The Spark of Creation

The Spark of Creation

I’ve been doing some soul searching, folks. A bulk of my time has been devoted to staring into the abyss. Here’s what I have to say: The Abyss is abysmal, and either get busy livin’ or get busy dying.

In my youth (which I still claim) I spent the entirety of my time outside school devoted to performance art. When I wasn’t in class, you could find me in audition or rehearsal. If I wasn’t cast, I would volunteer to be at every rehearsal regardless. That is how I began to stage manage.

I stage managed at least one show a year at Clark, and usually another at Edison  highschool. When I went to college I declared a double major in Technical Theatre and Acting/Directing, and I Stage Managed the first show my freshman year (which was The Screams of Kitty Genovese, an opera based on the true 1964 story of New Yorker Kitty Genovese who was stabbed to death outside her home while 38 neighbors watched from their windows). It was important for me to stage manage The Screams of Kitty Genovese because I wanted to be in the rehearsal room whether or not I was cast (I wasn’t, though I killed my audition and earned some respect as the only freshman to make it through to callbacks for the role of Betty) – and stage managing meant I could observe. I was lucky to be at a university that fostered my interests in both ways – many universities would have directed me one way or another. There are those that argue that SE did me a disservice by allowing me to declare both a tech and performance major. Perhaps it would have been better for me to come against the decision earlier in my career, but I am thankful I got to explore both paths to their fullest extent.

I think I’m a good stage manager. I run a tight room in a nurturing way. I take my job seriously, but with a lighter touch than some Stage Managers. I will admit, that sometimes I need a heavier hand. There’s always room for improvement. But I do my best and I’m proud of the work I do.

I moved to Chicago to perform, but fell back to stage management pretty quickly. And why not? The shows I’ve worked on have been interesting and wonderful experiences. I live my life by the rule “never stop learning” and I have accomplished that in every project I do. Hell, I worked on my first world-premier show (with the playwright in the room) this year. Every experience is a learning experience and I’m thankful to work with talented professionals who keep me learning.

When Katrina: Mother-in-Law of ’em All closes, I will be taking a hiatus from stage management. I’m certain that this decision is right for me, but it’s bittersweet. I’m humbled and grateful for all the blessings in my life. I have the spark of creation and I’m looking forward to fostering it in other avenues.

 

 

The Earth and Other Minor Things

So my weeklong experiment turned into a 20 week experiment, but I think my hypothesis has been tested to it’s fullest extent and results were inconclusive. It is important to remember (both in science and in life) that experiments do not fail when your hypothesis turns out to be incorrect. The grand experiment is, well, life. You try this, you try that. Problem is there isn’t really a control group, so it’s hard to say what works and what doesn’t.

To be honest, these twenty weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster. March went out like a lion. April sighed and stepped aside. Along came pretty little May. June busted out all over. And here we are in July – older and wiser than we were yesterday, but still young and naïve. And you know what, it’s okay. What’s the big rush? Why am I hurrying? Who’s timeline am I following here? I want to make the most of the time I am given. I’m intimidated by my own mortality. So it’s hard for me to not worry – I’m full of anxieties and neurosis. And you know what? So is everyone else. Some just handle theirs better than others.

My own anxieties manifested in ways I didn’t expect. Anecdotal proof that mental health is linked to physical health. I enlisted some help to get well. (Thanks, Obama!) I realized that I couldn’t achieve my goals in that state. My current focus is to be kind to myself – stop my own self abuse. It’s going to be a long road to recovery but I have faith in my doctors and finally myself. Mistakes are a wonderful way to learn a lesson. The experiment only fails if you give up.

Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Make Me Stronger

Sometimes I start to blog and then ask myself “what do I really have to say?” Narcissism can be the historian’s curse (Gag!) I know that sounds self-inflating, but hear me out: I journal/blog/what-have-you because I’m obsessed about history and my own place in it. I want a legacy. (as if a blog is a legacy, hah!)

I’m not sure if this is healthy or not, but it keeps me motivated and I don’t see any direct harm in it.

However it means I often feel the need to fill silence with my own voice, and it’s a habit I don’t always admire. It’s nervous chatter most time, adding nothing to the conversation or the matter at hand. I want to experiment in allowing silence to be natural.  So this next week I’m going to focus on active listening and observing. I’m curious to see what, if any, changes occur.

I have a theory. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Cross the Line

Cross the Line

In the interest of my own sanity, I present the following. I felt like I would like to share the following thoughts I’ve been pressed with. Allison et. al. would tag this post as one of my many debbie-downer moments, but I don’t think anyone I know/love would discount wanting to voice the following concerns.

I sat with a girl on the rush-hour bus who looked EXACTLY like Dallas, a high-school friend who died after a drunk driver hit her car many, many years ago. This woman could have been her twin, it was strange to be reminded of my old friend and come face-to-face with her memory after all these years. What would she be doing now, I wondered, where would her life take her if it weren’t for that awful accident? And then, a deep seeded guilt came to me – who am I to consider these things? What am I doing to make my own life worthwhile?

I won’t go too much into the gory details but the silver lining about thoughts like this is that they have the power to motivate me to correct past behavior and really do something.

It starts with me cleaning/organizing – which is the best way to procrastinate in my opinion, because afterwards you get a feeling you actually accomplished something and you have a happy work space to complete other goals. So then you work a little on your resume, while simultaneously responding to job postings and writing cover letters. Send a few out, look for more postings, send out a few more, look for more postings… Being unemployed is a full time job if you’re doing it right. Pound the pavement, bring in more applications, rinse and repeat. Take a yoga break every now and then and then make more coffee.

After it all is said and done, what else can you do?

I just remind myself to be thankful that I’m still alive. What are the odds that I was even born in the first place? It is okay to feel small sometimes when reminded of the sheer impossibility of our existence, but you cannot allow that feeling of insignificance to make you retreat – then you just assure the feelings of futility. And here’s a secret, everyone feels that way every now and then.

But I am here, world. I’m not dead (yet) and I’m happy to be here for as long as I possibly can. I’m happy you’re here with me too.

Being Alive

It is the first day of a new year, which is always celebrated in twofold – both by looking back and reflecting on lessons the last year taught me and by looking forward to lessons the new one will bring. I’d like to start by writing an open letter to the year two thousand and thirteen. You can read last year’s reflections if you need a catch-up.


Love's Labour's Lost2013, we became fast friends. I started the year with directing a production of William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost at Clark Youth Theatre. The cast amused and amazed me every night at rehearsals, and I looked forward to every moment spent working with the text, cast, and crew. As I locked up the building each night I would pinch myself to remind myself that it was real. What an enjoyable experience. I also spent the late winter/spring working with students of the performing arts at Henthorne, with all kinds of kids that had creativity that I envied and encouraged. I think of them often.

As spring came to a close, Max and I prepared for a big move: Chicago. Ah, Chicago – a city that can be both romantic and gritty, often at the same time. The move was the hard, I’ll admit. I don’t need to tell you how sentimental I can be, and I had grown very attached to my life in Tulsa. While packing one of what felt like a million boxes, I would think to myself “what am I doing? This is it. I have a dream-job, a wonderful support group of friends and family, why the hell am I leaving it behind?!” ChicagolandTo be honest, sometimes I still think those things. I would stop and take a deep breath and try to capture the moment I was in, the way the sunlight felt on the balcony overlooking the river or the shave-and-a-haircut knock that meant someone loved me. We tried to Mecca and Zach at Sidetracksfit it all in, every place that we called our own. We flew into town for two days in June, hoping to find a home and start a lease on July 1st. It was a whirlwind, something that excited me and terrified me alone… but with Max it never was never overwhelming. We worked as a team, made things happen for ourselves, and all the puzzle pieces seemed to fall into place. It was a ballet.

We came home to Chicago on Sunday, June 30th, with a motley crew of movers we call our friends. Let me just say that we wouldn’t have been able to move without the help of our friends. They helped us pack and load the cars and trailers. Some even drove with us overnight to Chicago to arrive just as the sun was rising to unpack it all. We had a week with the gang in the city, celebrating our arrival in the city in the best way possible. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but we were so concerned with making the most of our time that I didn’t want to waste the time.

I'm Getting Married!Max asked me to marry him on July 3rd. We had spent the evening at Revolution Brewery, playing shuffleboard, taking a tour of the brewery, and having a great dinner. We came back to the apartment to continue celebrations. Max was suspicious but I didn’t really expect it and when the moment came and he asked the question, I couldn’t see him because I was crying so hard and I could hardly answer. Well, you must know by now that I said yes – and we are so happy to spend our life together.

Chicago sang a love song throughout the Summer and Fall. We had bright fireworks at night in July, music from the street festivals reaching our ears from the open windows, delicious foods and wonderful beers. Big smiles with Noël! When we weren’t busy being in love we looked for employment and learned the CTA. Max was hired with P.F. Changs (symmetrically – he was also working for them in Tulsa when we first started dating… you know how sentimental I am!) and I found employment with the agency City Staffing. I’m currently on assignment at Groupon’s customer service, and I enjoy my work there.

I finished the year by directing another show, Deck Your Own Friggin’ Halls, which was only a little removed from The Bard’s work I did in January. It was presented by Hobo Junction and was a member of a fantastic new-work 10-minute-play festival they do annually called Hobo Robo. I was honored to be invited to participate and extremely happy with the process with my fantastic cast! I hope to work with them all again in 2014 and beyond.

I thought that my return to Tulsa for the holidays would quench my homesickness. It did to some degree, but it was all too familiar and different at the same time. It was amazing to see the city in person again after being there in my dreams ever so often. We’ll be returning soon to look at wedding venues (!) and begin some sort of planning towards our day.

Can I just say how thankful I am that I knew you, 2013? You were amazing to me, and I’ll never forget you.

And now we find ourselves in 2014. I have high hopes, but above all I’m just so grateful. I mean, gosh… Yeah.

What More Do I Need?

What More Do I Need?

In case you haven’t noticed (and I hope you did) all of my posts are titled from showtunes that are applicable to the post. Shows like Victor/Victoria or Book of Mormon can bring me creative ideas for posts. I put a lot of thought into it, and until now I haven’t acknowledged it. ALL OF THAT ENDS TODAY.

I have now created, and will continue to maintain, a spotify playlist of those songs. I find the collection interesting, and I hope you do too. You can listen to it here, or in the player below.

Fascinatin’ Rhythm

Fascinatin’ Rhythm

This city leaves me speechless.

To say that I love it here is an understatement. My soul just feels good here. Everyplace we go is a brand new adventure. The people we meet are beautiful. The sounds of the city are music. 

This feeling is not new to me, really. I felt this way when I started college at Southeastern. It’s the feeling that the possibilities are endless and I can shape my own future. I ascribe to the school of thought that says life is all about the gathering of knowledge. So in a way I’m continuing my education in the city of Chicago. This is a list of what I’ve learned so far in no particular order:

1st Unitarian in Hyde Park

1st Unitarian in Hyde Park

  • The state of Illinois does not require food handlers classes or permits for waiters. Only for managers and food prep.
  • Spotify has Billy Joe Windhead’s Dark Ride.
  • I’m much more productive with Evernote.
  • There are 16 Unitarian Churches in Chicagoland. One was designed by Unitarian Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Tom Skilling is this wrong.
  • Illinois doesn’t call it the DMV, they prefer SOS. This one is so efficient, organized, and up to date – took me no time at all to get a new license. I also would like to brag that I passed my written test without missing a question.
  • For the first time in my adult life, I can say that my congressman really does represent my interests.
  • You don’t declare party affiliation when you register to vote in Illinois.
Photo courtesy of a potato.

On the Ferris wheel at Fiesta Del Sol.

More exciting updates on the horizon. Everyday is a gift, I hope I make the most of my time here – and I don’t mean here as in Chicago specifically so much as I mean here on this earth.

I hope all is well with you too, friends.

Chicago, Illinois

crayonskyline

I told you so.

I’m living a dream that is years in the making. Getting to Chicago was half the trouble. A move like this can drive most people crazy. It almost drove me crazy.

I’ve been here a month and each day brings a new lesson. But winter is coming (I finished Dance With Dragons yesterday, and I’m still mourning the loss of the series until Winds of Winter arrives) and we are sweet summer children. I’m trying to prepare myself, really I am, but I’m not rushing myself. It makes me feel like I’m wasting some of my time, but honestly I can’t imagine looking back on this month and regretting it.

August is the month of employment.

You ever look at a job listing and think “Oh sweet wounded Jesus, this job is so perfect for me!” It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does – boy it’s a good feeling. Submit the resume and cover letter and pray for an interview. A follow up call or visit helps, I’m told. I could try to convince you, reader, that I know the secret – but I don’t. It’s a little bit of luck, a little bit of confidence, and some natural spin. The only thing you might have complete control over is your resume.

My resume is polished and primed for an education-based arts position, with the right balance of teacher meets theatrical artist. Every job I’ve ever had has lead me to this fantastic career – where I get to spend each day working with children to achieve their hearts desire. Chicago will further my own ambitions to create a dynamic children’s show. I wake up every day inspired to learn and create, and Chicago is the right environment for me to achieve my goals. Everything I need is at my fingertips, I just have to go and get it.

I love Tulsa, and I always will – but I belong here in Chicago. I know it in my soul. So goodbye for now, Tulsa. I’ll see you in my dreams.

We’ll see how I feel after the job market has it’s way with me.

Golden Palace

Rebecca 2012

Rebecca 2012

2012 started with a flight to Minneapolis for another tour with the National Theatre for Children. Touring taught me so much about myself – I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I met new friends, reconnected with old, and made some kids laugh. I dined at Chef Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro, hiked Appalachia, had my tarot read, prayed at the Basilica St. Lawrence, and wrote a lot of postcards. I also got to spend a couple weeks working in Cincinnati, Ohio and reconnecting with my grandparent’s roots at the Seminary. Timely – my grandmother passed away before I was finished with tour. She was my hero – a strong, powerful woman who taught me to give 100% of myself to my passions. I returned to Tulsa to celebrate her life, then went back to North Carolina to finish tour with Andy. I spent a lovely weekend walking the beaches and waterfront in Wilmington, NC, visited a wonderful Unitarian Universalist Church in Winston-Salem, and fell in love with Finnegan’s Wake. To top it all off – I spent St. Patrick’s Day with good friends in Chicago – the first of many, I hope. Flying back to Tulsa was stressful (I will never love you, Denver.) but I made it home with a better understanding of myself.

I spent a better part of 2012 trying to heal myself. An MRI showed no injury in my knee – nothing wrong. I worried I might never get over the pain. After more doctors visits than I can count, and a whole lot of BenGay, I finally was recommended to begin Physical Therapy. It has been 4 weeks since I started PT and I am happy to say that I have much less pain. What I and my doctor thought was knee pain… is actually pulled muscles from my Achilles tendon all the way to my hamstrings. Without PT I could spend the rest of my life in pain. Thankfully my pain has decreased nearly 60% and I’m doing better everyday. A combination of Dry Needling and daily stretches seems to be the trick.

This is wonderful news, but it also carries it’s own frustration. You see, even though I do have Medical Insurance, my specific plan won’t cover PT. I have to pay nearly $50 for each session out of pocket. I do it, of course, because I have to. The pain was unbearable – and there is no price I wouldn’t pay. I’m thankful I am in a position right now to be able to take care of myself. I know that there are those who can’t. I support a National Healthcare plan for this very reason. That’s my soapbox for tonight.

Another highlight of my year was working with Carly and Amber on ‘Night Mother. It was exhilarating! Creativity was beyond capacity and I will never forget the absolute joy that came from working on that show. I’m so thankful for the experience. I also am thankful for my work at Clark Theatre this year – joining the staff at the Henthorne Performing Arts Center was a childhood dream come true. I’m proud of my work there. I also helped plan the wedding of Tony and Allison Boese in November – oh my goodness I have been so busy! Where did I find all of this time?

And so I say thank you and goodbye to 2012, the year that I really met myself. My head is high as I look to the new year. I have a show in production at the start of the year, I’m teaching more classes in the spring, and the summer will be full of surprises! It might get windy. Stay tuned! Thank you all for your friendship and continued support. I love you all!