Sunday, May 29, 2016

Nowhere To Go

Wait--what? I don't have to go anywhere? Not to work? Not out of town? Not to any kid-related activity?

There was a time--actually, there have been many--when I would have given anything for somewhere to go. There were the months out of work, when I had no job to go to and too much fear of spending money just to go out and wander. There were the days with small children, when I simply craved a change of scenery. But today, once I get past the bewilderment, I embrace the idea. Today, nowhere to go is like a moment of freedom in a long stretch of responsibility. Today, nowhere to go means I can make my own pace, make my own choices, make my own day.

Nowhere to go won't last, and honestly, I probably wouldn't like it if it did. But for this moment, on this day, it is a gift I will keep opening. Because, hey, I've got time. There's nowhere to go.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Open For Business

There are days when it seems all about survival, of one kind or another--making the deadlines, sleeping enough to stay awake when needed, showing up on time, having enough to pay the bills. But once in a while, a day comes along when we allow ourselves to see beyond the survival--when we take a few minutes, or a few hours, to explore something new, when we grant ourselves the dollars or the calories for a treat, when we start a conversation instead of remaining silent. Suddenly, instead of being closed to all but what is necessary, we find ourselves open to the world of what is possible. When we are "open for business," we not only see more, we accomplish more. And perhaps, most important, we dream more. For, you see, closing out all but the most necessary may help us survive the day, or the week, or the year, but opening up to the possible helps us with the kind of survival that moves us forward, past that day, past that week, past that year.

Today, I had the opportunity to be a little more open--to going, to doing, to engaging. And being "open for business," even just for a day, has made a world of difference.

Friday, May 27, 2016

What Happens In The Rehearsal Hall...

Once upon a time, I would walk into the rehearsal hall, thinking a day would be a certain way, only to find that a simple, finish-on-time kind of day had been up-ended by an actor hating the script, or that a carefully constructed, make-a-masterpiece day had been chopped in half because some key component was no longer available for the day. Quite simply, things were not always what you planned for them to be.

I am a long way from a rehearsal hall these days, but the concept of days changing without warning is just as close. Work may be determined by who is sick or what is happening in the world. My hours on a non-work day may fall together completely differently than I imagined, because of a mood, or a late-breaking email, or simply the need for a nap. While we like to believe we can control our days, the truth is, in soaps and in life, there are countless factors beyond our control. The day we finish may look nothing like the day we started. The results of our efforts may look nothing like the goals we set before we began our endeavor.

My soap days were often as unpredictable as could possibly be imagined, given how carefully they were planned and pre-produced, and yet, at the end of the day, we always managed to generate many, many minutes of content. So, if now, days aren't always what I imagined, they can still be worthwhile, whether measured in time spent, or salary earned, or simply discoveries made or moments enjoyed. Because you never really know what you're facing when you walk into that rehearsal hall. So you might as well be ready to rewrite the schedule.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


I know basically nothing about vampires. I watch comedies and crime dramas, not horror movies and sci-fi. And I never even picked up any of the book series that made vampires mainstream.

Yet, when I emerge from work at 8am, shielding my eyes from the morning sun and trying to adjust my body temperature from a night full of air conditioning, I can't help but feel a little like one of those caped creatures. Some days, though I wouldn't bite a neck or suck any blood, I would venture to say that am just "off" enough to make some odd decisions. Most days, I happily head back to a dark cocoon before I can really face the day. It's not easy to live on a different timeline than what seems like most of the world. 

Yet, I suppose unlike a real vampire, I spend part of my "work at night" days getting a view of life that work wouldn't always allow. After my squinting at the sun and my withdrawing to darkness, I walk to school pickups, I enjoy lunch time conversations, I make reasonable, even if not gourmet, dinners. After recovering from the night and re-finding myself, I rejoin the regular human community, almost as if the rest of my day (and night) has not existed.

So, one could argue that I am a vampire. And, as I have no particular knowledge of vampires, I wouldn't know for sure otherwise. But more likely, I am simply another person trying to make it (whatever "it" is) work, given the circumstances I am dealt. And whether we work day or night, close to home or far away, isn't that pretty much what we are all trying to do?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Count The Change

It's hard to ignore--many things are drawing to a close. There's the school year--once so filled with newness and drama, now just one of those circumstances that begins to feel as if it was never otherwise. Afterschool activities taper, and coats are closeted, even on the "not so warm" days. And though we have gone through these changes over and over, I still cry just a little--for the time that has flown, and the experiences that are over. For the changes we have made and the people we have lost. In the moment, I can pretend that I adapt seamlessly. In my imagination, I can believe that every new change is (or will be) a good one. But some days, change is just change, and the rate of change is just too fast. Some days, it's not enough to believe or pretend or imagine. Some days, it's about lifting the weight of change so it doesn't crush your spirit.

Things are changing, as they always do. Will we just watch, or just react, or just manage? Or will we lift the weight, and ourselves, to see past today? Things are changing, as they always do. Will we run away, or run toward, or just run as fast as we can?

We can learn to embrace change. We simply have to keep our arms open and our strength up. Because sometimes change is a little--no, more than a little--hard to handle.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Keeping Score

The scoreboard numbers may say failure, but the catch from out of nowhere screams success.

The dinner that looks nothing like the cookbook picture may say failure, but the scraped clean bowls and plates announce success.

The uncertainty and the limbo and the early mornings and the late nights may say failure, but the bank account mouths success.

The rejecting and the ignoring and the making you feel invisible may say failure, but the little triumphs confirm success.

Sometimes, success is a lot more about process and attitude than it is about numbers and results. We just have to remember to look past that big scoreboard in the field...or in our heads...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

One Of The Good Ones

I learned this weekend of the passing of a former soap colleague. Winnie and I crossed paths many times over the course of twenty years. She was a fixture in the ABC New York soap world, doing production stints on several different shows. Plenty of people did that--it was a small world, and one looking for specific skill sets. But Winnie was not just another soap world person. She was one of those rare (and even rarer as schedules got tighter and stakes got higher) people who did the work without the baggage. She was professional and efficient, and there was never a day when she came to the studio without a smile on her face. She weathered the ups and downs of ABC, and she did so as a good person who remained a good person. We learned from each other, and I feel lucky to have shared a control room front row with her. 

Life goes on, and things change, and I would like to believe that Winnie is in a place where her smile and her dedication and her good nature are appreciated. It's been a long time since we shared that front row. But my time in the soap trench was better for that time. And better for having known her.