Sunday, September 28, 2008

hike 9/27/08

Today we went to the Eagle Creek trail in the Columbia Gorge. There is a short route (about 1.5 miles), a medium route (about 6.8 miles round trip) and 13.3 or so for the full route. We opted for the medium one. (This trail has many other variations and a person could simply turn around and go back at any time.)

The weather was perfect: a cool-ish fall morning and then sunny and temperature low 70s (a little cooler than in town) on the way back. It was a not too steep steady incline on the way in.

We passed several falls, some very narrow areas (cliff going up on our left and cliff going down - sometimes straight down) on our right.

The stock photo I found online (left) is of one of the Punchbowl falls up there.

It felt good to be out of town, hiking with a friend, and away from everything electronic and work related. When we reached the steel suspension bridge at the 3.4 miles turnaround point, we considered going another 0.4 miles to another falls - but opted to head back. We had plenty of energy on the bridge and felt fine to contine. About halfway back we were both glad we'd headed back to the car.

Despite a few aches (such as knees from the steady downhill hike back, especially from places where there were rocks in the path), it felt good. We were both feeling tired about that halfway point - but it was the tired of having hiked and physical activity, instead of lack-of-sleep-too-much-work tiredness. That felt good, too.

We also scheduled our shared workout times through October. We didn't find as much compatible time as we would like, but we do have at least once a week together and a couple all day workouts/hikes/trips planned (partly weather pending, we think).

Ahhh - fresh air, running water, waterfalls, birds, and lots of green surrounded us. Mmmmm - nice.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

practice: tonglen

We don't have to live in fear
nor do we have to
ignore the crises
as if they didn't exist.
We can help ourselves, our country, all beings of the world
with breath.

The following article explains the Buddhist practice of
written by Pema Chodron
as published on

two children and adult with candle In order to have compassion for others, we have to have compassion for ourselves.

In particular, to care about other people who are fearful, angry, jealous, overpowered by addictions of all kinds, arrogant, proud, miserly, selfish, mean —you name it— to have compassion and to care for these people, means not to run from the pain of finding these things in ourselves. In fact, one's whole attitude toward pain can change. Instead of fending it off and hiding from it, one could open one's heart and allow oneself to feel that pain, feel it as something that will soften and purify us and make us far more loving and kind.

The tonglen practice is a method for connecting with suffering —ours and that which is all around us— everywhere we go. It is a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our heart. Primarily it is a method for awakening the compassion that is inherent in all of us, no matter how cruel or cold we might seem
to be.

We begin the practice by taking on the suffering of a person we know to be hurting and who we wish to help. For instance, if you know of a child who is being hurt, you breathe in the wish to take away all the pain and fear of that child. Then, as you breathe out, you send the child happiness, joy or whatever would relieve their pain. This is the core of the practice: breathing in other's pain so they can be well and have more space to relax and open, and breathing out, sending them relaxation or whatever you feel would bring them relief and happiness. However, we often cannot do this practice because we come face to face with our own fear, our own resistance, anger, or whatever our personal pain, our personal stuckness happens to be at that moment.

At that point you can change the focus and begin to do tonglen for what you are feeling and for millions of others just like you who at that very moment of time are feeling exactly the same stuckness and misery. Maybe you are able to name your pain. You recognize it clearly as terror or revulsion or anger or wanting to get revenge. So you breathe in for all the people who are caught with that same emotion and you send out relief or whatever opens up the space for yourself and all those countless others. Maybe you can't name what you're feeling. But you can feel it —a tightness in the stomach, a heavy darkness or whatever. Just contact what you are feeling and breathe in, take it in —for all of us and send out relief to all of us.

People often say that this practice goes against the grain of how we usually hold ourselves together. Truthfully, this practice does go against the grain of wanting things on our own terms, of wanting it to work out for ourselves no matter what happens to the others. The practice dissolves the armor of self-protection we've tried so hard to create around ourselves. In Buddhist language one would say that it dissolves the fixation and clinging of ego.

Tonglen reverses the usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure and, in the process, we become liberated from a very ancient prison of selfishness. We begin to feel love both for ourselves and others and also we being to take care of ourselves and others. It awakens our compassion and it also introduces us to a far larger view of reality. It introduces us to the unlimited spaciousness that Buddhists call shunyata. By doing the practice, we begin to connect with the open dimension of our being. At first we experience this as things not being such a big deal or so solid as they seemed before.

Tonglen can be done for those who are ill, those who are dying or have just died, or for those that are in pain of any kind. It can be done either as a formal meditation practice or right on the spot at any time. For example, if you are out walking and you see someone in pain —right on the spot you can begin to breathe in their pain and send some out some relief. Or, more likely, you might see someone in pain and look away because it brings up your fear or anger; it brings up your resistance and confusion.

So on the spot you can do tonglen for all the people who are just like you, for everyone who wishes to be compassionate but instead is afraid, for everyone who wishes to be brave but instead is a coward.

Rather than beating yourself up, use your own stuckness as a stepping stone to understanding what people are up against all over the world.

Breathe in for all of us and breathe out for all of us.

Use what seems like poison as medicine. Use your personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings.

You can read the article in its original form
on the website by
clicking on the title of the article below
The Practice of Tonglen .

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

see? it's not just me!

Becky Bilyeu, photographer and crafter extraordinaire, has just announced that the first ever Portland Craft Mafia Show is this coming Saturday night.

Writers, crafters, artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, actors, and so on: we can inspire each other and gather with our openness and our honesty and integrity and say, "yes, I will continue to create. feeling a little low on inspiration or ability to hold the thread to continue creating? come. i will share. you can pay me back later or pass it on to someone else when you can."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

event: "You, Nero" a new play by Amy Freed

Portland Center Stage’s
invites you to a concert reading of

You, Nero
a new play by Amy Freed
October 6, 2008
@ Portland Center Stage
128 NW Eleventh Avenue (between Couch & Davis)
Portland, Oregon
in the Rehearsal Room

Admission is free, but space is limited
Please email Megan Ward at
to reserve your seat

You remember I, Claudius. Now hear from the other side. Nero, badly in need of positive PR spin, commissions award-winning playwright Scribonious to write a play about Nero’s life for the premiere of his new art festival, Neronia. Scribonious sees an opportunity to use the power of art to turn Nero’s life around. However, Nero continually misinterprets Scribonius’ meanings, finding justifications for even more tyranny, murder, and overacting.
Amy Freed is the author of The Beard of Avon and Restoration Comedy, among others. Her play Freedomland was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The Psychic Life of Savages was the recipient of the Joseph Kesselring Award as well as the Charles MacArthur Award. Ms. Freed is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University.

The outstanding cast includes:

Michael Mendelson, Michael Fisher-Welsh, Val Stevens, Julie Jeske Murray, Gary Norman, Kevin Michael Moore, & Ben Buckley

in a time when we are scared

At this moment, this is just a random thought. Not completely random, because I and we are being fed the ingredients to make a fearful nation "every day and every way," as the saying goes. On the radio, be it non-profit community or for-profit megawave corporation or public radio, everyone is discussing the bailouts, the economic troubles, the stock market plunges, foreclosures, spiking unemployment and on it goes.

Be afraid, we are told, but not in those words. Be very afraid.

As someone told me, in actuality now is the time to hold on to our creativity and to bring it forward. Right now this country - and the world, as well - need us to keep our hope and our dreams and to see the beauty in the world and keep our spirits strong. This was from someone very grounded and she did not mean to go to the LaLa place where we seenothingsaynothingdonothing - but instead the place where we hold strong to what we believe and keep holding our little beams of light; not letting ourselves be pulled down by the darkness.

I can't seem to make much more sense of this right now. I keep typing and erasing. Going back over how important the writers, artists, filmmakers, dancers, actors, musicians and other creative types are to keep us alive and breathing and with some sense of hope. Then I erase. Type again. Erase.

What is one positive thing you know right now? What is one creative step you can take to make someone smile or lighten your mood or help someone out?

Take a breath for peace and healing. And another. And another. Like the Buddhist practice of Tonglen: with each inhale, breathe in the fear and suffering; let it be cleansed in your heart; and breathe out the clear breath filled with hope and good intention.

One breath.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

side trip

Today after our training was done, a few of us took a ride to the peak on the longest tram in the world. While up there, we took a short 30 minutes or so hike. I feel great about even the short hike, though, because we were at around 10,350 feet.

While up there, we saw three parasailers take off from the peak. We missed the initial push off, but saw them begin their floating descent from behind a small stand of brush and trees. By the time we climbed the small slope to where they were launching, the remaining member of their group had decided to cancel his trip down the mountains due to the quickly approaching storm. We could see the rain falling from the sky nearly horizontally out from us and the rain blocking the sun, streaking our view, and spreading dust as it hit the ground far below us.

One more day of training and then I fly back home. In a plane.

NOTE: and these are not my pictures. I linked
to them, so if you click on the picture,
it should take you to the origin, where
you can see who actually took them.
They just represent what I
experienced or witnessed.
Lest anyone should be confused.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Be vewy vewy quiet. I want to tell you about my travels and my experiences, but I can't. I am in a secret location (well, it's not a secret location but I can't tell you where I am). And I am training to be able to do some part-time work for an unnamed company (and I can't really tell you who that is) as a, well, I probably shouldn't say that, either. And I definitely can't talk about what it is I'm learning because it is proprietary.

So, what can I tell you?

It's warm; though not much more than home right now and definitely cooler than home was for the week before I left. We had a little "rain storm" here today - which lasted all of about five minutes.

The company provided us with lunch today for our 30 minute lunch break. It was something I can't get the equivalent of at home though many try, primarily because - well, I shouldn't say that either (what makes it special) because it might give too much of a clue as to where I am. It was local and yummy.

We get regular short breaks throughout the day due to the nature of our work.

One thing I can say is that while I am on duty at this company, I can get on the internet. There are restrictions, of course, about when that is appropriate. And there are some sites the company has blocked because it deems them inappropriate for us to be doing while we work (think along the lines of craigslist - which is on the list - rather than porn - which I'm sure is also on the list). Oh, and we were told that wherever we go while we are online while we work, the company will go with us. They are monitoring and will see whatever we see.

Dinner was nice Italian (you can get that anywhere so no clues to my whereabouts) at a restaurant in the mall across the street from the hotel (again, many hotels are now located across the street from malls and most of them probably have at least one Italian restaurant).

And I found a coffee cafe just down the street for a nice decaf soy latte (which I've nicknamed the "Why Bother Cup"). And it wasn't Starbucks nor one of its other brands. I will leave it unnamed because it is, again, locally-based and would be a clue to where I am. I did discover it opens at 7 am tomorrow morning, so I can hop (walk, actually) on over there tomorrow morning before the taxi arrives to take the secret number of participants in this training to the training site.

More training tomorrow. More training Sunday, after which I fly home.

And after one more day of training at the home site, I will officially be a shhhhhhh. I can't tell you.

NOTE 9/24: The "area 51" poster is NOT
from where I was when I posted this.
It is just a funny (though not really)
poster from some other top secret
location for an entirely different
reason. Completely unrelated
to my secret place.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

getting back to honest

I met with my writing buddy tonight. We picked a new place to meet, because we haven't found "it" in terms of a mutually satisfying experience. But there was a coffee shop we both knew -- which was closed when we arrived.

Luckily, one of our favorite restaurants was right actoss the street, open, and they have wifi.

Which is not the point of this post, except to say that was the preceding event. A writing date.

After we closed down the restaurant (the last customers to leave), we stood at our cars and talked for over an hour. My friend talked a while about my dedication to my blogging and my ability to keep up with it.

ouch! Guilt crept in. I'm not doing it daily right now; I've been busy (mostly last week busy with T:BA - yay!). Sometimes I take the easy way and copy or insert something really good that someone else sent me. Which is fine ... but I also want to write my own thoughts.

Which is why I'm here. Now.

an istoc photo discovered

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

found: free movie by Michael Moore

From the movie website:

"Come watch the trailer for the new Michael Moore movie entitled "Slacker Uprising". You will be able to download the entire movie for free on September 23rd if you sign up!"

Visit Michael Moore's Slacker Uprising website for more information and to watch the trailer.

Monday, September 15, 2008

found: experience of "City Dance"

City Dance publicity photo by Alicia J. Rose

the original post was written
Serena Barton

Yesterday I had an extraordinary experience! I've heard it said that significant art is that which changes us because of our exposure to it. City Dance, part of PICA's Time Based Art event, fits this definition for me. It will be difficult to put it into words, but I'll give it a try.

From the Oregonian:
"In the late 1950s and early '60s, postmodern dance pioneer Anna Halprin and her husband, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, formed an influential collaboration: taking inspiration from each other, she re-imagined the movement of people in space, while he rethought spaces for people to move in.

The Halprins also had a connection to a groundbreaking collective: her San Francisco Dancers' Workshop was in the same building as the avant-garde San Francisco Tape Music Center (SFTMC), where electronics and found sound were altering music. Together, they were at the heart of a creative upheaval within the broader cultural revolution of the '60s, tearing down spatial and formal boundaries and radically changing the experience of art."

The huge audience of Portlanders and visitors of all ages watched dancers cavort in and around Keller Fountain yesterday at the beginning of the performance. Lively "experimental" music issued from the visible musicians.

At the Keller fountain in the beginning I was having a hard time seeing around people. The sun was beating down on me and I dearly wished I could be in the cool water with the dancers. (I've always had some trouble being part of the audience instead of the performance, from the time I saw my first parade and cried because I wanted to be in it.)

After the first section at the Keller, we then followed the dancers to another fountain, part of Halprin's open spaces designed for Portland.

The moving as part of the crowd from one space to another and being part of the excitement catapulted me into a realization: we were all part of the City Dance! I felt my heart open and felt a strong sense of alert, peaceful, anticipation.

The dancers wore colors that I remember from the exciting period of the early 60's when artists like the Halprins were opening up the world from the stuffy fifties, filling it with new color, images, and sounds.

One space sported a piano in the fountain. It looked so lovely that I stared and stared at it. It looked magical, and yet, right. I continued to be transported to the vivid world the Halprins helped create in the past and at the same time I was also fully present in the moment. Everyone in the crowd was smiling and we acknowledged the wonder of the spectacle and of each other and of our combined experience. There were no crying children, though lots of children were there. I didn't hear any annoying yelling or see any drunken or drugged behaviors. We all just basked in being together.

At the last space I was unable to see anything or hear what a speaker was saying. It didn't really matter. I just watched the crowd and inhaled the delicious scent from the trees. I was amazed at the discovery of these hidden open spaces in the heart of the city. I've lived in Portland so long and didn't know they were there. I wondered what more discoveries I could make in the city to open up my own world.

Soon the speech was finished. We all held hands and walked (danced) single file out of the space. At the end of the park, we were each handed a button that said "PLAY."

After the event, adults and children played in the fountains we'd visited. I rolled up my pants and went in--cool and delicious.

What a gift, to have such an experience. I know my words can't convey what it was like, but I hope we all will go out and experience more--hidden open spaces, plays, art, talks, walks, new food--the wondrous world.

Thanks to the choreographers, dancers, musicians, staff, and volunteers for this event!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

found: Les Misbarak

Thank you to my favorite Mrs Thenardier and good friend, Lori, for sending me this link! (With a hope that the election results turn out more positively than the end of the play.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

politics: distortions

"John McCain's ads are LIES. Here's the video proof."
by Brave New PAC

Thank you to Larry Lessig for bringing this one to our attention.


politics: shadows

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the national psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week. On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City. By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure. Palin’s pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper.

She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and turning negativity into a cause for pride. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of “the other.” For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don’t want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.) I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin’s message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision

Look at what she stands for:

  • Small town values — a nostaligic return to simpler times disguises a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.
  • Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.
  • Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be needed.
  • Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.
  • Patriotism — the usual fallback in a failed war.
  • ”Reform” — an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology.

Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from “us” pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of “I’m all right, Jack,” and “Why change? Everything’s OK as it is.” The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time. She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good. The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness

Obama’s call for higher ideals in politics can’t be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow — we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted? No one can predict. The best thing about Gov. Palin is that she brought this conflict to light, which makes the upcoming debate honest. It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in. We deserve to see what we are getting, without disguise.

Thanks to Ariel Gore
for posting Chopra's comments

Monday, September 8, 2008

event: BroadArts' Community Peace Concert Sing-Along

For those of you not out T:BA-ing on Thursday night, a completely different type of performance.

...posted from BroadArts' email flyer...

Your favorite local social action theatre comedy and music company, BroadArts Theatre, and our roving band of musicians, the BroadBand, invite you to two (or three) free performances this week.

Thursday night Sept 11 at 7 pm, we're producing a Community Peace Sing-Along concert, sponsored by St. Francis of Assisi church in Portland, and Saturday we're making our 5th live appearance at the Vancouver Peace and Justice Fair, in Esther Short Park in downtown 'Couv, on the main stage, from 1-1:30 pm.

Both performances are free and details are below, and on our web site at

{And we may be appearing at the ReDirect Guides' Green Sprouts Festival, also Saturday Sept 13, from 3:15-4 pm.}

In October, look for our series of Art into Action Salons, supported by a grant from the City of Portland Vision Into Action project and the Multnomah Co. Cultural Coalition of the Oregon Cultural Trust. These 5 salons, one in each quadrant of Portland, are free to attend, and will feature extraordinary women and organizations who are working to create the best possible Portland we can. You might have attended our performances two summers ago, IF I WERE THE QUEEN OF THIS FOREST, where you were invited to tell the city what kind of future we value for Portland. You, along with 16,999 other Portland residents responded, and the city embraced your Vision into the City- Council- approved Portland 2030 plan: A Vision for the Future.

Now it's your turn to make that vision real and active. Check our web site for locations, times, speakers and special guests. BroadArts Theatre is excited to dance down the aisle of our collective future with you, at our Vision Into Action Art in Action Salons! You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll meet amazing women!
And you might even win a door prize! Woohoo!

BroadArts is looking for a few good women and men to join us in creating the most exciting and inclusive Salon evenings of theatre/ music/ comedy ever! If you are interested in helping to co-create the Art Into Action Salons, have skills and time to offer, and would like to help BroadArts Theatre CHANGE THE WORLD, ONE JOKE AT A TIME, then come and play with us! Call me! linda...

A Community Peace Concert Sing-Along
(no charge)
St Francis Church (corner of SE 12th and Pine streets)
Thursday 9/11 at 7:00 pm

Seven years after the tragedy of September 11

we are embroiled in a never ending war.

Come and renew your commitment to peacemaking

and justice with other peaceful people

For More Information call 503-232-5880

Sponsored by St. Francis Church in conjunction with

BroadArts Theatre

Sunday, September 7, 2008

T:BA:08 so far

This was going to be a discussion about some thoughts and experiences I've had as a result of my T:BA experiences so far, but has turned into a mini-review. So I will go with that for now and then talk about thoughts and feelings.

My favorites so far:

"Built" by Sojourn theatre. A definite piece of art related to the space in which it happens, which explores boundaries and all things urban. Mead Hunter has an excellent review of the performance at MrMead's Pupu Platter. The performances end tonight, so, if you're reading this, go if you can - although it's probably sold out.

"Ten Tiny Dances" was a one-time occurrence at T:BA, but you can catch a performance at other times of the year, since it is a local event. I always like the smorgasbord of offerings (ten dance performances on a small 4x4 stage; although last night there were only eight due to illness and someone else needing to back out) and am moved and inspired by what I see; you don't have to be a dancer to be inspired by the performances. Usually there is a Ten Tiny Dances performance in the spring sometime. Mike Barber, the founder, mentioned he is thinking about what to do for their 20th performance (last night was #17). That will be an event to not be missed.

"England" by Tim Crouch was an excellent performance and interesting experience. One genderless character being played simultaneously-alternately by two actors, one male, one female. It gives us what is happening inside of our experience while we are experiencing it; nesting and holding simultaneously. There is more to this complex performance which takes place at the Elizabeth Leach gallery - which you can read for yourself and I don't want to give any more away. I also was lucky to be one of the participants in his morning workshop, which went over by an hour and we all were glad. There are several more performances through Thursday of this week. Go if you can.

I've been to a couple others which I enjoyed, but didn't make it to my favorites list.

There is only one I didn't like and which I left before it was done. It is nearly three hours long; at 30 minutes I was questioning why this was made and by an hour I knew I wouldn't make it through and wondered if there was any way it could redeem itself if I hung around. When the word "intermission" appeared on the screen over a cheesy/kitchy sunset background, I was so out of there, as was half of the remaining audience (a quarter of the viewers had left before making it that far). It was the "Day is Done" film by Mike Kelley. Here is one person's review of it from the TBA blog, which talks about some of the artist's intent and style, something I can't do since I didn't experience that myself when I was watching. I'd be curious to hear what other people think of it - especially filmmakers, screen writers, those moved by film in a way that I may not experience.

Tonight will be poetry and satiric comedy. No late night at The Works, though, since I have an early morning job out of town.

Friday, September 5, 2008

swimming and T:BA:08

There have been a series of things this week conspiring against many of my plans. Could be a planet alignment or karma or bad luck or just the way it goes sometimes. Things like a laptop battery at less than 5% when I met my writing friend for a 3-hour writing session (luckily there was an outlet available at Common Ground and luckily I had my power cord). Or the check to the phone company which bounced despite the money being in the bank and ending up without outgoing phone or internet service (quickly remedied - but still a pain and couldn't be taken care of when it was discovered at 10:00 at night). Or leaving home 15 minutes early to make sure morning rush hour traffic didn't make me late, only to end up stuck on a bridge due to an accident on the other side after avoiding the construction on my usual route which was forcing everyone to one lane and avoiding the other two possible bridges due to accidents announced on the radio; yes I was late and it took me 70 minutes to make the 35-40 minute drive. And more.

My point? It's been a trying week. When I was woken up by the phone company at 7:30 this morning, telling me that the phone problems I'd discovered last night were due to the bouncing but shouldn't have check, I was not happy. That was that proverbial final straw. Life sucked. Everything was conspiring against me. All I would ever have is struggle and I was sick of it.

I lay in bed, pulled up the covers, and stuck out my lower lip.

Then I thought: maybe I should try going for a swim instead of moping. Naw. Too much trouble and what's the point, anyway? But maybe, I thought. Just maybe, it would help at least take the edge of my growing grumpiness.

I cajoled and pleaded and promised myself an East Indian Tofu Ranchero breakfast at Old Wives' Tales if I went. And I sent a text message to my workout buddy about my struggle to deal with the stress in my new way and even better, by swimming (a walk would have been good, too; but my body likes swimming and it's a nice balance for my work). She sent back words of encouragement and, with that, I was able to finally drag myself into the bathroom to put on my swimsuit, then clothes over, grab the other things I needed, and get to the gym.

About 44 laps later (I was going for a mile, but there was a water workout class that came in before I hit the 60 lap mark) I got out, showered, and went to my car feeling better than when I went in. I felt physically better and my energy had improved; I was still emotionally upset, but at least I wasn't trapping it in my body. An improvement, but still grumpiness reigned.

I kept my promise of the rancheros and looked over my plan for tonight's T:BA:08 events. The first one received a rave review from Mead Hunter, a local dramaturg, so I thought it would be good. And the grumpies were putting a damper on last week's excitement about T:BA finally being here.

Only five minutes into that first event, BUILT, all of the grumps took a serious back seat. Some live performance - and interactive at that - mixed with a small self-selected crowd (reservations required, even for us pass holders), and my creativity and sense of life returned. I didn't forget about the other little things, but they did become little.

More about T:BA soon. But, for now, I have my missing piece: performance/theater/dance/art back and that, coupled with some exercise, improved not only my mood but my entire outlook on life. if I could just bottle this...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

found: quote

From the "No Plot? No Problem!" book by Chris Baty (the founder of NaNoWriMo, which I've mentioned in several previous posts):

"exuberant imperfection"

... how to approach the writing of the rough draft of a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

...and did you know that "The Great Gatsby" and some other pretty famous novels are only about 50,000 words? I'm not saying I will write the next Gatsby, but I will finish a draft of something.

...I will be going into November (NaNoWriMo) with this phrase in mind. And I'm already trying to apply it to other areas of my life. Not easy for a recovering perfectionist - but I like it!

photograph from CalArti