Ridin’ with her hair in the wind
And her hands in the sky
Like she’s flyin’
Spring has finally arrived in the Berkshires. The snow is gone, my teaching residency has started, this is my 100th post, and I have moved to a new house share. A lot of changes in the last few weeks, so where do I start?
Teaching: we have 50 kids, mostly middle school with a handful of high school students that we have cast into A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They are a crazy mix of very mature to almost insanely rambunctious. The old adage “herding cats” can seem very appropriate at times. I am very fortunate in that my co-director is a veteran teacher and actor and all around generous, fun guy. He is patiently instructional, very present and never gets flustered on the outside, even though he tells me that sometimes he’s ready to pull his hair out. I watch and learn and do my best to assist and lead when it’s my turn. Since this is all new to me I make a TON of mistakes, like not being clear in my directions, and not allowing myself to breathe and follow impulses. But there has only been one day of despair and that’s not bad. Mostly I have been excited and happy to use this as a learning process for all of us, rather than a product of producing the perfect play.
It certainly will NOT be perfect, but it will be delightful and hopefully the kids will learn about themselves and what a joy it can be to learn in a supportive, non-competitive environment. It is a new program in the school so there is quite a learning curve from helping them to create a contract of rules to work by (making your partner look good, leaving the space better than we found it, following all school rules, missing only 2 rehearsals etc.), to coordinating with parents and school administration. It is a huge project and my time has been consumed by it.
Thankfully, after two weeks at the school they have Spring Break so I had time to move out of my delightful little dutch house, walk and write. I have moved down the street to a home where I have a bedroom and bathroom and share the kitchen and living space with my landlady. It is bordering some woods so that right outside my windows are big evergreens where black bears roam and many birds come nibble at her feeders. It is peaceful. I do miss living alone but for now this is where I will nest.
I live on the same street as The Mount (see Make Believe Meandering at the Mount), so I can take walks through the woods and come upon it from the back. Today I traipsed through briars and bush, lost the trail, ripped my skirt and I decided that I really do prefer walking on somewhat maintained paths. The adventure of crossing open country just pales when I have to move slowly to forge streams and navigate thorn bushes.
I came upon a man digging up young dandelions, making him jump a foot. I had never heard of eating dandelions so I stopped and had him show me. He said they taste a little bitter, “but I’m an old-fashioned guy and like to live simply.”
My room is lined with high bookshelves. The man who lived here before me was a world traveler and collected books so immediately I felt a connection. I still long to get back on the road and have more adventures, but that will have to wait for a bit, maybe until the summer. I clamored up on a chair and pulled down a book of poetry and opened up to Langston Hughes’ poem “Dream Deferred.”
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
like syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
I am so very fortunate that my dreams have been advancing. My current adventure is creating a new community here in Lenox. It’s tough to start over on the opposite coast but thankfully making friends is easy for me. The acting community can be cliquish like any tightly shared collective but I have friends that I adore and trust and can open up to and hang out with, and I meet more each week.
I took a clown workshop last weekend that reminded me of the detriment of not living an authentic life. My clown revealed itself as a rebellious teenager, complete with attitude, anger and angst. I have been stuffing a lot of my angry feelings, being the nice girl, accommodating, wanting to please. Well, let me tell you, it shows up as superficiality in my acting and I want to root that out because there’s nothing I despise more. I will be working to reveal my true self as I go through my daily routine, and if that means not being liked, so be it! I am ready to get back to my real self and damn the consequences.
My kind of crazy
My kind of say whatever is on your mind
She’s my kind of crazy!