Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BAD 2010 Wrap-up Part 1.

"Courage breeds creativity."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.  

My little blades, what a perfect day to write you of my BAD's of last year -- "BAD's," which were actually perfect.

Not that I thought this at the time. I actually was what I like to call "Les Mis" -- pronounced like the musical, for dramatic, flamboyantly humorous effect. Zoiks! That was a mouth-full.

But seriously, blades, I went through "the winter of discontent," though it was a warm, mushy summer in Los Angeles. 
And I felt like -- nothing was happening. Why? I wondered and cried, why? I had no updates, no date dates, no money, nothing remotely sexy of which to write. I was just a girl in a city-less city with nothing to share.

And I longed for the me who had updates. Who was, as I was sharing with my dear friend Jade, when I was in NYC last October, "golden."
When I was the girl who was popular in high school, dated Kyle Andre during ice hockey season because he played ice hockey. Okay -- it wasn't that bad, I wasn't that bad, Kyle was cute and I had a crush on his wavy, almost black hair, and I could only imagine where he grew up -- the mysteries of attending prep schools with boarding students -- you always have the mystery lingering around in our head... Where is he from? What are her parents like? I'd love to see their houses!

But, yes... I felt golden.
Then, I went on to Barnard where I graduated early -- and before that, I established the Barnard Literary Society, won awards I never knew existed before I won them, wrote for The Barnard Bulletin, The Columbia Spectator, created a literary magazine, wrote a poem a night, worked out prodigiously, ate ritualistically & healthily because of my dance class and swimming and running -- and no, I wasn't neurotic. I was ALIVE. I was living my dreams. 

I remember my friend Bebe saying to me, "We should have our own literary society here at school. Why don't we have one?" And we were way up in the top floor lounge of the newish dorm called Sulzberger Hall -- yes, named after the Sulzbergers who owned The New York Times, and then -- guess what?

I founded it. The Literary Society. I went around posting signs all over Barnard. I asked people questions. I talked to professors. I created something. No, I created something. I made something real, tangible, just because I thought it. My thought -- my friend's thought mixed with mine, as is so often the case, mixed with mine -- and then, I created it.
And I loved it. I tended to it like a garden. And I remember one of my all time favorite professors coming to my Barnard Literary Society's Coming Out Party -- that sounds like what it's not -- but you all get the point -- this was my way of sharing my society with everyone!

And so... Professor Edward Taylor came to the party. And I remembered how he looked out at everyone sipping their drinks and munching on the hors d'oeuvres and leaning in to say to me, "After so often a student does something like this. And I think it is amazing." And I beamed.


I was in love.


He attended Yale and I'd hop the Metro North almost every weekend of my sophomore and junior years to be with him. 

I started writing my memoir -- which at the time, I called "my novel," I actually saved it on my desktop as "my novel." Zoiks!

I was listening to Seal and not just retelling stories about my mom and her past -- I was flying -- because I was c-r-e-a-t-i-n-g her story. I wasn't retelling, I was imagining. And it felt like slivers of heaven whenever I saw the ice cubes in the iced tea of my beautiful Aunt Lila at her lovely ranch home in Mississippi. Her sliding glass doors leading out to her flat, green backyard...

Because at least in my mind, it was these things. And in my mind, she'd tell me stories as she sucked on the ice cubes from her iced tea -- sweet tea -- and I'd just listen, happily listen... Nothing better than a tall glass of sweating sweet tea, and the sugary southern voice of our beautiful aunt as she drips nostalgic about her childhood with my mom. 

At least in my story, in mind, this was how it went.

And I actually won a Ford Foundation Grant to go down there -- I ended up traveling to DC to interview various women and men who worked at Arab American organizations. And the most rewarding was my trip to The Museum of Natural History where I visited The Arab American Archives and got to listen to my Great Uncle John retelling what it was like to be a Lebanese man in Mississippi in the 1930's. P.s. -- not as bad as you would think. They were, I believe, the only ethnicity allowed to vote in that state before the Civil Rights Movement.


And golden.

I'd interned for Joel Siegel -- I was the only intern he'd ever hired to be his personal assistant and he paid me out of his pocket. I stayed at his penthouse while he was away, I attended more screenings for movies than I made dinners at home.

I met Morgan Freeman, I B Roll-ed the Golden Globes for GMA in LA. I had a lusty night with a young producer there. I wore a great dress, smiled widely and happily. And I decided I was going to be an actress.

Then, Broadway ensued shortly thereafter.

I was on stage with Natalie Portman and Linda Lavin, Broadway stars such as George Hearn (who originated Sweeney Todd on Broadway), Pulitzer Prized Nominated Austin Pendelton and -- The Diary of Anne Frank was our show! I am half Dutch and my Dad was in the camps in Java, Indonesia as my grandparents were missionaries. 

This story spoke to me. Broadway spoke to me. (I'd grown up going to shows with my family and I dreamt of the stage. )

Golden yet again.

... But somewhere amidst the traffic of Los Angeles, the uninspired television shows, and the lack of men whom I was falling for, I started to feel less golden, more like a thinly plated silver...
But, I was told my a number of bright, bright, evolved souls to hold tight. One even said, and I think I quoted this in my last blog, "It's gonna get so good for you, you're gonna laugh that you ever worried."

Welp, I had to go through the valley of darkness to get there/here, but I am seeing it all again... This time, as a woman.
And damn.

It feels good, my little blades. It feels good.
But -- let's leave it as this -- this is only part 1 of the BAD. I'll get into the specifics of this time period and what brought me here in my next blog.

This one has been long-long-long. But I hope it's been juicy,juicy,juicy!
And that you've dug some of my past dalliances with gold in my past. Because what is rising within me now is golder than any gold I have ever known.

Perhaps sometimes, my little blades, we need to put ourselves away, soften up our edges, snuggle into our own consciousness before we can go out into the great wild yonder and be extraordinary.
Or perhaps as my former neighbor Jenny Miller so wisely put it, "Kieren, you were building little buildings before. And now, you are building skyscrapers. And they take longer to build."

And with these words of inspiration, think, my little blades, of what skyscrapers you are currently building... Think of what buildings you created in the past and how your golden present is vaster, shinier, more loving, more courageous than ever before. 
Or think -- of what you CAN create. Pull the seat belts off of your dreams and see what it feels like to fly down the unbeaten path with nothing holding you back. Where would you go? 

I... alas, am going to bed. Hehe.

But I shall write you more tomorrow. The tangibles of this time. And how I grew. And grew. And grew.

Thank you for reading.

I send you all Love... Always.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My 2010 Goals Wrap-up!

"What we believe, we shall become."
- Kvdb.
Happy New Year, my Little Blades!!! First of all, I want to thank you all for following my blog, for coming along for my ride, for reading my triumphs and my disappointments. For empathizing with me as I expressed my dreams and worked tenaciously to see them come true. And I have to say, what has come out of this blog honestly has gone beyond my thoughts -- I have had a " cyber friend" send me a book in the mail  and then, an Itunes album of meditative chants. I have debated with another and eventually asked him to stop reading my blog. I have made new friends who have shared with me how comforting it was to read my blog -- and how less alone they felt because of it.
I had a friend at my high school reunion this past summer tell me that he's an avid reader and that if I needed an proof reading, he was my man. 
I've had older friends -- of a few years -- tell me that they felt they were really getting to know me for the first time -- my insides. And when I "didn't feel" like blogging, I'd make myself. And then, when I knew that I needed a break, I gave one to myself. All the while, learning to listen to myself, honor my voice within, pay attention to my gut.
To wrap up an entire year though... tough stuff! But here alas, on this gray day, I shall attempt to put together my good/bad list -- which ultimately is all good. And how my "best-selling author and movie-star" blog has turned out. Plus, I will tell you all what my next steps are for this year -- in other words, how last year has become this golden year... And -- I shall include what 3 psychics said. Zoiks! And who was right and how. (I am starting to feel like an infommercial -- and I am almost about to say "You get 3 free Ginzu knives for reading my column today! Call within the next 9 minutes. And I'll throw in a tomato twaddler!")

So... without further ado, here we go... !!!

The Best of my life in 2010.
(and these are in no particular order :)

The Best.
1. WME: Signing with WME Voice-Over. This agency headed by Erik Seastrand is undeniably the best VO agency in the city. Erik is kind and funny and personable and has a killer work ethic.

I have said to people before that I was with an agency before WME for VO and being with them as opposed to being with WME is like dating a guy vs. being in love with him.

It is being with "good" and being with the "best." And trust me, they are miles apart.

I've booked more with WME in 4 months than in all of last year with Innovative Artists.

Plus, William Morris is where I began -- they put me on Broadway -- my first gig! -- and this feels like a glorious full circle.

2. MOVIE STAR: Having a major production company email me in mid-December to see if I wanted to meet with them about producing my movie!!! This is a company -- a person -- I have wanted to work with -- someone who has wanted to work with me too -- for over two years! This also feels kharmically perfect. Like something we have been working towards...

3. PSYCHIC: And it's funny because a psychic told me last summer that the end of my year was going to get "So good that you'll laugh that you ever worried." Keep smiling," she said. "And," she continued, "It is only going to get better!" I met her at an event where she was giving free readings and so for like maybe ten minutes, she "read me." And she also told me about my man... But, more of that on a later blog :)It's funny because I am not a big psychic person -- and I only went because she was free and my friends and I thought it would be fun. But, I have to say -- she was right. She really saw me. And these things did, have started to happen. In fact, at a party before Christmas in Silverlake, I chanced upon another psychic -- a supercool, sexy British woman, who also started to "read me" -- at a hipster party of all places. And when I told her that I was "craving Broadway," she told me, "There is something much bigger for you." She said, "Go home and sleep tonight and when you wake up, you will know what it is." And I did. And I did. :)

4. HOME: One of my best friends, Jesika, has moved in with me and literally transformed my life. It is so lovely to cook with someone and to share bills and to hang out with them, to have a "built-in best friend" is heaven... And this is the first time I have lived with someone in years, so living with her feels like preparation for the future... : And living with her, I feel, has made all of my dreams feel closer -- because I have opened up and shared my space and myself and remembered, I have remembered, what it felt like in New York when my career was breaking open and I had a roommate and I was fulfilled. Another full circle.

5. THE LITTLE BEAST COMPANY/Honestly, the blog. Welp, with my blog, I tweeted and facebooked it and my social network has begun to burgeon. I have connected with SO many people this way -- through Facebook and Twitter and this community of friends that continues to grow and grow... And this blog has made me into a more honest person. Into a person whose dreams have become supported by almost cyber shoulders... I have felt the love and support of strangers who have cheered me on as I have succeeded and who've picked me up when I was falling. This is an extraordinary aspect of these new networks we are all in the process of making -- we meet these, what I call, "cyber angels," with whom we strike up unlikely friendships. And I for one, am grateful for them. For all of you reading my blog at this very moment.
And... I had my first party on December 12th of last year to celebrate my Little Beast Company! I was a producing partner of Little Bird Theater Company and then, when my partner and I broke up last December -- a year ago -- she wanted to run her own company and with a non-actor, I felt sort of lost in the beginning. But, when I talked to Shalom -- my teacher, he smiled widely and told me that he had been waiting for this news. That this was the best thing for me. And even though I have missed doing our beloved one act festivals, I believe he was right. 

I am working on getting my movie done. I am doing a play with the Vs. Theatre Company and my Little Beast Company will do our first festival later this fall!

We are all moving along at a fabulous clip!

And these are the career updates thus far -- blog part 1! 

There are more updates as well -- but I will blog about the "worst" which is actually also the "best" tomorrow :)

But as far as being a movie star -- I am on my way, my little blades! And tomorrow and Monday, I shall be reading through my movie and one act play to see what I like and want to edit to make even more exraordinary. Screenplays have always scared me and that is whay this is perfect for me. I have written children's books and plays and articles and a column and essays and a memoir. I CAN DO THIS. I can write a movie!

And so... this is how last year ended for me... Glitteringly. Promisingly. Perfectly.

And now... for the next blog, The WORST, which is also the BEST.

"You're gonna make it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!"
Reverend Run Wisdom via Twitter.




Nina: ... "I understand now, Kostya, that in our work, acting or writing, it makes no difference, what matters isn't fame or glory, it isn't all the things I dreamed about, but the capacity to endure. To bear your cross and have faith. I have faith and it doesn't hurt so much now. When I think of my vocation I don't fear life"