Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'm starting to realize how few people- "normal" (relatively) people watch movies. Or read books. Admittedly, I perhaps pursue both of these activities to a fault. Absolutely to a fault, this is one of the reasons why I am out of shape-- I'd so much rather watch a movie or read a book then do physically healthy things. Bah on that. So I'm not saying it doesn't even out, however. There is nothing to make one feel fully freakish than that confused silence that greets one when one drops a quote or reference and is responded to with a blank or questioning stare.

Resident to me: "The rug... the rug is gone... where did the rug go? The rug with the stuff..."
Me to fellow caretaker: "It really tied the room together, man."
Fellow Caretaker: "....?"

Caretaker to another: "Where did you go? We couldn't find you."
Me" "We thought you was a toad."
Fellow caretakers: ".....?"

Pregnant Caretaker: "I feel huge today. Like a whale."
Me: "Hopefully Ahab's not hanging out here."
Pregnant Caretaker: "....?"
Me: "Call me Ishmael."
Pregnant Caretaker: "Okay."

Caretaker: "Does anyone have cash for a tip for the pizza boy?"
Fellow caretakers: "How much is it?"
Caretaker: "Two dollars."
Me (in hoarse, weird voice): "Twwwwooooo dolllaaaaars."
All other fellow caretakers: "..................................?"

Caretaker to me: "You offend me."
Me: "Aw. Give us your hands if we be friends and Robin shall restore amends."
Caretaker to me: "I'm not gonna hold your hand."

why can't we all be so?

"I have nothing to declare except my genius." Oscar Wilde, upon arriving at US customs 1882.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We'll come back for Indian Summer

Productive day so far. I went to the gym after work (which is probably the best time to go, when I'm already tired and too out of it to even register how physically exhausted I am becoming), came home, read the Bible, crashed, got up at a not-too-late time and put on makeup (! which I've been doing more often these days. I stayed away from it for a long time, then I started using it on and off. I'd like to make it a regular part of my regime, but without becoming too dependent on it. I don't want to freak out at the idea of someone seeing me without it), high-tailed it into town and now I've started writing. Good on me.

Last night one of the residents at work had a gushing (gushing!) nosebleed. I wasn't even assigned his side of the building, but I went into his room to get him up because my coworker was having some trouble with him. The moment he sat up blood started pouring out. One of the little coworkers with me (Chatterbox) could not handle the bodily fluid thing so I just stood there, pressing endless wads of tissue to his nose, pinching the bridge to try to get it under control. In short, it was a marathon of blood. We finally had to call up his family and they opted to shuttle him to the hospital. The interesting thing was that this resident is often one of our most difficult. He's been known to punch (hard) and be generally resistant when we try to get to the bathroom. Other than Old Terror, he's the only one that really makes me nervous sometimes, because he could genuinely hurt me. He's also been known to get angry if you repeatedly try to help him with something. But last night it was mostly he and I while my other coworkers bustled around, trying to get him ready to go, and I just stood there with him, pressing the soaked tissues to his nose, patting his shoulder. He didn't get angry or try to bat me away even once. I felt kind of honored, standing there, bravely catching his blood. As it turns out, he's on a certain medication that thins the blood and can cause such bleeding-- my grandmother was on the same thing, come to think of it.


On a different note, I realized something supremely wonderful today. Ok, so this is kind of gross, but it must be said: For about two years, I was really bad about brushing my teeth. I'd brush them, but only once every few days. I remember realizing once that I had gone a week without touching them. This happened a couple times. I know, disgusting. But it wasn't so much that I was so busy I'd forget, I just didn't want to do it. I just didn't care. I didn't like to take care of myself, I didn't want to bother. I'd either be too depressed to mess with before-bed hygiene (often falling asleep in my clothes) or I'd just be too self-loathing to give a shit. What did it matter if my teeth fell out? I didn't care. I was miserable anyway and ugly, so why bother? It was getting to the point of being ridiculous, which is why this year one of my lamest resolutions was to try to brush twice a day. Wasn't happening. I'd still crawl into bed without washing my face or touching my teeth or even changing (or even clearing stuff off of my bed. it didn't matter). I did try harder, I did think about it more, but I'd still veto it and only brush if the toothbrush happened to be staring me in the face. Then I moved here. Then I got work.

Then one day, Amanda and I were at Wal-Mart and Amanda mentioned that there were so many toothbrushes in the house that she was always unsure about which one was hers, so she wanted to buy a distinct one. I suggested getting a weird kid's toothbrush. I remember when I was a teen and still living with my parents, my mom would occasionally come home with random things for me like princess or star wars toothbrushes, just for fun (obviously I was too old for them and that was the joke). Amanda thought that was hilarious and she picked out a (in her words) "badass" batman toothbrush. She was thrilled with it. At this point I had even forgotten where the devil my own toothbrush was. I surveyed the selection. "You should get one, too!" Amanda said. Why not? She helped me pick out a Spiderman-with-web-of-fire brush. I took it home and admired how silly it looked beside Amanda's Batman.

Then I started to use it. I have been brushing my teeth twice a day.

This isn't because Spiderman toothbrushes are awesome (although it does make it easier to tell which is yours). This is because there is something very right about me being here. This is because I know I am doing the correct thing. I want to take care of myself, suddenly. I want my teeth to be healthy, I want to be healthy. I'm liking myself more. And I didn't even realize it until this morning, as I was rinsing off Spidey and returning him to his place beside his DC comic pal.

This is good. This is all so good.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

sit down by the fire

All right. I'm about to sink my teeth into editing the crap out of this script. What good is an off weekend if I don't get any writing done? After I do as much as I can without wanting to rip my fingernails out, I'm going to start tackling what shall be my side project and eventually my next script, which will hopefully be alot more straightforward and quicker to write than this present evil western which is slowly killing me. I picked too hard a story to tell, and my confidence as writer since school has been somewhat lacking. I think I'm always a little afraid to take myself seriously, and now that I don't have a network of people reading my stuff and bouncing ideas around with me and freaking taking ME seriously I just second-guess every writing decision I make. Which is the worst possible thing. I just get so concerned that I'm not doing a good job of it, which wouldn't be so terrible if I were writing some comedy or the like, but this story is so damn serious and what I want to say is so damn serious that I'm scared of just completely destroying it. Which would be dangerous, for such a serious subject.

Anyway, there's another serious Western I'd like to tackle, a Hamlet-esque sort of story set in North Dakota (I figure since I'm here I might as well), but I think I just have to take a break from all that and dig into the little, Garden-State-esque script I've been thinking of for a little while now. When I was working at the film office in LMU I heard one of my coworkers talking about the movie Tiny Furniture, about how autobiographical it was and how low budget and so on (a story about a girl just out of film school and back home, written and directed by a girl just out of film school and back home...), and I remember thinking, how straightforwardly wonderful. And fairly common/successful. After all, that's sort of what Zach Braff did anyway. So for a long time I was outlining what I thought would work pretty well, exploring a little fear I have of having to go home and live with my parents and sister and do the whole Texas thing again. But that got too depressing, and I couldn't bring any style to it. But NOW I'm definitely living a weird little post-grad life and I'm thinking of taking some of the work I've done on the old Texas script and just applying it to this one. There are so many great stories that I can tell now, from my greyhound experiences to just adjusting to life and the weird characters here. Old Terror. Working in a nursing home in general. Of course I'm going to have to conjure up some story structure, but I'm really drawing/ripping off of Garden State for that, I think. We shall see.

In other news, the sun came out today, and I don't have to work tonight. Beautiful.

There's this one road here that I like to take. It parallels the main highway, except that it's a "backroad" and goes through the farmland, dumping out in the downtown of dickinson. It's HWY10, the original highway of North Dakota, however if you refer to it as anything other than "Old Ten" people will look at you strangely. Anyway, it's a very hilly, generally solitary drive and on days like today it's so beautiful. It fills me with that mixed feeling of hope and nostalgia, except in my case it must be nostalgia for a time which I have never experienced. It is during drives like that, my windows rolled down, some authentic-happy-sounding-song playing, orange sunglasses on my head and my hair going crazy that I think, well. This is the way things are supposed to be.

At least for right now.

But enough procrastinating. Onward!

boy tasting wild cherry

"Good looking people, they've got no spine. Their art never lasts."

Almost Famous might not be one of my *most* favorite movies, but it definitely has a style that I strive to imitate, whether or not I'm always aware of it. This scene is one of my most favorites. Cameron Crowe may err a bit on the sentimental side, especially in his latest movies, but I don't care. Almost Famous has a nearly PERFECT script, and in most of his movies he has a way of utilizing the schmaltz into connection. What Lester Bangs says in this scene is something I think about phrasing often, but I could never be as successful as Crowe. Dangit.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I seem to have the writing bug a little bit in hand now. I think with my new, steadily refining schedule I’m getting a bit more on the ball, so to speak. Plus all of the free coffee from work is very helpful. The emotions are still a little outta whack in the morning but I feel much better today. I think I had to get all of that out. I don’t feel so lonely at the moment. I think God is using that loneliness, actually, to propel me even further into work. I’ve gotten into the groove there, and I’m pretty good at most things and I love everyone there. Even Old Terror (who gets worse steadily) has become mentally manageable, even enjoyable to an extent. At least she provides good stories.

Example: last night I was changing one lady and my Sardonic coworker comes to tell me that we’re going to attempt Old Terror together in a few minutes and my company was requested. I got over there five minutes later, after whatever had happened had ended (they said later that OT was fighting with her neighbor and going through his stuff), only to find Sardonic standing a few feet away from OT’s bed, cautiously.

Him: “False alarm, she got in bed by herself. Finally.”
We look back at OT. OT gets this creepy, faux-sweet granny smile and pulls her covers up to her chin and says in this low sing-song voice to him:
“Why don’t you come over HERRE?” HAHAHA.
Him: “No… no I don’t think so."
I suspect that she was either planning on striking him the moment he succumbed OR flashing him. Maybe both.

I’ve also grown really attached to one of my other coworkers, this tiny, tough girl who has worked these kinds of jobs since she was sixteen or so. She’s very good with the residents and has this amazing work ethic but this really hard life, riddled with many family problems and health issues (and more health issues and more health issues) and relationship issues. She often comes to work crying but she’s tireless. She’s also a huge smoker so I will go outside with her at various points in the evening and look at the stars and occasionally smoke one or two with her and listen to her talk about her life, which I think she appreciates. I often find that this is one quality that I can offer people, a spare ear. Or some way of phrasing that which doesn’t imply I literally have an extra ear. She’s like an old lady in the way that she speaks at times—“hork” (the first time I’ve heard this one—it means to vomit. Interesting), “crabby patties,” “dear/dearie,” “sweetheart,” and “tushy” are all words she uses regularly. Whenever she comes to find me to go out to smoke she says “Come on, let’s go have our smoky treat!” And yet, she works it. She’s very genuine. Her life reeks of white trash, by her own admission, but she’s such a loving person that one cannot help but want to squeeze her.

Oh dear. My life has now become my work. And what a weird work.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I am sitting here in the apartment, gazing into the kitchen and watching the morning activity of a few scattered large ants. The apartment isn’t infested or anything, and it’s not like there’s a huge trail of sugar ants marching our cookies through nooks and crannies, but these big ants sure like to make tracks. They’re really quite mesmerizing. I can’t bring myself to kill them at the moment. Of course, I’m also quite tired.

This week is going to be a bit long. I hope I can get some work done on my stupid script over this period. My roommates are all presently engaged with their church’s VBS which takes up their mornings and then their respective jobs in the afternoons and then socializing with their Bible school people who have come to assist the church with their yearly summer projects. This is not something I am particularly interested in, though I’m glad my roomie has something to make her happy. However. This means that I will probably not see a soul for the whole week. My lifestyle at present consists of coming home to the still somewhat flooded apartment and sleeping on one of the few pieces of furniture remaining in the place—the comfy couch which we have rammed into the kitchen (on the tile), facing into the spectacle of the ants and the various strange foods which remain. That is, not a lot to choose from. This is the apartment that Grandma, Bethany, Amanda and I share, however due to this floodtastic situation they are back over at the house across the street with the rest of the family. Of course I am welcome over there but I’m never sure who is going to be home or how comfortable I’ll feel by going over there at given times, so I mostly stay here. I don’t have any complaints about that. I can actually happily live on a singular couch in an dysfunctional apartment. Still, it’s a strange way to sleep. And these ants. Blast these ants and my nonmotivation to smite them where they stand.

I’m going to the gym today to start officially my new regime. We shall see if I make it a whole hour.

Edit. Well. So much for that. My direct deposit was not properly set up by my bank yet and I can't access my paycheck for another day or so, so no gym. Alas. I am too much of a pansy to go out running in this weird weather.

cycling trivialities

I ‘ve just gotten home from work. I took the opportunity of being wired (with five-hour-energy and a few cups of coffee on my work’s dime) to clean out my car this morning. I’m starting to realize what a surreal existence all this is. It hits me every now and again—usually as I’m driving back home and enjoying how beautiful North Dakota is. I think. What. North Dakota? Am I really in… North Dakota? The state that everyone forgets? Am I really, this girl who wants to be a film writer, am I really working in a glorified nursing home? And I’m working nights, no less. Nights. Which means I see more 6 AM’s than I think I ever have in my 23 years of life. South Heart is peaceful enough as it is, but coming home to South Heart in the wee hours? Silent. Except for the farmers out on the outskirts, not a stirring from the sweet little houses on their fenceless lawns. No one to judge me as I cleaned out all of the garbage that had accumulated in my car over the past month or so.

I really like this life. And I don’t. And I should probably stop wondering why I do or do not (there is no try) and just get on with it. Still, I can’t help but be afraid that I’ll never be able to get on track, and ahead, and write and have a real career. I get scared that I’ll be stuck doing caretaking all of my life. That really does frighten me because I don’t think I can take it, and I WILL be a caretaker to my death, probably, for my sister (and likely my parents), so I REALLY feel like the extra emotional weight is unnecessary. On the other hand it’s good to have a back-up moneymaker for when times are tough and the writing is not selling—a scenario which I know will repeat itself throughout my life even if/when I may be moderately successful. Not as a back-up career, mind you, but a quick job. Caretaking? Experience in spades. What do you need? I got old lady, down syndrome, CP adults annnnd a lot of autistic kid. Any of those work for you? Hopefully my back-up career will be teaching. But oh. Biting my nails and praying I get to that point. Just sighing and telling myself it will be okay. I will not be here forever. And it’s just fine for now.

Which it is. Which is probably why the other half of myself feels so at peace. I really enjoy the scenery here and the people are very interesting. I feel pretty free and independent and hopeful, I feel much less restless and alienated and depressed than I did in California. I feel like progress is happening. I like everyone at my workplace and I’m pretty sure they all at least enjoy me somewhat. I don’t feel pressured here (except money-wise, even with the nice amount I’m regularly making I just seem so behind), I don’t feel teary and panicked. I have a weird but relaxed living situation with a good roommate(s). Still. What if it gets to the point where I realize finally that I can never make it work? Where I throw in the writing towel? What if I suddenly acknowledge that maybe I never will jaunt over to Europe or I’ll never be as pretty or as good at German or playing any kind of musical instrument as I want to be? That’s scary to me. I’m used to failing. I’m so scared of it. I think that’s a large part of my depressive behavior, actually, the paralysis that the fear of failing causes me. I think that’s why I crumple on my bad days and curl up in bed and hope that time just passes and leaves me behind.

I am scared of so many things.

Also. This being in love thing makes me very uncomfortable. All right. I’m not in love, obviously, but I am admittedly smitten (smited!). Which, if I were a normal person I could just let slide, but of course I’m myself and the feeling takes me to that existential place that actually has nothing to do with the object of crush affection (yesiknowmenarenotobjectsokay?) but everything to do with how I process things and what is significant to me and how I view myself. I cannot let things just be what they are, they have to be meaningful. Everything is so heavy in my mind (thus the failure fear I suppose) that I just spasm. And I don’t mean the general girl assessing boy behavior thing—he did that, that means this etc, I mean the meaning of just my own interest. The meaning of how I relate to said object (and everyone else), the big picture. The too-big picture. When in reality I can look at this person and understand that I’m not even all that interested. He’s not perfect or perfect for me, so far as I can tell. But that gets all clouded by my inquiry into why we’ve collided in the first place and where I want to be in my life. And of course, the too-big picture of lonesomeness. This evening I had a bizarre, intense moment of attraction to this guy where I just wanted him to pay attention to me so BADLY (yeah. 2nd grade? What?) because… I just didn’t want to be alone. When I thought of that, I jolted out of the moment. That’s what it boiled down to. I didn’t even want him (not that I don't find him attractive, I totally do), I just didn’t want to be by myself all of a sudden. I suppose if I didn’t have someone to project all of that feeling onto I would just be feeling lonely.

Since I’m being so embarrassingly, damned honest into the echoes of cyberspace (does anyone say cyberspace any more?) , I will admit that sometimes it’s difficult to look around and see how by myself I am. And how normal it seems for other people to be loved and all of that. Not that I am unloved, but that I don’t have someone to love me (different things). I know we all want that. But it still feels very far away from me. I look at the people I know that I think are so deserving of that and those that have that and I don’t seem to be in the same category. Odd out, somehow. And I don’t think—when I’m honest—I really, really don’t think I’m one of those people who is going to find that person and get married and have him forever until we’re old and crazy. I don’t think I’ll ever have kids, and I’m actually okay with that. [I get a little worried sometimes about the idea of myself middle aged and looking after everyone and still feeling like a failure, but I really am OK with the whole no soul-mate thing]. I can be alone, ultimately. But it would be… a huge relief to have someone for just a little while. Doesn’t everyone deserve that? Maybe it’ll screw you over when it ends, but at least it was there once.

And now I’m sitting here crying.


edit. well. that's somewhat embarrassing but that's what you get when you never sleep. i'd do a backspace on it, but i'd feel dishonest.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I am a huge time waster and it's starting to really bother me.

I've been sitting here at the Brew, with a very good amount of sleep under my belt for once, and I still can't write properly. Too scattered! Too unmotivated! Too distracted!

It's strange because the desire and capability to write are there. It's just the mental block. I don't like doing PROJECTS. I don't like FINISHING things. But I need to! I can't just be a writer that scribbles here and there. I need to make a career of this, for one. For another, if I don't then that means no one will ever really read the scribblings-- whether they are big or small, coherent or not. No one will read them unless I get on this.

But. But. But. Mental effing block.

Friday, June 17, 2011

they're playing jack johnson in here and all i want to listen to is badly drawn boy

This schedule may just be the end of me. My body has no idea of what to do. Am I tired? I don't even really know. Poor body. Chalk it up to my physical abuse. Of self. What? Anyway.

This week at work has been incredibly odd. One of our manager types was gone for two nights in a row so that left a black hole where leadership used to be. I won't say there was total chaos, but it was certainly different. The night after the fall/Old Terror Chase we had a number of split shifts, one belonging to someone who worked the PM shift who filled in for the overnight. He is Dave Foley, exactly, in miniature, down to his slightly effeminate yet completely precious mannerisms and inappropriate comments. Of course he wasn't used to overnights so for the last few hours he was definitely dragging. I had stayed up for most of the day, with a few hours of sleep right before work, and I wasn't feeling it the way that I normally do-- I wasn't sleepy at all, but the exhaustion was just manifesting itself in weird ways, like my inability to complete a sentence or forgetfulness or, the telltale Katrina needs to go to bed now sign: inappropriately large laughter. This condition was only aggravated by having alot to do and having Dave Foley around, cracking me up.

For example, the laundry room is a dangerous place because it's so loud in there and one usually has one's back turned to the doorway, so anytime someone comes in to say something to one, one is always surprised/frightened. They get me every time. Dave Foley knew this so whenever he wanted to come into the laundry room with me he would start making illegible sounds from all the way down the hallway, culminating with him standing in the doorway, quietly singing "it's onnnnly me, onnnnnlyyy mee meee..."

And so the night proceeded on. Sardonic, with no one to fence him in, decided not to bother with most of his assignment for the evening and spent his time mastering the art of wheelchairing himself around the building. Sometimes Dave Foley rode on the back of said wheelchair. By the evening's finale Dave Foley and I were stretched to the point of being completely batty (he is scared of the dark, so at various points of the night someone would sneeze in the dark or something and he'd jump 5 feet into the air) and Sardonic sighing to the point of complete boredom, this motley crew had one large task left: changing Old Terror. We had been in the room every hour to check her, and she had yelled at us to get out, and because she was not wet, we obeyed. But now. Now the time had come. Sardonic led the charge, still in the wheelchair, followed by Dave Foley and myself, trying to walk a straight line. We just sat in her room, not waking her, for a long time, none of us feeling the energy to summon the demon. Finally, Dave Foley sucked it up and smiled like the little elf he is and poked Old Terror, all the while starting to sing and dance to a ditty that went something like this: "Hey hey Agnes Agnes, hey hey! Time to change, Aggy aggy! Time to change with us? And it's FREE! And it's FREE!" At this point he began to use the jazz hands and everything. For the duration Old Terror just gazed at him with her evil eye, and once he was done she finally said to him-- imagine, in the angriest voice possible-- "CAN YA DO THAT NAKED?"

That's pretty much what I did. I could NOT keep it together. I just literally slumped out of my chair and onto Old Terror's floor, crying with laughter, unable to stop. I finally had to crawl out of the room to get her a new diaper thing, but by the time I made it back I just collapsed again, in tears of hilarity, as my companions watched and tried to suppress laughter themselves. Imagine that, if you will: I, Katrina, wearing plastic gloves and holding an adult diaper, collapsed at the foot of the most terrifying old woman in existence while a mini Dave Foley dances about and his curmudgeon friend rolls around in a wheelchair.

To her credit, I'm pretty sure Old Terror had no desire to see Dave Foley dance naked, I think it was either her way of insulting him or one of those aphasia things where she's trying to say something but another thing comes out altogether. But still. It was the angriest request I have ever heard for someone to dance naked.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sometimes I fear that I am at my best when I'm a bit tired. Maybe. I refer to it as "punchy." It makes me think of what they say about sleep-deprived people-- after 24 hours with no sleep, your brain functions are equal to that of an inebriated person (and after four days they are equal to a mentally insane bat). And I, when somewhat inebriated, am terribly outgoing and funny. Productive, even. And that is what I am right now. A little sleepy but mostly a detached enthusiastic personality. Strange strange strange. This morning while driving back to South Heart from Dickinson-- my favorite drive lately-- I was seized with happiness. I sang loudly. I stuck my arm out of the window. I shook my limp-wristed fist of justice! Upon getting home I found the still semi-flooded apartment empty so I put on Janis Joplin, showered, got dressed and pretty and danced around the room. Afterward I decided to go buy some cute things and send them to people far away. Wal Mart is actually a fun activity here. So I did that. And spent forever at the post office, mailing old postcards that I should have sent from Illinois. Glorious. Then the library. Glorious. And now back at The Brew. I have picked a "usual" table. We will see how long it takes for the owners to fall in love with me.

I don't remember if I mentioned it in my last post, but it is the plot of my friend Amanda's and mine to crack the owners and convince them to hire us. We are both somewhat lonely here in that our circle of friends is much smaller. As in, restricted to the people we live with. And this is mostly due to our jobs. Caretaker jobs. Not exactly friend-makin' connections. Anyway, we decided since this place is SO COOL that we will try to work here, picking up a couple shifts a week if they so choose to let us. I also realized that this place, just getting off the ground, has no marketing in place. No social networking! This needs to happen, especially by fall, because it needs to appeal to the youngsters around here. I have a feeling ND has some untapped hipsters in its midst. And I now have marketing experience! I could perhaps enhance my career path here after all if I make my case for them to hire me. I have experience! Ingenuity! Insight! and HIPNESS. I AM HIP!!!!

Another gulp of iced coffee, yes yes yes.

This good mood is a strange one, especially considering last night was so difficult. How so, you say? Well. I am hesitant. Hesitant to reveal things because I'm pretty sure that we're not supposed to talk about residents and whatnot. So I won't mention them by name or TOO many details, however I simply have to relate what a night is like in my new existence:

There are usually four of us at night. One person gets one side, a second gets the other side, the third gets the kitchen, and the fourth "floats." The floater helps people on either side with the residents who need extra help as well as doing most of the cleaning so that the people on either side don't have to worry about much aside from direct care for the residents. If you get one of the sides, you get a cleaning list, a laundry list, and a weekly cleaning list. You also have a list of people that you need to get to the bathroom at certain times. You have to take them every four hours. Also, things... come up.

Some residents are difficult because of their conditions. Some will not make any sense. Some will not walk for you. And some... will yell at you. Some... may punch you.

So there's this one lady. Apparently the disease has done a doozy on her-- I hear tell before this she was a very glamorous woman, always dressing to the nines, wearing gloves and incredibly well-mannered. A real 1950's lady. Now she can be either a sweet grandma or a terror. And I mean Terr.Or. She has a bit of a broad forehead and a squinty eye and a large eye, so when she looks at you she already seems a bit off-kilter, and when she's angry I actually get scared to look directly into her face. She has yelled and hit and picked fights before, she has bit the staff. We go in to check her at night and if she's wet we need to change her-- this upsets her, and she is no dainty woman. She is taller than me and square-shouldered and strangely strong-- if she hits you with a fist, it will hurt. It won't kill ya, but you'll be in pain. Anyway. There are many interesting stories about this woman, but tonight took the cake. I get there, and according to the report, she's been a terror all day, picking fights with everyone, cursing, etc, and now she dozes quietly in a chair at the dining room table. Warily the staff-- last night comprising of a pregnant woman in her first trimester who constantly gets ill, an agriculture nerd of a pixie, and a sardonic young guy who's been working here for so long his eyes look as ancient as his grandmother's -- warily the staff writes out our usual paperwork, keeping an uneasy eye on Agnes. As we leave the table, she begins to wake. Two minutes later I peer into the room to see her piling our papers and notepads into a heap and moving them around. I quietly come into the room and take a few papers. The chatterbox, lacking diplomacy, also enters and snatches away a notepad. Old Lady freaks out, and says in her low-angry voice (she does NOT have the high-pitched witchy voice you'd think) "DON'T YOU DO THAT. GODAMMIT THOSE ARE MINE!!" Enter string of curses. She pounds on the table. Chatterbox and I run away.

Later, Old Lady goes into the breakroom, pounding on things. She is extracted, still sitting in a chair, by sardonic young man. She's really mad now, a fury in a green silk nightie. Preggers and sardonic lock themselves in the nearby kitchen. Chatterbox goes to see about another resident and I... just run away. Later chatterbox interrupts my conversation with Doris, a favorite, to tell me that Old Terror had followed her, slammed the door of the other resident to keep him out, and slapped chatterbox across the face when she objected. Fear. My buzzer goes off, which means a certain frail old lady is trying to get out of bed. She's teeny, and I'm afraid that if Old Terror finds us she will harm the teensy one. I ask Chatterbox to come with for protection. As I ask her this, we spot Old Terror, in periphery, glowering in the hall, looking the dark room over with her owl-like eye. Chatterbox and I move calmly out of the side door to get to the Teensy One, but Old Terror has spotted us and is on the move. I kid you not, Chatterbox and I FLEE. Once we get to Teensy's room we shut the door, spying out of it. We see Old Terror picking a fight with another resident (one who can thankfully handle it but who does not deserve to be bothered). Chatterbox goes to fetch Sardonic, who promised me he would handle Old Terror if I did the left wing. Sardonic returns, taunting Old Terror, and gets her to literally chase him down the hall. All is calm. All is mild.

Later, we had to go into her room and change her again, when of course she tried to punch and kick the hell out of us, but thankfully we were prepared for that.

Part II of the night was pretty awful, in a non-funny way (there really IS something funny about Old Terror chasing one. Because it really is ridiculous). I was taking care of a particularly needy lady and getting ready to go on my break at about 2AM (the blessed hour in which nothing usually happens) and suddenly I hear CRASH! SLAAAAAM!!!! SCREAM! And then crying, from somewhere. Me, praying it was just someone slamming a door, lept up and roamed the halls, trying to find the source. It was coming from a shut up bathroom. One of the mobile residents, a sweetheart with a sixties hairdo and horseteeth who always smiles hugely when you greet her by name, had tripped in the bathroom, crashed into the open door and slammed it, taking her walker down with her. She was sprawled on her back, crying for help in her kitten sweatshirt. I fetched help, then went through the proper procedure for checking etc. The others wrote a report, called the on-call nurse and the family, and finally, once we realized we could not determine ourselves if anything was broken, we called the ambulance. For a long time it was just she and I, while they were doing all of these things, and while they waited for the ambulance outside I sat on the bathroom floor with her. She mostly shook and cried quietly-- not theatrical old-lady tears-- and said she hurt, but she couldn't really say where or how exactly she fell. It made me think of a little kid or a pet, who is enduring pain but can't understand why. She might have even thought I was hurting her. At one point Sardonic was taking her vitals and she just looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "Hold me."

Which of course I did. And I sat there, holding her hand and asking her about her wedding ring, and her late husband (whose name she can't remember), and the kittens on her sweatshirt (even though she's not sure if she likes cats or not), until the ambulance came to take her away. After that I spent about an hour writing up a report on the matter. We all ended up laughing, exhausted, around 5AM about something I can't remember. I think it was to relieve the sadness that I was probably emitting.

I was watching a movie called Bright Star the other night, it's about John Keats and his tragic romance with Fanny Brawne. I didn't like it at first, but by the end I was carried away by the tragic romance of it all and cried like a little baby when the lovers were ripped apart. There's one part where Fanny says something to Keats along the lines of "there MUST be another life. we cannot be made to endure only such pain."

I have to be a bona fide writer someday. I have to give this to somebody else.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

And my family lives in a different state.

I seem to have a pretty steady schedule now of working four nights in a row with one day to buffer them. I feel like I haven't had a breather since I got back, but I'm earning money so that really is all that matters. I am definitely a better person when I have work to do. I suppose everyone is, except for possibly Oscar Wilde and his protagonists (oh, what I would give to be an Algy or any character portrayed by Rupert Everett), but I also think it's a pretty masculine trait of mine. I think of fathers of the 1950s, feeling worthless if they weren't carrying off a briefcase or a hardhat in the morning.

I definitely haven't had much time to be sad here lately, which is a good thing, but I also haven't had time for anything aside from sleeping and working. I am finally reinstalling Final Draft on this computer so I can get back into the swing of writing, and once my paycheck comes in I'm going to start on the road to paying off debt and getting a membership at the rec center here so that I can go work out in the mornings. Hopefully then my regime will be something like work, gym, sleep, write, drink coffee, work, punctuated by little day trips here and there. Yesterday I denied myself sleep and a pack of us girls piled into a little car and drove about 100 miles to Bismark, the North Dakota capital city, to look at a car for Bethany (which she ended up buying-- a deep purple convertible which I am going to find a crafty way to drive...) and to see the latest X-men, which I wasn't terribly excited about due to the lackluster trailer and my disinterest in prequels, however I have to say... excellent, excellent movie. I was surprised. It was terribly well-done, mostly due to three very key things: 1) Amazing setting. X-men in the 60's? YES YES YES. YES. YES!!! 2) Decent and endearing characters/chemistry between them. The X-men movies have usually been pretty good about this, which has made them probably my favorite superhero franchise. 3) A GOOD STORY. This is something most of the superhero/action movies have been missing lately, including the last two X-men movies. In short, this one did not repeatedly hit us over the head with dull action (I realize it's hard to top one's franchise again and again, so it was a wise idea to stick to a few well-done action sequences and focus more on story and character rather than the bang bang bang). Though there were some pretty awesome special effects-- I really, really loved the sight of Magneto lifting the submarine from the water into the air. But anyway, the story was very solid and well-paced for the most part. Good casting, too.

Otherwise, I have been introduced to/discovered the most amazing coffee shop in existence. How strange that it should be in North Dakota. It is an old church building with high ceilings, a steeple, stained glass windows and weird nooks and crannies. The owners are a young, engaged couple and the place has this old, classic feeling mixed with the hipness of the owners and their wise decision to attempt to make the place as hip as possible with their decor and music choices. I am in love love love love love. I love being in here. I will write great things here. I am in fact at The Brew now, sitting in a shrouded booth on half of what used to be a church pew, drinking a coffee "for here." Unfortunately this reverie has been a bit overshadowed by this INSANE storm going on outside which may make my soon-to-be drive to work perilous, but I suppose I can face the peril. The thunder really is a bit unnerving, though.

I dyed my hair a few nights ago in a fit of spontaneity. Lately it's been too patchy, annoying me with its texture and inconsistency, so I opted to go dark. I think I shall always return to red, simply because its an identity issue, but at present it's a nice dark brown-- nearly black, with a little bit of a red tint peeking through. It makes me look old... maybe too old. I have also purchased a wallet clutch that features the face of a fox. It reminds me of the Fantastic Mr. Fox which is the only reason why I had to get it. Damn you, Wes Anderson.

I need to be doing creative things. Must find a way to balance having a productive life AND keeping a job that keeps me awake all night. Hm.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rivers and Roads, rivers till i meet you.

I have seen so much of America this year. No, in the past two months. Go me.

I guess I finally did what I have always wanted to do; travel greyhound. This of course means I was willing to forgive the giant bus all of its quirky, weird little flaws and embrace the adventure. Which I did. Until Denver, where I pretty much lost my cookies.

The start of the trip was fine; I hadn't had much sleep that day due to waking up early (for me) and watching Glee with Amanda and then doing laundry and packing hardcore, so I spent about an hour at the weird bus stop/truck stop darting my eyes anxiously back and forth, being terrified of somehow missing my bus or a connection or doing something moronic. But the bus was right on time, commanded by a sassy (yes, it's true) lady driver. We pulled out at about 12:45 AM and cruised through North Dakota through the night and made Fargo by morning. I slept a little bit and had the seat to myself until partway through the night when I woke up to see a pudgy Hispanic dude sitting next to me. Still, the sunrise was beautiful and we made it into Fargo just as the sky turned pink. I did not see any wood chippers there, however I'm certain the Coens were hanging out there somewhere. The next leg of the trip was cramped, the bus was smaller and the seats closer together, and the pudgy due followed me and sat next to me again since he seemed to feel comfortable. He did offer to share his Funyuns with me, but I was feeling the need for distance at that point. After a bit we made it into Minneapolis, Minnesota, which I only got to see fleetingly but which I adored. It's nice to know there is a great city in the white North. It's very clean-- like Seattle that way, and the buildings are HUGE and uniform but there is a sense of culture there that's the first I've seen in the North. After that I made another transfer to a bus driven by a cranky lady bus driver who basically screamed at everyone on the bus ad infinitum, except me, because I was quiet, only got off the bus once, and slept for a good deal of the day. Minnesota is a beautiful place. Very green right now.

Iowa is also green, but strange. I'm not sure why I didn't particularly like it, but the towns we passed through gave me such a weird vibe, and the agriculture is just different from ND and MN. The people we picked up there were weird, too. Anyway, I'm sure it has its charms, but it's not one of my favorite states so far. From a bus window anyway. That night we made it into Kansas City, MO, which is like... crime capital or something. Around this time I also started to see many Amish people, which I have to admit made me very happy. They were a nice contrast to the white trash that mainly seemed to populate the bus stations. The KC bus terminal was admittedly sketchy, and not located in a savory part of town. I also found out here that greyhound had double-charged me for my last purchase, leaving my bank account in the negatives. Cue freak out. Also cue freak out as the line formed for my bus-- it was long. Greyhound is now known for its really crappy way of doing business which is to overbook their buses completely, therefore regardless of whether or not you paid full price for a ticket or bought it early or whatever, it is a first come first served world. So even though we made it to the terminal early, the line was already quite long. As we piled out to the bus (the Amish, three silent people dressed in blue, being the first on), progress began to slow and I became panicked. A bus can only hold 55. There were far more than that in this line. As I moved up to fifth in line, the crowd stopped moving. The bus driver vanished for a few minutes, then returned. "Okay, we have room for six more," he said, and counted us with his finger. I slipped by, second-to-last, and slithered to a seat, murmuring grateful prayers all the way. I sat next to a chubby, helplessly cute Asian tourist (this whole post is going to make me sound very racist, however I ask that you try riding the bus for two weeks and see what happens). He was apparently part of a group of fellow Asian tourists... or students or whatnot, led by an American lady.

When we got to St. Louis, the bus driver announced what gates we should flee to in order to find our next connections. My neighbor looked confused, I doubted he understood much English. The American lady segregated her flock, telling most of them that they had to be at a certain gate. "Except for you," she said to my little friend. "You're going to the other gate. Gate 5, ok? But don't get on the first one, get on the second one.." He blinked at her, trying to repeat what she said. The young, bearded (somewhat attractive, incidentally) Amish man, sitting across the aisle from us, looked up and smiled at the confused student. "That's my gate too," he said. "You can come with me and we'll get on the bus together." The American looked relieved. "Yes! Go with him!" She buzzed off in a flurry, helping her other group with their suitcases. The Amish man smiled at the Asian and waited patiently while he gathered his things, gesturing again for the student to follow. I just sat in my chair, smiling. It WOULD take an Amish person to be nice to a stranger.

After about four hours in the bus terminal (during which I ate, changed, brushed my hair and teeth and rearranged my luggage), I hopped the last bus to Canton. As the bus was waiting to pull out, a random middle aged guy took a picture of me. Weird. Anyway. I gazed out at gorgeous Missouri as we cruised on through, and actually got to see a bit of Hannibal, Mark Twain's town, before I got to Quincy, where Emily picked me up. We toddled around the town, I got to see the Mississippi River and all of Emily's favorite haunts for the past four years. It's a strange feeling, getting to peek in on someone's life like that, someone you know well but whom you just may not know until you've seen everything. We crossed the river to return to her school and I stayed in her Sorority House (yeah.), attended her baccalaureate and consumed enough caffeine to stay up until 2 with her as she talked about her plans and life and all the existential things that one thinks of at such a time. The next morning we got up early, prepped, and had graduation time. The graduation was lovely, though inside and therefore a bit stuffy and packed with people. Thank goodness the school is teeny. Afterwards Emily and I singlehandedly packed up her Canton existence, waved goodbye to the school, and hit the road to Taylorville, where her boyfriend and his family live. The drive there was about three hours, and we were both so exhausted and punchy that we knew the only way to make it was... to sing. We loudly played all of our old favorite songs and sang incessantly in an effort to stay awake. I'm not sure how we did it, though I do know that we collapsed in hysterical laughter by the time Aaron's mom opened the door to let us in.

We hung out there, went into St. Louis on one day and Springfield (Land O Lincoln) the next. Both wonderful cities. The buildings in St. Louis are just amazing, they make me wish I knew more about architecture. We went there the day after the Joplin tornadoes, and had a little adventure as we explored the Botanical Gardens-- a scary rainstorm suddenly hit with impressive winds, so we darted for the basement of an old church, smoked pink cigarettes, and discussed which of us would survive a zombie apocalypse. I got to sample toasted ravioli, Indonesian food, Horseshoes, custard... yes, hail the midwest. I got to go to the Lincoln Museum, to see his pre-Whitehouse house. I wound up at the sketchiest, darkest bus stop known to man and continued my sojourn through America by encountering southern Missouri, Oklahoma (of the strange sky), the tip of Texas, the old familiar New Mexico (which I still love) and Arizona (which is interesting, but the towns still weird me out. Phoenix... is one of the weirdest cities in the world. I have never liked it), the lame California desert and finally, finally, finally Los Angeles. That ride did exhaust me, towards the end especially, mostly because I was on more packed buses and the people seemed to grow progressively less savory. The LA bus stop is a heinous trap for all who enter.

I got to go to my friend Jon's graduation the next day, which he was unprepared for, so that was satisfactory. And crazy, considering we graduated from highschool together in 2006. Things can change so much in five years (yes, five. he is a late bloomer, which secretly gives me great joy). I drove back with two other friends from LA to Ventura and started to feel a nagging "blue" feeling. I'm sure it was mostly exhaustion but it was nagging nonetheless. The next day was my friend's little sister's high school graduation, which was a pleasure and a joy to attend, especially because afterwards many of their good friends came over (some of whom are my good friends as well) and the party went late into the night with good food and laughter and the general coziness that I miss. That house always seemed to have that coziness. Later I took up residence at another friend's house and mostly followed my friend Kate around with a staple gun as she prepared the set for the play, but after awhile my efforts proved to be futile so I mostly just spent the week musing at the efforts of others. The play that all of this hard work produced was absolutely terrific, and any doubt as to why on earth I had stayed the whole week completely vanished as I clapped with violent pride. I highly suggest "The Dining Room" by A.R. Guerney to anyone. I have read it and seen two productions of it now, and it is an enriching experience.

After snagging what visits I could with Venturan people near and far (not enough! not enough time!), I was thrown back into the jaws of the LA greyhound where my bus was an hour late. It was probably not a good sign that as the bus pulled out, giving me a perfect view of LA, looking surprisingly beautiful in all of its dusky glory, I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry the whole damn trip. When the people from Brooklyn overtook the bus by demanding and mediating conversation (one of them literally stood for most of the ride, talking to people and attempting to entertain. fail. leave me to my book and my sleep and my crying, crazy man from Brooklyn), when the lesbian baby momma from Vegas started cursing out the bus driver (who called security), when the crazy old woman told me smoking was good for me and gave me a weird blessing from god, when the bus driver had us all de-board the bus so that he could go help another greyhound in need, when I was so squished by the obese man sitting next to me that I couldn't move, when I realized I had no hairbrush, when I realized I have no idea what the HELL I am doing right now (on every level), I wanted to cry. But I kept it together. Until Denver. Until we arrived in the dirtiest, most crowded terminal in the sketchiest part of Colorado and the bus driver sadly told us that we had missed our connections by two hours.

Worst Part of the Trip

I got off the bus. Got my bags. Slumped into the line with alot of other tired, dirty, angry people. The old lady who had been on the bus with us toddled in line next to me. She was old, and I knew from the ride that she had very bad feet and could not stand for long. She waited a bit and then had to sit down. The line moved forward. The tall Hispanic man behind me was apparently that type that believes that if the line shifts by a fraction of a centimeter, that one had better catch up or one is going to be left behind. He spent the entire wait literally pressed up against my back. I tried to give subtle hints-- moving my elbow back, leaning back, coughing, but he would not budge. I never quite knew what the feeling of someone "breathing down your neck" was until then. As the line inched forward-- a very long wait-- the little old lady would get up, hop back in line for a bit, then sit back down. I let her do this because she had been in line when I was, she was not trying to cut but she simply had to sit. No big deal. Well. When the zig zag line finally made it to the last turn (with three people in front of me), the old lady toddled back. An anxious, crazy girl who had been on the bus with us and who had been talking with pressing-up-against-me-guy behind me began to whisper all crazily something along the lines of "Nononono, don't let her, don't let her do that, no, i don't care if she's old, nononono i need to get home, i'm shaking! i'm shaking like a humanleaf! a humanleaf!!" I ignored this till the line moved a bit and I got directly behind the old woman. The anxious girl lept out of line and up to me and said: "ARE YOU IN LINE?" Me (thinking of a million mean sarcastic responses: "..Yes." Her: "WELL YOU CAN'T LET HER CUT IN FRONT OF YOU SHE CUT IN FRONT OF YOU YOU CAN'T LET HER DO THAT!!!" Me: "She was in the line when I got in line, she has bad feet so she's been sitting down. She didn't cut. It's ok." Her: "OH." She returns to her place. Two seconds later, the old lady shifts, and I, trying to get this asshole off of me, shift a bit forward too, just so he can feel a little bit better. But does he? no.

He taps my shoulder.
He: "You can move. There's room. You can move up now."

...... I could not believe it. The line had not even progressed and I was moving-- just for him-- as forward as I possibly could and I felt like such a misplaced raggamuffin and so alone and why doesn't anyone care how alone I am and how dirty I am now and how matted my hair is and YOU FUCKING WANT ME TO MOVE INTO THE AIR?

I gestured, grandly, in front of me, and stepped aside just so he could see the GREAT EXPANSE OF NOTHING that he wished me to move into.

Me: "Where exactly would you like me to move to, sir?"
Him: "Oh, I figured there was more room than that."
Me: "Well. There's not."

Cue big, fat, obnoxious tear. Heck, cue a few of 'em. I couldn't do anything about 'em, they were there. Thankfully I didn't burst into sobs or anything, just a restrained, lip-quivering red face. The line shifted awkwardly. The three homeboys in front of me darted their eyes around as if to say, awesome. Now we have a crying girl. The man behind me hung his head in shame (or so I imagine, I never looked at him), the anxious girl started murmuring apologies under her breath. And the old lady I was trying to help? The old lady looks at me and says "Well, you can go in front of me, I'm no crybaby."


At the counter I learned that I was stranded for twenty-four hours because my bus only came once an evening. Twenty-four hours. I accepted my meager meal vouchers (For what would prove to be the nastiest sandwiches west of the Pecos) and slumped into a corner where the tile, like the rest of the place, looked like it hadn't been mopped or even swept with the toe of a shoe in months. I looked at the broken, used q-tip next to me. I stretched my leg out over all of my bags so that no one would attempt to steal them. And then I cried so hard I think I strained a stomach muscle.


Thankfully, that is all over now. I am home-- or something like it-- I had to work the very day I got back (an overnight after many days involving greyhound = not the soundest idea). But I survived. I slept this morning. I feel better. I feel like an adventurer. I don't feel sad anymore, except for this strange longing for a huge hug from someone who can at least pretend to know that everything's fine. It's time now, then, for a plan.
Who was your first favorite super-hero?
It has to be Batman. I remember in about 1965 my dad mentioning Batman, and I asked him what that was, and he said it was a man who dressed up like a bat to fight crime. And I didn't know there was an animal called a bat so I associated it with a cricket bat, and I thought it was a man who literally dressed up like a cricket bat. It was really peculiar but intriguing. And then the TV show started and I watched it and I was really puzzled because he didn't look like any cricket bat I had ever seen.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

your waitress was miserable, and so was your food.

Well glory be, here I am in California again. Suffice to say, Katrina Barnett is pwning this year. Travel, money, and finally a cross-country trip on the mythic greyhound bus. I say that because I have long dreamed of riding the greyhound long distances. I'm not sure why, it's probably another part of the American experience that I have romanticized (like many aspects of travel that are actually not so *very* nice, but which, when viewed through the proper scope-- or an exaggerated one-- said aspects are simply accepted or even beloved. Much like the greyhound on-bus bathroom, which didn't seem so bad at the time but in retrospect was absolutely intolerably disgusting, even though the bus was supposed to be serviced/cleaned every few hours. Blah).

I am only in the golden state for a few days, days which have already pretty much expired. I first hopped the bus from ND to Missouri, making my way through Minnesota, Iowa (weird state), and Illinois, which I love for some reason. I then attended my dearest friend's graduation in Canton, Missouri, one of the strangest little spots. I do love the Midwest, though. With all regard for cheesiness, the good old Midwest really has that "heart of America" feel. One feels like the wheels that turn there pump the blood to the rest of us, almost especially to us here on the west coast.

Anyway, after exploratory trips to St. Louis and Springfield (home of Lincoln), I hopped a comfy bus at the sketchiest night spot in existence, attempted to sleep five hours in the St. Louis bus station, and spent about three days dragging through the Northish South, including the recently ravaged Joplin of tornado country (astonishing destruction). The evenings made me cranky, especially when we had to stop to service the damn bus at overstuffed terminals that happened to be undergoing renovation (at 2AM I was so, so very bitter about this), but other than the lengthiness of the trip I was generally comfortable and loved the chance to see the scenery, despite the fact that I could not hop out and have a look-see at everything that we happened to pass. New Mexico, which I have been to before, is just a lovely sight, and Arizona has its own weird appeal. It was interesting to see the terrain change so rapidly from the midwest once we started to go through Oklahoma. Anyway.

Although I've been pleased to take part in two graduations and I'm beyond psyched to see my friend's amazing play, I am regretting making this trip a bit. For some reason it has made me very sad. I'm curled up in my friend's room right now in an empty house as everyone has somewhere to be, and I'm listening to the sound of California outside and I'm still left with this aching sadness. I know I have a plan and everything, and I'm happy about that, but the uncertainty of life is killing me right now. I can't go, I can't stay. On top of my existential dilemma, I have actually not seen too much of anyone while I've been here due to everyone else's transitions (not their fault, no bitterness), but this has left me even more to my regretful thoughts. I feel a bit sick. Being here now is almost like finally swallowing the pill of life-is-different right now.

Sigh. I am very weepy. But then what is new about that, really? I must say I have gotten better at simply dealing with things and telling myself to just carry on, that dwelling on sadness only makes me more miserable, but I suppose these past few days have been a relapse. Too much existential time. I am also an expert on self-pity and probably PMSing or something like that.

Which is probably not good for my emotional state as my friend's play is opening this evening in all of its emotional glory. I sat in on a rehearsal for a bit the other day between set assistance and... whatever else it is that I've been doing here, and the vignettes in their rawest, unlit form made me nearly tear up. It just reminded me how much I bloody love theatre. There is just something classical, more exciting, more complicated.. MORE about theatre than any other art form. Of course I am a film-y, but theatre does form a connection to its audience and participants that film cannot. It really inspires me. I want to put on a play. Though, as per usual, I'm not sure if that's me just wanting to be able to say I've done it or if I really want to relish the experience of the event itself.

I have realized, at least, that writing plays is the most difficult of the forms, except for poetry which I'm total crap at and will never attempt again. Plays are good reading, but not as complete to write. The dialogue, something I think I excel at, is king and that's nice and all, but you lose control of environment and atmosphere. The description of setting and action are so limited in plays that the crafty control that you can exert over your screenplay creations does not get to (they tell you to take it easy with your directions in those, too, but there are clever ways of getting around that).

Still, it'd be nice to be able to write a really good play. I had an idea years ago for a little one act about a young George and Martha-esque couple (cue my favorite play, I guess), a college couple. The girl is not terribly attractive an a total bitch to the very attractive, popular guy. Turns out he is essentially blackmailing her into being his better half because he's always been somewhat obsessed with her (and turned on by her cruelty); she had a strange affair with one of their professors and the guy took his chance to snag her. By the end of the play, the two have settled into some bizarre contentment-- he because her cruelty is satisfying, and she because he's really been the only man in her life to love her for her true, harsh colors.

I thought it'd make an interesting experiment but it would probably be one of those plays that's no fun at all to sit through.

When I get back, it's Writing City.