October 2008

So, my sister asked me to keep her company driving up to Santa Fe for a flute lesson.  To elaborate a bit, my little sister is a serious professional flutist who plays for opera companies and symphony orchestras on a regular basis, so she doesn’t have a lot of flute-teacher options around here other than her university adviser for her master’s degree (the principal flute for the NMSO).  She winds up jumping at anyopportunity to have lessons with this one awesome world-class flute teacher in Santa Fe.  The man lives more than an hour away from where we live, and he recently moved from a house just off the plaza (which is more or less Santa Fe’s central hub) and into a house in the middle of nowhere just outside the city limits.  There really isn’t much of anything out there.  There’s a lot of dirt, most of the roads are unpaved, and there are cacti, rabbits, and quails within rock-throwing distance of anywhere a person might be standing at any given time.  I suppose it’s sort of pretty in its middle-of-nowhere New Mexico way, but it’s not where I might choose to live.

So, anyway, my sister went in for her lesson, and I decided to go on a sort of hike around the “neighborhood.”  The weather was awesome: cool, but not so cool I needed a jacket.  I followed dirt roads, mostly, and Alameda, which is a major road that is actually paved like roads anywhere else, and everywhere I walked, cars passed me.  The roads were quite surprisingly busy for such a remote-seeming place at 11:00 on a Saturday.  At about half-past, I started walking back.  I passed another couple people walking on the roads in the opposite direction, and I didn’t pay a lot of attention to them until I made it to the junction of Alameda and the dirt road the flute teacher lives on, which is when I heard one of them tearing down the hill.  I figured he must have dropped something when he was walking up, so I kept on my merry way, but then I heard/sensed him behind me, turned, and in one fluid motion deflected one of his hands down and the other up.  He appeared to be reaching for the back pocket of my jeans that didn’t have anything in it, so I sort of wonder if he was trying to grope me or something.  The world may never know, because he sprinted like a rabbit into the brush past a cactus and out of sight.  I never felt threatened.  I have many years of martial arts training under my (black) belt, and this guy was a total amature at whatever the heck he was trying to pull.  There wasn’t exactly a crowd of people making noise to cover up the sound of his shoes on the pavement, it was broad daylight, and anyone with eyes can probably see at first glance that I am far from helpless (I am tall, I’m built like an athlete, and I walk with a purpose and with what my acting professor defined as a “military posture”). 

This story came up over lunch with my sister, who insisted that I am an idiot for carrying my keys in my back pocket where people can see them, and this story came up again after dinner when my sister decided to share it with my mom.  Mom thinks I should have called the police and given them a description, but as far as I can tell the guy didn’t actually *do* anything illegal, and I don’t carry a cell phone in any case.  Mom also thinks I should have broken the guy’s nose, but I don’t think that would have been called for in that he seemed quite intimidated enough by my having calmly blocked him.  What do you think?  If he sprints at a girl’s back pockets again at a later date, and she can’t easily prevent whatever he’s trying to do like I did, is it my fault for not having reported him?  And how would you report an attempted and failed… something not clearly defined?  I’m open to suggestions, on the very unlikely off-chance it happens again.  What a weird day!

I still haven’t heard back from UHM, and it’s starting to make me twitchy.  If I’ll be moving off the continent again in January, I’d really like to know sooner than later so I can make shipping arrangements and stuff.  On that note, does anyone know of a good apartment  in Manoa for under a thou a month?

P.S. yes, the Cubs post-season gave me severe whiplash.  Ouch.  Well, onward to next year!  There is always next year!  *cough* um… I need to buy me a new rally cap.  I think this one is broken.

I FINISHED CURSE!  BWAHAHAHAHA!  I DID IT!  128,819 words of Kinlea Keeper sequel awesome-ness.  In case you’re wondering at the excitement and saying “Dang, with all the novel-length fiction this chick has finished in her life, she should be used to this sort of thing by now,” I would like to put forth that this is the first time in my long and extremely fruitful “career” (haha, very funny, Kid) as an amateur novelist that I actually had the specific goal of getting something finished.  I generally just let that happen on its own time between rehearsals, plays, work deadlines, band gigs, ski/hiking trips, and all the usual fun-stuff I almost always let take priority.  This historic occasion, I actually sat my butt down and spent four months working really hard to finish something, and now I’m finished and can rejoice.  As to whether or not I’ll ever make a concerted effort to finish a novel again, we’ll have to wait and see.  As to whether I’ll ever finish a novel again, I can say with confidence that judging from my track record, it is very likely to happen at a steady rate as I scrounge for time between things and rocket around the world with my steamer trunks and laptop.  But since I’m on the subject: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  It’s time to celebrate!

So, anywy, sometimes cool stuff happens when one hangs out on the Drollerie Interact pages.  In this particular instance, I got a free preview copy of a book they will be releasing shortly on the condition that I send my thoughts the editor’s way to post on the Interact Blog when they release the book.  Now, this isn’t exactly a conventional review.  I think I did a pretty good job of withholding spoilers, but it may seem like *too* good a job to some because I didn’t write much of anything the little summary that’s going to be provided on the Drollerie pages had already said.  Of course, where those things would be redundant there, the lack of those things make for holes in the review here.  Sorry about that!  You’ll be able to read the blurb at Drollerie soon enough, I promise!  Without further ado, though, here is what I submitted, and I submit it to you for your general scrutiny and reading pleasure:

            There is something delightful and electrifyingly mysterious about picking up a book and reading a story with absolutely no prior expectations.  This, in a quirk of contrast, is decidedly not what happened when I opened the Adobe file of Deborah Grabien’s And Then Put Out the Light.  I received and then read the story in large part because I found the little information I had of someone else’s opinion of it intriguing, and I read it knowing it had to be mythic fiction (what with it being published by Drollerie Press!).  It is therefore safe to say that the poor book was at something of a disadvantage when I started it.  I opened the file expecting it to strike me with depth of meaning and myth-world atmosphere from the get-go.  To my reading pleasure, it shattered my every expectation.

            And Then Put Out the Light drew me from the very beginning into a world and a mind so intensely and intimately real and familiar that it could have been a first-person, diary-style travelogue rather than a third-person piece of fiction.  Emily Moon-Bourne, the story’s central character, carries a reader with her through a journey of self-discovery that is as much physical in the beginning as it is internal in the end.  It struck me particularly because I share a hometown and a jaw-droppingly similar impromptu romp through Great Britain and France with the fictional heroine, and Emily’s observations were so similar to my own at times that I found myself pining for the bygone days of 2004.  Everything that happened for more than the first half of the book seemed so concrete and quintessentially real that I caught myself on several occasions either A) forgetting it was fiction at all or B) fishing for fantasy elements that weren’t actually there.  This, of course, was silly of me.  What we call the “real world” is a very fertile ground for planting seeds of the supernatural, and though they sprout slowly in this particular story, they sprout beautifully and poignantly.

            As for Emily Moon-Bourne’s personal, internal journey, I found it not only to be deeply female, but deeply human in a way that can not be gendered.  The character, after an ego-tearing divorce, wrestles with the ghosts and ghouls of her own past and with a self she has segmented and compartmentalized in favor of functioning outwardly in a world that stares and judges.  Her emotional state and the money she has acquired through the divorce lead her away from California on a spontaneous and solitary charge to and through Europe.  As she travels, she argues with herself in the form of an internal voice she goes so far as to name, and she meets with women who, while being from markedly different cultures and backgrounds, reflect things in herself as much as they do women in her past and women the world over as a collective whole.  Gradually, in part due to the effect these women have on her, Emily’s apparent flight from her unfaithful and demeaning ex-husband and the immensity her problems becomes an active search for the true roots of the problems and the answers to questions she has always been too horrified to ask (or in some cases, even consider).  These questions rise to the surface as with water forcing itself through the cracks in an old dam: at first trickling, but ultimately threatening to break the dam entirely and flood everything in the figurative valley below.  In direct relation to the amount seeping (and eventually gushing) through, Emily notices the materialization of a man on the periphery of her life (who may or may not be physically real) and the subsequently increasing frequency of his appearances.  He comes to symbolize the answers she wants and needs, and this once again ties her physical search with things internal.

            By my way of thinking, the story of Emily’s journey embodies the damage that is caused when we convince ourselves that what we are and what we deeply and integrally want is somehow inappropriate.  We dam the floodwaters of pain and other things we’d rather not accept, and while we’re at it, we also dam worlds of our own potential.  The one can not be released without the other, of course, and the story addresses the question of how and whether it is worth it to tear those protective walls down.

            In fewer words (and this is a quote directly from Emily’s mouth): “Wow.”


So there you have it!  If you want to see me rant extensively about Pygmalion figures and literary allusions in the book, you’ll have to check out the Interact Forums in a month or so, and if you’d like to buy the book, I say go for it!  It’ll be worth your time and money, and I’m sure you’ll agree ^_^.

So, since I’ve not been here for a while, let’s back up for a bit.  The end of September was total and utter chaos.  I visited my primary care physician, who sent me to an ENT, who sent me for a CT scan, and this all happened between Monday and Saturday in the last full week of September.  Chaos, I say!  On top of that, that very weekend I went to four auditions.  On friday, I auditioned for Miracle on 34th Street, and that went very well, and the director asked me to swing by the next day to help with the Saturday auditions, which I did… after I got that CT scan and auditioned for Musical Theatre Southwest’s production of Scrooge the Musical.  What started to get freaky was that I got called back for Scrooge the Musical for Sunday.  This would have been 150 different kinds of awesome if both of these plays didn’t run on two out of three of the same weeks, six of the same days, six of the SAME EXACT TIMES.  I started to get antsy because the director for Miracle said I might land the leading lady role, and I’d been called back for (check this awesomeness) Mrs. Cratchet and the Ghost of Christmas Past in Scrooge the Musical.  When I got back from the Sunday call-backs, I was confident that I’d been cast as *something* in Scrooge, but I wasn’t going to hear back from that director until Monday or Tuesday, and I’d gotten a call from Miracle’s director while I was *at* the call-back to tell me he wanted to cast me as Miss Adams instead (which is still a huge and awesome role that had me giddy).  It was stomach wrenching.  I couldn’t tell him yes right away with Miss Adams as I would have with Doris, but I really wanted the role.  He was kind enough to say I had until the end of the evening to call him with my verdict, so I called Scrooge’s director and begged to know my odds, appologizing the whole time like a Japanese secretary who’d forgotten to refill the loose tea canister on the day of a business meeting.  What followed was an hour and fifteen minutes of waiting by the phone for a call from the director of Scrooge that tied my nerves in twisty little knots.  He’d said he’d call me back “in fifteen minutes,” you see, and when that didn’t happen, I agonized about whether or not it would seem pushy to just call him again.  When the clock ticked past 8:00 PM, I threw up my hands and *did* call him, and he said he wanted to offer me a role in the chorus (not what I’d auditioned for specifically, but cool just the same), which I REALLY WANTED, but for the first time in my life I had to turn down a role, and I had to think on my feet, and I told him I was going to take the role in Miracle on 34th Street.  I then called that director back and had done with it.  Soooo…. yeah, I’m Miss Adams, the Kris Kringle cheerleader secretary of Doris who bounces around and shouts in the courtroom as though the legal preceedings were a sporting match.  But man, that was hard.  I’ve never, ever turned a role down in my life, and who would have thought that *I* would go and turn down a musical theatre role for a non-musical theatre role?  After all-summer of rejection, who would have thought I’d wind up having to do some rejecting of my own?

Anyhow, I still haven’t heard back about that CT Scan.  I’m assuming this is a good sign.  If there were an abnormal growth in my sinuses or brain, I’m pretty sure someone would have told me by now.