Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From the heart.

"If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing."
-Marc Chagall

I met with my teacher Shalom on Monday at noon. And amongst other things too profound to mention at the moment, he compelled me to open your heart.

He had me speak to him without moving my arms around, without looking away. 

I had to face him as I spoke from my heart. And the tears started pouring out. It turns out, I was feeling sooo many things, but moving around and using lots of words and avoiding eye contact, I was avoiding me. How I felt.

Perhaps in those moments I was, as Chagall warned, coming from my head. And thus little was created. But when I was still and I spoke to my teacher directly and from my heart, with utter honesty and care, everything worked. Perhaps a little too well -- as I found myself overwhelmed with emotion, but dare I say, I was enlivened. I felt anew. I felt simple and vulnerable and true.

I was reminded of what my acting teacher the late, extraordinary Freddy Kareman always always said:

1. Stay out of your head.
2. Leave yourself alone.
3. Make contact.

And this is alas what I did with Shalom. And boy, was I in the moment.

And I've since been revivified. Called to action anew. Writing/emailing potential literary agents for my memoir. Asking for referrals for a talent manager. I feel in my body. In my heart. Connected again.

Back on track.

And in those moments in his office, I felt like blllleeeccchhh. But something hardened was broken. And something honest was healed.

And so, my little blades, I feel this extraordinary leap towards the new world I have been working towards all year with you all along with me. I can feel it -- I cooked dinner for my neighbors Sunday night, I expect to book big jobs now -- because I have been, I am looking into new cars, I am ready for my house, for my man, for my career. To take off.

And I suppose that deep within the recesses of my heart, I needed to be opened up again.

And I was.

Zoiks is how I felt.

And then, I realized that some of the things that had been "frustrating" me no longer did. I wanted to call a friend I hadn't spoken to in a year and reconnect.

I was sooo no longer upset with another friend.

My ego felt washed away with the houses along the Broad Beach drive in Malibu where Gatsby and I attempted a beach walk this afternoon...

Yep. All for a reason, my little blades.

It's not about being ready, I feel. No more. It is about -- I am about -- being here. Now. This is the time. Not bread that is in the oven baking, rather bread that is sitting on the counter, perfectly. 

And the best hands in the world are about to scoop me up. They are scooping me up.

I am scooped.

And so... this is the blog of the night:

From our hearts, we must come. I was even reading this interview with all 3 Twilight series stars in Entertainment Weekly, and Kristen Stewart -- I enjoyed her comments because she was so honest. So from her heart. And whether it was awkward or smart or funny or -- whatever it was, she spoke from her heart. IN this one article. And I thought of Freddy's class -- and take your time, make contact, stay out of your head, leave yourself alone.

Wish me luck on my commercial audition tomorrow, my little b's. I will be doing all 3 of these things.

This is our time.


It is our hearts that will change the world. And our heads that will write the changes.

Tonight I am enlivened. I hope you all are too.

p.s. I emailed 3 people about talent managers, and I am emailing 6 literary agents tomorrow. And -- I went on Craig's List to earn money. Yes, my little blades, I am a bread loaf (hehe) on the counter. And I am working to afford the best counter I have ever imagined.

On that note, I shall dream of my dreams tonight... May you all dream shiningly of yours. 

Love... Always.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Decisions, decisions.

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Tonight my little blades, I am simply leaving you all -- us all! -- with this quote... Who are we going to decide to be?

Let us dream of our destinies tonight...

I have big, big decisions to make and so, tonight I shall dream of my destiny.

And tomorrow is the anniversary of my dear friend's sister's passing. So...please all of you say a prayer for Rachel in heaven.

And when you send up a prayer to her, say one for yourself too. That your destiny, your greatest dream may be realized. I am doing the same. Asking for a sign to ensure that I too am on the right path in this wilding world.

I send you all Love... Always...

Monday, June 28, 2010

An Invincible Summer.

"In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." Albert Camus 

What I've been thinking about, my little blades, is this summer and this fall... What shall I do. Where shall I be. With whom. Where exactly. Doing what exactly. And how exactly will this come about? What will be the conditions, my co-pilots on this new trip. Who will be there.

And I have been wondering about it all. Writing down my dreams today and how I will feel when they happen, I realized that I am utterly clear about what I want. But, alas -- there is still a mystery as to how exactly it will all unfold and with whom -- what team behind me and what man by my side.

But I think that this is part of life. Of the whole mystery in which we exist. Sometimes we don't know and yet somewhere deep within the depths of our souls, we know.

I am finding that more and more lately, I am trusting myself. My instincts. My core beliefs, what I know to be true when I don't actually know how I know it.

I have recently had a friend let me down. I feel I can no longer trust this friend. And yet, I am learning from the experience -- I am constantly thinking of what I have learned and also, what I may have known and also that I must have certainty about my gut feelings and also about my relationships in life. I must trust. With certainty. That the relationships which are meant to stay in my life will. And they will thrive. I honestly believe that the people with whom we are meant to be close will remain close and the ones who are temporary will fall away. Naturally.

There is a seasonal effect to certain relationships and like the leaves that fall from the trees once a year, so do certain relationships.

But the true deep friendships, they remain like a flower that closes its petals for winter and sleeps. But the seed is still there. (I sound like that song, "the rose." Zoiks!) I am friends again with my childhood best friend and it is like coming home. We text every day of our lives -- full of emoticons, it's like we're picking up where we left off.

And sometimes it is hard to trust our paths when we can not see what is ahead.

But, as Camus said, we have inside of us an invincible summer. And I am feeling a strangely strong sense of this. And I am not even sure how I am.

I am feeling a little crazy about it.

Meaning, I am wondering -- what is giving me this sense of huge success, this massive certainty? Perhaps it is the words I have been telling myself all year -- they have sunken in and I believe them. In them. In me.

I do. More and more. 

But I am definitely at a cross roads where I am feelings this string strong desire to "jump and the net will appear." As the Japanese saying goes.

To leave what I have known behind. To truly put myself out there.


I am making my mind up tomorrow afternoon. I shall see what signs I get about my decision. I so believe that when we ask for signs we get them, we simply have to pay attention.

Welp, I am.

It is time to play the game full force, to:

1. Edit my screenplay.
2. To book my commercial -- and get over any hang up I have had -- in the past -- about them.
3. To sell my memoir. This has been my dream since Barnard.
4. To star in this show. Two years have been leading up to this moment in time. I must have certainty -- that something magical will indeed happen.
5. To book voice-overs galore in the meantime.

And -- that my magical team is aligning beside me and I am ready to go out and find them. They will make this whole process sooo much easier.

Seek and ye shall find.






My friend Jeff and I will repeat at least twice a week.

My summer feels like an open road and I am ready to walk down something extraordinary.

And you my little blades are welcome to walk along with me.

What is tapping, beating inside of your hearts to be done? To be listened to?

What is grabbing at your souls?

What can you all do to make your lives more extraordinary? In what way can you jump and the net will appear?

I would love to know.

Because this is the most emboldened I have felt in a very very long time -- with no foreseeable reason.

But maybe the "foreseeable" reason is what my soul/heart/gut/instinct is telling me.

Listen to the light inside of me, guiding me. Will not let me down.

Never does.

When I listen.

And don't let ego get in the way. But rather -- listen to what I know to be true. What I am worth. What I deserve. What I am ready to have. To be. To share. 

The time is now.

I feel it.

And I hope you all feel it too.

I shall grab my computer tomorrow for 2 hours to write -- working on my screenplay. And communicating with loved ones, with agents, referrals, asking questions to friends who can help me with my dreams, and helping others with theirs -- like my cousin Jason and my friend Matthew -- I am committed to getting my friends into their theater to fill the seats.

Amaaaaazing show.

To giving to causes -- like the 5th grader whose bird drawings are raising money for the animals being rescued from the hellacious oil spill.

Heart wrenching.

I am committed to buying a ticket to fly to Europe to visit my sister and her family this summer for a week.

I am committed to my dreams.

I deserve them.

I have worked hard for them.

And I am ready to share them with the world.

And it all starts with having the courage to say it.


And tomorrow, the doing.

Listening to ourselves helps a lot.

Knowing when to say something and when to breathe.

I am meeting with my teacher tomorrow. Excited to hear what he has to say.

Never from ego, always from the light.

Always with love.

And on that note, my little blades, I thank you all for reading my words tonight -- because indeed each one of you who listens make my mighty dreams more real... And always know that listening is reflexive -- when you are reading and supporting me in my dreams, invariably I am doing the same for you.

And on that note, I hope this finds you all dreaming... big, big lofty dreams.

That you have discovered within yourselves an invincible summer. I am tending to mine more and more -- like watering the daisies, sipping that iced tea on the front porch, hiking that mountain, swimming in that pool, reading that book, falling in love with that man, and feeling like a kid all over again -- a kid who flew across the country to this wilding city with a dream, intent on seeing it happen.

Welp, this invincible summer is the time. 

This little kid is now a woman who is ready to realize her loftiest, biggest, brightest, most magical dreams. 

I shall dream of this for all of us tonight...

I send you all love... Always.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Story is published in Women Reinvented!!!!

"The act of writing requires a constant plunging back into the shadow of the past where time hovers ghostlike." -Ralph Ellison 

I'd love for all of my little blades to read my first publication in a collection of essays!!! 
Please click on the following link and join the page. I'd LOVE the support. Thank you my beloved blades...

Love... Always.
A few years ago, after graduating from college, I found myself needing some extra income. I’d moved from New York City to Los Angeles and was craving steady work. So when a friend referred me to a Westside family for a tutoring job, I was Carnation Instant Tutor.
At the time, I was a bit adrift. I felt pretty split actually – I had just finished a hyper-successful Broadway debut. I understudied three roles in The Diary of Anne Frank, starring Natalie Portman and directed by James Lapine. We ran for almost nine months. This was my very first acting gig. I was prosperous, I had my own apartment in the West Village, I was a signed client of William Morris, I’d performed before thousands of people, and I was a recent Ivy League Graduate. But my mom had died a few years before and I was suddenly sad. I’d wear sunglasses in the daytime for fear that if people could see my eyes, they’d be scared. My sadness was so deep I was scared of looking down. I often felt I would fall right over. And as my sadness deepened, I knew I needed a break from acting. Plus, my finances were running out and the bright lights of Broadway were fading into the pinky sunsets of Malibu. I just needed a job. I needed to breathe and not be so ambitious for once. Brentwood and a sixteen year-old girl seemed like the perfect medicine. I’d always loved kids and teaching, now I could combine the two, make some money and heal myself. Perhaps I would even become a sort of adopted big sister. Warm weather, pretty good money, helping kids write essays, free meals. I was stoked, as they say in California.
When I arrived at the family’s tree-lined street, I was buzzed into a yard with a deep blue pool. A diminutive woman with dark, attractive features and the body of a teenager brought me in to greet her two daughters. They both had dark brown hair — sloppy in a privileged kind of way — and they were friendly, excited even, to have someone around who was older than them, but clearly younger than their parents. As I entered their kitchen, three dogs lapping at my feet, I was prepared to tackle essays with the sophomore or math with the seventh grader.
Within minutes, I was led upstairs to the 16-year-old’s dimly lit room. Used-up candles, empty water bottles, bags of Terra chips and the requisite Vegan cookies were scattered haphazardously about the king-sized bed. This was to be our study place, a discomfort from the start.
We began with an essay she was writing for English class. But before getting started, we got to know one another in between bites of the aforementioned snacks. Her mother even brought up a tray containing the dinner her daughter requested — cooked beets, steamed carrots, and marinated tofu. We sipped on bottles of flat water. After eating, she said she felt fat.
That same evening, I was invited to move in. Free food and housing, their mother promised, if the kids could come to my room for tutoring whenever necessary. I pictured the girls knocking on my bedroom door like Jehovah’s Witnesses, stacks of books in their hands, ruthless attempts at conversation. A warning light flickered in my mind. I politely declined.
But I did become a regular visitor. When their parents were out, the three of us would open the doors of the kitchen pantry and simply stand before it. In these moments, we were reduced to a Pavlovian state, drooling over our favorite teas, chips, chocolate candy, and cookies. Then we’d journey to the fridge where we’d indulge in kiwi fruits, sliced apples, bright red cherries, and tofu cheese slices. With her little sister left to study on her own and her parents scattered about the house, we’d climb the stairs to her bedroom, like cherubic children, heavy with sleep.
But we didn’t sleep. Instead, I’d listen while she cried like a child. She’d lean on my shoulder, tears spilling onto the strap of my tank top, her body slumped on the bed like a disjointed stuffed animal. Most nights she said she didn’t feel well — her parents were infuriating her, or it was the anniversary of her grandmother’s death or she had a stomachache. I had her write about this pain. It was palpable; it hung over her bed like a mosquito net, capturing her fears, making her itch.
I’d sworn secrecy to this weary-eyed teenager, but I grew concerned as her sadness became a normal part of our tutor sessions. One night I pulled her mother aside as I was leaving.
"Your daughter seems very unhappy."
Her mother asked why, as if I were a nuisance.
"I don’t know."
"The most important thing," the mother continued, "is that she do well her junior year."
My tutoring hours were getting ridiculous, often exceeding four hours a day. I enjoyed the good money and good food, but I had gone from tutor to therapist in a matter of weeks. I probably should’ve charged more for my services considering I ended up calling my therapist on the teenager’s behalf one Tuesday just before midnight after she begged me to let her throw up.
During finals week a few months later, her parents asked me to stay with her while they attended a cousin’s wedding in Carmel. In the same breath, they explained how vital good scores on these exams would be to their daughter’s college applications. The night before they left, her mother pulled me aside to pay me in the kitchen.
"We think she may have a borderline eating disorder."
I merely agreed. I felt as if her daughter’s secret hung over me like a dark cloak; I was stifled, uneasy. I thanked her for the check and walked out towards my car. 
Once her parents were gone, the older girl confided that she’d bought liquor and cigarettes. She’d rented some videos. One of her girlfriends was coming over to “hang out by the pool.” How cozy this would all be, except I was there. I have no idea if it ever occurred to her that I might possibly tell her parents, which I never did. I think she was too caught up in the moment, in being a rebel, and I unfortunately could not join the cause. I’d unwillingly become the tutor/therapist/babysitter/friend. I spent the entire evening countering her attempts to ruin her finals. And as I lay in bed that night, sore backed from running circles around this girl, I swore to myself that I was done, expired — like an old Amex card broken in half, then throw away.
After that finals weekend, I never did return to that house. But through a friend I learned that the little sister was to be attending a new school the following year. And that she was still the fun-loving, healthy girl I’d grown to know. She was innately light and I always felt she’d be okay. I also learned that the teenager was seeing a nutritionist and a therapist, and that she began taking anti-depressants again. She also was accepted into a prestigious arts school summer program and into her first-choice college — both undoubtedly helped by a few important phone calls her parents made. I felt mixed about it all.
Months later I realized I’d never once seen the family sit down to dinner together. The parents did not demand regular chores or dole out allowances. The family didn’t enjoy any of the familiar rhythms I knew so well as a child. There was a lot of love in this house, but no one seemed to know where to put it. I often felt the urge to teach this young girl more than how to write essays, but I resisted. What she desperately needed was not something I could give her — discipline, routine, a delicate touch to her cancerous sadness.
And as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I resented her. I grew up in a New Jersey town where a tattoo shop expanded and displaced our only bakery, and my sister and I were able to attend the prestigious prep school only because we qualified for financial aid. My parents were both teachers and we always felt the money pinch. It hung in the air of our home. It pulled at our hair, tugged at our backs. She lived in a sprawling house, her closets bursting with couture and pricey hipster clothing, her own brand-new SUV in the driveway. And she could yell at her mother with abandon. In short, she had everything I didn’t have as a child.
Still another part of me felt deeply for her. Where was her family dinner? Her homework being red-pen checked by a doting mother? Where were her family vacations? She seemed to live like a frantic animal that had been shot in the leg, desperate for safety.
In the end I, too, was desperate. Leaving behind a girl who purged on excess and starved for the simple, I took with me another kind. A girl left drained by one family and hungering for another -- my own.
And as I drove away, I thought to myself -- Take this young tutor, who you are in this moment, and shape her, mold her into a young woman with boundaries and dreams of her own, who will do great things… You have learned when to say no, when to go, when to check in with yourself, how to walk away with your head held high, to be grateful for what you had that no one can ever take away. Love. Love that knew no eating disorders, no separate eating quarters, no couture, no crying out of gossamer sadness, no yelling for discipline. Love that knew colorful, healthy food, that shaped cracks in the ceiling into shapes of animals as you and your mom lay in bed on a lazy Saturday morning, that played rhyming games with your mom until the smell of bacon seeping from the vents signifying breakfast, that meant singing at the piano as your dad played rhapsodically, that knew no great wealth rather great belief in God’s children.
I began to write. I traveled to Oxford and studied Shakespeare. I took care of a stranger as she lay dying of cancer, I volunteered and read books I’d loved as a child to elementary school children, I went for long walks and took a break from acting so I could learn about being. As my friend Alison once said, “We are human beings, not human doings.”  After a successful Broadway run, a break from my career, a humbling tutoring gig, and a rekindled desire to “suck the marrow out of life,” as Thoreau recommended, I needed to be. And slowly, this small town I always felt more than, in the slick California sun, it felt real and nurturing, and I began to feel my hometown in my blood. I knew I had a story to share. Tutoring might be the means to the end, but this end would be glorious – I would write and act my big heart out when I wasn’t with these kids trying to eke a smooth English essay out of them. I would return to me – to the girl who’d left New York behind for the promising palm trees of the west. No. I would come back even stronger, more still. I’d needed a break from Hollywood because my mom’s death when I was seventeen had just hit me… But when I drove away from that sprawling house in Brentwood, I looked out of my rear view mirror and said, “I am stronger for this. I will come back and show this world what I can write, how I can act – and this, this story of a girl crying on my shoulder, this story of a young woman feeling helpless, this will only make me stronger.” Walk on, sweet child, I said to the little girl very much alive inside of me, Walk on. And I did. I never looked back, rather I set my eyes on the setting sun, knowing that mine would soon be rising, a golden saucer in the sky, illuminating my way from a small town in New Jersey to the sprawling dreams of Hollywood. I would never again be alone. I had my past and I was driving towards my future – and my mom was right there with me, where she belonged.
A few years ago, after graduating from college, I found myself needing some extra income. I took a seemingly ordinary tutoring gig and what I got was quite extraordinary. I got back me. Reinvented.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Motown's 25. Wow...

"Michael is quite amazing to me... it's an innate gift 
that he has. He is a dancer in his soul."
-Michael Peters (choreographer on Beat It & Thriller)

In Honor of The King.

"Michael is quite amazing to me... it's an innate gift that he has. He is a dancer in his soul."
- Michael Peters (choreographer on Beat It & Thriller)

& Thriller...

RIP my hero. It has been one year since you passed. But I will -- along with countless millions always love you. Thank you for your incomparable gift which you so lovingly gave the world.

Friday, June 25, 2010

To Our Beloved Gulf.

"Our love is our art."
- John Lennon.

I dedicate this blog to John Lennon and to our beloved Gulf. May John's dream of peace spread to all of the living beings and wildlife in the gulf and protect them from this war called the BP oil spill.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I heart the zoo.

"I love acting, but it's much more fun taking the kids to the zoo."
Nicole Kidman 

Today I took the morning off and journeyed to the zoo with two of my friends who happen to be young moms -- and so, I did just what Nicole loves. I went to the zoo.

How about you, you, you? I'm going to the zoo, zoo, zoo! (If you've ever babysat you know this song, if not -- your days are coming -- you too shall be humming this tune!)

We met around 9:15 am -- I even rescheduled a morning audition -- and we hopped into the Lexus SUV and off we traveled to the Los Angeles Zoo.

Now, keep in mind that I have been living in this city for over 8 years and I have never been to the zoo. Not once. I adore the San Diego Zoo.

And I absolutely love animals. And especially after having adopted Gatsby over 3 years ago, I feel that Gatsby is every animal. And the truth is -- I believe that this is the point of life. That we see whom we love in everyone. This was, we love as much and as many people as possible. 

So, when I looked at the kangaroo as it lay there in the sun, it looked like Gatsby resting in the courtyard.

And the lion sidled up against the wall could've been Gatsby sidling up against the bathroom door when he follows me in when I shower.

When the little "pig bull" was his translated name and the name that meant "pig bull" eludes me, but when the baby was racing around its mother and running as if it were taking a crucial part in some invisible race, he totally reminded me of Gatsby especially when he was first let off leash at the LACMA grounds. He'd race around and around as if he would win an award for his speed.

We ate lunch on picnic tables, which we'd packed this morning or last night. I ate barefoot.

We watched camps of children with their camp names on their bright t-shirts, glaring proudly in the morning sun. We watched a bill goat-esque animal atop a mountain pee for what seemed like ten minutes. 

I bought some pens at the gift shop. I watched a chimp spoon a smaller chimp, then pick his nose and his bum and continue spooning...

It was breezy and sunny and the zoo was clean and friendly and each animal had a well-informed sign that helped us all along in our understanding of it.

A giraffe's neck is roughly 8 feet long, for example. And the chimpanzees are now on the endangered species list.

But, it was the kind of morning that I never quite knew I could have in Los Angeles. We walked through a zoo in the beautiful Griffith Park and we saw all kinds of people -- granted most of them were wearing camp t-shirts -- and we got to see beautiful and unique and playful and sleepy and fast and peeing and spooning animals and they inspired me.

I felt like -- wow. I need this more often. I need to break up my days. With nature. And animals. And the great outdoors. And that it's okay to be away. To discover new things. I am not going to miss anything by being away. By seeing what else is out there. By spending time doing things I love -- things that I usually save to do when I am "away" on vacation.

What if we made our homes into a vacation? 

Our cities were ours to excavate?

And so... my dear blades, this is what I was thinking this morning.

That I took a day away -- at least part of a day. And I loved it. Utterly loved it.

I loved all the animals. It's kind of like Arthur Miller says in All My Sons. I walked around feeling like, these are all of our animals.

Each and every one of them.

And any artist, truly -- any human being, can learn from these animals.

How they move and relate to one another. 




And thus, my little blades, on this note, I am off to bed... For a beautiful, wild and rare night of sleep.


Things are moving along quite magically. There are still areas where I am excited to have movement. But alas, I am moving along.

Excitedly. Details on my movie to come.

I hope you all take a trip to the zoo this summer -- after all, what is a summer for if not to visit a zoo and remember what it feels like a have a carefree day with a packed lunch and a sense of awe?

Take a trip. You'll be thrilled you did.

Love to you all... Always.

And the thing is, the kids are still so little, so they liked it too -- but when asked what were their favorite animals we saw all day as we headed back to the car, Kai said, "monkeys!" and Baxter exclaimed, "elephants!" Neither of which we saw today. Zoiks.