Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! Get Your Damn Foot Off the Brake.

Untitled West Texas Palm Tree

You know what? This has not been my favorite season. (And the hits still keep comin’!) But here’s the thing— ultimately I know what things I can control and what things I can’t. And what I could not control during this trip to Big Bend with my friend D. was this person who kept stomping his brakes in front of us on a curvy basin road in the rain. Are you ready now? Tale my hand and let us go together into this story. Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! Enough.

Jeanne d'Arc

“When you are completely off balance, so much so that you are certain you will topple over—you bring the paddle down hard on the water’s surface, the way ducks bat their wings. You will feel your kayak right itself. Only by moving in the direction you least trust can you be saved.” —Roger Rosenblatt Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! Color, I Exhaled

Subtractive Color

Can you visualize color without reference? Can you recall sequenced sound? Does the smell of baker’s chocolate bring up a complete memory, unpacked, of your childhood? Which of the five senses unlocks your world? Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! Why I Didn’t, and Why I Did, and Why I’ll Do It Again [A Costume Design Story]

MohairSweaterNationalArchief

When you try to learn a new skill, remember this: Learning how to fail at something new, takes you halfway to learning how to succeed at it. Really. Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! Why I Didn’t and Why I Did [A Fashion Story]

Hat Satin Flowers Ostrich Feathers

First you take the fabric and boil the chicken broth and examine your light sources when you consider the built in furniture potatoes are a good source of potassium and don’t forget to press your seams, students. Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! A Word of One’s Own at the Gates of the Secret City

En_kväll_vid_midsommartid_gingo_de_med_Bianca_Maria_djupt_in_i_skogen2

You’re never in repose, you see. Because you’re writing, or thinking about writing, or you have written, and now need sleep. Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! Consider Moondog.

Moondog Album Cover

Of all the instruments Moondog played, he didn’t seem to want to learn how to play the big blatty trumpet of self-publicity with his lovely artist friends in New York. Moondog was busy learning to be Moondog. Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL!: That Brick Wall Won’t Hurt You None, Darlin’!

SheWroteTheBookJoanDavis

Here’s the hard truth about writer’s block as I had to learn it: You’re going to have to write anyway. Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! Find A Fearless Love For The Parts You Hate.

 
 
 
Don't Mess with Her!
 
 
 

I was on the phone with a friend of mine earlier this year, and I admitted to a fault.

A really bad fault.

And I laughed at it.

My friend caught her breath.

She said, “You can’t say that about yourself.”

“Oh, yes, I can, ” I said. “And what’s more— ”

I kept on going on about this fault of mine, and laughing, until my friend laughed, too.

At first, she was hesitant. Then, she roared.
 
 
 
You see, I’ve got some bad-awful faults.

Traits. Parts of my personality. You get the picture.

And, like everyone I know, I’m used to tucking these awful traits behind a cupboard in my heart where no one can see them.

They’re still there, just out of sight for the moment.

It’s like the quick clean up you do right before your friends stop by.

You stash away the normal debris of everyday life into an away space.

The newspapers. The handful of change. The laundry you didn’t get around to folding. You cram it into a cupboard, and hope it stays put.

That’s normal, right?
 
 
 
That quick spit-shine clean never works out for me.

Something happens. Always.

Right after you come inside and just before I offer you a glass of water, a door will creak.

And, like a joke in a slapstick movie, those parts of me that I don’t want you to see, are going to come tumbling off the shelves of my private self, out of the cupboard and onto the floor between us. The horror!

CLANG! My forgetfulness tips out of the cupboard and …. Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! You Will Win the Trophy; You Will Lose the Trophy. Keep Dancing.

 
 
 
Portrait of an unidentified female dancer backstage, Ballets Russes Australian tour, ca. 1938.
 
 
 

All of my teenage years—  all of them— can be summed up in a singular scene.

I am standing backstage in a dance costume, trying to keep my muscles warm. 

On stage are the two people in my competition I will need to beat in order to win the first place trophy.  

These dancers are my friends and companions anywhere, but here. 

Here, we are competitors.

My biggest competition today is a girl whose slender, tan frame floats midair in front of me. 

Her face carries no emotion— she is a cipher of articulated postures and pretty legs. 

I know what she is capable of doing.  She is capable of beating the tar out of me.   I watch her for a second, and turn away to keep stretching. 

Watching her right now is not going to put me midair on stage.

In twenty seconds, she and the other competitor, a boy with problematic posture, will finish.  They will stand still while the judges write down their marks. 

Backstage, you will not hear a single cough or the rustle of fabric.   The bell rings for the competitors to bow.
 
 
 
Now freeze the frame.   

Here are my choices—  I can either a) congratulate them both quietly,  b) ignore them as I prepare to go on that same stage in front of those same judges,  or c) goggle and smile and give a really goofy thumbs up gesture to my competitors before I go on myself.

Keep in mind that the competitor, …. Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! You Better Make Friends with Your Face, ‘Cause You’re Gonna Be Here Awhile

NosferatuFace

One day you are going to wake up and your face, your beautiful face, is going to look, you know, a little more peaked than usual. All the way peaked to Nosferatu territory. Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! Remember Who You Are, Then Toss That Definition Over Your Shoulder

ladyfingerscreenshot

One December a number of years back, I was curled up like a sick kitten in my doctor’s office and he told me something that was going to change my life forever. Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! Failing Beautifully Is the First Step Out the Front Door

 
 

Carnavalsoptocht / Carnival procession

 
 

Today I read the most thoughtful, calm-headed presentation of compassion for people who use cell phones in their cars.

It was so thoughtful, so well-written, I even said to the writer of this gorgeous essay something to the effect of— “You know, I think I can finally, finally look at those folks with eyes of compassion.  I’m getting ready to leave the house and enter traffic any minute.”

I didn’t get but three blocks from my house before I saw a person in a car held together by dents that was bobbing and weaving like a DUI in progress after twelve o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon.

I checked the head position of the driver in the car.  His/her head was silhouetted to the right of the driver’s seat, looking down at an angle at the passenger seat.

Weaving?  Check.  Head position to the right with a three-quarter profile?  Check.  Going ten miles slower than the speed limit?  Check.

It was someone texting.

I signaled, passed on the left going the speed limit, waved my arm at the offending driver (no birds— half, whole or otherwise flung from my fingertips) and crossed carefully in front of them.

Meanwhile— and they couldn’t hear this— I was going KRAKATAU! with the curse words.  I was flinging around F-gizmos and S-doodads and worse in a volcanic explosion of real profanity (versus the fauxfanity I try to use most of the time now).
 
 

Elephant and girl

 
 

May we backtrack for a second, here?  I want to go over the time frame of this whole debacle.  (All times are approximate.)

At 11:45, I read a …. Read on, Reader!

Adulthood CONFIDENTIAL! The Right Thing To Say Is Rarely The Right Thing To Say

LethbridgeFoodFair

Two days ago, I had a phone conversation that threatened to go into a rude moment of mutually assured verbal awkwardness. Read on, Reader!

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