Wednesday, November 30, 2005


the fizz means it's working.

i am pretty unconcerned with the stigma associated with both mental illness and the therapy/counseling realm. not completely, but relatively. just yesterday i spoke blithely with a nurse on the phone about my medication regimen while at my desk at work, which is actually a big communal table where we sit four-to-a-side.

i'm surprised, then, that i have trepidation about admitting that the monkey and i am embarking on the couples therapy. maybe this is because everyone i've ever known who's gotten couples therapy has gotten divorced, including the monkey. i actually think we are wise to get on this tractor and ride now, long before things turn dire (although i did feel medium-dire last week, i know we're not in the straits that people usually associate with the scary last-ditch-ness of copules counseling).

the guy is not the guy who will do the counseling, just the guy who does the intake and referral. but he was really kind and funny and generally someone you wouldn't mind having in the room when you're talking about your fears, dreams and intimacy problems (the best part was when he asked about our sex life and we both immediately grinned and made giant thumbs-up hands). i was afraid i would talk too much, and was actively trying to keep things sort of equal--the monkey talks, i talk; the monkey answers, i answer) but the nice therapist guy turned to me a couple of times when it wasn't my turn but i wanted to talk really bad and said "louella, what do you think about that?"

we had a pretty good time. i didn't want to leave at the end, because it was so, so good to talk. the last couple weeks were so sturmy und drangy, and then we got exhausted and truced and made up, and this was just some calm space in the middle where we talked about what was going on. i felt like the little grey carpeted room was full of magic communication beans. and it was really affectionate. and then we went out for burritos.

and then last night the monkey told me he'd heard something (something i often say, something that makes me feel like i'm harping) i said inside the guy's office in a way he'd never heard it before, and it was making him think. and i've been thinking about it myself. so i guess we're starting to get it done.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


constant background noise.

before i moved here, i figured people who were afraid of new york were full of crap. bigger city, more shit; maybe the hordes of people crammed into the urban warren provoke more badness than befalls a random sample of 8 million americans in a given year, but i was sure new york as Big Bad Crimehole was a thing of prior decades and moms' imaginations. plus, and this is awful: so much of the bad stuff goes down in crummy neighborhoods that if you stick to the yuppie and the gentrified, chances are you'll be fine.

someone was murdered in heather's apartment building. and, since the horrific actress murders around here always seems to have a sub-plot that makes the unimagineable even worse: someone's reporting that she worked as a stripper while pretending to her parents that she was in an off-broadway show.

that hurts my heart. the monkey told me he thought i was more upset about the charade than the murder. i don't like to think that's true, but it is true that the combination of circumstances just pinches everywhere at once. it's both of the new york stories that make me saddest rolled into one.

violence is sort of constant background noise here. most days i'm not scared, but some days i am, and there are more of them the longer i stay here.

Monday, November 28, 2005


if you want a do-right woman.

jesus h. christ.

september 14: i email potential recommenders to tell them i might be applying to school; would they be willing to write on my behalf? they all say yes.

october 12: i email all three of them a list of the schools to which i'm applying, the due dates, and any requirements about the letters (along with lots of thanks). i mention that the b3rkeley letter is not only due earlier than the others, but it has to be old-fashioned hard copy rather than an online submission, and that i will send along the form. all recommenders respond that things look good.

november 12: recommender #3 has still not sent along a mailing address so i can get the form to him. i email him again, asking for an address.

NOVEMBER 27: #3 writes back with an address. i remind him that the letter is due december 9, and tell him i should probably fax the form over and then spring for second day delivery depending on how much time he needs to finish the letter.

NOVEMBER 28: #3 responds that he is GOING TO JAPAN tomorrow, and will be back two days before the letter is due in b3rkeley. he is "really busy" with stuff and doesn't think he can get to it before he leaves, nor can he write while in japan, but for me to fax the form over anyway so he can see what he can do.

jesus h. christ. like i'm not a little bit of a long shot with these schools anyway. this is not going to make me look goodm and i feel like there's nothing i can do. i'm totally at this guy's mercy. either he backs out and i'm going to have to ask someone lame at the last minute (and there is no one else, i had a hard enough time coming up with three), or get a crappy letter from the original guy that was written on an airplane cocktail napkin in five minutes and mailed from O'Hare.

no wonder i randomly barfed just before i left the house.

Sunday, November 27, 2005



well, thank god that's over.

i feel like singing. the relationship rolaids must have rolled through, because i am RELIEVED. the stuff at the bottom of all this still requires work, but last night all the most frightening stuff got taken off the table. we both spent the day miserable, and so wrung out that at the end of the day, there was nothing to do but sit down in the quiet and talk about how it really is, big words and outrage aside. and how it really is, is: we're a constant. we are both agreed that whatever needs figuring out, it happens in this context.

so many of the most heartbreaking situations are the product of two people using the same words to mean different things. maybe it's hard for a divorced person to say the word "always," and maybe constantly quizzing that person about detailed scenarios in which he could possibly foresee bad things happening is the dumbest way to turn yourself into an anxious, sobbing lump.

we got the reassuring done, and then we agreed to lay it down until we meet the couples counselor later this week. to lay it down and be us during the meantime. and then we ate some dinner and watched mr. sh0w. nothing has ever felt better to me in my life.


not my beautiful house.

so, i got home.

the A train went local all the way up, and at my stop the escalators were broken so i lugged my two rolly bags up eight flights of stairs. hello, new york.

the monkey had very thoughtfully checked in by phone, asked about dinner, bought groceries, and was cooking when i got home. he had washed the bathtub so i could take a bath. he opened some wine.

this was all quite nice, so i did us the favor of waiting until after dinner to rip open the scab that had formed on The Fight during my absence.

i was trying very hard not to expect that when i left town for a week, and said "i'll be figuring shit out," and "maybe we shouldn't talk all the time when we're supposed to be figuring shit out," that the monkey would get intimidated. i mean, i admit that it occurred to me that if i grew resolute and said some strong words and left the room, maybe upon my return to the room, time alone to contemplate my absence would have softened the monkey's inflexibility on certain matters. and it did, a bit, i guess. but in my dream world, i was coming home to flowers and music and sweetness and abject apologies. and instead, i got flowers and music and sweetness and the same impasse we'd been at before i left.

i pushed us into a talk about what we'd been thinking about during my week away. the truth is that we thought about the same things we thought about before. i had hoped that he would mellow a little; he hoped that there was a way to make me see exactly why he felt he couldn't bend. this was not comforting, and i left the long conversation feeling scared, for the first time.

i've said this to people recently: that on one hand, the idea of this relationship ending makes me chuckle. it just doesn't seem possible. we are so good, and the idea of staying together brings a great deal of joy, and no one wants out--in fact, the idea of "out" seems scary and awful to all concerned. on the other hand, i know that what we're talking about is heavy shit that has real consequences. i don't know how the two get reconciled--the idea of breaking up is laughable, but clearly the idea of separating arrives unbidden into the conversation when one person says " i don't want to live here" and the other says "i don't want to leave."

to top it off, he's at rehearsal today all day and i'm home alone playing the tape of the conversation over and over again in my mind, looking in the mirror at my puffy eyelids.

at the end of the talking last night, we were standing in a hug, and i suddenly started gulping and crying that this was not right. we should not be talking about the possibility of breaking up. even as a hypothetical. this is retarded. neither of us wants this. we want the opposite of this. what is going on? and no one had any answers.

so i think that tonight, when we try evening number two, there won't be any hypotheticals. i think they're too scary and loaded and do more harm than good. i introduced them because i thought forcing one of us to say, if you X than i will Y when Y=leave would scare us into admitting that we were being foolish, would sober us out of any of this "leaving" talk.

and i'm trying to think of a way to close this, and i want to say the same things that came out during the hug. this is so stupid. i can't believe we're having this conversation. you're what i want. and you hear me say it, and look at me, and say: you're what i want, too. and once we've accomplished that part of the conversation, you'd think everything else would be crumbs and details, but there is a big heavy mess that isn't solved and i used to be more angry than scared, and now i'm more scared.

what i want is assurance that we will solve it. it seems ridiculous to suggest that we won't, but last night i feel like i looked out into the void where maybe we don't solve it, and it was so terrible i still feel cold.

Monday, November 21, 2005



blogging from my parents computer always makes me want to put The Cure lyrics in here.

we had a The Fight a few times before i left. "fight" is the wrong word, but calling it a disagreement or a conflict or some other hippie word makes it sound like i'm trying to avoid saying fight, and also i do sort of feel like punching his lights out.

here's the thing. i don't want to be that girl who gets pissy because that guy won't "commit." it's not that. or if it is, it's the very underneath part of that--the germ of truth that gives rise to those stupid sit-com plots about obsessive women with good hair and men with nice teeth who quake theatrically when approached by a ball and chain. it is not about married.

but it's time for a fundamental agreement to be in place. when someone is the love of your life, it is time to stop acting like you have an out. when every element of your relationship reflects its for-life-ness, it is time to stop reserving your right to take unilateral action and flip the bird to the United Nations. decisions get made together. people compromise. no one sacrifices their identity, and no one makes a decision that leaves the other person royally shafted. or miserable. or sick. this is as basic as it gets, and you are acting like i'm trying to take away your toy train, your penis, and your capacity for independent thought.

why you would not move heaven and earth to safeguard the part of your life that's responsible for more joy than anything before or since, that is beyond me. and why you would insist on entertaining no possible plans for the future other than staying in this city knowing that it makes me sad and crazy, this is also beyond.

we have this The Fight about every four months, when something happens to remind me how much i do not want to live here, and i say so, and the monkey gets very quiet and is unable to say anything other than: i can't say i'll be ready to leave in the next few years. or: this makes me uncomfortable. or: i feel like a heel. recently, i asked him if he was aware how much this attitude had begun to sound like the dad standard my-way-or-the-highway.

and he said. well. i guess it is.

i think you feel like a heel because you are being a complete asshole about this. requiring that we stay here when i can't get a job to save my life and cry every week so that you can live your dream of being a waiter while you wait for J0e Mantello to call? ass. refusing to discuss other options? ass. acting like it's even possible that i could leave and you'd have an okay life?

ass! my friend, i love your socks off, but your life would suck so bad you wouldn't know where to start. you told me recently that we were so good that everything before me felt like practice. we make plans for our old age. we have a mortgage. you miss me when i'm gone for six hours. i am required by your life exactly like you are required by mine.

and if i am getting scared, it's not because i have doubts about the you-and-me, but i have thought more than once over the last week that if you are so unwilling to claim this thing that landed in your lap, you sort of deserve to lose it. or at least see what losing it is like.

so i let you know that i'm going away to spend thanksgiving with my family, but also to think some shit out. and i'm not calling while i'm gone. and i believe you when you say you're lonely; i'm lonely, too, except lonely doesn't feel so gut-wrenching when you are this angry. i loved my visit to providence. i loved Br0wn. if i get in, you bet your ass i'm going. i love you and i love us, and i was considering going with a lesser program to stay in new york because i thought it would be better for what we're building, but now i think: i am not going to lie down in front of The Stupid Truck while you have a party.

all i ever asked for was a say. and for you to treat me like something you love. i hope you're thinking. i hope you're thinking hard.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


little girls.

laketch has a good theory going on. it was annie, to begin with. the first time i remember wanting to be an actor was all about aileen quinn.

except not in the movie. have i told this story before? there was this dateline-esque piece on her on television, and in it her friendly neighborhood letter carrier walked up to her as she was sitting on her porch and handed her this big manila envelope, and said, "a letter from the president!" who was ronald reagan. and i turned to my mother and said, why don't i get mail from the president? thinking: i am red-haired and precocious. what gives?

and my mother said: yes, but aileen quinn is annie.

and oh, it was on.


overheard in new york in my office.

it's been so platitudious lately. today, nothing pity; just something i overheard at my desk.

my boss: hey, do you play soccer?

guy who tests computer games: like, video game soccer?

boss: no. like . . . soccer. real soccer.

guy: oh. no. i don't go outside anymore.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


from way back.

about a year ago, this guy i knew in high school died. he died from jumping off a bridge. he'd had a lot of drug problems, but had recently made sort of a new start, and was at a prestigious graduate school and engaged to be married to someone.

i just now remembered, a year later, that he told me once that he planned to live his life like he was going to die at thirty (or twenty-five, maybe; i can't remember). he told me that if he died or didn't make it that far, at least he wouldn't have fucked around not doing the things he wanted most to do; and if he lived longer, it was like, hey, free extra years.

i can't believe i forgot that until yesterday. colin was a few months younger than i am, so he didn't make it to thirty. and i'm not sure that taking a bazillion drugs was what he "wanted most" to do--although, maybe it was. he told me when we were sixteen that drugs saved him from committing suicide. not forever, i guess.

anyway. i remember poo-poo-ing the argument, but at the time it never occurred to me i would get this close to thirty without doing a few things that were way up on my list. some of those: not under my control. some of them: seem to have taken a back seat for five years to my efforts to figure shit out.

item: figuring shit out may be an intensely worthwhile engagement. i suspect it is best, though, not to wait to do until after you've figured, because the figuring seems to be a long-term proposition.

i keep thinking about how i'd like to have kids, and about how everything i think i don't have time to tackle right now will be way, way harder for twenty years after i do. now is clearly the time for suzuki classes and disciplined writing projects. and for trips and travels, and to do what the independent do.

it's seeming to take me a long time to take this message to heart. i don't want to be one of those people who just quietly lets go. the one who's least afraid used to always trill "these are the days!" when we were in college. it appears that these are still the days, and it's time (gently, i'm saying) to do a little more doing.

Monday, November 14, 2005


short week.

i'm headed off on a campus visit this week, and then home for a week's thanksgiving, so it'll be blogging lite until december. don't desert me.

i'm enjoying an anxiety spike. three days ago i felt like i had everything under control, but suddenly i don't. the applications aren't finished, and though most are due in january, a couple are due in december--and when i get back from the Br0wn visit and home, it will be december. gadzooks. the months freaking fly, here.

and maybe because of the anxious, i'm having a miss-my-old-life day. i miss being in plays. i miss being in bars with theatre types. there aren't those, here; there are just a lot of clear-skinned people trying to get agents. or better agents. nothing wrong with that--i wouldn't mind one myself--but not the same.

if you're where my home is, maybe i'll see you next week. this visit's a tight one, but it wouldn't feel complete without a few sightings of the near and dear.

Friday, November 11, 2005


flip side.

we try occasionally to relieve the negativity here at kerouac says. you might not believe it, but it's true. i was touched to see deron write recently that people have scolded him his whole life for feeling sorry for himself, but that doesn't seem to keep it from happening; likewise, i've been told my whole life that my fatalism is in fact creating the very situation i think engenders my dark outlook and that if i could just have some faith, things would work out fine.

to which i say: interesting. but i don't buy it. some psychiatrist asserted, in this book about shadow syndromes, that mildly depressed people--those with dysthymia, which was my My First Barbie diagnosis, before the big guns kicked in--actually perceive the world more realistically than either "healthy" people or those who are more severely depressed. whereas 72% (i made that number up; i can't remember the actual one, but it's a strong majority) of the healthies think they are above average drivers, depressies are more likely to admit it they are possibly sucky drivers, and very probably not any better than anyone else. depressies also tend to have more realistic views about probabilities. mary tyler moore: we're going to make it after all! the depressed person*: we have about a 40/60 chance! one is righter, one is happier. i wear my hair in a flip right now, ala MTM, but i don't seem to be able to change myself at the core.

but, anyway, lest you think we are a black hole: we realized today that the first two years in a new city are never as good as the time after the first two years. it just gets easier. even if nothing big comes true or changes for the better, the time after the first two years is just categorically easier. at least for us. it happened even in my favorite city where i feel perenially at home. the dark parts were not this dark, but there was a gentle exhalation after i reached the two year mark.

and here, the winter is coming, and i am about to find a whole new season of weather i can't stand, but i looked around my subway station today and felt affectionate toward it. i didn't hate it, even though the MTA must represent everything i find most infuriating and painful about new york. it was mine. it was okay by me.

the last time i was home--i think i mentioned this then--two of my most intuitive friends predicted that i would flip a U and come to love new york. and i laughed; beer may have shot out my nose. i don't think they're right. but maybe this is what they meant: it will get better.

don't tell anyone. i still don't want to stay here. but my tolerance is growing. and i'm glad of the relief.

*have you read this david foster wallace book? it made me so scared. please, if i am ever that person, someone come give me a bus ticket to a town where no one knows me.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


drinking it.

now, i am not a joiner. or at least i don't like to think of myself as such. friends, i will be your friend, but i will not be your friendster. and i dislike thinking of myself as a pansy for the advertising industry.

but i am drinking a coke zer0, because they have them in the fridge here, and it is good. although nothing compares to the real thing, this tastes a lot like it without the bone-curdling sweetness. much more appropriate for the office, although less so for hangovers. i like it.

pretty soon we're going to find out it causes anal seepage, or something.


because i will trach myself with a pencil.

i am not (note: not ready to use past tense) fucking around about wanting to be an actor. not no way. but i have absolutely no shame about saying that MORE than i want to be an actor, i want not to be an office person.

someone was just talking to me about a legitimate assignment that i am actually getting paid for and i should have been listening but i couldn't because i was fascinated withhow she seemed to care about it. who are these replicants who actually care about office work? because i do not think they are faking. how do they manage it? i cannot beat myself into caring about it, not when i get stern with myself aobut how good i have it, not when i realize i could get fired for doing grad school research on company time, not when some sort of buried calvinist work ethic tries to engender some respect for an honest days' work. i cannot get over that this is just a job to help some other people make money, just like every job i've ever had except this one. i work part-time! way less than most people! and this chair still makes me itch so bad! clearly, age is not going to make this dilemma better.

ergo, the graduate school. i'm not done with this acting business (or, rather, it's precisely the "business" i'm done with and not the acting, for now), but i am ready to say that i will do almost anything to escape a life of dayjobs. because this level of apathy (it can't be apathy, really, when i'm so filled with active ugh, but you know what i mean) borders on sin. i can't hate anything this much and plan to continue doing it. out, out, out.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


the fall, in which he throws leaves at me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005




i was brought up to believe that the sky was the limit for smart girls who persevered. i have to say that limit actually appears to hit at about the fourth floor.

i know how incredibly fortunate i am, and how good my life is. and i'm not just saying that, even as i'm typing and feeling a little socked in the guts, i am very aware of it.

today, though, "smart cookie" seems like another way of saying "not good enough," and i'm wondering exactly what i spent my twenties doing. and if the answer is something like, "growing up," that's great, but . . .

just but, i guess. but. but i'm older, and it sometimes feels like that decade was a bad boyfriend who didn't hold my hand in public. (although almost half of it contained the monkey, and in that i am inordinately blessed, so that's not really fair.)

i just wonder who the me who stayed in school would have been, and if there would be some pleasant success right now in the place of some of this flailing (grad school! trying to pretend like i can talk school talk! i don't know anything about theory! i don't have a writing sample that isn't seven years old! faking feels bad! this isn't going to work, is it!). this might be the time things were starting to pay off, if i'd invested in something that . . . you know, paid off.

whatever i was doing ran me right into the best one, though, and that is maybe the clearest sign that it was both necessary and valuable. happy birthday, love.

Monday, November 07, 2005


turn, turn, turn.

did we go on a bike ride yesterday to the palisades in new jersey?

we did.

was the foliage foliating all over, achieving the most beautiful death we could imagine?

it was.

did the monkey's computer eat the photos we took?

the jury is still out on recovery efforts, but conditionally, yes. so no visual aids until we can really get in there and extract them from the mess.

the air smelled wonderful. this fall has been the most temperate autumn i can remember. i am hoping this isn't due to global warming, and ten years from now i will not be thinking: remember when there was a fall? but: for now, and for bike-riding, nice.

i have an audition this week for the @wesome 8O's pr0m. for those unaware, this is a t0ny-n-tin@'s wedding kind of interactive "show." except, of course, it is a prom. and all of the characters are drawn from brat pack movies, and rendered with the delicacy of a wooden meat mallet. however. the money is reasonable and it is, technically, an off-broadway credit.

the best one suggested i go in in full jessica mclintock regalia, or at least with a decade-appropriate scrunchy. we'll see. the eighties weren't exactly my hey-day, and i seem to be lacking the nostalgia most of my contemporaries enjoy for the music of the period. i do like acting jobs, though, so that's all good.

also, re: my dance audition, and associated bellyaching. i did not get the part. however, when the choreographer called to tell me so, she also told me she and a collaborator had been thinking about how else to integrate me into the piece because i have a fabulous energy and am an all-around superstar. i can't quite tell from the rest of the voice mail, but it sounds like she's offering to create a part in the piece for me. if this is true, it is pretty great, and i am grateful.

i am also buying a case of epsom salts and some foot tape. somewhere in the bay area, the one who's least afraid is cackling.

edit: so i talked to the choreographer. they are adding a part, but not into the piece itself, not integrated. i'm going to be doing something totally separate, and probably not moving, and not having any real "lines" but rather engaging in some engaging improvisation with audience members. which is fine, and it's nice to get picked for anything, but: no moving. boo.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005



hmm. i did get called back.

it will be great to do that piece of choreography again on friday, given that i remember none of it.

and that i can't descend stairs or lower my butt into the sofa without my thighs crying out: nooooooo!

i'm onna go take a bath.


tiny, remedial dancer.


every time i go to a dance call, i remind myself that this is not something i do, that i have no business having an ego about it or thinking that i am actually in some way prepared to dance when it hasn't been a part of my life for the last fifteen years (or, really, like, ever. the dance lessons i took in the strip mall behind the bowling alley as a child hardly count).

but sometimes, when i know the group will be a group of actors, *none* of whom dance, i think that i might actually look good in comparison. i do viewpoints. i do a little yoga. i'm not sedentary. i climb a crapload of stairs everyday, and i have an excellent, cupcakelike ass. i even sometimes fool myself into thinking that because i am thin, i'm in shape.

none of this is true. i am now officially the retarded one in class. i have seen this girl--actually, usually it's a guy; the one who is so bad you are like: come on, guy. are you *trying* to look like that? that was me.

two things have gotten way worse since i was a younger person: this spatial dyslexia i was diagnosed with as a child must be having a field day in my brain, because just like i can't read a map anymore, i can't learn a combination even in twice the time it takes normal people. and--this is so gross (but unrelated to things dyslexic): my FACE. my FACE turns SO PINK. it's red, actually. and then there's this terrible figure in the mirrors with a giant meatball face and some sort of stick body with none of the right bendy places. how i can manage to look chunky in the mirrors is beyond me, because i am not thick or curvy, but the fact remains: the person in the mirrors is a broad plane with no muscle definition.

so, i got through it. and today i feel like a pile of old bones held together with beef jerky. the decision i made to do some movement work in the spring is now highlighted and boldface. will they be calling me back? i doubt it. i did good in the acting part, but . . . i think they were afraid of the spasmo limbs and meatball face. i know i was.

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