How Diane Lane Narrating My Life Became This Blog

Little Thoughts on Finding Your Writing Voice

I’ve been in career mode recently.  I love when my brain lets me go there.  I have these occasional waves of motivation, usually timed with the changing of the seasons.  Fall is a big one for me.  I want to fill my house with pumpkin smells, wrap up in a blanket, and make large claims about writing a novel.  I even recently took an awesome rocking chair from someone’s curb on bulk garbage day and arranged this handy-dandy writing nook.  For the time being, it’s really helping–yet I have absolutely accepted that it may turn into a cat cuddle space/storage area.

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I’ve had several people ask me about how I decided to begin blogging and how I grew this voice over the years.  So here is my personal experience, with advice that may be up your alley as well.

The other night, I was sitting in my new rocker and started to pick through a section of our book shelf that just holds our endless collection of diaries and journals from over the years.  If there’s one action that proves how much my husband and I trust each other, it’s by openly leaving out approximately ten years of feelings on a bookcase in the middle of the apartment.

Anyway, I found my Camino notebook–the oneI used during my first hike across Spain.  The back of it is filled with panicked budgeting and addresses for everyone on my postcard list.  Though I’ve been a diary writer for as long as I can remember, this notebook was the most similar to my future blog.  But making the leap to online writing primarily developed when I was left alone with  my thoughts while walking for approximately eight hours a day in a desert/mountain/middle-of-nowhere Spanish village.  You have a lot of time to think, talk, sing, write songs, rhyme silly words with one another, zone out, count flowers, and sometimes even try to translate as much of The Wizard of Oz lyrics into Spanish.  You get the idea, you have a lot of time.

Well, amidst all this, my journal writing began to reflect the persistent narrator inside my head.  My fellow hikers would occasionally check in to see who my current mental voice sounded like this week (I have tons of respect to everyone for not thinking I was totally losing my mind).  Some days, it was Diane Lane from Under the Tuscan Sun.  In case you’re unfamiliar with what I’m talking about:

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Under The Tuscan Sun Clip

Other days it was Forrest Gump.

 

I didn’t think anything of this, I’ve had narrator in my head since I was little.  Too many movies with a dramatic, James Horner-backed narrative during my childhood I guess.  But I learned throughout the hike that this is how I compartmentalize my experiences and how I process important moments of my life.

Slowly but surely, these voices were reflected in my journal writing.  Brain to paper was a huge step, and not an immediate one.  Now, I have never been a diary writer that reports the day’s activities.  I don’t like to report what happened–I already know what happened.  I mainly like to get all the angsty thoughts on paper before I spew them at someone else–it’s a moment of mental detox.  But as my mind’s observant voice developed, the more it began making its jump to the page.  My writing began to balance out between ranting and experience–and hence, the blog voice was born.

Blog Post Structure

The leap between my journal and blog writing came when I began to latch onto really nice ideas that my mental voice chose to say during that given week.  If I had a particularly poignant moment–whether big or small–I learned to bookmark the wording that came to mind and write it down for later.  If it really strikes me, then I see if there are larger themes going on in my life that could be related.  This post is a good example.  Often in life, images and feelings tend to repeat themselves within a short period of time.  It’s like when you keep spotting the same word over and over and realize it’s a super-weird coincidence. This happens with fluffy feelings and motivational blog posts as well.

The more experience I had with morphing a moment into a story/lesson, the more aware of these moments I became.  I could even drag them up from the past.  The issue I still struggle with is how to create ideas when you need to write, especially when you haven’t have a light bulb moment in several months and your blog is getting dusty.

Writing for an Audience

In my early days, I wasn’t that concerned with audience.  I just wanted to write something and post it without passing out from fear.  If one person read it, that was enough for me.  In the beginning, I was very lucky to see this new venture as a side-project just for me–not for money or attention.  Creatively, this is how I really managed to grow as a writer.

As the years went on, and this became more my jam, audience became way more important.  I can break up my current writing voices into several categories:

Personal Blog:

I do whatever the hell I please.  This began as a public way to develop my writing, so whether my post is 400 words or 1500 words, it doesn’t matter.  It will be nice for some people, and not great for others.

Outside blogs:

Get to the point while keeping your voice intact.  My biggest jump from online journal writing was keeping everything within a word limit while still telling a story with soul and personality.  But this is the skill worth developing.  Too long a story and your reader is lost.  Too succinct and you’re writing a book report.  When a story strikes you as important, how do you put someone in your shoes without banging the story over their heads?

Essay writing: 

This is my new jam. I picked up Creative Nonfiction’s book about three years ago, and it opened my eyes to this genre.  Apparently first-person memoir essays are a thing that you can write for money!  And people want to read them!  And they’re so much longer and more poetic than blog posts.  So when writing these, and I’ve only submitted to a few contests so far, I let all pistons fire at once.  I get lofty, I write on and on, I make comparisons to birds and trees and rainstorms.  The privacy of it–the chance that it might be published on paper opposed to the internet–for some reason allows me the freedom to tell darker secrets and elaborate where blog platforms often fall short.

Ways to keep growing:

After I while, I recognized I was falling into the same traps.  I wrote (and still often write) on the same subjects and tend to come to the same conclusions about art and careers and such.  What was missing was a teacher.  And so I began to obsessively read.  My final bit of advice is to seek out which authors spark your urge to write.  Their form of narrative should have such a strong power over you that you put down the book and race off to your notebook or laptop.  For me, these ladies are Nora Ephron, Anne Lamott, and one of the first narrative writers who inspired me, Dominique Browning.

Just get started:

For those of you who have approached me in the past several years about starting a blog, I will generally tell you this (but am clearly happy to elaborate): find a platform that’s free and easy to use–I highly recommend WordPress.com–and write as if you have nothing to gain or lose from hitting the publish button.  What inspires you will inspire someone else.  What bores you will bore others.  Start with your own needs and the people who you connect with will find you.  Then share, share away on Facebook and Twitter!  That’s how I get 90% of my traffic.  The other 10% or so is from exploring the wonderful WordPress community and reading other’s blogs on topics I enjoy.

Your voice will only continue to develop with time, as I hope mine does as well.  You will never–at any point in your career–be able to predict how an audience will respond to a post you love.  So you might as well write it if it makes you happy.  When in doubt, go on a hunt for a voice similar to your own and let them lead the way.

 

 

To Reach Others, You Must Reach Out

Almost a year after reaching my 100 follower goal, I just got the notification that I hit 200!  Neato, team!  I love to think that a community has gathered over the past five years to share in my mental wanderings through the ups and downs of pursuing this wacky career.

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Blogging has taught me something way more valuable over the years though.  I meet many actors and writers alike, including myself, who say that they want to pursue this career to affect people–to challenge their thinking, to touch them emotionally, to support them through a life change.  When I was 13, I was in a show at The Growing Stage, an incredible theatre for young audiences in North Jersey.  The show was about an orphan searching for a place to feel at home without a family.  It was one of the most beautifully written shows I’ve ever been a part of.  After one of the performances, an older woman approached me, probably in her 80s, and said that she grew up as an orphan in a similar time and part of the country and really appreciated the show and how it made her feel less alone.  This has never left me, and I use it as an example of why I stay in theatre each time I get disheartened.

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Oh good, I’m super great at the wrong thing

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Last night I had a dream about eating a sandwich with my grandma.  She passed away a little over two years ago, and had one of the best kitchens on earth for snacks and conversation.  In the dream, she made me a huge but simple ham and cheese sandwich on really nice bread that she said she specifically bought for my visit–something she was known for doing.  However, in real life, I haven’t been able to eat gluten recently in an attempt to figure out why I’ve been so sick.  So in the dream, I start to have this huge dilemma–I’ve been so good about getting healthy.  I’ve been disciplined, I’ve been taking care of myself properly.  If I give in to eating this bread, I’ve gone backwards again.  I’ve failed at my goal.  But in the dream, I stop myself from giving my grandma the gluten speech and eat the damn sandwich.  We have a nice talk before my brain drifts away into the another storyline someplace else, leaving me wishing the elusive and comforting dream had continued a little bit longer.

The significance is due to the infuriating exhaustion I’ve developed this summer.  I just finished another acting class, and though the class was incredibly helpful, I still walked away feeling like I have frozen in my growth as an actor.  Without a show, without the time to find a consistent project to throw myself into, I stall.  Throughout it all–the juggling, the pushing, the planning–I’ve worn myself down further and further, constantly attempting to do everything that I do well.  Or actually, better than well, perfectly.  And yes, I have become very very good at creating stability–financial and otherwise–so good that I have ended up in the place where my art that I’m fighting for barely exists.

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Two parks, three trees, and a mighty fine popsicle

As I get older, I am constantly reminded that a day can take unexpected turns when you let it.  I began today with an overly structured plan to make it past the morning surprise that I awoke feeling like had spent the night rolling down a rocky, jaggedy hill–a reminder that either my mysterious illness still lingered or that I had quite an adventure while sleepwalking last night.  Either way, I rolled out of bed and committed to my plan to work diligently at my office until I couldn’t see straight anymore–something that’s been kicking in around 2pm each day–and then head home to try and rejuvenate myself for my acting class tonight.

Yet alas, as I approached the school this morning, a large jackhammer-type-creature was ripping off the facade of our school’s porch directly outside the hallway of my office.  Within one hour, we were all told to go work from home due to the noise and dust.  And so, my wacky, unexpected day of reflection was kicked into motion.

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Have you ever tried to sit in public and simply do nothing?  It’s surprisingly bizarre. My final task of the morning was to drop off a catering order at a nearby restaurant, which happens to be positioned next to one of the most delightful little parks in Montclair.  Motivated by my recently fuzzy brain-fog, I zombie-walked into the park paths and plopped myself down on a bench to stare of into the distance of the Tuesday morning.  Since this is a pretty froofy suburb, there were a surprising amount of people out and about–all of which either on their phones, jogging with headphones, or pushing a baby stroller of some sort.  Then along comes Ginny, throwing off the whole social construct of how to act in public.  I didn’t have a book to read, didn’t play with my phone (since the recent political sludge of Facebook has only been adding to my tension), and didn’t really have anything to do other than wonder in the beautiful sunny summer morning that I hadn’t expected to be a part of.  Well, the wild thing is that people are uncomfortable with this unless you’re a little old man.  Perhaps it’s my tragic resting face or the fact that I always look a little bit lost, but not a single person passed without looking at me as if something had just gone terribly wrong. All I was doing was sitting on a bench, staring into nowhere, and suddenly the world wonders why I am outside without a purpose, without a goal, without an activity.  If someone had asked, I would have just said, “I didn’t think I’d get to sit outside today.”  It reminded me a bit of all the people chasing Forrest Gump when he starts his cross-country trek:

Newsman: Sir, why are you running?

2nd Reporter: Are you doing this for world peace?

3rd Reporter: Are you doing this for women’s right?

Newsman: Or for the environment?

Reporter: Or for animals?

3rd Reporter: Or for nuclear arms?

Forrest: (voice-over) They just couldn’t believe that somebody would do all that running for no particular reason.

2nd Reporter: Why are you doing this?

Forrest: I just felt like running.

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I find people are confused by actions taken without outright gains or outcomes.

Anyway, I wandered home, still hobbling, and tried to keep my mind fixated on work for several more hours, all the while balancing the endless list of tasks outside of work I had on my list this week.  As you can expect, I horribly failed at this attempt as my eyes started to glaze over and I felt the all-too-familiar urge to climb into bed and try, yet again, to feel better.

Around 2pm, something struck me.  A breaking point came in my frustration, and I put on some pants, got in my car and headed back to a park–a different one this time–to try and regain that perfect moment of equilibrium I had seen poking through the clouds earlier today.  Because while sitting on that park bench, doing nothing, I felt like myself for the first time in perhaps a two months.  So gosh darnit, I was going to go find that again.

Tree #2

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When I reached Edgemont Park, three books and a journal in tow, I located what appeared to be some sort of fig tree and laid down beneath it–as far away from anyone else in the park as possible.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this weird illness–which is looking more and more like Fibromyalgia every day–it’s that I am becoming even more of an introvert than I was before.  Every sense is heightened.  Sounds are amplified to the point where I can’t decipher two people talking at once, bugs landing on me don’t stand a chance, and I can smell food cooking across the neighborhood.  As you can imagine, I am also overly affected by crowds–especially the loud, smelly, noodgy ones of NYC.

So here we are, ditching my work email and laying on the ground in the middle of New Jersey.  How did I get here?

I closed my eyes and felt the back pain of the morning sink into the supportive ground beneath me as the wind blew through the fig tree, making the thick, bowl-shaped leaves clap together like an encouraging audience.  I open my Anne Lamott book, a woman who has become a member of my imaginary lady-writer friends, whose voice I only dream of mirroring, to a chapter about forgiveness.  After an hour or so of absorbing the healing voice of lady-wisdom, I sit up and peer out into the uneven nature of the park, reminding myself that my original goal of this life was not to spend time in a career that would keep me from the beauty of the day.

This is my idea of freedom.  My freedom is not about saving up enough money to go to Key West once a year and try to turn off the part of my mind that curses Mondays and deprives itself from Vitamin D behind a tower of files and perpetually refilling inboxes.  It’s about living a life of creation, within the world that inspires me to create.  I may never go fancy places or purchase a fancy home, or hell, even retire with the well-balanced portfolio of a retirement fund, but at least I would have fought for the freedom to live in a way that reminds me that the sun rises each day and that there are so many possibilities for change.

In need of movement, I pried myself from my grassy knoll and made the executive decision to call out of class this evening.  My bones still don’t feel like they’re properly connected to one another, and I don’t need to throw myself into the fiery social hell of NYC just as I’m starting to improve.

In my lofty, “the world is my oyster” trance, I wander toward an ice cream truck playing “It’s a Small World After All” to get a popsicle.  Because I’m an adult, and I can buy a damn popsicle from an ice cream truck.  On my walk there, I begin to feel better again.  The words of Ann Lamott float through my head about self-forgiveness, and the blog wheels begin to turn.  When I reach the truck, I buy a phenomenal chocolate-caramel-double-layer thingy, basically made of sheer magic, and exclaim that I have exactly $4 in cash to buy it.  At this, the delightful Glinda-esque ice cream lady answers, “Even if you didn’t have the money, you could always take what you need and pay me another time.”  Did the ice cream truck just offer me the option to open a tab?  Yes it did. Some people are just great.  I then headed out into the sunny afternoon to eat at least the 5th-best ice cream of my life.

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Tree #3

I find a new sunny spot, feeling rejuvenated by my sudden decision to scrap all the plans of the day, and lay down under another tree. With my book in mind, I start thinking about my least favorite question when I was a child actor: “Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?”  This is what most theaters asked kids to make them relax and show their personalities to the audition panel.  Well, being the pessimistic Wednesday Adams that I was, I saw this question as an unfair way to brand myself, to essentially provide the adults with an elevator pitch about how much of a quirky, put-together kid I was.  It was a way to quickly label yourself.  In adult life, we call this small talk.  I hate it just as much.

My recent exhaustion, which I have no doubt contributed to this weird illness, had been partially brought on from many years of desperately trying to fit into many different comfortable artistic, and non-artistic boxes.  Since college, all I’ve wanted is to exclaim “I am an actor,” “I am a writer,” “I am something that people respond to and understand and respect.” And yet, here I am at 29, still completely unable to answer, “Tell us a little about yourself.”  Because I may never be able to fit into a comfy box, I may never be able to explain which career path I am banging my head against a wall to achieve, and I may never be able to say that I know where I want to be in five years.  As I left the park and headed for home, the heavy exhaustion of carrying around this misunderstood responsibility became an obvious contributor to my problems.

Many very caring people have offered practical and lovely advice to help me feel better.  Most of them, if not all, involve suggesting that I take a vacation.  To all of them, I say this: I don’t need a vacation.  I don’t need a temporary escape from a lifestyle that we are told to maintain until we’re 65, when we are finally allowed to get on with the living part.  I need a new way to see the world, and a new view of what I want to do while I’m on it.  And it may not fit into a career category, and it may not be able to explain at auditions or a Christmas party.

That’s all.  If you find me sitting on a bench staring off into space on a summer day, I’m totally fine.  I’m just figuring out what to do next.

Friday Morning Ode to Ben

One of our favorite photos taken about a year after we met.

One of our favorite photos taken about a year after we met.

I’ve spent nearly the past month and a half in and out of a state of bizarre illness and exhaustion, and have yet to fully understand what’s causing it.  After a whole bunch of tests and day after day of laying in bed, I am slowly starting to feel better. This week, for the first time all summer, things have calmed down enough at work that I have been working from home most days, cherishing the final lull before the year picks up again.

So this morning, at the start of my big full day at home, Ben was getting ready to leave for work as I still puttered around in my pajamas.  Just before it was time for him to leave, I started to get ready so I could drive him to the train even though it wasn’t the plan.  At the same time in the next room, he was preparing to leave early so he could purposely give me space to stay inside and keep resting. We met in the middle with our opposite plans, trying to say “No, I did this for you though!” I laughed and made a perhaps not-so-accurate reference to the Gift of the Magi.  We all read it back in Middle School.  Woman sells her hair to buy her husband a watch chain, man sells his watch to buy his wife combs for her hair.  It’s a lovely little story I’ve always remembered, and it reminds me so much of the early days in our relationship when we creatively came up with $10 or even free gifts for Christmas and birthdays together.

This morning’s little post is for my husband, Ben, whom I have chosen to embarrass.  I’ve seen the trending challenge floating around Facebook about celebrating your relationship and I’ve also seen the backlash of why it’s been making some people feel lousy.  I understand both sides.  So my version of meeting that challenge is not about wedding photos, or trips to pretty places with palm trees (all of which are great too!), but instead, a thank you for the things you can’t photograph in a relationship: making pots of morning coffee, letting me sleep in, sending me pictures of birds, and driving me around when this weird illness has made me too tired to go for a walk.  It all means more than you know.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend, and I really appreciate the support of this blog as my writing goes up and down during this crazy year.  In case you need a nice reminder of that sweet story:

The Gift of the Magi

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The Buddhist Actor and the Audition

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The Mental Life Cycle of an Audition

If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed in the past 20-some years of acting, it’s the twisted, complex labyrinth of psychological grief I embark upon each time I lock down an audition.

Step one: What a cool opportunity, I’m not going to get hooked on the idea of getting the role, it’s just great to go. Yay me.

Step two (approximately an hour later): Great!  I have officially figured out all the logistics of how to schedule/travel for this role if I get in the show, but totally won’t count my chickens before they hatch.  If I don’t get it, that’s cool too.

Step three: Irrational confidence/justification stage: It’s a small theatre in a small town so I bet they won’t get that many women and I know that guy through that lady who I think is stage managing so I feel really good about this one.  Also, I’m now obsessed with the character.

Step four (the night before): Maybe I shouldn’t go, maybe this is dumb and it would stress me out to go anyway.  They have other people who would be perfect for it, and I’m really not feeling prepared.  Also, I’m totally getting sick.

Step five: The audition waiting room: Everyone knows each other but me. They’ve all apparently been working constantly.  I’m gonna sit here and stress over the weird shoes I’m wearing.

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Public Journal in Peterborough

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Today is the first day in months, many months, when I find myself sitting in a town where I’ve never been, with nothing to do and no one to see.  I didn’t have to plan anyone’s hotel, their car, the food.  I could head up to our rental house right now and lay on the porch all afternoon and no one would know or care. No one would call or email, or ask me to just “do them a quick favor.” Right now, I sit in a large renovated mill-turned-coffee brewery and have no intention of moving anytime soon.  There’s no fancy dinner to arrange, no museums to visit, no prime-time beach time to take advantage of.  There’s just a room full of coffee beans and the view of a small dam and waterfall.

Some guy on NPR was recently talking about the three pillars of happiness in modern American society: a fulfilling relationship, financial security, and a sense of purpose.  Apparently if you have those three, everything falls into place and you have nothing to complain about. Well, I can confidently say those three things have been relatively solid for the past year, and I have been anything but at peace with the world.  I am grateful for all the wonderful things we have in our lives, very very grateful.  But I am also definitely not the first person to discover that “playing the game” of society will not necessarily bring you fulfillment.  The passionate drive to collect: money, furniture, resume additions, and above all–actions of purpose, have been long overshadowing my ability to step back and try to remember who I wanted to be before I jumped on necessary the “collecting game” with everyone else. My long things-to-do list may make me look like a proper contributor to society, but I drag through my list with frustration and coldness, slowly becoming another artist who became too busy to create anything.

Perhaps ironically, I find myself in the beautiful town of Peterborough, New Hampshire, the town where Thorton Wilder wrote and set Our Town.  I did this show my senior year of high school when my personal and family life was disastrously falling apart.  My pillar of predictability, my main source of joy, was the option to return to Grover’s Corners every afternoon after school, and marvel in the beauty of the world I had overlooked as Emily Webb. The beautiful simplicity of life is lost on the townspeople engulfed in its details, its day-to-day predictability.

In a way, by moving to Montclair and stepping back from the obsessive pursuit of an acting career that seems to want very little to do with me, I hoped to find this simple daily schedule that reminded me to appreciate the mundane, the calm.  This is a concept I definitely never had growing up.  After years of emotional roller coasters and endless family hurdles, all I wanted was to be like some of my friends and live a life in my own personal Our Town.

So where am I going with this? I’ve realized in the past several months that I’ve been seeking simplicity and clarity in the wrong place. By moving toward a life that our society deems as predictable and fulfilling, I have settled in a place of “making the best of things.” No, I don’t enjoy being an assistant, and yes I have a hard time feeling like I spend 75% of my day working toward nothing other than a paycheck, but what is the alternative?  The crazy, frustrating, and financially stressful life I had before when I was auditioning?  If I am run by the amount of money needed to maintain my life–a life that frustrates me–then maybe the answer is needing less, is requiring less money.  Instead of making more, needing less.

My recently enhanced studies of Buddhism have reminded me that the things we desperately pursue are the root of our suffering, of our discomfort, and our disconnection with reality: even when it comes to things like chasing an artistic goal. The more you chase, the bigger the idea grows, and that harder it is to reach. Your bank account never looks big enough, your promotion never sounds high enough, your acting resume is never up to par with everyone else.  You’re never quite there. And all the while, here you are, missing it.

For the past two to three months, I’ve had a recurring and undiagnosed health issue that makes me feel like I have the flu every couple weeks and achy and uncomfortable every day in between. It could be any number of things, and hopefully I’ll know more soon, but as of now, it feels like my body is fighting back against my obsession with “making the best of things.” I don’t actually want to collect.  I don’t need to be rich, to have a long or impressive acting resume, or be considered the best darn personal assistant in my school. All I really hope for is a place to sit by a river, in a simple town with friendly faces full of artists who want to create something. I’m not sure how to get there yet: this mysterious “there.” But I do know that letting go of the ladder climbing is part of it. In my opinion, the artistic game is broken, and becoming more and more for the wealthy, and only the wealthy.  So the only way I see around this is by cutting down the things I purchase, collect, and obsessively seek.  This is the first step toward this elusive, perhaps unattainable freedom, that I wouldn’t have to “make the best of.”

In the Pema Chödrön book I’m currently reading, she provides a beautiful image to help with meditation.  She said that a person who meditates without expectation of enlightenment is often compared to the image of an older person sitting on the beach and watching their grandchildren play in the sand.  They have reached a point in their lives when they no longer feel they are supposed to pursue something, to reach some socially acceptable career goal.  They simply sit and enjoy the happiness and enthusiasm of those around them, and through this, are truly present. This is the state of mind, the freedom, that I seek before hitting the age when everyone tells me I’m supposed to retire from the practice of collecting things.  To be present with the beauty around me and add to it the best I can.  How to reach this, to break the rules of how our artistic society is set up, is another story.  I don’t know the answer yet, but I’m relieved to be able to articulate it.

Well I’m out of coffee. And now there’s an antique shop with a bird on the sign that is calling my name.  Thanks for reading to my ramblings and happy weekend.

The Buddhist Actor

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Last week, I had a rare opportunity to sit in on a Taoist workshop lead by the head of the Chinese Taoism Society, Master Meng Zhiling.  I knew very little going in about Taoist culture and beliefs, only that they would be a great complement to my Buddhist studies (and helpful toward my goal of sitting and meditating for more than 10 minutes at a time without deciding the clean the living room).

During the second workshop, Master Meng spoke specifically about breath and meditation, focusing on body position and the role of Chi. In a nutshell:

  • Shoulders relaxed and down
  • Breath is focused three inches below your belly button
  • Spine and neck are in line
  • Head is lifted but not tense (like a basket on a string!)
  • Overall, you should feel physically light and balanced
  • This practice takes time and patience, since we most likely have been breathing differently all our lives

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xoJane Article on Background Acting

Hello all!!  It’s been a bumpy month for writing.  I feel like my head has been spinning around for weeks.  Nonetheless, back in March I wrote this crazy little piece and it just popped up on xoJane!  Also, if you’re new to this site and would like to read more about my background work experience, I wrote this blog post a million years ago when I was in the heart of it all.

There will be more writing in July, hell or high water.  Have a lovely 4th, everyone!!

I Worked as Movie Extra for Years, And It Got Me Nowhere in My Acting Career

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Blooms By the Box Featured Our Wedding!

How flippin’ cool is this?  Blooms by the box, the fantastic wholesale floral company we used to arrange our wedding flowers, featured our story and photos on their blog!  Right after we got married, I had this weird DIY-overacheiver-panic that I was supposed to somehow be crafty and stylish enough to be featured on a wedding blog. Over two years later, long after those irrational expectations have worn off, here we are!  Big congrats to our amazing photographer, Kim Craven and of course, The Chalfonte Hotel, where I plan to someday retire until they kick me out.  Looking forward to arranging my sister’s wedding flowers from here next summer as well!

Check out the post here!  Woo, exclamation points!

Unity ceremony, the only potted plant we really needed.