There are three plastic pirates that sit on my window sill. They sit there with three Mexican Jesus candles from the international food section at the grocery. My other window sill has a seltzer bottle, a tiny old glass milk bottle with a start of Christmas cactus in it, another Mexican Jesus candle and two pomegranates. They are the windows in my kitchen. These small items are significant to me. The three pirates are from my 40th birthday cake. The cake was actually a whole lot of cupcakes that had different things on each cupcake ~ pirates, ladybugs, letters that made up “Happy Birthday Amy” and things like “pretty”. I kept the pirates and they feel kind of like protection. They are very handsome and angry looking. When I was on the road, the same kind of Mexican Jesus candles were scattered across our work tables in the mobile kitchen. They were cheap and traveled well and lasted a long time. They also didn't smell and confuse the smell of food with the smell of perfume. I've liked these candles since that time but only for the kitchen. There's something about these candles that make me feel lucky, blessed. The seltzer bottle is pretty and from the yoga studio. The tiny milk bottle came from somewhere at my old house. It reminds me of that farmhouse and how much I loved it and the good things about it. The Christmas cactus reminds me of my great grandmother. Both my dad and my grandmother have huge Christmas cactus that came from her. This start did not. The pomegranates are drying. I bought them before Christmastime. My stepmother had some dried pomegranates a few years back and I thought they were something very exotic. I had never paid attention to an actual pomegranate before. They sit on my window sill and remind me almost anything can be bought anywhere if you know what to look for. I think that's good and bad. I can't tell if they are drying or rotting but I don't have fruit flies.
I've been minding my journey lately. Something about it has become more noticeable. I was thinking that it's just the new year and we pay attention because we expect a shift. This is different. This isn't an ordinary shift. This is a formation of rock moving, a sea change, a blue moon.
In January I went to Tallahassee and made a short film. The film was directed by a gal, Jaye, who used to come to Actors Co-op shows when she was in high school. She was also the student of a successful filmmaker friend of mine, Paul, when at UT. Now she's a grad student at FSU and made a 12 minute film and cast me in the role of the mother. The film is set during the missile crisis with Cuba in the early 1960's. I feel like it's going to turn out to be good. I had a talk with someone last fall about how I need to do a mom role and some period work. This fell in my lap and I'm really grateful for it. The universe heard me. While in Tallahassee, I made friends with the man playing my husband. We had important conversations about spirituality, boyfriends, and shifts. He has affected my life and we talk often and support each other and tell each other secrets and essentially whoop it up on the phone. Every time we talk I feel the better for it and am infused with an energy I didn't have before. He is like citrus. He is in my tribe. If I had a villa in Italy, I would fly him there whenever he wanted.
I came home from Florida wondering about my acting career and other life sort of things. Sometimes I feel stunned...like a deer in the headlights. I feel almost immobile. I am not a still person so when these things happen to me, it's a little terrifying. I wonder if I'm sinking. Then I think maybe I should just let myself be still and it'll pass. I don't have the answer for that but it only lasts a little while, a couple of hours, a day or two, not long. I wonder if after all that has been placed in my picnic basket over the last few years if I might just be a tiny bit depressed. Not that it wouldn't be understandable but I just can't really make time for depression. If I didn't have the girls maybe I would just lie down on my couch for a few weeks and be still but all I can spare is a couple of hours and a weekend here and there. Sometimes I burst into tears. I did that in the car on the way home tonight. It was dark and the girls didn't see. All of the sudden tears just popped out of my eyes and I found my face twisted and my breath struggling to be quiet. Then it passed. I can only guess that it's a physical way of releasing stress. It's a part of the journey.
So I get back from Tallahassee thinking about acting and Paul has released “Gina, an Actress, age 29” to a film site called The Auteurs. Check it out. I think you can still watch it for free. Paul's about to unleash his genius on a feature and I want to be able to help with that, not as an actor but as a friend. Right before I left for Tallahassee, Clarence Brown Theatre asked me to do a play called “Speech and Debate” and I'm in rehearsals for that now. I've been given a short film and a paying theatre gig recently. My most successful screen time has essentially be re-released. I've also had two auditions for television and a feature film audition just this month. This feels good, natural. Thank you universe for hearing me.
Louisiana has been popping up like a Jack in the Box. My mom got Emma Jean the CD of “Princess and the Frog” for Christmas. The soundtrack was done by Randy Newman and it's good and set in New Orleans. The girls and I listen to it in the car everyday. Every single day. This prompted us to celebrate Mardi Gras by attending a party at KMA with a cajun band. I left a King Cake for them on Fat Tuesday while I went off to rehearsal with a second King Cake to share with my cast. One of the television shows and the feature are both being shot in Louisiana. I hope I get both these jobs. It could happen. I have a feeling I could use a little Louisiana.
“Speech and Debate” is a pretty interesting play. I play a teacher and a reporter and these ladies bookend the play. I find it thematically very interesting and the college students playing the kids are very unique and enjoyable. The director and I seem to be on parallel paths. We divorced at the same time. We've run our own theatre companies that have been very similar in content. He wants to do this play that a friend of mine recently recommended that I do so I'm going to read it and we may just frickin' do it. We share the same favorite poem. There are other things too. He may be in my tribe. I can't tell yet. I feel completely at ease around him. Not with the same unabashed affection that I have for Thomas but in a way that's easy. I can talk to him or invite him to things and not think twice about it. It's just the kind of feeling where you don't have to try to be someone's friend. You are just their friend.
I have a couple of other new friends that have moved out of the shadows. It's all keeping my cup full, tethering me to the ground. One writes me funny and poignant emails and calls on occasion to goof off on the phone. He posts Zen meditation techniques. Another talked to me about the meaning of life today as defined by the dictionary ~ to have a purpose. I questioned my purpose and he said that it might just be to love. When my brain was sending flashes of what my purpose could be my daughters were the brightest flash, then theatre and friends and offering things to my community and that's all love. But I don't know. Now I'm on a mission to create my statement of purpose. Maybe I'll form a focus group.
Speaking of love, a bunch of women I know sure do love Jesus. I am lucky enough to have 6 best friends from elementary school. We all went to the beach last year to celebrate the acceptance of 40 years on planet earth. One of these gals has had a really hard time of it. Two of her three children and her husband have pretty serious diabetes. It hit her last week that she doesn't believe in God. My thought is that she does believe in God, she's just pissed off and has lost her faith in God. I've vocalized that through email since I can't be at their scripture/prayer/where's Jesus meeting on Friday night. I don't know if I'd be the best person to be at this meeting but I'd go if I could. That's because I love these women and no matter what I would hold their hands and walk through fire if that's where they needed to go to get to the other side of whatever they needed to get through. I'm the odd gal out on the religious front and would probably bring the Tao with me instead of the Bible. They love me anyway. I'm the only Democrat. That's how it is with me and these women. There have been thousands of emails exchanged in this group over the past couple of years. We are bread and butter. We raised each other and now we raise each other up.
Another very dear friend of mine has just accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. She sent a facebook message out to about 10 of us and she was worried that we'd be upset with her, that our friendship with her would suffer because she got filled up with the Holy Spirit. It's been funny to read the email responses. “It's okay as long as you don't start listening to Amy Grant.” “Will you still allow me to worship false idols?” "Jesus needs some cool friends." Everyone has been supportive and my friend is bathing in the love of her heathen friends and in the love of her newly discovered belief in Christianity.
It's interesting to find myself immersed in these emails regarding God from my women folk. It's interesting to have these new friends that make me question coincidence and simplicity and purpose. It's interesting to have acting gigs.
I went into my kitchen tonight and realized I'd left a window open from the day that teased us with warm air. I go to pull it down and move it slowly so as not to upset the pirates and I notice that I have made a shrine to my life. I have made an alter that includes tokens of my past, present and future. The windows also include the view to our creek and my neighbor's house and last year's Christmas tree and where the garden will be this summer. I think that God is not too far away from these windows of my life and neither is the purpose to love and the Zen thought to act simply and my ambition to be a good actor and my ladies that love Jesus.
I tell the pirates good night and thank them for their support.