Ma

I open tonight in Grapes of Wrath. I’m nervous, excited and filled with emotion. All the things you should feel right before a debut. Except. I miss my mommy.

I chose to move to Florida. I chose to risk everything and make a new life, here in paradise. But I left behind a few things to come this far. Not possessions or a home. Friends. Most of all, my mother.

We had a beautiful day before we left. It was Mother’s Day 2017. We went to her hometown and drove around for the day. It was really special. Had lunch in a small cafe. The whole day was relaxed, yet compelling. Exciting and at the same time, comfortable. Familiar.

Perfect day for pictures. Sunny, cool and countrified. I snapped a pic of my mom and daughter at the restaurant in a very comfortable moment.

belarussian two lillies
Love those smiles. My two Lillis.

I put my own mother’s picture, the picture above in black and white, in my memory box on stage. That’s the one that gets me.

I have a box of pictures and a pair of earrings. I take the earrings and leave the pictures to burn. There’s no room on the journey for papers and keepsakes. I have to summon emotion to hold back tears to leave this precious box. So the one picture that always gets me? The one of my mother and daughter.

I ask myself, when I see the long, lonely road, “Will I travel this way again?”

I ask myself, when I look at her childhood home back in Missouri, “Will I see this place again?”

I ask myself, when I look at her picture, “Will I see you again?”

And I don’t have to do anything but that.

It’s a real concern, when you stray far from home, will I see these faces? Will I return to these places?

I’m homesick. Terribly so. But honestly. I feel like I’ve found a home at theatre again.

Whenever I have been lonely. In need of care. In need of laughter. Tears. Emotion. Connection. I have found that home on stage.

It’s bizarre. I know. Most people would chalk acting up to the pinnacle of emotional cutting. It is. But I have connected with people in audiences from all walks of life.

I met a downright Marlboro Man from western Nebraska who shared his tragic life story with me after I shared my story with him on stage. He waited at the end of the receiving line after the performance of my original play Fat. He waited to be last in line, hung back, so that when everyone had left, this chiseled-and-hewn rail of a man could cry in my arms. That would have never happened without theatre.

The breeze was blowing over my legs last night as I sat on my front porch. I was relaxed and happy at the work we put in yesterday to prepare for opening night. I’ve felt the same feeling before.

Sitting outside my community college, just starting back to school in 2009, waiting for my husband to pick me up. Late at night. I looked up at the trees. The wind was swirling through the shuddering leaves. The night was cool. I was happy with my effort. And I just felt God’s overwhelming presence as I sat and meditated. It brought a smile to my face and warmness to my heart. I didn’t know where God or my feet would take me, but I had hope for what was to come. I was right to have hope.

Whenever I feel those same cool breezes, I know God is with me. I just wish my mommy was, too. Love you, Mom. This isn’t for me or for you, I’m telling this story to share God’s grace and mercy for those who have hard times and continue to rise up and labor for goodness. For simple souls who need a voice.


Thank you, God. For such an amazing opportunity to share this story. Thank you for reminding me–God is with us. Even when our loved ones are not.

Advertisements

To Battle

I’m in The Grapes of Wrath right now and I wanted to look at this old song, Battle Hymn of the Republic. I mixed in some of my photography as well. Pictures from my home state, Missouri, and one from Amarillo, Texas! I’ll let you guess which one. πŸ™‚


Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.church
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
windmill-cropped
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,
His day is marching on.
bw truck
I have read His fiery gospel writ in rows of burnished steel!
“As ye deal with my condemners, so with you My grace shall deal!
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, ”
Since God is marching on.
silo
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
country road
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on.flowers
This song so perfectly sums up what Tom and the Joads are going through. I feel so honored, humbled and thankful to be able to tell this story. It truly is one of the most amazing experiences in theatre I’ve had. Already! We’re only one week into blocking.
The last show I did in Missouri, Women of Lockerbie, was amazing as well. I feel so lucky to be blessed with great actors, great direction and so much love and support. I don’t deserve such grace, but I’m over-the-moon to have it.trees fencetexassmall-e-cross

bw house
My mother’s Depression era home in Aullville, MO. The place she lived as a child. Still standing!
I don’t know that being in a play and being self-indulgent with acting is helping anyone. It certainly spurs me on to find ways to help others. It inspires me to keep going. It puts me in touch with my roots. It puts me in a caring community of strangers who have more love than I’ve seen in a while. Isn’t that a God thing?
I want to honor this very selfish, enjoyable experience by finding the depths of this character. It’s such a special opportunity. Plus, I want to take care of the people around me. Just like Ma. I want to be as generous as she was on and off stage.
I feel like I did when I used to act at church. Like I have a purpose and God-given usable talent. As sad as this play is, I’m having the time of my life.

Roundabout Okie

Hey y’all! I’s done did it now! I was cast in Grapes of Wrath here in Venice. I get to play Ma Joad. I can’t tell you how excited I am. I’m fit to be tied, I tell ya.

Grapes of Wrath is epic. Christian-themed, full of religion and tragic as hell. You could tell me it’s based on an ancient Greek play and I’d swaller that whole. I can’t wait to get started.

Hear tell, I’m an Okie. Sorta. Little bit. My kin come from all over, but my granddaddy’s daddy married a full-blooded Native American down in Oklahoma and had hisself a brood with her’n. My dad’s dad was 1/2 Chickasaw, came up from Oklahomie and put hisself thru Chiropracty schoolin’ in KC. He was a farmer, doctor of sorts and fishing lure inventor. He even patented a complicated, new-fangled, unsuccessful lure design, had a couple made, and sold a very few. My ma still has one. Ugly thing made to impress with multiple hooks, shiny plastic housing, and bright, fake insect-like bait, but in all probability, totally useless.

I am particularly proud of my tangential Okie connection. My Native American heritage. My own Missouri family history through the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. I am proud to come from a long line of working class folks. The people who work hard and do what it takes. I’m not sure how or why they (we) made it through such a terrible time, but it tells me even this minute detail:

“…we’re the people that live.” (Ma, Grapes of Wrath)

I’ve overcome terrible sickness/surgery, my own personal depression, and raging food addiction for the last 5+ years, but I am the person that lives. πŸ™‚ I come from a long line of hellers. πŸ˜‰

twilight

this was siesta key beach (sarasota, florida) when Lilli was only 4 or 5. i took this photo with a throw away camera. sometimes, those are the best shots.

she had just made a new friend on the beach, but the day was winding down. it’s always a thrill to meet someone new, but tragic knowing you only have a few minutes with them. you wish you’d known them the whole day. or your whole life.

as a kid, i remember the feeling of meeting someone so amazing and the panic of realizing, “I’ll never see this person again.” :/

6 haikus for temporary friendship


ran around today
endless chasing after play
at the end, it’s found


just made a new friend
but the sun is going down
twilight never end


the sun is tired
but my will and joy are up
time to rise and shine


the water sparkles
with new feelings of friendship
and tears fall from fear


don’t go, Sun. please, stay.
if you go, my friend will, too.
and I’m not ready.


nice to meet you, friend
let’s vow to always meet here
at least in our hearts

Get me out of here.

tina in cabinet

Why am I in the cabinet? LOL

1974. I am willingly sitting in the cabinet. Under the stove, from the looks of it. I think this is where the Cheetos were kept.

This is my favorite place to sit. Hide. Eat. Play.

Some days I wish I could go back there and shut the door.

How could anyone be mean to little ol’ Me?


Plastic lids and drooling kids.
Baby blues and blondie ‘dos.
Slack-jawed, already flawed.
Only 1 year. How’d I get here?
Shut the door, please!

Trade?

Anyone willing to read my play and review on Amazon, House Full of Hope, can have a reblog on my WordPress of your favorite article or publishing of a new piece. The copy is free right now, you can download with no charge. The app to read is always free. You can download on your PC, you don’t need a Kindle.

Or I can create an article graphic for you, free of charge. I will use original graphics or my own photos with permission to use and text for whatever article you have planned and whatever graphic you want to see. I usually create all of my own article graphics from scratch. When you’re a graphic designer, it just makes sense. πŸ™‚

Anyone down for the challenge? Thanks for doing me a favor!

If you’ve already read it, please go online and leave a review! I can still reblog you or design something for ya! ‘Cuz I’m cool like dat.

FREE

If you go on Amazon right now, you can get my book/play for free!!! Go!

Here’s the link: House Full of Hope

It’s stories of real-life examples of domestic abuse and shelter living. Please support this play and hear these stories. I want to bring the message of these women to the stage and to millions of eyes. Thanks for taking just a few minutes to read. I promise, you will find something inside.

If you do read it, you’ll need the app to download and read electronically. Normally $9.99, but FREE today and the next 4 days. Please review online, if you liked it.

HURRY! πŸ™‚ Don’t wait, it will return to its regular price by the end of the week.

House Full of Hope

My daughter, Pencil Princess, drew this awesome chair for me. Read the play to find out why the chair has wings. πŸ™‚ Thank you, my Love. You’re my angel. I absolutely adore it.

My play is available on Amazon! It’s $9.99, but I’ll tell you why I did that. I had no other way of publishing and offering the rights to produce in one easy step. When you buy the script, there are no other royalties from that point on, unless you engage a lengthy run. Which doesn’t usually happen with shows unless they’re Hamilton or Cats, amirite? So $10 to put on a play about domestic violence to support abused women and children (and sometimes even men are abused by a partner) doesn’t seem like a lot. To me.

There are 13 women, 2 men and 2 children. Have you ever read a play with 13 women?? Snap! Well, it’s about time then. πŸ™‚

These stories are drawn from real life. Some are mine, some are from others. Some are just things I’ve heard after years of listening to women tear out the hurt. Some are from the dark corners of my mind, gathered up like dusty cobwebs and spun back into a juicy web. It all comes from the truest place I know. I hope you agree.

Also, I would love some feedback! Please donate to your local domestic violence shelter. These women need all the help they can find. Thanks for reading.

House Full of Hope

House Full of Hope

Illustration credit: Pencil Princess! Awesome job, Lil. I love it.

Be on the lookout! My new play is done and published. It’s in review, so as soon as the link is live, I will publish the link to Amazon. It’s $9.99, but that includes the rights to perform.

It’s a one-act play about domestic violence. Real-life stories inspired this honest, hard look at domestic abuse and the affected lives. Hope you have a chance to read. I hope someone has the chance to produce. You can read an excerpt here.

This is the article I wrote in 2016 and what inspired me to write this play.

Craftie Beaver

Background


I was abused for 19 years by my father and others. Physically and emotionally. Then my dad died in ’92. For 6 more years I would be physically and emotionally abused by my sister. At 25, I moved out, got married and I was free! From almost-daily emotional abuse.

But.

That day, that I was free? I started recovery. Which is just as hard some days. If not more so.

I most likely have complex PTSD. I say most likely because I am undiagnosed and haven’t seen a mental health professional for several years. But in the late 90s and early 2000s when I was seeing mental health professionals, no one ever thought to delve into PTSD, let alone complex PTSD. The first mention of complex PTSD by a professional was in ’92, the year my dad died. (BTW, weird!) But it’s not even widely recognized as a…

View original post 894 more words

Domestic Violence

So, I’m writing a play. I’ve written two plays so far and this is my third. I started this really cool piece about domestic violence and shelter living for women. I had planned to offer as a charitable fundraiser for local DV shelters. Then I got derailed, the project stalled on the other end and I haven’t been back to it. I was hoping to share here for some feedback. Here is an excerpt, let me know your thoughts.


WOMAN 1: Yeah, even her husband acts this way. (Referring to WOMAN 2)

WOMAN 2: (Lights go down on group, WOMAN 2 comes down front) It’s true. She’s right. I mean, I don’t know if all men act this way, but my husband does. The only difference between her husband and mine is that he buys me a diamond ring to apologize. We never know what people are going through behind closed doors. I don’t wanna be here, but I have no place to go. My dad is gone, my mom is in assisted living. My kids are at college and the house is in his name. Everything is. Bank accounts, cars, houses. I don’t want any of it anyway. I never did. I only wanted him. And I wanted him to want me the same. The first time he hit me, we were in college. He was drunk and I was mad. He’d been flirting all night with our friend’s new girl. Kissing her on the hand?! Laughing at all her dumb jokes. After we left, I complained the whole way home. I’d never been so mad with him before and he did not like it. He didn’t say a word until we got to his apartment. He shut the door, it was dark, he cornered me and whispered, “Don’t you ever talk to me that way again.” He waited for a few seconds. I thought he was walking away and then he turned and knocked me silly. I never questioned him again. I’m not sure why I didn’t leave that night. I know I felt guilty for thinking the worst of him. That was the first time, but for sure not the last. When I said nothing at his flirtations and when I said nothing about his business dealings and when I didn’t interfere with the kids, he’d still find a reason to hit. Or choke. Or…humiliate. All alone, at night, in private. In our room. In bed. I don’t keep this ring because I love jewelry or I like how it looks on my finger. I keep it because I’m not ready to give up on love. And I feel safe with it on. That’s ridiculous, I know. But you know, I earned this ring. I had to take a punch or two…or ten…to get it.


So that’s just one of the women I’m writing for. The idea is that they are in group therapy in the shelter and one by one, between dialogue, we hear each individual story over the course of the play. Really minimal set. Also, flashbacks of a woman from the 70s, winding up in the hospital for the umpteenth time, finally able to go to the new DV shelter that just opened. Her name is Hope.

I’d love to hear ideas, stories and feedback. Thanks for reading.