Block 75: May 3, 2013



Having done 75 Cranes feels like some sort of accomplishment, right?


Happy Friday!

Date: May 3, 2013

Crane: 75

Days Spent on Project: 75

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: In my continuing realization that teachers really are some of the most important people we’ll meet in our lives, I’m going to start going through the teachers that I had at Brebeuf who made a difference… in no particular order, of course.

Let’s start with Ms. Compton, History teacher extraordinaire.

Not only did she have a reputation for the teacher you wanted to have because she was awesome, she was also incredibly intelligent and expected you to hold her own in class.

Reasons why she was on the A-list: her classroom was set up with desks running along the walls, instead of facing the chalkboard, so her lectures were performed in the “tennis court” theater layout with students on both sides and their attention focused IN; she insisted that, if we had to call her Ms. Compton, she would address us similarly with respect by a correct title with a last name (again, respect); she was a former lawyer; she asked that we discuss current events from the news weekly; she taught me the term “historical precedence,” which still seems incredibly important to know and understand for some reason; she was the faculty member in charge of Model UN, of which I was a member for three years and weirdly really proud to be a member; her mother was one of the women who helped get the Indianapolis Children’s Museum a solid reputation and funding, and she had the expectation that you do the work.

After two years of the public school in Brownsburg that I suffered through, she seemed like a revelation.

She set the bar high, for a school of teenagers, and I choose to remember that we respected her for that.

Because I believe we did.

Music I listened to while sewing: Did you know there’s a three CD compilation of Martha Reeves and The Vandellas available on Spotify? I just started the second disc, and I’ve had the revelation that they also recorded some of their songs in Spanish… Hearing “Jimmy Mack” and “I’m Ready for Love” sung in a different language was kinda life-changing.

“Yo Necesito De Tu Amor,” anyone?

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: A friend of mine in Washington DC posted an article on Facebook last night entitled: “Find What You Love and Let it Kill You.”

Now, withstanding the title, it’s actually a great article… and once you read the article, the title doesn’t sound as harsh.

I read the article while I ate dinner at midnight. I had just arrived home from having opened that dance production last night. I just want to post this quote, because it NAILS how I feel half the time… or maybe all the time…

‘My life involves endless hours of repetitive and frustrating practising, lonely hotel rooms, dodgy pianos, aggressively bitchy reviews, isolation, confusing airline reward programmes, physiotherapy, stretches of nervous boredom (counting ceiling tiles backstage as the house slowly fills up) punctuated by short moments of extreme pressure (playing 120,000 notes from memory in the right order with the right fingers, the right sound, the right pedalling while chatting about the composers and pieces and knowing there are critics, recording devices, my mum, the ghosts of the past, all there watching), and perhaps most crushingly, the realisation that I will never, ever give the perfect recital. It can only ever, with luck, hard work and a hefty dose of self-forgiveness, be “good enough.”‘

And that’s kinda it. While we’re talking about two different careers (I’m a costume designer for theater and he’s a concert pianist), the emotions are the same. This career (life?) encompasses so much work spent alone over a desk, shopping and schlepping and hunting for materials, travel, figuring out how to juggle different jobs and people and companies at the same time, criticism and support, instability and boredom at times and then way too much work condensed into short periods of time. And you work and work and work, and you’re proud of that work… and then sometimes you sit in the audience, watch the product, and realize you should have made a different choice or that there’s a different direction that could have been more interesting…


I suppose accepting “good enough” is one of life’s great challenges; knowing when to say, “Hey, this was where I was at for this particular moment and this is the work, the effort, and the product that I produced. It was me, and what I believed. And that Me was correct.”

And then you learn from it.

And then you move onto the next.

The upcoming week has me negotiating two different projects that might happen concurrently this summer in New York. We’ll see what I bring to the table, in my past lessons and experiences, and what I take from them.

I hope you all have something in your life that drives you crazy enough that you have to do it. (I hope it’s a healthy thing, of course.)

I hope, if you don’t, you allow yourself to discover and pursue it.

Happy Friday, again.


4 thoughts on “Block 75: May 3, 2013

  1. Thanks for the addition of the quote. It was a great article, wasn’t it? Just heard from some friends of mine that they went to the 5 story play a week or so ago while in NYC. They loved it. You might have been treading the stairs the same night! Heck of a small world. From Sacramento to New York City in a single bound.

    • The 5 story play? Do you mean Sleep No More?! If you did, I’m so happy to hear your friends enjoyed it! (I just bought a ticket to see it a fifth time…)

      And, the article hit home because of the last sentence in that quote. Accepting that “perfect” might possibly never happen, and that “good enough” is actually GOOD ENOUGH, is so important to learn… especially when I try to get all my Crane angles to match up!


      • Yes, that’s the play! And yes, they loved it
        As for crane angles, I now look at the sewing work my grandma did when she was my age up to just before she died at 96 (embroidered without glasses up to and on that day), and used to see the flaws and angles that didn’t match. I have realized since, that the creation… the process was of utmost importance. The fact that she was still making things of quality and interest kept her going. Sure, the embroidered stuff was sometimes missing a stitch here and there, and the last quilt she made was so heavy with fabric I could hardly lift it. She did it. And you’re doing yours. Bravo, to you, my friend.

        • Good points all. I know several designers who are still working into what I would call their “retirement years.” Maybe it’s just the way theater really is (we never have money to retire), but I also think that the creative work behind it keeps them going, you know? I love working with people who could easily be grandparents or great-grandparents and seeing how much their work inspires them and gives them life.

          Glad you’re friends loved the show; it’s actually one of my favorite theatrical experiences that I’ve had the pleasure to watch. Can’t wait to go again on May 13th!

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