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When I laid eyes on my nephew for the first time, it was like being struck by lightning. I finally understood what people refer to as unconditional love. I knew he was one of my people, I would defend him against anything, love him for all the world, and find such joy just being in the room with him. When he and his amazing brother leave the house when I am visiting Texas, it feels like all the hope and happiness has gone from the world. That’s how much I love being around them. 

In the end, as it turns out, it is all about love. That big, big love. Not achievements. Not awards. Not anything else. It is about love and the capacity for love.

The capacity for love.

She had it in spades. Never, not even once in my entire life did I ever think that my Granny didn’t love me. In fact, her love was just about the most solid thing I knew as fact when I was a teenager.

She could always see the real me. The one that is inherently good, kind, giving. Loveable.  She understood me and waited patiently for me to grow into my true self. (A task I am still attempting to achieve…)

She loved my brother in the exact same way. And my cousins. We were all the recipients of this generosity that seemed to have no bounds where we were concerned. She loved her children in this way. It’s like that pond that keeps replenishing itself, nomatter how often the water is drawn out. Both a miracle and a fact.

The last time I saw her alive she looked at me with her beautiful blues. She had a way of looking right at you as if she were gazing at a star on some faraway distant shore from across the endless waters of eternity. She could see me. She knew me. The real me. The potential me. She always believed in me.

As I sat with her in the living room, she told me it was such a joy just being in the room with me. I knew that feeling, but had no idea it ever applied to me. I held my tears in. It meant so much to be so loved. 

It meant so much. It meant the world to me to hear that. There are things in life that seem to mean so much: bills, ambition, status etc. But nothing has ever touched my living soul the way that she did when she said that to me. That is what means so much. That love. Nothing else in this world even comes close. 

It is important when living in a world where it sometimes seems as if absolutely no one really believes in you that at least one person does. It makes life worth living.

She did that for me.

Her death has carved out a giant Granny sized hole in my life that is only filled by the joy of her memories and the love she left for me. I loved sitting at the beach house in South Carolina, eating her amazing chocolate chip cookies, and asking her questions about life in the 1940’s and beyond. Showing her my version of the Charleston and hearing her talk of dances and how much she loved being social back then.

I can still hear her voice saying my name with her particular North Carolina accent. Almost like she was filled with both joy and surprise that I was even there in the room with her. Now I get it.

She was beautiful. Even in her later years, she still had very few wrinkles. She was kind. She loved us all unconditionally. For that I will be forever grateful.

It is that same unconditional love that I feel for my nephews, that my parents feel for me, that my Granny felt for us that is my surest proof of God in this world. Such love knows no boundaries, no death. Such love sees the truth of all of us. Our inherent innocence. And fills our hearts with that intangible something.

Hope maybe. 

I still miss you, one year and two days later.

I love the Edinburgh Festival Fringe! I love it! There is no better or more exciting place to be in the month of August in my opinion.

I have seen some amazing theatre and comedy over the last few weeks and will undoubtedly see even more before I leave. 

Currently, I am performing every day in a show in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a little show I totally believe in called Long Distance Affair.

Each day is different, but features six talented actors performing interactive plays via skype for an audience of one. Each ticket experiences three performances from all over the world. I have been to thirteen different countries in the last few days and I can only say, they are UNIQUE! From Spain to Singapore and many surprising places in between, I have been a spy, a lover, a therapist, a friend, and a mother. It’s been lovely and challenging and thought provoking. 

I am one of the only non-skype characters the audience meets on their journey. One part flight attendant, one part librarian, one part mystery, I help people prepare for the interactive, international nature of their experiences. 

I highly recommend the experience for anyone looking to fill up forty amazing minutes on a Fringe afternoon. 

https://www.edfringe.com/search#q=show_performer%3ALOng%20Distance%20Affair&fq=dates%3A%5B2013-07-31T06%3A00%3A00Z%20TO%202013-09-05T06%3A00%3A00Z%5D

republicx:

Picture of the day!
by Theodoros Chliapas

On the accident of the One Handed Summer. Aka. What I learned over my Summer Vacation…

After slipping down a flight of subway steps in the rain and spraining my wrist, I found myself in a cast of various forms for a month and a half. I began that time as a frustrated, angry mop and finished with a renewed sense of hope, hard work, and the value of ‘clean livin’. 

"This, too, shall pass." My Granny used to say. I spent the whole summer just wondering when it, in fact, would pass. After a roller coaster of "It’s broken." "No. It’s not broken." to "Yep, it’s probably broken." to "Actually, it’s not broken, but the bones are sitting twisted. And you need an MRI. In four more weeks." "And wear the velcro cast while you wait." to finally hearing "It’s not broken. There is no ligament damage. You can use your hand again." It was quite a journey. One that, oddly, now, I am actually glad I went on. 

It made me a nicer person. I began to notice a lot more when the strangers I came across had a cast, a splint, a disability, etc. We would commiserate over our injuries on the train to work. I would think more closely about the sufferings of my fellow man. I could empathize more. I could let people in more, somehow. Somehow being injured made me more open to my fellows and I made a few new friends. 

It forced me to get creative. I had to learn how to shower one handed. And let me just say, trying to shave both armpits with the same hand is quite a feat! I learned to use the dictation feature on my computer to work on rewrites for my play (www.thewarletters.tumblr.com). I figured out how to do the dishes with one hand. And I learned to be thankful that this was not a permanent state. Empathy again. I could understand how difficult it would be for someone who was not in a temporary state. It’s awful, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. 

I needed to make a choice about my life. Either I could sit on the couch, eating goldfish (the crackers), and feel depressed, or I could take back my life. I chose to take back my life.

I began doing “No Hands Yoga”. Figuring a way to get my life back was to feel better, I created a series of hour long classes that put no weight on the hands. Balancing, standing poses, core work, stretching- you can seriously still get a great workout in without any hands. You really kind of can’t cheat with balancing poses. It worked out great. Plus, I really gave myself extra long savasanas as a wee reward for my hard work. 

I worked on my play via dictation feature. I worked on learning how to produce my play in a class. I listened. I recorded workshops instead of taking notes. I found a way to exist fairly normally in an abnormal world.

My inspiration for not moping was a little boy who lives across the street from the restaurant where I work. He was born with only one hand and I’ve never seen him act like that is anything short of normal. He’s happy and energetic. He doesn’t mope about it. So, neither would I, I decided. I would have to get creative.

I also think that not being able to use my left hand for a while helped create some new pathways in my brain. I’m left handed and totally dominated brain-wise by the right hemisphere. Learning to navigate the world with a right hand only was really confusing at first, but after a couple of weeks I noticed my thinking was altering. I think my left brain was happy to get to work after playing second fiddle for so long.

So, as it turns out, being an a torturous cast for a month and a half made me a better, nicer, more creative, smarter person and totally solidified my attitude of never giving up.  

Who knew?

Sunflower. on We Heart It. http://weheartit.com/entry/65148560/via/HollywoodLover007

It is amazing what happens when you commit to change. From the moment I decided to produce my own work in December, I have had a fairly steady stream of people saying “Yes” to helping me. It’s the craziest thing. 

After years of people saying “No” fairly regularly to me as an actor, this was quite a surprising development.  Once I made the switch to the more empowering position of writer/ actor/ producer, helpful others have offered to get on board. They have offered. It is both humbling and exciting  that anyone would actually want to get on board with this project.

So, to give myself the best possible chance at producing success, I have begun Molly Pearson’s Produce Your Own Work Class. I am a bit scared as my learning curve is quite large. But I feel confident that I will find help along the way. 

Currently working on revisions of a second draft, I am hoping to do a reading/workshop of the play before the end of summer. This little ‘project’ of mine is starting to take on a life of its own!

Makes me feel like a character in one of JD Carter’s plays when she calls herself a “Self-actualizin’ wildcat b****!”.  I’ll keep you posted on the developments!

Well, universe, I have finished the first draft of my play.

Which started as a screenplay. Which turned into a play. Which turned into a one-woman play. Which ended up with some lovely, puppets. Which ended up being about Alzheimer’s. And memory. And the power of love.

I love it. It still needs some (maybe a lot of) work, but the frame is there, the characters are real, and it means something to me, personally. I am drawn to rehearse it, perform it, eventually, to turn this play back into a weird little screenplay.

It is nice to finally have a result for my efforts. So often, as an actor, my time is given to marketing and mailings and auditions that produce no results whatsoever. Or, at least, none that I can see. Yet. And, let me tell you, seeing no results for your hard work is a tough thing to do day in and day out.

But this project, a year in the making, has finally produced something tangible. That I can grab hold of and defend and carry with me. That I can create and make real. That I can play with and mold and reshape and mess with. That I can share and give and restore my artistic self with. It’s a good thing.

A very good thing.

landscapelifescape:

Versailles Gardens, Paradise Island, The Bahamas

How To Stick Out In A Crowd by mastermayhem

The sun is shining. The world doesn’t stop. Spring arrives before you know it.

He was my brother too. 

But the world moves ahead. We have to find our optimism in the face of great tragedy. And we owe it to ourselves to keep moving ahead. To notice the subtle smell of the tulips. To feel the sunshine hot on our skin. To keep afloat on the dark waters. Somehow.

It’s not fair, none of it. But maybe it’s not about fair or unfair. It makes no sense. But maybe it’s not for me to understand. Maybe it’s for me to pray, to mourn, to grieve, to, eventually, comprehend.

My brother in law died a year ago today. He was a tall man, 6’6”, but a gentle giant. He was funny and generous and kind. He accepted me into the family and started making fun of me right away- just like a real brother would. We may not have grown up together, but for the last eight years, he was my brother, too.

We miss you DJ.

landscapelifescape:

Grob Drienhausen, Wuuppertal, Germany

dream field (by Dyrk.Wyst)

I’m cultivating a 1940’s style for the creation of this webseries or monologue series I am writing. One of my inspirational images is this brilliant picture above by Marta Corcho. It’s the red lipstick, I think, that really transports one’s imagination back to another era…

For this project, I’ve been reading and rereading The War Letters. Hundreds of letters written between my grandparents during World War Two. They tried to write two a day and mostly succeeded. Some of them are mundane-about getting a new dress or the state of the barracks in Texas and Europe- but some of them are lovely and sweet and funny and charming. The more I read of them, the more I learn about the world of that day. It is fascinating to read their love and sense of humor in those antique letters. It’s hard to imagine my formidable matriarch of a grandmother as a college girl and a newlywed, but I am getting a better idea. 

Working on this is both empowering and inspiring and I can’t wait to start filming! I’ll keep you posted…

darksilenceinsuburbia:

darksilenceinsuburbia:

Marta Corcho

The last time I saw him was in Surfside Beach, South Carolina. Many of my happiest memories were from those times at the beach with my Granddad and the rest of our family. He was standing on the deck, looking out at our whole family- aunts, uncles, cousins, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren playing in the idyllic orange light of the setting summer sun as the surf rolled in- and he said to me, “There it is. There is my contribution to humanity… My contribution to humanity.” 

Monday was Veteran’s Day Observed. It was also the day the world lost a great veteran airplane pilot from World War Two. Today I honor the contribution to humanity that was my grandfather. The man who inspired me to grow tomatoes, find peace with the world around me, and remain calm in the center of a storm.

A man who was raised on a farm in rural North Carolina, whose own father was a preacher, Granddad never lost faith. Even when he was ill and facing a recent surgery. He was always brave, kind, strong, and thoughtful. He loved a good football game and long discussions about the stock market. He loved to grow tomatoes and cucumbers in his backyard. He never killed bugs because, as he told me, “They didn’t want to live any less than I do.” He seemed to find many of the truths early on that the rest of us search our entire lives for.

He didn’t hear very well in the last few years of his life, but I know he understood that I loved and admired him very much. I felt an unspoken kinship with him and his generous, quiet heart. He helped my own father to become who he is and, in doing so, shaped who I am. I am part of his contribution to humanity. All of my aunts and uncles and cousins are, too. 

What a contribution it was. Thank you, Granddad, for giving us all so much. 

With love.

fleeckr:

summersong by Ragnarly

Edinburgh.

I have just seen one of the most incredible pieces of circus. Or was it dance? Or was it theatre? It was amazing whatever it was.

Knee Deep, by Casus, an Australian circus troupe, blew me away with their bravery, creativity, artistry, and power. It was beautiful to see just what the human body can do/hold/balance upon. It was inspirational. The performers were so amazingly strong and flexible.  

I was a child. Open mouthed and in awe. Laughing and clapping with every stunt. But they weren’t just stunts. They were artistic challenges. Physical challenges of the highest merit. I wondered if they had trained as gymnasts before creating this acrobatic dance form which incorporated silks, straps, acrobalance, and tumbling- all with simple yet illustrative lighting and phenomenal soundtrack in an ornate Spiegeltent.

It was beautiful. It made me want to get up and move, too. It made me want to learn, to try, to invent, too. It showed us our potential, physically, which lit me up inside. I imagine that I am still glowing at this moment.

There is nothing more inspirational than a trip to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

I think this David Fleck illustration captures that thought perfectly.

darksilenceinsuburbia:

David Fleck. Voyages over Edinburgh.

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