Friday Fictioneers – Diva

Photo courtesy - Kent Bonham

Photo courtesy – Kent Bonham

Diva

Word count:  100

Gillian swept onstage in a silky robe. Stan, who was playing her husband, bit his cheek. Shit, she really did it; she wore the red instead of the blue.

He positioned himself to greet her, however she sailed by to stand downstage center, to hog the limelight, and to begin her monologue which wasn’t due for another five pages.

Stan crept offstage into a silent melee.

“What is she doing??” The Director whispered with eyes as round as the moon.

Stan shrugged, “that’s what you get for casting Gillian Wainwright.” With sarcasm he air-quoted, “beloved actress makes her comeback.”

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Growth in the negative

Criticism given is also a form of taking away. And a way to the truth.

Recently, I participated in a One Act Festival with the theatre group I belong to. I performed, and I also wrote and directed a piece. At the end of the festival, a few adjudicators summed up their thoughts about each play; gave their advice and opinion. The play that I wrote and directed received high praise, won a few awards and will move on to the State Festival with a few tweaks as suggested by the adjudicators. The play that I performed in, and specifically my role was highly criticized. Apparently I couldn’t be heard, and my diction was unintelligible. I may have an accent but I resent the notion that I speak as if my mouth were filled with marbles. They belabored this point with me and my castmates for a while. Ok, I thought, ok, but was there absolutely nothing else good to say about my character? Nothing? The play received mild feedback as a whole but since I played the main character, I received much of the criticism.

Since then, I’ve felt edgy. I was raised up with one hand and struck down with the other and I cannot shake the deflation, the frustration.

The truth is (and this became clearer to me on that last day) that I have come to dread being onstage. This feeling might have grown from a seed planted last Spring when I completely clammed up at the State festival. Or perhaps, I’ve simply come to prefer the almost anonymous, beaver-like workings of writing, of seeing the story in my head, instead of being the story for everyone to watch.

It appears that my spiritual discoveries are enabling me to outgrow certain things.  Like a snake releasing its skin, the talent for acting may very well be leaving me. What remains is a bright, exciting new talent that has been nurtured and is about ready to blossom.

For now, I am still smarting from the whipping (which if my theatre friends knew I was feeling, would say that it wasn’t that bad). I also pay heed to the intuitive voice that urges me to disconnect from social media, and this is quite freeing. I thrust myself into living, feeling, observing, and walk away from scrolling, posting, and updating. There is nothing I need to share with anyone and nobody has anything to say that is more interesting that my life, right this very moment.

Liebster Love

My husband drove the car yesterday while the rest of us settled in for the two hour car ride to the beach.  It was our first daytrip of many for the summer and although the forecast seemed a little ominous, we were happy to go.

We decided on a new destination this year; my husband’s old stomping grounds and it did not disappoint. His phone did the navigating while I tootled around on mine:  Facebook, CNN, Scrabble, WordPress, Weather, Gmail, Liebster Award, Facebook….wha…??  Liebster?  A Liebster nomination for me?  I had seen the award bandied around but assumed it was given to bloggers with more longevity than me.

My fellow blogger zeelikestowrite has humbled me with her nod in my direction and I would be honored to answer the eleven questions she has posed.

1.  Describe in two words what a world without WordPress would be like.

Less connected.

2.  When did you start blogging and why did you decide to start?

I began blogging in January of this year.  My husband was more gung ho about creating his own but he convinced me to start one too.  I will admit that at first I felt conceited and wondered not why I shouldn’t do this, but who would actually read it and find what I have to say, interesting?  Also, I was concerned about it becoming more of a diary than a journal about my journey with insights to share.

3.  What is your favorite possession, and why?

It was the spring of 1977, I was seven and living in Kent, England.  I was sitting among the clover on a  large swath of grass opposite our house searching for a four-leafed clover, not with any determination, just sort of  leafing through patches left and right.  To my surprise, I found one.  I plucked it and ran inside to show my Mum who brought down from her jewelry box an old locket she had.  It was on a long gold chain and was shaped like a small ball which unscrewed to become two halves.  One half was filled with glass so that it became a magnifying glass on the outside and the other half was hollow.  She placed the clover in it and gave it to me to keep.  I still have it.  It’s been opened only a handful of times over the years because the leaves, although dry and brittle are all still attached to the stem.  As for the why, I think simply because it’s a keepsake for the happier moments during my little years.

4.  Which author would you like to interview and what would be your first question?

Anne Tyler.  Ms. Tyler, what things inspire you to come up with the first seed of a story?

5.  Which book, already published, would you like to have written?

Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

6.  What is the most adventurous food you’ve eaten?

In the mid-eighties, a girl in school came back from South Africa with what she said was ostrich.  I took a tugging chew but couldn’t confirm if she was telling the truth.  Other than that, I think I had emu at an Australian-style restaurant.  But who knows, it could’ve been some kind of domestic pet for all I know.  I do love Indian food though and that can be quite adventurous.

7.  How often do you check your stats on WordPress?

Honestly, not very often.  I get email updates regarding Likes, Comments and Followers.  If, however, there were more detail in the stats such as City, State and Domain Name I’d be all over it like shit on a stick.  I have another blog on Blogger.com that is linked to Google’s Analytics website and from there I can see everything that satisfies my ego.

8.  Where do you do most of your writing, and why?

Believe it or not, I do all of my writing at work.  It’s rather cushy because although the company I work for is large, it is based in Europe.  My boss and I man a very small office on the East Coast, however he travels extensively which leaves me by myself for weeks at a time.  I do my work and with my free time, I write.  I have lovely visions of writing at home during the summer evenings when the kids are in bed and my husband is watching telly but we like to sit near each other at the end of the day and talk and laugh and watch our shows.  So I get creative with a view of trucks driving past and the Delaware Memorial Bridge in the background.  Suits me fine.

9.  What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve not been writing long but have been given plenty of advice.  So far, the best has come from my Mum, a published writer herself. She reviewed my first short story and warned me of ‘purple prose’ which I think a lot of newbie writers feel they need to include.  This is why I like Friday Fictioneers; those 100 words have to convey so much, it’s excellent training in curbing unnecessary waffle.

10.  What was the most embarrassing moment of your life?

I thought I’d had it with on-air mishaps or farting in the delivery room but the most embarrassing moment (although definitely much larger than a moment) happened earlier this year at the One Act Festival.  I was in a two-person play and had performed in it twice before about two months previously.  The Festival draws community theatres from around the state and the winner proceeds to the Eastern States Theatre Festival (or something like that – the next bigger one).  I changed one small detail at the start of my monologue and the whole play went down in flames.  For me, there is nothing as mortifying as being onstage knowing that something has gone horribly wrong and being unable to find a way to jump back in again.  The spotlight seemed brighter, the silence poured all over me and my poor teenage castmate could only stare at me helplessly.  It was terrible and I felt stung by it for days.  Even now, it’s difficult to tread over again.

11.  What country would you like to visit, and why?

French Polynesia.  Because my husband and I haven’t taken a vacation in eight years.  If we could go anywhere it would be here, specifically Bora Bora, to a thatched-roof hut on the water with no television, no wifi, no phones, no computers.  Just sun, sea, sand, fruity alcoholic drinks, delicious food and each other.

Thank you for the nomination.  I can only continue to grow and develop as a writer because of what’s in my heart, my mind, my soul and by having WordPress as my platform for creativity.

Sweet dreams are made of what may come…

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Dreams, huh?  We all get that there are messages and clues behind those wild, crazy stories that gallop around wantonly at nighttime.  Sometimes they make sense and sometimes they’re just way out there loony style.  Some of us remember and some of us have a more difficult time grasping the wispy remnants, like a fragment of a memory from childhood.  Some of us have lucid dreams, meaning we are aware that we are dreaming.  I’m fortunate to remember many of mine and I do have lucid dreams, to the point where I can rewind and change scenes or outcomes.  I think that’s pretty cool, and would be made cooler still if Johnny Depp would enter at some point.

But anyhoo…last night’s dream was not the rewind kind but still very vivid and loaded with suggestions and solutions.

Essentially, there were two parts.  The first part involved me driving in a thick snowstorm, which was so thick that I couldn’t see in front of me.  At one point, I braked hard and the car I was driving did a vehicle version of a forward roll.  I remember the car being vertical, me perched at the wheel, parallel to the road before it tipped over twice and eventually righted itself.  I got out, unshaken or stirred and walked over to another car that was upside down.  With one arm I grabbed one of the back wheels, picked it up and turned it right side up.

After that scene I switched to another, very different one.  This happens a lot, with many scenes having no relation or bearing on the previous or the next.  I walked into an office that had the feeling of being the place I worked, except it was full of people I didn’t know, milling around, being sociable.  I approached a man who was unfamiliar and inquired after my colleagues.  I don’t remember the dialog; I had the sense that they had all gone and that I was being given another post, half-heartedly, as if the current clan didn’t really care whether I stayed or went.  So I left, shruggedly and whatevery.

We all are aware that the thoughts we focus upon during our physical reality could become fodder for our dreams.  What’s more important though, are the thoughts that lurk in the background, those frets, fears, frustrations and ideas that never really come to the forefront.  They are the meat and potatoes of our dreamscape reality.  And, our dreams aren’t simply a metaphor for our daily lives.  Again, choirs and preaching notwithstanding, we know that what we dream about can offer solutions and help point us in a certain direction.  But, I have concluded that the cookie is not just in the crumble, it’s also in how you feel during your dream.

For example, after last night’s amazing feat of strength and the whole driving through the blinding snowstorm thing, I proudly came to the conclusion that I do indeed have the inner strength to cope with any obstacle.  Thought it was obvious, figured I got that pegged.  Until I approached my dream app (which isn’t one of those whimsical, fairytale, point out the obvious side of things apps…in fact it’s pretty Freudian with its explanations).  There, I read the exact opposite…that my show of strength symbolized the fact that my ambition outstripped my ability and that I needed to adjust my goals thusly.  Also, the snow allegedly represented the appearance of illness and unsatisfactory enterprises.  Worse, to find myself in a snowstorm denoted sorrow and disappointment. And, worse still, to see large white snowflakes falling while looking through a window (does a windshield count?) foretold of an ‘angry interview’ with my sweetheart (which was sort of true this morning).  So, what about driving?  Well, in the dream, my driving was hampered by all the snow and apparently, if you cannot see ahead, it is an indicator that you do not know where you are headed or what you want to do with yourself.

Indignant, was I!  Nay, as Frasier once exclaimed – “I am wounded!”

I raised an eyebrow and pondered, drummed my fingers and listened to Esther Hicks discuss dreams.  I decided to step away from the literal and think about the thing as a whole.  I remember lifting up that car with one arm was no big deal, as if it were something I did every day, like changing a diaper – a roll of the eyes, a flick of the hand and bip, bam, boom, Bob’s yer Uncle!  Where did my ambition and ability fit into that?  I mean, I have ambitions to act and write and I think my ability is on par with those dreams, although the writing part could use a poke in the arse.  So, I think I’ll stick with my hypothesis that I can nurture my inner moxy and trust it to slap the crap out of any shitstorm that comes my way.

As for the office thing…hmm…well, leaving something behind perhaps and being ok with it?

What about the dream a couple of months ago where I narrowly escaped being hit by a train that had derailed and was hurtling through the air toward me with the words echoing in my head “That was close!?”

Or the one where I was walking with my husband someplace like this (Ilfracombe high street, just fyi)…

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…I was naked but he had his undies on.  At first, I wanted to cover up but found my courage and walked strong and proud.  That one was fairly obvious, right?  I figured it meant that I had discovered a new sense of honesty, openness and a carefree nature.  However, that little dream app gave me the old Z fingersnap and said “Nuh uh…honey” and went on to say that it meant I was afraid to be seen for who I really was.  *insert raspberry*

Again, I go with the feeling of being happy and chin-up with that one.

Mind you, later on in that series of disjointed scenes, I surfed with no surfboard on water-logged grass.  NO idea what that meant.

Of course, other dreams really are quite obvious in their message.  Especially if they involve someone you know, like exes.  Those are always fun, especially when it’s so close to the event.

Recurring dreams?  I still remember one I had from childhood about an alligator that would come up out of the drain in the road, inside out.  Now, there’s an eyebrow raiser.

So, in conclusion, our dreamscape reality is essential to the wellbeing of our physical reality and vice versa.  They work in tandem and even if you wake up with the shadows of your sleeping thoughts laughing and running away from you as you reach out for them, just remember that their seeds have been planted and they are there for you to reap should you need them.  All you have to do is ask for them and they will be given.  Just keep an open mind.

Sleep well…

Lisa…