Saturday, December 30, 2006

It's harder to compromise when you know too much.

The other day I was talking to my friend Jeff Beck on IM. He told me about a date he went on and why he wasn’t interested in dating her a second time. Then he asked me if I thought that people our age could actually have a relationship with anyone. I told him it was a matter of compromise. That in our 20’s were optimistic and feel that we can work through any difficulties that may arise, but as we get older we have more experience with things that we know won’t work. We’re more pessimistic and less willing to compromise. After every heartbreak we cross off another thing that we don’t want or and another thing we must have. Here is my example:

When I was 20 I was looking for a guy who shared my religious beliefs, was taller than me and had dark hair.

Now I’m looking for a guy who: shares my religious and political beliefs, is 6’4”, has dark hair, blue eyes and a European accent, plays acoustic guitar, likes the same kinds of movies, music, and books as me, is an artist (any medium—subject to change), is great at massages (and gives them to me only), is kind, generous, and respectful, has no debt and is willing to help me get rid of mine, has a car that works, is good at working on cars, has a job that pays well, is handy around the house, never has to be asked twice to do something, remembers my favorite color, flower, food, etc., kills bugs for me (or at least gets them out of my immediate area), makes me laugh and is either named Brian or David because those are the names my friends seem to have had luck with.

So, yes, it is possible for us older ones to have a successful relationship…it’s just a statistical improbability.

The COOLEST Christmas present ever!

Okay, so I got the COOLEST Christmas present ever. Sally and David Eames-Harlan gave me a faucet light! You put it on your faucet and when you turn it on a blue light comes on and lights up the water! ISN’T THAT AWESOME!

My apartment is VERY old…can someone tell me how to get calcium build up off of my faucet so I can turn on my faucet light?

my other one-pagers

copyright 2005 Maaike Davidson

At an airport waiting to board the plane. DEATH, who is very tall and wearing long black robes, walks in and sits in an empty chair next to NORBERT, a small, unassuming man.

NORBERT: (Nervously) Excuse me? Mr. Death?

DEATH: (In a very deep, clear voice.) Death.

NORBERT: Pardon?

DEATH: Just Death. Not Mister Death.

NORBERT: Oh, sorry. Um, Death, I...I see by your ticket that you’re in the seat right next to mine on the flight.

DEATH: 24C. Yes.

NORBERT: Should I be worried?

DEATH: Worried?

NORBERT: I mean, am I...(clears his throat) on your schedule?

DEATH: Not yet, Norbert.

NORBERT: (Very nervous) You know my name?

DEATH: I know everything’s name. I must know them all. I am Death.

NORBERT: Well, if it isn’t me, then it must be someone else on the plane.


NORBERT: (Panicking, but trying to speak quietly) Oh, God! Is the plane going to crash? Are we all going to die?

DEATH: Norbert, you need not worry.

NORBERT: We’re all going to be ok? All of us passengers?


NORBERT: (Relaxing) Slow day for death then, eh?

DEATH: No. There is never a slow day. (sulking, angrily, almost like a spoiled child) The airline made me check my scythe.

copyright 2005 Maaike Davidson

DEATH stands by the turning carousels of the baggage return. He is staring at an extremely nervous looking young man behind an airline counter. DEATH has his arms folded across his chest and is tapping his bony foot on the floor, making a loud, resounding, tap...tap...tap. Above his head is a sign that reads ARRIVALS. Quiet MUZAK is playing over the speaker system. ANNOUNCEMENTS of flights can be heard.

NORBERT grabs his bag from the carousel and sneaks away while DEATH is not looking. Other passengers follow suit.

DEATH: What do you mean, you’ve lost it?

copyright 2005 Maaike Davidson

Airport waiting room/lounge. A man in a business suit sits reading a book. A young guy, disheveled, falls from above, then sits in the seat right next to him despite empty seats all around.

ANDRES: Dude, I was just abducted by aliens!

Man nods, trying to read his book.

ANDRES: Aliens! Can you believe it? Who knew they were real?

MAN (looks up at him): Were they like everyone says? Green-Grey with big eyes and no ears?

ANDRES: No man, not big eyes...they had big hair. Like, (thinking) who was that chick on t.v. a long time ago?

MAN: Barbara Streisand?

ANDRES: No. The Bionic Woman? Or maybe one of Charlie’s Angels?

MAN: Farrah Fawcett?

ANDRES: Yeah. These aliens had big hair like her. And they wore matching uniforms. Navy blue–with red stripy things at the neck. (beat) Cravats, I think, like Fred on “Scooby Doo.” And they pushed around silver carts filled with food.

Pause. Man turns back to his book.

ANDRES: (continued) They strapped me into a seat. Strapped me in! And there was like, no room to move. Then the big-haired aliens told me that the cushion under my butt could be used as a floatation device. How can I use the thing to float if they’ve strapped me in? And the bigger question is this: What were they going to do to make us have to float in the first place?

MAN: That is a corker.

ANDRES: You know what they did to me next?

MAN: (Keeping his eyes on his book). Shoved probes up your rectum?

ANDRES: No! Dude! That’s gross. No. (Almost shivers) They made me eat fish.

MAN: Fish?

ANDRES: Fish! They said in a really high pitched voices: (stress vowels) Weee are oooout of chiiiickeeeen. On the plus side, they gave me a bottle of vodka that they’d shrunk down with some kind of shrinking ray gun. That’s pretty damn cool.


ANDRES: (Continued) So, where are we?

MAN: Des Moines.

ANDRES: The aliens brought me to Iowa? Man! They could have at least left me the floaty-butt-cushion.

copyright 2005 Maaike Davidson

A group of people stand in line waiting to check in at an airport. A tall woman in line is surrounded by many short people. A young kid stands behind her. The line moves slowly.

KID: You’re tall.

WOMAN: (Having heard this before) Yes.

KID: How tall are you?

WOMAN: 6' 2".

KID: Do you play basket-ball?

WOMAN: (Obviously tired of having had this same conversation many times) No.

KID: (Beat) How about volleyball?

WOMAN: Nope.

KID: Well, what sport do you play?

WOMAN: I don’t play any particular sport. (The man in front of her in line accidently bumps her with his bag. He looks back and then up.)

MAN: Sorry. (He stares for a moment then goes to the available attendant.)

KID: You’re taller than my dad.

ATTENDANT: Next. (The woman steps up and hands the attendant her ticket). Are you over six foot tall?

WOMAN: (Exasperated, addressing everyone around). Yes. I’m over six foot tall. Yes, I’m tall! No I don’t play basketball or volleyball! No, I can’t find women’s trousers with at least a 37 inch in-seam and yes, sleeves are always too short. Yes, thank you all for noticing the obvious and pointing it out to me! If it weren’t for all of you, I’d have never realized my own height!

ATTENDANT: (Beat) Um. I was just wondering if you’d like an aisle seat. You can stretch your legs out. I mean, it’s a long flight.

WOMAN: (undaunted) Oh, yes. That’d be great.

copyright 2005 Maaike Davidson

On the cleared side of the metal detector stand DOROTHY, COWARDLY LION and SCARECROW.

TIN MAN walks through and BEEPS. He returns to the other side and takes off his hat. He tries again. BEEP.

TIN MAN: Oh! (Slapping himself on the head). My oil can. Sorry.

He tries again to walk through the metal detector and BEEPS again.

TIN MAN: I’m sorry I’m a problem. It’s causing me such great despair.

DOROTHY: I swear, if we end up walking to OZ again, I’m gonna be pissed.

The Red-Eye
copyright 2005 Maaike Davidson

Three vampires stand in line at a check in counter in this order: TALL, MEDIUM & SHORT. They are all trying desperately to pretend that they are not vampires, but they are all obviously vampires. TALL speaks slowly and with confidence. MEDIUM is very nervous and SHORT is somewhat oblivious to life around him. They each have a small carry-on bag.

CLERK: Window or Aisle?

ALL: (very quickly) Aisle!

CLERK: Any dietary preferences on your in-flight meal?

TALL: We’re vegetarians.

SHORT: I’m not. (The middle vampire elbows him in the ribs.) Oof! (He gets the hint) I mean...I’m not hungry. Right now. But when I do get feeling a bit peckish, I would, of course, prefer the vegetarian meal.

(Medium and Tall start whispering)

TALL: And we have food allergies.

MEDIUM: Yes, we’re allergic to garlic.

CLERK: No garlic?

MEDIUM: All of us.

TALL: It’s a family thing.

(Pause as the clerk enters this into his computer. The vampires exchange “yes, we are so smart” glaces.)

CLERK: You know, you’re in luck, there’s an earlier flight that has some space on it. We could get you on...

TALL: Ah, ha-ha. I, that is, we appreciate your courtesy. But we really don’t mind flying the red-eye. We are, as one would say creatures of the night.

MEDIUM: People! People of the night!

TALL: We are people of the night.

SHORT: Night-people. So to speak.

CLERK: Well, you’re very lucky. Our Flight attendants are also night-people! Debbie, Buffy and Frank have been flying this...

MEDIUM: Excuse me...who?

CLERK: Debbie, Buffy and Frank...

(The vampires go into a quick huddle. We hear them whispering. The clerk leans in to try to hear. The huddle breaks.)

TALL: (Trying to be nonchalant) I went to school with a Buffy. Is she 5 feet 4ish with blonde hair?

CLERK: No, she’s a 5 foot 9 brunette...from Brazil.

(All vampires show that they are physically relieved).

TALL: (Continuing his act of nonchalance) Oh, that’s not her then. My mistake.

CLERK: Well, here we are, then. Three tickets. Your seats are listed here (clerk points to a place on the ticket) and your flight leaves from Gate 6A.

ALL VAMPIRES: (Various lines of Thank you’s)

They pick up their bags and head off stage. The clerk continues to shuffle papers and type into the computer. After a moment an announcement is made...

ANNOUNCER: Due to mechanical issues, Transylvania flight 722 will be grounded. But don’t worry, passengers, we’ve got good news. Van Helsing Air has agreed to take the passengers on to their destination. Please board at Gate 6A.

The clerk shuffles papers. The three vampires come running from the direction they left and continue off the other side of the stage.

CLERK: (Smiling) Works every time.

One Page Plays

Here at UI there is a festival of one page plays. Two of mine: Come in Tower and Angel Commandos were presented in this festival in 2005. Here they are...

Come in, Tower
copyright 2005 Maaike Davidson

ED standing on step ladder on the tarmac. Waiting. He looks around, sees Harley’s dog and makes note of it. DAN approaches, eating a sandwich that he takes from a paper bag. They are both wearing blue coveralls.

DAN: Hi Ed.

ED: Hi Dan.

DAN: Flight comin’ in today?

ED: Yep.

They wait.

ED: You still datin’ Shirley?

DAN: Yep.

ED: Isn’t hard having her gone all the time?

DAN: If something’s important, you work for it.

ED: Ain’t that the truth.

DAN: Only...

ED: Yeah...

DAN: It doesn’t seem the same.

ED: Things change.

DAN: I mean. I think she’s seeing someone else.

ED: One of those business guys?

DAN: Maybe. Or a pilot at one of them fancy airports. You know how women are suckers for uniforms.

ED: What do you think you’re wearin’?

DAN: A uniform that ain’t covered in grease.


ED: You wanna get a beer after work?

DAN: Shirley’s coming today.

ED: Stayin’ the week?

DAN: Yep.

ED: Bring her along.

DAN: Sure. She’s a sport.

FEMALE VOICE: Tower, this is Flight B. Come in tower. (While the announcement is heard, ED climbs to the top rung of the ladder and Dan picks up the paper bag and holds it above his head to see if there is any wind.)

ED: (Speaking into a walkie-talkie) This is Tower. Come in.

FEMALE VOICE: Hey, Ed. How’s it look?

ED looks back and forth from his position on top of the ladder.

ED: Clear in all directions. Wind is from the...

DAN: North.

ED: ...North. And Harley’s dog is loose again. (Looks around.) Can’t see it right now.

FEMALE VOICE: Roger, watch for Harley’s dog.

DAN tugs on ED’s pants leg.

ED: Oh, hey, Shirl? Dan says Hi.


ED: Runway’s yours, Shirl. Tower out.

He remains on the ladder, looks to one side where the plane is coming from and slowly starts waving his arm in a large gesture.

DAN: You could hear it in her voice. I don’t think she loves me any more.


ED: You can’t stop progress, Dan. You just can’t.

Angel Commandos: Warriors of the Sky
copyright 2005 Maaike Davidson

In an airport in front of the escalators. ULI an angel with halo, wings and army boots carries a walkie talkie.

ULI: G-R-4 to base. Come in base.

BASE: This is base, go ahead GR4.

ULI: Where’s the newbie you’re sending me?

BASE: She left 20 minutes ago. Hang on. G-1-6 this is Base. Come in, G-1-6...(beat) She’s not responding.

ULI: (sighs) There she is, I see her. G-R-4 out.

BASE: Base out.

Enter NELLIE a less experienced commando.

NELLIE: (Dressed the same. She is very happy) Hi! I’m Nellie! I got a little lost in the... (gestures back to where she came from and mimes putting on and off a top hat with both hands.)

ULI: What’s your code?!


ULI: We address each other in code!

NELLIE: Um...(looking at her halo for identification) Gabriel sixteen. I think.

ULI: G-1-6. I’m G-R-4.

NELLIE: (looking around) I thought there’d be more of us. JFK is a very big airport.

ULI: There’s usually 25 of us in Domestic, but it’s just you and me this afternoon.


ULI: The group was dispatched to Flight 815.

NELLIE: Why? (Quietly leaning in to ULI) Is the plane going to crash?

ULI: No, food poisoning. (beat) Just you and me deciding where we’re really needed. (She looks at her monitor–NELLIE leans in).

NELLIE: Oh no! Blasmessy!

ULI: What?

NELLIE: Blasmessy. You know, the taking of the Lord’s name in vain.

ULI: Blasphemy.

NELLIE: That’s what I said; blasmessy.

ULI: It’s pronounced blasphemy.


NELLIE: Is it still a sin if you can’t pronounce it?

ULI: Fuck, yeah.

Her halo starts blinking red and blue like police lights. OR there is a loud siren.

ULI: Sorry, just trying to prove a point.

Her halo returns to normal.

NELLIE: (Looking at monitor) Crisis of Faith! Crisis of Faith! What’re we going to do!? (Nellie mumbles...) First we’ll...then I’ll...

ULI: I’ve got it. (Into walkie talkie) G-R-4 to base.

BASE: Go ahead G-R-4.

ULI: Flight 1243 to Pittsburgh needs to experience some faith promoting turbulence.

BASE: We’re on it. Base out.

NELLIE: Wow. You really stay calm during a crisis.

ULI: I’ve been on the job a long time. Stick with me–you’ll learn a thing or two.

BASE: G-R-4 this is Base.

ULI: Go ahead, Base.

BASE: You’re needed in sector 2.

ULI: Roger, that. G-R-4 out. (To Nellie) Ok, I’ll be back in a minute. It’s all yours.

NELLIE: You’re going to...(gulp) leave me?

ULI: You’ll be fine. (Exits).

Nellie talks to herself trying to remain calm. Something happens off ULI kick something with her boot and there is a muffled “FUCK” from off stage. The sirens start sounding again throwing Nellie into a panic.

Fade out.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Katie's letter keeps growing because I have no ink

December 19, 2006,

Well, the letter just keeps going because I still don’t have any ink! Although I have no ink, I still have stories to tell.

So, yes, cursed, I am. A bit Yoda-ish there, but it’s true. I am cursed. Even calling him “Spence” didn’t work. It’s cursed and although I always knew it wasn’t going to work out there was at least the hope. You know how girls are, we think that if we just wait long enough it will work, but we know it won’t. Why are we so dumb? Anyway. Spence & I are just as much Boyfriend & Girlfriend as my sister Sherri & George Clooney.

Thank God for Shirley Manson & Garbage. I love listening to her and thinking about going on a crime spree after I get my heart broken. I think I’ll start with smaller crimes. Like vandalism and arson. Or something like that.

I’ve got a couple of things to say on the subject (of heartbreak, not petty crime):

1. The palm reader was wrong. I’ve had my heart broken more than 7 times. (Not that I put a lot of stock into palm readers, I just hoped she was right on this one after I cried over number 7–you remember the story?)

2. No matter how many times my heart gets broken, it still feels like the first time...& it still hurts the same way.

3. No matter how many times I tell myself “this is the last time” I know I’ll be stupid enough to do it again.

4. Having your car tires wear out, your computer have issues & having confirmation that your current crush is not interested all at the same time really does warrant the number one slot on “The Grand List of Things That Suck”

Well, I did get some good news. That I still look at with a sideways glance and think it’s just a disaster in disguise. My play “Strings” got accepted into KCACTF for our region. I’m chuffed. I’d be more chuffed if my entire writer’s group didn’t also get accepted. It would be cooler for me if it were just ME but as it stands, it’s pretty cool for Rob and the department. I want to win. I always want to win. But I’ve been sending stuff in since I was 18 and nothing ever comes of it. It’s a problem with not winning, one gets too used to it. ACK!

ACK! I say. ACK! Katie, I just have to quote Judd Hirsch and say “Life is a swirling sucking eddy of despair filled with small moments of false hope in an ever blackening universe.” I’d trade everything I own and live in a box if I could live in that box with a man who loved me so much that he’d choose me out of all the other 3 billion or so women who live on this stupid blue/green planet.

I’d better get to sleep. I have to put a smile on my face and go to the radio show tomorrow smiling and telling myself that “I’m fine, I’m happy.” See, that’s the kind of research I do for my plays.


“It’s no use listening to what people say, words are only there to hide their thoughts.”
–Terry Pratchett

Maggie–age 43

Maggie will wind string around the stage. She should start with a thinner string visible to the audience (i.e. yarn) and progressively move up to thicker strings until she ends up with rope. She is wearing pyjamas and fuzzy slippers. It is Christmas. She has presents wrapped under a small tree. Man and Woman will play all the other roles as needed.

It is important that Maggie’s lines are read with nonchalance and with the kind of chipper attitude of a woman having spent her entire life telling everyone (herself included) “No, don’t worry about me, I’m fine.” Even self-deprecating lines need to be said with an air of aloofness as if she believes she has let go of the hurt.

Maggie: I have a theory for life. It goes something like this: We start out in life with total, complete, and unadulterated self-confidence...which is destroyed by the time we get to junior high...we then spend the rest of our lives trying to rebuild that lost confidence. That’s my theory. Where does the confidence go? You’d think that starting out with confidence it would be hard to topple us, but it’s actually quite easy. Like water dripping slowly to destroy a mountain. Like the day I was at Sears with my Mom. I was 5 or 6 years old...kindergarten age, and there was a display of television sets. One set was on “Sesame Street” and all the others were on the news. Obviously this was a mistake so I proceeded to change all the tv’s so they were on the same channel. Just as I finished my artistic work a man in a dark blue suit stomped up to me and shouted...

Sears Man in a Blue Suit: (Angry, but not shouting) You’ve just ruined my whole display.

Maggie: I, I ran where Mom was in line and then thought about how mean that man was. I’m sure he doesn’t remember yelling at me. And I’m also sure that I’m not the only kid he ever yelled at. But, at the same time I remember it. I think that was one of the steps down from my self-confidence.

(She looks at her strings.) I started out stringing popcorn for the tree. I guess I got carried away.

When I was eleven I was on a baseball team–not because I wanted to be, but because my neighbor was on the team and didn’t want to go alone. I was playing third base at 9:00 a.m. facing the sunrise. Anyway, the ball was hit in my direction and I lost it in the sun. I didn’t make the catch, but I did manage to pick it up and throw it to second to get the other runner out. Upon returning to the coach I said, “I couldn’t tell the difference between the ball and the sun!” And the coach said,

Female Coach: The ball hit your mitt.

Maggie: ...after that year, I didn’t play baseball again...because my neighbor didn’t sign up. I don’t know why I remember these things. I don’t know if we won the season or not. I don’t remember the color of our jerseys or the name of our team, I just remember that one day when I didn’t catch the ball. Isn’t it strange what our minds will remember?

There are other things...positive things, I remember, of course. Like Mr. Firkins, my eighth grade science teacher. I asked him questions all the time. He never seemed to get annoyed or bored by it. Maybe he was happy that I was trying to learn. And he joked with me, too. I think, if I look back, he was my first crush. One day he brought in this cartoon with a bunch of pigs sitting in a little pig pig was raising his hoof. The teacher pig said to him, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question, but if there was, that would be it.” Mr. Firkins hung it on the cork board, and smiling, pointed to it and said:

Mr. Firkins: Maggie, this is for you.

Maggie: I giggled and thought it was wonderful. Now it’s just hurry the kids through school and don’t worry about what they learn as long as they pass the state sanctioned tests.

She looks at the tree.

I buy myself Christmas presents. My Dad died when I was sixteen and Mom died about three years ago. I’m single and an only child. I wrap up my presents and put them under the tree with the tags marked to me from different actors. This one (She puts down her string and holds up a present) is the complete “Jeeves and Wooster” series on DVD and the tag reads:

Hugh Laurie: To Maggie from Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry...hugs and kisses.

Maggie: And this one (she holds up another present) is a wok. It’s from Jamie Oliver.

Jamie Oliver: To Maggie from have to learn to “wok” before you can run.

Maggie: (she picks up her string and starts winding around the stage again) It’s a stupid pun, but it really is a great present. I hate wrapping seems like such a waste of time...but I do love unwrapping them. It’s funny, I get embarrassed whenever anyone gives me a present. I worry that the look on my face won’t match what they were expecting.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, my theory of life. So anyway, these little things that should go by unnoticed stick in our memories. It then becomes a game of teeter-totter trying to balance out the good and the bad comments. Sometimes the good ones don’t get said as often as they should. Or sometimes the bad ones are just heavier than the good ones. It’s like how the Wicked Witch of the West came in on a broom and Glinda came in on a bubble. The broom is ugly but it takes up space and has definite weight; the bubble is beautiful, but light and airy. Glinda’s bubbles don’t add up as fast as the Wicked Witch’s brooms. At one point in the movie Glinda says:

Glinda: Only bad witches are ugly.

Maggie: Which very few people remember, but the Wicked Witch says:

Wicked Witch: I’ll get you, my pretty.

Maggie: And everyone remembers that line; you hear it repeated in all kinds of scenarios, but to find Glinda’s words you have to listen really, really closely.

Junior high and High school are not the place to rebuild this lost self-esteem. It’s a place to try just to survive without too many scars. You’ve got to learn to ignore the girls when they run in to class happy as all get out that so-and-so just asked them to the dance when deep down inside you were hoping he’d ask you. High school cliques with their unidentifiable rules that you can’t figure out if you’re an outsider. The girls who are interested in the boys about two years before the boys are ready and then when they are ready they’re so juvenile that you really don’t want to talk to them at all.

You head to university and by the end of the first year you start feeling like you’ve shed the high school image you had and you start to redefine your life. Many people start rebuilding their self-esteem. But again, it depends on the balance between the good and the bad. For example, you’re in class and you spend time chatting with some gorgeous guy when one day he turns to you and says:

Gorgeous Guy: Maggie, if you were a girl...I mean you are a girl know what I mean.

Maggie: Yes. I know what he means. But it doesn’t matter. Not only are there more fish in the sea there are seven seas to fish in. Anyway, you continue with school and, if you’re like me, you find a brilliant career. (Small pause) Did you ever see that movie?

Movie guy: Judy Davis and Sam Neill star in “My Brilliant Career” directed by Gillian Armstrong. Based on the novel by Miles Franklin.

Maggie: It bugged the crap out of me. Sam Neill is there and this girl chooses to have a career over being married to him. Sybylla even realizes that she’s not beautiful. At one point she says:

Sybylla: I think ugly girls should be shot at birth by their parents.

Maggie: She turned down Sam Neill! (She looks back at the tree) I think there might be a gift in there from him. I wouldn’t turn down Sam Neill. Even in his early days when he was a little too thin.

Anyway, my career. I got an MBA and now work for a large company running Human Resources for their main branch. I love meeting all these people and hearing about their different backgrounds. Human beings are such interesting creatures. So diverse. Every person makes such different choices. We all begin and end in such different ways. I think the most fascinating people are the ones that you’ve known forever and suddenly they tell you something you never heard before and it totally shocks you. It makes you realize that there is no end to what a person can do.

In the midst of my career I started feeling very sick and ended up at the doctors office. The doctor said to me:

Male Doctor: You have endometriosis. It is so severe that I recommend a hysterectomy.

Maggie: My best friend said to me:

Female Friend: I’m so jealous! You’ll have no more periods and you get to go through a doctor observed and medicated menopause. I’m seriously so jealous!

Maggie: She gave me a book by Sheila Martin titled The Worried Woman’s Guide to a Happy Hysterectomy. The whole thing was pretty easy...the surgery and all...and I did have a very quick recovery. The doctors said it was because I lived a healthy lifestyle. Besides, I didn’t have Sam Neill showing up at my door asking me to give up my career for him so I wasn’t really using all that female stuff anyway.

Where was I in my theory? Oh yes. We get into our careers...and, and, and our lives, and we grow older we start letting go of the dumb things that hurt us in junior high. We realize that although at the time high school was life it isn’t real life. We let go of the girls that snubbed us and the boys that were too stupid to notice us. We start rebuilding our self-esteem.

She sits down and starts fashioning a noose at the end of the rope.

Now, some people have an easier time of it and are able to rebuild their self-image sooner than others. But not everyone gets pushed down to the same level. And still others get pushed down farther than we can even imagine. Maybe a point of no return...and there is abuse that we–as outsiders–can’t understand. And of course there are mental issues, like depression. Anyway, we build and rebuild ourselves until we find a day when the bubbles outweigh the brooms.

So, that’s my theory. We start out with confidence and self esteem to rival the stars. When we look in the mirror we see ourselves, our real self. But by junior high and high school we’re destroyed so that when we look in the mirror we only see the ugly parts, the wrong parts, (she touches her stomach) the missing parts. Then we spend the rest of our lives rebuilding our self-worth. Most will succeed.

She hangs herself with the rope.

Female: This theory is completely conjectural.

Male: More a hypothesis than a theory.

Female: She never understood the difference between the two.

Fade out.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Spence suspence

December 11, 2006

Dear Katie,

Hi! How are you? Things here are good. And right now here is the language lab & I’m giving out Greek Mythology tests. As of right now I have 180 tests to give over the next 3 days. Oh joy. It gets crazy in here some days...and not just because I’m crazy in here!

I’m sorry to hear about the boy...but I’m glad to hear that you’re happy about it. I’m trying to figure out a coded way to talk about the boy in my life without cursing it. Yep, anytime I talk about a boy I’m interested in I end up cursing it. How about we won’t call him by name. Let’s call him “Spence” after my sister’s imaginary boyfriend from when she was eight years old.

So, here’s the story:

As you know, I teach Comm 101: Intro to Speech. I love teaching the Tuesday night class, it’s my favorite. Last Spring as people were coming in I was talking with Ben Stellmon (Jade’s husband) because he was in my class & just watching people as they came in. Class started & I was my usual spastic self. Well, there was this guy in the class that has a definite sense of personal style (a trait I admire–I hate the guys who look just like every other guy) & glasses. He has dark hair (as you know I’m partial to). I made the class laugh, which is my instant feedback I crave & he smiled. & do you know what...when he smiles it’s like his entire soul is smiling. I swear it comes all the way down from his toes & comes out as a smile from his whole self. It’s beautiful. & I thought, “He’s cute. But he’s my student. The end.”

This was the year that I was really struggling with where to go to church & one day I woke up too late for the Quail Run ward so I went to the Shingles Ward. In passing in the hallway, I saw Spence. “Hey!” I said. & he said hey back. That was it. The only time I saw him at church but I’d see him on Tuesday nights in class. I’d talk with Ben & goof around with some of the students...the outspoken ones that I knew I could joke with. Spence was very quiet but he did smiled or laughed at my silliness so every once in a while I’d throw in a joke just for him.

The semester was over & I was done teaching. Grades were entered & I was officially no longer his teacher, so I sent him an email that said something along the lines of “now that I’m not your teacher, we should hang out.” He wrote back & said something along the lines of “sounds good to me.” So we got together before I left for the summer. Then we emailed during the summer & when I got back we got together. We’ve got some friends in common, so it’s cool to hang out with them.

Spence is quiet. If we’re in a group, he doesn’t do a lot of talking, but if it’s just me and him we talk together for hours! It’s so much fun. He’s got a great sense of humor & he makes me laugh. We spent some time together during Thanksgiving break to go see a concert in Seattle (which, by the way was AWESOME) & I was filming our trip & you can just hear me laughing at things he says, but the recorder didn’t pick up his voice. He’s great. He’s younger than me (he’s 28), but many people are. He’s studying horticulture, he has an early morning show on KUOI, he’s an artist, & a writer. He’s brilliant. & he’s got this smile that just kills me! & it’s hilariously funny that we have gotten together & have become such good friends, because he’s so quiet & I’m just not.

He’s a Gemini & I’m a Scorpio, which is a difficult combination...but Jade & Ben seem to be doing fine with it!

Oh, & just so you know, irony continues to rule in my life because Spence has so much in common with another person in my life. (But unlike Mr. Cheese, Spence has many things in common with someone I love instead of he’s got that going for him!) They have the same name (currently: Spence), they’re both Geminis, Vegetarians, have dark hair, dark eyes, glasses, they’re nearly the same height (Spence is taller by almost an inch), love plants, & they make me laugh. & my favorite thing...they both have an ability to make me feel beautiful. I’m more accepting of myself when around either of them, instead of being so self critical as when I was around the likes of Mr. Cheese & his previous doppelganger.

Well, now the mushy love crap. It doesn’t exist. I really like him. He’s kind, gentle, handsome, wonderful & has been totally raked over the coals by the last girl in his life. He’s very protective of his heart right now. I understand. I mean, I can’t promise him I won’t break his heart. He can’t promise me that he won’t break my heart, either. None of us can promise that to anyone. I can promise that right now I have no intention of breaking his heart & would just really like to see if we could be boyfriend & girlfriend. I’m being patient, least my version of give him the time & space he needs to heal or to trust or to whatever he needs. It’s maddening & I want to shout out loud that I love him, but I can’t. I’m a bit protective of my heart, too. I mean, one cannot be single for this long without having had many opportunities to build walls around one’s heart.

That’s my story of Spence.

Now in other news:

I was wearing my “Somebody in Nepal Loves Me” t-shirt at work. Dr. Steckle (the oh-so-amusing German professor) walked into the lab and read my shirt. Then he said, “They found him, & shot him.” I said, “So, now I have to change my shirt to ‘Nobody in Nepal Loves Me’?” and he said, “Also take out ‘in Nepal’.” He cracks me up!

You’ll have to check out my my story about carrying a scythe across campus. Do you have the link to my blog? I think I’d given it to you before, but just in case: & I finally posted some of my art on there. Some collages & some charcoals. I haven’t done any art for a long time. Just don’t have the time for it. That’s another reason I’m looking forward to Christmas break.

Speaking of Christmas break, I’m going bonkers deciding what to do! I don’t want to drive home because my tires suck. I can get to Boise with Daniel and then catch a plane out to Idaho Falls, stay for a few days and then catch a ride back to Moscow with a girl named Emily. But the whole trip will cost me over $200.00. I’m too poor for that. So, I decided not to go. But then I was talking to Jeff Beck and he said that I should get new tires for my car because it’ll be safer (for sure) and then it’ll make it easier to sell my car next year. My car’s not worth much, so I didn’t want to put much money into it because I want to get a new one next year. ACK! Sometimes I really hate making decisions and wish that someone would just do it for me. And drive me. But that’s easier to find: a chauffeur verses someone who can make decisions for me. But only when I want them to. I can make most of my decisions on my own.

It’s actually the next day. My printer is out of ink at the moment so I can’t print this letter so I thought I’d just keep going. Spence dropped by last night. He’s thinking of getting a laptop and wanted to see if he liked mine. And he wanted to burn something but we couldn’t get it to work. I think my laptop has achieved it’s maximum life. Why don’t things last longer. Poor computer. I named it “Chesterfield Snapdragon McFisticuffs and it’s lived a good life. If I get new tires, I can’t afford a new computer. ACK! Well, I could use my student loan money to do it, but I really want to use that money to get out of debt. But I really don’t see myself finishing school without a working computer. I’ve fallen victim to one of the classic blunders, the first is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well known is this: never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line...or let your computer and your car both break down at the same time. Does anyone have any Iocaine powder I could borrow? I feel like building up an immunity.

Well, in continuing news:
Since I still don’t have any ink...

I was grading tests for Dennis West and I don’t know how I did it, but I was short one blue book. The girl had handed in the first part of the test so it made no sense that there wouldn’t be a blue book. I looked EVERYWHERE and went BONKERS trying to figure out what to do. Dennis didn’t make it any better by telling me what I “SHOULD” have done. Okay, fine, when they invent time machines you can tell me what I should have done and I’ll go back and fix it, but in the meantime I think that we need to look at where to go from HERE. ACK! It was so bad that I tied myself into knots over it and he made me feel like crap. I had to call him back about it, but I didn’t want to do so alone. I just needed someone in my corner, so to speak. Anyway, I went to where Spence was working and asked him to just stand by me while I make the phone call. He did. It helped. I don’t know why, but I’m much braver if someone just believes in me. And that was Spence’s second time at being my “Knight in Shining Armor”.

Anyway, because of some things that were happening in my life I have started making “The Grand List of Things That Suck. Right now this is it:

1. Having to get over a crush because you know, that for no matter what the reason, it will not be reciprocated.
2. Losing one of the blue books in Dennis West’s film class.
3. Not being able to DEPOSIT a check even when your name is on the account.
4. Having brilliant ideas but lacking the capacity to bring them to fruition.
5. The infrequency in which the word “fruition” is used.

If you have any suggestions, I’ll be happy to include them.

Well, you know me, I could go on indefinitely, but I will stop.
Love ya!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Goran Visnjic

Richard Roxburgh

Another 8X10 charcoal.

Alan Rickman

This is an 8 X 10 charcoal--so far my favorite one I've ever done.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Death's Secret 'Stache

Death (a skeleton)
Mrs. Death (his wife)
Daughter (their daughter)

In the kitchen of DEATH and MRS. DEATH. Think of the characters like Santa and Mrs. Claus...if they were skeletons...jolly, happy, etc. Mrs. Death is futzing: preparing breakfast. The couple has been married for thousands of years. They are fine with quiet moments in which no one is talking. Death comes running in carrying a manila envelope.

Death: It’s here It’s here It’s here

He waves the envelope.

Mrs. Death: What’s here, dear?

Death: My...(he pulls it from the envelope with a flourish)...moustache

He puts it on his face. It covers his lip and hangs down on both sides of his mouth.

Death: (continued) Do you have a mirror?

Mrs. Death: You’re Death, dear. Death doesn’t wear a moustache.

Death: Why not?

Mrs. Death: Statistics say that men with moustaches are 75 % less trustworthy than a clean shaven man.

Death: And 45% of all statistics are made up by wives to keep their husbands from doing what they want.

Mrs. Death: Oh, that’s not true.

Death: Right, it’s probably 60 %.

She stops her futzing to look at him. He poses for her.

Mrs. Death: You look very silly.

Death: I want to see. Do you have a mirror?

Mrs. Death: Look in my purse. I think there’s one.

Death: Your purse?

Mrs. Death: (she finds her bag and hands it to him.) Here you go, dear.

He takes it as if it’s carrying the black plague.

Death: Why don’t you look in it?

Mrs. Death: I’m not the one who wants a mirror.

Pause. Death stares at the purse.

Death: I don’t want to go looking in your purse.

Mrs. Death: Why not?

Death: I’m afraid of what I might find in there.

Mrs. Death: There’s nothing bad in there...nothing untoward.

Death: (mumbling, not thinking she’s listening) Mostly I’m afraid I’ll find my own testicles in there.

Mrs. Death: Oh, honey, you’re a skeleton.

Pause. Finally he digs around in her bag.

Death: Ugh, what the...oh, a walnut.

Mrs. Death: What’s that, dear?

Death: I found a walnut.

Mrs. Death: That’s nice.


Death: Why do you have a walnut in your purse?

Mrs. Death: To feed the squirrels.

Pause. Death finds the mirror and pulls it out. He looks at himself.

Death: The color’s a bit lighter than it looked in the catalogue.

He straightens the moustache and looks at himself.

Death: (continued) I was sure I ordered the medium brown. Does this look like medium brown to you?

Mrs. Death: (without looking) Maybe it’s burnt umber.

Death takes the moustache off and tries wearing it as a long pair of eyebrows.

Death: Isn’t that the same as medium brown?

Mrs. Death: Hmm...I don’t think so. I think that’s burnt sienna.

Death: You’re probably right.

Mrs. Death: If you think so, dear.


Death: It’s been a long time since I’ve had facial hair.

Mrs. Death: You’re an anthropomorphic being, Dear. You’ve never had facial hair.

Death: Didn’t I? I was sure I did once. Early stages? Maybe in a Dali painting?

Mrs. Death: I don’t think Dali ever painted you.

Pause. Death tries the moustache as a goatee. As he looks at himself in the mirror, DAUGHTER walks in. She is ready to go to school, dressed, has her bag, an MP3 player, etc.

Mrs. Death: (sing-song) Good morning

Mrs. Death kisses Daughter on the head. When Daughter sees Death with his moustache, she stops dead in her tracks.

Daughter: Hi D[ad]...(she stops, stunned) Oh, God, Mom What’s Dad got on his face?

Death: (absently, still wearing it as a goatee and looking in the mirror) It’s a moustache.

Daughter: On your chin?

Mrs. Death: We think it’s burnt umber, sweetie. Do you want pancakes for breakfast?

Daughter: Mom, you’re not gonna let Dad wear a moustache are you?

Mrs. Death: We’re discussing it. (Quietly mouthing to Daughter:) No.

He puts it back on as a moustache.

Death: It’s my moustache.

Mrs. Death: Whatever you say, dear. Now what about those pancakes?

Daughter: Nah, just juice today.

Death: (to himself...the others ignore him) I don’t think we need to be discussing...

Mrs. Death: We don’t want you wasting away. You need to eat at least one pancake... and a sausage.

Daughter: Okay, one pancake, but no sausage. I’m a vegetarian now, remember.

Mrs. Death: They’re soy-sausages.

Death: (turning around to where Mrs. Death is cooking) Oh, I hate those

Mrs. Death: They’re healthy, dear.

Death: Look, I’m Death, okay? I’m thousands of years old, I’m a 7 foot tall (5 foot 10) skeleton, I reap souls of the living and bring them to the land of the dead... I don’t have to worry about cholesterol... I can eat sausages and wear moustaches if I want. I’m DEATH for the love of Pete

Mrs. Death: Of course, you are, Dear. (Beat) Now how many sausages do you want?

Death: Five.

Mrs. Death: Three dear?

Death: Five. I said five.

Mrs. Death: Did you say three...because three is a recommended serving according to the box.

Death: (defeated–but not demoralized) Three.

Mrs. Death: That’s what I thought you said. Now, are you going to take that thing off before you eat?

Death: (feigning confusion) What, my cowl?

Mrs. Death: No dear, the moustache.


Death: Well, no. I think I can eat with it on.

Daughter: I don’t think the rest of us can.

Mrs. Death: Why don’t you save it for after breakfast. We wouldn’t want it to get greasy, now, would we?

Death: (mostly to himself) They’re soy sausages, how greasy can they be?

Pause. Mrs. Death cooks. Death arranges his moustache. Daughter listens to music and pours a glass of juice. Mrs. Death sets a plate of pancakes on the table.

Mrs. Death: Piping hot, HOTcakes

A car horn honks.

Daughter: My ride’s here Gotta go.

Mrs. Death: Take a pancake.

Daughter: No time.

Mrs. Death: There’s always time for a healthy breakfast, isn’t that right, Dear?

Death picks up a pancake and throws it to Daughter. She catches it and heads out the door.

Daughter: Thanks, Dad. Bye, Mom

She exits.

Mrs. Death: (sing-song) Got my pancakes made with my sausage...and some salt...not too much. (Sigh) I miss the days we all used to sit around the table together.


Mrs. Death (continued): Don’t you miss those days, dear? I’m sure you do.


Mrs. Death (continued): Do you really need that thing, dear?

Death: I need a moustache.

Mrs. Death: Like you needed that lawnmower? We don’t even have a lawn.

Death: I need this moustache.

Mrs. Death: People are less inclined to trust a man with a...

Death: I’m Death

Mrs. Death: I know that, dear.

Death: But do they? (He points off stage) Do they know I’m Death?

Mrs. Death: The Clarks? I’m sure they do, it’s on the postbox.

Death: Not the Clarks, everyone. Everyone out there. They’re no longer shocked by me. They no longer tremble with fear and awe.

Mrs. Death: That’s because you’re a very nice man, Dear.

Death: No, I’m not I’m not nice I’m Death Just...just because they see me on their televisions, in movies, on their video games. They read statistics about how many of their fellow men died and do you know they say? They say, (in a different voice) “that ad said butter is on sale at the grocers; we should go tomorrow.” (His own voice again) No one blinks twice at death on the tv. Murders every night at nine/eight central. They walk down the street talking on their cell phones saying offhandedly, (a sorority girl voice) “I watched the news the other night, people died n’ stuff.” (His own voice) I need a moustache to bring back the fear and awe. People are more afraid of bad moustaches than of Death himself.

Pause. He puts his head down on the table. Mrs. Death walks over and pats him gently on the back.

Mrs. Death: Oh honey, they’re still afraid of you on an individual basis.

Death: (not looking up) No they’re not.

Mrs. Death: Yes they are. Why, just the other day I overheard Mr. Clark say, “Boy, living next door to Death really creeps me out.”

Death: (looking up) Really?

Mrs. Death: Of course, really. (Mrs. Death touches him softly on his face) When do I ever use the phrase “creep me out” unless I’m quoting directly?

Death: They’re still afraid of me? Promise?

Mrs. Death: I promise. Ask any one of them if they’re not afraid of Death. Especially if you ask them, Dear. They’ll be shaking in their platform shoes.

Death: That was the 70's.

Mrs. Death: So was that moustache. Anyway, what I’m saying is that you don’t need a moustache. You’re terrifying enough as is.

Death: You’re right. (His confidence returning) Where’s my scythe?

Mrs. Death opens up a cupboard, his scythe is next to the broom and the mop.

Mrs. Death: Here you are dear.

He takes the scythe from her. He takes off the moustache and hands it to Mrs. Death. He stands in all his skeletal glory, and turns to the audience...

Death: Are you afraid of Death?

Death moves forward. Lights out behind him so that the stage can be set for the next scene. Death’s shoulders slump. His enthusiasm is waning. He talks to the audience.

Death: Did you know that more people are afraid of public speaking than of death? People would rather keel over than give a three minute speech. If you ask someone what they’re afraid of you’d be surprised how low on the list death will appear. They’ll list different things... Spiders. Snakes. Flying. Heights. “What about death?” you ask, “Oh, yes, sure. Put that on the list, too.”

This bothers me. I mean, I’m a frightening character. Look at me You should fear me. (Pause) Or at least put me higher on the list. Sure, being married has really mellowed me out...but you people rarely give me a second thought. That’s why you always say it was “too sudden”. How can it be sudden? You know it’s coming. You always know it’s around the corner. You don’t know if you’ll have enough money to buy a house. You don’t know if you’ll get that trip to Disneyland, but you know...YOU’re going to die. Eventually.

Okay, you don’t have to be all mopey about it. You don’t have to pine. But could you just stop once in a while and think about me?

Death takes his scythe and exits.

A Blonde Moment

Between switching classes with Sally she said to me, “I felt bad, one student had three cell phones go off during his speech today.”

To which I responded, “Why did he have three cell phones?”

Sally started laughing an then gave me a hug. Realization dawned and I turned red. I’m a dork. I can’t help it...I was born with really blonde hair.

Scythe DOES matter

Thursday. Snow. Ice. Theatre. That’s how it works. But you probably need more information then that. Very well. I’ll tell you.

As mentioned, it was Thursday. It had snowed a great deal and I had a scythe I needed to bring to campus. It was for the performance of my play Death’s Secret ‘Stache (I’ll include it for you to read). And, no, it wasn’t a prop was a real one (borrowed from Krysta Ficca’s Dad via her Grandmother who was smaller than the scythe).

The play was fabulous–Audrey Lauren Wax directed it (she’s brilliant and I was quite pleased to work with her) and it starred Christopher Coursey as Death, Kristin Haller as Mrs. Death and Anna-Marie Hearn as their Daughter. They were are brilliant. Chris was frightening in his white face wielding the scythe. The audience laughed when it was supposed to and I felt it was a great success. But now the adventure really begins...

The scythe needed to be returned to its owner. I carried it from the Kiva to the library (I had to return a movie for Dennis West’s film class). Thinking that walking into the library carrying this enormous farm tool might cause some problems, I was thankful when Angela Gruver (one of my fabulous Comm students) happened by. She and her friend (give me his name and I’ll immortalize him here!–oh, and I’d love to hear YOUR side of the story, too!) were kind enough to hold the scythe for me while I ran my errand. Then I carried it from the library to the Shoup. Where I found out that Krysta had not driven that day and that the scythe was still my responsibility. So, off I went from the Shoup to the TLC building with the scythe over my shoulder.

It’s quite a good psychological study of those around you when one is carrying a scythe. The looks I got as I walked across campus were a mixture of smiles and laughter, to fear and a look that can only be described as “WTF?”. I heard one group behind me talking. “Is that the thing the Grim Reaper uses?” “Yes,” said a voice with the fear and awe about which Death was concerned in my play.

When I got to was only 2:30. I had about an hour to wait. Jessi Lundeen (another Comm 101 student) had gotten there early as well so we decided to play a little joke on Sally Eames-Harlan in her Comm class. Jessi and I waited outside the classroom until the student had finished her speech. Jessi opened the door and I walked in with the scythe.

“ is time to go.” I said, lowering my voice as far down as it would go.

“No, we still have time.” she said, looking at the clock.

“No...Just YOU.”

We all laughed then Jessi and I left so they could finish their class. Afterwards Sally said that Dean Panttaja’s son was sitting next to her and said, “That’s why I don’t hang out at the theatre department.” It cracked me up.

When class was over I walked from the TLC to home and decided that if I slid on the ice I would throw the scythe away from me to keep it from chopping off valuable body parts. On the walk home I met up with Erik Hayes. He was kind enough to walk with me and not worry about the judgements (not to mention injuries) that may befall a man walking next to a girl holding a scythe.