Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I quit

I called it quits last week. From life, from TRYING so hard to do everything - and I must say, it's been rather nice.

Two weeks ago, my car broke down - yet again - and cost me another $50o I did not have. I can't afford car payments on a new car, and I can't afford to keep spending $500 fixing the car I do have, and both of my jobs are two hour daily commutes, with no bus routes to either one. I went round and round in my head, trying to think of solutions, resources, things I could do differently...

Nope. Nothing.

I got my car back the next day (it spent the night in the shop) and spent the day driving around Hollywood, trying to drop off headshot submissions to theatrical agents. I had six to drop off... traffic was so bad I was only able to drop off two. I spent five hours in traffic, getting sun-burnt, no air conditioning, just to drop off two envelopes. And when I got home I realized that I had forgotten to attach resumes to the headshots of those submissions. I guess it's lucky I was only able to drop off two of them, eh?

I finished up my submissions and haven't heard a peep. Not a single word. And last week, I spent most of Monday night/early Tuesday morning vomiting violently, to what I can only guess was food poisoning, because I have not felt that ill in a very, very long time. Benni got it a little bit too (for all those smart-asses about to suggest maybe I was pregnant) but he didn't have to throw up, thank God.

And I had friends and family members on both ends telling me to work harder. Work even harder to submit to agents, work even harder to figure out what to do with the car, work even harder and longer hours doing this, or that, or organizing this, or planning that...


I quit.

This week, anyway.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

flood stories

This past weekend, my friends and I visited the Skirball Cultural Center, a museum in LA that tells history from a Jewish perspective, for their new exhibit on Harry Houdini, arguably the most amazing magician and escape artist the world has ever seen. The exhibit is incredible, and I highly recommend going to see it, but while you're at the Skirball I also highly recommend the permanent Noah's Ark exhibit they have, primarily for kids (or, in our case, for adults that act like kids).

The Noah's Ark exhibit is built like a huge ark that you walk through, with stuffed animals and cubby holes and other larger animals made out of all re-used, found objects like spatulas and rubber tires, and it has roped passages running along the top for kids to crawl through. My friends and I had a blast playing like little kids around this ark.

But something stuck with me besides just the playfulness. When you first enter into the exhibit, you sit down with your group around a pretend campfire and listen to a storyteller who tells you what you are about to experience. Our storyteller noted that across land and time, different cultures and religions from vastly different regions all had mythical stories about A Great Flood. The storyteller went on to explain that each culture's story of a Great Flood was very similar - it starts with rain. The winds pick up, the thunder booms and the lightening crashes, people gather their loved ones together into a boat or a house and they ride out the storm together, less afraid and strengthening the bonds of love with each other.

Our storyteller asked us - a few adults and mostly small children- what every flood story had in common after it started raining. The adults wavered. They got in a boat? "No, before that," our storyteller said. "What did the people do after it started raining but before it started flooding?"

A little boy raised his hand and said, "They told someone."

The storyteller pounced. "They told someone!" In every flood story, the main idea is not that it was pouring rain, or that there was a boat, but that the people told others and asked the ones they loved the most to get in the boat with them.

Ever feel like when it rains, it pours? That your own life is flooding? This past week has been like that, and even with its highs (successfully raising enough funds for a second season of my web-series; my kickass Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in over thirty years), I also hit some serious lows, most involving my car being in the shop for two days and me spending, once again, the equivalent of several months of car payments to get it fixed. Again. I've also been overwhelmed career-wise, and let's face it, I've just been feeling... well, like I was drowning.

But I'm ridiculously bad at telling someone. RIDICULOUSLY. Maybe it's the Robert Frost-Stiff Upper Lip-New Englander background, or the fact that I'm stubborn, or the fact that I like to focus on the positive and not talk about the negative. But whatever it is, when my life is flooding, I don't tell anyone. I just sort of sit there and watch as the water inches up past my chest and seethe. (I'm sure none of you know what I'm talking about here.)

But as I listened to this storyteller talk to the kids, I started to realize that maybe she was on to something here. After all, why do we tell stories in the first place? Why do we blog, why do we post Facebook statuses, when things aren't exactly going well in our life? I think we do them to gather up our friends and family, into one safe, small place, and feel comforted, and loved. And it doesn't start until you tell someone.

Lately I've been leaning a lot on Lira, my "sister", who has literally dropped what she's been doing and driven over to my place numerous times just to sit down and talk me through my discouragement, and I lean on Alyssa, my best bestie, who always knows exactly what to say and when to try to help me fix it and when to just listen, and of course, Benni, always Benni, being there, being consistently wonderful, picking my sad butt off the ground again and again and giving the best hugs in the world. But lately, I've brushed this amazing trio off with mutterings of "I don't want to talk about it," because I'm sick and tired of feeling like a burden, like my life is ALWAYS flooding in one capacity or another, and that I should just suck it up and fix my own damn problems without a word to anyone about needing help.

That hasn't really worked out so well, so glad you asked. So Plan B, which is supposed to be Plan A but it's funny how we reverse those sometimes, is going back to basics:

Pick myself off the ground. Put one foot in front of the other. And start telling someone.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Balance is a funny thing.

And by funny I mean that it's hard, like in the way I say that playing darts is funny (well, it is when I do it.) I mean, let's face it, I suck at balance. A lot. And I'm not even talking about physical balance here, either. I'm talking about the balance that all of us carefully navigate each day of physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental balance. I spend a lot of time in the zone when I'm really trying to accomplish something in my life, which is great, because then I become uber-focused... but then I look up from what I've been doing, and oh look, the dishes are piling up the sink, the cat has died of hunger*, and I haven't blogged in three weeks.


So hello, blog world! How have you been? And where have I been, you ask?

I've been working my butt off, actually. Doing that other thing that I love so much besides writing - acting.

In 2009 I was the lead in a little award-winning web-series called Hell Froze Over (I'm not using "little" ironically, sadly, but the part about it winning an award is true). Hell Froze Over is a quirky, hilarious, occasionally raunchy and sometimes blood-splattered show that I just fell in love with and had a blast working on. (You can check out all ten of the episodes here and a pretty fair review of the series here.) And since it debuted two years ago everyone who worked on it has spent a lot of time and energy trying to make a Season 2 happen.

So we decided to use Kickstarter, a fundraising website that asks the creators of a project to set a financial goal and a deadline, and then the creators in turn ask friends, family, frenemies, and total strangers to "pledge" a donation to get the project funded. If we hit our goal by the deadline, we get to keep the money - if we don't hit our goal, we don't get to keep ANY of the money. So it's an all or nothing thing here, folks.

I have spent the last few weeks beating the pavement, asking people to donate money over Facebook, in real life, and on YouTube... while not wearing a shirt. (Yeah, you read that right. Um, this video of me is not quite safe for work, as I would rate it PG-13.) But in the end- WE HIT OUR GOAL!!!!!!!!!! And we still have 8 days left for people to contribute (people have been going here to donate) and are still getting more and more contributions a day. You guys, I am so excited, and so completely and utterly grateful for how generous people really are. We start shooting in a few weeks and I'm just about hyperventilating in anticipation of all the fun things I get to do this season. YAAY!!!!

The other news is that I got cast in a low-budget feature horror film which will be shooting over the summer, and I've never acted in a horror film before so I'm excited to scream my little blonde head off and possibly be soaked in blood while running away from a psychopath. All at the same time.

And I also got new headshots taken for my commercial agent, I've been doing the rounds to get a new theatrical agent, I started a new acting class that is kicking my ass, and oh yeah... it was my birthday on Saturday so I've been feeling spoiled rotten by my friends and family (and I think I'm still on a sugar high).

So I know I've been gone, but I'm gonna be better about keeping everyone updated on what I'm doing and trying to stay up to date with everyone else's lives. In the meantime, I'm off to go visit some of your blogs and looking forward to reconnecting with everyone.

Have a wonderful week, guys!

* the cat didn't really die of hunger, but acts like she is going to Every.Single.Morning.
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