Ruth Etting

(no subject)

I think I have an unusually eventful life. Things change for me at a pace I can barely keep up with myself, much less find the time to communicate to all of you. Since my last update Damian and I sold the house, broke up, and each moved away for the summer. I have a boyfriend. And a bunch of other shit.

My theatre life has been busy. I was a finalist in a directing competition at ACTF in Reno, I directed a one-act play, and I acted and danced in the variety show I produce every spring, Night of Stuff. I moved to Olympia, WA for the summer to stage manage for an exciting new theatre company, Animal Fire Theatre Group. We're doing Macbeth. It's the best thing I've ever worked on. It's one of the best plays I've ever seen. It closes tomorrow.

And in the last two days I have decided that what I really want to do, and am 95% sure will happen, is to take a year off school again and do shows around the US. I already have the next Animal Fire show in Olympia lined up in November - January, and I've been invited to direct in Eugene in the winter/spring. I'm also looking at a short internship with a small company I really admire in NYC or Chicago, (it has two branches) and looking for stage management work in Minneapolis, Sacramento, or Portland.

I've written a lot about the break-up, my new boyfriend Chris, Olympia and the job. But a lot of that is just cathartic for me, I don't know how much you want to know.

Overall things are turbulant but good. I'm learning and creating a whole new way to live my life, both on a daily basis and in terms of the Big Picture. It's hard and weird and good.

It's very, very good.
Ruth Etting

(no subject)

There was a time during the run up to the last production, Midsummer, when I was spending more time with Zach than with Damian, even if you counted the hours Damian and I spent sleeping next to each other. Not just on some days, but every day, including weekends. We would be in class together or at rehearsal or in the shop or at production meetings or building something or painting something or cleaning something. Together. All the time.

At some point in there, after a night when we had been painting until one or two and then met again at seven AM to do chalk publicity, he said something like "theatre is the only thing I can do for sixteen hours a day and still want to get up in the morning and keep doing it."

I keep coming back to that. I think that sentiment is one of the reasons I feel so attached to Zach -- besides the 500 hours we've spent working side-by-side over time, and besides the massive, crushing tower of professional respect I have for him. He's the only one at LCSC (besides Nancy, I guess,) who understands what it means to me. I don't have another major, I don't have another plan. This is it for me. I can't skip a production because, you know, I'm really busy this semester or I wanted to take a break or it's not a show I'm interested in. There are no breaks for me, this is what I do.

So I realized as I was crawling out of bed at ten o'clock tonight to go help Jonelle and Zach block their Irene Ryan scene, that I wasn't doing it because I like them, (I do,) and I wasn't doing it because I feel obligated, (I don't.) I was doing it because that's what makes me happy. At bedtime on a weeknight, given the options of cuddling in bed and watching a movie with Damian or spending an hour giving blocking notes in the theatre... well, I'll put my pants back on for that.

And yeah, I do realize how lucky I am. I realize that every day. Even when things are going shitty and I'm so stressed out I can't think straight, I get up every morning and keep going and it's not because I have to.

It's because I want to.
Ruth Etting

The hammer hit the nail with great sympathy

I find myself more likely to take my own New Years resolutions seriously if I like them. If they are additive rather than subtractive, if they bring more of something that makes me happy and fulfilled. Not "eat less junk food" but "have more picnics." (Which was 2007, and a success.)

So this year's resolution is to write more. Anything I feel like: LJ posts, letters, private journaling, poetry, fiction, whatever. In fall 08 I had a nonfiction class that I really enjoyed, but in 2009 I stopped writing altogether, I'm not really sure why. It didn't seem important I suppose? But I really miss writing. Sometimes I read my old poems and think "holy shit, I was good."

Last month I began composing a fiction, but I've had a hard time getting it written. Then in the last few days of the year I wrote a poem (a performance poem, in fact) which may be my first complete poem since shortly after I met Damian in 2007. That poem, incidentally, actually mentions slam poetry. This would not be strange except that I have never been into or written the stuff, until this week, so. Weird.

I've also been composing fairly complex film reviews in my head for months, so I resolve now to write them down. (I'd like to write one for every film I watch this year, but I'm not going to hold myself to it if it becomes untenable or if I find the prospect affects my watching habits.)

Does anyone have an opinion on whether/how you would like to see film reviews on my journal? Should I make an archive post that I add to all year, so you have to go out of your way to see them? Should I post them here as I write them? Should I save them up and post them monthly or so? People who don't normally read/comment here are welcome to respond.

Also, I'm aware that I haven't really updated you guys on the whole house-burning-down situation for almost two months. There's not all that much to say, except that things are going well. Celene (bedroom next to ours in the back house) moved out, so we nabbed the smaller dining table from the wreckage and moved it into her room, and got some lamps from Zach and hung up some pictures and such. So now we have a place to eat and entertain that looks pretty nice and is comfortable enough. Not really a substitute for a living room, but it will have to do. Also, without Celene there we don't have to be as concerned about how loud we are. When we're, uh... watching movies.

So now our only roommate is Brian, who is as crazy as ever but we never see him. I miss my big amazing kitchen and beautiful big house, but our situation back here is downright pleasant. And certainly more peaceful than having ~10 roommates.

The kitchen back here is more or less in order, thanks largely to the help of a bunch of people who came over to help rescue and clean kitchen items the week of the fire. I seriously have the best friends ever. Ever ever. This kitchen will never have the kind of counter space I need, but we're actually doing fine for storage, believe it or not.

Let's see... Insurance money came through like whoah. We're waiting for the college to make an offer (in the next couple of weeks hopefully) and then we'll decide whether it's in our best interest to rebuild (and let the college pay us a shitload more for it in two years) or let them buy and demolish it right now. Either way we'll probably walk away with a tidy little profit, which we'll save for our for-reals-home in the Eugene area someday. Which was always the goal when we bought this house in the first place.

Well, that seems like a good start on my resolution, right? Right.
Ruth Etting

Everyone is fine, everything is not.

It's strange how fast things change. It's late and you're helping your friends pack up their whole life, sorting through the debris of their life, and then you check your phone. You've missed four calls between one and two thirty from people who don't normally call you, a roommate and an unknown number. And there's a message, a message so casual you think it's a joke. But it's not a joke, the next message is the fire chief. It's not a joke.

And then you're in the house it's dark and you can't yet see the damage, it looks fine from the front but then you're inside. Your little light shows the dark streaks down the walls and it's that bad. But you can't see yet the piles of ash, the holes in the ceiling, you haven't looked through those beautiful original 1920's cabinets that you loved so much and seen the charred bedroom on the other side. You haven't felt the ashy water sloshing into your socks.

And later when you're sitting down you feel so dry, it's beyond thirst, the water you're drinking doesn't help. You feel like all the water was burned out of you, you can feel the blood moving through your brain, it's so thick. And on your way to your friend's bathroom for the third time you realize it's the alcohol. You were drinking wine, Jesus, an hour ago you were sitting right here, drinking wine. You were playing a dice game and looking through old books while the firemen were at your house and they were trying to call you and and oh god you had no idea. You were drinking wine. And when Damian drove instead of you it wasn't because your hands were shaking and you couldn't breathe, it was because that's what you agreed on. He was your DD. Jesus.

So now everything is different, the next year of your life looks completely different. All those things you were worried about, how to replace that antique door that Chad broke, getting the new washing machine fixed, the carpet in Amber's room. That door doesn't exist anymore. That carpet is soaked in wet ash. That's all gone. And now there's a whole new set of things, phone calls and phone calls and phone calls, the fire inspector, insurance, utilities. A new set of things to learn. You don't need to understand how to paint the trim or refinish a floor, you need to understand insurance law. Everything is different now.

It's strange how fast.
Ruth Etting

(no subject)

I've been in a funk lately which I am beginning to think is caused by simple under-nourishment. It could be SAD, which I'm never even sure I suffer from because winter always coincides with SUPER HIGH STRESS TIME. For once I actually don't feel over-stressed. Since I dropped video (which I did, by the way,) I feel like I actually have the right amount on my plate, for probably the first time in like ten years. I keep myself busy, but (usually) feel like I have the time I need to get everything done, and a little to spare.

But I feel really blah. And sure, it could be the weather. Things have pretty much turned to crap in the last week or two. Or it could be food. Which is what I keep thinking about when I can't focus on my homework because I'm too hungry. Not that that's what I'm doing right now, la la laaa.

I wrote out this long thing about my new dietary restrictions and why they suck so much, and then I realized it was really boring, so here's a recap:

1. I am no longer eating nightshades because they aggravate my arthritis. That means potatoes, tomatoes and peppers, as well as eggplants and some other things I don't actually care about.
2. Those three things are really difficult to avoid in store-bought and restaurant foods.
3. Those three things are really difficult to avoid in cooking.
4. Our source of raw milk AND our source of eggs both dried up recently, restricting my diet even more since I am extremely reluctant to buy either of those things from commercial producers, organic or not.
5. I've been eating an obscene amount of meat, due to lack of time and options, and that really bothers me.
6. I've been eating a lot less in general. A lot less.
7. I, therefore, feel like shit.

If you've known me more than a few years you'll know I have a history of letting my failure to adequately nourish myself interfere with my health and relationships and commitments and life, so this new trend is not only exhausting, it's disappointing and scary and embarrassing and carries all the baggage of almost a decade of this bullshit. It fucks me up.

I never feel more a failure than when I'm struggling with food.
Ruth Etting

(no subject)

I spent last weekend at a yoga retreat (for which I actually get college credit!) that takes place at St. Gertrude's monastery, and although my yoga teacher is very open (she's actually a UU minister) and makes sure for her part that people of all religious beliefs feel welcome in her classes, I still struggle. Firstly, the way Meredith teaches yoga focuses heavily on the spiritual, which I actually really like when I'm not stuck in the woods with a bunch of Jesus-lovers. (Please note that I'm talking about my classmates, not at all the Sisters who are probably even bigger hippies than I am.) It comes up a lot, and furthermore I had trouble explaining to people why I have such a deep connection to St. Gert's (the sisters know my name and give me extra smiles and ask about my mom, etc.) since I'm not religious at all.

Anyway, I got really tired of trying to explain my spiritual beliefs to people (some of whom are that brand of Christian that give you the distinct impression that You Are Going To Hell,) without having a name for it. But there must be a name for "I find it hard to believe in any God who would give a shit whether I believe in him or not + Moral decisions should be based on acting with maximal integrity and compassion, which looks exactly the same whether I believe in God or not = Why bother even thinking about it?" I mean, I can't be the only person who feels this way, right? So I set Damian out to find out the name of my religion.

Turns out I'm an Apatheist. I dig it. It's catchy, and the name pretty much sums it up, which will probably save me a lot of explaining. Now I have something I can tell people when they ask if I'm an atheist other than "Well, kind of but not really."

From that article: "an apatheist is someone who considers the question of the existence of gods as neither meaningful nor relevant to his or her life." Fucking exactly.
Ruth Etting

(no subject)

Dear Livejournal;

Now that we have decided I should stick with the play, plz to be helping me make major life decisions some more plz.

I'm thinking about quitting video productions. When I was having last week's little crisis I was feeling distinctly like I couldn't handle both. (It's not so much the time commitment as the emotional investment and stress.) Since then I have come to feel better and better about the play, and worse and worse about the video.

Before you make this decision for me Livejournal, here's a little background: I am basically one class and three co-op credits away from getting my video productions certificate. Unfortunately, the program has been cut. So this class I'm in now is the last one required, and this is the last time it will ever be offered ever again ever. Leaving now and trying again later is not an option. The only thing other than this class I will need is three co-op credits, which basically means 120 hours working with a community group. Kind of like an internship, but more casual. For some nonsensical reason the college is requiring that we finish our co-op credits this year. By May. Because, you know, fuck 'em. (Where 'em = my classmates and I.) Now, this is a really small town and there are simply not a lot of opportunites to get co-op credits. SO I don't know if this is even possible, really. I guess I need to talk to Sean about this.

The other thing you have to know, Livejournal, before you make this decision for me, is this: I hate video. Turns out. I didn't even know it until recently, but I really do. Collapse ) As I have repeatedly demonstrated, I become very emotionally invested in my work, especially creative work and double-especially group work. (Which makes group creative work, like, triple-especially? Or would that be quadruple?) I just don't know if I can handle the heartbreak of another failed production.

Reasons to stay:
+ Video Productions certificate looks good on a resume if nothing else.
+ I might still learn some shit I can actually use in the future. (Maybe.)
+ I have a Video Productions scholarship paying half my tuition and would therefore feel guilty about leaving. (But the scholarship is extremely unlikely to be rescinded and I obviously do not have to worry about whether I will be awarded this particular scholarship in the future.)
+ I (as I have, again, repeatedly demonstrated) hate hate hate quitting anything or letting down people I have made a commitment to. Poor Maia and Alden will attest to what a mess I was last week when I was considering quitting the play.

Reasons to leave:
- I hate it.
- I may not be able to get my certificate anyway.
- I have better shit to do with my time.
- I hate it.
- OH I ALSO JUST REMEMBERED there is also another class I will need to take in the spring. A scriptwriting class with Patricia. I'm really not interested and would rather not take it, although it's sure not to cause the sort of distress that the productions classes cause. Ugh.

So, Livejournal, what should I do?
Ruth Etting

Writer's Block: What if calories didn't count?

If a magic genie told you your calories wouldn't count for 24 hours, would it change what and how much you ate that day?

I was going to laugh and say no, but then I realized that "wouldn't count" goes both ways. I mean, eating is a huge pain in the ass. I forget to do it all the time. If I could actually go a whole day where I just don't have to worry about it? Awesome.