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.

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