Monday, June 27, 2011

Spinning Forward

The world only spins forward. - Tony Kushner, Angels in America

So the world changed a little bit this weekend. And that's, to put it mildly, awesome. My facebook and twitter feeds were flooded with my friends cheering in celebration, either in New York or elsewhere. After all the nonsense in California, it's nice that some states at least are seeing sense.

friendJason in Virginia posted that while he was delighted that the bill had passed in New York, he was still living in Virginia, "THE LAST place in the USA that legalizes it." And it is true that the south in general is far more conservative on issues of sexuality. But I remember when this friend of mine came out to his very southern, very conservative father. And I remember this friend calling me, almost in tears, because his father had accepted him, still loved him, was not holding to the cliche of redneck.

And I reminded my friend that this had just happened: in our own hometown, at our own high school, a boy ran for, and was elected, prom queen - and not in the cruel manner that was recently presented on Glee. In a town small enough that eight years ago didn't even have a Starbucks, we've come this far.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Who needs a manual?

Harkening back to my post about being a Salesman, I've been thinking part of my problem with trying to sell myself as a product is not just that I don't particularly enjoy the game of trying to convince someone to do something they might not otherwise; it's also that I'm not terrifically good at asking for help. (This help can range from "hey random stranger in the grocery, can you help me reach this very high object? I must needs get my Kix on," to "I'm producing this play and my co-producer is not volunteering anything and I feel like I'm drowning and it's too much.") A corollary to this is of course that I'm not great at asking for favors, or in general submitting myself to anyone's attention.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Role-Playing: Audience Member

I think in any craft or art, often the best research, the best education, is simply immersing yourself among other practitioners of that craft as much as possible. If you're a writer, read. A lot. As much as you can. And as many different types of writing as you can (blogs [editor's note: subtle plug!], novels, short stories, poetry, editorials, essays, histories, memoirs, plays, anything but the comments section on a youtube posting). If you're a filmmaker, watch a lot of movies. If you're an artist or a photographer, go to museums, go to libraries, buy those Taschen books at The Strand. If you're an actor or some other shaped theater practitioner (hallo, designers! etc), go see plays. As many as you can. As many different types as you can.

The other best forms of school (besides actually school itself, which is not always a good fit for some) is by interning or assisting people who are actually doing what you want to be doing, and then of course doing it yourself. Learning by trying and failing and trying again.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Case of the Pen Bandit, part four: Conclusive Conclusions

Previously, on The Case of the Pen Bandit ...

Charlie "Cutpurse" Kline, the scourge of office supplies, stood before Inspector Zelda, a slight smirk of contempt and astonishment on his face. "You ask me here," he drawled, running his fingers lightly over Inspector Zelda's vulnerable reception desk, "to parlay ... and you bring no back up?"

Inspector Zelda did not respond, except to twirl a pen over and under the fingers of her left hand. She kept her eyes locked on Cutpurse's face.

"I must confess my respect for the ... nature ... of the invitation," Cutpurse continued. "Cut up letters from magazines, glued together like a ransom note. As if you were the one holding something of value I want. As if it were not I who already possess all your pens." He chuckled. "But perhaps that is why you had to resort to magazines ... no pens with which to write."

Cutpurse paused his leisurely pacing to see if that jab had roused Inspector Zelda's ire. But Inspector Zelda continued her pen-twirling, almost unconsciously so, as her eyes looked unflinchingly into Cutpurse's.  It was the thief who looked away first.

Cutpurse chewed his lips meditatively. "I could, very easily, relieve you of that pen as well," he offered ingenuously. "Oh so very easily, you would not even notice its absense. It would already be by the 10th floor freight elevator before you'd had time to--" The thief broke off as he heard a slight crackle, and a slipping echo of his last word.  He turned slowly at the sound of a lightly tapping foot.

Constable Supervisor stood at the door, a grim smile on her face. "Good work, Inspector Zelda. Hitting the PAGE-ALL button on your reception phone to broadcast Cutpurse's confession to the whole company. Now he'll never escape the swift hand of justice."
Inspector Zelda shrugged modestly. "I never expected him to give up the location of his hideout so easily. It didn't even take any prompting."

Cutpurse hung his head in defeat, astonished at how quickly his serial crime spree had come to an stumbling end.

"In this case, at least, the word is mightier than the pen."

And on that awful and forced attempted pun, Inspector Zelda closed The Case of the Pen Bandit.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This is how I cope with bad

Gordy built a house of cards -
He named it Metaphor -
It had many open windows
And a space to lean the door.

Gordy used five different decks
Of different colors, faces, counts;
He mixed them all together
In careful planned amounts:

"The bottom floor is family,"
He said, and built it strong.
"The lining porch is all my friends,
Which is why it's sometimes wrong.

"The second floor is messy blue -
My teenage years were rough."
The third floor, all black numbered cards,
Was made of college stuff.

Gordy held the fifth deck close,
Afraid to lay a card -
The red deck was his future,
"And predicting it is hard.

"I could fuck up the whole damn thing,
By just one misjudged move,
Or someone else could level it
Who's got something to prove."

Gordy clutched his deck and stood
By his house, and waited.
The cat slipped by, the card house quaked,
And Gordy hesitated.

Gordy slipped his right foot back,
And balanced on his left.
With one swift kick the house went down,
And Metaphor was cleft.

Gordy left the rubble flattened,
But kept the last red card.
"So I haven't built the future yet.
It shouldn't be that hard."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Case of the Pen Bandit, part three: Ambushed

Previously, on The Case of the Pen Bandit ...

Inspector Zelda shifted her weight forward onto her hands, trying to relieve the cramped muscles in her crouching knees. She felt her hip pop unhappily and froze - she knew from experience even the slightest noise could tip off all manner of ne'er-do-wells and cat burglars. As the pins and needles went skittering down her calves to her toes, Inspector Zelda groaned inwardly and puzzled once again how she had gotten herself into this pickle.

Of course it had seemed like a brilliant idea at the time - why try and bait the lowly cups of pens on various desks, when she could stake out the very source of the pens (besides, all the spare peanut butter had been used up capturing Feivel's cohorts Sneivel and Trifle)? After all, any good robber knows he can bundle more lettuce at a bank than by nipping wallets and handbags. So here was Inspector Zelda, gone rogue from her desk, squatting behind stacks of paper reams, waiting and waiting for a Pen Bandit who apparently hadn't gotten the memo.

After giving the devious Pen Bandit one more hour to show himself in the supply vault, Inspector Zelda was forced to acknowledge that perhaps her hunch had not paid off.  She straightened, and limped on numb legs back to her desk.

That's when she saw - the lowest blow of all - not only was her cup of pens entirely depleted, but ... the Pen Bandit had left a note!

Inspector Zelda sank back into her swank swivel chair in defeat. Sure, she finally had the name of the Pen Bandit, but she was no closer to actually catching the devil.