Block 248: November 4, 2013



Last night I dreamt that I was involved in a plane crash. That wasn’t good.

Date: November 4, 2013

Crane: 248

Days Spent on Project: 261

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Frances M.

When I first started working at the National High School Institute, in the summer of 2000 as a Faculty Associate, Frances was the Costume Shop Manager. When I came back the following year, as one of the costume designers, she was still my boss; she would keep that job for another two summers, I think. She had easily been involved with the program for a number of years… somewhere in the double digits. 10? 15? It wasn’t unheard of that once people got involved with NHSI, they would hang onto the job, the community, the people for as long as possible.

What makes Frances even more dedicated to the program, and inspiring if I can be so saccharine to use that word, was that she was involved in a car crash years prior that left her confined to a wheel chair.

I never asked about it- the past was none of my business- but I heard it was bad. Along with all the other physical re-learning and therapy and re-adjusting, she also had to teach herself how to draw again. I always thought her quick sketches for the summer were beautiful- they had a lot of energy and movement in them, very dynamic, evocative, and straightforward. One summer, I saw some of her older sketches. They were beautiful in the exact opposite way; again, with lots of character and movement, but controlled and neat and detailed.

Looking back now, I can easily say she was a really talented and strong designer, with her artistic sensibilities, eye, ability to pull together a show, and evoke a period and mood. It was great to work with her for those summers and see her process and how she worked.

She was also the designer who told me in no uncertain terms that there is NO SUCH THING as a “universal shoe” that would work with a variety of outfits or characters. She saw what I was trying to do with one show that had 15 actors playing 50 characters easily: I was giving them all one basic black shoe. She would just roll my eyes and tell me to keep working.

God love her.

Music I listened to while sewing: Again with the Fort Fairfield. I left the album on repeat all day yesterday, late into the night. I’m sure my neighbors love me.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Another week! I’m substitute teaching for a friend today and tomorrow. Friday will find me in New Jersey for a rehearsal and production meeting. See, I’m keeping busy! Now if I could only find a way to make some money…

Need to keep telling myself to focus on the task at hand: find more work. Don’t wait for things to happen to you, but make them happen. Do what it takes to make them happen. Keep busy.

I need the reminder to keep moving.

Also, keep being social. Still trying to fight my hermit-tendencies.

Here we go, Monday. Bring it.

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