Bad Career Week

In this biz, nothing’s ever certain. Sometimes a tiny little trigger (say, a part you didn’t get or a comment that irks) can send you into a hopeless place. Sound familiar, ED survivors?

So, for NEDAwareness week, I’m going to write down these beautiful things that some beautiful people I know wrote on my Facebook a few months ago. Remind me to come back and look, ‘kay?

My post:

EXPERIMENT.
I’m going through a major life change at the moment (moving, job hunting, closing a great show outside the city) and need a little encouragement, I think.

What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever been told? About the “biz,” about life, about “work,” about who to send postcards to… literally anything. It’ll be embarrassing if no one contributes so… like… don’t embarrass me.

Also will be planning a MAJOR clothing swap in October. Gird your loins.

CIARA: “A professional writer is an amateur writer who didn’t give up.”

MARK: “Well all I can think of is a Maguire acting class. So f…. Or fight. You know But in other words. I’m so happy about your show, wish I could see it, when you’re back I’d love to have a check in. I am SURE you’ll find an amazing apartment and more amazing work.

JESSIE: “Be gentle with yourself. Probably the best advice I’ve ever been given… for any situation.

MORGAN: As in acting..focus on and ride the manifestation and energy of the verb, not the construct of the nouns.”

MISSY: “Sh*t or get off the pot.”

TIFFANY: “Our clothing swap will be in October too! Come to ours. That’s my advice. Also wine.”

TIFFANY (another one): “No one can make you feel insignificant without your permission.

RACHEL: “everything happens for a reason.”

BEATRIZ: “Every time you see your reflection smile back at it.

KELVEEN: “It’s just life.”

CHRISTINE: “In life you will regret the things you didn’t do, not the the things you did.

LINA: “Want what you have and give what you need.

MARK (another one): “Make up where you want to be: A place, a life, a challenge, a goal… Use your imagination to flesh it all out in your mind’s eye (helps to write it out) Then … take an immense leap of faith.. And put yourself in a brand new locale — With no net. Live out loud. Be yourself. Trust in Life.

JORDANA: “Just read this and man I dig it: Everything is an opportunity to get to know ourselves better. Truly. Life is about our relationship to it if nothing else. Everything comes and everything goes. There will be fear, doubt, pain, fame, fortune, love, loss, learning, languishing, loathing, wondering, wandering, finding, founding, forming, feuding and overcoming. But how we experience each of these facets of being human depends on how we are relating to them.

CARLA: “I think Jordana nailed it for the rest of us. Hugs!”

HANNAH: “When I first moved to New York and was struggling so desperately to make sense of my life, my father always told me “fall in love with the woman you’re becoming and be proud” It didn’t seem like much then, and honestly I was kinda irritated he didn’t offer something I thought would be more useful. But to this day, every time I try something new, its with the intention to fall in love with the woman I’m becoming and to make myself proud. Maybe this will only mean something to me as it came from my daddy with Spock-like emotions but there it is.”

ANDREW: “Agents don’t matter.”

SUMMER: “Sometimes the biggest hurdles, or the things that are forced upon you via an unexpected change, are actually the catalysts for the most growth that would not have happened if you had stayed in your comfort zone. Literally, the year that my part-time side job — the one that gave me the knowledge that I would always have just enough money to pay my bills — went away, was the same year my acting income tripled and things really began to take off for me and my company. Now, was it scary? Yes. Absolutely. And there were sleepless nights, (sometimes there STILL are — and there always will be I think, because we are constantly challenging ourselves — never to get too comfortable) but I have learned to embrace the shifting tides, and have much more fun riding the unknown waves. You are a massive talent my darling. Truly. It is all going to come together for you, but you have to grab the slippery handles that are this business and hold on for the unknown …. ps: I love you.

MICHAEL: “Longevity in a career means that you endure the shitty times as they come, and remember and use them when opportunity arises.

MORGAN (another one): Whatever happens, when you’re an artist you have better funner friends than everybody else.

DAVID: “It’s not called show-art, it’s called show-business”. An actor’s job is to get the next job. Network, audition, take classes–always do one thing every day that keeps you in touch with being an artist.

JEFF: “As I was sweeping our garage floor, and doing a pretty poor job of it too boot, my dad told me something I’ve never forgotten. “Do every job as though you were the President, because someone is always watching you.” As I type this, it now sounds a bit eerie, but the advice has always stuck…even though I’ve given up dreams of the Oval Office!

ANNIE: “Breathe. Always ask for help. Always keep laughing–particularly when you are having a trying time– when you are hungry, for food AND for creative action, say yes to everything, and IN everything you do. But also remember that you can say NO too, if you instead need to go home and see your mom and dad or go to a movie with your sweetheart, or don’t want to play a playboy bunny who gets assaulted by frat boys. Cultivate joy and peace in all ways, and the highs and the lows of the career seem less Himalayan– but always always ask for help and community, just like you have here! XOXOXO

DAVID (another one): “hang in til you can’t hang in anymore – then stay a little longer.

MORGAN (from before): “Also, go see Annie in Illusions, because it is amazing and rejuvenating to see good theater, always. And hard to find.”

LINDSAY: “No matter what are doing, strive to be the best you can at it. When you get your morning coffee, be the best customer you can be. When you audition, be the best actor you can be. And when you go to your serving job, be the best server there is. If you let your inner light shine, you are unstoppable. Nothing happens by chance, so embrace the challenges. They are a stepping stone to your next success.

FARISO: “You have to do it yourself.”

IRIS: “ set a goal and then release how you will achieve it and then also tell me when you’re clothes swapping, cause honey- ME TOO!

KEVIN: “close your eyes, breathe and give yourself a big bear hug.”

DANIEL: “Two pieces of useful info. 1. No one is coming – i.e. what Fariso notes above is true. You have to be the one to get yourself through any challenge and when you do you will be glad of it. 2. There is a great mystery behind all that is material. Take time to cultivate your attention to larger patterns and questions that emerge as you walk through your life. They will give you clues/signals about the ways forward when things seem to be their most challenging.

TONI: “Be yourself. Always.”

DAVID (another one): “live each day one at a time.”

KATHERINE: “I recently chatted with someone who’s successful in TV and he said that the business can seem so huge and overwhelming, but the key is to make it small: to cultivate people and projects that speak to you and go for those; to create a village of people that you know and trust.

LEAF: “That the universe holds us no matter what and if in the midst of our busyness if we stand still long enough what calls to us will reach our ears.

SAJEEV: “Stay in the present. 🙂 Hope that’s useful.”

JAY: “Your future is determined by every decision you make. Decide wisely.

DAVID (again): “…every decision you make” or decide not to make. Kinda like voting.

HALEIGH: “Keep it simple. – we get tide up in emotions and what we think we should do etc. Just keep it simple.

Wanting It

Acting is a weird business.

You’re not supposed to want anything. WANTING fucks you over.

I want something right now. A part. Even talking about wanting it makes me feel really jinx-y. But I also feel like pretending I don’t want it is actually impossible right now.

The closer I get to the part, the more I want it.

The fewer auditions I have, the more I want to book them.

COMPLICATED.

Scrappy

I know a girl, my age, who is on Broadway right now in a featured role in Cabaret with Michelle Williams and Alan Cumming. She went to Juilliard.

I’ve bitched about this before, because it’s neverending. It’s hard to say that I am GLAD I didn’t get into Juilliard, but I try to remind myself of what I have that’s unique (a fantastic education, scrappiness, a sense of agency, etc). It’s not easy when I watch these girls, no more or less talented than me or any of my friends, seem to have smooth paths to success. They have teams with huge power, they have opportunities I don’t. Because of what’s on their resume.

my graduating class. imperfectly perfect.

my graduating class. imperfectly perfect.

So I often feel bad about this. I feel jealous and frustrated and small.

But I also know that I’m on a different road than they are. Just entirely different. And with the tools I have, my team, my skills, my scrappiness, I’m doing okay.

one time I didn't get picked to do something so I did it anyway because #idowhatiwant

one time I didn’t get picked to do something so I did it anyway because #idowhatiwant

Today I recorded a commercial voiceover demo. I’m really proud of it. I paid for it, a lot of money, but got a good deal and you know what? Did a fucking amazing job.

I fight harder. My cache is different. I am glad that my friends aren’t super skinny girls on network TV shows; my friends are those downtown theatre artists saying “hey, I’m making what I want to make,” and even starring on AMC shows but staying grounded and realistic and genuine and reading every. damn. day. I am proud of what I have accomplished with the tools I have. William Morris didn’t sign me, but someone did. Because I am who I am. Period.

scrappy but award-winning theatre

scrappy but award-winning theatre

(B, remember this next time you feel like shit, k?)

My demo is live. Check it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oxor7SBEnY&list=UUyw8oawxDvhYkEAYNWMK31Q

#myfriends

#myfriends

The one they choose.

To be in my business in this city is to be one of millions. To survive in my business in this city, you have to believe that someone will choose you over the other millions. You have to believe you have something to offer.

And I do believe that. I can’t tell you how– I have no hard evidence beyond anecdotal– but a part of me really, truly believes that someone will choose me. They have before, and they will again. And that’s the key.

I walk around Penn Station, where most of the studios where auditions are held are, and see hundreds of girls in heels or in tights, most with backpacks or rolling bags, hair whipping in the wind. Each one of them believes that they have what it takes. And if they don’t, eventually I’ll stop seeing them. I peer through pages of agent’s websites, looking at their clients’ headshots, hundreds of girls with soft, flowing hair and eyes that stare out of the frame, lips naturally pink and eyebrow hair retouched to smoothness. Each one of them also believes they have what it takes, and they have already found someone they believe in.

I often feel like the only person who believes in me is myself. I have an agent, but don’t get appointments. I have friends who help, sorta, but not enough. Everyone else glances over me or doesn’t see me in the hundreds of smiling, pore-smoothed faces that pass through their days.

It’s exhausting to only have yourself, to maintain that belief that someone will choose you when you go for months without anyone proving that to be true. It’s hard to walk amongst those girls on 36th St and feel different, only to realize that they feel the exact same way about me and everyone else.

There is an abundance of girls like me. There is a severe dearth of work.
There is an abundance of work for certain people. There is a severe dearth of work for me.

I watch auditions come and go, most I never even get to go in for, watch the shows I didn’t get to audition for open, then run, then close, watch the actors who did get to audition and who did get the roles move onto the next, and I just stand there in the middle of the city and think, once, just once, I want to be the one that they choose.

Speaking of what I was just writing about:

One of my friends (a male) wrote this hilarious/tragic thing. Link here: https://medium.com/p/f919637ff615

CASTING BREAKDOWN FOR NEW STUDIO FILM

Seeking actors for the following roles in our upcoming studio film.

LINDSAY

Lindsay is the kind of girl you fall in love with immediately. She’s down-to-earth, fun-loving, just one of the guys. She’s also a girl’s girl, with close girl friends.

She doesn’t ever look like she’s trying too hard, except when she is, and then she’s the most gorgeous girl on the planet — perfect figure, smoldering eyes, flawless skin — you just can’t take your eyes off her. She’s got to be that kind of sexy that knocks you off your feet and sends your heart racing, but also that girl-next-door, completely approachable in every way kind of sexy.

You know Cameron Diaz? She’s Cameron Diaz meets Sandra Bullock meets Emma Stone meets that girl from the new car explosion movie whose name we forget. She is fragile, and strong. Hilarious, but dramatically powerful. A real goofball. But hot. A hot-ball, if that makes any sense. She’s rock solid, but gooey, like a warm cookie (Hot, basically.)

You can tell just by looking at Lindsay that she is withholding a fatal secret that could destroy the world. But when she’s thinking about the secret she’s got to look smoldering. Think Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct meets Joan of Arc in life? Actresses must be comfortable with partial nudity and someone repeatedly poking them in the side of the face with a small rod, as this is an INTEGRAL part of the film. Please only submit actresses who can handle an intense workout regimen and diet. Also the rod.

Lindsay is a party animal and loves drinking and dancing all night long at the club, then going home and curling up with a cup of tea and a great romance novel. By day she’s a librarian at the local town library, by midday she’s a serial killer, by night she’s a college professor, but always hot, hot, hot. That never stops.

She owns a suit and wears a size 8 shoe, but never wears socks. How many pairs of Crocs does she own? None. No pairs. Actresses wearing Crocs in the audition will be thrown out of the room.

She has 26 freckles and many of the characters address her freckle-count at different times in the film, so please only submit actresses with this many freckles. Also Lindsay’s bones are brittle, so if we were playing Lindsay, we’d avoid Calcium on the week before reading for this part.

When Lindsay walks, she swings her left arm kind of like this. Can you see what I’m doing right now? That’s what Lindsay needs to walk like. She needs to be able to cover the entire spectrum of emotion — from “crazy” to “cool” and then from “hot” to “less hot” but then back to “hot” again.

The actress needs to be 5 foot 4 with orange-ish hair and C-cup breasts.

MAX

Max is a slacker with a heart of gold who lives with his parents. A Seth Rogen type.

This is why we shouldn’t be allowed to have nice things.

Just some of the roles listed for self-submissions just TODAY on Actors Access. This is the MAIN website for casting calls, used by all licensed agents and CDs (all Broadway shows, TV shows, films, etc, use this site), so this isn’t like a trashy website for bullshit casting calls. These are taken from just the first page of results for a woman my age.

I’m curious what your reaction, non-acting-industry-people, are to this casting calls. Are you shocked? No? Do you find them strange? I’m so used to them by now that it’s hard to gauge my actual reaction.

BALLERINA/MODEL ]
LOOKING FOR VERY, VERY, VERY SKINNY GIRLS!!!! Casting Women 18 and older. I am looking for a very, very, very skinny girl to play an anorexic ring girl. This is a VERY important character!!!! You would be playing a ring girl in a boxing ring, you will be wearing a bikini carrying a piece of cardboard with the number 8 on it. you will have special effects makeup to make you look skeletal. And there is a part where young boys will be throwing food at you.

NUDE BEAUTY ]
Beautiful, caucasian girl who will be rapping the lyrics to camera. She is the main focus of the video.  My goal is to create one of the most disturbing and unsettling music videos ever.

[ROLE 3 ]
Caucasian Female, age 18 – 25.  Hot looking model/ actor with a good body and looks that can make her stand apart from a crowd.  Lead

OLIVIA ]
(22-25) She is a very average looking girl, who wears no makeup. Being with Sebastian makes things much easier in that regard. She wants to be viewed as independent, but cannot bare the thought of being rejected. She always feels guilty around her mum – for having abandoned her -, and strives to make her dad feel proud….FEMALE… LEAD…CAUCASAIN OR LATINA….

2 GIRL FRIENDS ]
Age Range: 24 to 30. Latin American, Caucasian (European or American) Female Models. Very beautiful high end looking model types. Because they are the 2 best friends of our lead girl who is playing a high end model. Skinny. CAN YOU SUBMIT BODY SHOTS AS WELL. Picture Submission Only

LEAD GIRL ]
age range 18-25, any ethnicity and body type, a natural beauty who is also very sexy. This girl must be very cool and down to earth but also very hot and sexy.

GIRL ]
Caucasian, 18-25, Perfect, bad girl, beautiful, dangerous, but also “a vision of perfection” so angelic with a bad streak.

What goes up…

And here’s the problem with not hearing from my agent and not auditioning as much as I want to be.

When I do finally get a call from my agent, it’s a video audition for a recurring role on a new series for AMC (and yes, the same casting directors as Mad Men).

Naturally, I REALLY WANT THIS PART.

But the second I want it is the second I’ll fail to get it and feel heartbroken.

So.

It would be cool to get, yeah!
It’s even cooler to have gotten the appointment. Right? Of course right!!

Cross your fingers for me, though, secretly, because holy shit.

****UPDATE*****

Andddddd. Here is me letting go. After a day of excitement, then a day of so much nervous energy I could have powered NYC… And the video audition is taped, looks just fine, and was sent off to my agent. Now. I can feel good about this. I just need to stop fantasizing about it.

What’s next to get me excited?! Anyone?

Mom and dad are coming for thanksgiving in two weeks! Artie and I have two movie dates next week! I have a play audition on Monday! I have amazing supportive friends!

Life is good, y’all.

And that’s the end of this chapter. Page turn, cover close, on the shelf, as high as it can go. 🙂

Headshotz Detox

** This post talks about food. And body. And stuff. So… FYI. **

Prepping for my headshots on Tuesday. The last time I got headshots, it was January of my senior year of college. I was deep in my disorder– unhappy with my body and terribly anxious for the future. I was flustered and overwhelmed.

The night before headshots, after taking my nutritionist’s advice and “pampering” myself (candles, hair mask, face mask, self-care), I binged on raw quinoa. Because that’s what you do when you have an eating disorder and you are incredibly anxious and vulnerable and alone.

The next morning, I woke to the overwhelming need to vomit. I did. Once, twice, three times. This is around 5am. My shoot started at 8am. I tried to go out and get a Starbucks egg sandwich, since I didn’t have any “tummy settling” food in the house (i.e. no carbs). On my walk home from the store, I felt a wave hit me again, and I found myself knelt over the lip of the sidewalk, vomiting my sandwich into the snow.

I have had worse moments than that, but none with such terrible timing. I gave myself food poisoning the night before my $875 headshots– my one main entre into the business.

So now I’m getting a second chance. I do NOT want to fuck this one up.

I’m pretty happy with my body now. I’m about where I want to be, about where I think I’m marketable. I’d like to stick here as long as possible, and having photos that show it will help me a lot. I’m also pleased with my hair color (slightly lighter) and my eyebrows (slightly lighter too, per my agent’s finally-heeded suggestion). But for the next seven days, I am on a Pre-Headshots Detox. Not a real detox, don’t worry, just one that I think will help make me the best I can be.

1. No morning EPAs.
No getting up at the ass-crack of dawn to audition for something I won’t book. If I’m meant to book a show, I’ll have gone to that audition. These can pass. I will survive. I have survived before.

2. Lots of sleep.
Along with the no morning EPAs, I need to let myself get to bed at an appropriate hour and get up at an appropriate hour.

3. Do the gym like I’m supposed to do the gym.
With no morning EPAs and no one to really impress this week, I don’t have to do my hair perfectly every day. This means I need to return to my gym schedule– 3x a week (Wed, Fri, Sun, Mon)and get those endorphins going.

4. WATER WATER WATER
I will drink AT LEAST 4 fillings of my 20mL water bottle. That’s 80mL. I did this today and I swear to god, I have never peed so much in my life. This is HEALTHY, people. I am clearly not doing a good job of hydration.

5. Cut down on salt.
Salt is bloating. Especially Sun-Tues, I need to avoid any added salt. Nothing more than a sprinkle on my eggs.

6. Veggies and less junk.
I am lucky enough to live with a lovely boy… who eats a lot of crap. He’s from rural America… it’s his way. I have eaten more crap since being with him than in the last 4 years combined. (just goes to show you that FOOD doesn’t make you fat, BINGING does). So, I’m focusing heavily on proteins (beans) and greens (kale, spinach) and fruits (apples). Not so much sugar. In fact, try not to do ANY added sugar besides my morning coffee.

7. No, I’m not giving up coffee.
Sorry. I have my limits. I’m not dependent on it, but I’ve gotta have some boundaries.

8. Any other recommendations?
I’ll take anything you have to share. I’m not dieting or detoxing… I’m just looking for a couple of simple adjustments to focus on so that I can look my best on Tuesday. This girl wants pictures that will make the casting directors drool. 🙂

xoxo,

B.

P.S. My birthday was great. 🙂 Happy 24th to me!

 

Pounding 42nd St.

I feel like shit.

First, I somehow contracted nasty food poisoning from SOMETHING. Had some cramping and weird appetite most of the day on Saturday, and by that night, was having really awful abdominal pain (felt like I had to fart but couldn’t… sorry for the TMI). That night I vomited twice– once at like 1:30am and the next at 2:30am. Both were heavily labored– hardly any liquid, just gross gross gross chunky bits that really didn’t want to come out. I told A that I felt like I wanted to poop, but couldn’t, and he suggested a laxative. I took a suppository (SOO much TMI, sorry) and peed out of my butt for a little while before climbing back into bed. I was bedridden, still achy, nauseous, and faint all day on Sunday. I felt well enough to drink some vitamin water, but within an hour of feeling slightly better, the stomach pain came back. I took a bath, then laid in bed, and ended up sleeping from about 1:30pm-8:30pm. That night, I slept soundly from 11:30pm-9:30am. Guess I needed it? I was still a little off yesterday (managed to have a cup of coffee, a banana, an english muffin, half an apple, and then overdid a bit on dinner– kale, eggs, and brown rice). Feeling better today, but still not 100%. WHAT DID I DO TO MYSELF?!

And then there’s that silly thing called my career.

I went to a screening of the film made by the people I worked with over the summer on the show in NJ. I LOVE these people. They are brilliant, kind, connected, generous, and all-around glorious. They were part of a cool new festival in the city called First Time Fest. I’d seen the movie twice before (once in the cast house over the summer, again at another screening during the summer), so I was excited to bring A. Plus I was told there would be a red carpet I was wanted on.

Why? Who knows. I was completely uninvolved. BUT. Can I tell you how good it felt to be ushered by my friend S onto the red carpet with her writer/director partner, T, telling the photographers, “This is B, she’s the star of T’s next project.

1

So yay, I felt good for a second.

But.

I still don’t have a job. I haven’t been paid to act (at least in a weekly/non-stipend form) since SUMMER. SINCE JULY. That’s the longest I’ve ever gone.

Everyone tells me that “this is how it is– you’ll never have a consistent job.” Which I get. But I barely audition, you know? I mean, I do, I go to stuff, I get auditions occasionally, but, per example, the last appointment I got from my agent was for a four-show stipend project that CONFLICTS WITH MY FOUR DAY TRIP HOME. This is why I don’t go home, mom, ya see?! And so I hope I don’t book it, but of course I hope I do… and I don’t know what to do.

That little dilemma was the straw that broke the camel’s back this morning and I burst into tears. That, plus anxiety about money (I usually have two jobs– my salary one plus an acting gig or a freelance thing– but haven’t for a few months), plus A’s anxiety about money (since he hasn’t worked since Feb.) just bowled me over.

I feel like I’ve been dropped in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean trying desperately to swim to shore, but there are no lifeboats or pieces of driftwood to help me make it there. Y’know? I just feel really young and really stuck, and I hate it. I hate feeling helpless, and I hate not being able to do anything. But I really can’t. I’m doing my job.

I attend EPAs (the open calls held by the actor’s union)
I submit on ActorsAccess
(a site where I can self-submit for stuff, and my agent uses my profile for her submissions)
I spent the $280 to film and upload video clips to ActorsAccess

I give good auditions.
I’m doing all the superficial shit
(lightening my hair, losing weight–goal hit–, and fixing my skin)
I’m constantly saying “yes” to workshops and readings.

I can’t afford casting director workshops, and I also fucking hate that shit, because seriously… if I need that I obviously don’t have a job which means I obviously don’t have the money to pay for your workshop!!

I keep telling myself that it’s only a matter of time– that opportunities pop up in the oddest of places in completely unexpected times. Everything in my life has happened because of some odd cosmic alignment. I do all my homework, but I know that that’s not the be-all, end-all of this biz.

And I love A, but it’s hard that both of us are struggling artistically and financially.

And I hate that he sees the disappointment and frustration in me, and I hate that he feels like he can’t really help. I hate that I feel useless and lost and yes, depressed. I hate that I can’t even audition for things I’m right for, because they won’t go to someone like me. They’ll go to a bigger name or someone with a better agent or someone this or that that I’m just NOT.

Ugh.

 

 

The Rest I Make Up

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One week and one day since I flew home to NYC from home in Idaho, and today was the first day I called my parents. It’s like my energy flags when I think about calling– I just can’t. Finally, my boyfriend told me over sandwiches at Lenny’s that I really should, and that as we walked to his work, I should call. I’m telling you, the kid is a wonder. So I did, and it was good– mostly because my mom could only talk for a moment, and my dad is easier to talk to. Plus, there was only small mention of my sister’s illness. I have a very hard time finding compassion and understanding… I’ve written about this before. It’s something that gives me great guilt, but I struggle to even discuss it in a way that doesn’t make me feel “less” important, “less” vital… I don’t know.

I also came to realize over the last week that a major issue I had with this trip to Idaho was that in introducing my wonderful boyfriend to my family, rather than receiving wonderful words about how great/handsome/kind/smart/lovely he is, instead my mother made our relationship all about ME.

“Oh, you’re so affectionate! I’ve never seen you like this before!”
“Well, you were very distant on this trip, because you have someone else supporting you emotionally. But it’s better than outright anger!”

“Oh, no, I didn’t think that you’d die alone. I figured you’d die with a bunch of cats! Haha!”

It’s like all they could think about was that, like medication or therapy or whatever, having a serious boyfriend was somehow a proof of my “health,” of my “okay-ness.” Which makes me feel, once again, as though I’m inherently defective, and everything I do must be aimed towards proving I’m “okay” and “better” than I was. According to this theory, I’m not inherently “okay” and loveable and grounded and successful. Every “normal” thing in my life is some triumph over my illness, my inherent not-“okay-ness.” See how that’s a really irritating thing?!

So I guess there’s a huge part of me that’s glad to be home, here, because I’m not constantly proving I’m good enough. I mean, at least at home. I did receive a fairly passive-aggressive email from my agent last week: subject line “Happy New Year!” and body “You need to upload video onto ActorsAccess. It’s becoming imperative.” Which freaked me out (totally irrationally), so I emailed her back immediately listing all my awesomeness and how hard I’m working (which I AM, goddamnit!)

  • I reached my goal weight! (how? we’ll never know. perhaps even eating worse food but not binging really is the ticket… I’m not complainin’!)
  • I got great feedback from one callback– didn’t book it but was second choice!
  • Have another callback this week! Plus an audition next week! (now I have another audition the day of the callback, plus an EPA, plus therapy… plus meeting with my agent.)

Have tried to get video footage! Failing but trying!!

Anyway, I’ll meet with her on Thursday. I’m really anxious, but fuck it. What she thinks of me/tells me is not in my control. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. (right? I mean… right? Jesus Christ, sometimes I think I’m insane to do this job.)

And speaking of agents, A just signed with one. A literary agency. In London. For his book trilogy (he’s written one). The agency represented George Orwell.

Yep, let’s just get this out there:

  • A posted his book in an online forum sponsored by HarperCollins. We both did a bunch of work on it– social networking, making edits, commenting on others’ books, making friends. The ultimate hope would be to reach the top 5 on the site, earning a review by the HC editorial board. Thanks to our hard work, A’s book was likely to get there in the next couple of months. Since mid-Oct, his book rose from ranks in the 5,000 to around 150.
  • A got a message from an agent on his “profile” on the site. He said he loved the beginning of the book and would love to read the rest of the manuscript.
  • January 2, A got an email from the agent that he was halfway done with the book but he loved it so much he wanted to offer to sign A.
  • Today, he and A had a phone convo. The deal is set — A is signing– and the agent seems sure that he can get a great book deal for A and his trilogy.
  • My boyfriend is going to be a professional writer.

Which is what I wanted. Truly– this was what I dreamed for him, and I couldn’t have imagined anything more serendipitous.

Yet. There’s a part of me that, now, is anxious and a bit jealous. Why isn’t MY agent getting me great deals? Why does any email from her cause me anxiety slash why am I so certain she hates me (she doesn’t… I feel like she can’t… but fuck it, who knows)? I need to book a gig. And fast. Just to get my brain and heart out of this place where I feel like I’m failing and falling behind. Logically I know I’m in FINE shape– I have an agent, I’m in the union, I had a callback I almost booked, I have another callback this week, two audition appointments, an offer for a role in April, and it’s still technically the “break.” But.

I’m an actor. I’d like to act, please and thanks.

In other news, I got word yesterday morning that Maria Irene Fornes, one of my great heroes, is nearing the end of her life in hospice in upstate NY. As you may recall, I played the lead in one of her plays when I was a junior, and it was the hardest/most rewarding role of my life. Subsequently, I got to meet her on her 80th birthday. I wrote about it here: http://goo.gl/ipRr4

Basically, she has Alzheimers’, and unfortunately, in the waning years of her life, was placed in a hospice by her nephew– her legal guardian, but one who by no means has her best interests at heart. Being so far away from her community in NYC is very hard for her, and she really has no one except the few friends who occasionally visit. In the last week, she had refused both food and water (a symptom of loneliness and depression, not the Alzheimer’s), so it was looking like the end was near.

My former professor, Irene’s agent and dear friend, and the woman who introduced me to Irene, has been keeping people in the loop via a Google group and on Facebook. I sent Irene a letter, and I’ve been keeping updated on her progress. She has a Facebook page, and every day she has visitors, they will read the messages on Facebook, faxes received from loved one, play music Irene loves, and share photos and memories. The outpouring of love I’ve seen towards Irene from folks in the theatre community (whether they met her once, like me, a thousand times, or never at all) is remarkable.

The idea of Irene passing makes me incredibly sad. It sounds trite, but this woman is one of my greatest inspirations and heroes. Especially now, when I’m feeling kind of all-over-the-place and anxious about my life as an artist, Irene’s work and attitude never ceases to remind me that that’s all bullshit– the most important thing is the joy and the love of the art that you find within yourself. This woman is always smiling, always laughing, always singing. Her work is vast and inventive and unique. She thinks of her characters as having been born from her body. She sees honest artistic passion as the only reason to be an artist. As a playwriting teacher, she led physical exercises and songs and encouraged her students to paint and explore and play. Even in the darkest moments in her plays, there is humor and compassion.

I would love to be a great actor like so many I could name.
But I want to be an artist like Maria Irene Fornes.

If you pray or think (or think and pray– Shakespeare joke!), send some thoughts Irene’s way. She will pass, and it’s likely soon, but I truly believe that every single intention of love somehow reaches her and gives her comfort.

xoxo, my dear blog friends. 🙂
B.

My most prized possession. The amazing story won't move you unless you know who Maria Irene Fornes is, but long story short, she has dementia, no one thought she'd ever write again, someone encouraged me to ask for an autograph despite this, after a bit of pressure on all sides I said, "no, it's fine, I don't mind," and then all of a sudden Irene wrote in my book. Her documentarian, friends, agent, etc. all passed this around. Who knows-- I may have one of the last specimens of Irene's writing.

My most prized possession. The amazing story won’t move you unless you know who Maria Irene Fornes is, but long story short, she has dementia, no one thought she’d ever write again, someone encouraged me to ask for an autograph despite this, after a bit of pressure on all sides I said, “no, it’s fine, I don’t mind,” and then all of a sudden Irene wrote in my book. Her documentarian, friends, agent, etc. all passed this around. Who knows– I may have one of the last specimens of Irene’s writing.

"Of all the people I know you are the finest. You are the person I respect and feel most proud to know. I have no one to talk to. And sometimes I feel hollow and base. And I feel I don't have a mind. But when I talk to you I do. I feel I have a mind. Why is that? Why is it that some people make you feel stupid and some people make you feel smart. Not smart, because I am not smart. But some people make you feel that you have something inside you. Inside your head. Why is it that you can talk, Henry, and Lloyd cannot talk? Why is that? What I'm saying, Henry, is that I want you. That I want you here with me. That I love you." --MUD, by Irene Fornes

“Of all the people I know you are the finest. You are the person I respect and feel most proud to know. I have no one to talk to. And sometimes I feel hollow and base. And I feel I don’t have a mind. But when I talk to you I do. I feel I have a mind. Why is that? Why is it that some people make you feel stupid and some people make you feel smart. Not smart, because I am not smart. But some people make you feel that you have something inside you. Inside your head. Why is it that you can talk, Henry, and Lloyd cannot talk? Why is that? What I’m saying, Henry, is that I want you. That I want you here with me. That I love you.”
–MUD, by Irene Fornes

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"What’s the meaning of life Irene?"The meaning of life?
It’s doing what you like to do -
As simple as that
Doing what you like to do -
And enjoying it
Doing what you like to do -
And doing it
"Is that what you did?"
Yes
"Is that what you continue to do?"
Yes
And . . . doing it well
Doing what you like to do -
and doing it well
"And what about other people?"
People are a part of it
Doing it with people you like -
And people who do it well
See how simple it is?

Oneonta, May, 2009

"...I've been saying words in my head to see if word spirits would come... to join other words that were there... We just have to learn to listen and to let them come in easily because they... want to join other words to express something... of beauty or longing or despair." (Letters From Cuba, 2000)

“What’s the meaning of life Irene?”
The meaning of life?
It’s doing what you like to do –
As simple as that
Doing what you like to do –
And enjoying it
Doing what you like to do –
And doing it
“Is that what you did?”
Yes
“Is that what you continue to do?”
Yes
And . . . doing it well
Doing what you like to do –
and doing it well
“And what about other people?”
People are a part of it
Doing it with people you like –
And people who do it well
See how simple it is?
Oneonta, May, 2009
“…I’ve been saying words in my head to see if word spirits would come… to join other words that were there… We just have to learn to listen and to let them come in easily because they… want to join other words to express something… of beauty or longing or despair.” (Letters From Cuba, 2000)

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"The colors for me are very, very important. And the colors of the clothes the people wear. When it finally happens, the play exists. It has taken its own life. And then I just listen to it. I move along with it. I let it write itself. I have reached that point in plays at times. I have put scripts away then and picked them up three years later, and, reading them, suddenly I see the same picture with the same colors. The color never goes away. It could be ten years later. The play exists even if I have not finished writing it."

“The colors for me are very, very important. And the colors of the clothes the people wear. When it finally happens, the play exists. It has taken its own life. And then I just listen to it. I move along with it. I let it write itself. I have reached that point in plays at times. I have put scripts away then and picked them up three years later, and, reading them, suddenly I see the same picture with the same colors. The color never goes away. It could be ten years later. The play exists even if I have not finished writing it.”

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“You know there’s something that comes to me right now which is an expression – ‘seize the moment.’ Seize the moment. Grab the moment. Don’t miss it. Don’t let it pass without paying attention. In a way it can be confusing because it can be that ‘seize the moment’ means to hang on to it and stay there. But that’s not it. What was meant was not to stay there necessarily, but rather to just touch it. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the touch of cold glass against your hand. For no reason other than because it’s pleasant. The slightest thing, to acknowledge and respond to it, to let the moment be. You grab the moment. Don’t disown it. Don’t ignore it. It doesn’t mean that you become a crazy person saying, “Oh let me write this down because I may forget that I did this, or that this was fun, or that this was beautiful.” You could misinterpret it and become some kind of collector of little moments that really don’t need to be collected. But it’s very important to be in touch, to open yourself up, even to your own negative thoughts, negative feelings, to embrace those too, as well as the beautiful moments from your inner sensibility. So . . . I don’t know how I got into this, but here . . . we . . . are . . . “ Irene Fornés, Miami, February 2005

“You know there’s something that comes to me right now which is an expression – ‘seize the moment.’ Seize the moment. Grab the moment. Don’t miss it. Don’t let it pass without paying attention. In a way it can be confusing because it can be that ‘seize the moment’ means to hang on to it and stay there. But that’s not it. What was meant was not to stay there necessarily, but rather to just touch it. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the touch of cold glass against your hand. For no reason other than because it’s pleasant. The slightest thing, to acknowledge and respond to it, to let the moment be. You grab the moment. Don’t disown it. Don’t ignore it. It doesn’t mean that you become a crazy person saying, “Oh let me write this down because I may forget that I did this, or that this was fun, or that this was beautiful.” You could misinterpret it and become some kind of collector of little moments that really don’t need to be collected. But it’s very important to be in touch, to open yourself up, even to your own negative thoughts, negative feelings, to embrace those too, as well as the beautiful moments from your inner sensibility. So . . . I don’t know how I got into this, but here . . . we . . . are . . . “ Irene Fornés, Miami, February 2005

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