Unfortunately, I can't tell you my good idea until the script is complete and the cast has their final bow! (heeheehee)
There are many times that I teach theater in not necessarily an ideal classroom. When my husband and I perform, we're rarely on a stage with lights and curtains and cool theater things like that. When I direct a play, there's not often the group I'm directing has access to those cool theater things just mentioned. But you know what's really cool? When you're writing a script and come up with a brilliant idea to get around not having access to cool tools!
Unfortunately, I can't tell you my good idea until the script is complete and the cast has their final bow! (heeheehee)
I’ve seen a lot of articles, memes and posts about simplifying Christmas so one does not go crazy during this festive and sacred holiday. “Slow down,” they say. “You don’t need to buy gifts, send cards, or attend another concert” is the indication. I DISAGREE! There, I said it out loud. Now I’ll tell you why.
I like going crazy with Christmas! I start making gifts in about November because I have no other time to do so. I allow myself to take time to be creative when ordinarily I nag at myself to work, de-clutter, plan lessons, complete the tax return, write stories and plays, go help, volunteer, fix the roof, weed the garden, meet with the committee, make delicious dinners (this is because I like tasty food not just because of my husband, ok?), read something important, learn something new for the good of society, and put something good into society. Oh, yeah, and get some sleep and be calm. Yeah, right.
I’m not calm in my ordinary, daily life. Why should that stop just because Christmas time is here? Besides, holiday time allows me to TAKE JOY in the entire month of frantic-ness. I’m going to buy presents for family! I’m going to attend concerts and plays! I’m going to watch as many Christmas Carol movies as possible! I’ll listen to the audiobook version of The Christmas Carol while I’m creating or cooking! I’m going to make things and cook things and decorate things! We’ve already donated two toys to our local fire department for their collection. Almost always, we throw in change to the red kettle that the Salvation Army has outside of stores. I might also: go to a friend’s workshop at a gallery tonight, go to a concert afterwards, attend two plays tomorrow, hang out at a party for some friends next week, to mention a few. If I have the energy for all or some of that.
Several years back, I was at a Chamber Business Women’s meeting and it was about not stressing—and it wasn’t even about Christmas. But I asked, “How? I can’t quit work. There are other things I must do. And stressful events come along frequently that I can’t plan for. What do you do?” We decided the answer is It’s in your attitude. It’s how you approach work, tasks and events.
Alrighty then, for the holiday season, I’m going to TAKE JOY in whatever I have to do and whatever I choose to do. My house won’t be as clean…until 30 minutes before someone comes over. If someone drops by unannounced, I’ll say, “Sorry for the mess. I’m making [can’t reveal] for [someone who might read this, so I still can’t say].” My friends will understand. My lesson plans for next term (I teach groups of homeschoolers) will be general outlines, with the first two weeks solidly planned. And I won’t be fixing the roof in December.
Thus it comes down to: Shower, Sleep, Eat, Work, AND EVERYTHING CHRISTMAS!! Oh, and prep for my daughter’s wedding on Dec. 28. 😉
For me, life gets busy. I make lists (which don't include work, eat, sleep kinds of things) that are way too long for one person to accomplish the tasks in a reasonable time. But I try! Oh, I try! I nibble instead of eat. I work until late; I get up early. I don't say "hi" to friends. I try not to phone people and I try not to answer the phone. But by dang I'm going to accomplish something!
When my brain goes into the by-dang-I'm-going-to-accomplish-something mode, I know it's time to settle down, take a breath, re-think the list. AND SIMPLIFY.
Yet sometimes there are things that have to be done that I happen to love. For Christmas gifts, I happen to be cross stitching which I don't do often but oh-my-goodness-gracious-wowza I love the way the pictures are coming out! My daughter loves the cardamom bread I make during the holidays so she wants that at her December reception. I've made up batches of dough that are now sitting in the freezer ready to be brought out and baked later. I happen to like making yeast breads. I also have to make a dress for said reception. I happen to love the feel of new material and seeing cloth become clothing. Once a month, a nearby art center has a free mini-class and I sign up me and my husband so that I'm forced to take a break from my own busy-ness. I like trying out different visual art forms. I started Nov 1 trying to write a novel for National Novel Writing Month. Well...that's where I had to simplify. I won't be anywhere near a novel by the end of Nov but I have some writing started and a book to edit and I'll keep writing at a tortoise's pace, instead of a hare's.
I'm glad that there are times I'm forced to do what I love.
I've been sick for two weeks! My computer got sick and it's at the computer doctor! I discovered my author site went down because of changes that were made at my registrar's website! I had to relearn how to point my name in the right direction!
I admit that it's been a relief to not get on my computer. Heavens to Betsy! It's nice not to be on my computer?! I have been taking care of email and such on my Kindle Fire, and I happen to be on my husband's computer since he isn't home. But, yes, not having my computer available means I take care of things in the simplest way possible. Instead of fancy handouts for classes I teach, handouts become rather simple or non-existent. I use paper and pencils--or gel pens!--for making plans, writing notes, and putting new story ideas down.
Until today, my energy level has been too low to actually do anything or think much at all. I still feel a little weak and I know I have to take it easy but I'm so excited for tomorrow. I'm supposed to get my computer back soon and I want to write and edit! I also need to get back to my other jobs. Mostly, my two weeks at home have been to lay on the couch and watch Monk and movies. And READ! I've been through several books already. Just in case you find yourself in the mood for reading something you may not have tried already:
The Ginger Gold mystery series, by Lee Strauss. I just finished book 5, Murder at the Mortuary. I just eat up these books set in the 20's whose main character is Ginger Gold, a fashionista who just recently returned to her native England from Boston. She likes to drive fast and she carries a gun. Her exact duties during the war are still a bit of a mystery too.
The Lying Planet; and Bottled are by Carol Riggs. I just finished both of these stories. Bottled is about a girl who was imprisoned in a bottle as a genie and seeks to get out! The Lying Planet is an intense sci-fi about a group of teens who discover a dark truth their parents are hiding.
I'm in the middle of The Executioner's Daughter, by Jane Hardstaff, about a girl named Moss who holds the basket into which her father throws the severed heads of those just executed. She feels as much as a prisoner of the Tower of London as those condemned to die.
I'm also in the middle of Ghost Hand, by Ripley Patton. I love it that the ghost hand is a medical condition called PSS - Psyche Sans Soma
Well, I think I just used up most of my energy for today. Back to reading.
After casting a play, I start my first rehearsal with a "pep" talk. It goes something like this: "Before you auditioned, it was a democracy. Now that you're cast, it's more like a tyranny. My job as the director is to make you look great on stage. In a few weeks of rehearsals, you're going to be SICK of me and rehearsals. You won't want to do what I say. At that point, you will look at me and say, 'Yes, Madame Director' and you'll do exactly what I say anyway. Got it?" They chuckle in a frightened way and say "Got it." Then we begin the rehearsal.
There's a group of homeschooled teens that I've directed in Shakespeare plays, starting in 2012. In 2013, that first group along with some of their siblings were part of the play. In 2014, the olders helped backstage and the youngers were now moving on up into the major roles. This year, I'm directing A Midsummer Night's Dream and there are some of the youngers who are the olders, and newbies who are olders, too. I almost didn't have to go through my spiel; the oldies taught the newbies what to call me. The parents working with me call me Madame Director, too. Annnndddd, there are the little guys--young siblings of the actors--who come on as fairies towards the end of the play. They are so excited to have sparkly costumes and wings. My heart MELTED when one tiny voice called out, "Madame Director..." FYI, I'm very nice to the little guys.
I'm teaching a group of young script writers and the first thing I had them do was make a poster of where ideas come from. I stopped myself from getting on the floor and adding my thoughts to their poster. But, first, getting on the ground and then getting back up again is growing more difficult and secondly I wanted them to come up with the ideas. It didn't take them long. For me, I'm relegated to my blog to talk about where my ideas come from. So here's a list!
There are other ways I get ideas. Such as settings (Done in Down Under). Seeing something or someone. There's the question method: "I wonder what would happen if...", "Why would someone want to...", "Where would a large group of people hang out?" Sometimes ideas just come because I sat down and told my brain that I couldn't get out of the chair until I had at least a paragraph, and if I went all the way to a page, I'd let myself have a big bowl of ice cream. It's funny how I can bribe myself to come up with an idea!
Most recently I wanted to write a short children's musical. Here's how the brain went--High School Musical is set at a school but I want this to be about kids in elementary...High School Musical had a spoof, High School Non-Musical...Elementary School Musical? No, I don't want it to be about kids auditioning for a musical, nor a spoof of HS Musical...It's Elementary...that sounds good...it sounds like Sherlock Holmes...like a mystery...what could be a mystery at an elementary? I don't want just a theft of a pencil or the like...a petnapping!...the classroom pet is missing...and I want four songs...something about having an alibi, something about being a detective...a chase scene, it has to have a Chase song...the finale should be the title It's Elementary. Then I had to write the whole thing. But I love the play and I love how it's coming...oh, I happen to be in the midst of directing it too.
If you happen to be reading this before July 19 and 20, 2016, you're welcome to come see it! It's part of the Midsummer Shows at Children's Educational Theatre.
If you write, what do you do for ideas?
There are days that I can't think what to add to a conversation or a blog, for that matter. Perhaps those are the days to be silent and just listen. And yet I haven't posted a blog entry in months. So, I ask myself, "Do you have absolutely nothing to say? What have you been thinking about?" I think about conversations I've recently had, such as yesterday when I had a three hour conversation with an old friend of mine. (Not that she's old). I had a conversation with a grown son. We didn't run out of opinions and thoughts the whole time he was on the phone. In spite of a sore throat, I talk and talk and talk with my husband when we're together. That could be one of the reasons I can't get rid of my laryngitis. If it's the right conversation, ideas will spark, thoughts will fly and conversations will flow. Same goes for writing. Sometimes I have to just get started and ideas will spark, thoughts will fly, and the typing gets going. Sometimes it's not waiting to be inspired and then going to the computer to type. Sometimes it's going to the computer first and just starting. The same thing happens when I'm trying to make up a mime skit. I have to be moving before the routine will actually show itself completely.
Sometimes I just have to start.
Today I passed a quote in a middle school hallway: "You can do it!" it encouraged. I've seen many a quote, meme, poster and inspirational people on YouTube whose basic message is "You can do it!" I've seen the message geared for elementary students on up to centenarians.
When I ask "must I be reminded?" I don't mean, "Puh-lease, I never want to see that saying again!" I mean, "I wonder how many times I have to see it before I believe it. And when will I be able to believe it without seeing it?"
WHO KEEPS TAKING THE ADVENTUROUS "LET ME TRY THAT" SPIRIT OUT OF PEOPLE? Well, I suppose there will always be detractors. I could listen to them if I wanted. Sometimes my own worst critique is me. I suppose there are times I shouldn't listen to me either.
But if there are detractors then there must also be CHEER TEAMS who encourage us forward, even when we're stumbling. There might be times when I'm my only cheer squad. I don't want to cheer myself into doing something stupid, such as going 95 mph on a slick road, but I SHOULD listen to the encouraging cheers (from self and others) who get me going in the right direction.
I CAN DO THIS!
When I do, no matter how long it takes, I will celebrate.
Just in case you need a reminder to move in a positive direction: You can do this. You got it. GO YOU!
A couple of years ago, I thought we were going to shut down our theater business, or at least let it ease out of existence, like the air in an air mattress when two not-thin people lie on it all night. (heehee). Well, dang it. The theater business has not disappeared. I've got after-school classes I'm teaching; classes for a home school group; a production I'll be directing; scripts I'm writing; and performances. Well then OKAY. I LOVE MY JOB! There's something wonderful going on in the universe when you get to work at what you got a degree in decades ago.
Marian, that's me!
I love stories! I love to read fairy tales, fables, stories from around the world. I especially love scifi and fantasy. And I like to write. And watch movies. And play board games. And do theatre things.