Erin

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Monday, November 21, 2016

A calling

I am so happy for those of you who are using self help to get through these times of apparent struggle and arrive at a place of self-realization. That is wonderful, and I applaud you. For me, this is a time for the dark and winding staircase to my secret soul, to the place where danger and laughter and hope and fear intermingle, like wine and perfume and sexual longing at the intermission of a great show on a great date. For me, this is a time to open up my mind and let the beauty of art touch me everywhere, in that way only art and music and literature can fully express and reach me, because everything else I could write or say or read or hear would never make as much sense as Beethoven's 9th symphony, as Nina Simone singing a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," as ee cummings and four leaf clovers, as that ancient calling I felt when first I read "The Once and Future King" and T.S. Eliot's "Wasteland," when I heard Tori Amos and felt like there was someone who had gone to the inside of my bone marrow and written songs about my life before I was even a singer myself... it's a time for Chinua Achebe and Neil Gaiman, for Harry Potter and Verdi, for Mary Shelley and Billie Holiday. Why? Because I don't need permission to be positive, to be a good girl, to do the right thing, to be super duper happy, to change the world, to speak correctly. I actually am already that woman and was raised lovingly to take care of your hurts and wounds and I.... I don't need a reminder not to dampen someone else's day with my emotions or my mind or even my sexuality, which does in fact belong to me, and I don't need to be yelled at just because I supported one candidate or the other or because I did march and then I didn't march and then I will again and then...... Ugh. F*** all that that I just wrote, even though I meant it and it's true and there is a time and place for all of it and that time is always now and that place is always here, if that is the time and this is the place, but for me, for now, only poetry and algebra and desire can reignite this flame, and by algebra I mean that, and by all of it, I am actually speaking in code, and so, now, let's sit with our music, and our books, let's light a fire and read aloud to one another and tell each other of the ancient lights and conquests, of the dreams still in our heart, and when silence become our music we may fall into a dream of our own humanity and linger, until human voices wakes us.... and we.... drown... but drown in the sea of love, where everyone would love to be.

Or we could just look at some puppy videos. That works for me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Girl in 14G

Guys... I have been busy. SORRY! But I promise some exciting things are coming up and I WILL get my 2016 things to be grateful for in one way or another but for TODAY, TUESDAY, ELECTION DAY, I'm all dressed up and singing a little cabaret to take your mind away from the US Election if only for a second. xoxoxo



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Weather Vanes, a Shanty

One of my neighbors has a weather vane on top of the house
in the shape of a pirate ship.

The leaves on the tree in front
have spindly veins, bright green,
like a tree frog or a strange crayon,
except for the leaves that are dead, still hanging,
brown and breaking off.

If you get close and touch the leaves,
one side is smooth,
and the other side is soft, with little hairs,
and the bark of the tree is rough but
not too rough
and then you look and you notice
a bee buzzing over a small flowering shrub
and the weather vane shifts just slightly
and the house is made of stucco
and through the window
you can't quite make out
but someone has just passed through a room
and a shadow lingers where a human once tread.

Are there veins between us,
we humans, veins we simply do not see,
but feel, and react to in anger, or hurt,
or love?
As if we were a group of Aspens,
you know,
how forests of Aspens are one large organism
altogether?

A little girl told me that
and I believed her
because children in school learn amazing things.

Maybe we don't see where our roots connect us.
People, that is.
But that doesn't mean they aren't there,
just below the surface,
pulsating with information
not of the school children variety
but something deep and primordial,
something beyond the facts and figures of tests and essays,
something intangible
but wholly real.

Then the weather vane shifts again,
or was it my imagination?
And the slow voice that let me walk
unperturbed by the worries of the world of the grown up?
It speeds up, getting louder now,
reminding me, oh, look at the time,
but you can't because you don't own a watch,
but you can feel it, yes, can't you, more energy on the streets,
traffic a block over?
and there are important people to invoice
and coffee to make
and
and

home now,
no coffee,
ignoring still this maddening humanity
cutting off its own connection
as if an Aspen could take an axe to his roots
we are the crumbling leaves
we are the shadows dying in the dust

but I am a pirate
my treasure, my soul
my heart is my gold
and my dreams are my sails
and the high seas where I bravely sally forth?
well, they are made of secrets,
of the songs you forgot
and the things you learned in school
all those facts and questions that never did make it on to any test.
Now they are all tangled below with the seaweed.



Friday, August 12, 2016

Letters to God

Author's Note-
I use the word God. Some say Cosmos, some say Divine, some say source. Sometimes I say Goddess. You get the drift. 



Dear God-

when you come to me as the bright half moon in a starry mountain sky, I want to reach out and pluck you from the velvet dark, hold you in my hands and stroke your porcelain skin, feel the sun reflected in you in a warm buzz, a pot half cooled from the stove top.

When you come to me as a bad dream, I am confused by you. I seek understanding and clarity. Perhaps I should not seek to analyze and compute but merely allow the experience, like I would go on a roller coaster ride, not wondering what the conductor meant by those strange images and feelings, the paralysis of my own fear clutching at my throat, no words, just desperation to force my lips and breath into sounds to scream for help.

When you come as one of my addictions, I am fraught with terror, consumed with desire, eased by wisdom only after a taste of that which is insatiable. In this longing is you, I know it, if only I could find you before I fulfill the hurtful want. I cry out, as I do in the night for the moon, for the words- a child reaching for mother, for that place from whence I came and was part of wholly (holy), where I can never return for now I am separated from that thread of dust and blood.

And when you come through me,

as you do always, but I only sometimes notice-

in my capacity to love another-

I am in awe.

Such beauty is you in all these ways and means to return me to that place I never saw but know so well.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Fiction Fridays- travelling. No novel, but random thoughts on Love, money, being wrong, what if we're wrong, thank God if we're wrong, wildflowers and coyotes.

Note:

I am traveling the next few weeks and left my external hard drive at home. "My Life as a Phone Psychic," the novel, lives on that external hard drive! So I won't be able to post chapters until the end of August. I will create a link and link it up HERE.

In the meantime I thought I would riff poetically in prose on:

Love, money, being wrong, what if we're wrong, thank God if we're wrong, wildflowers and coyotes.

Love is a weird thing. We never tire of reading about it and writing about it. We're obsessed with it. In the last few years I have finally separated out the difference between love and romance. I have both in spades, naturally, as a person. In fact, I have so much of both that I think I offer both to the world in giant waves without reserve. Maybe I'm wrong? That's my thinking, anyway. And I don't know why this is so. But the thing is, is that when it comes to relationships, it's like we as creatures are obsessed with romance and forget about love. And while I definitely want romance in my life, and being a romantic person, I give that without trying to- like tagging my fellah on a sonnet by Shelley yesterday because it was Percy Bysshe Shelley's birthday, or would have been, because I know he loves the romantic English poets and because Shelley lived in Naples where Carlo is from (albeit 200 years ago) and then I realized that it was also a very romantic gesture, and the poem was a sonnet about love and kissing. I mean, I *knew* it was all wrapped up in there, but I am sitting here typing this and wondering, oh geez, have I accidentally mislead anyone by tagging THEM in poems I merely thought were something they would enjoy but they saw the more obvious content that related to romance or sex or something? It might explain a lot about a certain number of failed friendships and business situations. And I WANT to be responsible without being codependent and I definitely want to be aware and have excellent boundaries but I am tired of losing myself and my ways to thought of "but what will they think?" So here is my relatively low stakes dilemma of the day.

Money is another weird thing. Honestly, it barely feels real to me. Almost every business transaction I do is connected via my phone, the computer, and this tiny little plastic card. The only time I really use hard cash is for laundry, because I don't have my own washer and dryer, and so I prize these stupid little quarters as if they were my diamonds and rubies and other royal jewels. Everything else is so abstract and yet, I read "The Divide" by Matt Taibi, I saw Lawrence Lessig's TED Talk about getting money out of politics, I am aware of white privilege, I have seen the Enron movie and studied Wall Street and protested with Occupiers and voted for Bernie in the primaries. But I don't hate wealth. I would never want to keep someone from creating their own incredible kingdom. It's only when so many are hurt (Lehman Brothers?) that I have issues with the "system" so to speak, but then again, I wonder if the "system" and all of these strange arms of it- racism, classicism, capitalism versus variations of reform on the theme versus socialism, sexism, old versus new, change... I think about how easy it is for me to sit and think about money as a philosophical pursuit, and trust me, I'm still paying off my college loan for a degree I love but never use, and separate myself out from any emotional ties to money as a real thing. This whole paragraph is probably so dumb, just a bunch of links to things I've read, and I don't mean that in a self deprecating way whatsoever but moreso as someone who is aware that she really just doesn't know a lot in this arena, that I'm not sure I should keep it, except that it's on my mind a lot lately, but most likely in a manner different than what others are dealing with. For example, I'm not worried about money. Maybe I should be. I definitely ask for help when I need it, and I give to charity when I probably shouldn't. But I just... barely care. It's like I'm living for some other reason than the almighty dollar [sic] and while in my heart and body that's amazing, in my mind I wonder if I am missing something.

On a final note about money, well, probably not final, but final for today, the other hard part about it, besides the fact that we're not all paying in gold coins or emerald tear drop earrings for things, is that I live and work amongst every class imaginable. Literally I have massaged Saudi royalty in their vast estates that most people don't even realize exist in the Hollywood Hills (seriously, who knew there was even that much land to plot upon?) I gave a private concert one afternoon for one of the wealthiest and most famous old Hollywood Tycoons who wasn't exactly hurting for money and while I cannot say much about it, I wish I could, because it's fascinating to see how the rest of the outfit (family, friends and company) are jockeying for position. I grew up pretty solid middle class, my neighborhood now is pretty middle and upper class (a place being gentrified as we speak) and yet has a few of the creative class left, and a LOT of homeless people. I know a number of my homeless neighbors by name and they ALL know my dog, Henry, and love to pet and play with him. What am I to do, ignore these people who live in my alley way and feed off my trash? Of course not. But I cannot solve their problems, I can only be human with them, and try to share what I can.

And I hunt for quarters like my homeless neighbors hunt for food that's safe enough to eat and some folks hunt for the next FOMO Venture Capital Entrepreneurial Opportunity. What the heck is up with this world?

On being wrong: I am wrong all the time. A close friend once told me that I always need to be right. That isn't true, and I would argue with her, although I didn't want to come off as someone who always needs to be right and so didn't want to argue with her in the moment hahahahahaha, that in fact, I just hate wasting time and so often this particular friend wastes time on things that just don't need to be wasted on. Does that make sense? You know what I mean. But I took it to heart, what she said, and really examined it for myself and saw that in deedy, there are areas where I just assert myself a lot. I really don't need to be right so much anymore and the older I get the more and more the fallacy of being right just falls away. One cannot be an artistic explorer and need to be right. It will lead to boring art. And I try to just let Carlo, my partner, be right all the time or whenever there is an argument if it's not a boundary thing, and a lot of times we agree to disagree because the truth, if there is such a thing, often just works its own way out later on down the line. Very consciously, in the past year or so then, I have practiced- not being wrong- but being okay with being wrong. It is incredibly liberating, eye opening, and actually fun. Like going down a roller coaster fun. It has also removed an incredible amount of stress and anger from my personal life. And it really opens me up to connecting to more possibility. I wish I could give a concrete example but the only one I can give is about politics. I have a lot of die hard Hillary fan-friends get mad at me for voting for Bernie (they asked! I did not bring it up. But I don't lie, well, not about Bernie, and I don't feel a need to "not discuss politics.") as well as I have a number of family and friends who are voting for Trump and by the way, none of them are stupid, although some of them may be living in fear of a certain religious order. What's amazing to me is, I don't need to be right about my political viewpoints. Politics "works" when many different opinions come together to work for the common good. I'm very use to being shockingly out of touch with "politics" and the opinions of people, and I don't mind it. So, I have had many people explain to me why my opinions are wrong, and guess what? Maybe they are. But they are mine. And I have thought things through for myself, and I extend that same courtesy to others....

So, what if we're wrong?

Well, of course we are.

Look. People used to cut a whole in your head and drain blood out of it as a treatment for headaches, and that was an accepted, scientific, medical practice. And people believed it would work. Were those people stupid?

Those people?

Were US.

So of course we are wrong about all kinds of things and the quicker I realize that the more I get to have all kinds of amazing discoveries.

This is not a recommendation to doubt every choice you ever made or live in worry that you were wrong about that relationship or this career choice or that note you sang or this money you gave.

It is a way to liberate yourself from the impossibility of being right all the time. It will connect you up to people because you might just start to look for common ground rather than where you're different and therefore dangerous.

And magic happens in that bridge from heart to heart.

Finally. I am in Colorado and I saw TWO coyotes at different spots here in the mountains where I am staying, and also, the wildflowers are gorgeous.

That is all.

You are loved.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Gratitude Saturdays #222-235: Of Shakespeare, redemption, and peppermint bon bon ice cream

Hello, my fellow humans. Amongst you there are poets, lovers, readers, writers, family, friends, fans, a few haters and a lot of seekers, a few who have been found.

Many of you know that I am listing 2016 things I am grateful for in the year 2016- collectively! Meaning every [sic] Saturday I add to the list.

It's been a busy few months and a sad week, and here in the USA this is the week we celebrate "The 4th of July," aka "Independence Day," aka the day that the Declaration of Independence was adopted back in 1776 and the Colonies were no longer the Colonies of the British Empire.

The rumblings of the world are impossible to ignore right now, and all those years of colonization are starting to erupt across the globe, as imperial forces (if only spiritually and philosophically, yeah, right) are attempting to continue their dominion over the hearts and minds (and lands and resources) of those who have been exploited.

I ask you now, what is your independence? Truly? What is the freedom you seek?

I ask myself this and the answer is something about

opening my heart to light, love, the divine

you know, the usual spiritual talk

but something deeper-
something-

primordial?

At least Shakespearian, which, of course, is at once primordial and cultural, defining human in noble spirits as well as those of lesser virtue.

I have an audition for a cool piece to play Gertrude, Hamlet's mother, and I am filled with sorrow, and aliveness, and humanity this week, after the sort of loss that leads a woman to look at all her losses and all her mistakes, not in self-pity but in self-reflection; not to make true the story of it all but to look at my part in it. Was I truly the heroine, or was I playing at a grosser game?

And so, I offer this week's Gratitude list:

222. Reviving Ophelia: this book I read in college in between eating disorder rehab stints, and now that I have grown out of that age and into womanhood, I wonder what I might know had I been different, only the world being what it is, I don't think there was any other way for a woman like me to be.

223. Helena Bonham Carter as Ophelia in Mel Gibson's "Hamlet." A role I saw as a young actress that defined partially how I wanted to be! Of course I am nothing like Helena Bonham Carter, or only very slightly, but I didn't get that at the time. I still want to be her when I grow both up and young.


224. My childhood/ high school sweetheart Jonny, and all his innocence. I saw him recently, he was in town shooting a Coke commercial (he grew up to be a D.P.) and for all our shared "baddie," and trust me, we both grew up to be pretty badass in our 20s, and even when I haven't seen him in a few years, together, we are right back to two innocent creatures with a shared love of movies and a eep esire to show the world that precious talent we tuck inside our hearts.

225. Discipline. I don't mean the inner governor or the wicked stepmother variety. I mean the kind that gets me up every morning, walks the dog, works out, warms up, rehearses, writes, and reaches out to casting people for auditions. The kind that diligently works on the projects I am writing and doesn't take a day off because I'm too sad. Oh, there are days for that, I suppose, or days where it would maybe be appropriate to take the day off, but for me, the discipline carries my spirit THROUGH those times in a way that gets me out of my pity party and focused on something more bright and shining.

226.Your humanity.

227. My humanity.

228. Henry's pure doggie-hood.


229. Meg Ryan movies

230. Peppermint bon bon ice cream

231. 16 bars of an uptempo rock song

232. Casta Diva

233. The ability to sing them both

234. Singing

235. The fact that where I grew up and throughout my childhood, we all called mint chocolate chip ice cream "peppermint bon bon" ice cream, even though no one else anywhere on the planet that I know of does.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Yes, the heart can break- and it can break open.

Over on my day job blog, I wrote this article, and thought those of you who read my personal blog would enjoy it. xo


Yes, the heart can break- and it can break open.

On heartbreak, small crimes, and Mother Earth.



I often say, live long enough, and life will happen.

And “life” is full of joy AND sorrow. We all know that, of course, but when LIFE is happening to us full force, and usually we become aware of the extreme details of the present moment in times of sorrow, danger and shock, we forget that THIS is a part of the gift of life, too. This hurt. This pain.  This sorrow. And that it is not happening because we were bad or didn’t hold the perfect affirmation or mantra the right way in our heads and hearts but because…

Life happens.

I got mugged once at gunpoint at a drive through ATM. I was totally broke at the time. I was driving through at about 9 PM, at a bank where the drive through ATM was maybe 100 feet from the curb. It was a Monday evening in a busy part of Studio City, CA. There were people walking by. I had about $10 in my checking account and had just given a massage and had $100 cash to put IN to my bank account. I drove up, put in my card, hit the PIN number, and then leaned over to grab the cash out my purse when-

Knock, knock…

I felt something hard against my head.

A boy, or young man, in a ski mask, stood at my driver’s side, holding a gun to my head.

Knock, knock…

Another boy, or young man, stood to the right of my car and knocked on my window to let me know HE was there, too.

My heart stopped. Time slowed. I remember that I had clear, extremely reasonable thoughts: “…if they try to get in the car, I will drive off and risk getting shot, because THEN they will probably bring me to a gang house and… the worst. If they just want money, they can have it, I will just try to get out of this as quickly as possible.” I recall that a couple walked by, not 75 feet from me, and either didn’t notice what was happening or didn’t care. I believe they didn’t notice, because eventually, someone would have dialed 911, right?

The boy at the ATM tried to get cash out but he couldn’t.

(There was no Cash to GET out! I didn’t even have $20 in there, remember?)

I was holding the Benjamin I had just earned in my hand. He took it, and asked,

“That all you got?”

I nodded.

“Gimme your phone,” he said.

His hands were shaking.

I gave him my phone.

“Get out of here,” he said. I drove off, and then my heart raced.

Later, the police were at my house, questioning me, fingerprinting the car. I heard on their walkie talkies ANOTHER robbery at another ATM, same exact format. Probably the same boys.
The cops were much angrier than I was. I found that nice, but weird. They kept telling me they were gonna “get these guys” and that the guys “would pay.” I understood that was the job of the police. I actually spent a lot of time with them and learned about them. One was a veteran of Afghanistan, from a long line of police in his family. The other needed a job and this was one.

But I felt so bad for those boys, or men, who had not only mugged me but threatened my life to get money. First of all, they were obviously either a) on drugs (they were skinny and shaky) or b) new at crime (they were skinny and therefore probably young and shaky) or c) joining a gang (probably a shortened life there) or d) just really wild and dumb kids on a crime spree. Their guns were real, although I don’t know if they were loaded, and wouldn’t have wanted to find out…. or at least their guns were VERY real looking. I am not an expert but I have gone shooting several times, grew up around guns and hunters, and (now) am romantically and life-partnered with a former Police Captain. So… it was real enough.

But these dumb boys, they were targeting some broke massage therapist slash actress (it was about two years before I started working with 12Listen,) they were at worst getting into drugs and crime and there is no future in that, or at the other worst, just a$$holes.

I prayed for them. I prayed for them, for the police officers who were probably just a few years older than the criminals who were endangering themselves to stop crime, and then, I prayed for my bank account. (I mean, I did. It’s the truth.) And I never went to an ATM after dark again unless it was right in front, on the busy street, where there were LOADS of people.

Why am I telling this story in a blog about heartbreak?

I don’t know, but it seems like the right context to share the next part of this blog.

Recently I have gone through a few heartbreaks again in life, less painful than some I’ve encountered thus far in life. Not the worst, is what I’m saying, but… it doesn’t make it any easier to go through.

Years ago, long before getting robbed, long before going to India, but not THAT long before… when my heart would break, I would turn into a dramatic mess. I would sob, and wail, and go for long walks in the woods reciting very depressing 19th century poetry, and listen to a lot of depressing music by songwriters who died young or committed suicide. (poetry by Christina Rosetti and Arthur Rimbaud, music by Jeff Buckley and Mama Cass and Elliott Smith.)

These days, I don’t deny my feelings, but I let it wash over me. I still go for my walks and I look very closely at nature. I listen to the wind in the trees. I touch the hard wood, feeling its roughness over my soft skin. I give nature my sorrow and it returns new life force to me in return. A shaman once told me that when we have emotions like sorrow or anger, we should go to the earth, give it to the earth, because the earth needs our humanity as much as it needs our carbon dioxide, that it’s part of the symbiosis of our lives as natural beings.

I give the Earth my humanity, and it gives me in return a call from the divine, from the holistic Earth-Divine-Cosmos continuum, from Brother Sun and Sister Moon:

A whisper soft and low, but that yet I can hear, nay, feel in the very core of my being, from my beating heart to the marrow of my bones:

“Yes, yes, my child, let the heart break, for it breaks open, open to the blue firmament of sky, open to the laughter of children in a distant place, open to the birds and the breeze and the orchestra of life happening all around you.”

Don’t hide from your life.

Be here, here with me, here with you. Be here with your life and let the beauty of this world, inner and outer, shape your love.

You are here. Is is…. I am…. I am…. I AM.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

City of Hope a poem


City streets
Cigarette butts
 
Neighbors who are uncouth and-
   Think you are, too, in their own set of rules

You walk the dog on a grey Sunday

And reclining in the entry of a closed boutique, smoking, wrapped in his navy blue sleeping bag,
One of the most beautiful homeless men you've ever seen
He reminds you of an old lover
A Hawaiian shell necklace
A nonchalance
A head of hair like the tapestry of Psyche and Eros at the Met in New York
 
You wonder if he, too plays the piano
And if he, too, loves choral music and would sleep in on a Sunday and then Stroll hand in hand to a farmer's Market to smell the soaps and taste the berries as the blue sky opens up with rain

Probably not

But maybe

How lucky you have been

And beauty is evident everywhere
Amidst the trash and clutter of an unfeeling city,
Oh, so full of feelings,
A city of hope

Monday, April 25, 2016

Music Mondays: YOU GO TO MY HEAD

Here is a video from my Genghis Cohen performance of "You Go To My Head" ...


Monday, April 11, 2016

Music Mondays: My Demo Highlight Reel from Genghis Cohen

Exactly one month ago! Where does the time go?

I've got something for you... sweetheart!


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Gratitude Saturday: #112-134

Hello, all!

Welcome to Gratitude Saturdays.

I recently listened to a fantastic podcast on Your Daily Worth called "Screw Gratitude, It's Ruining Your Career!" You can listen to that HERE if you want. It wasn't really about gratitude per se, but about how that quality with which women have been indoctrinated in our culture to take 70 cents on the dollar compared to the average man... that quality of not asking for enough.... is linked to being too humble, too grateful. Great. Just when I was using gratitude to pull me out of my crabby moods!

But, actually, it's like anything in life. Any characteristic can be a boon in certain instances but a bain in others. For example... my crabbiness. I am so crabby. I am the crabbiest person I know. Largely, I keep it to myself, because I want to keep relations between, say, me and my partner, on good terms. But I am SO crabby. And I think that very crabbiness and curmudgeonliness fuels my comedy. When I'm doing standup, or writing a sketch, or just chilling with my girlfriends, most of my jokes are related to my inner bitch. Also, I play a mean power-hungry bitch very well as an actress. In my heart, I'm a nice girl from small town Minnesota, but on Sex Sent Me To The E.R., I played a power-hungry b**** to rival any strong woman.

Bear in mind, I am reclaiming the term Bitch. I love powerful women. I look up to powerful women in real life as well as in acting characters. I just happen to live and breathe the arts, so my favorites are, say, the kinds of characters Glenn Close might play... or Kim Cattrall or Sharon Stone.

So. While perhaps we should remember when to hide the Gratitude Card and pull out the B**** Card, I still maintain that I am FAR more pleasant at a party if I have done a gratitude list that day!

Here's this week's Gratitude List.


112. Antibiotics

Oh, trust me, I have a healthy sense of condemnation for the overuse of antibiotics. I was on antibiotics almost every month from age 3 until about 12, and it really messed a lot up for me. But having just been diagnosed with pneumonia (the walking variety... I thought I had the flu, but I was wrong! It was pneumonia. :( My voice is just now coming back to me!) I am SO grateful for the medicine which saves lives (and in my case, voices!)


113. That moment when, after a long illness, you start to feel markedly better.

It's like after a dark and wet storm that seems to never end, and you fear you will never see the sun, but then all of a sudden there is a peace, and then a springing to life. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and all that remains of that storm are a few dew droplets on the grass. You feel ALIVE again.


114. The discipline of the mind through meditation that leads to serenity.

I used to be addicted to exercise. (True! I also used to weigh far less than I do now, but as I haven't weighed myself since I was about 21, I don't need to fret over the exact numbers. The doctor will let me know if I'm too far over or under.) I haven't been able to exercise in about a week and a half now, and I haven't even batted an eyelash. In the past, I would have freaked out or secretly exercised to make up for it. But I realize that my body needs all the rest it can to truly heal from pneumonia, and instead, I am meditating or just lazing about (haha, not really. Have you noticed I have been blogging every day for the last week?) knowing that everything will take care of itself and when I am ready, I can exercise again.

Why did meditation give me this peace and not my logic?

My logic is linked to my thoughts, and along side my very practical logical mind is the illogical, impractical mind that hyper-obsesses. (But I'm filming something and I need to look good on camera!)

My meditative mind, however, knows how to watch. It knows how to be still and have faith in something greater than myself, my mind, my fears. It has access to love.



115. My name, Erin.

It has several meanings but one of them is "peace."

In my younger, wilder, crazier years full of angst, I laughed ruefully at that. I would never know peace.

Now, in my not so young, not so old, still crazy but with devotion to love and compassion years full of artistic endeavors and drive, I laugh at my younger, dumber, presumptive self.



116. Banana Pudding at Magnolia Bakery

The 'Nilla Wafers are IN the pudding already. OMG OMG OMG. And all this time, I've been going there for the cupcakes!?



117. The intention to replace a meal with a green juice and then never actually doing it

In my mind, I'm a raw food green juice kinda girl. In real life, I'm a recovered anorexic-bulimic. None of this really has meaning anymore in practice. I am free!


118. This guy:

*I don't care if I have counted him a million times. Look at that face.


119. And this guy (the one on the left.)






120. My sister (who snapped the above pic!)


121. My brother in law (who nodded encouragingly and makes everything fun! Kev truly brings the party.)


122. My set list for March 11th

Which includes "You Go To My Head," "Come Alive" (an original), "Too Much" (another original, the one with the famous music video with Marko from So You Think You Can Dance), and "The Girl in 14G."





123. Date nights with my sweetie!

I'm hoping tonight we go see "Triple 9" and then tomorrow we watch the Oscars.


124. Rehearsals at UCLA

Makes me feel fancy


125. Researching for the Web Series I am writing for me and Carlo


126. Creating a syllabus for myself to write said Web Series, incorporating books and exercises, making it feel like a college class. Once a nerd, always a nerd, I guess.


127. Insurmountable challenges, such as having to come up with 2016 things to be grateful for when I'm only on number 127 and yet we're about 10% of the way through the year.


128. Creative problem solving, as in, perhaps Gratitude Saturdays will start happening on Sundays as well!!!



129. People who read these lists!!!!!



130. Barbra Stanwyck

I'm watching "The Lady Eve" right now and, boy, she was skinny! But I love how smart and strong she was as well.



131. Learning about the history of romantic comedies and why the strong women of the 1930s disappeared from the movies and became much tamer, and to be tamed by the late 40s, 50s and 60s. (Hint, men returning home from war.)



132. Watching the whole mess of humanity swirl around like paint brushes on a canvas, hoping that the randomness will still result in a beautiful portrait and not some mess.... but then again, Jackson Pollock's work comes to mind and something that was both random and purposeful. Forgive me, art aficionados, for I know so little.


133. The word afficionado


134. Hot showers, which is where I am headed right now.


Friday, February 26, 2016

An Essay: Why We Dream of Acting

It's the weekend of the Oscars (that final religious celebration during the acting holy days) and I awoke with a familiar dream, full of scenes from favorite films ("Holy Smoke" and "The Departed," this time,  although the movies themselves change in these dreams of mine), a little regret over not having made better choices earlier in life, and this yearning that has been with me since as long as I can remember: That is, the yearning to be an actor, to sing, to make movies, to create. To tell stories and move people and be moved. To make 'em laugh. To make 'em cry. 

The desire has never left me. In fact, it only gets stronger. 

And I do what I can. I learn. I study.  I grow.  I dedicate my life to mastery. I audition - an art unto itself - and sometimes it goes brilliantly,  sometimes it straight up sucks, but I pray for the best and let it go.

Now, as an adult... no, truly, I'm a grown up now. It happened over the last few years with an awakening to the fact that I am responsible for my happiness. Despite the fact that I am far more responsible AND pragmatic than ever I was in my teens and 20s, I want more than ever to act, to sing, to write. 

And I ask myself, why?

Not with judgment.  I approve of my desires. That's a far cry from my teens and early 20s, when I was afraid to reveal my secret to others, afraid of the shame in my heart and derision in their eyes when I would say, "I wanna be an actor." Today I know not only I want it, but that I deserve it and I'm great at it. If you've never gone through a creative crisis,  you may not realize how paramount those beliefs are. They are everything. 

No, I mean, I ask myself "why" as in, what is it about a dream like acting and singing and writing,  a dream to truly pursue art and talent, that is so powerful? So powerful that people are willing to leave their homes and families and travel across the world to enter a city that is a sea of sharks and jewels, praying for just a glimpse of a jewel, making friends with the sharks but trying not to be one yourself? 

People have asked this question since the dawn of adventure,  I suppose. Aristotle's "On Poetics" comes to mind.  So do the cave paintings.  

I think it has something to do with a search for deeper meaning. What does it truly mean to be human,  to be alive? Where is God? 

And those questions are the ones secretly explored when we ask the other questions. What is the inciting incident that launches Act Two?  What does my character want? Is a G7 chord better here than a Bminor? 

I get to inhabit many lives in this one life of mine. Through these connections to story, I connect to myself and to humanity and to the team in whatever we are doing. The people in the casting office,  my agent, the musicians in my band for March 11th, the audience, the movie theater employees, the actors, the composers, James Stewart,  Kim Novak, lions in Africa. We are all weaving our story into the tapestry of humanity, vaulted into the stars in the night sky for some distant ancestor in another time and space, looking for meaning in their own painful dramas.

And in the meantime...

I'll try to make 'em laugh.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Music Monday on Wednesday: of Renaissance Women, Time Management, Filling in the Blanks on Monday's blog and Mahattan School of Music 2012, Why I Keep Going

Hey everybody.

 I'm writing a lot this week! I'm sick- oh, don't worry- my Doctor assures me with full confidence I should be able to sing by my rehearsals this weekend for my gig March 11th! (Yeah, I know. My health? Pshaw. But my voice? Anything to preserve my voice!)

Which is a bit about what I wanted to write about.

I want to fill in on some other pieces of the puzzle left from Monday's blog about serendipity.

For a lot of you who have read me or known me a long time, you know that my life as a singer has been a very wild and zig zaggy adventure. Trust me. I didn't start out in life thinking I was going to be a "classical pop crossover Broadway jazz singer songwriter with some country and some rock and roll." I wanted to be Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand from the get go! But what HAPPENED ALONG THE WAY, SO FAR? Well, that was why I wrote a one woman show called "StandUpera." And as a songwriter, I still want to be Tori Amos and Leonard Cohen as well as Harold Arlen and Diane Warren.

I WILL share pieces of StandUpera here, but for those of you new to me, my blog or my story (as a singer, actress, novelist, screenwriter, playwright. I have no problem claiming all my Renaissance Woman capabilities, including correctly spelling Renaissance on the first try) because I'm tired of branding and marketing and pretending I'm smaller than I am just to make other people understand where I'm coming from. Oh, I understand it's like, wait, Tori Amos can also sing like Broadway and opera and she can also do standup?

Yup, I bet she can.

Just like Barbra Streisand is an amazing singer, actress, writer, director, and who knows what else.

Just like Bette Midler did standup as well as sing like that.

Just like Beyonce can sing and dance and act and market and who knows what else.

Just like Madonna and J-Lo.

Just like Lady Gaga.

And who knows where else things might transpire? Look, if ever I actually "make it" with one field or another, I will be so grateful and let the unfolding of my career happen in the arena, of course! But until then, I will focus all my energies on being my Renaissance Self.

Time Management? I really love it. It's like that quote:

"Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work." - Gustave Flaubert

Some day I should post my daily schedule up here. It's not a daily schedule like, from 7 am til 7:45 I walk Henry, then from 8 am until 8:30 I study Italian while eating breakfast (although that is what happens every day.) It's more like, I have ordered them in priority, and then I set a timer. So most important things are accomplished first, but worked around any appointments I have, readings I give, etc. That way, every day I practice, although it might happen at 11 am or 3 pm or 5 pm depending on the day. But every day it happens! Maybe, if people are interested, I'll share it someday. But since I DID set a timer on writing this blog, I want to get to filling in the blanks on the rest of the story from Monday!

SO!

A little bit about Manhattan School of Music 2012 and what kind of singer I am (hint: more like Linda Ronstadt.).

When I was in high school, I studied opera. Not because I wanted to be an opera singer, but because that was what was available to me. I had a few wonderful teachers. They all happened to be in the classical tradition. I was also writing songs, sort of a la Jewel, the kinds of songs you would expect a smart and talented and melodramatic teenager to write. I had some heroes, odd ones, though. Nina Simone. (My Dad gave me some of her CDs and a life long love affair was born. Years later I discovered we shared a birthday!)

I had terrible eating disorders in high school and college and was surrounded by an atmosphere of oppression. I don't mean to say that my peers and friends and family were oppressive to me because they meant to harm me. I was simply too much. Too emotional. Too bursting. Too ambitious. Too smart. Too weird. Too different. Too easily influenced by other people's fears. Too needy for people's approval. Too needy. And so I made a series of rotten choices, like turning down a full scholarship to NYU to go to Saint Olaf. Like getting deeper into an eating disorder and that led to a whole downward spiral into depression and then pushing away friends and family and dating total a$$holes (you know who you are, you lovable lumps!) (like attracts like. I was an a$$hole in my own way, too.) And then it just got worse and worse until I found myself in an abusive relationship with a controlling international businessman confronting the fact that I had woken up and wasted years not being myself.

Oh, trust me. my real self was still calling out. I was singing, writing songs, touring, singing in cabarets and rock bands. And some of it I loved and a lot of it didn't feel right but I didn't know what else to do.

I moved to LA, wrote a beautiful album that the producer then had me record in not MY voice but a voice that had nothing to do with me, and after years of bulimia and singing too low and improperly, I wrecked my voice and started getting sick all the time and was just lost.

Then I started working with voice teachers. Like, really. Like, listening to what they actually said. Like, trying it. Like, not thinking I know everything (can you believe THAT?)

And I started piecing my voice back together.

And then I started dabbling in Broadway songs and opera again.

And then I thought, I want to be Andrea Bocelli.

I want to be Kristen Chenoweth.

I want to be Barbra Streisand.

I want to be Erin. I want to be ME. Whatever and whomever that is.

So, I thought about being an opera singer. Could I do it? Was my voice too damaged?

And I started applying to all these different young artist programs, summer programs, companies, having no idea what would happen. No one wanted me. No one. Until one place did. Manhattan School of Music. They invited me to be a part of their Summer Voice Program and I started working with some of the best in the WORLD.

Which brings us up to Monday's blog and Rose. She was the other person interested in me.

A few months after that program at Manhattan School, by the way, I was visiting my parents in Minnesota and going through a box of old high school stuff. That's when I found that prospectus from MSM all those years ago.

Do I want to be an opera singer?

Honestly, at this point in my career, I want to be a concert singer a la Andrea Bocelli who does musicals a la Kristen Chenoweth and who sings on the Ellen show and on her own TV show a la Glee. ha! I know. I'm still a dreamer! But why not me? That's why I keep singing and writing web series and auditioning and auditioning and auditioning. Eventually, I will get so undeniable I MUST get hired, or, I will be old and lose my teeth and say, "Can't say I didn't try." ha.

But that's not why I keep singing and writing and acting.

I keep singing because I am a singer.

I keep writing because I am a writer.

I keep acting because I am an actress.

I keep creating art because I am a woman, a creative, a child of God, a member of the human race, and because stories are how we hear and heal one another.

I love you.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

GRATITUDE SATURDAYS: #109-111

I have the flu. :(


So.




109. NYQUIL


110. My sweet partner who has been taking care of me since I came down with the flu on Wednesday night but didn't really accept it til Thursday.


111.  The sofa, which is where I am going now. More gratitude tomorrow. xoxoxoxo

Monday, February 15, 2016

Music Mondays: technique, set lists, rehearsals, believing in yourself, and not warming up during the Uber ride to UCLA

Over the weekend, after going to a cafe in LA to root for NAPOLI'S ill-fated soccer match against Juventus (boo,) I had a rehearsal at the UCLA School of Music with James Lent, who will be my pianist/ music director on March 11th. As I wandered the halls of the Schoenberg Music, also bearing the name Herb Alpert on the front, I felt a rush of nostalgia. The practice rooms were full of students singing, playing piano, playing oboe. I have spent so much of my life in rooms like these, in hallways like these. I miss it- my piano at home isn't a real piano but a keyboard with weighted keys and a damper pedal that is in reverse and I can't get it to work properly.

I'd love to go into the nerdy singer details of my rehearsal- I know not everyone knows or cares about this stuff, but for those of you who are among my singer friends, I will share a few details!

I hadn't warmed up at all- it seemed like it would have been a bad idea during the soccer match, and I didn't drive myself to rehearsal, I Ubered over and so it would have seemed rude. "Excuse me, but do you mind if I warm up during this ride instead of inquire after your day? Me may mah moh moo. Oh, your brother's having open heart surgery? Me may mah moh moo. I will pray for him, if you like! Me may mah moh moo." Yeah. No.

We ran through some of the songs to get a feel for our combo- I'm doing some originals, some pop, some country, some classical, some Broadway. You know,  "Erin" branding, as in, if Josh Groban and Adele had a baby who hung out with Bette Midler. We decided that the combo will be drums, bass, piano, guitar; and some of the songs will likely be just guitar and voice, if we can find the right person. We will also try to find musicians who can do some harmonies.

Who is paying for all this?

Me.

Gulp.

Meanwhile, James and I started talking about learning to belt years after the fact. I am learning to belt properly, as opposed to in the unhealthy way I belted for so long. James shared a few techniques he uses to get sopranos to belt- he calls it "hailing a taxi," and reminded me that the human body is actually built to belt as well as other kinds of singing. I smiled and tried it... I'm a mix belter, but I hope to graduate into real belter soon. Sometimes it happens on accident, you know, when I'm in the moment during a song, not doing technique but truly in the spirit of the song itself......

Also, since I have the distinction of coming from singer-songwriter and rock band land moreso than Broadway land, I have had to completely rework my singing technique. Thanks to Gary Busby at UCI, I feel my voice is only just now coming into its true sound- in my 30s! Oh, who knows what would have happened to my singing career if I had received the kind of support in my teens and 20s I am giving mySELF now in my 30s. We'll never know, and I didn't know how to give myself the strength and courage (and money and time and belief in my talent) to really go there until now. Maybe I'll never make it, so to speak, and maybe I'm the next Andrea Bocelli or Susan Boyle. No matter what, I feel so lucky to be able to sing whatever I want, to book gigs at venues I love, to sing with incredible, world-class musicians and study with great teachers.

Life is good.

Singing is good.

 A few of the songs we are considering for March 11th, veering more pop and songwriter, but with some Broadway and classical as well:

Come Alive (original)
You Go To My Head (jazz standard)
Hell on Heels (country)
Too Much (original from poet's lovely daughter)
Girl in 14G (!!!!!!)


of course there will be much more.... this is just a list to entice you all to come, or stream it live

https://www.concertwindow.com/erin



Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday, St. Valentine's Day, of Philomena, Mary Magdalene, broken hearts, Fiction Fridays, Gratitude Saturdays #95-108

It's St. Valentine's Day, 6 in the morning. The sky is dark outside in the cool Los Angeles morning, the concrete forest of my city awakening with singing birds and a random car speeding past now and again. I couldn't sleep. I've been dreaming of old loves- not just lovers, but things I loved in the past. Friends I've lost. Boyfriends I left. Books I traveled the world with but haven't thought of in ages.

And it's St. Valentine's Day.


SECTION A: ST. VALENTINE'S DAY

I've made a big deal of Valentine's Day this year. Apparently I do every year. I told my beloved partner that I was gifting myself the sort of Valentine's Day *I* would like to have because he thinks (as ALL my boyfriends throughout time have said) that it's dumb to have a commercial Hallmark holiday to have to be romantic.

By the way. Literally every boyfriend I have ever had, with the exception of J___ and J___, whose birthdays happened to be Valentine's Day- oh!- Happy Birthday, boys- (early college years, crazy years. I doubt either of them read this blog and if they do, well, boys, forgive me for my crazy years. I wasn't well.)But back to the literally every boyfriend I have ever had thing- they have all said the same singsong complaint about not needing some Hallmark holiday to be romantic.

Let me tell you.

Yes. Yes, in fact, you do.

Oh, not that you weren't all incredibly romantic. Some of you were. Some of you were incredibly romantic- J___ (V-day birthday boy) wrote love letters. The other J___ made CD mixes (old-fashioned playlists or mixed tapes after tapes but before playlists.) One of my J's, a third college boyfriend whose name also confusingly began with J, was an incredible artist who made a hand-crafted, hand painted kama sutra for me.

Never on Valentine's Day.

Why do we need Valentine's Day?

Well, the reason I love it and celebrate it as an adult is not because I am some dumb consumer blindly being led by marketing.

No, it is for the same reason that I think things like prom and graduation ceremonies and baseball games are important.

I didn't really go to prom, by the way. I think I went one of the two years, with a group of girls, without a date, because even though I was pretty and thin by my senior year (after years of being a chubby, broken glasses wearing, funky short-haired girl sometimes mistaken meanly for a pretty gay boy) I was undate-able in my small town high school. Aside from one sweet boy a few years younger than me who is still a very good friend, no boy would ask me out. Still burns, although not in a way that I'm actually hurt or care. Years later, several boys from school told me they always *wanted* to ask me out. I suppose we all carry wounds from stupid high school, except for those of you lucky enough not to.

I also didn't go to my college graduation, even though I graduated with honors.

And a lot of things. Over the years, I have missed all sorts of baby showers, weddings, funerals. For years, I missed them because I was on the road as a musician, or performing. After a while, I just wasn't invited.

My biggest regret in life, after NOT going to NYU on the big scholarship they offered me (I know.) is not going to my childhood best friend's wedding because I was in India. At the time it seemed a good idea. Now, I feel sorely the lack of that particular friend in my life- frenemy, really, and I suppose years later, time passing, all things turn to dust, as will she and I.

But this is about St. Valentine's Day, and love, and love letters, and remembrances.

There's rosemary,
that's for remembrance.
Pray you, love, remember.
And there's pansies, that's for thoughts.
There's fennel for you, and columbines.
There's rue for you, and here's some for me.
We may call it herb of grace o' Sundays.
Oh, you must wear your rue with a difference.
There's a daisy. I would give you some violets,
but they withered all when my father died.
They say he made a good end.


--Ophelia
 Hamlet Prince of Denmark
 Act IV Scene V

St. Valentine's Day is important because it gives us a collective opportunity to remember the ones we love and celebrate that. I don't care about the flowers and chocolate and sex. I mean, of course I do. I have all sorts of plans involving tiramisu and champagne and lingerie. But if I were alone this year, I would be doing the same damn thing, actually. I'm done skipping out on things that might connect me more deeply to my own humanity.

For years, I lived life David Foster Wallace. Not as famous, successful, or brilliant, perhaps, but the basic template of my being is in that man with whom I share a birthday (along side Anais Nin, Nina Simone, W.H. Auden, Ursula LeGuin, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. It all starts to make sense, right?). ...  as lonely, isolated, able to see through the bullshit of culture but without a community to share that with. As disappointed in both the inhumanity of humanity as well as the stupidity of humanity. Frustrated by the simple lack of caring, if not elegance. Where was Jesus now? Where was beauty? We reduced ourselves, at least in this nation, to cave-men, although at least we have maintained Venus of Willendorfs via selfies by Miss Kim Kardashian, that berated symbol of fertility that we mistake for celebrity...

But that's a story. Partially true, partially untrue, varied year by year, filtered through the lens of this moment now.

You see, that's a belief system as poisonous and dangerous as one that says that God sends natural disasters to punish nations for allowing gay marriage.

It is.

And so while the answer is not, in my mind, to hook up and believe in culture, aka marketing, aka a series of agreements that we agree too agree upon about the way the world is, whether we realize we are agreeing or not-

At least, while I'm alive on this earth, this lifetime, whatever time I have left, I'm looking to find beauty and humanity and possibility and goodness everywhere I can.

I'm old enough to know how the world works, and I'm even older than that. I'm old enough to look beyond its transgressions to find its renewal of hope.

And so,

Valentine's Day.



I WHISPERED, 'I am too young,'
And then, 'I am old enough';
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
'Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.'
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.




SECTION B: RECOVERED OPHELIAS- PHILOMENA 

There's a wonderful book I read whilst in rehab for eating disorders years ago in college, "Reviving Ophelia." Can't get into the details now. Google it. But know that it is about reclaiming young women from the brink of demolition in the forms of eating disorders, sexual abuse, sex selfies, low self esteem, revenge porn, cutting, bullying, etc. Modern day witch hunting.

I thought of it so often while watching- for the second time in one month- the film Philomena last night. This was my second viewing, this time with my partner in life and crime. What a beautiful film. Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench in the true story of a jobless, broken journalist helping an Irish woman find her 50 year old son after-














SPOILER ALERT



















the nuns at the Abbey where she had given birth in the 1950s had sold the baby for adoption to America.





The first time I watched the movie, I wept, as I wept last night- but that first time my blood BOILED over the Catholic church, and organized religion in general, and its crimes against people, humble people especially. Oh, there's other blogs for me to talk about how so often our establishments stray so far from what Jesus would actually do it's down right farcical, if not evil. But.

Last night I wept also for everyone. Because the nuns who did those things, they were no better nor worse than the rest of them. They were simply surviving and operating so as to survive the best they could under the circumstances as well. Yes. It was wrong. But then I started thinking about the way the world thought of- and often still thinks of- women and sex. And we simply were and often still are downright medieval in our thoughts and beliefs about women and the rights of women. And I wept for all of us. 

Then I thought of Mary Magdalene, one of our earliest Ophelias. I suppose at this point, if you are reading my blog, you are most likely familiar with what I will call a reclamation of Mary Magdalene. You are most likely someone who venerates her despite the most likely false reputation she has been given over the centuries as a way to control and manipulate people. You may even be someone who looks up to her legend for answers to your own broken heart.

And she is hear to show you, as is Philomena,

Let your heart break,

Because it will.

Your heart will break.

Speaking of prom and high school, this is something that should be taught in schools that isn't, at least not outright. It is something that classes like English literature get close to, but something you should all know about life:

You Heart Will Break.

And you can let it break open.

Do not let it break shut, crumbling to dust at your feet. Death will do that for you.

Let it break open, bursting with pain into a thousand soaring skies.

You will discover not only that you have a choice to do so-

Philomena did- watch the movie- a stunning ending-

I did- and do, and practice doing so at every chance-

And that opening is where miracles live.



SECTION C:

FICTION FRIDAYS?

There is simply no excuse. I have been busy, yes. Busy with Monologue-a-palooza at Samuel French Bookstore (so fun! Amazing talent! Especially Brittny Roberts, hope she doesn't mind me citing her. She's the woman who put the whole thing together and she is incredibly gifted as a writer and actress. In fact, what I am about to say reveals my own high esteem I have for myself, haha, but, I wish she and I could have a TV show or something together. I have been part of two of her events and am really a fan of both her writing AND her acting.) I WILL return with Fiction Fridays, perhaps today, even, Fiction Fridays on Sunday? I have been rehearsing for my gig March 11th as well as writing my next project, a web series I will share more about later- and pitching my script with Carlo and all the little intricacies of coping with rejection and getting cautiously optimistic about potential opportunities and all that. 

So. It's nigh on 7 am now, and so soon I will have to walk the Henry Monster and bake the croissants (they are proofing right now... let me just go see how big they have gotten overnight- 

oh- oh, yes, oh, my. They have doubled in size, maybe even tripled, and they smell yeasty and buttery and they are FULL of marzipan and in an hour I will bake them and I can tell already they will flake perfectly. They won't be as good as the real real deal, as in, like, from Paris, real deal... but they will be AWESOME.

I got so excited about those croissants just not that even Henry got excited- the possibility of food thrills him- he IS a dog, after all- and he just came in the room to let me know he is definitely awake and ready to play, eat, or pee, or all three. So I gotta wrap this up asap!)



SECTION D:

GRATITUDE SATURDAYS

I missed gratitude Saturdays because I didn't wake up at dawn to write. I woke up just in time to feed the boy, walk the boy, and do my Italian lesson with breakfast (something I do every day, my Italian lesson with breakfast. Yesterday was a revisiting of one of the past tenses... ho studiato italiano, etc.) And then it was time to do ballet and then I had to get ready to put on my jersey and go support Napoli (we lost, 0-1 to Juventus) (my partner's team, but I *did* get to meet a GENIUS director who is also a supporter of Napoli) before rehearsal at UCLA with the pianist/ music director for my gig March 11th before coming home to clean the kitchen and the bathroom (we still have a hole in the ceiling in the bathroom because there is a leak from the upstairs neighbors which caused a crack in the walls to become, well, a big hole that then the plumber had to make even bigger, and the bathroom is covered in crumbling wood and paint and dust and I am simply tired of bathing in what seems like the ruins of a bathroom rather than an actual functioning urban apartment, so, I did my best) and then the day had gotten away from me and it was date time. So. 


95. Old fashioned Valentine's cards

96. Red lipstick

97. High heeled stiletto shoes

98. Surprising a group of Italians with an official Napoli jersey in robin's egg blue

99. A mother who knows JUST how to flatter your ego.

I sent her a picture of me in the jersey in our kitchen, where the lighting is PERFECT, and she wrote back, "did you get botox?" I was vainly proud, as I am always, of my skin. What a vain biatch I can be. Really. One of my worst qualities. But Carlo took me down a notch when he said, 

"Your Mom is smart." 

"What?" I asked, not quite sure I had heard him correctly.

"She's smart," he repeated, with an impish grin.

"Why?" I asked, confused.

"She knows how to make you feel good."

The realization swept over me, and my vainglory slapped me in the face.

"Oh." I said. "So, I don't actually look like I have had botox done," (which I have not, for the record, although last week I DID have a microcurrent, microdermabrasion facial done, and I wrote so to my Mother, gleefully exclaiming, "maybe it worked." Oh, how embarrassing.) I looked down at the second half of my pizza, debating whether or not to defy my diet and refuse my slim career game, or if I wilt not, but be sworn to love, and a character actress I will be?... 

The next piece already halfway down my gullet- what was that about a diet? Meh. (Shrugs.)

I continued,

"She was just making me feel better."

Carlo giggled and continued eating his Saturday night junk food as well.

Oh, we are as sick as the secrets we keep.

Pizza, corn dogs, chocolate, wine.

Not too bad. ;-p


100. Pizza


101. Corn Dogs


102. Chocolate


103. Wine


104. Almond Croissants


105. Comfy sofas


106. Strong men with broad shoulders who hold you in their arms


107. Reclaiming heroines besmirched by marketing


108. Allowing life to open your heart rather than shutter it up like a beach house come November


109. The little puppy dogs who are forever loyal but are now placing a paw across your lap. It simply is time to let you go.



LOVE

ALWAYS

OF THE DEEPEST SORT


Erin




p.s.
9:40 am
Here's my sweet Valentine from my beloved.

LOLOLLOLLLOLOL


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Gratitude Saturday Part Two: #92-94

92. Chocolate





93. This guy AND chocolate



94. Smooching this guy

Gratitude Saturdays~ In the Theme of Love and Sensuality~ #69-91

It's Saturday! And if you read my blog regularly, you know that, since the beginning of 2016, I have decreed Saturdays to be a day where I list things (people, places, experiences, poems, what have you) for which I am grateful. In fact, I am at #69 of 2016 things! I looked at the number, and, since I do these once a week on a Saturday morningish/ afternoonish timeline, I thought, whoa! How did that happen!?

Then I saw I was at #69 and, given that it is the month of Valentine's, and love, and since I love LOVE and romance and sensuality and bubble baths and champagne and pink and red and chocolates and love letters and love poems and music and getting swept away and all things Aquarian AND Piscean, well, I thought I'd give a theme to this week's Gratitude List!




69. Jessica Rabbit

She was my first template for sexy before I even knew what sexy was!

I've had red hair, you know, and loved it. I like being blonde best, but, it was fun.They say red heads have more fun! Well, I've had most every hair color (other than gray/ white) and let me tell you: blondes get approached the most, but red heads get approached by the most interesting men. I didn't get hit on "as much" when I was a red head, but it was always the most fascinating people... men and women... versus as a blonde, a LOT of people approach you. Also, people speak to me as if I'm a bit dumber than I am when I'm blonde. Very interesting.



70. "The One," my one woman show, where I talk about sex and love as an adult. Not as a porn star (as I am not.) But as an adult. i.e., R Rated, not PG 13.



71. Le Cirque Rouge

I performed with the cardinal Minneapolis burlesque troupe in its early days. I loved it. Vintage dresses and big red lips. Fan f-ing tastic.



72 . Sense and Sensuality

I almost called my old radio show, "Wide Open," "Sense and Sensuality." (inspired, of course, by "Sense and Sensibility.")



73. Love letter strewn across Rome in 2008

I wrote love letters to _________, meaning, a future love, while I was there in September 2008. I hid them all over the cities of both Rome AND Venice. I hid them under mattresses, in churches, in boots at the Salvatore Ferragamo store near the Spanish Steps, in the pile of informational brochures at the little home of Shelley near the Spanish Steps, under placemats at cafes, everywhere. Eventually, those love letters became songs.



74. "Under the Stars of Jazz"

A song not yet released that I wrote in Venice, the first song I wrote from those love letters, the rest of which became the album "Poet's Lovely Daughter"



75. Paolo Conte

Was on the music playing in the little cafe in Venezia. The song was "Sotto le stelle de Jazz," hence the title of MY song.


76. Writing lyrics:

Under the stars of jazz
Cold rain pours outside
And I'm inside
This little apartment
And life feels like
A New York City Globe

And I'm all shook up
Swirling around
Oh, my Heart is racing
I'm dying to see you
And maybe this time
I'll tell you how I feel

'Cause life's too short
to wait, my love, my love,
but if waiting's all I got,
My love, my love
Then I shall have
The dream of you in my heart
Comin' up the stairs and through the front door
To say hello,
My love

Oh, I was never good
At waiting for anything
So how is it I'd rather be alone
Than with a facsimile
Silence rings so loud
and yet I swear
I hear your voice in my ear
Whispering you love me dear

but Life's too short
to wait, my love, my love
but if waiting's all I got my love, my love
Then I shall have the dream of you
in my heart
Comin' up the stairs and through the front door
To say hello
My love

Is it you, is it me, Fate or destiny?
Should I remain all alone, or pick up the phone
Are you somewhere out there, in this world we share,
Should I forget this dream and get back out on the scene
I'll give it one more day, becomes a month then a year,
How long must I live with all this fear


but Life's too short
to wait, my love, my love
but if waiting's all I got my love, my love
Then I shall have the dream of you
in my heart
Comin' up the stairs and through the front door
To say hello
My love


77. Lucky numbers 7 and 11


78. Pink champagne


79. Bubble baths


80. A beautiful cedarwood sauna with lavendar and eucalytpus


81. Fresh flowers


82. The scent of night-blooming jasmine


83. The scent of honeysuckle


84. Staying up late talking about cabbages and kings


85. Old-fashioned Valentine's


86. Heart-shaped boxes


87. White chocolate and raspberry


88. Stamps and letters


89. Antique music boxes


90. Homemade pasta cooked all dente


91. Dating the man you've been with and live with and finding out new things you never knew!



Saturday, January 23, 2016

SHORT SHORT FICTION FOR THE FULL WOLF MOON


Full Wolf Moon

 

Winter.

The deep silence of an empty woods, insulated by snow.

Twilight, which by the human clock is merely late afternoon.

My feet crunch along the pathway where a fresh layer of snow has erased my old footsteps. Although it is the end of light, there is still enough that I can see my breath and I stop to watch it escape in wisps. Quiet.

A tree groans in the distance.

I am walking with intention but without direction. I am walking for the woods, and for the trees; for the winter and the sound of nothingness that brings a complete focus of my attention to my own life.

My heart is beating. I am breathing, I am moving. My body is creating miracles without my conscious awareness in the cycles of life and death. I am one with nature, whether I regard it or not, and even though the green of this forest lies dormant, life is still happening in secret, underneath the veneer of immovable cold.

I reach a clearing where on summer days there is a pond, vibrant with frogs and crickets singing, and tall cattails and ferns and the periodic lily pad. Those days, the water is sludgy with algae and I must be careful not to go at dawn without my mosquito netting. Today, though, there is just a broken sheath of ice and-

My attention hones in on a steam rising above the pond. How is that, now? But this pond, and all its creatures, they are all sleeping. I know it, for I have walked these woods come spring, come summer, come autumn, come winter, all my life, and I know how the pond slumbers deeply until beauty awakes it in spring.

Then the steam is gone, and I give pause to my walk to listen, to look. Something washes over me, something that mortal words cannot quite describe, but I am changed, for I watched the pond breathe.

Like listening to someone snore from another room.

The sun is leaving the horizon soon and it is time to turn back toward home. There is a solace in these woods, though, and I miss them as soon as I begin to even think of leaving them, but to freeze out in the night air? There is no pleasure waiting for me in that experience, and so I turn, and even begin to hurry now, my footsteps disappearing into a hush. I think of home, and of the fire I will light, and an evening spent by the fire with poets and storytellers in the yellowed pages of books, and-

I stop, for in front of me, there, in the middle of the path, stands a wolf.

Blue eyes, mirroring mine, and it is too late to look away. I want to run, but I cannot move. I find myself breathing slower now, I feel my lower abdomen pulling tight and the insides of my arms tense as I search my periphery for anything- a branch- a-

The wolf steps toward me, slowly, then another step, and another. Eyes so light I am lost in them. Fear leaves my body, replaced by awe. She is lean, and she is wise. She has stopped me in nature. She plucks me out of reverie and into this moment with her, her, here in the woods. She grows closer, closer, her jaws parting, her saliva dripping. She is tall.

I am cold, but I do not shiver.

"Yes," I whisper, closing my eyes in surrender to the inevitable.

The crunch as her feet walk on. Deliberate.

Slowly, I open my eyes.

She is gone, and the light is descending rapidly now, and I want desperately to see her again, to look into her eyes, to understand something. Was she trying to tell me something? Surely she was, but nothing human, nothing in words, certainly nothing I can quite translate, and when I tell people at home, later tonight, when I call someone on the phone, or the next day at work try to relate the story, will I be true to it? Will it lose something in the words?

But I walk home, and the silent full moon rises, and as I linger at my door, off in the distance I hear a glorious, singular howl.


by Erin