My dreams have been excitable and volatile, lately. Africa and planes and anxious meanderings, and distant friends, all figure prominently in the wrack and flotsam of my very late nights.

I'm preparing for a wonderfully intensive rehearsal process just about to begin. "Metamorphoses" with ART (for which I was called in to audition on extremely short notice) opens on the 8th of September, begins rehearsing on the 31st of this month, and I've already been writing long summaries and commentaries on Ovid as part of a dramaturgy package I also agreed to work on.

As I mentioned before, I haven't been this excited by a project in a long time. Not to say that I'm not proud of the work I've been doing recently; far from it. It's rather that it's been awhile since a project has looked to well-occupy so many of my passions; antiquities and verse, an intelligent theatre, and an imaginative theatre, and a physical theatre all at once.

Ovid in particular has long held sway in my heart of hearts, vying with Virgil and Catullus for my highest affections. I'm deeply steeped in his verse, fully immersed in his sense of wonder and numinousness.

When I dream I dream of running and cloudscapes and groaning trees. I dream of loneliness and panic and old, seamed faces. Occasionally there are horrors and nightmares that I half-consciously race through, willing myself even in my sleep to push past as much of the terror as I possibly can.

Today was a slow day at work. Heat and sunlight pushes my residents to the Library or to shaded parks by the water, anywhere but their non-air-conditioned rooms. I played poker with my residents, five card draw with a number of characters taken straight from Joyce's Ulysses, writ rather large.

I took my Mom out to dinner tonight, burgers and fries and a chain restaurant that she really likes. We poked fun at each other and complimented how well we both seem to age, and for all the world I felt like a tired sea bird, glad to have made landfall once more.


tramps like us, baby we were born to run

You've all indicated, at various points in our mutual history, your exceeding willingness to tear it up at the karaoke mike with me again. I propose to do just that.

8:30 pm, Tuesday the 18th of July (That's TONIGHT), at the Galaxy on 10th and E Burnside. Papa's gonna get a brand new bag.

Shine on you crazy diamonds,



Numbers game

Lester and Tyler are 7 and 16, respectively. We're hanging out at one of the housing complexes my company owns (I'm pitching in on the Free Summer Lunch program).

Lester: How old are you?

Tyler: Guess.

Lester: Are you 8?

Tyler: No.

Lester: Are you 17?

Tyler: No.

Lester: Oh. [Lester is stumped.] I give up.

Me: You know, Lester, there are actually some numbers between 8 and 17.

Lester: [beat] Yeah, right, whatever. How old are you?


What kind of day has it been.

Yesterday afternoon, after taking out my laundry to hang it on the clothesline, I locked my keys in the basement. Since my front door was unlocked, I didn't think about it until this morning when I was turning the house upside down looking for those keys. I would probably still be looking for them if I hadn't chanced to glance in the basement window, where I caught their dim, leering, jagged-tooth nastily grinning silhouette on the neglected, vengeful, bitchy clothes dryer.

In the movies you see people use pins or toothpicks or sticks of chewing gum or credit cards to open locked doors. They make locked doors look positively malleable, accomodating like tissue in a swaying breeze. You see them do a jiggle thing with their willowy wrists and hey, presto, there we go. And I tried all of those things, as nonchalantly as I could, desperately mopping my forehead while the contractors building a driveway next door ambled their wheelbarrows back and forth behind me. I furrowed my brow and angled my shoulders like they do in the movies. I tried finesse, I tried force, I tried cunning and guile. And I can tell you it's true about the credit card.

$65.00 to a bemused locksmith later, I'm hustling down the street in my beat-up Saturn desperately trying to make up for lost time. J. had his wallet stolen and he's three months behind on rent, and I'm going to pay for a new ID while he gets back up to date on his union's membership rolls. I scoop him up and we go and hunker down at the DMV. We swap touring stories (he's a union stagehand for rock concerts). We read over heavily creased, outdated paperwork. We do our best not to look like the harried supplicants at the dread altar of the forbidding DMV deities that we are.

Hours later I'm back at the office, J.'s tasks done and done well, now scrambling to find the fix for the next exploded basket case on my desk. There are meetings and notes and scheduling shuffles; I am an argonaut navigating the impassable confines of dwindling water coolers and straightened budget arrangements. There are memos to write, commitments to make, policies to draft.

It is a constant, quiet surprise to me that people seem to think I know what I'm doing. I am constantly, quietly surprised at my own capacity to convince myself (albeit howsoever temporarily) that I know what I'm doing. The truth lies rather quite far from any such conviction.

I get home anxious and dreading tomorrow, far from certain as to how to keep things going. My book group meets at my house and I lay out the beer and the chips and the tea. I light the candles and we laugh and speak well, we convince each other of splendid things, we gently disagree and we stridently validate and we cast and re-cast our lives' choices according to our shared lights. The book is only an excuse, really, to meet and share of such things.

I am an argonaut snatching off pieces and shards of grand conversations, leaving my own sometimes powerful words, noting and watching, speaking or not. I am here and I am not. Always I am arriving and departing all at once. This is who I am.

The trees are still warm long after the sun has set. My house breathes more deeply having had guests; it's not for nothing that the ritualized pleasure of hospitality is so powerful to so many cultures. I blow out the candles and set the teabags in the compost and check for my keys before I see my friends out.

Outside, my neighbors have left me flowers, and a warm note of thanks, for helping their friend last week. I sit down to write what kind of day it has been, and then I go to sleep.




A fool i'the forest

I listened to myself for the first time yesterday. An audio theatre company I work with, Speak the Speech, recorded a production of As You Like It that I did last year with Shakespeare in the Park (yes, that's me in the beard. Quiet, you).

It was a weird experience; since this was recorded about 9 months ago, I could sometimes remember and identify the motives behind my inflections, my line readings; sometimes they entirely surprised me. I was pleasantly surprised that my recorded voice is not quite so awful as the voice on my message machine would lead me to believe. I'm still disappointed with some of the choices I made with the famous "All the world's a stage" speech; it's definitely something I need to revisit in the future. But, all in all, not too bad, considering. My character, Jaques, shows up about halfway through Act II.

I've also done work on Speak the Speech's forthcoming "Pericles" (which I'll be helping to edit) and "Part I Henry IV."

More soon.



Gonna be Some Changes Made.

I'm recasting the Polyform Look. "Dots Dark" is fabulous and all, but it's time for something new. You should comment if you wish to register strident opposition to this new regime.

I got home late last night on my bike with a good seven or eight pints in me, enough to bring out some color. I was clumsily rifling through my keys when I noticed my next door neighbors gathered around someone on the ground.

I announced myself as a trained EMT and offered to help. A young man had vomited over the porch balcony and fallen over, knocking his head and bleeding a bit. I cleaned up the cut, which looked worse than it actually was, and I made sure he wasn't dizzy or unduly shocked. After going through the routine of pupils and pulse and establishing that he hadn't lost consciousness, wasn't seeing spots and wasn't epileptic or anything of that order, I pronounced him basically fine; the bleeding had already stopped and I told him that he should see an Urgent Care center in the morning, just to be sure.

I've done this sort of thing dozens and dozens of times, enough for it to feel routine; keeping people safe at a traffic accident scene until the ambulance arrives, small children bleeding and crying on the playground, nothing on a truly challenging order, only enough for people to be scared. I'm good at reassuring people who are scared. I'm told that people trust me implicitly, almost instinctively.

One of my residents is in Stage IV lung cancer and advanced chemotherapy. He's a Vietnam veteran, a small, lanky man with big, piercing eyes and a sardonic, self-pitying manner. He desperately holds on to the fixtures of his life as a means of coping with it.

My reassurance shtick doesn't work quite so well with him. The things I do, the promises I make cannot go as far as they would with anyone else. He simply doesn't have time to feel reassured. He needs constant progress, constant activity, constant evidence that his is not the hopeless battle that everyone knows it is. He's fighting for his life and he's losing every day, and that fight alone consumes everything about him.

He trusts me and respects me, and is deeply appreciative of the things I do for him. It is enough for him that I do what I can do. What suprises me is how pained I am that I fail to reassure him. It reminds me of my failures to reassure my Mom and my late Grandpa, failures identical in that they sought of me (or I sought of myself) the ability to overcome such minor, insubstantial obstacles as, say, metastasized cancer or imminent foreclosure.

I remain deeply resentful of my inability to beat the living shit out of metastasized cancer. I secretly burn and shake at my impotence with issues any more challenging than a shallow cut from a drunken fall. It is a point of deep regret.