All ingenious is simple

February 12th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Every month or so I go through the spam comments I receive on these blog posts and delete them. It’s never that many, usually 9 or so. Most of the time, the spam is about what you would typically expect – offers to improve my site, or trying to sell me something, maybe a comment all in cyrillic. And then, sometimes I find gold.

In it something is. Thanks for the help in this question. All ingenious is simple.

The entire comment is that one line. I couldn’t say it better myself. All ingenious is simple indeed.

~~~

This post is not about Alex P. Keaton, but I am going to randomly talk about Michael J. Fox.

I grew up watching Alex P. Keaton on my TV. I vividly remember going to the movies to see Back to the Future as an eleven year old. And then there was that time I shared the screen with Mr. Fox in his film Greedy. Okay, I was just an extra, but I played his bowling score keeper in the bowling scene. It was one of the few times during my “career” as an extra where you can actually see me on screen. What I remember from that set was observing Mr. Fox’s body guards, how they never looked at him but were always aware of him. They kept a certain number of feet away, and circled him like satellites. This was years before he revealed his diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease.

I came across a quote from Michael J. Fox a while back:

My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. Acceptance is the key to everything.

Not only is it sage advice, but I absolutely love the mathematics of that first sentence. It is an equation perfectly balanced. After reading it the first time, I sat there and honestly tried to do the math, my happiness on one side, my expectations on the other.

And then he closes it with Acceptance is the key to everything. I have to remind myself of this. When I’m at the car dealership. When my work stacks up on my desk and I’d rather be horseback riding. When I wait (im)patiently for notes from my editor. And then again when I actually receive her notes. When I’m wresting with a chapter, a scene, a sentence, a word choice. All ingenious is simple.

~~~

Audiobooks:

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

My Mother Was Nuts, by Penny Marshall

Macbeth, by Shakespeare (Fair is foul, and foul is fair)

This Book Will Save Your Life, by A.M. Homes

 

 

The best education I could have asked for

January 14th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

My very first blog post was written in January of 2013. One year later…

Chapters left to edit: 0

That’s right, I am done. Okay, that’s a lie. Maybe I should say I’m done for right now. Okay, that’s also a lie, as I’m going to read the manuscript through from the beginning one more time before sending it to my editor. And after she reads it we’re doing another two passes before it goes to the copy editor. I think. I’m fuzzy on the details here. But the important part is that all the really hard work is DONE.

…and whoops, I just checked and apparently I wrote my first blog post in late December of 2012. But I did have a short post five days into the new year. This time, it’s fifteen days into the new year. I’m slacking. Also, I’m averaging about a post a month, which seems rather pathetic. I’ll see what I can do about that in the new year. However, I have been suffering from what I like to call an excess of real life, and any free time I have is devoted to the manuscript.

Working on this rewrite for the entirety of 2013 has been the most aggressive education in writing I could have asked for. I am particularly amused by reading the first chapter again, which I edited back in January a year ago, and seeing how much more my editing skills have advanced since then.

You know that thing that happens when you play a game excessively for an intense period of time, like when I played sudoku nonstop to the point where I saw numbers in squares even in my sleep? That’s what this rewrite has done to my brain. When I read anything these days, fiction or nonfiction, I start editing it in my head. I delete words. Rearrange sentences. Change pronouns or whatnot. I can’t help it. I can’t stop!

 

~~~

Audiobooks:

Life after Life, by Kate Atkinson

The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud

The Brief Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

The Little Friend, by Donna Tartt

 

 

 

 

 

 

then you know you’ve hit gold

November 30th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Currently editing Chapter 16. I have received editorial notes for the remaining chapters, with a January deadline. Then there will be more editing, but at least the intricate surgery will be done.

~~~

I recently learned that that the Masters of Professional Writing program at USC will be closing its doors by 2016. For some reason I am reminded of a memoir writing class I took there. It was one of my first classes in the program, meant to be an introduction to the subject. I had always been a fiction writer, so looking at my own life for inspiration left me running around in uncomfortable circles. The person teaching the class said (paraphrase because my memory sucks), “When you start squirming, and shying away from what you are writing, then you know you’ve hit gold.” I believe this is true for any kind of writing, fiction or non-fiction. You find those tender moments, and plant them in the ground.

It’ll be almost a year since I got that phone call from my agent telling me I sold my first novel. A year that at times seemed measured out in Prufrock-like spoonfuls of words and paragraphs, page count and red-lined documents.

A year ago, my father, who had previously been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, began a steep decline. We wondered if he would make it to Christmas. But he did. Then, we wondered if he would make it to his birthday in May. Would he make it to June. Would he live through the summer. He died in September, not quite a year later.

And every month, I measure time in words and paragraphs. With laughter when I am with my friends, and sunshine when I ride a horse in a jump lesson, moment by moment. Living, breathing, up goes the breath, down goes the breath. At the end, every breath is a struggle, a world onto its own. I learned how to continue writing, and tried to find that hidden gold.

At a Thanksgiving dinner the other day, someone asked me, “When do you write? How do you do it?” The answer is I write every evening I am home. When I have to. When I want to. For as long as I need to, usually only a couple of hours at a time. I’m not sure that answered his question.

~~~

Current Audiobook:

Snow, by Orhan Pamuk

Past Audiobooks:

By Sorrow’s River, by Larry McMurtry, third in the Berrybender Narratives

Folly and Glory, by Larry McMurtry, fourth in the Berrybender Narratives (boy was I sad when these ended)

The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion

The Liar’s Club, Mary Karr

Sleeping with the Enemy: CoCo Chanel, Nazi Agent, by Hal Vaughan

 

 

What would [character name] do?

October 7th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Rewrite update: Currently holding at chapter 12. More than half way done, but I feel like I still have so much of the story to get through. Because I DO have so much more of the story to get through. My editor tells me we’re making good time, so I’m telling myself to chill.

These last two chapters were difficult. Actually, they’re all difficult, but these two had several scenes that held layered conversations, characters withholding information, lies and deceit and manipulation, oh my. Sometimes, in the thick of it, writing feels like maneuvering through land mines: you have to tip toe and don’t brush up against anything or all hell breaks loose.

I had a playwriting teacher once who recommended that, before sitting down to write, one should first sit in a dark room, close their eyes and just FEEL the characters. Commune would probably be the better word. Meditate, sort of. And while doing so, things would bubble up, ideas or traits or actions, details about your characters’ lives. Don’t force it, just be it. There might have been stuff about the “magic IF.” Stanislavsky would be proud. Or something. This playwriting teacher was a nutty guy, but memorable.  And then, after doing this, but only after doing this, could you sit to write and your characters (and presumably, your play) would be richer for it. More natural.

I don’t do this. I don’t sit in a dark room and commune with my characters. But still, years later, this advice from my playwriting teacher comes back to me, like a voice from on high, reverberating, as I sit down to write and find myself struggling.

When I hit a snag (which is basically all the time, especially with difficult, worrisome notes from my editor) instead of banging my head against my laptop, I might turn off my music, put my hands over my eyes, and say something like, “what would [character name] do?” I might chant their name. And I try to get quiet, try not to think, maybe envision the scene. It usually works.

Current Audiobook:

The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud

Recent Audiobooks:

Midnight’s Children, by Salmon Rushdie

What Maisie Knew, by Henry James

2030, by Albert Brooks

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

 

 

Searching for plot, I found a character instead

August 9th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Chapters nine and ten are now with my editor. Moving forward, if not at lightning speed. I’m excited to be in the double digits of chapters.

~~~

When I lived in NYC and attended Hunter College, I took a literature course in the Mystery Novel, thinking that this would help me understand plot. I was very fearful of plot, of writing plot. Or what I thought of as plot, which was any story that contained car chases or a murder or an alien invasion. To me, writing a story with plot required skill that I didn’t have and couldn’t see myself as having. Kind of like, if I could just find the key to the magic plot trunk where all the plots were kept, then I could know the secrets of plotty goodness. Or maybe a better analogy is: writing plot was like trying to understand and speak a foreign language where I knew some phrases and a few vocabulary words, so I could almost fake my way through enough to order coffee or a bagel with cream cheese, but in actuality it was all gibberish and I could never hope to speak it coherently.

The woman who taught the course on the Mystery Novel had been teaching the same class for years. Maybe a decade? I don’t know. A long time. She was tall and statuesque, with white blonde hair, and was that mysterious age some women reach that was anywhere from mid forties to early sixties. She always seemed very regal, very austere and serious and imperious. And she spoke with an almost cartoonish Locust Valley lockjaw affectation, like Thurston Howell III and Lovey Howell at their most extreme. I remember sitting in the back of the class, rather mesmerized. Not because I thought she was an amazing professor, but because I couldn’t believe she really existed as an actual person. She reminded me of a white dragonfly.

This woman really loved detective novels. I mean really loved them. 

Three classes into the course and I knew I was in trouble. Who knew the mystery novel, which always seemed so interesting and clever and, well, mysterious, could actually be so incredibly boring? I was expecting a class where you get a list of the novels or short stories you’re going to be reading that semester, which will then be discussed in class, after which you’ll have one or two  7 or 8 page essays you need to write, and maybe a 10 page paper at the end. Love those classes! I can sit around and talk about stories all day long, I can deconstruct with the best of them. Let me compare and contrast! Let us examine motivation.

That was not the case here. The course ended up being more about the history of the detective novel, which is not exactly the same thing as any old mystery novel. It was a lot of dates and names and timelines, and about how the tropes of the detective mystery novel came about and were established. Nothing about structure, nothing about pacing or plot twists. The class was a disappointment and completely in the unfun catagory of things, although some of it was interesting. Did you know Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not invent the super sleuth? No, Emile Gaboriou did with his Inspector Leqoc, who first used the powers of deduction to confound mere mortals. Actually, that right there is the only thing I can remember from my short stay in the class.

Long story short, I ended up dropping the class by the second or third week. I’d accidentally-on-purpose missed a critical quiz because I needed to get my hair cut (Well, it was a free Bumble & bumble hair cut.) I wasn’t enjoying the course, didn’t want it to bring my average down, and wasn’t learning what I wanted to learn.

So, I got the correct add/drop form and located the professor’s office, tentatively knocking on her door. Then nearly yelped in shock. My professor was sitting on a small stool, hunched over a computer, surrounded by books. When I say surrounded, I mean she lived in a cave of books. This tall woman was all the way down as low as she could go close to the ground and all around her were books. Thousands of books, stacked up in wobbley towers. A forest of books. A forest in a cave. One strong wind and she’d be buried alive. It was a small office, barely more than a closet. She was a folded over white spot in the very center with a canopy of books all around. During the three classes that I’d actually attended, I’d envisioned her living in some majestic upper west side penthouse apartment, or maybe she commuted in from  her West Haven, Connecticut mansion. But seeing her hunched over in a dark cave surrounded by towers of paperback books — I mean, how do you even find a specific book in all that? Did she have them cataloged? Does she just know where they all are? What if she needed one from the middle of a stack?

This of course made her a far more interesting character than any super sleuth.

I said, “Wow, you have a lot of books.” Can’t say I wasn’t quick! Always ready with the witty repartee…

She agreed with me, in her lockjaw, haughty way of speaking.

Awkwardly, because all I could think was “Jesus Christ, woman, how can you even think in here? I like books as much as the next person but you’ve got a serious problem,” and since naturally, I couldn’t say that, I mutely handed her my add/drop form.

She said she was sorry to lose me as a student and that I was very intelligent and that I had always had smart things to say. Which confused me greatly since I think I’d spoken up maybe once, but I wasn’t about to argue with her. I wanted so desperately to enter her office but I was afraid the books would come crashing down. I wanted to look inside, though, I wanted to explore and see what was in there. I stared as much as I could. But she signed my form, and then I had to go, and I have never ever forgotten her or her office or the amazing cave of books. She was a true character, unique enough to be the star of her own detective novels.

After this ill-fated experiment, I stopped worrying about plot. I just write, and let the plot figure itself out. Once I did that, I realized plot was not anything mysterious and that I had always known its language. It wasn’t about car chases or murders or alien invasions. Plot can be a quiet thing as much as it can be twisty and turny and intricate. If I have a story to tell, that’s usually all the plot I need.

~~~

Current Audio Book:

Code Name Verity, by Elizebeth Wein.

Past Audio Books:

Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach

The Wandering Hill, by Larry McMurty (second in The Berrybender Narratives, and read by the incomperable Alfred Molina)

 

Two Weeks in a Blink

July 12th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

It was one of those “careful what you wish for” things the mystics always warn you about. I had to remind myself I asked for this.

When I was in college, I worked as a stage manager on a college production of Top Girls by Caryl Churchill (one of my favorite playwrights). The director had a reputation for being difficult. And, indeed, difficult was something of an understatement, although the actors loved her. She was a professional in theatre, working locally in Boston as a dramaturge.  She was critical of everything I did. If there was something she wanted, it had better be there right away, no exceptions, and she wouldn’t accept excuses if, for whatever reason, I just couldn’t manage to produce a real 6 course meal for the dinner scene. She routinely asked for the impossible, and if I said, I didn’t think I could magically make three tables and twelve chairs disappear in a backstage space that barely fit one table, she would take me aside and quietly rip into me and said it was my job to figure it out. Which it was, and by the magic of theatre, I did figure it out.

I would start out thinking, this lady is CRAZY, and she’s asking for the IMPOSSIBLE, and why did she have to be such a bitch. I ran frazzled to friends who talked me off the ledge and held my hand and told me they would help. Sure enough, everything worked out, the crazy lady got what she wanted, and the production was a success. The play had its run, the director left for another job, and it was my first time calling a show which was awesome and made up for a lot of the hell of rehearsal.

But, when I was in the thick of it, when I had survived most of the rehearsal but still had two weeks of hell to get through without having a mental breakdown sobbing hysterically (which, just for the record, I did not do), I had this sudden and complete urge to give up, run away to New Zealand (it was always New Zealand) and raise sheep. I knew myself well enough to include ranch hands in this fantasy who would actually do the work of raising sheep, and that my sole job was to ride out on horseback to where the sheep were and wave to them. This was what my brain produced as an alternative to working in theatre. Strange brain.

My best friend Sarah visited me during this two week period. We shared a sandwich on the grass of Boston Commons while on a break from rehearsal, and I told her about my sheep raising fantasy. She loved it. She said she’d go with me, so it would be two of us on horseback riding out across our land to say, “Hello, sheep!” and the sheep would answer back, “Heeeelllooo Laaatifaaah, Heeellooo Saaarrraah!” Making the baabaa sheep voice was critical to the fantasy. Thank goodness for best friends, is all I have to say.

I think I made the ranch hands hot, they looked like Brad Pitt and didn’t wear shirts, because, it was a fantasy after all, and Brad Pitt was the only hot star I could think of. I was 19, or something, and that was almost 19 years ago. Yikes.

I said, “The next two weeks have to be on the other side of now. If I blink, *BLINK*, that’s how fast the next two weeks have to pass. *BLINK*.”

My blinking time jumping skills did not manifest, sadly. But I survived the entire rehearsal process and those two final weeks, and I even had some pride in how well the production came off.

So, when the crazy person you work for asks for something impossible, just nod your head and write it down. Whatever you do, don’t say, “I don’t know how to do that.”

Ironically, these days I try hard to live in the moment, even when things get rough. I no longer want to rush through life. Not that I want those two weeks back. Those can stay in the past.

~~~

Current Audiobook:

The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling

Past Audiobooks:

The Bonesetter’s Daughter, by Amy Tan

Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walters

Audiobook on Deck:

Drift, by Rachel Maddaw

 

Reading (fellow MPW grads):

Stupid Children, by Lenore Zion

The Leaving of Things, by Jay Antani

 

Willingness in the Choosing

May 28th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Rewriting reminds me of gardening. Taking the time to prune carefully, to cultivate and clean up and shine. I always hated gardening as a kid. It was dull and sweaty work, in my opinion, and I had little patience for it. Keep it wild, I thought. There is beauty in the wildness. But, now I think that was an excuse not to do the work.

This is my first novel, and I have already learned so much, but the learning doesn’t stop. Not only about the craft of writing and the publishing industry, but about the characters in my novel, about their story. The rewriting process is something of a self-discovery, a kind of meditation.

The trick is to be willing. I find that makes all the difference. Over a year ago I got an email from my agent telling me that an editor (who is now, currently, my editor) had rejected my novel but that the editor had some ideas, a few suggestions, and that she was willing to speak with me about them, if I was willing. The email included some of her ideas. For the most part, they were of the sort of notes I would expect from anyone reading the manuscript, except for one, big, kick-in-the-stomach kind of note that left me shaking my head with an absolute “no.”

I had a choice then, and my agent wasn’t pushing me one way or the other, to pass or to say “sure, I’ll speak with her.” The manuscript was out to other editors and it would have been perfectly reasonable to say that lady was nuts and I’m not going to do that to my novel. But I was willing to speak with her. And then after our conversation, in which my editor helped me see the reasoning behind her kick-in-the-stomach note and why she thought it strengthened the novel, I was willing to sit down with the manuscript and, if not actually do the edits, at least plot it out and see if it were possible.

Then a funny thing happened. I began to get excited about the change she suggested. When I became willing and stopped resisting, I saw the beginning of my novel flower and take shape in a way that made me wonder why I had resisted so much.

But that isn’t the happy ending. I sent my editor the rewritten first half and she sent me back three pages of notes. To which I said, okay, fine! I’m willing to rewrite the whole damn thing. And, I had to be okay with the very real possibility that after all that, she may still pass on it, but if that happened, I got a better manuscript out of the experience. It wasn’t until I spent the next four months rewriting from start to finish that she agreed to buy the book. And we’re still not done. Getting that book deal is only the beginning; there is still a long journey ahead.

I sometimes think back, and wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t been willing? What if I’d chosen to pass instead of have that phone call. It would have taken me down a different road. There isn’t a right or wrong answer, though. Sometimes I think our society gets caught up making the “correct” choices, and there’s a lot of heartache and angst over whether one should go left or right. I’m not sure there is such a thing as the “correct” choice. You just have to make a choice, one way or the other, and there’s willingness in the choosing.

Audiobooks:

Still determinedly listening through Murakami’s 1Q84

The Fault in our Stars, John Green

 

Reading:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple

 

Organically Involved

April 23rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Chapters three and four have been sent to my editor. Awaiting comments and notes on the next chapters.

So far, this is my routine.

~ I get a lovely note from my editor with attached chapter full of redline comments and deletions. Many are typical comments one would expect and are not at all surprising. Some are slightly groan inducing. Many are revelatory and humbling and make me dumbfounded with their genius.

~ I make a note of the deadline and look at my calendar and make a rudimentary plan.

~ Take two or three days to read her comments. I don’t need to do anything but read, make notes. I like to give myself a road map to follow so I write out the beats of each scene by hand.

~ Start editing. Usually two to four pages a day. This is flexible.

~ I don’t work on my book on Wednesdays. I have a horseback riding lesson on Wednesdays instead. And I like to go out for a beer with my friends.

~ Finish first pass of edits with at least one week to spare. Leave it untouched for one or two days.

~Then, reread over and over again. Read her notes and comments again. Then read the chapter(s) again. Then again. Then one last time. Than maybe one more time after that.

~Send it to my editor. Celebrate by watching some goofy TV show.

I sometimes think of rewriting as performing complex surgery. You cut off a limb and transplant it to another part of the body. You take some skin from the belly and graft it over the chest. Sometimes, you have to connect the delicate wiring, the vessels and the nerves and sinew, perform a transfusion, before you can attach the greater limb. And sometimes you have to step back and look at it to know where to place your hands.

There are also the more delicate touches, micro-surgery if you will, the pruning of redundant words, cutting the fat.

In college, I had a theatrical make-up professor (meaning, a professor who teaches the art and techniques of theatrical stage make-up, not a professor who comes in to make up work or complete a class that was missed. This is one of those oddities of a degree in theatre) who liked to tell us to “become organically involved with your work.”

In other words, she wanted us to get our hands dirty.

I think of this advice All The Time, with almost anything I do (it comes in handy around horses, too), but especially with writing. I have to get involved, I can’t be afraid to get in there and muck around, elbow-deep in the story.

~~~~

Audiobooks I’ve listened to this month:

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

 

Currently listening to:

Mocking Jay, by Suzanne Collins

 

On Deck:

Room, by Emma Donoghue

1Q84, by Haraki Murakami (this is 46 hours long!)

 

In case anyone cares, no I did not make it through all of the audiobook for 50 Shades of Grey. But I did make a big dent in it.

This may prove to be super embarrassing

March 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

My editor had further notes for chapter 2, which I have now sent off. Waiting for notes on the next couple of chapters. Kind of want them now, but I also love these breaks in the process. Can’t wait till we get even further into the novel. It’s interesting to see how this book is shaping up, how it’s changing, and I keep wondering what the end product will be. What will be cut? What will pop even more? Where are the soft spots and where are the shining moments? I have had editors in the past, but this feels like the deep tissue massage of editing. It’s kind of awesome.

Audiobooks I’m listening to:

Bridget Jones’s Diary, by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones, The Edge of Reason, by Helen Fielding — Surprisingly lovely, having only ever seen the movie before

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn  — I have been waiting for this one. Almost done.

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins — I keep listening to part of this and then putting other books ahead. 

On deck:

Swamplandia, by Karen Russell

and…. (this is the embarrassing part…)

Fifty Shades of Gray, by E.L. James — I was going to say don’t laugh at me, but I may be laughing at myself. I told a friend today that I didn’t think I could tell anyone because it’s going to be so weird driving around listening to soft porn, but here I am, telling the world. Hey, it’s easier than reading it, and at this point, I think the entire world has already read it anyway.

Fifteen Things

March 25th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I keep thinking I should expand further on my bio (found to the left), which I wrote very quickly for my agent, back in November, but it doesn’t seem like I’m getting around to it. So, in lieu of rewriting the about section, I’m going to list fifteen facts about me, in no particular order.

 

~ When I was much younger, my favorite books were the Oz series by L. Frank Baum (just the original 14) and the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I reread them several times. I still go back to the Oz books even now. As a teenager I was greatly impressed with Frank Herbert’s Dune, and read science fiction for a while, but don’t often these days. I am a big fan of 19th century british literature, with my favorite authors being Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen.

~ My local library was one of my favorite places as a child. I mean the building itself, not just as a repository for books. I thought that weird 70s architecture building was one of the coolest, almost magical buildings ever, and nearly convinced myself that it contained a secret portal to some other totally more awesome world than the one I was in, and  I just had to find that portal and step through. I was very into escapism, loved to day dream.

~ I was born in Hollywood, California, but lived the first three years of my life in Peru, South America. Spanish is my first language. Unfortunately, I don’t currently speak spanish as fluently as I would wish.

~ If you’re wondering where I am, I’m probably at the barn. I take horseback riding lessons several times a week. It keeps me sane. As a child, I took horseback riding lessons but for one reason or another I was unable to keep it up. I think it was too expensive for my parents (unsurprisingly. It’s a costly hobby).

~ I volunteer with TROTT USA, a not for profit organization that takes retiring racehorses and retrains them to be adopted into families, continuing in other careers such as hunter/jumpers, pleasure riding, or dressage.

~I wrote my first story at the age of 6. It featured a turtle.

~Despite my early start as a writer, I never considered writing as a career until I was in my twenties. However, I was, and still am, an avid reader.

~ To help pay for my tuition at Emerson College, I spent my summers doing extra work. If you know where to look, you can spot me in several films and television shows from the late 90s. My favorite role was that of a nerd on Wayne’s World 2. I think you can only see me for like 10 seconds at the beginning of the film.

~ I played the piano as a kid, and the cello as a teenager, but stopped both (and all musical training) when I auditioned and was accepted into the Theatre Department at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

~ During my twenties, I worked nights and weekends at  Manhattan Theatre Club, in New York City, as a wardrobe assistant. Meaning, I mostly lived in the dark of back stage, ready to quick change actors’ costumes. I got really good at the thirty second wardrobe change.

~ Believe it or not, theatre work did not provide enough income to pay all my bills, so on top of working nights and weekends doing quick wardrobe changes in the dark, I usually sought temporary office work monday through friday, as a receptionist or administrative assistant. This is the sort of life one can only really sustain when you are in your twenties.

~I once started crying so hard at a temp job, from exhaustion and stress, I had to go into the bathroom for a good fifteen minutes before I could resume my duties for the day. They wouldn’t let me go home.

~ When I was six years old, I wanted to be a private eye, or a spy. I still think I would be quite good at it.

~ As a kid I had a near-obsessive  need to watch television, mostly cartoons. Loved Inspector Gadget, He-Man, and the ThunderCats. These days, I canceled my cable and have a much more love/hate relationship with my TV. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a good television series, and get a lot of mileage from my netflix subscription, but that means I am usually at least 2 or 3 seasons behind everyone else.

~ Some part of me always wants to deny this, but I am, at heart, a big dork.