Saturday, July 30, 2005

It all started in Kindergarten

My first day of Kindergarten was actually the second day, due to my unfortunate luck of getting the stomach flu on the official first day of school. Walking into class on the official day number two was my introduction to that awful experience of being the new kid, even though I was well known to a good third of my classmates. I lived in a very small area, not even a town, with a lot of other farming families. We knew each other from church and community potlucks on the 4th of July. My cousin, Nathan, was the same age and lived down the road from my house. And yet, I was a complete stranger when I walked into the classroom, pencil box filled with my school supplies in hand. Along one wall was a shelf divided into little cubby holes with names, written in fat black marker letters on construction paper, indicating where we would be stowing our belongings. I couldn't find my name. There was this one empty cubby with the letters "Lynette" written on it, but I knew how to spell my name and that was not it. The teacher must have forgotten to give me one, since I hadn't been there on the first day.

And so it began. The life long battle of Linnet v. Lynette. It's not my fault, honest. My family never called me Lynette, it was always Linnet, for as long as I can remember. Even my mom told me that they barely called me by my birth name, because it was too weird. She'd named me after a good friend and just couldn't get used to looking and me and saying the name "Lynette". I spent every year up until college explaining to every teacher that I ever had that even though it may say "Lynette" on my official paperwork, I prefered to be called "Linnet" and I would refer to myself as such. In sophmore English class I was reprimanded by Mrs. Hoff for not bubbling in my proper name on standardized tests. She actually took the time to re-bubble my name when I forgot, which was pretty much every time. What a nice lady.

The other battle is the pronunciation game. "Hi, I'm Linnet." "Lynette?" "No, Lin-it". "Oh, La-nette". "Sure, whatever."

It's my own fault. I get tired of going back and forth and never getting the correct sound. So, by college, I gave up. I didn't feel confident enough to explain the name thing to all of my professors, and even though I still called myself Linnet, and even introduced myself as Linnet, I didn't try to correct anyone. Four years of my life I spent cultivating some lasting friendships with people who know me as Lynette. I never got used to it, though. I still have friends that call me Lynette and it sounds so odd, foreign. Like an ever so slightly out of tune chord strummed on a guitar.

I knew people in college who changed their names half way through. Like from David to Scott. Why? Some might accuse me of attempting the same switcharoo, but in my own defense, I was never Lynette, not really. People in the theatre department changed their names because someone else in actors equity or SAG already had their name. They were just getting used to the possibility that they may have to change. At least, that's what I assumed. I never changed my name, not in my mind. I have always been, will always be Linnet. It is an unusual name, and I believe that people don't hear it the way I say it because it's foreign to the ears. So their brain goes immediately to the sounds that are similar, and familiar. It is a rare day that someone actually repeats back to me "Linnet".

Wanted to clear that little mystery up for anyone who might be wondering, and find themselves reading my ramblings.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sarah Combs, where are you?

I didn't know that amazon had a "wish list" and that I could actually search for names of people that I think I might know. Actually, I had heard of such a thing, I just hadn't explored its possibilites until today. Wow. I looked up names from the far reaches of my past relationships. I was particularly curious about a certain someone that I often wonder about. One Sarah Combs--a girl that I went to high school with, whom I considered a good friend, and haven't talked to since she got mad at me and two other friends for going to lunch without her. That was it. The end. She sulked the rest of our senior year and no matter what we tried to do to get her to talk to us she wouldn't budge; we were dead to her. I don't think we even spoke at graduation. The sudden end of, what I had considered, a close friendship has haunted me. Probably because I knew, even back then, that there was a way to repair the damage, if only I would make the effort. Which I didn't. Because I was a brat and tired of her tantrums.

Well, the name, Sarah Combs, is as old as the Mayflower. I have googled her. I have thought about her. I have dreamt about her. And today, I entered her name into the wish list search engine. About 15 Sarah Combs's Wish Lists came up. Was she the Sarah Combs with the mad desire for a Sony Playstation Dance Pad? Or, perhaps, she had just had a baby and wanted that list of children's picture books? I try to imagine the teenage Sarah, wanting to fit in and sitting on the periphery of the giggling and--was this by choice or did we push her out there?--as the grownup Sarah, catching up on her Barbara Kingsolver reading, or wanting to know about teenage angst. Does she have children? I know she went to the University of Arizona. Did she graduate? What in? It is a strange sensation to want to know, for more than 10 years now, where this woman is and to feel helpless in locating her. Sensation? No, it is bordering on obsession, I realize. WHERE IS SARAH COMBS? Why do we have the power of Google if it can't answer all of our "Where are they now?" requests?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Music Lessons

I am trying to listen to music like I did when I was a teenager. Buy the record--or in my case, tape--listen to it from start to finish over and over again, and read the liner notes. Cd's have changed this experience for me, and now, what with itunes and all, i'm stuck on shuffle and skip. I wouldn't say that I was a particularly knowledgeable person when it comes to music. My boyfriend is. We were listening to a song, can't remember what, and it was nearing the end. They lyrics were about something not finishing, and he said, "Hear that? He didn't finish the insert technical guitar playing jargon here, just like the story." I replied, "Oh." I didn't know that that was happening. And, of course, the musician fully intended for that to happen. I'm sure of it. Not knowing didn't diminsh my listening pleasure. Knowing heightened Shawn's. I'm not saying I'm going to take a music theory class and begin to listen to music with an ear towards technique. I'm still happy to listen to music with the mindset of simply enjoying what I'm hearing. AND I'm going to take the time to listen to the album, beginning to end, because there is a reason for the placement of songs. Even I, with my lack of musical know-how, can figure that out. Shuffle's great. I love it. Sometimes it reminds me of music I haven't chosen to listen to in a long while. "What's that song?" "I have that album?" Encourages exploration so that I can sit down--lay down, fold laundry, attempt the crossword puzzle--and listen to that long lost album from start to finish. A healthy combination of listening experiences.
I'm also going to avoid the whole "I liked them before they were popular and now they've sold out" schtick. It's tired and old. If a band is suddenly in a position to make some money doing what they love, bully for them. Why do we begrudge success? Unless it's our own. We have this need to prove that we were cool before cool was cool. (Should I say "some people" instead of the general "we"? Because of course there are people in this world who truly are cool, and therefore do not have to prove anything. They're so cool they don't know that they're cool.) I don't think of me as falling into that trap too often, though I'm sure that I do--ugh. It's true. No, really. I read an interview with Karen O, of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, recently. I'm not a big fan, though not because I think they "sold out". I just didn't go out of my way to get to know their music. (I dont' know how to do fancy linking things, so you can either buy the June/July issue of this magazine--it comes with a cd!!!!, or go to the website,
here to read it. O. I think I just figured it out. This is cool.) Anyway, she talks about this and that got me to thinking on how often I do that myslef. Well no more. Viva Success!!!

Friday, July 15, 2005

I can already tell that the pressure to produce scintillating tales of adventure and insight on my blog every day is going to be a challenge. For anyone who might stumble upon this, you'll catch on right away. Inconsistent writing. That's me. Pretty typical cycle where I am concerned. I get all excited about some kind of project or lifestyle change/addition, try it out for a while, sometimes not even that long, and then I lose my enthusiasm. To write the blog, read the ayurveda book, finish knitting the scarf, start knitting the hat, learn the new monologue--it's all too much effort. Not that I think I'm the only person living on the planet who succumbs to this stop and start existence. It's like a long bus ride, isn't it? You get going, and just when you're momentum has really started to build, the bus driver has to pull over at the next stop and everyone sort of deflates. It takes effort to get going again. And then there are those bus rides late at night, when no one's waiting outside, and everyone on the bus is getting off at the same stop, in front of the Top Pot. You coast on by and all the riders, including the driver, have this little smile on their faces. "Oh, yeah...we're cruisin' now." Rarely do my new found hobbies, big ideas get to take that bus trip. And, no, I haven't started boning up on my math skills so that I can start studying for the GRE.
What I have begun to do is write a play.
I know, I know. Every actor and his motherunclebrothersistercousin is trying to write a play, or book or whatever. I was inspired, though. I've had ideas before, and thought "Oooo, I should write something about this. Yeah. I should." And I don't. Or I do and as a result I have a bazillion random starts of stories, scripts, plot ideas, what have you scribbled in various notebooks from college to now. This is the first time that I have made a concerted effort to finish what I've begun. And, up until last night, I was having fun writing this play. I cared not whether it was going to be good or bad, I simply wanted to get it out. My entire being experienced a lightness and joy as I went about my day, high on the release of artistic expression stored up from lack of use. 25 pages, I've written. That's more than I've ever done on any kind of creative writing, either as an assignment or for myself. Granted, it's dialogue, which takes up a lot of space on a page, considering the formatting. STILL!!! TWENTY FIVE PAGES!!! I've even made little rules for myself. No showing to anyone before I've at least finished a 1st draft. (If someone read it and told me it wasn't any good, I'd never finish it.) No going back and revising before I've finished the 1st draft. I read writing advice somewhere that suggests plowing through without editing or revising, so that you get it all out. It's too easy to go back and get bogged down in working on the first part and never getting around to finishing. I am afraid of falling into that trap, hence the rule. Though, I'm not sure if I can stick to it. That inner critic person, the one we all have? Well, she's started to open her big, fat, joyless mouth. Which is why I am beginning to deflate. This morning has been worse. I was watching myself write as I wrote new pages and the entire time I was commenting to me on how crappy it was. How trite, done, over done my ideas are. How after-school-special. Immature. Just plain dumb. I liked it better the first week, when I didn't care about the good or bad.
I'm aware that this is a very normal part of creating. And now that I think about it, that realization does provide some amount of comfort. I know that as an actor I generally get to a place during rehearsal where I am certain that every choice I make is a disservice to the script and a waste of everyone's time. I am a bad actor and I don't deserve to be here. It passes, and I stop wallowing in self-pity and begin to do the work, again. So, it would make sense that today, on the 25th page, that I have officially begun the descent into the murky waters of beating myself up with my own self doubt. It's my challenge, isn't it, to push through this un-fun moment and finish the script? It might become fun again, who knows? I'd like to find out. To see what's on the other side of "I suck".

Saturday, July 09, 2005

lou reed at 3 am is not cool when you're trying to sleep

I like Lou Reed. Truly. He's one of the coolest musicians working today--the sunglasses, the music, the black jeans, Lauri Anderson--the king of cool, along with David Bowie and Paul Anka (have you heard his new album? omigosh, it is great! "Eye of the Tiger" never sounded so good.), to name a few. However, when one is asleep and is suddenly awakened by loud, low reverberating sounds coming from the upstairs neighbor, and it is 3 in the morning, and she has to be up at 5:30 am to check her e-mail for the incoming 48 hour film festival script thingy, and she went to bed after midnight, and even though it's Lou Reed (and the fact that she knows it is lou reed is some kind of proof that it's too loud), it is NOT cool!!!!
I've talked to my neighbor once before about his volume control--or lack thereof, I should say. This was a few weeks ago, and I'd been asleep. Then suddenly not asleep. T.V. loud. Too loud. Woke me up and I tried to just take it. Put the pillow over my head, begged silently for him to, on his own, realize that he should turn it down. I even turned on my own television and raised the volume to really rude levels in a brief moment of delirium. Nothin'. I don't like confrontation, and I'd never met this upstairs guy. My stomach was all tied in knots, and what wasn't intestinally tense was fluttery. But I walked upstairs and silently prayed to whom/whatever that this person that I was about to ask to "keep it down" would be kind. He was. We shook hands. I smiled. He apologized. It wasn't nearly has awful as it could have been. AND THEN THIS MORNING. Perhaps this just exemplifies my old lady in a 30-something body persona, but after 10 pm, I feel that in an apartment building situation, the volume ought be turned down to a respectful level.
I didn't go up there, this time. I was about to. Had my keys in my hand, standing in the middle of my apartment and glaring at my ceiling. I don't know this for sure, because I can't actually see myself when I do this, but I have this very sure sense of being able to make an amazingly scary mean face. Every fiber of my being was engaged in the necessary energy required to make that face and send it's vibes up through the ceiling and into the soul of this guy. I guess it sort of worked, because Lou Reed's loud mellow tone turned into a low mumble. Good enough for me. He was nice once, and he'd probably be nice again. Still..I definitely fall into the trap of being a little too concerned with how others are going to perceive me. I don't want to be the crabby downstairs neighbor, that "uncool" girl who lives below. Totally silly and not very self-respecting. (insert audible big sigh here.)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


At long last, my suspicions have been confirmed. I am NOT, as I have been led to believe for much of my late teenage years and all of my adulthood, 5'4''! No. I am NOT, as my mother insists on repeating to all who ask how tall her daughter, Linnet, is, 5'4". NO. I am FIVE FEET FIVE AND A QUARTER INCHES!!! And that is the honest truth. My height forever inscribed on the door frame between the kitchen and living/sleeping room of my apartment. (At least until the next tenant moves in and paints over it.) Next year, when I renew my driver's license, I get to CHANGE MY HEIGHT, and I won't even be fudging, like some people might do on the weight part, either. I mean, who really knows exactly how much they weigh? But I do know how TALL I am. And now, everyone else who sees my driver's license, or comes to my home and sees the door frame, or by some very random chance reads this blog will also know. Plus, I'm going to tell my mom tomorrow. The truth shall be known. It will out, I say. 5'5.25".

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

ruminations on what i'll be if i grow up

Today the "enter" function appears to be working. Looks like I can actually make a

space between lines. Technology, it astounds me daily.

I saw a dear to my heart friend, this weekend. He was in town for a wedding and we were able to catch a moment of time together. We talked about grad school. Or rather, my inability to decide what I would do in grad school, if I go. Lateral moves. Theatre major to Theatre graduate student. Theatre major to Poetry writing grad student. Okay, not that one. I don't write poetry. (And even if I did, it would be for MY eyes only and those of the instructor who happened to teach my poetry writing class that I only took to gain more insight into the reading of poetry. So, no. I wouldn't get an MFA in poetry writing.)

Theatre History and Criticism is appealing to me, as is Dramaturgy. Well, dramaturgy, though academic and smart sounding, is sort of in the lateral move category, since everything I read about that field hints at the difficultly of being able to earn a living wage. Great. Just what I need. Besides, both of those pursuits sound really hard. I love to learn. I love to be challenged in my learning. However, I don't actually consider myself an intellectual or a particularly stunning student. I do/did alright; and I don't know if I'd make it in that world. It has been many eons since I've written any kind of analysis paper or done research or had to coordinate footnotes. Coordinating footnotes is probably NOT even actual verbiage of the intellectual, research paper writing set. 'Nuf said.

None of this is going to matter a teeny tiny bit if I don't take the GRE.

Or, if I can find a school that I want to go to who in turn wants me to go there that doesn't require the GRE, then it might matter.

Some don't. Lots do. sigh.