Celebrating 45

A few posts back I wrote about how I have no intention of fading away as I move into the future. Yet, I’m the first to admit that I am the hardest on myself–unable to see my own successes when I’m not quite where or who I thought I’d be. However, my journey into memory through pictures made me decide that I should celebrate the interesting life I have lived. I should acknowledge the things I have done, that make me unique. I should, basically, celebrate myself. Please bear with me as I toot my own horn, because sometimes doing things like this is necessary.

I plan to make a list of 45 (wonderful) things that make me who I am, in no particular order, with details provided if explanation helps. However, I will spread it across several posts because A) I don’t want to bore you and B) It’s really, really difficult for me to do this.

Here I go:

  1.  I was born backwards (breach) which says a lot for who I am now. 😉 In some ways, being breach saved me from a car birth. My Dad used to say that he dropped Mom off (after getting stopped by a policeman as he sped to the hospital) and went to park the car. When he got back, someone congratulated him on the birth of his daughter. A woman, waiting for her daughter to give birth, turned to him and said “How did you do that?” Way to make an entrance.

    Cheeks.

    Cheeks.

  2. I started reading when I was very young (like 3 or 4 or something). Mom says it was in competition with my older brother Steve (who you might know from his many blogs, such as this wonderful post about helping others). I’d like to think my love for words simply insisted on making an early appearance. I vaguely recall people handing me newspapers and asking me to read out loud. I didn’t necessarily understand the words, but I could read them. Sounding out words, and finding meaning in those sounds, or finding interesting ways of putting those sounds together, has become the passion of my life.
  3. That leads to my love of learning languages. All languages. While I’ve lost my fluency in most (including English sometimes) in my life I have studied (and in some cases spoken to some degree): Hebrew, French, Spanish, Japanese, Russian (for a very short time when I was supposed to go on a trip), Slovak (again in preparation for a trip) and a few words in Chinese.  I believe that, if you want to travel, the best way to learn about people is to learn their language. It is the height of ego to expect others to learn English, and make no effort to communicate with the words that represent the culture.
  4. I have visited 8 countries. Now, that’s not a lot, for a girl who dreamed of seeing the world. My list of countries that I still want to go to is large. However, when I travel, I rarely do it just as a tourist. I try to see the country beyond the tourist image. I lived and worked in Japan for three years, and hope someday to be able to live and work somewhere else, even for a short time. My travels have not ended, I just have to find new ways and means to go. Even though I haven’t been to many of the places I’d love to go, I have friends from countries all over the world, many of whom I have actually met in person.

    Red: Where I've lived (although HI has disappeared)Blue: Where I've been
Green: Where I want to go

    Red: Where I’ve lived (although HI has disappeared)
    Blue: Where I’ve been
    Green: Where I want to go

  5. I’ve lived in 9 states and visited 44. I would like to get to all 50, and there are a few I might want to live in.
  6. I have earned three degrees: a BA from Smith College with a double major in English Language & Literature and Theatre; an MFA from the University of Hawaii, Manoa in Theatre (Directing); and a Ph.D from Arizona State University in Theatre (Theatre for Youth)
  7. I have directed 25+ plays at all levels (from beginning actors to professional).While this is one of the areas where I feel like I somehow have failed, I always wanted to direct, and at least I can say I have directed some truly wonderful and challenging pieces.

    The opening scene of CLOUD 9, another play I loved directing, especially because it pushed buttons and promoted discussion.

    The opening scene of CLOUD 9, another play I loved directing, especially because it pushed buttons and promoted discussion.

  8. I have taught hundreds if not thousands of students in subjects ranging from English conversation to writing, from Introduction to Theatre to Special Studies in Drama. I’ve taught at colleges, universities, language schools, after school programs and special programs for adults. I’ve lost track of the types of courses I’ve taught, but they include classes in theatre, writing, honors, and education.
  9. I saved two wonderful dogs from the humane society and they have enriched my life immensely. Even with the begging, the poop, and the constant dog hair.Lizzy & Jasper, 1-1
  10. I found a wonderful partner in life, Nathan, who for whatever reason puts up with my craziness and stands by me even when I don’t want to stand by myself.
  11. We gave birth to an amazing, talented, and beautiful daughter, who surprises me every day.

I think that’s my list for today, as now I’m entering the part where I think “I did this but .  . ” You know, where I start undervaluing everything I’ve ever done.

This isn’t easy, that’s for sure.

Do you ever have a difficult time celebrating yourself and your accomplishments?

I am Woman, Hear Me Write

Did you hear that?

The clamor of hundreds of theater practitioners standing up and roaring when it was announced that no recipient would receive the $25,000 Wendy Wasserstein prize given to emerging female dramatists.

Why not? Everyone demanded. How can you silence women like that? You cannot say that, out of 19 candidates, there was one worthy of support? That is unbelievable!

The battle waged over a weekend, and in the end came victory. The plays are going to be reevaluated and a prize will be awarded.

In the aftermath of this, I have been thinking about what the prize means. To be eligible for the Wasserstein prize, a female playwright must be under 32 years old. What does that mean? Where did that random age line come from? What does age have to do with being an “emerging playwright?”

While I commend any opportunities given to support female artists, playwrights, authors, musicians in a world which still undermines the value of a female voice, I’m suddenly acutely aware that many of these awards are limited by age as well. Of course I want to support youth as they enter their fields, but I also value the voices of age. How many people change fields, or only discover their desire to write or create at a later age? Some don’t find their voice until they’ve lived, and that voice can be truly powerful.

Can’t you be a new voice, and be over 32 years old?

I am a woman. I am trying to become a writer. I am in the middle of a career change (or at least a career adjustment)  which is not easy for anyone at any time of life. But, it seems my worst crime will be that I am over 40.

Yes folks, I’ve passed over the dreaded age line which allows me to be an up-and-comer and have landed squarely in the middle of a has-been. Funny thing though, I still feel like I have a lot to offer.

So, kudos to the Wasserstein committee for recognizing the error of their ways. But now I’d like to see the development of a grant program that would help women writers of all ages. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Touched By Television

 

P Television

Image via Wikipedia

 

Okay, I admit it. I am addicted to television.

Well, actually I’m addicted to Hulu and other sources of television on-line since we no longer actually have a television set. The advantage to watching shows that way is that I have to make conscious choices about what I watch, and I can watch at convenient times.

The disadvantage is that, when time allows, I can go through a show watching binge. I gorge myself with past episodes until my head is so full of what I have been watching that it affects my dreams or sleep. I guess it is better than a food binge.

Last night, my decadent festival of sweetness involved catching up on episodes of Playful Kiss, the Korean drama that has me completely hooked. I cannot resist agonizing with Oh Ha Ni in her love/hate (but mostly love) relationship with Baek Seung Jo. For me, the show is an interesting study into cultural difference as well as a sweet dessert after a long day. Sometimes I want to shake Ha Ni, and make her walk away from the teasing cruelty of Seung Jo. Go find someone else, I want to scream. But then I see Seung Jo falling in love with her, and I fall in love with him a little bit as well. I am totally fascinated and can’t help but over-indulge.

This morning was a different track of deliciousness, as I caught the most recent episode of Glee. After sobbing through the entire episode, I have to say it is the best so far this season (and one of the best overall). It had an actual story, and the songs came from that story. In that way, like a sound track to a movie or a musical, the songs reinforced the emotion. I found that much more interesting and entertaining than the Brittany Spears episode that was frivolous and meaningless, emphasizing sex for no reason. I enjoyed the tears that came from fabulously sung songs. Manipulative, sure, but for me it was also a rich way to start the day.

Yesterday I wrote about reading, today I am writing about television. They each serve a purpose in my life. The each allow me new ways of looking at the world. Sometimes they make me laugh, sometimes they make me cry, sometimes they make me scream. They allow me to feel, in the privacy of my home, so that then I can face the rest of the day with calm.

I wonder if there is something strange about that. Oh well, if so c’est la vie. I am excited about anything that gives me the urge to write.

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