Friday, January 30, 2009

lift off leads to forgiveness

This has been another intense week. I started to feel disappointed when I came here to post and realized I hadn't said anything since Monday.

Then I thought, hey, wait a minute. Give myself a break, here. I just completed, in the words of Chris Coleman, a marathon. Unlike a marathon, Chris went on in his introduction and welcome to the show, Apollo at Portland Center Stage has two built in breaks for coffee, conversation, and going to the bathroom.

The play is running (no pun intended) three hours and thirty-five minutes. Rehearsal and preparation for this show was long; each of the seven times I saw it required a minimum of 5.5 hours. A total of 60-75 minutes driving and parking, meeting before the show, the show and intermissions, and a little (but not much) conversation after the show. Then there were the times translating the script and practicing at home and with other resources.

Okay. So I posted less than I wanted for this week. I forgive myself. And let's move on.

But I am now late with an assignment for the online writing workshop I am taking. It was due today and I am quickly heading towards midnight. Not that I will be punished - but I wanted to keep to the due dates. Oh well, I missed this one. I will get myself caught up this weekend. After my dragon boat strength & training workout tomorrow morning, going to REI to pick up my ordered gloves for same said dragon boats, and lunch with a friend - and before I go to work Sunday afternoon.

Oh, and around my step-daughter moving in for up to six months; which means her son, as well, on an every other week basis.

It's not that I have anything else on my mind except blogging! sheesh....

picture from the PCS website
and promo flyers for Apollo

Monday, January 26, 2009

turning toward center

Again I find myself spiraling out into the world. I start misremembering appointment times or write them down wrong or even glance at my schedule and still am an hour late. And I think, "thankfully it wasn't a job."

I start stealing from sleep because the assignments need to be graded before the next ones are due - out of fairness to the students. Or I have to send an email to the person who contacted me about a work proposal and they need a fee quote. And soon it's three in the morning and I have to be somehwere at eleven, or nine.

Then there's the writing workshop I'm loving and that's what I desperately want to do. So I steal some more sleep time or cut 30 minutes from my exercise time, which is already reduced in frequency. I want to give feedback to everyone but only have time for the requisite three. Okay, so I squeezed in one more because her writing was so well done and it really touched me.

And the play. I love the theatrical work and this one is long. Great but long. Which multiplies exponentially when prepping for a show. In just a few days that will be done and I will have a couple evenings a week and another 15+ hours a week for other things. Patience. Sometimes being at the end of a big project goes very slowly. And I wonder if I need to do less theatrical interpreting for a year or two, take a break. I've been here with theater before - as stage manager or director or other crew.

And I'm trying to find my way back toward center. Back to the desire I found in Oaxaca, to the hopes I found before that. Back to time for me that is not taken from elsewhere. Workouts that aren't rushed or doubled up as rehearsal. Appointments with the trainer where I have time to shower and change and eat lunch somewhere other than driving to the next thing.

Again, here I am. Wondering where that central ground is. No longer searching for balance or perfection (whew!), but looking for that area where life is more comfortable. Where I can write without guilt or my internal project manager breathing down my neck to hurry up. Where I can have a couple days off in a row and maybe even a third day now and then, for added fun and a little escape. A central ground where there is room for times when I have to or want to work a little extra (how many hours to be able to buy the plane ticket to Albuquerque and rent a car to Taos?). A comfortable fluid place where breathing is easy and laughter happens regularly, and I don't need to trade sleep for creativity.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

new writing/theater: "Apollo"

written and directed by Nancy Keystone

Portland Center Stage
Gerding Theater at the Armory
128 NW Eleventh Avenue
Portland, OR 97209

Now Playing through February 8th
with a sign interpreted performance on 1/29/09

If the brilliant collage artists Robert Rauschenberg had created a play, this is what it might look like. One of the most adventurous productions ever offered on a PCS stage, Apollo is an epic, multimedia examination of post WWII America which explores the birth of the U.S. space program, its employment of former-Nazi rocket scientists, and their surprising intersection with the Civil Rights Movement. Using the U.S. mission to the moon as a symbol of our country’s greatness, Apollo probes deep into the question: what did we sacrifice to become the America we are today? And was it worth it? Through a kaleidoscopic array of theatrical methods (movement, text, video projection, music), Keystone reveals the costs and ambiguities of human aspiration and progress.
[From PCS website.]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

event: "Shimmy Shake & Share"

Grace Constantine of Deviant Dance (a performer in 2GQ's Public Works series) joins a fabulous list of performers to raise funds for the Winter Homeless Shelter. January 24th at 6 pm in Vancouver, Warshington [sic]. Keep reading for details.

Shimmy Shake & Share Dance Festival
Benefit for Winter Homeless Shelter
St. Paul Lutheran Church
1309 Franklin St.
Vancouver, WA 98660

January 24th 2009
Evening show 6pm, doors open at 5:30
$10 donation, all ages

Here is a list of the evening performers:

Raks El Sehr
Carol Love
Scottish Country Dancers
10 min. intermission
Jane Archers Troupe
Khmer Angkor dance troupe (parents are allowed in with their child)
Grace from Deviant Dance
Bhrigha Gypsikelt
Caravan Dance Collective

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ding dong

The baton of power has been handed over. Now is the time of President Obama and we are all waiting to see what changes will really happen, because it does take more than just one person to pull them off.

But as I listened to his inaugural address in my car and listened to the poet in the cafe, waiting for my soy latte, I finally felt a change. As Obama was speaking, it started. Between Obama and the poet, the NPR announcer said something and I felt a weight actually lift off of me. The air cleared a bit and I took a breath.

I am sitting sipping my coffee and wondering about change. His change. Our country's change. People's change.I think he's a fine person and I'm skeptical of how long and how much change will really be possible. So much damage, it won't be quick.

And I realize that, even if he is blocked on positive social change, even if he turns out to not be as New as some people hope - there is a change.

As of this moment, Black/African-American people can see themselves on the presidential stage in this country. It is no longer only a hope or wish or belief, but there is a non-white president. Someone up there to point to and say, "see, it can be done."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

event; writing workshops (free)

Write Around Portland


Days of Writing

February 9th - 20th

Celebrate Write Around Portland's 10th year by joining them for 10 Days of Writing — free, two-hour workshops open to everyone. Write with them for one workshop, or come for all 10!

Writing journals, pens and snacks will be provided. These workshops are perfect for both the new and seasoned writer.

You can register by phone at 503.796.9224, via email at, or can just drop in at one of the locations listed below.

10 Days of Writing are made possible by a generous grant from the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition and the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Monday, February 9th


The Ritzdorf Apartments, 1225 SE Belmont

Corner of SE 12th and Belmont [MAP]

Tuesday, February 10th


New Avenues for Youth, 314 SW 9th

Corner SW 9th and Oak St, downtown [MAP]

Wednesday, February 11th


Portland General Electric, 121 SW Salmon

World Trade Center building [MAP]

Thursday, February 12th


Talking Drum Bookstore & Reflections Coffee House,

446 NE Killingsworth, just east of MLK Blvd. [MAP]

Friday, February 13th


Po’Shines Café de la Soul, 8139 N. Denver

N. Denver and Kilpatrick [MAP]

Monday, February 16th


Looking Glass Bookstore, 7983 SE 13th

SE 13th and Nehalem, Sellwood [MAP]

Tuesday, February 17th


Stoel Rives LLP, 900 SW 5th, Suite 2600

SW 5th between Taylor and Salmon downtown [MAP]

Wednesday, February 18th


Sisters of the Road Café, 133 NW 6th

NW 6th and Davis in Oldtown [MAP]

Thursday, February 19th


Gresham Library, 385 NW Miller Avenue

Gresham [MAP]

Friday, February 20th


Portland Center Stage, 128 NW 11th

Gerding Theater at the Armory in the Pearl [MAP]

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Here I am posting another entry on my blog. Yay for me. Or not?

Earlier this week, when the second assignment directions were posted for the online writing workshop I'm taking, I was excited. I followed the directions for the beginning of the assignment. Read; pause and do without looking farther; read; pause and do...and so on. I was able to do the preliminaries pretty quickly.

Okay, so I stumbled a bit with the first "pause and do." But I did it. And once I let myself go past the "list five xxx" and I listed seven, I found my stride. The assignment is about writing a story that is hard for some reason. It's more complicated than that - but that's one of the basics.

Still, I found what I was supposed to find from the opening exercise. I've attempted to write it once on screen-paper, once on paper paper, and three false starts in my head. Arghhh! To get feedback from the facilitator, the story has to be posted by tomorrow. It is 11:30 pm now and I have to leave the house at 6:15 AM to get to work. I just packed my food for the day (I will be out all day, again) because I have finally accepted that I am not a person who can get up a little early in the morning and make my lunch. It just doesn't work; so I have discovered that it generally works to do it the night before. I then just have to remember to take it with me. I aided myself in that endeavor, too, by putting my lunch box with the extra heavy duty ice pack inside right in front of the front door. I will have to move it out of the way to take it with me.

See how easily I get distracted from the task at hand?

So - my story. Which is unwritten. Which I was excited about from the warm-up but it never materialized.

Now what? I can lose a little more sleep and write (if it will come out) or I can post something else I'm working on. I do have something which is related to the thing I was going to write about. And this is all perfectly "legal" in the workshop ... I just like writing new stories and thought this one was a "go..." .

I think I'll give it one more shot, now that I have my mini-rant about not writing it out of the way.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

poetry in performance

Save the date: Saturday, March 14th.
Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State Arts Agencies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

By encouraging high school students to memorize and perform great poems, Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class. This exciting new program, which began in 2005, helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
I will post more on this event as it comes in. This is a great program and the Oregon recitation competition will be on 3/14. The schools will be selecting their participants by mid- to late February. More information is available on the website.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

time doesn't come in a bottle

Time is what I am struggling with. Why did I choose this past week to "catch up" on some hours (oh, so that I might avoid the end of January/beginning of February monetary slump that I've hit every year for the past three or four). The same week that the two classes I'm teaching started. The same week that dragon boat practice started. And that the writing workshop started.


And still I made time, as all of the writers in the workshop made time, snatching it from here and there in order to write. To read others' writing and post comments. To build a temporary community word by word.

And I wonder about what role time - or lack of time - has in my writing? Certainly someitmes in the past there were periods where I was not so busy; vacations or down time from work when the hours didn't come, and I was not a prolific writer during those slow times. Sometimes when I'm not busy I struggle to put down five words in a row.

So when is lack of time a management technique that forces me to look at what I'm doing or forces my inner editor out of the way so that I can just write because, goddammit, I need to write now and I don't have time to worry about whether this first or second draft makes sense. Just get it down and hit submit.

But I overdid it this week in terms of work. I had to steal time from sleep to write - which also is not new, it was just a difficult week to do it in. Right now I'm stealing time from the gym where I am supposed to be doing my dragon boat practice routine to build up specific muscles - especially important since I just found out on Friday that I lost the partial insurance stipend from the college where I teach because I didn't work enough hours, so right now I'm uninsured and can't afford an injury. And here I am still in front of the computer.

In her book, "How to be a Famous Writer Before You're Dead," Ariel Gore talks about making writing a priority. For me that priority means time. I've managed to juggle and finagle and pop in some hours here and there this week and I need to look at my my every changing schedule and put in some time for the next few weeks. Right now the writing can't wait - literally I find myself jotting quick notes while driving, (when I stop at the light, maybe) - I make notes between interpreting at my work because I can't write and sign at the same time so notes are cryptic and disjointed and it is sometimes over an hour before I can get back to that brief five second note I'm trying to write - and then there is turning on the computer when I get home at 1:45 AM after I promised not to because I have something to say and I'm up until three or four in the morning writing and then I only have four hours of sleep before I'm getting ready to go back to work.

Priority. I'm trying. And meanwhile I"m writing. And I know I am not alone in the struggle with time. We are still writing. My schedule is a little more sane this coming week and I'll see how the writing goes. I can't keep cutting sleep in order to write, yet I know I will if I have to. I could (and did) when I was twenty-five for theater; but that was a long time ago - I don't recover as easily from long bouts of not enough sleep, my body gets cranky.

Priority = making time. Which is not the same as doing nothing, because then where would my inspiration come from?

I made writing a priority for November's novel in a month. I. Can. Do. This.

- - - - - - - - - - -

This is adapted from a post earlier today in the forums on the Lit Star Training workshop I'm doing with Ariel Gore.

Picture from Tortuga Ln
where recycled glass products,
including Time In A Bottle,
are for sale

Friday, January 9, 2009

random rant: the nature of language

I know that language is dynamic, but...

Would someone please contact those who make the radio commercials to tell them that the correct pronounciation of 'comparable' is *not* "compare-able"?

...posted from a rest stop on my way to an out of town job after hearing it twice in less than an hour...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

sleep is over-rated

So. I overscheduled myself this week. I know, I already said that a few days ago. Then I had a writing assignment; the first draft of it was awful. But that awful first draft ignited the spark and it led to completing the assignment the next night. And I did trade sleep for writing time and I'm okay with that for that night. I want to note that I couldn't *not* write that night; the story was there and I wanted to get it down. It actually went a little quicker and longer than I anticipated.

Then today a job finished two hours early (yay!), so now I'm headed to take a nap before I go workout with the other dragon boat paddlers.

It's all good.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

more: borrowed words

Here is another snippet from Richard Foreman's notebooks for you to play with. (Jump down to 12/28/08 for more information. Basically, this writer/director/producer writes every day and makes his raw material of random dialogue available for anyone to use. So, use it!)

Challenge yourself to create characters and a scene to go with this dialogue. Of course, snip, expand, alter as needed!

= = from the Richard Foreman notebook Cafe 2 here = =

Is this really your kind of town?

I haven't been here very long.

But you get the feel of things kinda fast, or I miss my guess.

I'm the kind of person--

Nothing satisfies you, yes?

You're right

So this isn't really your kind of town. I mean, for the first day or two, you said to yourself, hey , maybe this is ok. You managed to squeeze out a little poetic frisson from a turn around the corner into this vista, then that vista, but then with a lkittle more time, it didn't resally seem to hold up, did it.

You're right.

Of course I'm right. This town is a shit town. Take it from me, I had deep experience of this shit town, and a shit town is what it is.

That doesn't leave much doubt.

On the other hand, a lot of oppoprtunity is here, for somebody looking for a certain kind of something.

Monday, January 5, 2009

random oops

I looked at my schedule today. I kind of forgot to schedule in time to write for the next week and a half or so. Really bad timing because, well, I started an online writing workshop this week with Ariel Gore.

I will make time.

Let's see: sleep or write? How about a little of both! The beauty and the bane of online classes for me - they can be done at any time, so then they are. But looking ahead to February, the second half will be a little easier. The January 29th interpreted performance will be done and I have the opportunity now to not ooops-schedule myself.

Mindful scheduling so I don't have to make these write or sleep decisions. Well, not so often, anyway!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

same movie: two views

I had an interesting experience today. My partner and I went to see a movie. It was a last minute decision. We went for a walk up to our little "strip," as we call it (yay, our neighborhood has developed a little personality over the last couple years!).

Part of the plan was for her to drop off some flyers for a couple of upcoming classes. But the shop, PaperDoll, was closed. So we went down to the Bipartisan Cafe for some soup and coffee. While we were sitting there, we looked at the marquee across the street at The Academy Theater to check again what movies were playing and the times. We had a music gig to check out later tonight and a friend's birthday party; both of the events started at 8:30 pm and it was just past five. I looked up a synopsis of one of the movie's on my crackberry and we decided to go to the 6:30 showing. That would make us fashionably late to the party, which was just up the street from our house.

The movie we saw was Happy-Go-Lucky. We both enjoyed the movie - but some of our perspectives were interesting. It was like we were sitting side by side but watching a different version of the same film. The walk home provided us a nice opportunity to discuss what we saw and how we interpreted the story. I can't say that either of us is right or wrong -but I found it fascinating how differently we understood what was going on in the film. We watched the same movie at the same time, side by side, and yet we walked away with nearly polar opposite beliefs in why what had happened, happened.

Good movie. Interesting responses.

ps: We didn't make it to the music venue, because the we didn't know the time the musicians we were going to hear would be on. We did make it to the friend's birthday party up the street, but left when they were preparing to go out for karoake. I have a 10K walking event tomorrow morning in Forest Grove and need to get up early....which is why I'm calling it a night now and heading off to slumber land.

pss: Think about something you've read or seen. What could be viewed in a different way from your own interpretation of the event? Try writing the scene from a different perspective than your own and make it just as believable and true as your experience.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009: New Beginnings

New President. New Year.

Same old gray and rainy Oregon weather - only more of it. The flooding which was expected not to happen is. The temperatures rose faster than expected and there is much more rain than predicted and part of Coast Highway 101 was closed today due to there being a foot of standing water on the road. Drivers could not even see the road. And flood watches around Portland and across the state.

Right now it is raining so hard that our normally outdoor cat, who is just itching for a good fight, went out on the front porch and just sat on the mat. Everything is soaked and large drops are falling rapidly. Lester just sat there in as small as ball as he could make himself and waited for one of us to open the door.

What the wet has to do with new beginnings is, well, nothing!

Some things change. Some stay the same. Change is constant, like breathing. Snow, rain, sun, wind. Seasons.

A new year and a chance to say, "okay, this time I will ____" and insert what the next project will be.

For me, it seems that 2009 will be the year of relationships and not doing everything alone. A little scary - but one new type of work I'm doing puts me in an environment where I am working with other interpreters, and dragon boats is, of course, a team effort. And scheduling more time with partner. Happy sigh.