Tag Archives: creative life

Ren Faire rehearsals make for long days. I was on site at the extra-early hour of 8am (aborted ukulele lesson; I used the time to practice my own music and stretch) and didn’t leave until 6pm*. Spent the day in fight choreography, blocking, running scenes, running fights. Because my role is active, and because I need to be mindful of footwear, my pre-‘fully costumed attire’ is as practical as I can make it: workout leggings, boots, long tank top.

I mention all of this because, well…

Stopped at the store on my way home**.  A cashier commented on my ensemble. “Love the boots. Cool look!” And then… and then… “Ugly wallet, though. Totally ruins the entire look.”

First of all, it’s my Loungefly R2D2 wallet.

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Look at that prettiness! LOOK!

Secondly, what?

“It’s so nerdy.”

I smiled, but only because I wasn’t sure what else to do. It’s my default. I am not a badass. “You know why I’m dressed this way? Because I just spent ten hours at the Renaissance Faire. I swing swords and pretend to be part of the Robin Hood Band.” Pause. “There is nothing about me that is not nerdy.”

“Oh,” the cashier said after a moment. “I thought you were a biker.”

And nothing against bikers, because I’m certain you’re lovely/imposing/whatever it is that makes you feel amazing, but really? I’m perfectly happy to be with my tribe of improvisational beasts, of singers, of dancers, of acrobats, of archers, of crafters and poets and Shakespearean scholars and swordsmen.

Yeah, we’re nerdy. And we make it look damned good.

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*hours for performance days are even longer. super glamorous, y’all!
**my actors work hard; they deserve cookies, and I most certainly wasn’t going to have time to bake tonight.

A is for Audacious: Blogging From A-to-Z Challenge

I am rather reserved. I avoid confrontations, am fine with being a follower, consider myself simply ordinary. I’ve a laundry list of things that are wrong with me, with the way I look, with my supposed skills. I can self-defeat like a boss.

I wasn’t always this way. I used to believe I could, and would, do whatever I dreamt. I wrote – constantly, as naturally as drawing breath – on legal pads and notebooks and even on scraps of paper when that was all there was to hand. Loved learning new things, finding adventure at any moment. I was pretty happy with who I was. Not sure when that changed, but it did. I lost confidence in my writing, in myself, and all for no good reason (though I’m sure a skilled therapist could winnow it out).

So, for this month at least, I’m going to be audacious. I’m going to thumb my nose at my comfort zone. I will learn new stage combat techniques. I will teach amazing kickboxing classes. I will buy a bathing suit. I’ll play guitar (badly) and ukulele (somewhat less badly) and sing without apology. I’ll post one positive thing about myself every day. I will write, and I will share that writing every day, from A to Z.

I’m going to be like a snowdrop, pressing my way out of the cold April soil, unfurling inexorably toward the sun.

Only less testically. I realize it’s not yet fully formed, but yikes!

Only less testically. I realize it’s not yet fully formed, but yikes!

2014: the highs and the lows

In this roller coaster of a year, I :

Wrote daily for a solid month, thanks to my self-imposed Blog Every Day in November.

Gained a new nephew, complete with the most squishable cheeks.

Lost two friends to fucking cancer.

Made friends with multiple TreeKitties.

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Recorded a whopping seventh CD with The Crimson Pirates (soon to be available on iTunes; the first six already are!). My first outing as an instrumentalist, though to be fair my ukulele chops are pretty basic.

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Had to step up and get stuff done.

Fought injustice, danced the maypole, and sang bawdy songs in the Greenwood.

Rocked rapier/fan with a fantastic fight partner.

Rocked, with two other amazing fight partners, double sword against one armed with sword, one armed with shield. One of my favorite fights of ever.

I didn't make note of the photographers who took these shots. Please claim credit, share links to your sites, and accept my apology.

I didn’t make note of the photographers who took these shots. Please claim credit, share links to your sites, and accept my apology.

Kicked respectable butt in a silly archery competition. Was even happier that I didn’t match a record. #willscarlettriumphant

Rose to a challenge I’m still not sure I entirely met.

Was recognized by Queen Elizabeth, first of that name, with ceremony and a medal.

Wore false eyelashes and a lot of makeup. Also had my hair done up all fancy. Sported a floaty, fancy dress. Heels were involved.
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Spent time with relatives I see far too infrequently, which is deeply unfair since they are an absolute joy.

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Saw my sister married to a sweet and wonderful man. In related news: gained a new brother.

Chronicled 100 Happy Days on Instagram. What a delight!

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Had the biggest emotional breakdown in my seventeen years of marriage, to an ultimately healing effect. Relationships are hard, rewarding work.

Accepted, after some ouchiness, that I’m not a particularly talented vocalist. Or musician. But I’ve got energy/moxie, so there’s that.

Performed at Brewkulele ’14 all the same, and will likely do so again. Yay?

Lost my first and best joust partner.

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Said goodbye to my first theatre.

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Did not spend nearly enough time on the mat. Missed yoga desperately, but still tried to cultivate a gentler approach to everyday life: let go of what I can’t control, choose kindness, take a whole lot of deep breaths, be mindful, be thankful. I’ve a long, long way to go.

Focused on circuit training, albeit late in the year. Thanks to Sabrina, a rocking HIIT challenge, and the best workout coach of ever.

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Realized my support system is amazing, and that begins with my sweetie. Thought seriously about some sort of counseling, and though I haven’t actively begun the search for a therapist, am giving this considerable thought and weight.

Lost my mom, unexpectedly. Heartbreakingly. Devastatingly. It left us all grieving: my sister, my husband, my brother and his wife, and quite honestly anyone who knew her. I’m still not ready to speak about this at any sort of length, but I will say this: she was a light and a joy. She was so proud of her sweet natured grandsons, and was so proud her legacy was carried on in my sister’s nursing career.

My mom was a knockout, y'all.

My mom was a knockout, y’all.

Buoyant ups, shattering downs. 2014 taught me all sorts of lessons, challenged me, angered me, revealed to me just how fortunate I am, how far I have to go.

I do so wish that 2015 be less greedy and grasping. Instead, may the year ahead offer inspiration, joy, and delicious, delightful challenges. Bring it, 2015. I’m ready to dive in!


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No, seriously. I’ve got this.

Ukulele, wand of thunder

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I’m a ukulele girl.

I play a bit and sing along, best I can. It makes me happy.

It all started when my friend Cat put a tiny green Mahalo in my hands, taught me some basic chords, and showed me what she could do. I’ve had the great good fortune to continue playing with her, in our mutual living rooms and on stage. Other musicians have taken the time to show me new things, to talk, to feed chords into my utterly perplexed ear during performances or circles.

Look, I’m not an accomplished musician. I’ve never studied theory. I came to this at a creaky and advanced age. I’m not technically adept. I have a decent chord vocabulary and a couple of different strums. I fake basic, though not melodic, fingerpicking. I don’t profess to anything more than this. Basic competence has, however, emboldened me to pick up the guitar, to try to suss out a bit of mandolin. To keep learning, however unlikely it is I’ll be anything more than the amateuriest of amateurs.

Ukulele is on a huge upswing. It’s everywhere, from school music programs to performances at Carnegie Hall, from YouTube videos to mainstream musical releases. It’s an adorable, affordable instrument. You can learn to play it in an hour. You can take it, in much more time, to levels of breathtaking artistry. For my part, it gives me the chance to make music in varying degrees of proficiency. It offers the chance to create joy. Yes, there will be haters, scorners, scoffers, disdainers.

Sod them. I’ll be too busy strumming and smiling to notice.

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the love of bare November days

Autumn is drawing to a close, leaving that glorious blaze of colour and warmth juxtaposed with the barest hint of chill. Halloween is past, as is apple picking season, and so too trail hiking and carved pumpkins and gardening*. There’s still Thanksgiving to look forward to, and the first magical snowfall, and Christmas, but after that it’s the long, bleak stretch to spring.

I can’t wait.

I know, y’all. I’m an anomaly. I look forward to the fallow months. I love snowstorms and shoveling and the misty grey-and-brown-and-white landscape. I love cooking for the season: soups and stews, anything you can make in a slow cooker, the chance I might – finally – try to make yeast breads. I love snuggling up under a blanket, book in hand and kitty on feet. I adore hauling and stacking logs for the wood stove. I’m a natural at chopping kindling. I love the enforced introspection: time to create, to focus anew, to attack those projects that are so easily avoided in the warmth and light and easy mobility of the other three seasons. This year I will learn, properly, to knit. I’ll expand my basic crochet skills. I’ll try to acquire actual technique on the ukulele. I’ll try to acquire actual vocal technique. I’ll dive into guitar and mandolin. I’ll write a song or three. I’ll continue this blog. I’ll incorporate true strength training into my workout routine. I’ll write fiction again: short stories, character sketches, a novella. I’ll skritch my kitties, because who knows how much longer my engagement girls will be with us? I’ll kiss my sweetie, a lot, because I want him to know how much I love him, and also: it’s fun. I’ll knock a good chunk off my TBR. Maybe I’ll write some reviews. I’ll learn how to use my DSLR, hopefully with some help. I’ll do some acting. I’ll do some dancing, once I learn how.

I’ll embrace the dark and the cold and the quiet, because it is in those times that we have the chance to find what we can do. It’s where joy is born. Honestly: I can’t wait.

 

*re: the latter, I’m so very relieved. I truly believe that somewhere inside of me, there is a capable and/or intuitive gardener just waiting to get out. Unfortunately, terms of parole have yet to be established, and I just keep mucking things up.