There are just too many baffling thoughts I have about this...
Will it be news or "news"? Will the conversation be scripted? How much free reign will she have? What in the world will LL Cool J and Palin discuss? How is it possible that Fox is coming off it's most successful quarter ever? What constitutes a "Real American Story"? Will I be disgusted? Will I be offended? Will I be embarrassed to admit if I watch it (like when you can't help looking at a car wreck)?
I cannot see the word "alchemy" and not immediately think of the wonderfully personal novel by Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist. It has a common plot of dreamers who seek adventure/treasure out in the world, only to truly find it at home... though there is something whimsical and honest about the book that pulls right at the strings of my heart and has allowed me to read it several times over - gaining a different perspective and different insights each time I turn those worn pages.
The subtitle of the book is "a fable about following your dream", (a fable being defined as a brief, succinct story meant to impart a moral lesson - think The Tortoise and The Hare: "slow and steady wins the race"). I like this idea - a lesson about following your dream. And note that it isn't plural. It's not more than one dream. It's a single dream. The Dream You Have For Your Life. Doesn't necessarily mean the same dream throughout all of your years - which is what I love about the book. Each time I've read it, it seems to mean something different to me depending on what's happening in my life just then. If it's heartache, I see that in the book. If it's love, I see that. If it's needing a sense of direction, that is what is presented to me. If it's feeling far from family and home, that feeling leaps off the pages.
One of the definitions of what alchemy is pertains to alchemists looking for (or trying to create) the "elixir of life" - a magic potion that would cure all disease and allow you to live forever. Now, although dying is something I hope doesn't happen to me for a very long time, I don't think I'd want to live forever. Doesn't sound very appealing. But the idea of following my dream forever, whatever that dream may be and in whatever time I have to follow it... well, that appeals to me very much.
"So many people walk through life in this town - and few of them see the beauty that is striving to make itself known between the multitude of sky-high buildings and the cracks of crowded sidewalks. But it makes me happy that I notice it. And I know that you would, too."
These words were written by my hand on the back of a postcard dated December 2002 that I apparently never sent. I found it in a wonderfully worn old notebook of mine... a small cloth-bound book with many blank pages and a dozen or so old memories I stuck in there over these past years in New York. This and two other postcards that were stamped and addressed and never mailed. A list of Theatre ToSee, plays and musicals that aren't even running anymore. A picture of a pregnant woman, cut out from a magazine and tucked away here like a foreshadowing of a dream that's only just come true. A thank you card from my brother. "To Rachel (heart) Edward Norton" scrawled on a piece of scrap paper. Photos of her garden from one of my favorite college teachers. Quotes hastily written on post-it notes.
THE GLASS MENAGERIE opened at our theatre on Wednesday night. I, myself, found it to be a beautiful production. Mr. Isherwood agreed completely. However, Mr. Simon had an entirely different way of thinking. Two links are needed here to make an example of the amazing subjectivity of theatre.
After some cuddle time, her daddy put her in her crib around 12:30 AM - she wasn't fully asleep, but she was drowsy and well on her way... and then the most amazing thing occurred: she put herself to sleep (instead of having to be rocked or held). And then, an even more amazing thing occurred: I woke up at 4:15 AM and found myself doing the breathing check (sneaking into her room to make sure she was okay - and found her sound asleep with her hands near her mouth). And here it is - 8:30 AM - and she finally woke up, had her diaper changed by dad (while mom was in the most wonderful shower of her life after having her first full night of sleep in months!) and is happily feeding.
I feel like I now understand the superstitious traditions of a sports team on a winning streak: what was she wearing yesterday? When did she eat? What did I eat? When did she nap? What was the routine? And how much of it can we replicate to make sure we win again!?
One thing's for sure: her dad put her to bed. He must have the magic touch. And you can bet he'll be doing that again tonight.
It always makes me giggle, striking me as a less-poetic, modern-day version of that quintessential children’s book. Goodnight Moon boasts the simplicity of things: “Goodnight light / And the red balloon / Goodnight bears / Goodnight chairs.” While ours seems much more complicated: Goodnight Diaper Genie / And the several loads of laundry / Goodnight calcium pills / Goodnight pile of bills.
We were - what - maybe 5 or 6 years old when I first remember really loving her. We were at the beach. We shared a penchant for bathing suits full of sand, outdoor showers, and Rainbow Brite. We memorized every word to dozens of songs and then made our parents watch the "choreography" we made up while jumping on our beds. We created crowns for ourselves - princesses we were.
We laughed and laughed.
And cried when we had to leave each other.
And now we are - what - maybe 30 years old when I remembered again why I continue loving her. We live in different states. We see each other only a handful of times a year. We disagree on whether or not Fox is good television. We view politics differently (and sometimes not so differently). We discuss raising children instead of Rainbow Brite. We worry about our parents instead of princesses. We still memorize the words to songs, though jumping on the bed will now be words we sing to our kids - about little monkeys and the dangers of falling off and hitting your head.
Working in theatre, I've gathered my fair share of stories about the demands of fancy actors. Apparent necessities that make their famous lives function better. One who liked the temperature in the theatre to hover around 40 degrees (much to the chagrin of our audiences). One who liked glitter - glitter pens, glitter boas, glitter scattered around the dressing room (even glittery make-up). One who had to have an Iron Gym so he could do pull-ups at the 5 minute call before each performance (though I must admit, it did make him look even better in his form-fitting black t-shirt & designer jeans costume). Some demands that I thought were a bit "out there". And some that seemed cliche. But almost all I understood as a way to find comfort in a craft that forces you to expose yourself 100% truthfully in front of a live audience over and over and over again. Hey - whatever works, right?
Were I to grow up to be a superstar, I'm not quite sure what I'd really demand, what thing(s) I would really need in order to perform. But, here's a list off the top of my head...
* a really good, cozy, over-sized reading chair
* a bottle of the local wine from whatever city I was in
* a completely uninterrupted quiet time of one hour each day
Huh. Wait a minute. Those demands don't seem very "superstar". That's just what I'd kill for right NOW! Okay... and...
* a personal shopper to hand-pick all of my outfits (making sure I always look amazing, and who'd somehow find a way to make each outfit feel as comfortable as a t-shirt and a pair of pajama pants)
"Above all, remember that we are not working for perfection, but only for improvement. Watch for the little improvemements, and when you find them, relax and have faith in your ability to improve further."
This quote is from CHILDREN: THE CHALLENGE, a surprisingly "on the nose" parenting book from the 1960's written by Rudolf Dreikurs. But what I love most about it is not the suggestive parenting method of the words, but the reminder to embrace those words as an adult, too. So often (at least for me) if the perfection is not attained, I feel I have failed. How nice to think of it in this refreshing way instead. To have faith in your ability to improve further. I like that. Very much.
Eventually, it all catches up with me somehow... whether in disaster (like burning the meal because I was checking my email) or just in a friendly reminder to calm down (like a slow computer when I have too many programs running at once).
Today, I actually had to stop myself when I sat down on the toilet sideways so I could fix the broken handle while peeing. Too. Much.
A good friend of mine is a Golden Girls lover and it's nothing short of pure entertainment to watch him watch those feisty 80-year-olds going through their episodic antics. He can recite scripted banter between Blanche and Dorothy, has used Ma punch lines in everyday conversation, and giggles with Rose with the best of them. (He even caught - immediately - that Bea Arthur was not included in this year's Oscar tribute to those who've passed on. Shame on you, Academy.)
In the works: a new sitcom, Hot In Cleveland; guest starring in the season finale of The Middle; and the event I've already got my Tivo set for (well... I would if I had a Tivo... or is DVR the cool thing, now?) - hosting SNL on May 8th.
Betty White, I want to be just like you when I grow up.
I need a schedule. I thrive on it. And without one I feel like I go into a tailspin of whole days that turn into a blur of indecipherable events. Needless to say, my world has been virtually schedule-less for about the past 6 weeks... and I'm realizing I must get back on track - for my own sanity.
So I'm going to start with this blog. As inspired by other bloggers I like to follow, I'll be attempting to blog on these prompts each day:
Monday Morning Memory
Tuesday News Day
Thursday Think Link
Friday Words Overheard
I hope that these will spark new ideas in me for my own unscheduled writings as well.
After several months of sweatpants and oversized shirts, tonight I get to put on a fancy dress and spend an hour or so with my handsome beau (and several good friends from a great theatre company) watching somestarrypeople perform a tribute to a musical theatre icon at this beautiful New York theatre. And thanks to a dear friend who will be hanging at home with the babe, I will be enjoying a night out (granted, a short night!) with the big kids. Now... to pick out a dress... oh, the pressure!
I have a love/hate relationship with awards shows... or perhaps it's more love/HATE. I know, I know - hate is a strong word. But I think what it boils down to is that I hate all the politic-ing and the judging and the fake-ness that goes into these big 4-hour television productions. I'm sure the awards are deserved. In fact, I'm sure every one of those actors (and more!) deserves to be awarded. Maybe my dislike stems from the deep-rooted Libra nature in me to have everything be fair & equal. Or maybe it's because I'm jealous and I would love to be living that glitzy lifestyle. Or maybe it bothers me that I can get wrapped up in it, in exactly all the ways that bother me: making snap judgments about people I don't know at all based on their designer dress, or something they said (or left out) of their acceptance speech, or the way they looked at the camera. I look forward to watching them and then begin to loathe them half way through. Hmm... I suppose it's possible that, like with so many other overly indulgent things, I can only take them in small doses.
Recently, I've been following my first blogger friend from across the pond - a deep, sensitive, passionate (granted I'm deducing all of that from her writing alone) woman who happened to stumble across "A Little Each Day" and reached out to say hello. I know nothing about her except what I read in her profile and what she writes each day in "These Are The Soulcages". I know she lives between Belgium and France. I know she's a firey Aires. I know she's about my age. I know we share a love of this incredibly beautiful movie. I know she puts words out into this world that tug at my heart...
She played so hard she passed out under a hanging jungle of entertainment. Literally - one moment she was gurgling to herself and kicking her feet and swinging her arms wide enough to make the toy vines sway... and the next moment she was out like a light.
I'm surviving on about 2-3 chunks of 2-3 hours of sleep a night. And though there are moments during the day when I feel like a zombie, I am somehow able to muster what feels like super-human strength every night around 2 a.m. (and again around 4:30 a.m.) and I am instantly awake - at least enough to feed my child. As my mother put it, "2 a.m. feedings are mommy & Grace moments... while she studies your face and snuggles in your arms and you realize each night what an incredible miracle she is and how blessed you are. Love grows and you will hold these moments in your heart forever..."
Well stated, mama. Reading those words makes me know that all these sleepless (or sleep-interrupted, rather) nights are incredibly worth it. And then I read the next line of her comment: "You can catch up on your sleep anytime." And I almost shutter at the knowledge that this line was written by a woman who I know has barely gotten more than 4-5 hours a sleep a night since the day I was born.