I am sorry I have been remiss in my blogging commitments this week. Funny- I have been taking things OFF my plate so as to be truly committed and do my very best with the commitments I HAVE made- and also so that I may get proper rest (as some of you may know, I was sick the last month with pneumonia.) And I definitely did NOT mean to let THIS commitment go.
NOTE: FICTION FRIDAYS: I will be posting the weekly chapter of my novel "My Life as a Phone Psychic," Part Two, Chapter Two, at the end of the blog. Scroll to the end if that's all you're here for! XOXOXOOXOX
WHY I BLOG
Blogging is for my soul, more than it is to get readers an create a platform to entice publishers and get advertisers and make money or whatever. I mean, of course I would like all of those things. I want to publish my novels and sell my scripts and star in the TV show version of the web series I am writing and tour with Andrea Bocelli. I want to entice publishers and make money. But honestly, as much as there is a part of me that is aware that I should perhaps shift my style to become more commercial, more like Oprah perhaps, there is this other part of me that is stubborn, I guess, and wants to be the artist me. I definitely want to be commercial and speak to as many people as possible, but I just don't want to do it by trying to be like 100 other bloggers who have the same cookie-cutter blogs about five ways to do such and such.
And in no way am I trying to besmirch those bloggers who are savvy and smart in that way and know how to make and write blog pieces that help people feel advised, and break complex and wondrous subjects such as sexual empowerment and broken hearts and spirituality and skin care down into simple steps. Simple is good. Simple is beautiful.
Maybe I am more simple than I think.
But I am also interested in the fine-spun silk of the spider's webs, and I know that as the sun moves across the earth, so does the light scatter across a different part of that spider web that perhaps you hadn't noticed before- perhaps the web has been disturbed and even broken- perhaps the spider is spinning that part of the web just now as you are looking.
I blog for my soul,
I blog for the practice of the integration of my writer's heart and mind and channel and fingers and hands and listening,
I blog to share my life through story and shared experience,
I blog to talk about recent gigs, share my books, and learn.
THE GOLDEN AGE OF RADIO WITH SAG-AFTRA AT THE AUTRY
On Thursday I had the distinct pleasure of performing alongside 30 or so other SAG-AFTRA members (for those of you who may not know, SAG-AFTRA is the Screen Actors Guild/ American Federation of Television and Radio Actors, a two-in-one combined guild for professional actors. It's like a Union, but a Guild. Sadly, our president, Ken Davis, had just passed on Wednesday, the day of our cue-to-cue rehearsal. Controversial and political elements aside, although if you know me you know I actually sort of love those parts of the Guild, being a member of SAG, AFTRA, and/or AEA, the Actors' Equity Association, aka the Guild for Stage Actors, is a rite of passage and a mark of professional honor for any actor, and I am proud to be a member!) at the Autry Museum inside Griffith Park here in Los Angeles. We performed old-timey radio shows as part of a fun arm of the Guild, "The Golden Age of Radio."
If you're a member of SAG-AFTRA, and on their mailing list, about once or twice a week you will receive a newsletter with all of their happenings, announcements, etc. Sometimes the announcements are about voting, and Awards ceremonies, and casting opportunities, and screenings. Sometimes they are about new programs, sessions on taxes or health care, or special programs connected to veterans or senior citizens or singers or dancers, etc. A month or so ago, I saw a casting announcement for a live stage presentation of the Radio Shows, and I actually set an alarm for when audition slots would open up on the website! I think I must have been one of the earlier applicants, because I got an audition time for early in the morning on the day of the audition!
A lot of very talented people auditioned. I say that because there were just a plain lot of people there! And I am not just banking on the idea that if they're members of the union, they must be talented, but the fact of the matter is, I heard a lot of them rehearsing and was impressed! I had an audition partner named Greg. We had a lot of fun trying things different ways. I wore an orange dress I call the professional safari dress, because it looks like if you took a safari outfit, changed it into a wrap dress, but made it orange.... that would be the dress! Every time I wear that dress I get... uh... if not a compliment on the dress... on something. I swear to god, the power of an orange dress is incredible. I do not get the same responses from blue dresses (even though that more clearly compliments my eyes) or red dresses or black or even shorter or lower cut dresses. Nope. Orange stands out. I got a lot of compliments on my shoes that day. (Plain black pumps.) Hmm..... I don't think it was the shoes, I really don't.
I mentioned Greg because it was fun to run into him at the dress rehearsal! He and I both were cast as some of the commercial people for our respective episodes. There were three different programs/ episodes: I was in the GUNSMOKE program (listen to the ORIGINAL here,) he was in the FIVE MINUTE MYSTERY program, and then there was a brilliant episode of BABY SNOOKS.
So, yup, I was the Commercial Gal. It was a blast wearing my fun vintage dress from Pin Up Girl and a flower in my hair. I was surprised that the audience laughed when I sang the jingle for L & M cigarettes, but then again, old-time commercials are SO blatant in their bid for your money, it IS funny. You can read my previous blog post about my compunction at doing a role that "promotes" cigarettes, but I really don't think I was "promoting" them after all. Moreso, I wonder about the things in our current advertising over which future generations will most certainly howl with laughter... as if diets really work.... as if waist trainers don't cause internal damage (reminiscent not only of corsets, but of things like blood-letting or tape-worms.)
The highlight of the evening, for me, well, aside from getting to know a bunch of really talented actors, literally of all ages, from young child to senior citizen, was the gal who played Baby Snooks, an actress, singer and songwriter named Sherry Weston. What a talent! She was amazing and totally carried the show. Look her up, you've seen her in plenty of things!
Here's a pic of my makeup. I will post links from SAG-AFTRA when they get the photos up either on the website or in the magazine!
Hair and makeup by me, for better or for worse! haha! American flag by the spirit of liberty, freedom, and justice for all. And jewelry by my partner's wonderful mamma in Italia!
I'm going to post this week's chapter of "My Life as a Phone Psychic" at the bottom of the blog!
This week is Part Two, Chapter Two
SCROLL TO THE END if that's what you're here for!
Lately I have been getting very honest about where I am at in life with relation to my REAL desires, dreams and visions, and therefore, I have been getting really sad, because plainly put, I have NOT been as dedicated, committed, or honest as I thought I was being. Meaning, like most humans, I was letting fear cloud my vision. And so, in the wake of the wake-up call (thanks Barbara Stanny and my friends) I am really practicing what I preach RE choosing joy on purpose.
I am practicing the following:
-continuing a relationship with my spiritual higher power
-self-awareness and honesty
-acceptance of life on life's terms
-getting clear on my dreams/ desires goals
-finding the opportunity in every obstacle
And I am so
178. GRATEFUL FOR THE PRACTICE
179. GRATEFUL FOR DISCIPLINE
180. GRATEFUL FOR THE WAKE UP CALL
181. GRATEFUL FOR GRATITUDE
no seriously, I am.
182. Renewed hope
183. Clarification of Vision
184. Triple A to tow my car when it is overheating and shutting down on its own accord
185. The design of my car which does not let me ruin my engine because I am too stubborn to really honor the dummy lights on the dashboard
186. That stubbornness, which can definitely get in my way sometimes, but does make me RECOMMIT and double down on the commitments I do have. I am committed to mastery. And being stubborn about that, well, the good part is that I really do not ever give up. The hard part is that I have to not think "I KNOW" the way it should go. Ha!
187. Great teachers and coaches. I am currently working with Barbara Stanny, author of such wonderful financial/ spiritual books as "Overcoming Underearning" and "Prince Charming isn't Coming."
188. Reflection. I have been writing a lot about this idea about Prince Charming not coming. As Barbara says, it's not just a fellah, but the idea that there is going to be some man, job, (stardom breakthrough) or windfall (lottery, gambling opportunity etc) that is going to "SAVE ME" from, well, form myself, ultimately. And while fairy tales have mutated into marketing opportunities, I really have been reflecting a lot about the original stories and myths and their intentions for teaching, for reflecting back what it means to be human.
Right now it seems a lot of humans are waiting for Prince Charming in the form of other things than an actual romantic partner, although believe you me, as I see in my work over at 12Listen, yes, that myth is alive and well. No, we are also hoping for Prince Charming in:
(I still love ya Bernie! Because you remind us that YOU aren't Daddy or Prince Charming. You remind us that WE are what we are waiting for! Oof duh.)
Military and its counter-force, Insurgency
Just to start.
But if we look at fairy tales and the old myths from when they arose or were inspired, we start to get a very different feel for what the heck is the purpose of Prince Charming.
I feel that Prince Charming, as a DEVICE in a story, as a spiritual METAPHOR, is about awakening the soul to a new purpose. The YOUTH (young man or woman, as is the hero in these stories very often) is SUPPOSED to die to the old way of life, sever the old family ties, and often it is a sexual or romantic awakening that creates the spark required for that separation. Then, the main character goes through trials and tribulations to step into one's OWN POWER. Not to be rescued, per se, but to know oneself for the first time and yet forever as a possessor of his or her own heart which he or she can choose to give or keep...
I don't think that there is any different in that regard for us in 2016. We just forgot that we are actually the possessor of our own heart, and we forgot to take back our personal power and instead blame it on the bad relationship/ IRS/ President/ government/ marketing/ media/ weight loss industry/ Hollywood/ schools/ parents/ churches/ ISIS/ Democrats/ Republicans/ secular media/ religious right/ insert anything or anyone here as a projection of your own fear.
FOUR LEAF CLOVER
That got heavy.
Here is a four-leaf clover I found on a walk with Henry this morning. And then here is a pic of that clover WITH Henry, patiently waiting for me to throw the chew toy (chew toy not pictured.)
MY LIFE AS A PHONE PSYCHIC
They are having dinner at a very fun, old school Italian restaurant. Lily is truly enjoying herself. She is enjoying Jones letting loose. He’s certainly having fun. Phil is always living in this sort of level of, “as long as I’m okay and smiling, nothing can go wrong” panacea… And then, there’s David. David is really, really gorgeous. He has no idea about what happened the other night, when Lily went missing unto herself, and so even though a tiny part of her wants to be dramatic and hold him hostage for it… It had nothing to do with him and she knows it would scare him away from her romantically and she can feel something growing inside of her in that way…
And what would she say? So she lets it go.
Let it go. God knows I have no say about my life, anyway. She winces at this thought. And while there definitely is a Lily in there somewhere, she shares her body with so much nothingness, it feels like there is no Lily. But there is, there is, there is. There is Lily the speaker, the watcher, the writer, the lover. There is a woman still connected to a desire for love and sex with two men at this table. She looks at herself in a mirror across the room and is surprised to see
a beautiful woman sitting there at the table,
So beautiful, in fact,
she drops her glass.
“Whoops! Enough wine for Lily,” Phil laughs. “No, I’m just kidding, honey. I’ll get you a new one.” Phil gets up and waves the waitress over as Lily’s cell phone rings.
“It is my mother,” she says, checking her phone, “Gentleman, will you excuse me for a moment? It’s my mother and she’s only recently out of the hospital.” She rises from the table to take the phone call outside. She feels grateful for this distraction and concerned. Her mother never calls her.
Phil stands up, David follows quickly and so does Jones. Lily smiles. Even Jones. She nods, walks out the front door, and into the cool evening.
“Hi, mom,” she answers.
“Oh, hi, my sweetheart!”
Victoria Moore is in a great mood.
“I am so sorry I haven’t called, mom, I have been so busy,” Lily begins. “Are you okay? How is everything going…”
“Oh, me too…” Victoria interrupts. She’s a bit out breath. She’s excited about something.
“How are you feeling?” Lily looks up at the moon peeking through behind clouds.
“What’s going on?”
Her mother laughs, a high, girlish, twinkle of her operatic voice, and Lily thinks instantly of her mother singing. How beautifully she sings, how beautiful is her voice, that Victoria Moore.
Sometimes, Lily does not think of Victoria Moore as “mother” or “mom.” She thinks of her as a glorious singer with an angelic voice.
“Oh, Lily. I’m going to be going on Larry’s sabbatical with him. I’m taking an extended leave of absence to go with him to Korea where he will be working with some scientists there on this new experiment!”
Lily laughs. She has not heard her mother happy like this… perhaps… ever.
“Mom, I think you should sing while you’re there.”
“Oh, I will! I am singing again, Lily! Singing again! I have to tell you. That non-stroke that was a stroke but really wasn’t… oh, whatever it was! It opened me up, opened up a section of my voice that I thought was lost forever! I was so depressed when your father died and then my voice started closing and I thought it was just over. I was over, done! Done singing! Can you believe it? But I have to tell you it wasn’t over! I was wrong! Larry and I have talked about this and he thinks I should just be singing everywhere I can, maybe getting back into some productions, we will see, I don’t know. I am just so thrilled, so thrilled…”
Victoria gushes about singing, and Larry. She is so superbly happy, it is magnificent.
“…. so, honey, I just wanted to make sure that you are okay with that.”
Lily has missed what Victoria just said but she guesses it has something to do with Larry and getting remarried.
“Of course. Wait. What?”
Victoria laughs. She is undeniably in joy tonight.
“Little Airhead Lily checking out again. Where do you go when you go away, my little Houdini?”
She hasn’t called Lily “Houdini” in many years.
Lily used to do magic tricks as a young girl. She even began teaching herself to free herself from handcuffs while in the kiddie pool in their backyard in San Luis… until one day, her mother found her two seconds post drowning and had to give her mouth to mouth resuscitation. That was the end of Houdini Games. Lily always suspected she could have been very good, though, as good as Houdini.
“I don’t know, Mom.”
“Yes, about Larry. Honey, I want you to come on up for a visit as soon as you can. It would be great for us to spend some time together. I mean. I know you know Larry and all and he just has such respect for your mind, your fine scientific mind.”
Aha. She is going to sic Larry on me, Lily realizes.
“Well, Mom,” Lily begins. Big sigh.
“How soon can you come?”
“Oh, mom. We made a deal this afternoon. I’m going to be shooting a pilot for this reality TV show about me.”
A pregnant pause.
“A… reality… TV show? About you?”
A wave rushes through Lily. She sees herself as her mother sees her, the life she envisions for her. Lily begins to weep uncontrollably.
“Honey, are you alright?” Words, disconnected, across the phone lines, micro macro, now Lily has crossed reality and sits in her mother’s lap, somehow, although Victoria does not know it, but energetically it is so. Lily is curling up in her lap and Victoria is stroking her head.
No mom, I am losing everything I ever thought about who I was and I don’t know if I am going to exist much longer and I don’t know if I do exist, I have no one to talk to about life and death and who I am and who I am not and there is so often not a me anywhere and I get so scared and please believe I am thankful for my scientific mind I hate to let it rot but I can’t do it the way you say or the way dad said and I can’t be Houdini and so for now I have to be a psychic because it is the only thing keeping me on earth without my job I have no reason to live.
“I am just so happy,” Lily says, waking up from her interlude.
“You can’t lie to me.”
Victoria’s voice is sharp and clear.
Lily watches the palm trees shiver in the breeze. They are not native to Southern California, palm trees, but were shipped in to Los Angeles and now are inextricably linked to the public opinion and perception of this City of Angels. A sort of lie? Who can say? This is a crazy city, Los Angeles, the epitome of America in all its best and worst, no matter what anyone says, it has it all and is all, and Lily is among its residents. She refuses to lie, even to her mother. So she breathes deep.
“No. I’m just nervous.”
“Lily, honey, if you want to do this, well. That’s fine. But if you don’t want to do this, you don’t have to. And you can come home anytime.”
“Why don’t you come have a little sanity break? I love you, sweetie pie. Come on home.”
“As soon as we finish shooting the pilot, I will come home.”
“I don’t believe you.” And she doesn’t. Victoria does not believe her daughter.
“I’ll do my best.”
“Okay. If you’re happy, I’m happy, baby doll. We’re not going to Korea until this summer. So there is time. And, oh!” She snaps in a new idea. “You could come with us, to Korea!”
Lily laughs. She doubts her mother really means that.
“Really!” Victoria protests, feeling Lily’s doubt. “Okay. Yes! Sure. I’m sure it would be just fine! Okay.”
“I love you, Lily.”
“Love you too, Mom.”
Lily returns to the restaurant and sees that everyone has been waiting for her to return, very politely. The dinner is over. Lily is kissing Phil and then David on the cheek. She puts her coat on and Jones offers to drive her home.
“Seven blocks,” she protests.
“I think I’d better,” Jones says pointedly.
She sighs. Acquiesces. They walk to his car and the stars are peeking out from behind the nighttime smog of the City of Angels.
“Your mom okay?” he asks.
“She’s great,” Lily says.
Silence. Lily reflects that perhaps one of the reasons she has no friends is because she shares almost nothing.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained…
“She’s marrying my dad’s best friend and research partner, and going to Korea with him. And she’s going to start singing again.”
So maybe I need to work on delivery, she thinks, watching Jones’ shoulders tighten.
“Didn’t she just have a stroke?” He’s confused.
“Don’t know many opera singers, do you?” Lily says.
“What does that mean?” They arrive at his car and he opens the door for her. Lily smiles and bows her head in thanks.
“They’re drama divas,” she explains.
“Your mother, too? Huh.” Jones closes the door thoughtfully behind her.
She feels guilty as she fastens her seatbelt and Jones gets in. He starts the car.
“My mother is wonderful… She has an amazing voice.” She feels a need to defend her mother now.
Jones laughs and pats her knee.
“I bet she does,” he says. They drive the seven blocks in a thoughtful silence.
“There are a few things we should talk about,” he says, parking in front of her building.
“Okay. So… I’ll come in then.” He gets out and so does Lily and they go into her apartment.