them is Oxfordian, nor is either of them sufficiently familiar with Shakespeare to really understand the authorship controversy.

Both of them proceed from the premise, "Shakespeare wrote for the masses." Which I could debate, really. Ben Jonson wrote for the masses. Wycherly and Webster wrote for the masses. Shakespeare wrote for himself, and for other Trojan War geeks. The masses still loved what he wrote, but they were not his main concern, nor was he a "hack."

No hack writes a six hour play, (Hamlet,) a play about succession law trivia, (Richard II,) or Timon of Athens. This guy wrote to please himself, and just happened to please a lot of others into the bargain. You can see the difference for yourself if you compare him with his contemporaries. It becomes apparent quickly which things are devices of the time, and which things are his own personal private axes to grind.

But the point these directors are trying to make is that Shakespeare wrote for the masses, and therefore isn't "sacred." You can cut or rewrite Shakespeare. I heartily agree. You can cut or rewrite Sondheim or Snoop Dogg, too--they're not "sacred." But would you really be improving the works, if you did so?

I think you really have to know what you're doing. It's not enough to just go through the script and change all the words you don't understand or that you think are too hifalutin'. Shakespeare is no more "sacred" than Tennessee Williams, but you wouldn't decide to cut all Blanche's lines about the "Varsouviana" just because people might not know what it is. You'd rely on context and your sound technician to get it across. And you'd encourage Blanche to familiarize herself with it, maybe do a few steps of it.

There's nothing wrong with cutting Shakespeare, provided you know what you're cutting. Nor is there anything wrong with adding things in. I've seen wonderful productions that relied on improvised bits.

That said, I think one director, who is steeped in Renfest and historical lore, did a fine job with his cuts and additions.  If you haven't seen the Barn's MidsummerNight's Dream, see it. It's one of the best versions I've seen.

The jury's still out on Comedy of Errors,  but my heart sinks a little lower each rehearsal, as I struggle with lines that have been corrected so that they no longer rhyme or scan, and are peppered with "you's" where "thee's" and "thou's" used to be. (Is there really anybody who's still confused about thee and thou? Those who don't have church and Bible have Freshman French and German, or Renfest Academy, right? What's hard about thee and thou? Of all the words in Shakespeare, these aren't the ones I'd cut.)

There is nothing worse than watching people who don't know what the words they're saying mean. Unless it's watching people who have changed those words to be "easier," and STILL don't know what they're saying. 

And when did it become an insult to the actor, to do table work? I cannot imagine anybody trying to do "Sordid Lives" without knowing who Tammy Wynette was, or playing Brother Boy without knowing any of Tammy's work. But try to tell someone that a capon is a neutered chicken or that a certain phrase comes from song or incident of Shakespeare's time, and you'll be accused of trying to do that actor's homework for him.

Nobody would be offended if the director told them, at a read-thru of  "Streetcar Named Desire," that flores para los muertos means flowers for the dead, or at a read-thru of "Fiddler on the Roof," if you told them that Mazel Tov is an informal blessing that basically means good fortune. So why are people so touchy about being told what Shakespeare's words mean? Is it because we're attached to the idea that Shakespeare's words can mean whatever you want them to mean?

Because we don't know so much of the language, I think a lot of people would rather use Shakespeare as a dramatic inkblot, reading what they will into it, than actually be bothered to find out what it's really about. Which is a pity, because to be honest, Shakespeare is funnier, more perceptive, and more honest than most people. He may not be "sacred," but he's probably more talented than you are, which is something to bear in mind when you go about re-writing his stuff. He deserves at least as much respect in that regard, as Sondheim or Snoop Dogg. His plays are verse, and if you're going to change them, at least do so in a way that's consistent with his rhyme scheme and meter.

Some slightly more positive thoughts on love....
michellcat
"Little Lighthouse"

She's a little lighthouse when she
Opens up her huge eyes
And streams of diamonds shoot out
'Til we're wading waist deep in her brilliant love

She's a little lighthouse when she
Opens up her red mouth
And gold word ribbons rope and rodeo
The dark clouds in bouquet above

For how long will this dark age last?
For how long must we wait to learn?
Across the black and fossil ocean vast
I spy love and she doth brightly burn
Love sure lives in the right house

She's a little lighthouse when she
Opens up her huge mind and
Thoughts descending spears of crystal
Build a Jacob's ladder up to love

She's a little lighthouse
When she opens up her red dress
Show skin of rubber marble
Lit by knowledge and the fireflies above

And can others see this splendid beam?
Or do they navigate in dark?
If you ever want to dock your dream
Well you'll need love to guide your fragile ark

Love sure keeps a bright house
She's a little lighthouse



I think this is how most women would prefer their lovers to think of them. I particularly like the line "lit by knowledge and the fireflies above." I frequently get the bit about the "splendid beam" stuck in my head, probably whenever I'm losing the thread of my connection to Aphrodite.  It's like an anthem to Venus, to the Star Card, and to the possibility of Divine and unconditional love as experienced through an intimate relationship. Pagans take a vow at their weddings, to worship the god/dess through one another, but we usually forget how at some point.


Skipping to number one
michellcat
because </b></a>kellyrfineman is having a really cool contest.  Like wyckedgood, I'm really enjoying it and heartily recommend it!

SONNET 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

This is such a fun sonnet, because it's about everyone's favorite subject, eternal, unconditional love. It's about real love, which "looks on tempests and is not moved." This is like the love that remains when feverish infatuation is over.

If you're into heraldry at all, you will notice heraldry puns here. It's a funny little habit of Shakespeare's, but he outdoes himself in this poem. "The remover" changes entries in peerage books, and removes inaccuracies from family crests and coats of arms. An alteration is the mark on a coat of arms, which differentiates the second son from the eldest, the heir. Bending with the remover to remove, would be a real Lucy Steele move. You don't dump the disinherited heir you love, for his younger brother, even if that brother is now the heir apparent.


Card: 2 of cups
Song:  In My Life, by the Beatles.

TV update
michellcat
Weeds is back! Hurray!

But I'm about tired of the Mexican druglord stuff.  I think you have to live in California for that stuff to be all that meaningful or resonant. I miss Agrestic. I miss when the people resembled people I've actually met. Jenifer Jason Leigh at least brings back a little of that. She's incredible and she and MLP make an awesome pair. Why haven't these two made a movie?  

Remember when we didn't think Nancy should sleep with Andy? Remember when she was a halfway decent Mom? Remember when Doug wasn't completely pointless? When it seemed like he and Celia might actually be a good plan? Remember when Isabelle and Dean were likable? Remember when Silas was the LEAST responsible member of the family?

So....Read more...Collapse )


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