Block 683: June 6, 2015


It’s 8pm in Portland on June 6th, 2015. I’m having one of those days where I feel like I’m an adult and simply living, and not surviving.

Do you understand that statement?

Date: June 6, 2015

Crane: 683

Days Spent on Project: 837

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Sam A.

I can’t think of anything else to thank before April 2014, so I think I have to dive into this project now… The California Project. If you’ve followed the A Thousand Quilted Cranes Project for more than a year, maybe even two years, you’ve heard me write sporadically about a play, a workshop, a bunch of writing and devising I was doing for something that ultimately became a period of 17 days last year in Irvine, CA. I flew back to LA, crashed on my friend Dave’s couch in his living room for over two weeks, and took the train from LA’s Union Station daily to work with a group of students (and one of their teacher’s- Vinnie O. [he was Crane 299, if remember correctly]) to figure out what it meant to develop something “immersive.”

I’ve been writing a story- it’s more than a play at this point- about a family since the summer of 2013. It’s more than a hundred pages long at this point, but the entire backstory of it all could be hundreds, if I allow myself to really flesh it all out. Vinnie and I took what we had then- probably 70 pages worth of thoughts and timelines and characters and ideas- and we were going to start experimenting with form, staging, movement, narrative, and ideas.

It wasn’t successful. But it was a success. I learned a lot. I’ve thought a lot about it. It’s something that I want to keep pursuing. It, as a story and a style and a genre, is still alive for the moment.

I think it will most likely have another life. And another. And another. This job in Portland, strangely, is making this project more important and also possible.

Sam A. was the first student to be brought on board by Vinnie. While we wrote ideas and stories and plot-points, Vinnie scouted out students in his program that he thought had the skill to help up develop what we were doing. Sam was an acting student at UCI, but had spent some time focusing in movement and direction. Vinnie asked her if she’d be willing and have time to help us out for two weeks. She accepted the challenge.

Before I went out to the west coast, I had a Skype meeting with Sam. While she and Vinnie sat in Vinnie’s school office, we talked about the scope of the story and what we hoped to accomplish. Sam, for her part, was supportive of it all. I think she was a little in the dark, but she did bring good ideas to the table. And, as one of our assistant directors (we did learn that we’d each need an assistant in the process), she did help sculpt some of the story, the business, the movement, the characters. I’m glad she was there to help us as we discovered what the process actually entailed.

She has since graduated from UCI and is still pursuing acting on the West Coast. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to bring her on board the next permutation of The California Project, but we’ll see.

Music I listened to while sewing: A song called “Operate” by ASTR. This is technically a version called “The Chainsmokers Remix.” It’s been on repeat all day, thanks to Spotify.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I am currently sitting on the balcony/sun deck of my apartment. It’s after 8pm and the sun is still shining brightly. The quality of light is skewing more amber, so I now the sun is starting- just starting- to set for the evening. It won’t get dark until after 9pm.

I have had one of those days that has felt unburdened. I woke up, made myself coffee, put this Crane together, took my dog on a few walks, went to the gym, did a load of laundry, went to a local “Scrap” store (only in Portland would a business be made of selling things I would normally classify as trash. I did buy $7 worth of pictures though for The California Project.), got an iced coffee, sat in a park, and read a new book on Alexander McQueen. I came home to walk my dog and feed him his dinner.

As I said previously. I’m now sitting in an upholstered chair I bought on sale at Urban Outfitters. In my balcony/sun deck. I’m drinking a beer. I’m still working through the book on McQueen. I’ll make myself dinner soon. I’ll keep listening to music.

Yeah, there are pangs within me that say “You should be out,” “Make more friends,” “Sew some oats,” and “Get out.” But this, THIS, feels like adulting at its most basic and simple. I am living in the moment and not busy or worried or occupied.

I would just like to say that, right now, I am content with where I am and what’s going on and the choices I’ve made.

I know I have a lot to do still. I’m not sure I will accomplish them. I’m not sure if this *is* the end point, or what good I can make of Portland. I’m not sure what kind of Opportunity this really is.

But, for now, this is contentment.

And that’s great.

Thank God for Saturdays. Hope you’re well.

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