Tag Archives: acting

Achieving Stuff II: The Search for Perspective

5 Dec

I have a ton of things on my to-do list today, and none of them are “write a blog post.” Then again, none of them are “organize pictures in downloads folder,” either, and I’m definitely doing that, so what’s a to-do list in the grand scheme of things, really?

I’ve been thinking about accomplishments.

A friend of mine graduated this summer, and I gave her a sketchbook with a little note that said something like “Your productivity does not define your worth.” I don’t remember the exact wording, but that was the sentiment, and it’s one that I’ve often expressed to her and to other friends. Of course that’s easier said than believed, and what’s sauce for the goose you like is not necessarily sauce for yourself when you don’t like yourself (that got away from me a bit), but I stand by it. Even for myself. Mostly. Sometimes.

Ok, though, maybe I don’t? Not really. I’ve spent most of my life believing I am lazy and  the worst. I’m 90% sure I have some kind of attention disorder, and who knows? Maybe in 2019 I’ll finally talk to someone about getting that checked out. Have I suspected this for several years? Sure. Have I been putting off seeking diagnosis because I’m secretly terrified that they will say “no, you’re just a lazy bitch and your inability to focus is a moral failing”? Yes, obviously, but that’s not the point. The point is: to combat this feeling of “you accomplish nothing, you are worthless” I’ve started keeping lists of what I’ve done every day, because otherwise I am likely to forget it. Come on: if a woman cleans the bathroom but doesn’t write “cleaned bathroom” down on the back of a crumbled envelope, did it even happen? So in the spirit of “I forget things,” what have I accomplished in 2018?

Well, I co-created four really great Dragon Age costumes. This blog started as a costume blog, and one might think I would have discussed that process here, but I was busy freaking the fuck out all the time and never got around to it. Anyway, my friend E and I put these together over several months this spring and summer. She made the armor, and I made the clothes, which means I custom dyed (it’s a mix! of two! different! dyes! and it took me! four! weeks! to arrive at this particular! shade! of video game blue!) and patterned all this fabric shit.  These costumes were hard as fuck. They took hundreds of hours. We cried a lot and wound up hurting and exhausted and deliriously happy. I’m enormously proud of both of us, as well as these pictures by YouAreRaven.

 

I finished a short-novel-length piece of Dragon Age fanfiction. It’s just under 75k words, mostly original characters, and yes it’s fanfiction but you know what? I finished it. I started and finished a goddamned long-form piece of fiction for the first time in my life. Like, I finally learned how to do that. Do you understand how big an accomplishment this is for me? Do I understand that? I’ve been scribbling away at stories for 20something years and can count the number of Beginning-Middle-End Finished Pieces on two hands. What’s more, I posted it. Like, for strangers to read. And it’s pretty goddamned good, if you like that sort of thing.

At some point I finished the rough (very rough) draft of a female-driven fantasy novel I’ve been working on since late 2013. There’s still a long way to go on this one, but the skeleton and the muscles are there and we’re moving steadily towards the tendons and skin and…nerves? what other pieces of a body fit into this metaphor? I’m working on what could be called the second draft now. It’s slow going, but it gets better with every change, whether big or little. I’m learning how to organize and work through this process. It’s sitting right around 100k words. It has a title. It has a beginning and an end and most of a middle. And it’s pretty goddamned good.

Around Memorial Day weekend I started a female-driven urban fantasy novel that I’m about 61k words into. It’s pretty goddamned good so far. It’s looking like a trilogy. And I wrote some more short stories and creative nonfiction, some original and some fanfiction (Mass Effect and Rogue One and more Dragon Age, because this is who I am), some for public consumption and some for practice. I started referring to little throwaway snippets as “practice” rather than “a waste of time, God biscuit what is wrong with you” and I stopped thinking of writing as a chore and started treating it as a thing that gives me joy, because that’s what it is. I have started seeing a future in it–a for real future, an honest to God path forward. I have started doing research for What Comes Next. I have started making tentative plans.

I did an entire season playing music on stage in a duo at the Georgia ren faire, and then I did an entire season playing music on a stage solo at the Carolina ren faire. Not every set was perfect. I was nervous as hell. I forgot words, I forgot chords, I chickened out of some of the harder stuff, I cried after some sets, but I smiled and I sang and I kept going and I persevered. I never missed a set. I practiced all the time. I challenged myself and learned new things. I am infinitely better at the guitar than I was this time last year. I got roped into performing in a last-minute show at the fringe festival a week after the Georgia faire closed, and despite a laundry list of obstacles, I pulled it off. I performed several other places. I’m looking for more. I entered some contests. I’m entering some more.

I dealt with constant pain in my back, knees, and elbows, and intermittent pain in my left ovary for almost the entire year. I forgave myself for that pain, I let myself get treatment, and I forgave myself for getting treatment. I forgave myself for a lot things that shouldn’t need forgiveness. I started wearing knee braces and using my inhaler when I need them, not just when I need need them. I kept up with my hair color. I flossed. I spent a lot of time strengthening my marriage and friendships. I promoted my friends. I promited myself a little. I voted. I protested. The world is a garbage fire, but I’m doing stuff.

This time last year I had no idea where I was going, except that it would have to be better than where I was. This year I have almost stopped telling myself that I am a worthless procrastinater who never finishes anything.

So that’s what I’ve accomplished in 2018. In 2019 I’m going to really work on that “getting my hair trimmed regularly” thing.

Because WordPress won’t let iframes work unless you pay them, this year’s Intention Playlist can be found here.

Ze Zings I ‘Ave to Do for My Art

8 Jun

Watching/editing videos of myself got me like…

20170608_213913 20170608_214143 20170608_214133

I Am An Actor (TM): in which I make a paper mask and it kind of sucks but that’s OK

18 Jul

My absence from Ye Blogge is partly due to rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which I’m playing a female Bottom*. Also I’ve been watching people I know do amazing things and supporting my Pride In Them in its eternal war with my Bitterness and Jealousy (Pride is winning, but some days it’s a tough call). But mostly the rehearsal thing.

This is one of those shows with a costume designer. Which is standard, I realize, but not in most of the gigs I’ve had in the last couple of years (to wit: ren faires). Plus, I hear she’s a good costume designer, which puts this show leaps and bounds ahead of the last show-with-a-costume-designer I was in (which I won’t talk about except to say that my costume was hideous and mostly constructed from hot glue WHILE I WAS WEARING IT). So I’m pretty stoked. Not having to worry about what I’m going to wear is a nice change. But since I have nothing to post about on this front, and I’ve been working on The Secret Project pretty much exclusively, I’m kind of at a loss. I mean sure, I could format and post any of the dozens** of Dressing the Character profiles I have hanging around the ol’ hard drive, but I don’t like to be predictable, so I don’t do what I’m supposed to do. Which in turn becomes predictable.

Anyway.

Last weekend we had a rehearsal that was full of the Artsy and the Fartsy. More the former, though I attended a bachelorette party the night before, so there may have been a little of the latter. I’m not at liberty to say. One of the activities we did was character mask-making. I am…what’s the word? Oh, right. BAD AT ART. But after the blind sculpting exercise, which I hated for reasons I can’t quite determine, this was actually pretty enjoyable! Here’s the mask I came up with:

Elmer’s Glue is black now, BTW. The bottle said “Dries clear!” The bottle lied.

Full masks make me feel a little like I’m going to suffocate at any given second omfg get it off get it off, so the director cut me a quick half-mask out of construction paper. I was a little confused at first, because what do you mean what does Bottom look like? Bottom looks like me, except when Bottom looks like a donkey, which I’m trying not to think about because Bottom doesn’t realize she’s a donkey. But I plunged ahead, picked up a brown marker, and started to color some hair, and was suddenly struck with inspiration. My Bottom is a wannabe social-climber, a pretender to knowledge and talents she doesn’t necessarily possess. Her beauty ideal would be the same as that of the court! So I dove into my knowledge of Elizabethan makeup and came up with what you see here.

I was so glad the construction paper wound up being pink, because it allowed for a really obvious attempt at white face (made with scraps from the masks of the higher-status characters). I finished coloring the brown hair, then colored the red over top like a bad dye job. The eyes are lined in kohl. I did my best to give the impression of a high forehead, but I obviously can’t draw, so that didn’t happen as much as I would have liked. Then I found one of those stamp markers in the shape of a castle, put four of them on the front of the mask as representations of dreams, and went to town on the back. Also, stars. And hearts. Because Bottom is dreamy. But I forgot to take a picture of the back. Even my lack of any sort of ability to make good art wound up working, because Bottom is a creature of enthusiasm, not talent.

Ultimately it was an interesting and helpful exercise. To be honest, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it and how much it helped me learn about the character.

*I can’t wait to see what this does to my search results
**exaggeration

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