Mon. Dec. 16, 2019: The Joy of Gentle Words #UpbeatAuthors

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Monday, December 16, 2019
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde

We should always take care with our words, but especially during this season. Plenty of people are dealing with stresses and pain. We want to lighten their burdens, not add to them.

At the same time, when someone is excited and happy about a tradition or something to do with the holiday, and it’s not our thing — we need to be kind enough NOT to tell them we don’t like what brings them joy.

If someone wants to say “Merry Christmas” — fine.

If someone prefers “Happy Holidays” or another greeting — fine.

If someone wants to skip the holidays this year for whatever reason — fine. But that doesn’t give them the right to last out at those who enjoy the holidays.

If someone loves the decorations and the shopping and all the rest, a lecture about the commercialization of Christmas is not helpful. Save that for a discussion at that barbecue in July.

I love stuff like Secret Santa or a Giving Tree. But, for me, it’s vitally important that it not be about me — I LIKE staying anonymous. I like participating without the receiver knowing it came from me, or posting about it on social media or in any other way congratulating myself. That defeats the purpose for me.

Others feel differently. That’s up to them.

I’m a big card writer. When someone says, “Oh, I don’t have TIME to write cards” — to me, that’s a slap in the face. It gives me information about that person, that I file away for future reference. Honestly? I don’t HAVE time for plenty of things — including writing cards or even these posts. I MAKE time for them. There are plenty of reasons for not writing cards: not liking to write, not wanting to use paper products, worry about the carbon footprint of mailing things, or whatever. Those are all valid reasons. There are plenty of more valid reasons that are none of my business. But when someone uses the myth of time as their reason, chooses those words as the reason, what they are really saying is “You are not worth the five minutes it takes to choose and write a card. You’re not important enough.”

Which is useful, because then I can move them to the appropriate slot in my life, and no longer make them one of MY priorities. They get to choose their priorities during the season. I get to choose mine. When a relationship gets out of balance, then I have to adjust, for my own well-being. I can do so without giving a speech about it.

The same way I often don’t argue on social media, when someone crosses one of my lines. I either unfollow or block. I don’t owe an explanation. I get to choose my interactions. I regularly block those who mock my profession, be it writing or theatre or film. We like what we like; we don’t what we don’t. But when someone derides the profession — they’re out. No argument. Just gone.

We all have things we like and don’t like. That’s part of the wonderful fabric of what makes us unique. But scolding people for making other choices? Scolding people because they enjoy something harmless that you don’t like? No, thanks. Is that what I’m doing here? Partially, making a single statement instead of getting into a dozen small arguments.

It’s hard NOT to lash out sometimes, when we feel overwhelmed and under-appreciated. But taking a breath and choosing not to engage in hurtful words or behavior goes a long way. Not just this season, but all the time.

So, remember to breathe. Remember to rest.

Remember to be gentle with your words this season.

Published in: on December 16, 2019 at 5:54 am  Comments (1)  
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Waxing Moon
Mars Retrograde
Rainy/sleet and cold

The weather was lousy yesterday, and I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for travelling in awful conditions tomorrow. If it wasn’t job related, I’d postpone, but since it is, I can’t. Minute by minute, with fully charged iPod and a good book will be my sanity-retainers. I’ll try to consider delays as extra time to read or meditate!

Lori, to go back to your comment on yesterday’s post, I think a lot of people like the “idea” of being something rather than actually putting in the work to do it. Yeah, sure, it’s fun to fantasize about being something brilliant and unique and wonderful and skilled and totally different than the life you lead. We all need fantasies, and some of them stay just that, and it’s fine. You can be the first three naturally, but unless you build the last, the skill, you can’t achieve the dreams. Because we’ve been forced into short attention spans/instant gratification/the-minute-you-don’t-feel-wonderful-take-a-pill mentality, too many people aren’t willing to put in the work and give up something, even as simple as a time-waster, in order to achieve what they think they want. And I think a lot of people also don’t have the courage to follow their dreams. It’s much easier to hide behind daily “duties” and blame everyone around one than it is to take a stand and say, “I’m going to do this, and this is how our schedules are going to change so all of us get to participate in what we want.” The pendulum’s swung back to martyr syndrome. I see it in people around me all the time — they’re desperate to feel valued, so they’d rather set up situations where, whether it’s at home or at the office or backstage, things “can’t function” without them. That level of dependence is unhealthy. Instead of doing what they really want and love to do, they do what they believe others want them to do, but expect emotional compensation and value for it. Most of the time, that behavior backfires and spirals downward into resentment and unhappiness for everyone involved. People get sick, emergencies come up, jobs are lost, deaths occur, there are life-changing accidents, all the rest. If people work on a method of independence along with a CHOICE of interdependence, because working together is more fun and more productive than working alone, rather than “this place CAN’T function without me”, I think, in general, both work and home atmospheres would be happier, more productive, and more would get done on all fronts.

It happens a lot backstage — a dresser will set up a track and purposely not put certain cues in the notes or not teach certain elements of a track to a swing, because that dresser doesn’t want any else to be as good or better. That dresser wants the actor to be dependent, and anyone who fills n to fail. That sets up a bad and sometimes dangerous situation backstage. When the dresser is confident in his/her own worth, the dresser wants things to work well in ALL situations, teaches things properly, communicates the details, and helps build the trust between the swing and the actor. That sets up a good atmosphere backstage, and the show runs well no matter who’s in what slot. Everyone brings something unique and different. And when you all work together positively, it benefits everyone. Fresh blood, people filling in for each other, can give an energy boost to the show, without devaluing the people who usually fill various roles. Managers don’t always like that, because they’d rather have people at each other’s throats to maintain a level of control. Good managers know better.

Did a lot of practical, business-oriented work. It never ceases to amaze me that I can spend a day full out on practical/business writing, knock off everything that has to be done, and feel like I’ve accomplished nothing; but if I spend the same time writing fiction, I feel like i’ve gotten somewhere.

My producer needs my next play faster than ever because the currently-contracted playwright up and died before finishing the play, and his was next up on the roster. I’m not kidding. There’s some sick cosmic joke in it all, but that doesn’t change the fact that, in and around teaching the workshops in the coming week, my primary focus needs to be on the plays. It’s tough to be under pressure to be funny, because humor has to come organically (initially) from character and situation, and then get tweaked and massaged with wit (at least, in my experience). Sitting there thinking, “this has to be funny” is counterproductive, so I have to read through my notes and outlines, and the first few scenes I have for BLOOD SOUP and see where it goes without forcing it.

I’ve been asked to speak again to middle schoolers in mid-March — different group — since the ones I spoke to in October are still talking about it. So that’s all good.

I’m figuring out what I need to bring up for my stint in Maine in April — I have a feeling i might carry up some of my pots, pans, and spices!

Started reading a biography of artist NC Wyeth, which is very interesting. I don’t know much about him, although I recognize the work when I see it. My grandmother was a big fan of his work. This book is something I gave her for Christmas in 1998; when she died last year, I received her art-related books. Reading it is a bit like remaining connected to my grandmother.

Seriously considering packing up and working at Greenwich Library today, where it’s quieter. When I get back, I can finish packing the writing bag and chill out a bit. I doubt I’ll watch much Olympics tonight — I need to be up early and out the door.

I’ve been promised good internet in Philly, so at least I’ll be able to blog, teach, and tweet!

My cats are seriously unhappy, although my mom is staying with them while I’m gone, and she’s their favorite human slave.

Back to business, to get everything done that needs to get done before I have to leave. If I can get the practical out of the way properly, maybe I can spend some time on the fiction.


Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 9:28 am  Comments (8)  
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