Block 246: November 2, 2013



I’m no longer feeling quite like Pollyanna about life, but it’s still pretty great to be here.

Date: November 2, 2013

Crane: 246

Days Spent on Project: 259

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Alison S.

Alison came to us in the Northwestern Costume Shop towards the end of my time with the National High School Institute. We might have overlapped for 2 years? Maybe 3?

To this day, I’m struck by her tenacity to do the work and her genius at finding brilliance in really mundane objects. She made an actor and an actress outfits covered in leaves. She and I figured out a way to make a tearaway outfit for an onstage transformation from one character to the next. She bought super cheap prom dresses at a Goodwill and managed to make them look more fashion-forward, instead of fashion-forgotten.

I think she’s easily one of the most inspired costume designers I’ve had the chance to work with. I like to think of her as a Queen of Downtown Chicago Theater just because I never knew what she would push us to do or what kind of ideas she could make happen with the most random of objects or suggestions in a script.

She also, on the flip-side, reminded me how hard the work would always be. When I met her, I was in the thick of my time at the Yale School of Drama, and all the “process” that happens there, and wasn’t always clued into the reality of what a theater career entailed. Alison, indirectly of course, has reminded me no matter how good you were, the process (not the artistic one, but the life process) will always be convoluted and unknown and a little frustrating.

But she also has reminded me that it your passion for the work has to carry you through all of it… it’s easy to glide through the good times; you just have to remember how great it can be when you find yourself sinking in the mud.

I’ve sunk in some deep mud this year. It’s a lesson you have to re-learn occasionally. Unfortunately. Fortunately.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’m still with Fort Fairfield. I’ve decided I really enjoy the song “Buildings Explode As You Pass,” which sounds like a more confrontational song than it is. It actually sounds like a calmly empowering song.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: How can I take that sense of “Amazed Happiness” that I felt earlier this week and make it be more present in my daily life? What do I change to see things more pleasantly?

In 2009 I made a deliberate choice to retreat away from a part of the city. Under the guise that I needed a more functional wardrobe, I donated all my colorful clothes and started to re-buy a wardrobe of grays and blues and blacks. I went full-on bruised that year.

I was hurting, which I know I’ll talk about later.

I adopted my dog as a gift to myself, a companion that needed me.

I moved into a tiny apartment in a better, crowded neighborhood to be a part of the energy. Internally, it was nice to get lost in a bigger crowd.

And so I’m wondering if it’s just time to reclaim what I gave away four years ago. I’m only 34. Yes, I have a dog and obligations and I’m still freelance so my career is always “feast or famine,” but there was a time when I felt empowered by what I did and who I was and what I could do and where I was. As evidenced by earlier this week, I don’t have to be the wallflower and I’m quite able to be noticed, not lost, in a crowd.

2013 is winding down. Maybe my goal for the rest of the year, and 2014 and beyond, is to start making my presence here more known and less apologetic.


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