Thursday, February 11, 2010

Music, Reading and Phone Calls.

"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."

"Everyone is a star and deserves a chance to shine."
-- Marilyn Monroe

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself."
-- Audrey Hepburn

Today I find myself inspired. Things are blooming. I already feel spring! The poor East Coast is experiencing "Snowpocalypse" and California is like a night-blooming jasmine... which I dyslexically called "morning bloom jasmine" yesterday. Zoiks!

Okay, soooo... last night, I literally passed out at like 9:30pm. I felt like a college kid who had been studying to the point of sheer exhaustion. And thus, I could take it no more. I gave in, my lids closed and on my couch, with my laptop forever near me, I gave in to the sweet, sweet elixir of sleeeep...

So, here are the 3 lessons of the day (meaning yesterday, zoiks!) are:

1. Embrace your Imperfections. As Marilyn once said, "Imperfection is beauty." Embrace your imperfections -- what makes you quirky. What makes you shine. Glisten. Glow. It's funny because at my most recent photo shoot, I felt like a STAR. And then, a few days later when I looked more and more closely at the proofs, I some things that were "imperfect" clearly. But when I breathed and actually fell in love with my face -- my sometimes & somewhat ethnic, exotic looking Lebanese nose. It is slightly off. And it makes me me. If I were to correct it, I would effectively look like everyone else. And I always want to be remembered as me. That is Kieren -- not Kieren trying to look like every other actress. Kieren. Period.

Exciting stuff.

And so, my commercial agent and I have narrowed it down to two photos, which I am posting tomorrow. Fresh and clean are the photos. Yay!

I'd heard about the Navajo Indians' idea of imperfection through my Uncle John who owned The Buffalo Indian Room in Boulder, Colorado. He sold lovely hand-made pieces by mainly the Hopi & Navajo tribes. And I remember hearing that when making jewelry, they would purposefully make an indentation on the back of the jewelry because they believed that only God could make perfect things.

How refreshing is this wisdom in our culture of plastic surgery? Ahhh...

So, on the following website link, I looked up the idea of the Navajos and their relationship to imperfections and look what I found:

The way you know that you’re looking at a genuine Navajo blanket is to look for the tiny mistakes. Like a Navajo blanket, it is our imperfections—not our perfection—that draw us close to God, and others.

Good stuff, huh?

2. Shine. When looking over the photos, I felt instinctively that I needed one more "look" to be shot by my photographer, the smashing Paul Smith. And a few years ago, when I was just starting out here, I probably would've said, "Oh that's okay. I don't want to bother anyone. It's fine." Or I would've asked Jamie, my agent, and waited for her response. But no. Not now. I looked at them, and I decided that I need one picture where I am going for it. Really looking beautiful. Really embracing my "chance to shine." And so, instead of sitting around and talking about it, asking for opinions, and maybe emailing, I called him. Asked for another shoot. One look. Told him what I was looking for. And tomorrow morning at 8:30am, we are on.

But, it's interesting the word choice of Marilyn -- "deserve" -- because my best friend Baby -- she said something to me when she and her husband Rob were visiting out herein early December. We were talking about a friend in an unhappy relationship, and Baby said to me, "She's in it because she doesn't feel she "deserves" to be fully happy.

And at first, my instinct was to defend my friend. Yes she does. She does want to be happy. But then, I stopped and thought about my own life. And the areas where I am unfulfilled. And I thought, gosh, do I think I deserve it?
And I do. You do. We all do.

And we can only shine when we feel we deserve it. So... tomorrow morning, my friend Whitney Rosen, comes over at 6:30am and she will make me up and style my hair -- we have already traded emails of what I am looking for exactly. And we are excited to create my look, my shine.

3. First-rate version. Oh, Audrey... how we adore thee. And how spot on is she here? Why attempt to be a second rate version of anyone else? When only we can do what we can do? It sounds obvious and like the stuff that lines the faux-wooden plaques for sale with shots of streams and trees overarching them at your local Hallmark store. But when we truly get this in our blood, that we need to be a FIRST RATE VERSION of US, our entire lives shift. And invariably, we give permission for others to shift with us.

Wow. It's like walking outside or your house and all of a sudden, your front yard is a carnival -- with bright, colorful rides and yummy smelling kettle corn and laughing children and a man winning a stuffed animal for his girlfriend and the girlfriend winning him one right back. Music from the 80's, summer night...

I have a little story to prove the veracity of this 3rd statement. My own private (Idaho) moment. Hehe.

I chose a one act to produce and star in in the first Little Bird Festival, which Lulu and I co-produced at the Elephant Lab Theatre a year and a half ago. I got a referral from the great Michael Weller, who wrote Loose Ends, and it was a sparkling student of his from The New School in NYC. In fact, less than a year later, she was awarded an award along the lines of being the "most promising alumn." It was the first award of its kind.

Anyway, when I chose the play called, "I Have It," I chose it because the language felt really natural to me. I adored the quirkiness and steely strength of the female lead -- it's a two person play, man and woman. She felt easy to me -- easy like, I can do this. Well. The play felt very much like the training I'd had in NYC with Freddy Kareman -- Freddy studied with Sandy Meisner at The neighborhood Playhouse. And Freddy created his own take on the "repeating exercise" fashioned the "Meisner Technique."

The language was crisp and natural and awkward and deep and vulnerable and hilarious and we interrupted one another and we listened to one another and we spoke out of our hearts and our dreams. Some dreams smashed and some still simmering within... When I say "we" I mean our characters. Well, when I approached my friend to play the male lead, he said no. He found it boring. I mean they just sit on a bench and talk, he said. Nothing happens in this play. And then, my other friend, the director whom I chose for our play, he found the language of the play to be somewhat overwritten. He wasn't a huge fan, though he said yes right away. We'd studied together in NYC and we spoke the language, so to speak. Hehe.

Long story short, we did it. We put the play up. And people LOVED it.

Ashton Kutcher pulled me aside after our Benefit Performance and said to me,

"Four people in the world can do what you did tonight. Including Bill Murray." He said I could go from hilarious to utterly vulnerable and sad in a flick of a word. And that,

"When the right people see your work, you are going to work a lot. And for a very long time."

He offered to direct and produce me in a short film version of the play.

The Great and beloved Alec Baldwin came to that same show. He asked to talk to me. He said that Lorne Michaels would LOVE me. he called him on my behalf. A week later, I was flown to New York to test for Saturday Night Live.

My super talented playwright friend who brought Alec, Ron Dobson, whose play was also featured in that same one act festival, told me that a few minutes into my play, Alec leaned over to the friend sitting next to him and said,

"I love this girl."

Alec and Ashton have become dear friends. And I am now making a movie with Bekah -- sort of combination of the character from that play and the one I most recently starred in.

First-rate version of myself.

And look what is happening to my life as a result.


Go out in the world, my little blades, and create your own. Magic.

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