Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hiring a director and such

Getting ready for my performance on Nov 18th.   I'm going to be off book, so I now I need to hire a director, learn my lines, find props...and I'm going to be an actor for someone else for a week.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Hero's Journey

While watching #SuperSoulSunday on OWN, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about Joseph Campbell and the Hero's Journey.   In my creative meetings with my writing we partner, we discussed what the Hero's Journey was.  I enjoyed her perspective on it and how women cannot follow the journey. 

Below are just my notes I was taking as I watched Episode 1.

A restless youngster, who gets called to the journey, goes through the road of trials, suffers through dark nights of the soul, finds his teachers, faces the battle, loses his fear!

Inspires, shows us the way, but never shows women.  You can be the mom, the old crone, the helpless virgin, but you can't be the hero.

Women hesitate on the brink of the journey.  

You don't do the work to change until not changing gets worst.

First comes the call - take this away from me, I don't have the power, I'm not your hero, I'm just a regular person, but the call won't leave you alone.

How do you get the call?  You get the question "What did I come here to do with my life?"   Everyone has had this question, in one form or another.  You can choose to ignore it, or you can choose to pursuit it.  Which is the beginning of your journey.

If you're going to answer the call.   You better be ready. 

Then comes the road of trials. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Writing prompt - Yellow cars?

10 minute Writing Prompt:

All cars should/shouldn't be painted yellow...

Aren't they called buses and taxis?  Wouldn't that get confusing?  All cars should not be painted yellow.  Although I love the colour, it makes me think of mustard hotdogs and big bird, I would not want every car painted yellow.  How homogenous.  How plain and boring.  I am imagining a world filled with yellow cars.  Imagining the different models of cars and trucks.  A yellow Prius or pickup truck.  Even police cars would be yellow.  Now that would be good for them I suppose.  They may write more tickets as they could sneak up on you.  Although, you could also elude them in a sea of yellow, so it may be to their disadvantage.  Yellow cars may also affect crime, as witness statements would be worthless.  "yes, yes I did see the criminal, he drove off in a yellow car".  People wouldn't be able to find their cars and would have to start blinging them out so they could stand apart.  A new mini industry would pop of because of it.  Maybe individualized car horns, you know like a car alarm, but it would help you find your car.  GPS parking apps would be invented so you could tag your car and play a game of "hot and cold" as you got nearer or farther from your car.  Sparkly license plate covers would add another level of personalization to it.  And would it be just one shade of yellow, bright and sunny, or could you veer off into its shades of mustard and...are there other shades of yellow?  Oh, pale yellow, like the morning sky.  Fluffy yellow, like a new born chick.

Click here for the list of prompts in case you need some more.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Writing Prompt - My secret hideaway

10 minute Writing Prompt:  

Describe your favourite hideaway as a child 

I always wanted a hideaway.  I think I'd read too many young adult mystery books, you know Nancy Drew or those hot Hardy Boys and there was this kid's mystery show that played on PBS and they were always sleuthing and writing.  When I was 10, we moved into a brand new apartment building.  I say brand new because they had just finished building it and the parking lot wasn't even finished.  In a small town, it's nothing to have dirt roads on the outskirts of town.  Our new home was right on the edge.  On the way to the marina, as well as an abandoned mill, right next to the baseball field and tennis court.  My friend Joanne and I were walking in the dirt parking lot with a fresh pack of cigarettes we had just found.  They weren't even opened.  So we walked to this edge of the parking lot, that bordered the tennis courts.  There was a patch of rough ground that construction crews hadn't cleared completely.  We found an area that was perfect.  We could the cute boys house across the field, yet we were shielded enough with fallen trees and tall brush.  We hid our cigarettes here unsure of what to do.  We decided to wait until the next day, as we didn't have any matches or a lighter anyway.   We reveled in our new secret space.   Planning on our next day's adventure and that we would bring our lunch and maybe a blanket to cover the ground.  I was already picturing what adventures we could have and mysteries we could solve.  The sound of gravel crunching startled me from my plans.

Click here for the list of prompts in case you need some more.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Writing Prompt - I'm sorry...

Writing Prompt:

I'm so sorry that I can't offer you a less dangerous solution

 I'm so sorry that I can't offer you a less dangerous solution. That's all he said. How could I ever take a professional seriously again? People don't say things like that. But I sat in utter disbelief. This was suppose to be good news. I had done my research. Dr. Robert Hershkowitz was the utmost man in his field. Neuro-biological brain stuff. I can't remember his exact title, but it sounded so smart, yet this brilliant man, who has no people skills, was telling me that he was about to slice off a piece of my brain and it was all going to be OK, he'd done several of procedures similar to this and I would be in good hands. Good hands he says. Good hands? I certainly hope so. A laser was going to do the big cut, through the bone, my skull. As he sat looking at me, telling me about the procedure, all I could think of was what the laser would look like. Would it be like in the movies? A red light beaming through the sterile air of the operating room. A high pitched squeal as it cut a precise line on my newly shaved head. Would it smell? I've heard that burning flesh is gross, but does bone smell like burnt wood. Like a campfire? And when I woke up would it still smell? I like the smell of campfire. When we go camping, I always place my chair in from of the campfire so as the wind blows throughout the night, the smoke would waft around me and settle into my clothes.

Click here for the list of prompts in case you need some more.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Writing Prompt - A long time ago...

10 minute Writing Prompt:

Write a myth to explain why it snows
The first time I heard the story was around the fireplace one stormy night.  Cousin Eloise was complaining that it was snowing again.  Uncle Fred, who was sitting in his rocker in the corner put his pipe down and joined us on the floor.
"Eloise" he said, "you musn't say things like that.  The spirits will hear you."
Sure, sure, Eloise thought to herself, here we go again.
"What do you mean?"  spoke the quiet voice of Eloise's younger brother Chester.
"Don't get him started!  He'll never stop" Eloise protested.
"But I want to hear!  Who are the spirits and what will they do?" young Chester countered.
"As the story goes, when it snow, it's because someone angered the spirits.  They complained about the snow."
"Does that mean it will snow more?" wondered Chester, "because if it does, I hate the snow too!  I hate it so much I wish it all melted tomorrow!"
"You don't want to do that little one."
"Of course I do Uncle.  I didn't do my book report that's due tomorrow and if it snows a lot over night, they may cancel school" Chester announced proudly.
"Don't your remember the ice storms? asked Uncle.  The ones where we couldn't leave the house because everything was covered in ice and we nearly froze?  That's what happens.  It's not this fluffy snow that could can play in.  It is the frozen tears of the spirits as they are sad no one wants to play with them.  They are angry tears of wet snow that, when they melt, are tall pillars of daggers, a trap."

Click here for the list of prompts in case you need some more.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Writing Prompt - Dear Pizza Man...

Today's prompt is "Dear Pizza Man,".

Here's what I came up with in 10 minutes. 

Dear Pizza Man, 

I think I love you.  I'm sure you hear that a lot, but please know that I am truly and deeply in love with you.  As I dial your number, I can feel my heart beating out of my chest, I can hardly hear the phone ringing on the other end.  A voice answers and it's not you.  I tell the voice all about how I dream of you and how I can't wait for your next visit.  He takes my message and ensures me that you'll be at my door in 45 minutes.
I hang up the phone and run to my room.  45 minutes!  I need to change.  Fix my hair.  Set the table.  I rifle through my closet.  Laying out several outfits, but opting for a bizzy pattern, lest things get crazy.  I run to the front window and watch as light from the street come through the haze of the sheer curtains.  I look down to my watch.  It's only been 20 minutes.  That can't be you.  I catch my breath.  I am on the edge of my seat as the car passes by.   It wasn't you.  I lie back on the couch and take a moment to remember the last time I saw you, so dapper and professional looking in your uniform.  I know you hate it when I call it that, but I think the colour of that delivery bag brings out the blue in your eyes.  Every time I hear the rip of Velcro I get goose bumps, and look around to see if you're near.  My dream is interrupted by the crunching of gravel outside.  I hear the familiar screech of your car as it comes to a stop.  Jump, jump, jump.  I need to get all this nervous energy out of me!  I do a little dance in the foyer, then peek out the side window as I hear your boots walk the steps to the door.  Doorbell.  I let out a quiet squeal as I compose myself.  I can smell you and I am happy.

Click here for the list of prompts in case you need some more.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The next show...

I am struggling with what to say next.  What my first show wasn't.  Right now I need to get this out.  What I want to say.  But I don't know how to say.  I can see my characters having this conversation, this fight, but it is like me when I try to explain something.  It's me talking out loud working it out, trying to figure it out.  How to say it.  How to not offend.  But that is my problem.  I don't want to offend you.  Who the fuck cares!  Right.  Sorry there may be a few swear words in this.  That's how I talk. 
I love my first show now.  Months ago I didn't.  It's a story that morphed into a show.  It's something, and when it was read for Native Voices retreat I found things in it from the comments of others.  I heard comments, had questions and am ok with the show now.  I have to work on it again now.  I have to finish it.  I have an amazing opportunity to showcase it again and I am scared of it.  Hence why I am a week out and have been thinking about the next show, the spring show, and not sitting with Wanda.  But this next story...what will I write about?  I am trying to let this be a stream of consciousness writing, not editing myself.  I am watching the television and typing.  Just letting the words come out.  I'm now worrying that you are reading this and wondering WTF am I reading and why am I still here.   But thank you for making it this far.
Ok. Ok.  Now on to the next show.  I want to talk about being ndn.  About this struggle that is going on in my head.  This conversation about being ndn.  Who is ndn?  Who can be ndn?  What's the point of being ndn?  I caution you, if you are around me and we have a conversation of some kind, it may end up in the show.  It has to because it is always on my mind and when I have the opportunity have the conversation I relish it.  To get these thoughts out of my head.  I am being brave about it.  But being still cautious with my words.   I keep repeating this because I don't want to let it out.  I want to keep this fight inside me.  Why?  I don't know.  It safer in there?  Safer for me.  People won't see the darkness that my head lives in.  But maybe talking about it will shed some light.  Sorry.  Not trying to be philosophical.  Or is it?  There I go again thinking about you.  You really should appreciate me a bit more as I care very deeply about your feelings.  Or am do I?  I am just being selfish so you don't see the real me.  Hiding in the darkness of my thoughts.  Where no one can see me, or find me.    
Ok.  Really now.  Why be ndn?  I sit in a room full of indians listening to their questions about the movie Smoke Signals.  The hokey ones, the white guy using the word REZ like he owns it.  The director  making the correction and saying reservation.  Was that intentional?  I am trying to get past this feeling of jealously and ownership of others.  No, no, you can't be indian.  I am.  I touch briefly on his in my previous play.  But I can hear the silent gasp from the audience as they form their quiet judgement.   I certainly cannot be the indian police.  That's not my intention.  I'm just telling you, you cannot, are not indian.    I need to say the ugly things.  Get them out there in the world, right?

Ok, I may be ready to write.  It's a start right.  Now let's talk character and 10 minute prompts.  Need to edit for the week!

Keep writing!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Creating a Character

Starting a new play.  How do we start?  I'm starting with the character.  Click this link for a handout.

Video deleted.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Writing and a picture

When I look at a picture or a photograph where I don't know the subjects or context, I am subconsciously making a story up of the subjects.  

This pic was random, and I chose it after I Google SuperNova.  It was the prettiest.  But I was looking for something spacey that had to do with a Super Nova. 
You can do this exercise with a friend, where you each find a picture, then trade.  That way you don't have any preconceived notions (like I do, by picking this photo).

If you're having problems and thinking too much, don't.   If you're having problems figuring out what to do/how to do it, consider these questions when you look at the photo:
  • Connect with the photo (e.g. "I always wanted to be an astronaut").
  • Does a question come to mind when you look at it? (e.g. "What's it like at the center?").
  • Notice the details in the photo and write about it (e.g. "Look at how bright those few stars are, they sparkle like diamonds").
  • Write a caption for the photo (e.g."This is what happens when you fart in space").
Now get comfy, take a minute to look at the picture, set your timer and get writing!

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Writing Prompts - million days of writing, or something like that

Here's my experiment in a million days of writing.
Ok, it's not really a million days, it just feels like that.

The ExperimentTo write everyday.
  1. "I'm so sorry that I can't offer you a less dangerous solution" from Justin McLachlan
  2. "All cars should/shouldn't be painted yellow" from Worksheet Place
  3. "Describe your favourite hideaway as a child" from In Our Write Mind
  4. "Write a myth to explain why it snows" from Writers Write
  5. "Dear Pizza Man..."
  6. "I knew it was a bad day when..."
  7. "Every so often a dreamcatcher must be emptied of the nightmares it has caught.  Who does it and what do they see?" from Reddit
  8.  Describe one thing you’re really good at from Writing for Kids
  9. Thanksgiving day prompts. 123Homeschool
  10. “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.” from Scifi prompts
  11. “You can see my love from space.” from Mandy Wallace
  12. How do rainy days make you feel? from Tom Slatin
Prompts that I've thought up:
  1. Using a photo. 
  2. "It's a long way to the bottom"
  3. "My last meal would be..."  If you had to choose a last meal, what would it be? Why? How does it taste?  How do you feel about it, since this is your last mean.  Why is this your last meal?..
  4. "Alone on a desert island..." 
  5. "It's 3 am, the phone rings..."
  6. "What's that in the sky?"
  7.  "That was the biggest _____________ I have ever seen!"
  1. Creating character.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Get writing!

My writing has taken a turn.  Nothing bad, but nothing good either.  I've thought and thought about my story.  At times I feel inspired to share my story, but others I feel embarrassed and scared of it.  I am constantly learning and reading articles and watching videos and my opinion and feelings are vasillating (see I've been beefing up my vocab).  

This article from CBC News Aboriginal about Indian Status has again made me pause.  Sure it mentions things that I've always known, like "Not all indigenous people have status", but it also made me rethink my position on everyone having a card.  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just write

When I began writing my one-person show so many years ago, I was angry.  That anger allowed me to write, but it also held me back.  I was afraid that once my masterpiece was complete, to my liking, that I people wouldn't like it.  That people wouldn't like the opinions expressed in it.  Well, it is now complete.  To an extent.  Is it the story I began so many years ago? (I am too embarrassed to say when exactly I started to write it, I am not that brave yet) maybe not, but it is a story that I am OK with.  But now as I am trying to finish it off, that one tiny moment that I need to clear things up, I am once again faced with a dilemma.  

My story is a one-person show.  Not necessarily my story, but a conglomeration of too many years of conversations and reading.  Over the years I have tried to immerse myself more into the native community.  Meeting and talking to more people.  Learning more.  Discovering more stories and opinions.   As the years have passed, native issues have come more to the forefront.  Or maybe not.  Maybe I'm just noticing them now because I'm looking.  Right now what is stopping me from completing the play is this overwhelming feeling of sadness.  Perhaps it is masked fear.  But it is a heaviness.  As I read the latest headlines, I scroll to the end, to the comment section.  That is the most disturbing part of every article.  The comments, at times encouraging, at times disparaging and sometimes misinformed are the hardest part to read.  They are not an encouraging endorsement for the future of being "Indian".  There is no co-hesive agreement, there is no understanding.  There is no attempt at conversation.  When one party doesn't understand, the next comment(s) is/are slur(s) because they don't understand and they don't want to understand, they want to live in their bubble of ignorance.    And I don't mean ignorance in a bad way, because I don't think it's a bad word, I think you're just unaware, unfamiliar, so you should ask questions and learn more.  Have a dialogue, a conversation.

I have never thought of myself as invisible, though most times I want to be, but we as a people are.  We walk around in our urban surroundings, living life, meeting people, people wanting to share in our visible "indianess" yet they want to live this romanticized story they have made up for themselves, to be a part of something obviously bigger than them, but yet not wanting us to be bigger.

They want to walk around in their ignorance and have you be OK with it.  The saddest part is when I look on Pinterest and the boards that are "dedicated" to Native Americans.   Looking at the historic photos of Chiefs in headdresses next to the required summer festival headdress is the hardest part.

I don't know where this is going anymore.  I am just talking in circles.  I should just write and stop looking at Pinterest.

The Natives
Milk Magazine
Buy a Headdress
Department Store display - France
Kids Costumes

Friday, July 11, 2014

A tiny spark

A tiny spark is where it all starts.  Most days I feel like a I am just flaming out.  A big puff of smoke.  As I've said before, I want to share this process with you the reader, but most days I am beating myself up and am sure you'd rather not hear me complain yet again.  But in truth, this is what happens when you're starting out I imagine, you just don't know it because most people would rather not share all the downs that exist.   And I don't.  Trust me there are far more days that I'd rather chuck it all than feeling the wonderful elation of writing.  I am still waiting for that moment. 

What I do love and enjoy are the moments of hope.  The spark that makes you want to go on.  I saw that glimmer when I watched this video.  It makes me want to go on.  If not for one more day.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Why I can't finish my play

As everyday goes by that my play is not finished, I read more about what is going on in and around Indian Country.  Every morning I wake with a new ending for my play, changing my views depending on what I had read the day before.
You see, my writing takes place in my head in the early hours of the morning.  The grey skies slowly light my bedroom because of the missing slat on my vertical blinds.  I look up at the ceiling to where the time is being projected from by rocket ship alarm clock.   My eyes are slow to adjust to the morning light, as well as the distance to the time.  Go back to sleep I try to tell my brain!  We agree to disagree and I begin to play out the different scenarios the ending could be.  I should reach for the notebook that is next to my bed to get these few moments of brilliance, but my brain convinces me that we'll remember it once we wake up.    This morning I had it!  But as I opened my computer, my brain got sidetracked as we tried to find the file I had made with yesterday's ending.  I lost it.  It is gone.  I had the ending this time.  So I sit and catch up on my social media and the vicious cycle continues.
This morning I was struck by the video from the San Fransisco Giants and their "Native American Heritage Night" where a woman asked a headdress wearing fan to take off the headdress.   What strikes me is not the request, but the general public that is walking by watching this scene unfold.  They may or may not know what has just transpired, but it is one comment that gets me.  I realize that had this been a different circumstance, I may have yelled the same thing, but because this is a native woman being man handled by police I took offense at this woman's comments, "Just shut-up and he will".  I am no better than any one else, I love to watch a good train wreck, but as I slow my pace to watch the wreckage, a part of me feels an overwhelming sadness that brings tears to my eyes.    
With this thought, I contemplate the end of my play.  Wanda needs to make a decision, is she or isn't she?  Well according to the dialogue and her circumstance she is.  

But is there a difference between being Indian and being an Indian?

Great.  Something new to ponder.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fringe Festivals!

When my writing partner and I started our online creative sessions, we were dreaming big.  In one weekly discussion we began to talk about where we would take our shows once we were ready to hit the road.  Another friend had recently gone to Edinburgh for Fringe and we wanted to do the tour of the different festivals.  That talk stopped once we got down to writing. 
But with this new found energy that I have, and the near completion of my show, topped off with my helping out a local Hollywood Fringe show, I am looking back into it.
Last year when I was in writing class, one of my classmates signed up for the Festival.  In a show of solidarity, I signed up my show.  I never participated, because I didn't like the end result and I had honestly forgotten to complete the sign up.   But cheers to motivation. 

What is Fringe?

Fringe theatre is theatre that is not of the mainstream.

Here's a line-up of potential places: (let me know one's you're fond of)

Montreal Fringe

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I feel official!

As I've told you before, I'm attempting to document my journey with this play.  Granted, it's also helping procrastinate from not finishing my play.  The following is from the 2nd interview I've done regarding my epic tale (as I like to call it).  

It was very cool going to 7-11 and picking up the L.A. Times and finding the local section.  There I was on the fold on page A-10 of the Burbank Leader and online at Glendale News-Press.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Statistics and Numbers

I have a new character.  Mr. Frederick (his names comes from watching too much Warehouse 13 while writing, he's a MR. because I needed a male character).
He works for Indian Affairs.
He is a man of numbers.  Statistics.
Here are some numbers that are being thrown around.

Urban Aboriginal People
Indian Status
Stats Canada
The Indian Register
Aboriginal People

More than one million people in Canada identify themselves as an Aboriginal person, or 4% of the population (as of 2006). Fifty-three percent are registered Indians, 30% are Métis, 11% are Non-status Indians and 4% are Inuit. Over half (54%) of Aboriginal people live in urban areas.

"First Nations people" refers to Status and Non-Status "Indian" peoples in Canada. Many communities also use the term "First Nation" in the name of their community. Currently, there are 617 First Nation communities, which represent more than 50 nations or cultural groups and 50 Aboriginal languages.

A total of 1,172,790 people identified themselves as an Aboriginal person, that is, North American Indian (hereafter referred to as First Nations people in this report), Métis or Inuit in the 2006 Census of Population. The census counted 976,305 Aboriginal people in 2001 and 799,010 in 1996. There were nearly 700,000 First Nations people identified in 2006 as well as approximately 390,000 Métis and just over 50,00 Inuit.

I'm a postcard

Sometimes you need to think things out before you say yes.   That weird moment you pick up your mail and you see yourself looking back.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

10 reminders about writing

Notes that I've found on my way to finishing my one-person show.

1. Don’t sensor or pass judgement
2. Start writing and keep writing
3. Have faith –trust that you will lead yourself out of “the forest”
4. Take the detours
5. There is no right or wrong way
6. Screw grammar and punctuation!
7. Coin a phrase – make it up – keep going!
8. The first draft is from the heart – all subsequent revisions come from the brain (that’s where you revise and edit)
9. Start with yourself – then branch out
10. Give yourself permission


Well.  It's happened.  My one-person show has come back from the depths of my soul.  After last year's reading, I really wasn't ready to move on with the show.  What had developed after 6 months of working on it, was not what I had wanted.  The story became much too personal for me and I wasn't prepared for that.  After sitting with this story for so long, I was just happy it was done.
But now, I have the opportunity to workshop it with an actor, director and dramaturg.  So I am excited and crazy scared.  I need to write everyday.  I'll try.  That's all I can promise.  So I'm going to vlog about my progress.  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Storytelling/Spoken Word Events

Get Mortified
There are a million stories buried in the pages of people's lives. Mortified's mission is to simply help people find them. Share the shame.

Story Salon
The rules of the show are simple: Five to seven minutes of original material performed by the writer.

Highways Performance Space
Highways is an alternative cultural center in Los Angeles that encourages fierce new artists from diverse communities to develop and present innovative works.

The Moth
The Moth is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling