Let Down

Today, I let my kid be disappointed. 

I could have swooped in and saved him, been a sidekick, been a day-saver. 

But I didn’t. 

There was a school thing today. There are always school things. Today was one of many. 

Last night we planned. We packed the bag. We stuffed the envelopes. We were ready. 

And then this morning, he forgot. 

I tried to text him. He didn’t answer. I tried to FaceTime him. He didn’t answer. Why do I buy expensive tech that we don’t ever answer????

He went to school without. And I let him. 

Avalanche of guilt. Big, sharp, pointy, heavy boulders of it. Everywhere. 

I wasn’t there for him this morning. In my heart, I felt I let him down. 

Last night, I was at rehearsal for a show I’m excited about. I get excited about Shakespeare and that’s awesome. 

But, if I’m at rehearsal, my kiddo is with his dad. At their house. Because I couldn’t make that work. 

Now, I’m a lousy mom and a lousy partner and my kid is the only one in his class today without the things and ye gods these boulders of guilt are CRUSHING me and where’s a Shakespearean witch with a vanishing spell when you need one!!!

Stop. Move the boulder. Breathe. 

This is a nothing. In two years my kid won’t remember this. Other things are bigger. Maybe he’ll remember his class election not going the way he wanted. Maybe that was a big deal. We’re not there yet. 

I don’t want him to have my anxiety and hang ups. As a adult, I want him to take things seriously when they matter. I also want him to brush off the nonsense that causes ulcers but in reality doesn’t mean shit. 

So, I let him be disappointed. But I didn’t let him down. 

I’ll be under these boulders trying to remember that. 

Not Me

Photo credit: Kristin Antosz


I’m not great in an audience. 
I can’t leave me long enough

 to be up there with them. 

I don’t laugh at the jokes. 

My head screams too loud to hear them. 

But I know they’re there. 

And I’ll say they’re funny. 
I’ll cry when it’s sad. 

That, that I get. 

But I won’t let them see. 
Mostly, I just wish I was on stage. 

Because there, I’m not me. 

There, I’m big and beautiful. 

I can talk. And mean it. 

I can listen and not stand aside,

Waiting for a quiet minute,

to step away 

and back 

and gone. 

Somewhere I have things to wear and 

words to say. 

And it matters. 
Just not off stage.

Please not off stage. 

That’s where it’s dark. 

Where you get lost

By yourself. 

Without a thing to wear

Or words

And no one to hear them

Or listen if they did. 
When you walk around

without a mark

or a truth or a lie, 

Who are you?
Me?
Just sitting in the seats. 

Waiting in the dark. 

Wondering who to be. 

Just please,

Not me. 

Producing

A long time ago, in my parents’ living room far, far away, I wrote a fan letter. This was a different world. A world of dial-up internet and video rental stores. My local dealer, a small version of a national chain, had a small section of “independent movies.” Once I figured out what the hell that meant, I was hooked. I rented them all. I paid some stout late fees. I didn’t go out much that summer. The movies were small and looked grainy. Truly like your friends had grabbed a camcorder and hit record.  I liked all of them for their moxie and grit and willingness to reach for the stars from the gutter. Until I saw one called ‘Green” by writer/director Karl T. Hirsch. I didn’t like that one. I loved it. Loved it beyond reason. Couldn’t tell you why I loved it. I just did. Loved it, such that I went to the next town and got a new video rental membership, with every intention of grabbing that movie, telling them I broke it, and coughing up whatever money they asked for just so I could have that film for always.

I couldn’t. Guilt won. The privilege of youth.

So, I sat down, and I dialed up that internet, and half an hour later, I was sending a fan letter to the distribution company of ‘Green’ called Asylum. They sent it to Karl. He wrote me back.

Present time: I have instant WiFi and Nexflix streaming. Karl and I have been friends for 15 years. We’ve written together and he’s stayed at my house. I still love independent film. Never would I have dreamed when I was an aspiring video thief, that I would actually get to play in that world of duct tape and magic.

I’m so thrilled to have come to this place where it is my turn  to promote two fantastic films for which I serve as producer. No exaggeration. These are fantastic movies made by tremendous talents. This is the good stuff.

The Chop

Written and Directed by Jack Davis

IMDb: http://http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3846404/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Facebook: The Chop http://https://www.facebook.com/TheChopMovie/

Twitter: @TheChopMovie

IG: chopmoviepgh

(P.S. I’m in this one. In my underwear. With other stunning girls and impossibly slick cars. If you’re into any of that.)

Coming 2017.

 

 

 

Cut to the Chase

Written and Directed by Blayne Weaver

IMDb:http://http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4034390/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Facebook:http://https://www.facebook.com/cuttothechasefilm/

Twitter: @cutchasemovie

http://cuttothechasefilm.com

iTunes: http://apple.co/2lEIOTw
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2n1bhAW
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2mADHnL
Vudu: http:// http://bit.ly/2lQPjyK
XBOX: http://http://bit.ly/2mgvrst

(P.S. I’m not in this one, but some ridiculously beautiful people are, as you can plainly  see.)

I’m so happy to onboard with these amazing artists. Can’t wait to do it again.

But for now, go. See these great movies.

 

Playing with Fashion

With a Capital F. 
This is me, when I want to be in Daisy Buchanan’s pearls, Miss Hannigan’s (correction: Carol Burnett’s Miss Hannigan. Always.) torn sweater and Cordelia Chase’s thigh-high boots. 


The influences are complex and nerdy. 

Smooth to touch with hardness at the base. 1920’s cheek and 1990’s hubris. Classy and raggedy. 

Just the way I love it. 

What If I Don’t?

From the set of ‘Silenced’ by James Barris

In the past few months, I got  to see Coney Island for the first time. I got to sit in a hospital room through the night with my mother. I got to see my son build his own game controller. I got to talk and share and feel for hours with a fantastic boy.
In the past few months, I’ve also had to give up at least six acting jobs. A combination of:

-getting cast and then turning now the part (surefire way to never get to work with that company again; and that was an incredible part. This is one that still stings.)

-scheduling several auditions and then cancelling

-being outright offered roles and refusing them

I look back with at least a little regret and anger at all those. Pointless but there’s truth and lies. Them is the truths.

Now, as I started many paragraphs and bulleted lists ago, I was able to do some important and very worthy things. I got to spend a weekend in the city of my heart, NYC and see my favorite band.  I got to see my son run in waves at the beach. And then I got to rescue him from the airport when his return trip from his father’s wedding when ridiculously awry.

I couldn’t have done any of those things if I had been in rehearsals for a play or on set.

I look back on those choices and I’m fine with what I picked. No regret or anger. Them is also the truths.

I wonder if I’m just justifying. Rationalizing. Piling on the horseshit high and wide.

That’s not impossible.

Maybe because I’m not getting cast or because life and it’s collars forced me back out of parts I could do, that I feel a compunction to tell a story. A story where I’d rather feel ineffectual and irrelevant as an artist than feel guilty for being an absent and selfish parent.

Maybe I just want to feel good about myself. So I spin a story about stepping away intentionally from my world of self, when it could be they pushed me off stage for being a cheap hack. I’m not the best actor.

Poor guy isn’t the best masker either.

Cause look at this kid.

I make this exact face every day. He often hates doing things out in the world with people. Just like I do. And I love him for it.


He made me a birthday cake. Something I could not have seen if I hadn’t turned down a recent acting offer.

I’m a mom. This is what I do. You give up the last slice of cake and you turn down leading roles in classic plays.

What worries me, if I let myself go to the dark and scary places, is what I don’t?

What if I don’t act again?

Conversely, what if I get an incredible professional chance, and grab it with both hands? To metaphorically keep the last piece of cake for myself sounds lucious sometimes in its indulgence.

What if to chase that, I run away from my kid and let him fend for himself with whatever family member takes over for me? I’m afraid because if I had the money and assistance I might. (Luckily or unluckily, that’s not my family’s lot. Not a healthy bunch. See above night in hospital. )

What if, as I’ve always feared and suspected but kinda knew, I’m not that strong an actor and that’s why the drive and journey and success eluded me?

Or  what if I just shut the hell up for a second? What if I accept with humble gratitude all my immense privileges and the freedoms, experiences and opportunities for profound happiness that comes with that shining gift? The ability to have a job and a home and a healthy kid is the holy grail and only a fool keeps searching once they’ve found at least one scroll.

Also, obvious and crystal, sparkling clear, I think the women who work and parent and pursue their art are goddesses and I bow to their glory. Being any of those three things should not lessen the worth or might of the others. I know personally several brilliant actor mamas and they have my daily awe and jealousy. Just because I can’t make it happen for myself doesn’t mean I judge what they do. Of course, I cringe and melt into a pile of self-pity and why esteem vacates when I see their pictures from set on Instagram. But I don’t judge them. Nor do I the moms who left our little acting and art world to play in the realm of motherhood forever and always. I applaud them all. At least I try.

And I’m so, so grateful for what I’ve been able to do. I have gorgeous memories and friends to take with me as I continue through my script. Other pulls abated for a bit, now I have time and space to focus on the people fate has brought into my life and home. Much more guitar and laughter and hugging than I ever thought my sphere would hold. Lucky girl.

So, tonight, fine at home with no pending outlets, I’m not sad. I’m listening. I’m trying to turn out and not in. I’m staying open.

Maybe that part will be back. I have some ideas for when it’s time.

For now, there’s my novel that is on a second draft and won’t find and editor on its own. There is a lovely boy who is coming to Nashville with me.

And there is a small-ish Chewbacca that needs a Rey to take him to the Halloween dance.

Don’t mind if I do.

What If I Don’t?

From the set of ‘Silenced’ by James Barris

In the past few months, I got  to see Coney Island for the first time. I got to sit in a hospital room through the night with my mother. I got to see my son build his own game controller. I got to talk and share and feel for hours with a fantastic boy. 
In the past few months, I’ve also had to give up at least six acting jobs. A combination of: 

-getting cast and then turning now the part (surefire way to never get to work with that company again; and that was an incredible part. This is one that still stings.)

-scheduling several auditions and then cancelling

-being outright offered roles and refusing them

I look back with at least a little regret and anger at all those. Pointless but there’s truth and lies. Them is the truths. 

Now, as I started many paragraphs and bulleted lists ago, I was able to do some important and very worthy things. I got to spend a weekend in the city of my heart, NYC and see my favorite band.  I got to see my son run in waves at the beach. And then I got to rescue him from the airport when his return trip from his father’s wedding when ridiculously awry. 

I couldn’t have done any of those things if I had been in rehearsals for a play or on set. 

I look back on those choices and I’m fine with what I picked. No regret or anger. Them is also the truths. 

I wonder if I’m just justifying. Rationalizing. Piling on the horseshit high and wide. 

That’s not impossible. 

Maybe because I’m not getting cast or because life and it’s collars forced me back out of parts I could do, that I feel a compunction to tell a story. A story where I’d rather feel ineffectual and irrelevant as an artist than feel guilty for being an absent and selfish parent. 

Maybe I just want to feel good about myself. So I spin a story about stepping away intentionally from my world of self, when it could be they pushed me off stage for being a cheap hack. I’m not the best actor. 

Poor guy isn’t the best masker either. 

Cause look at this kid. 

I make this exact face every day. He often hates doing things out in the world with people. Just like I do. And I love him for it. 


He made me a birthday cake. Something I could not have seen if I hadn’t turned down a recent acting offer. 

I’m a mom. This is what I do. You give up the last slice of cake and you turn down leading roles in classic plays. 

What worries me, if I let myself go to the dark and scary places, is what I don’t?

What if I don’t act again? 

Conversely, what if I get an incredible professional chance, and grab it with both hands? To metaphorically keep the last piece of cake for myself sounds lucious sometimes in its indulgence. 

What if to chase that, I run away from my kid and let him fend for himself with whatever family member takes over for me? I’m afraid because if I had the money and assistance I might. (Luckily or unluckily, that’s not my family’s lot. Not a healthy bunch. See above night in hospital. )

What if, as I’ve always feared and suspected but kinda knew, I’m not that strong an actor and that’s why the drive and journey and success eluded me? 

Or  what if I just shut the hell up for a second? What if I accept with humble gratitude all my immense privileges and the freedoms, experiences and opportunities for profound happiness that comes with that shining gift? The ability to have a job and a home and a healthy kid is the holy grail and only a fool keeps searching once they’ve found at least one scroll. 

Also, obvious and crystal, sparkling clear, I think the women who work and parent and pursue their art are goddesses and I bow to their glory. Being any of those three things should not lessen the worth or might of the others. I know personally several brilliant actor mamas and they have my daily awe and jealousy. Just because I can’t make it happen for myself doesn’t mean I judge what they do. Of course, I cringe and melt into a pile of self-pity and why esteem vacates when I see their pictures from set on Instagram. But I don’t judge them. Nor do I the moms who left our little acting and art world to play in the realm of motherhood forever and always. I applaud them all. At least I try. 

And I’m so, so grateful for what I’ve been able to do. I have gorgeous memories and friends to take with me as I continue through my script. Other pulls abated for a bit, now I have time and space to focus on the people fate has brought into my life and home. Much more guitar and laughter and hugging than I ever thought my sphere would hold. Lucky girl. 

So, tonight, fine at home with no pending outlets, I’m not sad. I’m listening. I’m trying to turn out and not in. I’m staying open. 

Maybe that part will be back. I have some ideas for when it’s time. 

For now, there’s my novel that is on a second draft and won’t find and editor on its own. There is a lovely boy who is coming to Nashville with me. 

And there is a small-ish Chewbacca that needs a Rey to take him to the Halloween dance. 

Don’t mind if I do. 

Storm

 

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Something woke me up.

Not my usual spinning brain or a stray shoulder on my pillow.

An actual thing. I could physically feel it. I blinked and rubbed my eyes while I searched for exactly what the thing was. It was there.

The room was midnight dark, so it wasn’t a flash of light.

Not light. A sound.

It sounded like nickels were plinking against the window. The storm had rustled me a few times during the night, but not like this. This was full and proper, out-of-bed, eyes-wide awake and seeing. I peered out the window and watched the rain. And then I saw the hail. Small cloudy crystals sitting on the window sill.

As far as poetic moments with just a touch of magic go, this one was pretty damn good. The fog over the river was thicker than the one in my head. The air was buzzy and tingling and creation was itching to happen. Could feel it bumping along your skin.  I watched and listened and the first paragraph of a story came.

A girl. An opaque  prism of hail that she took in her rain-soaked hand. A flash.

I smiled. And remembered to write that shit down, because I always intend to but usually don’t so the story is almost gone in the morning. Got you this time, you fleeting bastard. The sensations calmed and  I sunk back into sleep. Stayed there for a whole twenty-three minutes.

The rain had stopped by the time I closed the door behind me. I couldn’t see any hail on the sidewalk or my car. As I drove, the streets dried.

That’s when the second storm started.

I’m not a secure girl. Hard to admit. I’m not proud of it. It’s not what I want. But it’s where I am. Where I’m desperately trying and learning not to be.

The glitch is not about my relationships or the people I love. It’s me. What I am and what I do. Somehow the electric humming specialness of the night before had blown fully down the road and a day of brain maschochism had moved in, fully paid and blustering and feeling entitled as hell.

That morning, I was convinced what a generally lousy human I was. That I was a terrible actor. A hack writer. And that’s just the fluff. Don’t begin to delve into the way I treat people I care about and the selfish slag that I had become. And for the love of Lady Macbeth, there surely wasn’t a worst, less capable, more monstrously unloving mother in the galaxy.

Brains and the thoughts they feed us can be absolute fucking assholes.

And that’s where my brain stayed all god damn day. Posting and pecking and prodding me, lest I forget, what a waste of good carbon I was. I tried every therapy technique I know. Making lists of the “wrong” thoughts, and comparing them with polar opposite possibilities. Reviewing successes and accomplishments. Actively choosing positivity.

Yeah. Good luck with all that.

I briefly delved into my own, less helpful, less healing, coping methods. Not something I’d recommend.

Out of mania or madness or common sense, I tried reaching out for help. To see if I could get pulled out of my pit of pity. Problem with me, and that, is that if someone has heard it all before, tried it all before, and gotten nothing but pulled into the pit for their troubles, they are not liking to start in with the heavy pulling. Nor should they. If someone is determined to be stuck, willfully diving deeper instead of looking for a foothold, best you can do is leave a rope within grabbing reach for them and hope for the best and a grip that holds if they choose to unstick.

And that’s where I was. Ready to set fire to it all for no other selfish, bratty, bullshit reason than to watch it burn.

Until I got home. And Storm was dead.

Storm was a guinea pig. An eighth birthday present. Short for “Storm Trooper”. (The nerd is strong in our home. ) My sweet boy’s pet was dead. I had to tell him. I had to look in those eyes that are the blue mirrors of mine and tell him that the furry creature he loved was dead. l had to tell him that no, it wasn’t his fault. That no, he was probably okay now. And that yes, he might be somewhere with his Pappy, laughing and making ridiculous piggy tweet sounds.

Forget your bullshit head baggage, Lady. There’s a kid with some real-ass trouble right here.

The rains picked up again, and night started to return, and we stood outside. One black rain coat, one blue. One tall pair of rainy boots, one short. One long-handled shovel and one small garden spade. And together, we dug a hole, and said a prayer and placed some flowers.

My heart broke for him. One of so many aches and hurts he will have to endure. This one was easy. (But not replaceable. Because if, say, you wanted to buy a replacement guinea pig, did you know there is a shortage? How is there possibly a guinea pig draught? ) The crushes he had in store for him will only get harder.

And my heart broke a little for me. I get so wrapped up in my own twisted mind that I perpetually miss what is in front of me. The happy. The exciting. The incredibly possible.  And I run past with my head down because I hate the shape of my body and my unavailable life. It took a dead rodent and a crying kid to pull me out of my pit. That’s really, really , really god damn sad. But, for the moment, not as sad as a piggy funeral.

(My second grade editor just whispered suggestions over my shoulder and pointed at the last sentence. Yes, my love. Mommy writes bad words every now and then. Because sometimes, they are the only ones that fit.)

I’m glad I was there.  That I was the parent that got to weather this one with him. I love this kid with all my shattered, crinkled heart and every now and then, I don’t suck at being his mom. It was a precious gift to remember that sometimes, I can see what’s in front of me. And it can be beautiful. The crystal of hail. The wide-grate smile of my missing -toothed kid when the tears for his loss stopped and I said yes to more ice cream. I’m not believing, but starting to consider. Maybe the thoughts are wrong and some of the words are real.

Rest in peace, Storm. We hardly knew ye. Good journey.

And thanks for letting me see.

“Blow wind. Come rack. At least we’ll die with armor on our back.”

– “Macbeth”, William Shakespeare

 

 

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