Thursday, March 15, 2012

A glimpse at a future...

I should be finishing the grading of my finals but my eyeballs need a break.

Let me tell you about a waking dream that held me captive for a moment of pure happiness.

Recently, I have thought of turning one of my screenplays into a stageplay. As I worked away at whatever task I was working on, a flash shot through my mind where I actually saw a major scene from this screenplay on stage. IT WORKED!-and it was good.

That was three weeks ago and I have thought about it everyday since! I can focus. I can do this! An amazing thing is about to happen!

Just watch.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Dream--that if it came to fruition, would blow my mind!

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”
William Arthur Ward

I need to remember to focus...I have a passion but sometimes I put it on the back burner because I hear my Mother's voice say, "...that just won't pay the're being impractical...".

I love movies...I mean LOVE them. The idea of sitting in a dark theater and escaping for 90 minutes is the most enticing thing I know. Movies are beautiful and can so wholly change the way others view their world. I remember my first memory. It was like a clip from a movie. Some people remember things by what was said or what they felt. I tend to remember things in terms of how 'the scene' was set. I always have. When I design costumes for a theatrical production, I see the characters in context. Where are they, who are they where do they live....okay now what are they wearing?

Many years ago, when I started college, I was in the cinematography program at UNLV when my family lived in Vegas but a near tragedy made my father take stock of his life and that of his children. They chose to leave Vegas and I was left without a place to live while attending school and so I returned to Wyoming with them. While there, I became involved in theatre and seemingly have been stuck there ever since. However, every time I see a movie that moves me or a bit of film that is inexplicably beautiful, I would pine away for what I could have done if I had just stayed at UNLV. Until very recently (last 4 years) I let that be my lot in life. Stupid, I know.

Then my brother, Terry, was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I quit chastising myself for what could have been because I wouldn't have so much to say without the life experience that I had been given. Here was my brother dealing with a much larger problem than my pitiful self sabbotage. Terry fought cancer for three years and during his last two months of life I was having a particularly bad year in my job as a professor at a university. When we were told that his cancer had spread to his brain, I dug out 3 composition notebooks that I had hand written a screenplay into on my lunch breaks when I was working as a freelance artist and part-time baker. I began typing the words and then remembered that a screenwriting text had 'mysteriously' found me at a thrift store some months earlier. I didn't have anymore excuses. My story was written in these notebooks and I had a map so there was nothing left to do but type. On the day my niece called my Mom to tell her that my brother died, I finished plotting out the ending of that screenplay. Terry had suffered a heart attack during a procedure to deliver chemo directly to the affected spot of his brain. My rough script was done but he would never get to read it.

Leaving St. George Utah, I drove with my niece, Hartsy, (who was staying with me for the summer) to where my other sister Becky was living. I picked up Becky (Bex, as I am want to call her) and her two children. Together the five of us drove seventeen plus hours to Auburn, WA in order to attend the funeral. The whole journey with my little sister and those beautiful kiddos made me realize that my brother was a relatively happy and young man to have died. I'll never get to see him read the words I spent so long formulating but I can see my work through--if I can keep focused.

Yeah, I write but I feel a little cliche` and pretentious when I tell people so I don't go around blurting it out. I'm not ashamed but it's personal and I have seen the looks and eye rolls enough times to keep me from shouting that I have a passion for writing. Wrong?-yes probably but I'm learning.

I'm at a place in my life when the universe should know and I'll proclaim it now, I'm ready for my writing to succeed. I want a second career in writing. I love it and I think that many others will too.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where we were when...

On September 11, 2001 where were you? You remember it vividly, right? It is a day that no one who witnessed the unbelievable horror will ever forget. The horror of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the heroic men and women of Flight 93 who fought their hijackers and subsequently crashed in the field of Shanksville, Pennsylvania became our JFK--our December 7, 1941.

I was a graduate student at Wayne State. That Tuesday in September I was sitting in my lighting design class with my fellow students speculating the lateness of our professor, Tom Schraeder. He soon came into class, visibly shaken, telling us that there had been a possible bombing at the World Trade Center in New York. I remember him saying that his daughter was in that area and that he couldn't get a hold of her by phone. Then he became very solemn, looking around the room, he told us that we had more important places to be then school and that there were several televisions set up around the department if we wanted to see the news. I headed back to the costume shop where one of the TVs was set up to see the news. The footage of the towers was playing and a second plane crashed into the south tower. I didn't know it in that instant that it was a replay of what had happen minutes earlier but I could tell what the news commentator couldn't seconds before the plane hit--that it was purposeful. The commentator kept repeating,"is that plane to assess the damage?" We all knew that it wasn't there to observe.

Our classmate, Mindy, was in shock. Her parents were on a fight in Boston, the departure city of those doomed flights. We did our best to comfort her as we tried to take our own minds off what we had just witnessed. We busied ourselves with production work and watch the news simultaneously. It was a futile attempt. Not much work on the productions was completed that morning. My friend, Ricky, was very level headed, calm and able to think clearly in high pressure situations. He suggested that we go next door to a small shop, owned by a couple from Pakistan, to get some snacks and a soda since we didn't know how long we would be on campus. There were some hesitations from the group because we used to call it the "Pakistani store" and the word and country Pakistan had already been mentioned in the news as aiding the terrorists in the attacks. Ricky, never one for prejudice, fervently said that it was not helping the mood of the day to immediately suspect everyone who didn't look like us and that he was going if anyone wanted to join him. I went because he spoke the truth. We couldn't suspect everyone. It is no way to live. The owner and his family we gathered around their television. As we paid for our snacks, the owner said, "This is a very sad day. So much sadness." I was moved to see this man so upset. It was a confirmation of what Ricky had stated moments earlier.

I don't remember the specific order of the events that came next but two hours later when the towers collapsed I was in tears. I knew there was no way that the thousands of people trapped in the towers would have survived. There was a bomb threat called into the campus. Detroit has the largest Arab-American population in the United States combine that with the events of the day and no one was willing to risk more tragedy so the campus was closed. There was also a Mosque nearby to the campus that was vandalized. A tribute to the blind hate that marred the day.

I lived very near to campus--actually I was surrounded by it. I walked home and watched more coverage of the events unfolding. I was so overloaded by the emotions I was feeling that I quite literally became numb. I couldn't move from my couch for what seemed like hours. Finally, and somehow, I became aware of where I was. I got up. I decided that I should go to a grocery store but the local store close to campus had been shut down when the bomb threat was called in to campus and so I went out to Madison Heights. The Kroger was open but looked eerily like a ghost town as I walked down the aisles that were bare of many canned goods, batteries, and dairy products. I was able to pick up some bread, a little soy milk, granola bars, water and some chocolate. As I drove back towards Detroit, the freeway had been barricaded down to one lane. Traffic, although not heavy, was stop and go. I sat stopped on the freeway I noticed a small plastic flag on the pavement. As a police vehicle passed me the flag became caught in the wind. It was like the video of the plastic bag in the movie of American Beauty and I was caught up in the relativity of the movie title to the flag twirling in the breeze...and then John Lennon's Imagine played on the radio. The impact of the events of the day, the emotions I was feeling, and the fact that I was so far away from family overcame me and I couldn't stop weeping.

That's how I remember September 11, 2001.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

A Struggle for Words...

Nate and Kami Jordan

There are days when you think, "Today my life is great. Things are going well and I couldn't ask for anything more". It's a good feeling. It surpasses any past tragedy, any past hurt, any past loss....but so many times it can not overcome the current pain of a loved one or the sudden loss of a friend.

I feel like that today. My day was pretty great as days go. I was busy and looking towards my coming month with positivity. I came home and turned on the computer-checked my facebook as so many of us do...and there I was met with a status from my cousin, Dee, saying how angry she was and that cancer sucks. I knew immediately what this meant. My cousin, Nathan, was diagnosed with AML--a type of lukemia that replaces normal bone marrow with lukemia cells. It's very painful. He has been a trooper and has fought hard but his wife, Kami, revealed this heartbreaking statement on facebook today,

"We are in need of information. We have been given the options of how best to temporarily control pain and quality of life till Nathan dies, but I don't intend to let Nathan suffer or to be a fucking widow at 32 trying to raise our girls without him!
And I am all out of tact, patience and pride so if anyone wants to donate I will take your money. We haven't seen the bill but my guess is half a million thus far and as you can see the shit storm continues. There is a 'donate to Nathan' account at Wells Fargo I am told."

In short, I hate cancer! Who doesn't? Last year, my family lost my brother to cancer...I'm tired of losing my family to an enemy that is so cunning, sneaky and evil.

This year if you know someone with cancer, lost someone to cancer, or have been diagnosed yourself--share your story and show your colors!-with enough awareness maybe we can have more birthdays!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nostalgia...summer of 1993...

It's funny how a song can take you back to a point in time where your life was much different than it is now. Today, Scott and I ran some errands then had some lunch and on our way back there was this familiar song on the radio. Although the radio was low and Scott was talking, I heard the strum of a guitar. It was an old song that I loved. You know the kind, anthemic. The kind of song that builds until the lead singer belts out the chorus. The type of song that doesn't easily leave your head. It is usually a one hit wonder--a mere flash in the pan but it sticks with you and every time you hear it the years melt away...You're twenty-one in a 1979 Saffron Gold Subaru DL 4 Door with the radio blasting on a road trip to Idaho for my first theatre job.

For me-this afternoon--that song was 'What's Up!' by 4 Non Blondes. I remember that summer, staying in the University of Idaho dorms, working for the Idaho Rep, waking up in the middle of the afternoon, running the wardrobe for a show, then staying up all night watching movies with the rest of the company and going to bed at dawn to wake up and do it all over again. Then there was the time that Brian and Bobby decided to repel out of the dormitory windows ending with Brian's eye being blacked by a flashlight. Or my famous, alright infamous, catch of a baseball and my hospital visit...all in all, it was a great summer.

What's Up!

Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope for a destination
And I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man
For whatever that means
And so I cry sometimes when I'm lying in bed
Just to get it all out what's in my head
And I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning and I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream at the top of my lungs, what's going on?

--4 Non Blondes

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's what I do...

I'm one of those people that, if she sees a homeless person, has to help. It might be with spare change, an old pair of boots or my doggie bag--I just need to help. Now some of you have witnessed these acts of random giving and have questioned why I would do this when the homeless person in question will probably use the money for drugs or alcohol, trade the boots for other things, or just throw the food away. I have no real explanation. I just feel compelled to help. It is as if my spirit won't let me rest until I help in someway.

I would call myself a God-fearing woman and I was raised a Christian. Am I perfect? No. I have made mistakes and I have paid for them and may yet pay for other mistakes that I have or will make. Not everything that all religions profess is something that I want to follow but I believe that truth can be found in all things. There is a common thread that runs through nearly all religions--serve others and give to those who are less fortunate. The Bible states, "...if you have done this unto the least these you have done it unto me...". You might say that in our society "the least of these" might be the homeless. They are definitely less fortunate--no matter what choices lead them to where they are now, they are currently less fortunate and so I give.

Call it paying it forward, karma, browning points or whatever. For me, it is the right thing to do. I do not care what they do with my spare change, old boots or doggie bag. I gave those things in love. I care about them and I want to do what I can with the little I have and so what they do with my gifts is of no concern to me. What matters is the choice that I made to help. It's what I do.


Thursday, March 03, 2011

When we are afraid, we rationalize.

Today is 3/15/12...This is a post that I began while teaching at (insert former job name here)...I am so glad to be free of that job!

This is from 2 years ago...

I'm in a bad situation. Certain circumstances in my life are not exactly ideal, so needless to say there are reasons that I need to be where I am in my life but also the fear of doing what I should, want and know to be true keeps me in the less than ideal light.

There are days when it's not so bad. When these circumstances are more tolerable and those are the days that I rationalize, "Look, it's getting better. There's no need to change what I'm doing. It'll be fine." I catch my reflection smiling back at me in the mirror as I put on a happy face to start my day. But yesterday...yesterday was different. As I smiled to myself while silently trying to convince myself to go on in this manner, a memory flashed through my mind. It was a movie clip of George Bailey shaking hands with Mr. Potter over the 'new job' Mr. Potter offered Bailey in return for leaving the Bailey Building and Loan. As George releases his hand from Mr. Potter's, a look of self disgust washes over George. He can't do this! It's wrong. Mr. Potter is an awful man and he has just agreed to think over his proposal--a proposal schemed by a devil of a man. George retracts all his agreements

You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money. Well it doesn't, Mr. Potter. In the whole vast configuration of things I'd say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider.

It's A Wonderful Life

Skip to 2:19. The scene begins there and ends around 7:26.