Things I Was Doing (While You Were Hating My Blackness)

waking up later than I wanted to/ taking my dog on a walk/ sweating from just below my breast so that it makes a trail of sweat that makes it to my belly button/ washing my hair/ eating a well balanced breakfast/ running up a steep hill/ losing my breath/ eating ice cream/ smelling something that might be eucalyptus but I'm not completely sure/ writing a story about Gabe, because he died/ thinking about what I should be writing more than writing/ baking a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting/ picking up my dog's shit/ sitting at a red light next to a bus/ drinking rye whiskey on the rocks/ thinking about a trip to Paris/ remembering the time I went to Raging Waters and how much I appreciated that effort my mom made but hating every minute of it/ going to see Jill Scott in concert/ eating roasted carrots/ walking to Whole Foods/ ignoring my responsibilities/ drinking alone/ asking for patience/ peeing/ taking very good care of my hair/ watching a movie with people that are uncomfortable with homosexuality/ being ashamed of the way I was/ loving the sound of my own voice when I hit that one note/ listening to David Bowie/ wondering whatever happened to Devon Sawa/ wandering down a desolate street looking over my shoulder/ fearing the unknown more than the known/ reading the NYTimes/ eating two eggs scrambled and toast with strawberry jam/ smiling/ making plans to travel and maybe staying far away/ watching a tv show about a woman who cheats on her boyfriend then has to live with the consequences/ dating/ cleaning my apartment over the course of 4 days/ wondering if I'll ever have enough/ laughing in a park/ trying four out of ten of the fro-yo flavors and ending up with chocolate/ moving my bed to the other side of the room/ laugh so loud and so full that I get a reputation as that girl/ driving my new friend home because she is just too small to walk alone/ working/ describing the plot to Adventures in Babysitting/ making mistakes/ meditating/ trying to have faith that I'll ever fall in love again/ feeling general anxiety about the world and how I fit/ crossing traffic/ trusting/ feeling exhausted/ texting my favorite person at all hours of the day/ watching my dog chase flies/ laughing at my own jokes

Week One

Monday is my fabricated New Years Day. I treat most Sunday nights like it is New Years Eve I make plans to work out more in the week to come, to write more, to send more proposals, to finish more plays and to open myself to the possibility that my life can change for the better at any movement. I always try to make Sunday count.

This weekend, for example, I went to Pop Physique with my spandex clad mother. I grunted and huffed and puffed and afterward I made a mediocre smoothie and pulled a full sized paper towel out of my dog’s asshole, a wonderful moment I was glad we could share. After resting for a bit I was dropped off, like a teenager going to the mall, at the Rogue Mechanicals Theater to see Penelope, an amazing play by Enda Walsh. It was hysterical and moving, all of the elements (acting, set, direction) were on point and I was transported to the pool in which the play takes place and I was satisfied. I walked back out in the hot light of day, my mom waiting to take me home and I was ready to finish out my Sunday with optimism, ignoring the fear another work week can sometimes bring.

After being home in time to miss a major lightening storm, after finished my 100th reading of Thom Pain (this time the Will Eno’s play acting as research) That I have learned so much about the structure of storytelling recently, that I have learned so much about myself in the many years that I have started calling myself a writer and that it is time to use that knowledge and plow ahead with confidence. I was whelmed by the understanding that I haven’t written anything fantastic quite yet so I better get on my shit.

So my goals this simulated New Years days is to:

1. Go to SoulCyle twice this week.
2. Finish the edits on a play I would like to start submitting
3. Learn even more about CONDI
4. Get on my shit

Mick/ Malcolm

Malcolm thought it would be a good idea to show everyone his Mick Jagger impression. It was important that everyone be able to see his strut and the cock of his hips so climbing up on the nearest table was the obvious solution.

Malcolm had been drinking for the majority of his waking hours. Jim Beam chased by Miller High Life, or maybe it was High Life chased by Beam, really it it didn’t matter in the end. What mattered was how sturdy the table was when he dizzily climbed up,which wasn’t sturdy at all. What mattered was how much weight it could hold, which was not what his squat girth had to offer.

Hostels are bougie homeless shelters, homeless shelters that you pay for. Morgan convinced me that it would be a good idea to stay in a hostel on a 2 day trip to Prague. I made it to 30 without staying in a large room filled with bunk beds where I would be spending nights listening to other people snore. I have never been to county jail and I have never stayed in a European hostel. The problem was that we were booking very late and more importantly we are very poor. I am very poor, so I have no room to demand a hotel room that I can’t afford so I gave in to staying on thetop bunk above a stranger.

After a very pleasant bus ride that was proceeded by a very unpleasant, hysterical run because of a metro mix up, we arrived in the castle-filled city of Prague. When we got to our hostel we were surprised to find that there was a bar serving SoCo and Lemonade cocktails ( what I would call a gut punch cocktail), a rather gruff looking Czech bouncer, and a full on dance club in the lobby. Black Eyed Peas was blasting and I already had a stress headache developing behind my eyes. Morgan assured me that she has stayed in many hostels and only had a great time sharing rooms with Brazilian models and eating free breakfasts.

We are given our room and bed assignments and we head up to see where we will be sleeping. The room is not bad for a studio apartment with 4 bunk beds placed closely together. I find my assigned bed and climb up to put my things away. To get out of the bed I practically have to jump down, I am not the most coordinated person, this seems like it may end in an injury.

In walks a tiny, soft spoken young girl that tells Morgan and I about her travels and how happy she is that there are girls in the room. Finally, girls. The boys that have been staying with her are out getting drunk. We mentioned that were were going for a traditional Czech meal and she said that she would be eating in the room where she produced a back of bread and various fruits she would be eating in the cubby hole that made for herself.

After eating a lot of bread, meat and thick sauce and drinking a sampler of beer we headed back to the room. Around 2 am I was burning up and trying to force myself to sleep when four 18 year old boys trundled in. They are drunk and opening bits of candy and struggling with getting there pants off. Someone smokes a cigarette in the bathroom and I try my best to pretend that it is not happening. After they settle downand start to pass into sleep that is when the farting starts. The sounds of gas that is so loud it shakes the windows. These are farts of people that have let go, that give zero fucks. I finally start to fall asleep with the thick air wafting all around me when I am startled awake by one of the boys screaming in raspy Italian. It sounds like he is fighting off an intruder so I sit up to see what is going on when I hear another loud Italian exclamation come from the other side of the room. These boys must be having the same dream, they are so drunk they are lucid dreaming together. How sweet.
After sleeping two hours, and waking up in what smelled like a running shoe, I was ready to change rooms. It was a pretty easy swap into a new room but I was scared it could be worse. What if we ended up in a room where the walls were covered in blood and poop? What if the night terrors were worse in our next room? Or worse, what if we ended up with people who wanted to talk…about our lives? I would have to smile and nod while I hear about the stress that gives a high strung college student bells palsy or how Sydney is far superior to Melbourne.        

Sadly, those are the two people that we found. We were met with screams of “YOU BETTER HAVE SOME EAR PLUGS!” because someone in the room was a snorer of such a degree that he sounds like a vacuum that has sucked up a small dog. Sleeping two hours the night before and spending all day being a tourist put me right to sleep. Morgan was subjected to bells palsy doing yoga poses trying to get comfortable enough to watch and episode of Law and Order.

At 5 am the screaming started. I am woken up by two American dudes yelling “WELCOME TO THE PRAGUE ZOO”. Complaining at the top of their voices about the savagery of the snoring coming from a chubby white dude with dreads. Funny enough the snorer had snuck in a few hours earlier with his girlfriend and began to snore the most melodious, constant, soothing snoring I have every experienced. My mother sounds like she is choking when she snores, my grandpa sounded like someone who couldn’t breath without coughing, I know snoring and his snoring was beautiful. Fucking gorgeous.

We woke the next morning at 7 am to take a bus back to Berlin. We checked out with the most stoned Spaniard I have every seen and swore never to stay at a hostel again.

My Therapist and I Should Be Friends

It would be great if I could call my therapist up on a Friday night and say, “Hey, what are you up to tonight? Wanna grab a drink?”. And he could say, “Can you wait till 10? I just want to finish these dishes and eat some dinner here, I’m tired of eating out”. And I would say, “Okay, I’ll eat at home too! See you later”. We would meet at a bar somewhere between his house and mine and we would talk and talk and talk.

He is such a good listener.

My therapist laughs at all of my jokes. He thinks I’m hilarious. I’ll say things like “I mean, I want kids but I’m afraid I’ll have a baby born with no brain” and he laughs and says things like, “ Do you really believe that is a possibility? Does that keep you up at night?”. And I say, “Yes”.

Or he will make a joke. Like when I told him about the girl I knew that was pregnant and didn’t know it (like the famous show Pregnant and Didn’t Know It) and he says “What do these women have a cloaca?” and I laugh and later go home and look up what that is and laugh again at how clever he is.

We really should vacation in Montauk with our significant others, together.
We really should hang out.

If we got close enough I could go shopping with him and finally find out where he gets all his cool socks. How does he always have the most amazing foot accessories? I would also finally know what eye glass shop he goes to, he has great eye wear.

Ultimately our friendship would support the feeling I have that we sit in a room and I talk and he listens and he responds to what I think are interesting topics and he likes that, he would do that with me for free. Right?

*Painting By Guy Ben Ari

How To Watch A Bad Play

The other day I saw a play, and it was bad. It was terrible. It was painful to watch.

I see my fair share of new plays. Untested, newly produced plays with living playwrights that may be at the show that I am seeing. These plays are produced by people that I respect, that use the resources that they fight for, the space that they spend time searching for, to put up these never before produced new plays, and I love that. Most of the time these new plays are innovative, inspiring and fun to watch; but once in awhile a stinker gets through. When seeing a bad play I suggest you do the following:

    1)Give the play another chance- Sometimes it takes a bit for momentum to build, for the play to get its legs. Don’t just shut down, go with it and see what happens.
    2)Find a character that you want to see through what may be a complete train wreck- The structure might be poor but the characters could be alive and full.
   3)Fantasize about the actors- I like to think about the actors, what they do backstage, how long it took them to memorize each line, if they go out every night after the show or if they will wait till the very last performance to really let loose and party.
    4)Take in the sound and design elements- Is the set interestingly structured? Does it look like a particular set piece was made with love by a stage hand? Is the story reflected in the scenery? The design of a set can sometimes take something mediocre and elevate it to bearable. Sound design is the unsung hero of the theater. A good sound designer is hard to find and I know two of the best. I know the amount of effort they put in to every show they work on, even the ones they don’t necessarily enjoy. The sound of water dripping, the mumbles through the wall, those original songs that are piped in for atmosphere, behind all of that is a sound artist and you can lose yourself in their work.
     5) If all else fails reflect- Finding time to just meditate and reflect on your day, or your life or how you are feeling is rare. You're in the dark and no matter how good you think a play is you are being confronted with humanity, which naturally makes you think about your own, so go with it, lean in.

I hope that helps. There is nothing worse than seeing a bad play but don’t let that ruin the overall experience of being in a theater and definitely don’t let that be the last play you see. The next one may open your mind to possibilities that you never knew existed; the next one may change you life.

"We made the heartbreak face and then we smiled…We were exiled kings, useless princes…. We lied when it would’ve been easier to tell the truth…We loved each other too much…We read books to avoid conversations… We thought modern art was a load of shit….We confess to never having an original idea; we feigned disapproval of things we’d done ourselves."

-Forced Entertainment