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07/01 Direct Link

I will be very busy this month, almost entirely with self-inflicted projects.  An unrehearsed Shakespeare, grad school prep, learning Arabic, keeping a workout schedule…plus the show, of course – my actual job.  And now, I add 100words to the load.

I worry about the implications of that busyness.  What am I hiding from?  What am I not accomplishing?  What things should I be doing instead?  Is worrying on that list?

None of this, naturally, is helpful, and I feel sometimes like I’m whining enough to be Princeton in Avenue Q (not a compliment).  But there’s a saying about the unwhined life….

07/02 Direct Link
Today is the second day in a row I've woken up in the single digits AM. Now, that's not terribly impressive to most people -- many of you reading this probably want to beat me with something unpleasant right now -- but my schedule here in Indiana has shifted by about 4 hours; I wake up around 10 or 11 and go to bed around 2 or 3. Waking up at 7 is traumatic under those circumstances because I worry about falling asleep during the evening's performance. But as we determined yesterday, I worry more than I need to.
07/03 Direct Link
I talked to Sara again last night -- first time in several weeks. Got the fight gossip, traded book reviews, all the fun stuff.

Also spoke to Sarah (with an "h") for the first time since we were matched up. There might be a future there -- worth exploring when I finally get back to Minnesota. In the meantime, we have plans to chat again tomorrow.

Here in Indiana there are numerous pretty, fun women who are just not romantic options -- attached, too young, lesbian, super-consciously single -- which has actually made for a low-drama summer. Thank God for big favors.
07/04 Direct Link
Women Of My Life: That One Ex

In any honest recounting of "most influential person in my life," she has to be near the top, even though we barely communicate anymore and it's painful when we do. She was my best friend and lover for seven years, and knows secrets that no one else will ever know. She was devoted, and giving, and forgiving. She taught me more about love, women, and friendship than any chick flick (another topic on which she was a master teacher) ever could or will. We shared laughs, tears, beds, and -- most importantly -- values.
07/05 Direct Link
That One Ex, continued.

All that sharing is now in the past, including the shared values.  She has expressed her surprise at this herself -- she planned to remain a virgin until marriage, not cohabit, go to seminary.  None of these things have happened.

What I object to most is not that they haven't happened, but that she treats them so lightly.  Increasingly, she acts as though sin is something that happens to other people, and that repentance isn't necessary if the sin in question is socially sanctioned.  Other friends feel likewise...I'm disappointed that she sold out.
07/06 Direct Link
Women of my Life: She Who Kicks Ass.

A very appealing mix of tomboy and girly-girl.  I remember meeting her a year ago April, though she assures me it was before that.  Whoever's right, we met at a combat workshop, and that's been the foundation of our friendship since.

She knows how to flirt to get her way, and I know she knows, and she knows I know, etc.  Conversations with her always keep me on my toes; it's fun to push her buttons, but that fun is spiced by the risk of an ass-kicking.
07/07 Direct Link
She Who Kicks Ass, continued:

In many ways, she's my ideal woman, though her conservative streak is even deeper than mine.  The saving grace of the friendship is that I am in no way her ideal man, so there's no danger of a romance ruining the friendship.

Like me, she harbors lots of dreams and goals; unlike me, she goes to work on at least some of them.  Every now and then, though, there's a glimpse of uncertainty, or reluctance -- a break in her clarity of purpose.  And, sad to say, I find that vulnerability completely disarming.

07/08 Direct Link
Women of My Life: The Opposite Friend

We met in graduate school.  I was the shy, asocial (she claims anti-social) first-year; she was the outgoing, social butterfly second-year.  Sometime around mid-year, she decided that I needed to be around the department more. And that was that.

In SO many ways we are SO very different -- we have theatre in common, including acting, combat, and musical theatre...and almost nothing else.  Politically, I'm somewhat right of center; she doesn't know what red looks like.  Socially, she's still a partier, dancer, drinker; I'm...well, not.
07/09 Direct Link
The Opposite Friend, continued.

It's a terribly complicated friendship, but one thing it's free of is rivalry -- even in stage combat, where we actually could be competing for choreography or internships.  We're two states apart, which means we're not competing for gigs; we're opposite genders, so we don't compete for roles, but we're both straight -- which means we don't compete for lovers, either. 

The complications are strictly internal to the relationship: we value different things, and look at life in wildly diverging ways.  While this Other perspective is often helpful, it is also tremendously frustrating at times.
07/10 Direct Link
And now for something completely different -- or at least, not related to the women in my life.  At least, not directly.

Fridays are errand days for my apartment, mainly because our paychecks are only available from noon to three on Fridays.  So as long as we're driving the half-hour to the theatre to pick up our checks anyway, we figure we may as well be productive.  And if not productive, it at least gives us an excuse to splurge on a nice lunch.  Or if not nice, at least something we don't eat very often.
07/11 Direct Link
During performances of Lost Colony, towards the end of the second act, I had the most unusual opportunity for peace and contentment. Understand: I spent much of that show stumbling around drunkenly, and just prior to this moment had done Big Battle and a viciously-fast quick change. But...

Up on the parapet, keeping watch while the lovers did their scene, I could look straight across Roanoke Sound to Nag's Head. The wind was strong and cool, smelling of salt and mystery. The waves against the backstage dock were God's gentle applause. Five minutes of ocean meditation. I miss it.
07/12 Direct Link
Women of my Life: The Princess

Her, I met at a workshop. Overheard that she was working at the same theatre that summer that I was, thought she was cute, made a point of flirting with her when I got there. That? Didn't fly so well.

Possibly the most conservative person I've ever met in theatre, which gave us a point of connection among the drunken debauchery of nights in the Grove. Truly well-meaning, as well as obedient and devoted to God as she understands Him. But ever so slightly smug about it..."boasting in the LORD" is right.
07/13 Direct Link
The Princess, continued.

None of this is to say that the friendship is strained -- though it has been, before, when I was still trying for a relationship and also when she was being particularly needy. We eventually straightened that out, through a series of fairly painful emails. And now that she's with Her One Guy Forever, frankly, it's far more fun flirting with her. I suppose that might change if I ever actually meet the guy...but for the moment, I'm going to have my salaciously-platonic fun. And she is going to sigh in flattered mock exasperation. Some things....
07/14 Direct Link
Women of my Life: The Belle Tolls.

Such a huge crush on this girl in grad school! Southern drawl -- though never quite as pronounced as we gave her grief for -- and librarian-style cute. In a story that's becoming far more usual than I would like, we struck a great friendship...and she fell hard for someone else.

Somewhat unique in that she called me out on my self-pitying douchebaggery -- two or three weeks after starting up with her guy, sat me down and asked if I was going to wallow in "nice-guy-angst" the next two years.
07/15 Direct Link
The Belle Tolls, continued.

Barring that occasion, though, our friendship has been untroubled by romantic mishegoss, and based on deep similarities and superficial differences...with the occasional deep difference; the one that leaps to mind is her need to clean and organize, versus my laissez-faire approach to same. Of course, speaking as an Oscar, it's always nice to have a Felix who thinks you need organizing -- twenty bucks and an hour gets you a whole new house. And she derives an almost spiritual satisfaction from bringing Order to Chaos. "And the breath of the vacuum swept over the floor...."
07/16 Direct Link
The Russian circled the table warily, two long knives weaving a pattern in front of him. His Gallic opposition, two thin-faced weaselly-looking fences, stood back from his knives, allowing him room to circumvent the table...but blocked the way to the door. Jean raised a quizzical eyebrow. "Mishka, why do you fight so hard?" Mikhail's mouth twitched at the sound of his childhood nickname in this trash's mouth. "Give us only the last piece, and you will be paid." Mikhail spat hard in Jean's eye, then spun to find Pierre moving hard his way, smallsword leading. Not good.
07/17 Direct Link
Her dress was the blue of a sky at noon, with sequins lightly dusted across it. Its hem fell all the way to her ankles, clinging ever so gently to her hips and thighs. The top of the dress plunged almost to her xyphoid process, displaying her breasts to marvelous effect; the narrow silk bands over her shoulders set off well-muscled arms. Silver jewelry glinted here and there -- right bicep, left wrist, and a dangling necklace that fit the V of her cleavage perfectly. She was beautiful, stunning...and judging from the stiffness of her smile, very, very uncomfortable.
07/18 Direct Link
His first pre-conscious thought: it's cold. Quick mental inventory: fully dressed, yep. Socks too? He wiggled his toes. Socks too. Covers? There's the comforter. Where's....aha, there's the fleece (too small for a full blanket, it had been shuffled down to his legs during the night).

So -- not a clothing issue. Not a coverage issue. Why was it so cold? Pulling the covers closer (and moving the nice warm fleece up to his arms -- mmm, better), he continued his sleepy analysis.

Windows? One eye cracked open. Nope, still closed. Doors? To check those would require getting up. Never mind.
07/19 Direct Link
Women of My Life: The Girlfriend that Wasn't.

Who knew an almost-relationship could last so long? A wonderful little crush, some serious flirtation...and then a knock at the door that derailed everything. Now, 10 years later, we're still great friends and flirt occasionally...but the "what if" lurks in my subconsciousness.

In many ways, this is unequivocally for the best. Like most of my ladyfriends, she's far more liberal than I am both politically and religiously, which would have caused problems in the long run (or even the short run, as That One Ex demonstrated SO very clearly).
07/20 Direct Link
The GF That Wasn't, continued.

I have more in common with her, actually, than with most of the other women I've written about. Arts background, sci-fi geekery, sense of humor, games of most kinds...we never (hardly ever) have trouble making conversation. She's my closest friend, in many ways -- or at least the most consistent and least judgmental about our differences.

Besides That One Ex, this is the relationship that has changed the most since the beginning. We don't flirt like we did in college; we worry more about our presents than our futures. More adult, but less fun.
07/21 Direct Link
The Weight of Glory?

I held off thinking these thoughts until the next day's newspaper (online edition) confirmed his identity. "Police say the murder victim of yesterday's R****** shooting was [him]."

15 years ago, we were teammates on the debate squad. 14 years ago, I made a joke that he never heard, and that I'd forgotten about until the Facebook rumors of his death started flying.

It was not a joke aimed at him. It was crueler than that: it was a joke that used him to insult someone else. It may be the last thing I said about him.
07/22 Direct Link
Conversations with the Dog aren't usually so helpful. He's a dog. He happily agrees with almost anything I suggest, as long as it's not cutting off his food.

"Dog, I'm depressed."

"I can tell. *lick* Good human."

"There's this girl, and..."

"Oh, bitch trouble."

"Hey! That's not cool!"

"I'm a dog; I can say it. You can't."

That makes a disturbing amount of sense. To take my mind off being out-argued by a dog, I check Facebook. He rests his head on my legs in a doggy display of affection. Or...

"You're hungry, right?"

"Yep."

Facebook waits.

"Good human."
07/23 Direct Link
The rumbling of the water pipes woke him up; his entire apartment was shaking. Typical. Rolling over, he discovered a discarded t-shirt -- one of his favorites, from a 1990s concert. Not one that he usually slept in. So why...?

Continuing the rollover, he spotted a lacy blue bra on the floor, next to a pair of jeans and a flowered blouse -- definitely not his.

As the haze in his head cleared, he placed the sound of water close by -- it was his shower. And he wasn't in it.

After another look at the bra, he decided he should be.
07/24 Direct Link
"Move it, Sally! Sun's almost down!"

The lawman's baritone cut through Sally's horrified fugue. As Sheriff Anderson fired into the onrushing mass of zombies, Sally turned and ran for the chemical plant, carrying a bundle of dynamite. Her eyes stung from the noxious fumes and unshed tears.

A throng of undead -- they're everywhere! -- emerged from the very door she was heading for. Dammit -- one more pit to blow up, but how to get to it...?

"Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron!" Father Joseph smashed a zombie with a crowbar, drawing the rest from the door. Sally ran.
07/25 Direct Link
I've never met an actor or an acting teacher who doesn't advise "being in the moment." It's rarer, though, to find a priest advising the same thing.

Nonetheless, that was my confessor's advice a few weeks back: be in the moment, pay attention to what's happening in your thoughts (this is where the actors' take on "the moment" would diverge, incidentally). Sin in thought becomes sin in action, so nip the thoughts when you catch them.

That's a very hard thing to do -- harder than it sounds. Especially when you're dealing with good memories of good times and bad action.
07/26 Direct Link
We lay in bed together...sort of. It was a king-sized bed, and had come with five layers of covers, all thrown aside due to the room's heat. We were separated by two feet of fastidiously unsexual thoughts. NOTHING would happen tonight.

We were being good. No nookie. Her blue satin nightshirt had bunched up, showing a LOT of leg and a flicker of white. NO backsliding. Absentmindedly brushed her arm -- ELECTRIC. But no. Nothing was going to...

Our breathing was getting labored, raspy. But-

"Screw this. I want you."

"I'll [censored] if you [censored]."

"Deal."

And we did.
07/27 Direct Link
I bought a country album...and I'm enjoying it. What's wrong with me?

I don't know how it started -- I was in the bar a few days back, having a burger and reading Michael Chekhov's acting book, and this song came on. It was country, but it had electric guitars, which makes up for a lot.

Two nights later, I'm at Wal-Mart, spending my insomnia, and I see a new release rack. That name looked familiar. I bought their CD. I even put back a card game so I could afford the CD!

I think I'll blame the insomnia.
07/28 Direct Link
He sat at his desk -- the one in the corner, tucked up against the window, that he shared with a busier and more popular colleague -- and faced the wall. Meditatively, he removed a deck of cards from its box and began shuffling them, hand to hand, as quietly as he could.

Some days, this was the only way to shut his mind down -- ugly thoughts and painful ideas kamikazed into his brain, friends' laughs sounded shrill and mocking, even the wheels on his chair seemed smug. So out came the cards, and he switched off his brain for a bit.
07/29 Direct Link
When I attended my first workshop in 2006, I had no idea that I would found my own, or that I would enjoy it. But I did and do.

There's a pleasure to be found in organization -- not an activity that I'm normally prone to, incidentally. But recruiting staff, arranging food and hotel, soliciting workshop proposals, and (most of all) scheduling the workshops give me a real sense of accomplishment. Checking items off a to-do list feels so...productive. Like I'm a contributing member of society or something. Don't worry; I won't let that delusion go to my head.
07/30 Direct Link
The trouble with writing my 100 words in the morning is that I wake up horny. So when I try to come up with a topic, I'm continually drawn to sex.

The issue? I've been single and celibate for more than two years now. I can remember what a breast looks and feels like, I can remember sweating together in bed...but the memories are fading.

And I kinda want them to fade -- turning over a new leaf and all, living a holy life...much easier when I'm not fixated on memories of Strip War and on-tour booty calls.
07/31 Direct Link
There's a certain kind of silence that means trouble -- parents always tell me this. But there's a similar silence among adults, especially college students and recent grads, that implies lascivious thoughts and hopes.

Anyone with a horny roommate probably knows this silence: it's the one that occurs when an attractive visitor disappears, and then so does your roommate, and ten minutes later nobody knows where they've gone. That level of quiet -- especially when one or both parties are naturally boisterous folk -- indicates intentional furtiveness. And when both parties are otherwise attached, THEN we reach the summit of willful, grasping stealth.