April 18, 2010
Why My House Is Dirty
I had a run of stress today.
And when I get stressed out--like really stressed out--I clean. I really clean.
Took about ten minutes of heavy-duty cleaning today to get my stress levels back in order and sit back down and get back to work.
I realized while this was happening that this is why my house is so dirty, lately.
I don't have as much cleaning-inducing stress these days!
Yup. My life is so stress-free of late that I haven't needed the "get on all fours and scrub a floor for an hour" therapy I used to require more regularly.
So, um, that's actually pretty dang cool!
(I mean, as reasons for being proud of a dirty house go, right?)
January 17, 2010
Well, to be fair, I should call this post Post-Clutter Busting Workshop, because I haven't done any actual Clutter Busting just yet. But I will. Oh yes, I will.
So, I show up (early, as always) to the Clutter Busting workshop, immediately scrape my knuckles on a fast-slamming screen door (Ow!) and am greeted by the most wonderful Colleen, the brilliant Brooks, and a woman who refuses to shake hands (but likes to "touch elbows," so you have to kind of get even MORE into her personal space to do a weird greeting), and another who says by way of greeting, "You brought a shitload of clutter!"
Um... wasn't that the point?
See, the workshop included instructions that we bring a bin of clutter. So I did. And I didn't just go for the easy stuff--the stuff that even I wonder why I keep and know could easily be thrown out if I just took the time. I put some challenging things in the bin. I wanted to learn why I ever felt the need to hang on to any of this stuff.
Realizing I was already--just 30 seconds in--focusing on lots of "noise" of my environment to try and distract myself from the big work we were about to do, I moved across the room to pet our host's cat, I chose a seat, and I reached for my trusty journal, in which I write about all things I experience as I live my life.
Only... the journal wasn't in my purse. I totally forgot it. I was so excited about the Clutter Busting that I neglected to bring my journal and "right colored pen" (because each entry must happen in another ink color than the one before it, so it's always easy to tell where one meeting ends and another begins) and was stuck, journal-less.
"How am I going to take notes about this?" I asked myself. Suddenly, I remembered that one of the bits of clutter I put into that bin they told me to stash by the door (the same door that bit my hand) was paper-based! I went over, reached in, fished out a few pages from the clutter bin, and happily began scribbling notes about how this process was already feeling, right there on the best desk I've got: my thigh.
I laughed at myself for the ways I was trying to derail this experience already--laughed again as I found myself distracted by the professional "expert" who came (Why pay to take a workshop if you already know everything?), the unsolicited-advice-giver (We ain't here to hear you, lady.), the smoker, the latecomer, the noisy eater, and the woman who took notes so loudly I felt as though her aggressively darting pencil was a device meant to punish her ridiculously loud and crinkly paper.
Every time I felt myself focusing on any of this "noise," I reminded myself that it was okay to be scared about what breakthrough was on the other side of the good information I was about to receive. And these tactics to avoid feeling truly open to hear and experience and GET the lessons are just defense mechanisms.
"Be here, Gillespie," I told myself. And I--finally--tuned everything else out.
Brooks was brilliant. Let me just say that, now. I knew he would be, because of the impact I've seen him have on Colleen, who is also brilliant. She already has so much good stuff in place for navigating her life (and sharing it all) that if she felt great impact from Brooks' teachings, I knew I certainly could.
As I mentioned yesterday, I have lots of clutter!
More importantly, I have lots of justifications for keeping what I keep.
As we spent a half-hour on the first person, then five minutes on the next, and then twenty minutes on the third--always allowed to interject questions that each person's process brought up for us--I realized not everyone's bin would be dealt with, here. So, I began reviewing in my mind each of the pieces I knew I had put in my bin (which was still over by the door).
I had chosen each thing to represent a "theme" I seem to have. Like, this piece is here because it goes with an art project I never really finished, and I wanted to finish it and this would be how I could do that. And, this is in here because it's a placeholder, a to-do list item, and by having the thing in the way, it reminds me--more than a note on a list could remind me--that I have this thing to do. The three biggest themes represented by junk in my bin were these:
2. Empty boxes.
3. All-or-nothing items.
Let me elaborate.
Gifts. Well, that's easy. That's something that Brooks covered with a couple of the night's participants. And I asked a clarifying question to help me get at what kept me so bound to things that have been given to me.
We keep gifts that others give us because we have a need to please. We worry so that we will disappoint the gift-giver by not liking the thing they've given us that--in addition to not liking the thing (which is already the case)--we hang on to the thing we don't like because to let go of it would be somehow more insulting.
That makes perfect sense. And if I consider the intention of the gift-giver, it gets very easy. "She gave me these earrings because she loves me and wants me to have these nice things. She hasn't been observant enough to realize that I don't--can't--wear earrings. I can either force myself to wear these earrings--causing horrible infection and great pain--or I can keep 'em in the box on a shelf and feel like shit for not wearing them every time I pass by the box. Or I can squirrel 'em away into a place where I never see 'em and they'll continue to fester at my psychic energy just by being here and keeping space occupied, preventing something that I would actually love, wear, use, and find great joy in from coming into my life. Or I can clutter-bust. I can say, 'Wow, thank you so much for the gift,' and then give the lovely earrings to someone who will treasure them. Because the giver did not give me the earrings in an attempt to make me feel like shit--which I do, every time I look at them and think about not wearing them, which is all I will EVER do, since I cannot wear them--it is my gift back to me and to the giver to be free of all that psychic--and physical--baggage."
Empty boxes. A little stickier, because the boxes I used as an example are the cute iPhone boxes (3) that I still have, years after having first purchased iPhones. They're cute. And fun. And well-crafted. And a piece of marketing genius. So, the lesson Brooks drew here was that I keep the empty box because it reminds me of the joy I got when I first brought home my new iPhone.
He asked if I could get to that place of joy without the box.
Absolutely! Just holding my iPhone brings me that joy.
Okay, cool. Then the box can go, right?
(Ah, crap. A but. You knew that was coming.)
I also really think the box is cute and I could maybe store something little in it. It's such a well-made box and I have a lot of little things. Couldn't that be a good use of the box?
"If you use it like that."
Got it. And that brings me to the second half of the "empty boxes" item, because I also keep a fuckton of less-lovely empty boxes (like shoe boxes and the big boxes the printer paper comes in from Office Depot or Staples) and that way I always have a box when I need one.
Think about that.
I always have a box when I need one.
Who fucking cares?
Why do I take up a full eighth of a room with a Matryoshka Dolls-like configuration of boxes inside boxes inside boxes, just so I'll have one handy when I need one? When I need to store another mess of actor headshots or postcards--which I'm desperately trying to dispose of, with the help of casting interns working with me--I'll have another damn box, allowing me to KEEP stuff I'm trying to get rid of. Right? Oh boy...
Out they go. Got it.
All-or-nothing items. This one gets even stickier, and I didn't get a direct answer to this question, when I posed it early on in the session, as Brooks was going through Dyana's awesome bin. "What about self-imposed rules about 'all or nothing,' when it comes to getting rid of stuff?"
That's what I asked, and I didn't realize until the end of the workshop that the entire concept of Clutter Busting is the answer to that question.
See, I have this "all or nothing" issue. With lots of things. It's sometimes very difficult for me to do something that's only "a little" done. If I get rid of a headshot an actor tossed into a bin for me at a speaking event, I'm convinced I have to get rid of every headshot that actors tossed into that bin for me, at that event. And then all similar events come into question.
If I delete an email that's a part of a conversation that has six back-and-forths, I am convinced I must delete all emails from that conversation. Once I've deleted one, they all must go. And if I keep one, they all must stay.
If I throw away a holiday greeting card with a sweet, sentimental message scrawled inside, I must throw away all cards from that holiday. I can't keep any of 'em. Because once I hang on to one special card, I have to keep them all. It's only fair.
Didn't I go through this exact issue when I Embraced Inefficiency four years ago? Yes. Yes, I did.
And I also do this with people--and Brooks tells us that clutter is defined as anything that's holding us back--by saying, "Well, I've invited showcase alumni to this party. I have to invite all of the alumni. Not just my favorite people." Why? Why invite people I don't enjoy to parties I'm paying to host? Why do I let this "fairness voice" overrule happiness? That's messed up.
But here's what was really fantastic about what Brooks taught me, through his every query of a participant in the hotseat, going through his or her bin of clutter: "Address one thing at a time."
And, hey, that takes care of the "all or nothing" issue, every time, because you're only ever considering one item.
"As you hold that one thing, ask yourself how it makes you feel. Ask, 'Do I need to hold on to this or can I let it go?' And if your answer gets long-winded, it's a piece you need to deal with."
More importantly, if your answer gets long-winded--like, "I have to keep this because it's an heirloom," or, "I can't get rid of this because it was a gift," or, "I've never liked this, but it meant so much to my mom," for example--you need to know that that very item is constantly pulsing at you with that energy. Even from its box, hidden in a closet! And far more importantly than even that, if you're holding on to that stuff, you're preventing new stuff from coming into your life! You're holding on to things that you think have the potential of making you feel great (like you felt when you first got 'em, for example), it's like chasing the dragon. You can never get that first high back, so you keep trying harsher drugs or weirder combinations. And it still falls short. But by keeping that "old drug" with "potential" to make you "feel good" hanging around, you're keeping away the NEW thing that has absolute ability to fill your life with joy in THIS moment.
You're basically telling your life--by holding on to stuff--that the old stuff, the old "you," the stuff that you collected as that person--is all more valuable than the you now, the stuff you could invite into your life now, the happiness you could create today.
Now, I wanted to know why I keep the things I keep. Brooks says the WHY is not important. "Look at the effect it's having on you," he said. "The reason it's choking you doesn't matter. Just stop the choking." I love it. The why is less relevant because the why is that we're taught to attach meaning to things. We are not taught how to let go. And when we watch others go through their stuff--stuff to which WE have no attachment--it gets very simple. Just like producers selecting top actors for a role. There's no attachment other than "what's gonna work, right now." Brooks also suggested we ask, "Would I buy this today, if I had a gift card?" I like that! I also really loved his analogy about how these "treasures" are like a nail made of gold. We step on it, and instead of realizing we are being HURT by the nail, we focus on, "Oh, but it's made of gold! It's valuable."
Is it so valuable we'll let it keep us apart from the better stuff we have headed for us, as we've evolved and expanded our capacity for inviting goodness into our lives?
So, as I go around my house, I touch a thing. I ask, "How do I feel about you?" And if I feel thrilled to have it in my life, on display, out for the world to enjoy with me, it can stay. If I am embarrassed or worried or anxious or feeling like I will someday have a house in which this thing will be appreciated, I have two choices.
1. Toss it.
2. Put it out and on display to enjoy RIGHT NOW. Not someday.
And if I cannot enjoy it, if it causes me stress to look at it (perhaps because it is a reminder of how I don't yet have the space to showcase it the way I would like to), OUT it goes. Because holding on to it not only keeps that anxiety in my life--that "loss of clarity," as Brooks puts it--but it also prevents the very thing for which I'm hanging on to it (that future house) from coming into my life.
So, Keith and I had a big talk last night over dinner after the workshop. We agreed that even if we have to buy stuff all over again, if the keeping of the "stuff" is preventing us from getting the house that is where we want to showcase the "stuff," we would rather have the house and have to buy stuff all over again, than to have the "stuff" and no house.
We're ready to have a space into which we happily invite people. About which we don't apologize for the state of it. "Oh, we are storing that for when we get our house," is something we no longer want to say. We're ready to live here, now. And addressing each item all by itself, asking whether it makes my heart sing... that's a ONE THING I can--and will--do.
Because if it's not filling me with happy, right this second, what am I doing hanging on to it?
January 16, 2010
Okay, so I'm pretty freakin' excited. And I know I'm facing some major change. The major way I know I'm facing some major change is that I'm majorly sick. And I rarely get sick. Not like this, anyway. This is the kind of sick I've only been a few times in my life. That inexplicably sick and stuck and feeling like a used kleenex kind of sick that has no connection to any contagion or any amount of run-down and instead seems to line up with a spiritual or psychic block on its way out.
I got this sick before The Age 28 Epiphany. I got this sick before I came out about my damage that I had been keeping private for so long. I'm about to do something very scary and very wonderful and I didn't get this sick 'til the moment I knew I would be doing this.
What is "this"?
I had read about my friend-and-mentor Colleen Wainwright's Clutter Busting back in October. I remember at the time being too overwhelmed by the contents of that post to comment, and instead of commenting, I took a screen-cap of the cute little frog photo and added it to my "smile file."
Of course, I'm a clutter-keeper. I'm not an out-and-out hoarder (the show by the same name has taught me I am sooo much healthier than I sometimes think I might be), but I keep stuff. Usually stuff well-meaning folks give me. "It's a gift! I can't get rid of it." (Some of that issue has softened with my decision to just start re-gifting stuff that may mean more to someone else than it could ever mean to me--especially when I'm in a place that doesn't allow me to afford what I'd like really to buy for someone.)
Usually, I move every couple of years. With the exception of my childhood years, I have changed residences at least every two years. Until now. Keith and I have lived in our beach pad for almost six years now. And moving every two years helps keep clutter down, as there's always that big, "I'd rather toss you out than move you," conversation with a lot of the stuff. So, now, we have a bunch more stuff than I even understand having.
So, when Colleen mentioned Wednesday that her Clutter Busting guru, Brooks Palmer, was going to be doing a Clutter Busting workshop in Los Angeles this weekend--and that as of that morning there was one spot left--I knew this was my breakthrough, on its way.
I keep getting emails from my nearest and dearest, telling me they see me so poised for the tier jump that's coming. I feel that too. I really do. But there's a block.
And I as I've gleefully--yes, even in my sick place--gone around the house and pulled things to take to Brooks (we each bring a bin of "stuff" for him to Clutter Bust for us--rather--to *teach* us why we hang onto the stuff, so we can go home and start removing the stuff ourselves), I've said, "Well, can't I just throw this out, now that I'm looking at it and knowing I don't need to keep it?" and I've answered to myself, "No. It's time to understand why you've ever felt the need to hang on to this. And fix that."
So, I'm off to fix that. I am so very, very, very excited for where I'll be the next time I sit down at this computer ("where" being an emotional, spiritual, mental place, more than physical, of course). I'm not expecting anything other than change and flow and the gift that is Clutter Busting.
Again, thank you Colleen, for bringing yet another gift into my life at the exact right moment.
This is a gift I will keep!
September 26, 2009
We've only just begun.
One of the things that comes with having so very, very, very many things going at once is that sometimes--in order to grow with the coolest of those things--we must unplug from a few of the other things.
And it is the beauty of knowing that this growth will, in fact, allow for higher-quality plug-ins for everyone that makes it so very easy to do.
Even when it's not that easy to do. ;)
August 2, 2009
Awesomeosity in a Bottle
You know that feeling you sometimes have? That feeling of, "I freakin' ROCK!"
I love that feeling. I wish it came over me more often. Because when it does, I cannot be stopped. I am awesome.
Well, a little over a week ago, I was talking with these fantastic, inspiring actors that I'm working with. We were talking about fear. About blocks. About letting unsafe people into our sacred circle. About feeling less than. And how to fix that.
And then I shared my tip. And now I'm going to share it with you. It's called "Awesomeosity in a Bottle."
Just visualize your perfect bottle. It doesn't have to be large. But it overflows with your awesomeosity, and when you're in need, you just grab it from the shelf (or from the cord you keep it on, around your neck) and uncork it. Sniff from it. Drink in your awesomeosity right then and there and let it wash all through you, inside and out.
We all know we've been there. We all know we have moments of being so filled with self-assuredness and self-love that it borders on the narcissistic. It feels so good but it is so very out of reach when we're low. Not anymore.
Grab your Awesomeosity in a Bottle whenever you need it. This is a powerful tip. And you are awesome.
September 10, 2008
The Bliss of Flow (AKA: Growing Up Gillespie)
For all of the not-so-goods that came with growing up me, there were a lot of goods too. A lot of really goods.
But one of the not-so-goods involved living in a house in which the dominant mood set the tone for all other occupants of that house.
While Mom had a temper, she wasn't often angry. When she was, it was ugly, but luckily it was one of those experiences no one had to encounter too often. The fear of encountering it was quite enough.
What Mom was, though, was very much influenced by what others did or thought or said or felt about her. And for a good part of my adult life (and certainly throughout all of my childhood and teen years), that was my way of living too.
If Kenneth was drinking, Mom was in despair. If Bill was ignoring us, Mom was indignant. If Daddy was a no-show, Mom was furious. If Heddy was micromanaging us, Mom was stubborn. If WL was leaching, Mom was depressed. If I was being bullied at school, Mom was in crisis.
And whatever Mom felt, we all felt. The very walls of the house took on the tint of Mom's moods. She was that powerful a force. Still is, sometimes.
What I only got to see as Mom lived the last decade of her life was a beautiful new world in which Mom's emotional tone was not (as much) dictated by those in her life and what those folks were doing, saying, thinking, or feeling. For the first time, Mom was feeling how SHE was feeling. And it was beautiful to see that, because it was so very different than how most of our days together had been.
And so much more pleasant.
Somehow, in her last few years on the planet, Mom was less consumed by what others thought. (Not entirely disinterested, but absolutely LESS consumed, and that was an important distinction to experience.) She was less emotionally attached to what others were doing or saying or thinking or feeling. And suddenly, she cared less about whether everyone in her sphere of influence went on her emotional journeys with her.
She became an old woman who wore purple, basically.
This is on my mind today because I realize that I, in my 30s, have gone from being the kind of person who felt extreme highs and lows because of what others did or said or thought or acted like they MIGHT have thought or how they glanced at me in a way that would make me THINK they MIGHT have thought something about me or anything I cared about (God forbid, anyONE I cared about) to being the kind of person who gives less than a flying fruit loop what anyone else is thinking, doing, saying, feeling about ANYTHING...
especially what they're thinking about me, doing to me, saying about/to me, feeling about me.
I remember hearing the quote, "What others think about you is none of your business," back when I was in my late teens or early 20s. I thought it was brilliant. I wrote it down. I tried to make it a mantra. I really tried to believe it. I really tried to live it.
But that's the big difference between me 10 or 20 years ago and me now.
I don't try so hard anymore. I just BE.
And I do it without apology and certainly (more and more, lately) without giving a second thought to what others might think or feel or say or believe about what it is I'm doing or how I'm living.
Because I'm now acutely aware of what my mom waited until she was in her 60s to finally understand even a little bit.
How we feel about what others are doing, saying, feeling, or thinking has nothing to do with THEM and everything to do with us. And since that means that I get to CHOOSE how I feel, EVERY time, I'm just going to choose to feel great. And that means I do what feels good RIGHT NOW, every time.
Selfish? You betcha.
It's about damn time.
And I am amazed how bliss-filled living in my home feels. Keith is the perfect partner to this flow because he RARELY feels any attachment to what others think or do or say or feel. Sure, he cares about me. Sure, he wants me to be happy. But if he comes home feeling great and I'm in a shitty mood, he does NOT let that change his mood.
Basically, the walls here do NOT take on the tint of the dominant mood.
Oh, shit. Or maybe they DO.
Hold up! Yes they DO because the dominant mood is always "WHATEVER" here.
We're just so happy to be who we are, when we are, where we are, how we are that there is nothing but "blissed out" going on around here, and when the pissy mood or the crabby mood or the stubborn mood or the bullied mood or the low-tolerance mood comes through, it's as fleeting as we choose to let it be.
If we wallow in it, that's a choice.
And with choice being such a powerful tool, we use it wisely.
Feeling like shit is a choice. Even if you're feeling like shit because of something someone else "did to you."
I grew up in a home where we gave away a lot of power. We let others dictate how we felt an awful lot of the time.
What a waste!
Why let anyone else drive your emotional, psychic/spiritual, or mental car one moment more than it takes to realize you've handed over those keys?
Dear GAWD, I'm thrilled to get this NOW rather than 30 years from now.
Feeling like shit? Choose a better feeling. Right now.
That's all there is to it.
Certain you can't choose a better feeling? That's a bad place to be. It's also not true. You can ALWAYS choose a better feeling. I'm not saying "drastically better," here. "One note up the scale better" is enough to get going in the right direction.
Or not. ;) Maybe you're super happy exactly where you are. Awesome. If being miserable makes you happy somehow, that's so dang cool. Keep choosing that.
I no longer feel responsible for keeping anyone else happy. I TRUST that you're going to take care of your choices and live your fullest life.
That's what I'm doing.
And while people rarely like hearing that others are happy (Weird, isn't that? Such a sad trait humans have, not liking seeing others happy in public.), I'm unapologetic about it. I logged plenty of years being less-happy because I thought it would serve some purpose. Nope. It only served to make me "less than." And that doesn't help anyone.
September 7, 2008
Twitter has ruined me for blogging.
That's really all it comes down to.
I no longer go to the trouble of logging into Movable Type, choosing the appropriate blog in which to compose, composing a blog entry, finding appropriate image files, editing image files to the right size for my blog's configuration, uploading the images, linking the images, editing the entry and linking back to anything I reference, and then copying the whole thing and logging in at MySpace to paste it into a blog entry there. And while there, having to deal with any number of friend requests and photo tags and blah blah blah.
Instead, I post a big 140-character thought whenever I have it over at the Twitter. I see what my favorite Twitterers post right on my iPhone. It's a new day. If I can say it in 140 characters, I'm gonna. And if it needs more characters than that, it's probably gonna be a column. Or it'll wait. And then it'll be over. And oh, well, nevermind.
So, sorry blog readers who feel abandoned. I'm still around. And Twittering all the damn time.
But if I bothered to blog lately, I'd talk about the pain of coming down from 4.5 weeks of "book mode" and how happy I am that--as hellish as "coming down" is--this time I don't celebrate this accomplishment with a migraine that sends me to bed for five days. Ah! Keith was right! That's why I don't recall coming down from book mode being such a pain in the ass, previous times. I've been unconscious for those. This time... I'm getting to FEEL it. And it's almost all emotional and OCD-related and way majorly about using my personality defects to drive my accomplishments for short periods of time and then having to downshift out of those defects in order to ever be able to interact with real-life humans on a day-to-day basis.
I'd talk about being totally obsessed with "the house hunt" lately. It's ridiculous how off I get on calculating mortgage rates and square footage and whether a pool could fit in that yard and on and on and on. And our timing couldn't be better. Since we got together over seven years ago, Keith and I have been talking about the timeline for cleaning up his divorce-abused credit and saving up enough to buy a house in LA (preferably in Santa Monica, which is INSANELY expensive). And holy cow if the economy hasn't done exactly what my brilliant husband predicted it would do... and we are so right in line for pouncing on Our Perfect Home within the next 16 months. ROCKSTAR!
I'd talk about our lovely walks at night, in total appreciation of our neighborhood and its inhabitants. Last night, our walk was one of the best ever and we basked in the afterglow of having met really great people and animals and properties and plants and on and on and on for hours after returning home for a datenight of COPS, America's Most Wanted, and champagne. Ah, we're so white trash. I love it!
I'd talk about my ridiculously low tolerance for people who can't read. Seriously. The level of reading comprehension among those who've been emailing me lately is a slap in the face of every teacher that ever sat a kid down and tried to instruct anything ever. Whenever I want to feel like we, as a nation, are "smarter than that," I only have to open my inbox to be reminded that there's a whole mess of people out there walking around like they have a clue who absolutely cannot read, will not read, will read and decide that what they read couldn't possibly have anything to do with them, and CAUSE ME MORE WORK because of that. New approach? Just fucking ignore it all. I'm not answering the emails. I'm not replying. I'm not even returning the phone calls. If you do not meet a baseline of reading comprehension and the ability to READ what I've already fucking written about the subject, I'm sorry, you don't get a reply. Ever. I'm sure you'll blame it on the Internets for sucking your message away.
I'd talk about the bliss that is letting something you thought you cared a lot about GO and then--seriously, at that exact instant--receiving an email explaining that you've been tapped to be a part of something in which you believe so completely by someone whose fan you've been forever.
I'd talk about all of the gearing-up going on. It's ridiculous. (And yes, I know that's the official word of this post. I know.) It's invigorating. It's exciting. It's exactly right on.
I'd talk about my obsession with Wii Fit and the fact that my waist is now 5.5" smaller than it was when 2008 started (read that again, people... 5.5" smaller)!!!
I'd talk about how Self-Management for Actors is pretty much the best book for actors ever written (and how I have no apologies for holding that opinion. Seriously, if you could spend 4.5 straight weeks with barely any sleep working on something you loved and NOT say you thought it was a work of brilliance then you don't understand inspired creation at all... and WHY would you waste that much time on something you didn't love in a huge way anyway) and how I couldn't have done it without my amazing proofer patrol, the brilliant contributors, and my awesome husband. We'll know tomorrow when the bluelines are scheduled to hit LA and that'll be when we'll celebrate with proofers. And when the books arrive (sometime in late October, most likely), there will be parties and parties and parties galore. And then the book tour. And the roadshow. And, and, and...
I'd talk about my column and whether I have anything to say anymore.
I'd talk about my cats and how much joy they bring me by being so dang silly and slothy and precious.
I'd talk about several (4) films I've cast all playing at festivals this and next month.
I'd talk about amazing filmmakers who have made it clear we're "work married" and will have even MORE fun working on our next projects together.
I'd talk about the value in letting GO of fucknuts who owe me tens of thousands of dollars because my life is a shitload bigger than needing to hold onto their wannabe worlds. I guess it's a good sign when you go from having had A $200 Lesson (future post) to having had one with a ton more zeroes on it than that.
I'd talk about a change we're making with the showcase that we'll announce next week and which will rock this town even more than it already has.
I'd talk about JUST BEING HAPPY, since that's the majority of what my Twitters have been about. Negativity is not fun and I'm choosing every day to put myself farther and farther away from that nonsense. It's just not conducive to creating brilliant stuff. Y'know what is? Being HAPPY.
So, there ya have it. That's why I'm not blogging anymore. I'm Twittering and most of my Twitters are bursts of whatever is on my mind at the moment and that's been enough to keep me feeling "in touch." Thank you, CoCo, for nudging me over there.
I suspect I'll do a 12 of 12 on Friday, but I'm feeling kind of DONE with 12 of 12 too, these days. And rather than forcing myself to stay involved with anything out of a sense of responsibility, I'm living my life "involved in areas that inspire me." Does that make me flaky? Maybe for the first time in my life, yes.
August 2, 2008
AND... just like that.
All or Nothing
I actually said to Keith, yesterday, "I'm aware that I need help. I'm ready to ask for help. But there is no way to communicate the whole of what I need to any one person--or team of people--in such a way that will yield the result I need." In fact, when I did actually come up with a very easily-communicated, single task for which I *could* ask for help, I got none. I posted to my Proofer Patrol two days ago that I needed someone to volunteer to fact-check an old column I had written. It's been a couple of years; perhaps the info needs updating.
Now, on my team of Proofers, I have people who have already said they'll be experts in certain areas. So, I HAVE fact-checkers. Yet no one bunnied up. And when I asked again, yesterday, no one bunnied up. Do I need new volunteers? Have I asked something so completely unreasonable of a group of people who have agreed to fact-check by requesting someone "call it" so I know at least THAT little bit of my overall burden is being addressed?
But this is not a post in which I bitch about people who are graciously donating their time and energy and expertise to help bring this new edition to life.
This is a post in which I attempt to work out some of my "all or nothing" issues.
As you may know, we're working on getting corporate sponsorship for the Cricket Feet Showcase. So, our grant writer/corporate sponsorship proposal writer, contacts me every now and then and asks for things. A bio. My casting resumé. A list of current sponsors. Statistical data about our showcasers.
Yesterday, she asked for a list of the festivals at which the films I have cast have screened. I used to keep up with that. I used to keep a list of every single festival that every single film I cast went to. I kept a list of the awards each film won as well. And whenever I would discover one that I had missed, I would be livid. I would panic. I would scramble to update my website and resumé and then I would fret about how I had missed learning about the festival sooner. Had the producer neglected to inform me (despite the fact that it's in my casting deal memo that I will be notified of all festivals)? Had I missed an email? Was my server down? Had I been informed but was so busy at the moment the email came through that I hadn't made the update in a timely fashion and then forgot that I had been informed?
It was crazymaking.
So I stopped keeping up. Nearly every film of the 40-something I have cast has gone to a festival (some, up to 25 festivals). Every film I have cast that has gone to a festival has won an award somewhere. This was very important information to detail, per the corporate grant proposal writer. But I have let go of keeping up with it all! Believe me, when a film I've cast plays at Sundance or wins at TriBeCa or gets an Independent Spirit Award, I'll keep up. But for my own sanity, I had to let go of keeping that list.
"So, give me what you DO know. Give me your old list," the grant writer instructed.
You mean you want an OLD list. An OLD list that had ERRORS which is why I abandoned the list-making to begin with??
PERISH THE THOUGHT!
"Yeah. Just give me the list."
Panic panic panic. I have to update a list I stopped keeping up with 19 months ago. I have to get all of the information I've neglected to keep updated. And I have to get it NOW. I have to STOP working on the book I'm getting no help updating (again, I know both that I am getting help and that it is really no one's responsibility to help me update my damn book. I'm sharing the spirally place my brain went at that moment) and update a list I haven't been updating BY CHOICE and I have to get it exactly right and I have to do it right now.
Panic panic panic.
Even woke up in a panic attack this morning.
Still trying to shake it off.
My heart hurts. Physically.
Now, the logical part of my brain says, "Score 85% Gillespie. It won't kill you. Most people in life show up and score less than 65% and skate on by. MOST of the time, you score 99% and still kick yourself for that 1% you 'failed' yourself and others. By scoring 85%, you're still going to be ahead of most people on the planet AND you're still going to be providing something excellent. Trust that."
And the part of my brain that believes even 99% is a complete and utter failure on my part says, "SCORE 85%?!? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?"
Now, I know I've come a long way. Despite my extreme "self-talk" example, above, I really am a lot better than I used to be. I am a very high-functioning obsessive-compulsive. I know that. As Beffers said yesterday, "Your OCD is so much more productive than mine." Yes. My OCD is much more productive than most. And it's also much more productive than it used to be. It used to grip me like this... a lot. It used to block me from workflow. It used to require rituals that everyone noticed. Now, it requires rituals no one really sees. We have containment. ;) Me and my OCD have become co-conspirators for focused work.
MOST of the time, I use it as a tool to help me focus--to the exclusion of almost all else--and get more work done than most people could ever hope to accomplish. And do it well. I know that. I appreciate that.
But when the "old OCD Bonnie" comes back around, she gets REALLY freaked out about how it's going to happen. I'm suddenly back in grad school and even though I have a team of undergrads whose job it is to earn a grade helping me check facts in my Master's thesis and there's a huge committee meeting deadline looming, I know in my core that there is no way they'll ever do as good a job as I would do with the tasks because they couldn't possibly care as much as I do. About getting it right. About having it work. About delivering 99% or better. And if I don't deliver on time, I'm stuck in this degree program another semester... and that's simply unacceptable. (Why? I do not know.)
Just gotta keep reminding myself what I already fucking know.
It's not "all or nothing."
It's not "all or nothing."
It's not "all or nothing."
It's not "all or nothing."
I know. I know. I know. I know.
Even if I use all sorts of logic to break this down, even if I let myself off the hook for any self-imposed deadline, even if I say, "Screw it. I'm out. Not even going to do this," I do not get relief from this GRIP of fear, this panic, this block.
So, I'm not looking for logic. I'm not looking for, "there, there." I'm looking for a way to FEEL BETTER about where I am and what's stretched out ahead of me. And oftentimes, writing about what I need gets it going for me. ;) It's like the post relieves a bit of the pressure. So, that's what this is. It's an invitation--perhaps a demand--that the peace come.
Then the rest will flow like crazy! I know that for sure.
Posted by bonnie at 10:19 AM
October 24, 2007
Community, Creativity, and Cheers
I arrived early. Way early. So early that for the first time I actually found a parking spot on the street when I did my "lap before committing to the parking deck" and then sat in my car listening to the radio and touching up my makeup.
I was nervous. Really nervous. Like the kind of nervous that I used to get before I had to speak to a group of 200 actors for three hours straight. Before I knew how to do that on auto-pilot. Back when that was new.
This was new.
Back in July, Chairman posted a notice about the Warner Bros. Comedy Writers Workshop at a MySpace group we're both a part of. I was in the middle of "showcase hell week" when I read it, but somehow it sparked off something. Some desire I didn't *really* think I had.
Maybe I want to write a spec script. Maybe the joy I got out of having my showcase scene performed was something deeper. Something worth exploring.
I slept on it.
The next day, after the first night of the showcase run, Rockstar Intern Julie and I came back home and decompressed (while Keith stayed behind and cleaned up the theatre). I told her about this wild idea I was having trouble putting aside in my mind. She sat up in a most alert-Julie fashion. I'll never forget her sitting on "her spot" on the floor, me on "my spot" on the sofa, and that look in her eyes that said, "Oh, God, Bonnie, DO IT."
It would be days before I would mention this idea to anyone else. In fact, I spent an hour trolling through the list of shows in production at CastingAbout.com to write down titles of shows I could potentially spec. I figured, anything I'd seen more than a half-dozen episodes of was fair game. I had no idea for a story. I had no real attachment to any particular show. I just knew I wanted this... and I had three weeks to get it done.
As I created one column for sitcoms and another for dramatic episodics, I felt no real surge of energy over any item on the list until I wrote the words "My Boys". It was at that point that I knew, I needn't finish the list. That would be the show I would spec. I'd seen nearly every episode of its first season and, wouldn't you know it, TBS was running a marathon of its first season on July 29th to get us geared up for its second season, starting July 30th. Perfect. Armed with the TiVo and a yellow legal pad, I began.
And by day, I would watch the episodes of My Boys while writing a meticulously-detailed show bible. I created charts. I had notecards for each main character with all manner of adjectives scribbled in the corners. A print-out of the cast photo was now posted on the wall of my work area. I transcribed the pilot to be sure I got the show format down. I outlined subsequent episodes to catch transitions from early format to "the show standard."
Cold open. Voiceover. Looooong act one. Voiceover. Short act two. Tag. Voiceover.
There were no script samples available. I looked everywhere. None. Closest I could tell, we were looking at a Sex and the City-style or Arrested Development-style script. Go with the single-camera, no laugh track, voiceover brand of sitcom that came before it, I figured. You'll be close enough to right. And everything I'd read said that the most important elements were gonna be:
1. You get the show. Its voice. Its tone. Its characters.
2. Your script is clean. Perfect spelling, punctuation, formatting.
3. Your dialogue is funny. Fast, fast, and funny.
Check. Check. And holy-hell check.
I was ready. Four days ahead of the deadline for submissions and I was now ready to start writing my spec script. Setting: A delicious, delightful dinner out with Keith during which I told him about how intrigued one of our showcase cast members had been about my story of how the showcase scene I wrote stemmed from a really horrific set-up I'd experienced when I lived in LA in the early '90s.
As Keith and I talked about the conversation I had had with the showcaser a couple of weeks earlier, I said, "I think this is where the show needs to go. I think this is the A-story. But what the hell is my B-story? And C-story?" And just then we experienced the Middle-Aged Balding Entitled A-Hole at El Cholo. Suddenly, the B-story was born. And it was so meaty I no longer needed a C-story. It was time to write. The gears were greased and with just one long weekend in which to do it, it was time to open Final Draft and put that puppy together.
Now, I had written one spec script before. In undergrad TV Writing in J-School at UGA. It was for The Simpsons and it was actually damn good. But for those of you keeping track, that would be... oh... over 15 years ago, and even though I've paid rent via a writing career for a pretty good long time, now, writing non-fiction for actors is just not the same as banging out a spec script. I was underconfident. I knew the odds were against me getting anywhere close to being in the party of three who would win the Fellowship. I also knew I could do this. And dammit, I was gonna.
And I did.
With just hours to go before registering the script and sending it off to Warner Bros., I sent it to My Ron Howard to read. Anna is not only a brilliant writer and director, she is hilarious. And she knows what sells. She has a flippin' Emmy, for cryin' out loud. Her notes were like bonus sprinkles of powdered sugar on already-delicious French Toast. And they came in just in time. Tweak here. Punch-up there. And the best part was the note in which she said, "Oh, and if I'm too late in getting these thoughts to you, please know that you already have a script here that is every bit as good as anything anyone is putting on TV anywhere right now. Your voice is clear. You, my friend, are a writer."
(Oh, how I would fight with my mom over that one. "My daughter, the writer," she would say. And I would stomp my pre-teen foot and scream, "Muh-thur! I am an ACK-TRESS!")
Off the script went and I had absolutely nothing to think about for the next seven weeks. Out of my hands. It was done. On with the rest of the work of my life. We'll just see what happens come October 8th.
Regular readers of my Showfax column know what happened October 8th. (Actually, I received my rejection letter on the 6th, but the column was so damn good that I didn't amend it to include the final outcome.)
But y'know what? I didn't feel sad. I felt empowered. In almost no time, I made a decision to do something brave and scary and then, by damn, I did the damn thing.
And on October 9th, when I wanted to wallow in self-pity over having written a spec that no one would ever see (no matter how "big and bad my talk" was, in that week's column), I received an email from the good folks at Naked Angels' Tuesdays@9, reminding me that it had been awhile since my last visit.
In fact, it had. I was a semi-regular visitor back in the summer of 2004. I went to scout actors after Subhash told me about it. I met Blake there and he propositioned me about writing a book together. And we did. Keith went several times and read the wonderful, original material that was being mounted each week. But then life did what it does: got busy. And I stopped going, despite how much I enjoyed the community, the creativity, the cheers.
But it's like Kathleen knew--when she sent out that email blast to everyone who had ever been on the Tuesdays@9 mailing list--that she was gently reminding me that this did not have to be the end of the story for my little spec script.
Sure, I had Frankensteined a couple of sections of it into scenes for November's showcase, but I still really liked the script as a whole. So this email at just the right time was enough to convince me to break it into fifths (to meet the 10-page max submission limit) and plan to show up--alone, for the first time in three years--to this once-familiar place, filled with artists who know each other well.
Of course, I found a way to talk myself out of going, around 7pm. I was in the middle of Fixing a Hole, dammit! I hadn't left the house in over a week! I was deep in a funk-infested process that HAD to be completed in a very particular way, and taking a break to walk into a room filled with people I might not even know with a spec script that was already rejected by the good folks at Warner Bros. when I was happily indulging the depths-of-despair routine so that I could get through it already just did not sound like fun. VERY easy to talk myself out of this one. Very.
And then another email landed in my inbox. This one was from My Cousin Joni, who had helped me with a couple of baseball analogies for PJ's voiceovers in the spec script. She had read about The Let-Down and wanted me to know that she was still proud of me for having tried it and that she loved the script anyway; thought it was every bit as good as anything anyone is putting on TV anywhere right now. And she loved me for being brave.
That did it!
Out I went. I grabbed the print-outs of the segmented spec script and let the mighty TicTac find its way to St. Nick's Pub. I was early. I was nervous. I ordered a strong drink at the bar, way overtipped, and climbed the stairs to the performance room. And there was Blake. And Subhash. I could finally exhale. Blake pointed me in the direction of Kathleen, who was happy to take my submissions, assuring me it would be four to six weeks to get in the queue, but that she loved my adherence to the exact submission instructions from the website. (I'm all about the details, baby.) I said to her, "I'm so nervous!" And she said, "That's why we do this in a bar."
Before I could get up from her submission table to find my own seat, Blake had come over to hug me some more and catch up on about a hundred things. And then Chuck walked over and we caught up. And then I was introduced around to Steve and Jared and Tom. Finally, I found a seat in a corner. I wanted to watch. I'd never been here "as a writer" and I had brought my notepad, ready to watch this experience no longer through the eyes of a casting director.
Enter: Keith. He has left class early to come support me. I am both elated (that he's here) and pissed at him (for missing class). Blake comes over and catches up with Keith now, too. Bless Blake. He is such a good man.
The night is over before I want it to be and I've embarrassed myself by taking a stutter-step up to my seat upon my return from the restroom, making a loud "clunk" with my boot during Kevin's very funny scene. I am sure I'll be asked never to return. Keith says the only thing one can say to the daughter who inherited her mother's "embarrassment disease." Let it go. So I do.
We leave and I'm hopeful that I'll return the following week. And I do. I sit with Subhash and am elated when KiKi comes over to me and pulls me in for the biggest, most welcoming hug I've had in ages. Again, the scenes are wonderful, the actors are outstanding, the music is fantastic, and this time I stay after with KiKi and Corey and we talk about zillions of things and laugh, laugh, laugh.
Okay. Now I'm going to be okay. I can come back next week. And the one after that. Then not on the 6th because of the showcase but then after that, just one more week and we'll be getting to the slots that perhaps one of my scenes could occupy. Cool. Lots of time to get really down with how this feels. Know who these actors are, scope out who should read what, and feel "in" more than I do right now. Cool.
And in comes another email from Kathleen. "Would you be willing to put up a scene from your My Boys spec this week? Any of them would be fine."
Yes. The answer is YES, dork! YES. "Yes," I reply. "Of course. Happy to. Thank you."
Luckily, there are all manner of things to busy myself with between the moment of invitation and THE MOMENT 50 PEOPLE HEAR MY WORK. Showcase, showcase, and more showcase. Plenty to do. Puh-lenty! Keep yourself busy, Gillespie. It's no big deal.
I arrive early. Way early. So early that for the first time I actually find a parking spot on the street when I do my "lap before committing to the parking deck" and then sit in my car listening to the radio and touching up my makeup.
I am nervous. Really nervous. Like the kind of nervous that I used to get before I had to speak to a group of 200 actors for three hours straight. Before I knew how to do that on auto-pilot. Back when that was new.
This is new.
I walk in, order a drink at the bar (and to tell you how nervous I am, here's the drink I order: WATER), and head upstairs, only to be asked to come back up in ten minutes (after soundcheck). Fair enough. I am insanely early. I wait downstairs, watching news coverage of the fires on the big-screen TV. I answer a couple of emails on my handheld. I sip my water. Fifteen minutes pass and up I go, along with a dozen other folks. It is time.
As nervous as a loner at the Homecoming Dance upon his approach of the bleachers filled with potential dance partners, I begin walking up to actors, "Um, hi. I'm Bonnie Gillespie. My scene is going up tonight. It's my first time. Would you consider reading a part for me?"
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, CASTING DIRECTOR?
I know. It's insane.
Yet, that's how it goes. For six roles and one reader of stage directions. Seven times, I'm a nervous wreck. I ask Stacey--whose first time it was two weeks ago when I was first back--whether she felt nervous then. "Of course! I think it would be unnatural not to feel nervous." Good. I like Stacey. She's smart.
It's now out of my hands. Everyone has their sides. I have no idea when my piece will go up, nor do I know what it means if it's first or last or what. "Mind Taffy," I tell myself. "Let it go."
Babes McPhee is here and I've not seen her since closing night of her play (which I cast), December 2006. Ack! That's criminal. We catch up. I don't remember a thing. I'm so nervous. I need to get more water.
Two showcasers have come to show their support, get in on the actor action, just be there with me. I am so touched. And if I weren't so nervous, I'd probably let that show a bit more.
Regulars are nodding at me as they pass by. I'm not a stranger now, even though only a half-dozen people here know my name. As I'm walking by the entrance, a young man enters and says, "You're Bonnie Gillespie!" And I say, "Yes, I am!" as I extend my hand to shake his. "I'm Eric. I attended a talk that your husband gave at AFI a couple of weeks ago and I saw on your MySpace that you were going to be here tonight. So, I decided to take the initiative and come by to introduce myself."
Rockstar. I tell him how this whole thing works, point out Kathleen, and encourage him to go introduce himself, so perhaps he'll be asked to read.
I scurry back to my seat and resume taking notes on people. This guy looks familiar. That guy is always funny. See if he'll read my script if I'm asked to bring one back again in the future. She looks so much like my niece that it's distracting. Oh dear GAWD that lady is a hoot!
Notes... notes... notes...
And we begin. Michael reaches over and squeezes my shoulder. He knows I'm nervous. I thank him for being there. It means a lot.
Second scene up--it's mine. Kathleen introduces me and I scooch past Babes to take the stage and set up the scene, while the actors take their seats in front of me. I say that it's my first time and thank you for the opportunity, this is a spec script for the TBS single-camera sitcom My Boys and the only thing we've missed by starting here at act one is the cold open in which PJ agrees to go out on a blind date set up by a coworker of hers. I'm really nervous, so, wonderful actors please introduce yourselves--and I fly off the stage.
I grab my notepad and take Ethan's seat, since he's up there reading the amazingly funny part of Mike. On my copy of the script, I place a checkmark every time there's a laugh. I place an X every time I think there should be a laugh but there is not one.
Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. X. Check. Check. Check. Check. Check... until it's over. Those ten pages flew by. I recall that halfway through the read, Barbara has turned around, looked at me, and given an enthusiastic thumbs-up while mouthing, "This is really funny!"
It is. It really is. And no one here is laughing because they need me to feel good. They're laughing because it feels good for them to do so. And my words led to that feeling.
Applause and cheers as the actors return to their seats and the next group heads to the stage. My actors pass me, hand back their sides, shake my hand and say things like, "That was fun," "Thank you," and, "Anytime. You're great!"
Michael leans over and says, "You got some cheers there, girl."
He is right. This was a very strong scene.
Enjoy the rest of the night, which includes some of the most brilliant song stylings I've ever heard. I knew Steve was incredibly funny two weeks ago when he read. And last week too. But tonight he was the musical guest and damn if he didn't make the entire room burst with laughter and then weep before the song was over. "You won't be able to buy that on CD, folks," he said. And I was pissed. Because I totally would've bought it. Oh, hell yeah.
It's at this moment that I realize how lucky I am to live in a town where people get up together and celebrate creative energy, ideas, and music. They riff off each other. They jam. They cheer one another on. They give a shit. And they're not just sitting around at home thinking about how unfair this town is and how unrecognized their talent is. They're out there DOING IT. And THAT is rewarded.
Oh my, I realize, I've just fixed a hole.
And it's not because they liked what I did. It's because they welcomed it. It could've sucked, but I was still given the shot. And that, my friends, rocks like nothing else.
Tonight I left clutching the business cards of several people who want me to join in smaller-group writing/reading/critiquing series. I left having connected with actors who moved here having read my books and columns for years, gearing up for Hollywood--and only after Kathleen introduced me and my scene did they put that together. I left with Ernest and Michael who walked me to my car, good southern gentlemen that they are. And I felt so full. So damn full.
And it's not because they liked what I did.
It's because I made room for doing it in my heart. And then I did it.
You will get what you want when you are no longer attached to how it gets to you.
October 13, 2007
Where To Begin... (So Much. So, So Much.)
So, I've been fixing a hole for almost two weeks now. It's been intense. It's something I thought would take ten days to two weeks. Turns out it's gonna take more like three weeks. Or not quite. But something more than two weeks. That's for damn sure.
And while I'd like to blame the kitties (see below) or the effin' inevitable throwing out of my gawtdamn back AGAIN (see every few months for the past year, it seems, despite valiant efforts at diet and exercise to keep my back healthy), it seems I can't blame anything. This sort of effort simply takes as long as it takes. And in for a penny means in for a pound, like it or not. At least for me.
Day Five: Everything work-related is brought into the living room. I begin a life in the floor.
The goal is to put all things casting in one area, all things writing in another area, and all things speaking or producing or consulting or anything else related elsewhere.
Big chunks first. Then we further compartmentalize. And by "we," I mean "me," (or rather, "I," since grammatical correctness is important to me). As is hoarding, it would seem.
Day Six: Archie--totally useless. Surprise.
Also useless: Salema.
Unrepentantly useless: Thwok. Whore belly. Natch.
Day Seven: Oh, it looks like it's gonna be another day of solo efforts 'round here. (Bless our sad, dead orchids which Keith is sure he can fix.)
Again. Being judged. At this point, I realize it's been a week since I've left the house. That's not a problem, except that I feel I should have accomplished a LOT more.
Day Eight: A LOT more. I expected alphabetized spiceracks by now. And now my back is out. (See above.) I am so flippin' annoyed I can't see straight. I know it's from sitting in the floor for 20 hours at a time, but I'm pissed. How DARE my back go out on me?
The good news is, most all of my casting work is making it into binders. This should help a GREAT deal, as I field the bid requests that are coming in. (Yes. They keep coming in. I'm not complaining. I just owe like a half-dozen producers an answer. This will help.)
Okay, fine. On this note, I leave the apartment. Yes, even though my back is seizing up upon every tap of the brakes (yay for driving with the clutch), I leave. I go to the Naked Angels' Tuesdays@9 series (which I haven't been to since September 2004, when Blake proposed Acting Qs to me). I took my rejected spec script and three stand-alone scenes from the showcase and meekly, timidly handed them in, realizing that no matter how much one rocks at one level in this industry, there is always a place to start over and feel like a total newbie.
Day Nine: The binders are looking good. But I'm obsessed with both my back pain (and bonus cramps--yay menses) and something I learned last night: That someone I thought I knew took her own life since the last time I saw her, emailed with her, spoke with her. There's a chill in me that I can't shake, now.
Thwok is so in love with plastic bags. She's the exact opposite of the adult cats, who fear plastic of all kind. Anyway... I can't stop thinking about what makes someone commit suicide. And I guess I kind of know, having attempted it 17 years ago. Good lord, that was forever ago, wasn't it? Eesh.
These are the containers Keith brought home from Target. I am in love. ;) Still troubled. Still thinking about the woman I thought I knew. Still wondering what it is that makes anyone feel so alone, so troubled, so completely un-help-able in life that she will end it all. But then I also know that sometimes it's just a matter of one wave of thoughts. One cycle of "thinking better of it." One brush with perspective that can make anyone so very creative and tortured decide to choose to stick around. Man.
Why for the love of God do I have a thousand postcards? Why? Out they go. Well... all but a couple hundy, anyway.
Day Ten: I have accomplished something huge. I have found a way to put ALL of the Casting Qs, Acting Qs, and Acting Out raw materials into one, small file box. Everything else is in the trash. Phew! It's really exciting. PS--My back is now in such excruciating pain that I am crying out, constantly. Keith is beside himself with helplessness. I wish I had squirreled away a Vicodin somewhere. For the love of FUCK, I am in pain.
Thrilled that Keith bought so many bins. I'm using them both to sort and to ultimately create organization. Life is good. But I'm still in pain and I'm still troubled about the girl I thought I knew killing herself. Stop, stop, stop with the troubled feeling, Bon. You've got work to do. Oy, my back. Again, stop.
Oh, look at those lovely shelves! We are SO on the way. I am now splitting my non-organizing time between selecting book covers for the 3rd edition of Self-Management for Actors and wondering if I've gotten as far, emotionally/spiritually with my "fixing a hole" process as I have with the physical--again, wishing I were further along with all of the above.
I'm feeling good about what I've done so far, even though I still have a ways to go. I am very pleased to have only turned on my computer for an hour each day (doing most work from my BlackBerry--which I now refuse to name because I'm certain I will be replacing it with an iPhone in 2008, to go along with my November '07 black MacBook on which there will be absolutely no Microsoft products whatsoever if I have my way) but not at all pleased about living on the sofa, all propped up on pillows and reeking of BenGay (although it's actually something called BioFreeze, but you get the point). I seriously HATE that my body has to shut down when I want to get a lot done. It's such a battle. Good thing I'm stubborn.
Day Eleven: I've hit a wall. It's a stall. Can't do nothin'. Nothin' at all.
Good thing I have useless kitties to help me do nothing.
Such a good thing.
One more binder to finish... but the producers keep needing one last thing (even though I've been off the clock for over a month). Eesh. I'm sooo gonna start taking producer credits on these low budget projects. I really don't mind the mentoring, but man, it'd be nice to have it all be FOR something sometimes.
Day Twelve: I'm back in the floor. I'm playing with my favorite things: office supplies. I swear, my version of porn is the Office Depot catalogue. Let me loose at Staples or Office Max and you've unleashed a fiend.
Can't throw these zip disks and floppy disks away just yet. Keith's convinced that we will find a way to get the goods off 'em and burn 'em to our hard drives or DVDs or something... but I'm not sure that's gonna happen. Still, I'm not throwing away my cassette tapes either. I do have faith in that whole analog-to-digital transfer. It's all about time, really. Kind of like wedging into a really tight parking space. Given enough time, it'll happen.
New favorite box: my art supplies. Oh, how I miss that "minoring in art" part of my life! I really did create a lot of lovely things. I forget what an outlet that was for me. I guess writing has taken the place of that, now. But still, I do miss the smell, the feel, the thought of my charcoals and conté crayons.
Ah! How lovely is this bookcase shaping up?!? The writing and the casting is leaping into binders. The office supplies are in bins and boxes. Everything is labeled and clean... almost. Ooh, I somehow feel good despite the fact that I'm hunched over like an arthritic senior citizen. (I'm grumbling like one too.)
Trash--OUT! Out, out, OUT! This has been the funnest part: all the trash goes out, out, OUT! Several trips a day.
Cut to: another useless cat. *sigh* She is pretty, though.
Let's call it a montage of useless cat photos. I swear, these Archie photos were all taken on different days. He is THAT predictable. No wonder he and Keith get along so well.
And while I'm snapping photos of the useless animals, Keith says, "Do me." So, here he is too. Happy Nonaversary, m'love. :)
Oh, our Nonaversary. I did say I was going to explain that, didn't I?
Well, this blog post is already a record-holdingly long one and I have a buttload of work to get done this weekend, so I'll call this a bookmark to that story. I will share it. It's good. ;) And Keith and I even have a really cool spa/resort weekend trip planned for later this month to celebrate our Nonaversary, so maybe that's when I'll roll the tale out.
'til then, I guess this is just another of those "Fixing a Hole Progress Reports." I'm alive. I'm improving. I still have a great deal to do. And it's all gonna get done. I'm more patient with myself today than I have been. I think learning about someone I thought I knew having chosen to be impatient with life's solutions for how it's supposed to work out for her has inspired me to take my time with just about everything. It's the better choice, for damn sure.
October 5, 2007
Hole Progress Report (or is it "Fix Progress Report"?)
Eh, whatever you call it, it's my way of letting y'all know I'm still alive, sincerely limiting my computer time (no, I wasn't kidding when I said it), and making lots of progress.
Easiest way to show that progress is via the physical manifestation of the inner work I'm doing. Like... eight bags of clothes, shoes, and handbags to Goodwill on Day One.
Only the most absolutely "urgent" items stashed on one-third of our sofa. This is where I have to start, when I'm officially "back at work" in a week or so.
End of Day One: I now only use one-third of my closet. And that's really nice. Who needs 200 pieces of clothing and 20 pairs of shoes, anyway?
Day Two: Somehow it's always ugliest while it's "in the midst" of the doing. It's gotta get gnarly before it gets prettied up. (Check back next week for that.) For now, there are all sorts of "sorting boxes" and "zones" in the house.
No longer will there be portions of my writing career in each room, casting files in three different places, financial papers stashed in five different corners. Nope. It's all "going together" now. What doesn't get tossed out, that is.
Day Three: Rockstar Intern Julie helps me purge about 250 demo reels. (Would you say 250, Julie? It felt like 250. Not sure.) She and Keith fished out DVD cases they wanted for their own reels and everything else hits the dirt. Sorry, awesome actors. If I can't find your reel online anymore, I don't need it. (Well, we did keep a FEW. Heh heh.)
Made Keith go through about 300 software CDs and told him at least HALF had to go. I mean, c'mon... what do we need with anything that runs on Windows NT or Mac OS 9 anymore? Oh... and does anyone know where I can donate the last two pairs of prescription glasses I ever owned before getting LASIK three years ago? (And, more importantly, why I would hold onto two pairs of glasses for now-perfect eyes for three whole years?)
Day Four: Purged VHS tapes and audio cassettes from who-knows-when and of who-knows-what. Have one large plastic bin filled with "master tapes" of things we want digitized. So... add that to the "when we have time" or "when we have money" project list, along with scanning thousands of photos. *sigh* I'm hoping for "when we have money" winning that battle... because I do not have the patience for some of these projects.
This is where we're left today. These (in front--next to all of the crap going to the dumpster) are all of my writing files--all in one place. Well, that's not true. Within five feet of this are another three boxes and within five feet of that are three large mail bins filled to overflowing. And then there's the box of "future columns" source material, plus a couple creative writing and spec script project material areas that are within reach.
Gotta get all of the writing stuff in one place (and segregated well enough to make it easy to access when I need any part of it). Ah, hell, as I type this, I remember one more box that's in the bottom of the linen closet, filled with original interviews from Casting Qs. Gotta get that together with the rest of the bunch.
Anyway, that's my external check-in about a third of the way through my Getting My House in Order project (and "house" also means "heart." Believe me, there's not a day I haven't cried buckets while working on all of this--and watching DVDs in the den (the TiVo-free room) of things like "for your consideration" episodes of my favorite Emmy-nominated TV series and amazing movies. Bless the Academy).
Casualties of Schedule include one meeting at SAG, one speaking engagement at SAG Conservatory at AFI, one private screening of a friend's kick-ass film (and getting to connect with my Westside Happy Hour Posse), one amazing actors showcase, and hundreds upon hundreds of unanswered emails (I never count the dozens of unreturned phone calls. That's typical).
Enjoy: folks emailing to say, "Just hi. Thinking of you," with no pressure whatsoever. Don't enjoy: "Um, what's going on? Why haven't I heard from you about this? Are you or are you not free to come give us four hours of your time in November? Answer me, dammit!" when I've already made contact to say, "Hey, taking some downtime. November will probably work, but give me a couple of weeks to get back to you on the for-sures." Grr. A sense of entitlement (especially entitlement to the time, mind, and spirit of another person) is an ugly, ugly thing.
Bottom Line (as of the end of the first-third of this, anyway): less computer time = awesome, less TV time = unnoticed, less public/social time = necessary, less access given to others = essential, less crap in the house = amazingly revitalizing, less bullshit in me = on its way.
I remain a work in progress.
(I'll post again on Sunday night to promo the column. Nothing too exciting or Earth-shattering. Saving that stuff for my real life right now.)
October 1, 2007
Fixing a Hole
It's like magic when this happens. (And it doesn't happen often.)
I'm sitting in the little-used den. I'm cuddled up under the quilt my mom made for me. I'm sobbing with overwhelm.
Then I think about what it would take to feel "back in order." (Or at least "on the mend.")
A-ha! Mental health break it is.
So, I'm off. I'm fixing a hole. It's an important one. Sorry 'bout all the cancelling I'm doing to fix this. Not optional. See y'all on the other side (in a week or so).
I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
and stops my mind from wandering
where it will go
I'm filling the cracks that ran though the door
and kept my mind from wandering
where it will go
And it really doesn't matter if I'm wrong
I'm right where I belong
I'm right where I belong
See the people standing there
who disagree and never win
and wonder why they don't get in my door
I'm painting my room in a colorful way,
and when my mind is wandering
there I will go
And it really doesn't matter if I'm wrong
I'm right where I belong
I'm right where I belong
Silly people run around
they worry me and never ask me
why they don't get past my door
I'm taking my time for a number of things
that weren't important yesterday
and I still go
I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
and stops my mind from wandering
where it will go
where it will go
I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
and stops my mind from wandering
where it will go
Click here to listen for yourself.
August 24, 2007
Oy to the no.
So, I'm really bad at saying no.
That's not entirely true. I actually do a decent job of saying it. I always try to remain transparent about my process in having come to the decision that is NO (because, believe me, I know that a NO you don't understand can smart like the dickens, and as much as you might dislike the NO that you do understand, at least it gives you a starting point for either fixing the issue for next time or knowing where to go from here. I guess that comes from the former life as an actor thing. I never want to say no to an actor without providing some measure of feedback--even if the only feedback is, "You rock. We'll get you on the next one").
I mentioned the whole five-projects-in-the-queue waiting for bids for casting services thing, right? And I just had to say no to one, outright. And usually when I say no, I try to include a good list of casting colleagues who might be a better match for the project. I look to help a casting associate friend who is looking to build up credits as full CD. I always try to leave a situation at least a wee bit better than I found it. At least with a lead. Or something.
But I don't even have time to do that anymore. Ack!
And somehow I feel really, really bad about that. Same way I feel bad about
creating enforcing a whole big section of my FAQ. I WANT to have time to answer all of my email. I WANT to give every newbie actor who asks advice on how to make it (or at least how to start).
And even though I am constantly reminded by those who know me best that the only way to have anything to give at the more public venues is to begin to limit that giving to those places, I somehow still feel like crap when I have to say no. Again.
I realize--assuming Mr. Superagent and I hit it off in person on Tuesday and I start filtering all of my stuffs through him--that I'll soon be met with the business end of a shitstorm, potentially. And if it's not now, it's soon enough. There are people who have become so accustomed to being able to reach me that--as I've mentioned before--this shift will not be pleasant.
At 2am, on the way back from the gym (that's another story for another time), I mentioned to Keith that I think this is kind of like that whole, "My favorite actor who used to come in and preread for me suddenly got his own series and now his email address and phone number have been changed, his Actors Access account is now managed by his 'people,' and while he'd probably be happy to 'take a meeting' about a role I'm casting, the days of point-to-point contact are over," except that I'm living it. And I'm sharing it (because, y'know, I'm all out about my damage and stuff).
That doesn't mean it's going to be any more gentle a transition for anyone... just that I'm sitting here commenting on what's changing as it changes (and dammit, if that's not what a blog is for, I don't know what is... I mean... other than sharing cute animal photos and popular memes).
SPEAKING of the word NO. Um... just NO. Really. Just. NO.
PS--Photo of big time agency conference table is from Endeavor (NOT the location of my hopefully future Mr. Superagent meeting, uh, NO. I like *kind* superagents, thankyouverymuch).
PPS--Houstons has the best fucking sushi on the planet and I could eat it all day, every day, and then some more. Holy crap, this stuff is delish! (Note: take-out is only available from 2pm to 5pm Monday through Friday. Probably for the best, or I'd eat it every day for lunch. I am not kidding.) Suddenly feeling a bit like Jane Espenson, with the lunch coda. Hee!
June 3, 2007
Son of a FUCK!
Sorry, but I've got to rant!
I did my top-of-the-month backup of my computer's guts and somehow did an overwrite of last month's backup (which ordinarily wouldn't be an issue except that last month was when I did the BIG purge-of-years'-old-emails backup that then ONLY existed as text files in that May 1st backup).
So, now--just like when Keith first came over in August 2001 and tossed out my "old" Netscape Mail profile thereby losing all of my last few years' of Mom's emails--I've lost a buttload of archived stuff that may or may not be important. Because how can you know? It's not 'til you have that moment when you think, "Oooh! I have that email! Let me look that up," that you decide it's all gone, gone, gone and it's now over, over, over (at least in the absolute proof sense). But I am now prepping myself for the for sure-ness that it's gone, no matter how important it might be.
It's over. The 1's and 0's are no more. Big fat suckola.
And so what?
That's the bigger question. I mean, what does it matter if that stuff is gone any more than it matters that a box of my favorite books got destroyed in a flood or a box of my old love letters got destroyed in a fire? It's all a reminder of the bigger point: today, I am this. And that's it!
Ah, well... life is bigger than what my backup drive can contain. And if it all goes away, it doesn't diminish my value.
May 4, 2007
The Ultimate Guide to Productivity Group Writing Project
My first thought (before following any links, just reading her emailed head's up) was, "Cool. I've been remiss in blogging lately and I loves me a good meme." Second thought (after following links) was, "Ack! What the EFF do *I* know about productivity?!? And how on Earth would I write about it in such a way as to be worthy of inclusion in a group writing project of this quality?"
And then I started composing a comment to post at Colleen's entry on the subject. It started out as a quick "way out" of having to do this, and then it became exact evidence of precisely how it is I am productive: I start out thinking, "Eh," but then KEEP GOING until I am thinking, "Holy crap! This is IT!"
So, here's the comment in its entirety. Enjoy!
Oh dear me, I am so embarrassed to say this, but my one and only productivity tip is this:
Pretty shitty tip, no?
Because while I have a buttload of ideas about what makes me as productive as I am (doing what I love 95% of the time, doing what I dislike but have to do only 5% of the time; finding inspiration to ACT on ideas before the monkey mind comes in and distracts me or tries to talk me out of acting; writing quickly, editing slowly; using color-coded transparent pockets to organize papers, using color-coded Entourage rules to organize emails; going radio silence for blocks of time in order to recharge and reconnect with Self; cubbies, glorious cubbies; intern days once a week; holding my feet to the fire with regard to my deadlines--both for getting work done and stopping the work; doing as much of my living in public as possible, so that I don't have to answer as many individual questions as the inefficient public would like to have me do; trusting that I am valued not for what I do, but for the very fact that I simply AM; and playing as hard as I work, just not as often), it's the lack of sleep that *really* allows me to be as PRODUCTIVE as I am.
And how can you turn that into a tip? It's a disorder!
Ah well, maybe THAT's my tip.
Turn your disorders into tools to help you ROCK.
Ooh, much better.
There you have it!
And now I tag/request posts on this topic from some of my favorite productive people: Adam Marcus, Alex Collins, Anna Christopher, Anna Vocino, Bob Brody, Camille Mana, Dawn Andrews, Debbie Campbell, Faith Salie, Joel Viertel, Kimberley Browning, Kristina Hughes, Mitchell Fink, and Stephon Fuller.
Happy weekend, everyone.
PS--Anyone else love it when CNN covers Paris Hilton's DUI jail sentence news and breaks for commercials... one of which is an ad for the Hilton Family of Hotels? Man, that's good stuff!
April 6, 2007
So, this was fun.
Tuesday night, I spoke to a group of kids from my old acting studio, Atlanta Workshop Players. Every year, they come out to LA and I do a little thing with them. It's always a blast. This year, rockstar manager April Mills joined me. Last year, it was superstar manager Kathy Colorado and megastar agent Robin Spitzer. Excellent stuff. Always.
Well, this year, one of the kids did a monologue for us and, in reviewing his resumé, I noticed he attends North Springs High School (my alma mater; which had no drama club when I started there... but it sure as hell did by the time I left... and now it's a Performing Arts Magnet School, if that tells you anything). So, in my very Bonnie-like way, I commented on many elements of the young actor's work, and then said,
Three or four kids in the room jumped up and began singing the North Springs Spartans' fight song. They were THRILLED that "someone famous that they'd met in Hollywood" went to North Springs. I was beyond amused by this statement, and I proceeded to list the famous people *I* loved knowing went there, before/during my time there: John Schneider, musical gods Richie Robinson, Jeff Sullivan, Jeff Pinkus (all three of whom were in my math class), and of course my cousin Faith Salie.
Very funny to the adults in the room. The kids rolled their eyes, like kids are supposed to do.
Okay, so cut to another scene a bit later. It's brilliantly funny. I ask the kid what it's from and he says, "Oh, it's really old. It's from something called 'Kids in the Hall.'" (And he says this as if this "Kids in the Hall" thing and the Spanish Inquisition happened around the same time.) Again... I remember being 15 and thinking that way about stuff.
But it's what came after that was most brilliant.
"Well, you know," he says (off my reaction, which is getting laughs by the bellyful all around the room), "I think there was a lot of funny stuff from your era. Like 'Welcome Back Kotter,' for example."
One of the adults in the room (who was one of MY coaches when *I* was a kid at AWP camp) says, "That's from MY generation. Not Bonnie's!"
And the kid says, "Well, you know what I mean. Like the old 'Mork & Mindy' days."
I finally scream (through laughter), "STOP DIGGING THIS DITCH!!!"
By now, we're all in tears laughing.
It was just really funny.
So, anyway, I'm thinking tonight about how I'm the White Oprah (or, Whoprah, as I like to say) and how I have my Steadman and my Gayle and all of my kids. And today, one of the "kids" in the showcase (during our IM-based conference about his type and resumé format, etc.) asked if I miss acting.
"Nah," I said. "I get to perform weekly, pretty much. I get up in front of a group of people and I talk and crack jokes. They listen and they laugh and they take notes and then they all come up to me after and get my autograph (in books) and it's all very much like being an actor, except I don't have to pay union dues or audition. I just show up and do my thing. And I love it."
And I do.
And then I get these amazing emails from people I've never met who say they've been reading my words forEVER (which is, at most, since 2000, when I started writing for Back Stage West, unless they were reading my "Don't Get Me Started" or "It's Like This" or "Girls of Grace" columns before that) and that I've somehow changed their lives for the better... that they never would've "done this" if not for something I've written.
And the "done this" is simple. LIVE THEIR DREAMS.
I don't know. It seems so easy to say that no one should need to hear from someone else that it's okay to do that... but hell, maybe there is something to the fact that crazy dreams feel more validated when someone is writing about going for it (and doing so with passion and smarts and accountability and authenticity). And just like some kids went back to Atlanta feeling like, "Wow. I can make it, even though I come from this little place... because Bonnie Gillespie came from this school and look at her," maybe it's not even the stuff that we DO, but that what we DO... we do big.
In case that's what matters, that's what I'm doing. Living big. And I'm loving it, loving it, loving it.
(And yes, to those of you who have written to me about how much my life is about to change, I know. I see it. I feel it coming. And I guess that's why I keep stopping every now and then to write it all down. I don't want to forget how any of this felt. No more than I want to forget how it felt to write up the first Drama Club Steering Committee raison d'être with David Salie in the '80s. You know... back before fire was discovered.)
March 5, 2007
Who do you think you are?
So, I received an email last week that I was pretty sure would be today's Your Turn.
(As you can see by visiting that link, the email about which I am currently blogging is NOT the email I chose to use.)
Without going into much detail, I'll reveal here that the email's bottom line question was, "Who do you think you are?"
(Y'know, because here I am giving advice to tens of thousands of actors each week in my column, and what the hell do I know?)
So, my first reaction was an ego-based one.
(I don't know many who would read such an email, such a review, such a piece in the tabloids and react FIRST in any way *other* than ego-based.)
But, happily, within about two minutes of having that ego-based reaction, I had a more centered reaction. MY true reaction (I hope).
Because, y'know what? It is *healthy* for people to be skeptical about those who "give advice."
It is a GOOD THING for people to need to see the credentials of those who proclaim themselves as experts.
Thing is... I've never said I'm an expert. I actually totally agree with those who think there are people with BETTER CREDITS out there, whose advice would be of far more value.
BUT!!! Here's the difference! I'm REALLY GOOD at communicating ideas. I'm pretty freakin' brilliant at formulating analogies that drive very simple points home.
And people who have WAY more experience than I have may not have the ability to communicate tips in a way that I can.
Even so, at best, I was a marginally successful actor in a minor market, doing right-to-work state acting gigs (and I always earned more money hand modeling and hair modeling than I did acting or singing).
And now here I am in LA with a whopping four years of casting experience under my belt... but I've been considered an expert on casting since 2000, when I was hired to write a weekly column about casting for Back Stage West.
Hell, I was still pursuing acting back then! (Man, that was a million years ago.)
Anyway, so I got this email and actually agreed with the guy: My IMDB page is not at all impressive.
Doing industrials, commercials, and local theatre in a minor market won't get you a nice StarMeter ranking. Oh, and...
...um, I guess I should expect to be slammed for casting "only never-seen micro-budget films a couple of years ago," when IMDB won't list indie films until they play at festivals.
That said, I've learned to be patient. I know who I've cast in what projects. I know what has been shot. I know that it can take awhile for films to "show up" and...
...believe me, I dealt with the ego-blow of CSA rejection over the very fact that everyone on the committee knew me as a journalist or actor (not as a casting director) and that IMDB showed fewer than the required number of years in my casting credits (despite well over the required number of years actually spent in casting).
Eh, but none of that matters! Because I do my job the same REGARDLESS of how much love I'm feeling.
I am a former actor. I am a writer. I am a casting director. I am a producer. I am a voice for demystifying the entertainment industry.
And I don't apologize for not having achieved a certain level of "cred" as an actor before going into any other of the areas for which I am now paid to have a say.
My point in bringing this up in a blog entry (and part of why it was decided this would not be a good "Your Turn" topic) is that there are moments that you ASK FOR (like, being interviewed internationally, for instance)...
...and then you realize that with the granting of that wish comes the ego-smack of being a more public figure than you were the day before.
(Eesh! And here's where I think this *would've* been a great "Your Turn" topic!)
Actors who pursue this life in Los Angeles (as opposed to in minor markets where "it's an honor to be nominated" is a phrase only uttered onstage at a community theatre event) CRAVE the spotlight at a slightly brighter intensity than those who pursue this life elsewhere.
AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.
Some people are born to be more public than others. What's interesting is that some will have a slow enough rise that they can share a bit about what that journey to "public property" is like.
Others will skyrocket and end up in rehab because they can't even begin to get their wits about them. It's all just too much too soon.
So, in that respect, I guess it's awesome that I'm getting what I've asked for in life. And that what I've asked for is a reasonable level of respect for the information that I put out there. Within a reasonable amount of time.
But y'know what? Even if I were never respected for "putting it out there" (hell, even if I were never respected for "what I know"), I'd still enjoy this ride.
I seriously have the most fun job EVER.
I get to populate fictional worlds with brilliant actors who bring words on paper to life. I get to bring amazing people together.
And I happen to know a thing or two about the many ways in which actors can get to the "head of the class" when hoping to stand out somehow.
It's not by being special. It's not by being different. It's by being AUTHENTIC.
And in the end, that's what I hope to be as well.
Augh! I guess all it comes down to is this:
It doesn't matter who I think I am. I KNOW who I am.
And who I am is, quite frankly, many things. (And so so so much of my life has nothing to do with acting, casting, writing... any of the things that define me to so many.)
Yay, me! ;)
It's about who the world thinks anyone is. And where anyone places importance.
To thine own self be true, right?
And beyond that, if you happen to take advice from anyone else EVER, please always keep it in perspective.
We're all just making it up as we go along anyway, in this life. ;) ALL of us.
January 26, 2007
I love my life.
Yeah, I'm in hour six of this "organizing receipts" thing and maybe I'm slap-happy, but I'm just astonished by all of the beautiful, wonderful things in my life.
As I see receipts from celebration-filled dinner parties, I am thrilled that I had so much to celebrate in 2006, perfect places to celebrate, and amazing friends with whom to rejoice.
Yeah, I drive the same car I bought in 1989, but y'know what? It was in the shop all of twice last year (each time for less than $200) and that beats a car payment ANY day. (And besides, the TicTac is a WAY cute car, even still.)
So, I embrace the bills. Because it meant we had a home in which we could run utilities! And while I enjoy seeing all of the pay stubs from Keith's acting work, my casting and writing work, book sales, speaking engagements, and our random computer gigs that help fill in the rest, I am giddy knowing that there will be still more of these when I'm doing this tedious task again a year from now.
I've learned that staying in a state of gratitude is better than a glass of wine, for this task.
September 23, 2006
Y'know what I haven't done in awhile?
Just exclaim from the rooftops how much I love my life. So, let this count as me doing that. I seriously have a rockstar life with loads of love and blessings. Whether I say it or not, I am grateful EVERY day to have this gift.
September 3, 2006
Taking a Break
I've been bitching too much lately. I've been complaining. A lot. I've been seeing the negative in the world and that's seriously not like me 90% of the time. So, it's getting annoying (and I'm sure not just to me).
I've also been craving drinks. Not just drinking socially. Not just overindulging. Craving. And I can't tell if it's a temporary physical need that comes from an emotional desire to escape or if it's the beginning of a problem.
But let me state for the record: I love drinking. Love it. I think it's fun and social and cool and one of the best parts of being a responsible adult who works freelance. I'm not like a college kid who can't wait for the weekend to go out and par-tay. I like the celebration of the every day. And I like being able to shut my brain off sometimes too.
But I'm tired of complaining. I'm tired of needing a drink to escape from the things that make me want to complain. And I'd like to give my diet and exercise regimen a chance to have some results. I remember noticing how great a friend looked after a few months of diet and exercise (I won't out him, here) and having him counter with, "I had to take a break from drinking to really get the results I wanted." I admired his self-discipline.
So, with just over 100 days left in the year (and remembering how I completely changed my body and my spirit in as much time eight years ago), I'm considering doing a major self-improvement campaign. I already exercise every day. I eat gluten-free and drink tons of water. I don't drink sodas or coffee or any of those things that tend to derail people. I'm currently the healthiest I have ever been, despite being a good 50 pounds overweight. My heart, my lungs, my knees, my endurance... all outstanding. Hair and nails strong and long. Skin flawless. And I am blessed with a kick-ass hourglass figure, even though it needs to reduce by about 20%. I don't have "problem areas." I'm just a big girl.
Here's the thing though. I can't tell if I need to do a T-totaller "give up drinking for the rest of the year" thing or if I can do like I did eight years ago and give myself "reward days" every now and then (days on which I can be less strict in all areas--food, drink, exercise requirements). I kind of like the idea of forcing myself to be 100% for 100 days, but I also can't imagine that it's a practical expectation. What I DON'T want to do is decide to be "perfect" then choose to have a night off and turn that into an excuse (ala: "I failed. I suck. Screw it. It's all over").
Man! I just feel so good even imagining doing 100 perfect days. It was such an amazing thing, watching my body change when I did a 100-day campaign in '98 (note: I did not do 100 "perfect" days back then... but I also had a very different lifestyle, being a full-time PhD student at the time).
What to do, what to do? Hmm. I guess I'll just start with one day and see how that feels. I guess I'm blogging about this as a way of holding my feet to the fire (although I can already tell I'll get annoyed by questions of, "Hey, how's that 100-day thing going?" if things AREN'T going well... so, I'm not sure what my plan is. Maybe I don't have a plan. Maybe I'm looking for suggestions? Hell... I'm just glad I'm not bitching in this entry. I am sooooooo over the complaining. That is a BAD habit, for sure).
August 16, 2006
My Ego (or "How Babes McPhee Made Me Realize I'm a Lot Like Samuel L. Jackson")
I have a healthy ego. (I also have a very fragile ego. I'm a lot like everyone else in that respect. Catch me at the right moment and I am my biggest fan. Catch me at the wrong moment and I hate myself more than anyone would ever freely admit they hate anything. Ever. I'm no different than anyone else, in that respect.)
But most of the time, I think I'm a freakin' rockstar. I know I don't save lives, inspire people to be their best selves, or provide shelter for the homeless, but sometimes I give good advice to actors, cast great movies, and bring a little laughter to those around me. That's gotta be worth something. And I choose to decide it means I'm a pretty damn cool chick. I could be worse. I have been worse.
So, on Saturday, Babes McPhee mentioned something about my healthy ego. I was like, "Huh?" And she said (referring to my MySpace profile), "Hell! You list yourself as one of your HEROES!" And I stopped and said, "Well, yeah! I mean, if I don't think I rock, how can I expect anyone else to do so?"
And then I thought about how, when listing my favorite authors, I always list myself. Why? Well, if I don't LOVE my writing, how can I expect anyone else to do so? (And seriously, I love reading my writing. I read EVERYTHING I write. Yes, I get lots of email from actors who say they've read everything I've ever written and I always think, "Nah... you haven't. Only I have." But only I know how much I've truly written--and I've read it all. That makes me my biggest fan.)
So, what's wrong with that? (Except that it's totally not socially acceptable to SAY you love yourself.) Not a damn thing.
Of the various lies that actors tell--there are no small parts, it's a privilege just to be nominated, working with Woody is a dream come true--there's one that Samuel L. Jackson simply cannot abide. "Everybody thinks it's cool to say 'I hate watching myself onscreen,'" says Jackson. "Well, that's b_______. We're in a narcissistic business. Everybody likes watching themselves." Jackson, 57, proudly sees every one of his movies in a theater with paying customers. If he's channel surfing and spots an old performance, he puts down the remote. "Even during my theater years, I wished I could watch the plays I was in--while I was in them! I dig watching myself work."
True, that. But here's the great part.
If watching oneself is, as Jackson claims, all actors' secret pleasure, Jackson distinguishes himself from his peers in two ways: he cops to vanity, and his vanity has a track record for dovetailing with popular taste.
So, here I am... "copping to vanity." And there's not a gawtdamn thing you can do about it. Sssssssss! (7pm, Beanery. Yo.)
August 10, 2006
Several times in the past week or so, I have been thanked for being so flexible. I thought I might have a column topic here, but the more I think about it, the more it's just a blog entry. So, here it is.
Being flexible is EASY. But, based on the number of times I'm thanked for being flexible, I'm guessing most people AREN'T flexible, and that's why it's so novel that I am. I look at it this way:
Our plans hold up and I see you tonight. Or. Our plans fall through and I see you some other night PLUS I now have free time I hadn't counted on.
Sure, I could get pissy about what I *could've* been doing, had I known our plans wouldn't come together a week earlier or so, but whatever! It's SO no big deal.
One producer was making me crazy a few projects ago, really WANTING to be right and really NEEDING to assign blame for things not having gone a certain way. "If you had just done THIS..." "Why didn't you do THAT..." and so on. I kept responding with, "Okay, cool. How can we move forward to get the results we want NOW?" And that really frustrated this producer.
When the "You should have..." stuff kept coming, I finally said, "Great. How do we go back and make that happen NOW? Oh wait, we CAN'T. Can we move forward?" It was beyond silly to even HAVE the conversation, but truly some people can't just MOVE ON... they need to point out flaws and make sure EVERYONE knows something went wrong somewhere.
That's a really dick move, BTW. Let me tell you about the EXACT OPPOSITE way of dealing with someone's mistake and how much COOLER it makes you.
Keith shows up for the wardrobe fitting on the set of CSI: Miami earlier this week. The team recognizes him from last season and one woman says, "Oh, hi, Kevin! It's so great to see you!" He hugs her and thanks her for the warm welcome, says it's wonderful to be back and let's get started, etc.
Later, she notices someone else calling him Keith.
"Wait! Your name *IS* Keith, isn't it?!?" she asked, ashamed. "Don't worry about it," Keith said. "You knew you meant me. I knew you meant me. Why do I need to make you feel bad just to be right? I mean, we both knew you were talking to me every time you said 'Kevin,' so why point out your error?"
I love that shit.
Why, when I can just be flexible, would I need to make sure the world knows I've been somehow inconvenienced?
There is NOTHING inconvenient about my life. I love every bit of it. And if someone says, "Oh, this is Bonnie, our casting agent," I don't feel the need to say, "It's casting director." And if someone calls to say, "I'm not going to make it to dinner tonight. I'm so sorry," I say, "Okay. Cool. I'll miss you," and head out for a meal with someone else... such a happy surprise!
I've got no time to go out of my way to try and make people feel bad. And I worry about people who DO. No... wait... I don't worry about them. I avoid them. I've got no room in my life for that kind of drama. Life's too damn short.
August 4, 2006
While Keith and I were on our walk tonight (and I was bitching my ass off about some things I'd read recently that were really pissing me off), I finally GOT it.
I will always feel like this every now and then, as long as I continue to dole out advice for actors just starting out.
Just like the grad student who teaches Freshman English to a hundred
eager required-to-attend 18 year olds each fall, I will end the semester having really REACHED about twenty of 'em (and hope that they remember to thank me for having taught them about the wondrousness of the language and its power), having passed-on-through the majority of 'em (as they head on to whatever else it is they want to do with their college careers), and having flunked a couple who I know I'll be seeing again next year, as we do it all again.
And when the new school year starts up, I'll occasionally feel the need to say, "Don't y'all REMEMBER this from when I went over it last year?" But I can't, because almost none of these students were IN this class a year ago... and even if a few of them were, they sure as heck aren't BACK here because they GOT all of this the first time around.
I guess I get pissy about it from time to time because, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, sometimes I just answer questions by providing links back to where I've answered the same questions before. And before that. And before that too. And sometimes even if someone emails me and says, "I've read EVERYTHING you've ever written and I love your advice," that same someone will end the email with, "But I just need to ask you ONE QUICK QUESTION." And that question will be nothing more than that actor's inability to READ what I've written and APPLY it.
Just because I didn't say, "And you, Chris, this last part of this week's column is especially for YOU," doesn't mean that Chris can't assume that it might somehow apply... and not just in general terms.
Just needed to vent. I love what I do. I don't mind answering a zillion questions. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that people feel they can reach out to me with questions. But what I REALLY love is when someone shows me they GOT what I meant when I said something, and asks something that BUILDS upon that concept, challenging ME to help them get better information.
But there will always be a freshman class. And I have to be okay with teaching the fundamentals over and over again sometimes. Or I have to not be a teacher. And that's not my style, now is it?
June 27, 2006
A Big Day
Today, Tuesday, the 27th of June in the year of our lord 2006, I, Bonnie Gillespie did something very brave.
I entered the CLOTHING OPTIONAL part of the spa and exercised my option to NOT WEAR ANY.
I must be entering the "when I am an old woman, I shall wear purple" stage of life.
May 22, 2006
How Does Your Garden Grow?
I was telling Keith that I'm really bad at patience. He shared a story with me. It's from his days as a Jesuit-educated kiddo. (I was never taught such deep stuff in public school.)
The young priest goes up to the wise, old patient priest and says, "Father, please teach me patience." The old priest says, "Well, patience is a gift from God. So, let's pray for you." The two get down on their knees and the old priest begins to speak: "Dear Heavenly Father, please visit upon this young man all manner of suffering, trials and tribulation, please give him pain the likes of which he has never experienced." The young priest says, "What are you doing?!?" To which the old priest responds, "Once you have endured all manner of suffering, sitting still and waiting patiently will be the easiest task you've faced."
So, I'm getting okay with being patient. I mean... look at my choices! Sit patient, I shall! Like it or not. ;)
But I got to thinking about my "mess of options" as a garden. Let's say that, in my handful of years in Hollywood, I've been planting seeds in various sectioned-off areas of my garden. Pretend that I somehow had the wisdom, good mentorship, or an instruction manual to guide me. And that's why I did a really great job of putting seeds into the ground at areas with the right type of shade for their healthiest growth, knew not to put plants that choke the life out of one another in close proximity, and carefully chose fertilizer that works well, even though I--at the time--thought I was just biding my time playing in the dirt.
I may not have realized, while writing for Back Stage West, that I was planting seeds. It just felt like a cool survival job for an actor with an MA in Journalism. I mean, what the heck, right? It was easy, it related to my world, and I was asked to earn money writing about casting for a readership of actors... so I did it! When I published my first book, I probably didn't think of that as planting seeds, since it seemed like such a BIG DEAL. That HAD to be a harvest, right? Book publishing couldn't be seed-planting. So, I didn't worry about the seeds I had already planted, since I was busy harvesting. Or so I thought.
Getting into casting was definitely seed-planting, but it was in a totally different section of the garden. I'm pretty sure, at this point, I considered it an entirely NEW garden, rather than looking at some large field as a whole. But the thing is, I didn't uproot the seeds I'd planted years before just because they were no longer relevant to me. In fact, when I left Back Stage West and went a whole year without a weekly column, yeah it was weird, but it was also okay. Like, maybe that part of the garden would grow someday, maybe not... but I didn't really care. I had a new garden and that's where my focus was.
So when I started writing a weekly column again a couple of years ago, I didn't look at it as though I'd gone back to that same area of the garden to plant new seeds, nor did I assume that I was harvesting something I had planted in the past. I figured I was just planting new stuff! And I enjoyed watching it grow quickly, not ever assuming that the quick growth had anything to do with having learned something about how to plant or nurture little sprigs of anything in the past. I mean, this was a whole different garden, right?
And when a few films I cast went on to appear in festivals and win awards at them too, I thought, "Cool! A little bud is popping up! How fun!" And I kept planting new seeds, because, y'know, THOSE seeds (the films winning festival awards) were already plants now and there was really nothing for me to do anymore. If I didn't keep planting NEW stuff, I'd run out of anything to garden!! Plant, plant, plant... hurry, hurry, hurry. Stuff the ground with seeds everywhere, in case something stops blooming and I'm suddenly out of anything to harvest. New relationships, new projects, new connections... focus, focus, focus... busy, busy, busy.
Hang on... what's that? That dark little corner over there where I'd planted seeds a gazillion years ago... what's going on over there? Holy crap! I must've done something right because without even watering, tending to, or fretting over what I planted years ago, something lovely emerges from the ground, healthy, beautiful, filled with life. It's like the sprinkler system I thought to install (even though I was sure I was wasting money at the time) has been doing its job. And the seeds were so well-planted, the soil so well-chosen, and the shade/sun ratio SO just right that there's LIFE there too!
Crap! Do I stop gardening in the section of the yard I'm paying attention to? Do I try to maintain both crops? All TEN crops? Could I possibly tug on the little seedlings just beginning to spring up to see if they're heartier than what's bursting through on its own over there? No... that would kill it all. Hmm. Do I... dare I... just WAIT? Could I ever trust that I actually knew what the heck I was doing all those years ago and enjoy that different plants are going to bear fruit at different times... and when they all bloom at once, just enjoy the view, invite people over, and have a feast?
Yeah. If I'm patient, I can do that.
Sometimes being a decent gardener means waiting for spring.
May 18, 2006
I remember learning about Option Overload my senior year of college. A Leadership UGA program speaker discussed the issue that is simply having too many choices among which to choose. I remember thinking about how much I'd like to sample everything and maybe just save any "official choice" for some moment of reckoning when I was FORCED to select. (I always did prefer having a few mini-spoonfuls of Baskin-Robbins flavors to ordering a scoop of one flavor--way too much commitment.)
But I was led to believe that I was scattered, unfocused, fickle, AFRAID of commitment, aimless. Hardly. As soon as I found something I wanted to do, I would do it all the way. Anyone who has known me for any stretch of time knows that about me. In for a penny, in for a pound.
I remember reading Barbara Sher's I Could Do Anything, If I Only Knew What It Was. She talked about skimmers vs. divers. Some people skim across the water and try lots of different things. Others pick a thing and dive very deeply into it. I always wondered what that made me, since I'd skim, then dive, then get bored and go skimming again....
I'm antsy again. Restless. At once inspired by and bored with the day-to-day of my life. Do I want to produce podcasts? Do I want to produce movies? Do I want to write scripts? Do I want to produce actor showcases? Do I want to teach Self-Management for Actors courses regularly? Do I want to write another book? It's not that casting, writing a weekly column, and guest-speaking regularly are gigs that don't fulfill me. They really do! I'm just... wanting to skim to see what else is out there.
I told Keith tonight that if I were the baby-having type, this would be when I'd want to get pregnant, since I'm bored and want a new project. Back when I was in college, this would be when I'd pick another degree program and pile on another set of courses for certification in something. If I were in my 20s, this is when I'd head to Europe again, stay in youth hostels, become inspired by anything outside my comfort zone.
It's like I need a rush of the first high. I needed to worry that the new edition of Self-Management for Actors would bomb. It hasn't. I've felt a blast of energy that comes from seeing films I've cast not only get into festivals but WIN awards at them. When "I want to be in the Bonnie Business" meetings started coming one after the other--each bigger than the next--I was an adrenaline junkie (both with worry over what could go wrong and with excitement over how right it all went instead).
One of the things I love about Hollywood is its collective embrace of the hyphenate lifestyle. It's actually cool to reinvent yourself, start a new career, drop and pick up whatever tickles your fancy. But what about when you can't figure out what that might be? I'm open to the universe and what it might send my way, but I'm stymied by my lack of passion right now. Which is especially weird considering what a swirl of things-amazing I've enjoyed lately! I haven't even begun to return all of the phone calls and emails I have in front of me, all "the ball's in your court" type contact made in the "let's get to work" arena.
I just don't always know what I want to be when I grow up.
I asked Keith tonight, "What do YOU want me to be when I grow up?" "My girlfriend," he said. "Okay. Check!" was my response. To which he replied, "Great! Then I have all I want." *sigh*
I guess it's not that I'm looking for someone to show me the path I'm supposed to take as much as I'm looking for there to be no path... only air, or water, or light. But the humanness of THIS is what gets frustrating. What do you do when you want to do everything and nothing at the same time? Just BE.
April 5, 2006
I think I got it.
Okay, in just ten days' time, I've had a couple of pretty significant confrontations with people who don't (or won't) own their feelings in public. And somehow, this offends me. I think I've figured out why.
I'm a big fan of "living out." I have been inspired to be "out" about my damage (and my gifts) ever since ending my ten-year prescription drug addiction eight years ago. It's like something inside me decided I could not, and would not, ever live with a secret (shadow self) again. And so I don't. If I feel strongly about something, you know it. I show where I'm broken and I show where I'm strong. And I think that's why I'm offended when others don't live like that. Offended? Is that the right word? Not sure.
So, what does any of this have to do with Domino's Pizza?
Remember that urban myth from the '80s about Domino's Pizza's profits going straight to Operation Rescue? Boy, I do. I remember friends in high school who refused to eat Domino's Pizza because they knew that their pizza dollar (or even their willingness to eat a FREE piece of Domino's pizza) lined the pockets of those who staged the most obnoxious and violent of protests outside Planned Parenthood (even those locations that only covered family planning and exams, not abortions). I remember then thinking, "Hey, if you want to 'fight' Operation Rescue, go down to Planned Parenthood and volunteer. What the heck is your pizza choice going to do about anything?"
Well, a few hours ago, I noticed that there weren't nearly enough signatures on the petition to end the private auctions of shirtless boys' headshots on eBay, so I posted the request for support on several of the actors' web boards I frequent. Within moments, I got an email from an angry visitor to one of those boards who--get this--refuses to sign the petition (even though he agrees with its principle) because the website run by one of the sponsors of the petition includes an article about the realities of going FiCore within the actors' union.
The thing is, instead of just choosing NOT to sign this petition because of this other issue, he chose to TELL ME about why he wouldn't be supporting this cause. THEN HE ASKED ME TO KEEP THAT CORRESPONDENCE PRIVATE.
I wrote back and basically said, "Look... sign the petition. Fine. Don't sign the petition. Fine. But to feel strongly about your reasons to not sign the petition and then NOT want to share those reasons in public, but instead privately to me, well... that's just bizarre. If you don't feel strongly enough about this to be OUT about it in public, I certainly don't see the reason to come out about it to ME."
Okay, done. Thing is, his email stayed with me. I couldn't figure out why this guy got under my skin so. I mean, so what? If I really don't care whether he signs the petition (much less why he does or does not do so), then why do I care that he needed to be so righteously indignant... in private to me?
Ah, yes! Now I get it. It's the same reason I got so weirded out by a very dramatic phone conversation Monday morning. Someone who is livid about something I never wrote (but that he somehow read, interpreted, projected) in my column wanted to tell me all about how he felt... but didn't take me up on my offer from last week, where I basically GAVE HIM the rebuttal space in my next piece, should he choose to take it.
It's not that these folks mind disagreeing with me. It's that they don't want to do it IN PUBLIC.
Keith says that's probably due to the fact that they know they couldn't win an argument with me and wouldn't want to be embarrassed. Look... I don't even see it AS an argument. These are people who want to fight about something that has NOTHING TO DO with what I've said or done. They have issues with things that somehow got triggered by something I said or did... but actually don't relate AT ALL to me. So then why do they want to fight with me? And why are they more frustrated when I shrug and ask, "So, what do you want to have happen, here?"
Hmm. Probably because what they WANT is for me to engage them in a fight about the issue THEY have. I'm just not going to do that. Whatever is going on in their world is about them... not me. And I can't fix their perception that something I did "started" this "whole thing" (which I see as a non-thing).
I guess the moral of the story is this: BE WHO YOU ARE whether you are in public or all alone. And that person, that YOU, shouldn't look different in either setting. It's all the same YOU that the universe sees, no matter what.
And... if you have a problem with what Operation Rescue does outside of Planned Parenthood, go to Planned Parenthood and take it up with the Operation Rescue people. Don't boycott Domino's Pizza, cuss out the guy who works at the franchise, or throw yourself in front of the delivery guy who's working for minimum wage and tips after school.
March 22, 2006
Movin' on up...
My sign is Cancer. Cancer the CRAB. I think, if I examine habits of various crabs, I'd have to assume that I am, in particular, a hermit crab.
The hermit crab does not actually grow a shell. Instead, they move into empty mollusk shells as they grow, the process that gives them their namesake. A hermit crab locates its prospective shell, inspects the opening with its antennae and, if it likes what it finds, it quickly moves in. When threatened, they withdraw into their shells, blocking the entrance with their thick claws. They maintain a grip inside the shell that is so tenacious that the crab cannot be extracted without breaking the shell.Oh HELL yeah, that's me.
Looks like me, no?
Okay, so why is this on my mind today? Well, I have been antsy lately to the extreme. I've got the whole "what to do with Casting Qs" issue as well as casting several projects, guest-speaking more than I ever have, writing my weekly columns, wondering if I've all but abandoned the actor showcase concept I've been working on, and looking into creating podcasts of various columns and chapters of my books for actors to download when they need info about any particular topic I've covered. I am all over the map. And it feels way weird. But not.
So, I did a lot of thinking (and talking with Keith--even though he really really really wanted to be sleeping, seeing as it was like 2am) and realized that I am a hermit crab whose current shell is too tight. And one of the (scary) things I have to do, as this creature of migration-to-bigger-shells, is explore those big, scary other shells before I feel safe leaving this too-tight one that will surely crack open, if I stay in it for far too long.
Once I gave myself that visual anchor, I got a LOT more relaxed about the whole thing. It stopped feeling like a trauma-filled concept to have so many balls in the air, so many decisions to make about what to do first (or at all), and so little excited and passionate energy toward any of it. It's okay to not have passion about something as scary as "moving into a new shell." But since the move is inevitable, how's about I just embrace it and MOVE and then have passion about filling that new, larger shell with all of these glorious new opportunities.
February 23, 2006
Before I really get into the meat of this post, let me begin by saying this: I am giving myself three gifts, as a part of composing this apologia.^1 I will take a long time to compose this post. It's too important to rush through. After that, I will finish a long overdue email to the greatness that is Nate (who is giving and caring, and who has a HAWT wife). Finally, I will post a similarly long overdue series of comments about 90210 and other important issues of our day to my NBF's blog. These are my gifts to me and I deserve them. If it should come to pass that I am too exhausted after writing this to do those other things, those things will come FIRST after sleep. Yes, that's before work. Period.
Now, on to the post wherein I describe how embracing inefficiency has vastly improved my life. Warning: This shall be a long read, should you dare to read it all, yo.
Zed's Dead, Baby. Zed's Dead.
Well, y'know my computer crashed not too long ago. I see this experience as the forcing of a hard reset on MY operating system. Sure, I had the recent backup of many of my active files, but things I would never think about backing up became "new issues," as I rebuilt. As I began only loading software onto my computer AS I NEEDED IT, I realized that I was keeping around a whole mess of software I never used. Why? Did I think I might, someday, go back to something that only launches on OS9 when I've been using OSX exclusively for several years now? Much as I hung onto that AuthorWare Manual for years beyond its relevance or Charlsie kept a set of encyclopedias from when the solar system didn't include Pluto, I had become a packrat for relics in the software realm. And not just software! My goodness, there were all manner of things living on my computer that, when forced to reassemble the damn thing, I realized were not at all necessary.
Am I crushed that my dozens of bookmarks to handy lists on gluten-free foods are suddenly gone? Crushed? No. Bummed. Mildly. And it's a big Internets. I'm sure I'll finds 'em all again. Or not.
What about all of those posts I had bookmarked? Things I was going to reply to "someday" on message boards or at Yahoo groups? Man, maybe it's like that sweater at the back of your closet. You haven't worn it in three years? You ain't gonna start wearing it this season, sister!
So, just as I packed up bags and bags and bags of clothes for clothes-swaps with dear friends (and off to Goodwill with the rest of them) at the time of our move to Santa Monica, I see my computer's crash as a bit of closet-cleaning.
Is it inefficient to begin paying the bills and then to suddenly realize that I no longer have the bookmarks, logins, or passwords to any of my accounts? Sure. But y'know what? None of that stuff "went away." It's still out there. I just have to find it. And until I have the time to bother with that, I'll pull out the good ol' fashioned checkbook and pretend I'm a husband from the '50s, in the den chewing on my pipe with my brandy after dinner, telling my wife to scamper off, as I'm doing "men's business" and taking care of the family.
Lost phone numbers? So what! Y'know, I couldn't find a phone number for a producer who wants to hire me to cast a film (and who has been trying to reach me for days). BIG EFFIN' DEAL. Y'know what I finally did, after *almost* panicking that this guy's number could NOT be Googled, figured out from our Caller ID, or found in any stored email exchange (much less on any scrap of paper somewhere in the house)? I called the people who referred him and THEY gave me his number. Holy cow! There are ways to do things that have roots in very sensible, old-school behaviors. Totally inefficient to spend ten minutes on the phone with someone to whom I otherwise have little business to relay (And in the middle of a work day!) just to get a phone number that AN EFFICIENT BONNIE WOULD BE ABLE TO FIND, right? Sure. But we had a great chat and may have advanced ANOTHER project in the process. Pff! Bless my inefficiency and the rebuilding of the computer's brain.
"Getting to Empty" Isn't for Everyone. Especially me.
Now, my lovely friend and mentor CoCo has written about GTD and this bizarrely elusive "getting to empty" concept. This reminds me of a book I bought when I was beginning recovery for my decade-long prescription drug addiction. It was called "Step Zero" or something like that (and no, I'm not looking it up and linking to it because I don't remember that that's what it was called and I don't think I ever really read the whole thing anyway). I seem to recall something about the theory that you cannot even begin your recovery (at Step One, ala so many 12-step programs) until you've completed Step Zero. This isn't the same as reaching Rock Bottom, though they do seem to happen within moments of one another.
Every time I read posts on GTD and 43 Folders and all of those other things that would normally make an organizational nut like me as happy as being given a bottomless shopping cart in an office supply store, I get frustrated that I'm not more excited about it all. I think I've figured out why: I've not reached Rock Bottom with my GTD-related issues. And why would I? I am amazingly skilled at getting things done when left to my own devices. Why would I rebel against a system that already works (and quite well, thank you) just so that I could begin again, using a system created for those who find their "order" more in "chaos" than my "chaos" even ever becomes?
So, in honor of the fact that I have no plan to reach Step Zero on this issue, I embrace the inefficiency of MY system. It may not be so very quantifiable and definable as to spawn its own cult (although some would say that ONE of my "systems" has, in fact, done exactly that), but I am not here to inspire anyone on how to be as organized as I am. Nor do I need to aspire to be as organized as someone else, if it means I have to "get to empty" in order to do that. Why throw out what works in order to start over with something that may or may not work as well for me? Embracing the inefficiency of my "system" is a better step, anyway.
So Long, Multitasking, You Unhealthy Bitch.
Another way in which I am embracing inefficiency is in working against my Cancer-the-crab-like tendencies. As any good astrologer will tell you, Cancers not only love love love LOVE their own space, their cozy little homes, and their creature-comforts, they also carry everything around with them in their very efficient all-in-one shell suitcase. Yup. Totally me. But I wasn't always like this. My family loves to tell the story of my fascination with bath time (not mine, my brother's). When I, a toddler, would hear the water running in our one full bathroom's bathtub, I'd stop whatever I was doing, runrunrunrunrun into my bedroom, throw open the toy box, grab a favorite doll or stuffed animal in each hand, and then runrunrunrunrun into the bathroom, tossing each into the tub. My brother (an adult home from college for the weekend) would have started the water running and gone back upstairs to gather his clothes, shaving kit, etc. Meanwhile, as the water inched up in the tub, I would runrunrunrunrun back and forth, back and forth, two little hands clutching Lambie Pie or Bearie, legs going runrunrunrunrun, eventually filling the tub with a population of dozens of animals and toys, which would result in my brother's cry, "MUH-THURRRRR!!! She did it again!" At which point, I would plop down on the floor of the bathroom and laughlaughlaughlaughlaugh until I was forced to leave the room so that he could drain the tub, scoop out the toys, and begin his process again.
Nowadays, I couldn't imagine making so many trips. Not for any amount of laughter or silliness or (gasp!) even productivity. I am efficient, dammit! I make ONE trip, and I always make sure I've planned it just so. When I run errands, I have my route mapped out so that I am using the best roads at the best times, getting parking at the best spots, moving with the flow of activity rather than against it, and making as few left turns as possible. If I have three loads of bags to carry up from the car, I will--oh yes, I will, and don't you think I won't do it--manage to get ALL three loads of bags attached to my body SOMEHOW and all of the "stuff" WILL get inside at the same time. This makes Keith crazy. He totally doesn't understand it.
Well, in having a VERY willing-to-make-many-trips partner, I've developed a "queen of all that I survey" personality. I spend my days high atop the Couch Catalina and when I need a refilled water bottle, my Keith goes and gets it for me. When I am hungry, my Keith brings me food that he has lovingly prepared for me, the certified kitchenphobe. When I am finished eating, my Keith takes my plate away. "Hand me the phone, honey." "Can you get that fax for me?" I've even taught him to do the things that I always did for my mother, growing up (anyone who was raised southern will know this one). As you get up to get yourself something, you ask, "Do you need anything?" Yup. My Royal Subjects serve me quite well. Never do I need to cross a room to get a drink at the bar. I have become a total Queen of Sloth, only rising from my throne when my bladder or bowels require I visit the other one.
No more! I realized that I could DOUBLE, no, even TRIPLE my in-house level of activity and break this sedentary lifestyle up a bit simply by filling up my own damn water bottle, "bussing my own table," and otherwise doing a very childlike-glee-inducing thing from my own life: one hand = one item, as many trips as possible, and runrunrunrunrun. I AM LOVING THIS INEFFICIENCY! Oh my, there is so much movement to be HAD, if we just think of ONE thing we need to do at a time.
Who the HELL knew that multitasking, combined with very seriously-busy-ness and a live-in enabler, could make a person UNHEALTHY?!?
Another bit of progress in my campaign to embrace inefficiency has to do with something I read, well, over at 43 Folders, b'gosh! Now, I'll say that many of the tips suggested in more
comprehensive intimidating articles on the subject have LONG been in place in my Entourage. Comes with having so many email addresses and so many different clients, projects, and 7500 contacts in my address book. So, items like system rules I've created for email routing and in-box traffic control, color coding for easy reference, messages automatically linked to contacts for retrieval after they've been archived, and a hard-archive system for older-than-a-year stuff were already in place. In the past year (when my inbox went from 1000 un-dealt-with-but-replies-are-due messages to 2000, and now, to 4801 [and yes, that's an inbox that has several subdirectories whose messages I'm NOT counting AND one which gets archived and deleted from REGULARLY]), I began using the flag (and "flagged" folder) for certain messages, immediately filing messages that didn't require a reply but that needed to exist locally for potential future reference, and deleting ANYTHING I printed out or saved to a project file elsewhere on my system.
It's only since reading this quick article and surviving my Zed's Dead computer fiasco that I changed the interval of auto-check from eight minutes to 28 minutes (and I'm toying with the idea of going to 68 minutes next). I also began deleting with more reckless (and non-OCD/fairness-based) criteria. I used to think, if I deleted an email that came in today that met X criteria, I should also apply that "filter" to yesterday's mail.^2 That sort of thinking forced me to keep emails I otherwise KNEW I should just toss, seeing as: "It's not fair to the email I kept from yesterday for me to toss this one today. Who am I to decide whose email is of more value than another's?" Who? I'M THE ONE RUNNING THIS G4, BABY, THAT'S WHO!
Delete. Delete. Delete.
AND... Merlin Mann is right. There is very little that I miss in the 20 extra minutes of focused time I get, while my system is not sending me emails that interrupt me faster than I can even get started on another task.
When I really want to be productive, I quit out of email altogether or "work offline" so that I can get many replies written without the constant influx of replies to those replies which force me to get further behind on my older, flagged emails. (Remember those days? Before the high-speed Internet connection? When your email life was budgeted by the amount of hours you had left before you reached your account's dial-up limits? More productive, otherwise, right? Thought so!)
I no longer write my column each week with the regular interruption of the email "mail's in" sound. I write my column with my headphones on, iTunes churning happily away, getting up to refill water as needed, and staying mindful of my column's topic, rather than constantly having to stop and get refocused after fielding an email about a casting gig, showcase, or any other non-column-writing issue. Oh, and since doing that, I've been told SEVERAL TIMES that my columns are GREAT. Now, I'm not talking about the standard, "Hey, love your columns," stuff that happens. I'm getting really specific feedback about the quality of my work. And this couldn't be more important right now. If "the deal" goes through, we're talking major syndication, baby. EFFIN' RIGHT! No email is going to interrupt THIS writer today. Oh, hells no!
As for other rules of the email variety, here's one for people who send emails to all of their friends at once without using BCC. These Darwin Award Winners have a special "rule" to which their emails adhere. Those are routed directly into the "Addresses" subfolder. Yup. You have a friend who sends out email without masking the addresses of all recipients? If that email gets to me, I'm keeping your address. Not sure what I'm going to do with it, but it'll either go on MY mailing list or someday, if I'm looking for extra money to buy something really silly, instead of rolling pennies, I'll sell email addresses to Spammers. For whatever reason, I'm keeping these addresses--some people save string--and disregarding whatever the email was about. Ha!
Imperfection Is Gorgeous.
Okay, so another aspect of embracing inefficiency has to do with embracing imperfections. I remember writing a poem in high school called "Perfection." The first two lines were:
"Perfection. My best friend.Yeah, I was way tortured (in a Cure song--not a Smiths song--kind of way). Point is, I've always known that perfection both drives me and tortures me. Part of why I do so many things so very well is because I expect perfection and come pretty dang close to achieving it pretty much most of the time. And... that'd be why I am so very demanding and unforgiving (mostly of myself, but also of others). I have a very low tolerance for imperfection. And that can't be healthy. Life IS imperfect. Humanity IS imperfect. An absolutely lovely reminder of that came to me in the mail this week.
Perfection. My worst enemy."
The amazing, beautiful, wise, and courageous Pamela Jansen is someone I met online, then met in person, then cast in a film. She is featured in the book Fearless Women: Midlife Portraits, which I talked about receiving in a post over at TalentPIMP.com.^3 A few weeks ago, she called to let me know that a special envelope was on its way to me, please look for it. It took awhile, but it finally showed up last week, while I was so sick. It had been a bit damaged in the mail (which I totally understand, lately^4), but I believe the item inside was no worse for the wear. It was (it is) a stunning blue and silver beaded bracelet. Absolutely breathtaking. Perfect for me. In Pamela's letter, she said:
"Don't look too close, 'cause you'll see a few flaws, but then again, you wouldn't know for sure that it's an original."Right on. Inefficiency is imperfect. And, it too, is beautiful.
More Music, Less TV.
Having to start over on my computer (in many aspects, though certainly not entirely, thank the mighty backup drive), I found myself having to re-import all of my CDs into my iTunes. Now, this certainly isn't as important as rediscovering old bookmarks to bank accounts and casting logins, right? Well, maybe it is. See, I had (before the crash) decided to turn off the TV and listen to music. So, that meant getting the music back into my computer for the times when Keith needed to have the TV on or when doing the XML through the TV was otherwise impractical. Of course, I had done a lot of customizing, rating, and artwork/lyrics importing in the years since first setting up my iTunes. This time? Had to start from scratch and there's something really nice about that. I had no time to pick and choose which tracks to import, so I just tossed all of our CDs onto my iTunes and now, as I listen to each song, I go in and give it a rating AS WE GO and, if I don't like that song, I delete it. Totally inefficient to have imported it in the first place, right? Pff! Whatever! I am loving a project that should seem ridiculously tedious. What does that tell ya?
Okay, so what does any of that have to do with the "less TV" part? Well, working from home provides many opportunities to have the TV on simply as background "noise" for the day's events. But y'know, there's a LOT of bad news out there. Even if you keep your TV tuned to "silly" stations and don't tune into local or national or international news, you're still going to get the teasers and previews and headlines that are the most shocking, gruesome, and soul-spiking (Because, of course, that makes the average viewer want to tune in for the whole story, right?) and that, somehow, must seep into your psyche and pollute you. Somewhere.
When I was in college, I was a part of a leadership honor society that was comprised basically of the "movers and the shakers" of UGA's senior class. Now, that's a lot of effin' people, so I get that it's a huge big deal that I was one of the top 40. Well, we first went on a retreat to build as a team, and then we spent the rest of the quarter attending leadership conferences and events all over the state. It was awesome.^5 One of those events was a talk put on by an expert in dealing with "Option Overload." Many of that day's college graduates were facing too many options from which to choose easily and this guy's talk was about the fact we (Americans) bombard ourselves with information and then we try to find someone to blame for our ADD, lack of focus, apathy, and lack of commitment to anything meaningful.
He's the first person I heard advise against watching the evening news. Specifically, he insisted that we NEVER watch the LATE news. His advice went something like this: "Whatever you do right before bed is with you in your early sleep. You fill your head with the thoughts you will work on overnight and these images and issues populate your dreams and impact your depth of rest and your waking state the next day. The LAST thing you need to put yourself through at the end of what may have been a fulfilling day is a 15-minute barrage of negative images, sounds, and up-to-the-second interviews about the impact of those horrific things on the people who experienced them (followed by a bit of weather and sports)." That did it for me! All I've done this time around is up the ante on that philosophy. Awesome.
And, finally, I have turned off auto-correct in my software. Yup. I no longer want my software to smarten me up. If I don't know how to spell a word, I want the little squiggly lines underneath to tell me, so that I can LEARN. Rather than having Word or Entourage automatically switch the letters that I transpose, I want to see those flaws, right there in the finished product, so that I can choose to edit (because I see what I did wrong), ask for a suggestion (because I doubt what I meant to type), or show me how it's spelled (because I simply don't know how to spell it). I think this stems from having comment-based dialogue with my NBF KiKi and his PAM (punkass mom). She praises us when we leave our typos in. There is something to be said for that kind of parenting. And as Keith has recently shared, at some point, we get to reparent ourselves to make up for where parenting was well-meaning but misguided (or worse). Inefficient to have to go through and (somewhat) "manually" correct misspellings? Sure. And I love it!
The overall effect of these changes is this: I no longer feel that I have to get it ALL done in order to get ANY of it done. Before, I wouldn't even START on a project unless I knew I could COMPLETE it (or a pre-determined, significant CHUNK of it) within the amount of time I had stretched out before me. Somehow now it's okay to be inefficient: to pull out a stack of headshots for HILMMAKS and not get through it before I have to stop, switch gears, and do something else (perhaps something else more important--gasp!) for a moment. I can put that stack aside (partially sorted) and pick it back up an hour later. Sure, that's inefficient. Sure, I wouldn't have to spend that, oh, 30 seconds reorienting myself before I plunge back in, but so what?!? The fact is, dialogue now goes like this in the Gillespie-Johnson household:
K: C'mon. Let's go for a walk.It used to go like this:
K: C'mon. Let's go for a walk.Repeat, repeat, repeat. Until finally I'm so fried and/or Keith's so tired that it's just not gonna happen. Oh, and feel free to replace "go for a walk" with "have dinner," "watch this movie and eat popcorn," "fool around," etc.
B: Not now. Gotta finish this breakdown.
*30 minutes later*
K: Finished yet?
B: Yeah, but I need to find out what National Public Television AFTRA Scale is for a one-day shoot when it follows a week of an AEA run of the same show.
K: So... when?
B: I'll letcha know.
I don't see how this embracing inefficiency can possibly be a bad idea for me. I am perhaps the MOST organized person on the planet who can still actually function in society with some manner of skill and charm. Usually people who are as organized and efficient as I am are also quite mad or antisocial, in the Rainman, Se7en, As Good As It Gets, "Is everything in here as it should be, Laura?" kind of way. To step away from some of the self-inflicted MUSTS to my daily routine is to provide a space for more flow, more sunshine, more kisses, more DISCOVERY.
If observing YotL has taught me one thing already, it's that there is nothing you can DO to MAKE the amazing, beautiful, wonderful things happen in your life. All there IS to DO is to SLOW DOWN and SEE THEM. Everything amazing, beautiful, and wonderful is already here: inefficient, flawed, imperfect, and simply gorgeous. All of it.
^1. When I took Judith Ortiz Cofer's amazing creative writing master class in grad school (where, by the way, I shared many good times with fellow SpyNotebooker and literary genius, Courtney), one of my assignments was to write an apologia on my life as a writer. [Def: ap·o·lo·gi·a: n a formal, usually written, defense or justification of a belief, theory, or policy (formal).] Basically, this was, "Why I write the way I write and how it is I write at all," written up.
I remember my English 101 class at UGA, fall quarter 1988 (nearly a decade before the Cofer class). First assignment: "Write an essay answering the following question: 'Are you a writer?'" I began timidly. I didn't want to presume I was a writer, even though I had written my first stage play at the age of seven, my first published poem at the age of ten, and had spent the better part of high school writing with the Literary Club and for the paper, yearbook, etc. But I thought that maybe I was, indeed, a writer, so I began my essay: "I write, therefore I am... a writer."
By the time I approached my apologia, I had written a script for The Simpsons, been published in more than a few local and regional newspapers, and had seen quite a few of my poems and short stories make it into fairly well-respected literary journals. I was definitely a writer, by now. But I still approached the apologia with some timidity and I think that's what taught me a connotation for "apologia" that I find appropriate.
Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with my writing partner from my third (and his first) book. He said that he had finally (after having published that book with me, and having since written two screenplays and one pilot spec script) gotten up the nerve to say, "I am a writer," and that he was going to say so at Tuesdays@9 that very evening.
I chose to declare this post on embracing inefficiency an apologia for the same reasons Blake needed to ramp up to calling himself a writer (and for the same reasons that I was okay with calling my Cofer-assigned apologia an apologia): I've not yet mastered this. But I still want to tell you why I'm embracing inefficiency, the ways in which I'm embracing inefficiency, and how it is I'm embracing inefficiency at all. Perhaps someday, I will feel that I have mastered this as much as "they" tell me I should I feel that I have mastered writing.
^2. This is actually how my headshot files got so out of control last year. I believed, if I kept the headshot of an actor I met at a panel discussion in 2003, I had to keep the headshots of ALL of the actors I met at that panel discussion, even if I'd never seen their work, thought their credits sucked, felt they'd personally be too creepy to ever inflict on the population of a set, or knew they lived on another continent. I finally got over that, late last year. It was time to create a home office that would function like a casting office. This was when the wall of cubbies was born and, frankly, when tens of thousands of headshots went into the big bin in the alley. And no, I don't care if it's not fair that I kept ONE actor's headshot from an event but dumped the photos of all of the other actors I met at that event.
Oh, and that little part of me that always said, "But what if someday you NEED that one actor's headshot from 2003? What if you someday WISH you hadn't thrown out that ONE headshot? Doesn't that make it worth keeping them all?" Yeah, I beat that little part of me down in a fight outside, right in the alley next to the big bin with all of the dumped headshots. This was the same week we chose to toss our Yellow Pages. Why did we ever bring them off the stoop and into the house? I don't think I've consulted a paper-based copy of the Yellow Pages in nearly a decade. Yes, it's true, the Internet could go down or 411 might not understand my request for the listing... y'know what? Worth the risk. And if someone whose headshot I dumped suddenly wins an Emmy and I wasn't smart enough to hang onto that photo from years before that actor was discovered? Well, believe me, I have enough of a photographic memory (and sense of sass) that I'm sure I'll say, "Aww! How cool to see that actor getting all of that success. I used to have a headshot...." And then I will MOVE ON. I will NOT cry that I tossed it out. I'm almost sure of that.
^3. If you are not a member of TalentPIMP.com, you can follow this link and enter the promotional code HHH (that stands for Hollywood Happy Hour). You will then have free run of the place for six months. So, just do it. It's way cool. You're welcome.
^4. It seems we got some cruddy envelopes in our order. Y'know, those big, padded envelopes for mailing promo copies of Self-Management for Actors all over the place? Yeah. The number of books I sent out in padded envelopes that arrived empty has risen to NINE (that we know of). Now, someone wanted me to be pissed about this. But here's my theory: Let's imagine that the glue came unstuck and the copy of the book landed on a floor somewhere in a post office. Fine. Let's imagine that the postal worker who finds the book has been looking for a life change. And suddenly there's this book. And this postal worker has always been pretty charismatic and funny and kind of wants to try acting. He reads my book, decides to try out acting, makes his way through the process with some success, and prevents the world from losing any more people to random postal worker shooting rampages. OR! Better still! He goes on to huge successes and thanks me in his Oscar speech for having, without ever having known it, changed his life. Okay, okay, okay, so maybe he sells the book on eBay and someone else who always wanted to try acting ends up with the book at a deep discount since it's on eBay and it's out before you can buy it at Amazon.com or something. And the postal worker uses the money he earned from that sale of something he filched to buy ammo and he ends up being happy because he's living his dreams to own lots of ammo and I somehow helped that along.
It's all good karma, right? Don't you judge me, Earl!
^5. Somewhere, I have an essay that I wrote about one of the team-building experiences I had during the ropes course with Leadership UGA. I'll have to find it and share it, at some point (although I'm sure that would require finding the hard copy and retyping it, since God only knows where it is, electronically... much less whether it would even work on a computer from this lifetime). Anyway, I wrote about the fact that I froze during the ropes course and had to be "talked down" from the top of the first rope ladder, where I had taken one step out onto the high wire and then decided to "become one with the tree." Yes, I knew I could trust my harness, my belay partner, and my helmet. It wasn't rational fear. It was panic. And it gripped me hard. Of course, there were other team-building events that night, and I talked about my fear and others talked about theirs (which most of them had conquered better). The thing is, I didn't KNOW that I had a fear of heights until I was UP THERE. I had no idea!
The next morning, up with the sun, we're off to go rappelling. I am the first one off the mountain. My partner, Lance, looked stunned at my voluntary leap up, racing to get into the harness and start my trip down a 150-ft. vertical wall of granite. At the end of that day, when we did the rest of our team-building events, we were asked to share with the group what it was that we would be left with, after this weekend. Lance said something to the effect of: "Bonnie shocked me. I saw her on the ropes course. She was TERRIFIED. I knew she had unveiled a fear in herself she didn't even know existed and it scared the hell out of her. But the next day, she was the first one off the mountain, catching air like a pro. That taught me that not every fear of heights is the same. And maybe fears that I have about certain things aren't the same as the fears with which I associate them, since they SEEM the same." I laughed (through tears) and said, "Well, that little wire strung between those two trees, 50 feet up, was ITTY-BITTY. That mountain was HUGE! Of course they're different!" Yeah, I know. Leave it to me to make a joke, but in this essay I'm talking about (an essay contributed to a future issue of a short-lived Leadership UGA Alumni Magazine we called "Belay ON!"), I somehow brought it all back around to the fact that with the support of an amazing team, any fear (even one that looks like it should be the same as one that froze you) is conquerable.
Beyond the Notes.
PS--two post-footnotes notes regarding my family at Somesuch-Whatnot.
1. I know there is never a three. But this, being an apologia, follows those rules first, then somesuch's. I'm sure you understand.
2. The whole time I've been writing this, I've been imagining Norm coming over here and posting the first comment: "Nuh-huh." If it weren't so far past his bedtime by the time I finished this effin' thing, I bet he would! *giggle*
February 22, 2006
I had a whole big plan stretched out in front of me. Couldn't sleep after having attempted a civil bedtime with Keith just after midnight, so I got out of bed 'round 1:20am and began doing a bit of work (I know, I know) and the rounds at the blogs and such.
Then I made a gluten-free mini-pizza.
And while I worked on it (It's a three-stage process that requires a lot of back-and-forth to the kitchen.), I composed a brilliant entry on one of my new favorite things, which I can't wait to blog about, but which is also pretty involved, therefore composing the entry will take some time. Okay, fine. Fair enough. Let's do that tonight. What a great project!
So, I begin as I always do. I search the Internet for an appropriate image file to put up. That takes awhile. Then I find a few pages I want to be sure to include (link-wise) in the blog, in case readers have questions or want to know what has inspired me so. Fine. Somewhere in there, I finish the prep on the pizza, eat it up, and watch an episode of Sex and the City (Kiki, it is the "I Have Cancer" episode ["The 'Ick' Factor," for the purists among you] and I am crying like I did the first two times I saw it. Such a happy thing, TV.), all while mentally composing this amazing blog entry on how inspired I've become by my new favorite thing.
And then fullbellyitis sets in. A sleeping kitty to my right reminds me that it is really quite late and sleeping feels so nice, especially when you're all curled up to someone warm and loving. So, I miss my husband and our warm bed. I decide to bookmark all of the places I had open in tabs, all set for quick-link-making. I delete the watched episode from my TiVo, post this little nonsense post instead of posting nothing, and head off to brush my teeth and go back to bed.
And by doing this, I am exercising EXACTLY the art I have learned to embrace (and hope to master) and that I cannot wait to share with you all: THE BLISS OF INEFFICIENCY. It has changed my life. And I'm now addicted to inefficiency.
I simply cannot wait to tell you all about it.
January 21, 2006
OMG. I finally get it.
So, today was officially the castingest day EVER. I spent hours importing footage from films I've cast* in order to edit down my official casting demo reel. Lots of editing still to do, but what a happy job that is!
Meanwhile, I am putting final notes together for the next several casting gigs, details of which should be available in the next couple of weeks. Rock ON!
Okay, so where's the "I finally get it" stuff coming into play?
Well, as I watch the rough footage from these films I've cast (for the umpteenth time), I see imperfections. Typical. Same as when I reread my columns and get bummed out to find a typo or misplaced modifier or (*shudder*) split infinitive. It's just ugly. But it's human.
Okay, so at one point, I take a (well-earned) break. I'm looking at the cover art from one of the films' DVDs. It's gorgeous. And, reflecting back on how I felt the VERY VERY VERY first time I saw footage from this film, I felt truly flutter-filled with joy. I then thought, "Aw. It's a dayum shame that, the more I've looked at it, the more of its flaws I somehow see."
wheels turn... smoke pours from ears...
Wait a sec. What have I seen more of IN LIFE? What have I spent MOST OF MY LIFE focused on, simply due to the fact that I've had the most constant exposure to it?
That'd be ME.
Holy crap. Is a big part of the reason I see so many flaws in myself the very fact that I keep LOOKING? And perhaps those who consume only a fraction of me truly do have a much more balanced perspective on what my WHOLE is?
Just a load of thoughts, on a Saturday. Next time I get hyper-self-critical, perhaps I can just remember to take a dose of ANYTHING ELSE long enough to shift my perspective. Then realize, hey, I'm not that bad.
< Ali > Word. < /Ali >
* Have I mentioned how happy I am to finally have footage from even a FEW of the films I've cast by now?
December 20, 2005
The Sum of All Years: 28
December 12, 2005
Okay, so I've been asked about The Sum of All Years project and how it is I've decided to (over) share so much. Well, I look at it this way.
I'm a public person. I'm out about my damage (after having not been for so many years). And there are people who live everyday lives and have walked the same trail of tears I have, when younger, and never feel they'll be enough. And maybe I can help. Maybe I can prove that you can have everything go wrong and still make it. Or that you can appear as though you've done everything right and still have a shadow self (and that there's nothing wrong with that). Heck, maybe it's all about giving me an excuse for my mid-life damage, airing all of the "back then" BS. I don't know! And maybe I don't have to know.
What I like about this project is that it's about an autobiography. That's why I can't leave anything out. Yes, you could wait 'til I'm dead and dig up my unshared writings and learn whose fingerprints have been on my life... or I could own it now and say, "And y'know what? I'm STILL OKAY."
Nothing wrong with that.
It may be totally narcissistic, but it could also be liberating to others. I'm human. I'm broken. And I still happen to do just fine, thank you.
November 29, 2005
I'm going to make an observation about the process of taking on The Sum of All Years project.
It's more like therapy than I'd anticipated it would be. And it's hard to distill each year down to its most... what? Most life-defining? Most memorable? Most exciting? Most wish I could forget it? Most still a part of me? Most what I've conquered? Most how I now see myself... events. I still don't know. And I'll save most of my postmortem for, well, after.
Just know, if you take on this challenge (as many of you have said you'll do), you'll likely find some truths about yourself that you didn't think you'd ever make public (and wonder what the agenda has been in keeping things to yourself... as well as what the agenda may be in revealing them now), and you'll learn you're both more and less broken than perhaps you thought you were.
Again, more at the end. Just wanted to get that out there, as fair warning for anyone taking on the project.
A part of me wants to stop. A part of me cannot. A part of me must. A part of me will not.
Thanks for reading, just the same.
December 19, 2004
Okay, so I'm having breakthroughs left and right. Finally, I've had to start looking at this non-stop personal growth stuff and ask:
Is this normal?
I mean, I know we spend our 20s pretty much self-involved. Are we, by nature, to spend our 30s self-evolved?
Not that I don't enjoy all of the new a-ha moments and happy confirmations that I am exactly on the right path and all that, but I have to wonder when we, as women today, kind of start just BEING.
Or is this what that is?
I'm pontificaterrific tonight! Ooh... The Wizard of Oz is on! How much am I loving that they're using Love & Rockets' No New Tale To Tell as the lead-in/out music?!? Awesome!
PS--Walks to the beach at sunset and happy hour at Sushi Roku with your fiancé are just about some of the best living out there.
Posted by bonnie at 8:01 PM
September 2, 2003
Without going into any relevant detail...
It is a sad, but important, moment when you realize that, no matter what you do to protect someone, no matter what you do to stand up for them, to root for them, to kick some ass on their crippled behalf, you will never be able to keep them from feeling broken due to the actions of someone else.
It is a little liberating.
And it is tragic.
Sometimes there is no way to be a hero in a situation like this. Even if you behave as one, you do not spare anyone from their pain.
Posted by bonnie at 10:24 PM
April 2, 2003
Bonnie Gillespie's Resignation Letter to Back Stage West
Cricket Feet, Inc.
P.O. Box 1417
Hollywood, CA 90028
2 April 2003
Steve Elish, Publisher
Back Stage/Back Stage West
New York, NY 10003
Dear Mr. Elish:
Regretfully, I am writing to tender my resignation as casting columnist for Back Stage West. What follows is a detailed chronological accounting of the events leading up to this decision, thus ending my affiliation with Back Stage West—a publication I have been proud to work for since October of 1999.
In the week of February 17, 2003, while covering for Casting Assistant Cassie Carpenter in-house at Back Stage West, I was asked by Rob Kendt (Editor-in-Chief/Associate Publisher), Marjorie Broder (Marketing/Advertising Director), and Suzy Starling (Marketing/Sales Assistant) to create and moderate a panel of casting directors for the 2003 ActorFest, taking place Saturday, April 26th.
By this time, I had conducted several highly successful free casting director panels in conjunction with Back Stage West at Take One Film Books in West Los Angeles. Each of these panels (taking place about once every six weeks since November 2002) had well over 100 actors in attendance, filling the aisles and sitting on the floor to be a part of it.
My reputation for being an excellent moderator was beginning to become known. I realized that moderating a panel of very different people with sometimes totally contradictory opinions on subjects relevant to the acting community was a skill and that I should be pleased that I am always able to bring out the best in these panelists and get useful advice to actors who so crave this information.
When Rob, Marjorie, and Suzy invited me to construct a panel for ActorFest, I was thrilled. I knew that would mean an audience of up to 500 actors and the opportunity to bring back some of the top casting directors I've had serve on panels before—as well as a few people who I'd only interviewed and not yet had appear on panels. I was told, in repayment for my services, I would receive a $115 discount on the cost of a booth on the trade show floor, meaning Cricket Feet, Inc., could get a booth for $450 to sell Casting Qs: A Collection of Casting Director Interviews as well as other Cricket Feet titles, and my actor consulting services.
I immediately began booking casting directors for this panel with the one guideline, "Someone from television, someone from film, someone from commercials, someone from theatre, someone from reality. We want the top people from each type of casting." That directive came from Marjorie and was the only limit put upon my ability to contact and book casting directors for the ActorFest panel. My panelists would not be paid, nor would I—which is also standard practice for my free casting director panels. We all donate our time.
By the end of the day on which I was asked to do the panel, I had already booked three casting directors: Michelle Foumberg, Twinkie Byrd, and Michael Donovan. I also handed Suzy Michelle and Michael, who were willing to do Focus Sessions that were, as of that time, unfilled by casting directors. It was my pleasure to help Suzy with the task of filling those slots, as I knew, when I called in favors to get these casting directors to agree to the panel in the first place, I could also ask them to come for one extra hour to help Suzy for a $100 honorarium.
By the end of the week in which I was asked to do the panel, I had secured two more casting directors: Bob Morones and Kimberly Hardin. All five of the casting directors I had contacted at this time were eager to be a part of ActorFest and sit on a panel I would moderate. We began discussing plans for the questions I would ask, the types of questions that would likely come from the audience, and what to expect from the experience as a whole.
In that same week of February 17th, I was contacted by casting director Katy Wallin regarding a new show for Fox she had been hired to cast. She needed some out-of-town recruiting done and wanted to know if I knew of casting directors who would be willing to do such work. I made some calls and connected a few people to one another, as this is a very typical "side-effect" of my work with casting directors. It is known by all that I know casting directors—as a community—more than anyone else. I also refer people to one another on a regular basis for jobs and projects, CSA recommendation letters, etc. I love connecting good people to one another. It is a passion!
After helping Katy with a few leads for out-of-town recruiters, I was again contacted by her—this time because she needed a casting coordinator for four weeks. I explained that I am not looking for full time work, nor do I want to parlay such a job into a career, but that I would like to meet with her and her partner, Sheila Conlin, for an interview. That interview took place on February 24th and I was hired that day.
During the four week assignment, I got to see two amazing casting directors—one who has spent 15 years growing her production company, casting company, and acting studio; the other with major reality TV credits—navigating the casting process for a lightning fast assignment for Fox. I realized that either of these women would be an asset to the ActorFest panel. Since I already had booked a casting director with reality TV show credits (Michelle Foumberg), I looked to Katy to fill the sixth slot in the panel.
I let Rob know that Katy was my pick for the sixth panel slot and his response, via email dated March 18th, was, "Just make sure Katy doesn't say a word about AIA." I assured him that her acting school was quite a separate venture from her casting company and production company. I told him that I'd seen, first hand, how separate those companies are, in day-to-day operation, and I also mentioned to Katy the need to keep AIA out of the panel discussion. "Of course!" She responded, adding that she thought the panel was about casting, not acting schools. We were all on the same page.
A few days later, my fiancé and business partner Keith Johnson called me at the casting office for the Fox project and told me about a phone call he'd just had with Rob about Katy's space on the panel. The basic information was, "Marjorie has vetoed you and Rob. Katy is off the panel." According to Keith, his conversation with Rob was brief and conveyed information about Marjorie's displeasure over the inclusion of Katy, as one of her companies is a major advertiser in Back Stage West and her appearance on the panel would be considered a conflict of interest. I decided to discuss this matter with Katy when we next spoke about ActorFest, after the end of our casting job, which was quickly coming to a close.
Meanwhile, Suzy had emailed me to let me know that Lila Selik had offered her services as a panelist when Suzy had contacted her about putting flyers for ActorFest in her casting office. Based on the recommendation from Suzy, I contacted Lila on March 28th and offered her Katy's spot. I also set up a "Casting Qs" interview with Lila for March 31st, at which time we would further discuss the details of ActorFest.
Also on March 31st, I called Katy to let her know she would not be on the panel. I left a message conveying my apology for having her plan to be a part of it and now canceling, but that Marjorie pulled rank and Rob had delivered the news to Keith, who delivered it to me.
Katy called me on the morning of April 1st to speak with me about other business as well as to ask about Marjorie's objection to having her on the panel. I told her that I suspected the issue was based in the fact that AIA has been a booth-holder on the ActorFest trade show floor in years past and that the upcoming AIA Career Festival has been discussed as a "competing" event to ActorFest, despite the fact that it is free.
Katy decided to call Marjorie, stating that she would like to keep relations between Back Stage West and all of Katy's companies as positive as possible. Katy also wanted to ensure that Marjorie felt welcome to attend the AIA Career Festival on April 5th in order to invite actors to ActorFest.
Marjorie called my home around 1:30pm on April 1st and left a message. I called her back around 2:30pm. She told me that she had, "no interest in talking to this person," and wanted to know why Katy had left a message for her in the first place. I speculated that Katy wanted to clear the air about the back-and-forth on the panel, but Marjorie said she did not intend to call Katy back, as the matter was closed.
I assured Marjorie that the panel was now set with six panelists—not including Katy—and that promotion was continuing forward as planned. She felt the need to explain—at length—the long-standing policy (which she attributed to Rob) of seeing panels as editorial (meaning: no advertisers or service providers allowed) and all else in ActorFest as advertising (meaning: no conflict for participation). She proceeded to yell "at" Rob through me on the phone. I calmly suggested that Marjorie leave me out of any of her issues with Rob and his enforcement of policy and let me know what I could do to soothe this situation and have the best panel possible.
Marjorie assured me that I had done everything by the book and that my panel was going to be great, that she was very grateful for my work at the paper and for ActorFest. She also continued to blame Rob for not having contacted Katy himself to cancel her for the panel. I assured her that everything was fine—that Rob had called Keith, who called me, who canceled Katy. Marjorie wanted to know exactly what Rob said. I put her on the phone with Keith, as he was the one who spoke with Rob, and I could only speculate.
Keith and Marjorie spoke for a moment about Keith's conversation with Rob and then Keith got quiet for a while. When he next spoke, it was to debate Marjorie's logic in saying that policy states that no one who makes money off of actors can appear on an ActorFest panel. Keith disagreed. He presented the fact that I make money off actors with my book and my consulting services—so how can I moderate the panel under that policy? He presented the fact that most casting directors who are not employed fulltime by a studio do some sort of supplemental work such as teaching, participating in workshops, authoring books, owning schools, partnering in production companies, producing music, acting, etc. Quickly, Marjorie changed her train of conversation over to the difference between these examples of supplemental work and one of Katy Wallin's companies, AIA. She then mentioned all of the money they were making off of selling booths to advertisers at their upcoming free Career Festival. Keith, who had recently written the check for Cricket Feet's booth space at ActorFest countered with, "Yes. For $250. You're selling them for over $500." Marjorie then hung up on Keith abruptly.
An hour later, Suzy called me to let me know that I would need to contact the casting directors on my panel to find out which ones are teachers or owners of companies that provide services to actors. I explained that I was not willing to do that. I had set this panel—with most casting directors—six weeks earlier and was not going to start making changes on a roster that had been approved by Rob and had been seen during its early development (the week of February 17th) by Suzy and Marjorie, with not a single mention of this policy to exclude panelists who earn money off actors.
I explained that I didn't want to get into a "pissing contest" with anyone about it, but that I considered the panel set, as is, and that I would not be making any changes to it. Suzy asked if I could ensure that there would be no discussion of classes or services during the panel, no distribution of literature about the casting directors' wares, etc. I was insulted. "Obviously, Suzy, that request is coming from someone who has never seen me moderate a panel. Talk to Rob. Talk to [office manager] Rosa [Fernandez]. The two of them have attended my free panels and know that they are all about helping the actors learn and nothing else," I insisted.
Suzy assured me that nothing she was saying was coming from her decision-making process, but that the policy would be carried out. I restated, "If you're removing panelists, you're also removing your moderator." We hung up and I then emailed Suzy the following, "Please don't take it personally. I have worked very hard putting this panel together and feel very strongly that it is a good mix of people that everyone will enjoy. As I said, if you ask anyone who has ever attended a panel discussion I've moderated, you'll learn that it is never an opportunity for panelists to pitch their services as a coach, a consultant, or anything else. I'm considering the panel set, and this matter closed."
I also emailed Rob, even though he is out of the office, to let him know what had transpired and where we now stood with the issue.
An hour later, I received another call from Suzy. This time she said, "I'm just the messenger," and proceeded to inform me that the casting directors who teach are being called—by her—and removed from my panel. Also, that I was being relieved of my duties as moderator.
I let her know that I understood the decision but that, since my relationships and reputation are what got those panelists to agree to participate in ActorFest to begin with, that I would be contacting them as well, so that they would know that I was no longer moderating the panel. I do not feel it is professional to have someone these casting directors have never spoken to call and inform them there have been changes—when their last contact has been with me about the format of the panel and the questions, parking arrangements, time of arrival, etc. Suzy agreed that I had the right to call these colleagues and we hung up.
I immediately began calling my panelists. The only person who was contacted by Suzy prior to being contacted by me was Lila Selik, who called me the instant she hung up with Suzy, livid that she had been removed from the panel due to the fact that she teaches classes to agents and managers on the art of the pitch. I assured her that this issue has me upset as well and we discussed the options that Lila was considering: filing a discrimination suit, writing an open letter to the major Los Angeles publications, mobilizing members of the CCDA against Back Stage West, etc. She later faxed me a draft of a letter she is developing, as well as calling me several more times throughout the evening to get information about her fellow panelists and the personnel at Back Stage West.
While Lila's reaction was the most extreme, it was certainly not the only one of its tone. Every casting director I spoke with was very disappointed in the fact that the panel would not exist as it had been established—as long as six weeks earlier in some cases—and assured me that their favor was to me, not to Back Stage West.
We all bank on our relationships in this business, and I have—over the past three years—developed relationships that go beyond the strictly business level with many casting directors. I consider these industry professionals to be my friends. They are a selfless group of people who—for a living—work to help other people fulfill their dreams. They don't mind being in the background while others receive praise for the work that they do. I find those qualities to be the same qualities that teachers possess. They are thrilled more by their students' successes than their own.
It stands to reason that nearly half of all casting directors do some form of teaching, workshop, or guest-speaking engagements on a regular basis. These are people who enjoy sharing their knowledge. And, yes, some of them do that for a fee.
That, in itself, is not a conflict of interest that should prevent any casting director from appearing on a panel discussion. I always try to include a diverse selection of casting directors on my panels so that actors may benefit from information provided by all of the various types of people who make up the casting community. I do not discriminate against those casting directors who earn money from actors. My rule is: you get actors jobs, you qualify for my panels.
The fact that this arbitrary policy was suddenly enforced after Marjorie blew up on the phone with me—and then with Keith—about her anger at Katy Wallin for having the AIA Career Festival three weeks before ActorFest is not disputable.
Had anyone ever, in the week of February 17th or thereafter, mentioned to me that there was a policy to which my selection of casting director panelists must adhere, of course I would've followed that policy or—if I felt I could not do so—declined the offer to create, promote, and moderate a panel in the first place. This eleventh hour stunt is disrespectful of me and my panelists, as well as the actors who were sold—at $40 a pop—a ticket to ActorFest, banking on the fact that they'd be able to attend this well-advertised panel. I understand that it was the most popular of the three panels offered this year, and was already well on its way to selling out completely.
Throughout all of this, Rob is out of town and therefore unable to settle the matter. Had the call from Katy come a week later, when Rob is back, I am certain that he would've handled the call, told Katy how to deal with Marjorie's issues with AIA, and that would've been the end of it. Instead, this has become an issue over which many casting directors are up in arms. I suspect, once actors begin to learn about it, it will become an issue of demanding refunds for a panel to which they'd bought entry, since it no longer exists.
After having left a message for Rob on his home answering machine, I received a call from him (from Kentucky) late on the evening of April 1st. Rob asked what it would take to get the panel back on track. I told him that, even if I wanted to, I didn't think I could unring this bell and get the casting directors back. They are not happy with Back Stage West or this sudden policy enforcement. It would be rude of me to go back to them and even suggest that we could patch things up and go on with the show.
At this point, I am becoming aware of what this experience means, with regard to my relationship with Back Stage West as the freelance casting columnist.
I have been penning the weekly column "Casting Qs" since June of 2000 and I very much enjoy interviewing casting directors for actors. However, after having been used as a pawn in this political strategizing by Marjorie against Rob, I do not feel as though my role, my reputation, my relationships, and my readership have been respected whatsoever.
I bring a great deal of good will to Back Stage West through my regular appearances at free casting director panels, speaking engagements, book signings, my countless hours spent answering reader email and questions on the Career Chat forums, etc. I am always an advocate for Back Stage West, and my column is clearly one of the most popular features of the weekly paper.
I take all of that very seriously.
Without the respect of those people above me at Back Stage West, I do not see how I can continue forward as a weekly columnist and not feel that I am betraying my readers by staying silent about the horrific injustice that was committed all in the name of Marjorie Broder's in-office politics.
As of this time, I will not be contributing weekly "Casting Qs" to Back Stage West.
People talk all the time about the importance of loyalty and integrity in relationships in this town. I do more than talk. I live by my word. I did everything I was asked to do in this situation and I got burned. Some people I care very strongly about got burned too. That's not something that gets fixed with a band-aid.
cc: Rob Kendt, Editor-in-Chief/Associate Publisher
Marjorie Broder, Marketing/Advertising Director
Scott Proudfit, Managing Editor
Gary Marsh, Breakdown Services
Bob Brody, Showfax
Michael Donovan, CSA/CCDA
Bob Morones, CSA
Lila Selik, CCDA
Katy Wallin, CSA
April Webster, CSA
Beverly Long, CCDA
Billy DaMota, CSA
Bonnie Zane, CSA
Brett Benner, CSA
Cathy Henderson, CSA
Danny Goldman, CCDA
Debby Romano, CSA
Debra Zane, CSA
Elisa Goodman, CSA
Francene Selkirk, CCDA
Gary Zuckerbrod, CSA
Jackie Briskey, CSA
Jane Jenkins, CSA
Jenny O'Haver, CCDA
Julie Selzer, CSA
Kate Brinegar, CSA
Lawrence Parke, Acting World Books
Linda Phillips-Palo, CSA
Marc Hirschfeld, CSA
Mark Paladini, CSA
Mark Teschner, CSA
Matthew Barry, CSA
Melissa Martin, CCDA
Michelle Gertz, CSA
Mike Fenton, CSA
Patrick Baca, CSA
Paul Bennett, PB Management
Peter Golden, CSA
Phil Brock, Studio Talent Group
Robin Nassif, CSA
Steven Nash, Arts & Letters Management
Stuart Stone, CCDA
Terry Berland, CCDA
Tracy Lillienfield, CSA
Messages In This Thread
Bonnie Gillespie's Resignation Letter to Back Stage West
Bonnie Gillespie -- Wednesday, 2 April 2003, at 9:28 p.m.
XOXO I'm VERY confident that the loss of that nonsensical drama in your life ...
Sterling Wolfe -- Wednesday, 2 April 2003, at 9:40 p.m.
You were the reason to check in at BSW , You will be missed but am glad I can find you here.
shawn cowam -- Wednesday, 2 April 2003, at 10:08 p.m.
I agree! Bonnie, BSW just shot themselves in the foot! *nm*
Anna M. Kumor -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 7:32 a.m.
The Paper is not called "B.S. West" for nothing. *nm*
Sterling Wolfe -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 12:50 p.m.
If you feel that way, then please CALL BSW and Tell them so!! *nm*
Keith Johnson -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 2:36 p.m.
Bonnie, Sad News for the Real Talent in LA. Best Wishes to YOU! *nm*
Galen B. Schrick -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 12:44 p.m.
WOW. It amazes me the nonsense some people try to pull.
Corey Klemow -- Wednesday, 2 April 2003, at 10:40 p.m.
A "moral" stand at forty bucks a head, Corey. LOL *nm*
Dea Vise -- Wednesday, 2 April 2003, at 10:49 p.m.
The one who loses the most is BSW for losing the megatalents of Bonnie G. :( *nm*
Brad Slaight -- Wednesday, 2 April 2003, at 11:42 p.m.
Laura Lock -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 12:19 a.m.
:( I'm shocked at BS's stupidity! Better things ahead for you...but you know that! XOXO *nm*
Kathryn Johnston -- often lurks, sometimes posts -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 1:46 a.m.
Bon, you have my love, my respect, and my total support. Godspeed, baby sister. thumbs up *nm*
Debra McCarthy -- Wednesday, 2 April 2003, at 11:56 p.m.
clap, clap, clap Ditto - and Tritto!!! clap, clap, clap *nm*
Eric Halasz -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 7:49 a.m.
...and the kiddo makes a sexto (& if you've ever had toes... nah, fergit it). *nm*
- N. Barry Carver • FlickeringImage.com • -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 8:10 a.m.
Bonnie, your integrity has always been impressive. What a sad, stupid ordeal for you. Love & Support *nm*
cindy koellisch -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 8:35 a.m.
Oddly, under "integrity" you'll find a picture of BSW chiefs!
- N. Barry Carver • FlickeringImage.com • -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 9:48 a.m.
Miss you already! *nm*
Christopher Behrens -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 9:58 a.m.
Huh. I thought it was under the word "waffle." Maybe both words, I guess. *nm*
Sterling Wolfe -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 12:18 p.m.
I prefer the term "tergiversational" but I like 'em big.....er, words, that is. *nm*
Kyle \/ogt -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 1:58 p.m.
Cool. I had to look that puppy up! LOL *nm*
Bonnie Gillespie -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 2:06 p.m.
oh, Kyle... Eschew obfuscation. ;) *nm*
shelley delayne -- Friday, 4 April 2003, at 11:12 a.m.
But... but obfuscation is Kyle's hobby! LOL *nm*
Elizabeth Tindal -- Friday, 4 April 2003, at 2:51 p.m.
Ahh, but the guerdons of it.... *nm*
Kyle \/ogt -- Friday, 4 April 2003, at 5:07 p.m.
you guys should be using your way with words at googlewhack.com! *nm*
Billy DaMota -- Friday, 4 April 2003, at 7:13 p.m.
Wow! That's some messed up stuff!
Melanie Dale -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 10:21 a.m.
I'm a bit confused with Foumberg's participation in the "focus session."
Sterling Wolfe -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 12:17 p.m.
Just asked her to come post for herself, but...
Bonnie Gillespie -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 1:05 p.m.
I LOVE Michelle! Welcome, girlie! *VBG*
Dea Vise -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 1:16 p.m.
Hi DEA!!! You're so sweet! :) *nm*
Michelle Foumberg -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 1:46 p.m.
thumbs up thumbs up for Michelle, and thumbs up thumbs up for us behaving badly, LOL *nm*
Sterling Wolfe -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 1:19 p.m.
I have removed myself from the Panel!
Michelle Foumberg -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 1:25 p.m.
Fantatistic, plus congrats on CSA. thumbs up thumbs up *nm*
Sterling Wolfe -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 1:33 p.m.
Thanks, doll. See you at AIA's Career Festival Saturday. Big hug! *nm*
Bonnie Gillespie -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 1:40 p.m.
I call Bonnie the matchmaker! LOL
Dea Vise -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 3:04 p.m.
Hi, Michelle! Welcome! *nm*
Billy DaMota -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 4:57 p.m.
HI Billy!! My fabulous sponsor!! :) *nm*
Michelle Foumberg -- Friday, 4 April 2003, at 11:12 a.m.
So proud of you getting your first chip. LOL
Billy DaMota -- Friday, 4 April 2003, at 12:14 p.m.
Michelle's name is still being used to sell tickets geez
Sterling Wolfe -- Friday, 4 April 2003, at 1:22 p.m.
Don't throw your new Tivo up against the wall... That's all I ask :) Sorry for your situation :( *nm*
Jim Brownfield -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 12:37 p.m.
Your column was the 1st thing I looked for!
Laura Graul "marylousmom" -- Thursday, 3 April 2003, at 7:38 p.m.
Bonnie ," cream rises to the top". ; ) *nm*
Fred Dresch -- Friday, 4 April 2003, at 9:06 a.m.
Congrats Bonnie for standing up to your convictions: pedal to the metal and bury the speedometer! *nm*
Ho-Kwan Tse -- Friday, 4 April 2003, at 3:39 p.m.
Too bad they didn't appreciate you.
Jennifer Bishton -- Saturday, 5 April 2003, at 8:25 a.m.