Block 773: September 5, 2015


Today, someone emailed to ask:

“This A Thousand Quilted Cranes Project… how many are you going to make?”

Date: September 5, 2015

Crane: 773

Days Spent on Project: 928

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: TBD

Music I listened to while sewing: You know, right now I’m listening to the Broadway cast recording of Fela!. I showed the shop I manage some pictures and videos of the show and costumes; even though they’ve admitted randomly in the past that Fela Kuti’s music isn’t their cup of tea, they thought the show looked and sounded amazing!

As I was looking through the pictures and watching the videos, I wondered:

Did my life peak and plateau in 2009 at age 30?

Seriously. That. Show. Changed. My. Life.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Unfortunately, this three-day weekend has turned into a one-day weekend. I’ll get Monday off, after working today and needing to go to hire new wardrobe crew members and watch one of the first run-throughs of our first production of the season tomorrow. So, I will enjoy my Labor Day holiday by probably doing nothing but errands and the gym.

This means the theater’s season has started in earnest. Once we start previews next Saturday, I think there will be only one or two weeks where a show, a tech rehearsal, or an event won’t be happening for the next 42 weeks. Here we go!

Anyway, while at work today, my cell phone started ringing. The number is showed had a New York area code, so I immediately answered it, curious. I didn’t recognize the voice on the other end, even though they excitedly said my name immediately.

It was someone I went to grad school with at Yale. I have only sporadically kept up with him through Facebook, that superficial social network.

But a year ago, back in April of 2014, he also called me. He was living in Austin, Texas, working as a high school theater director and teacher. We caught up, told stories of our lives, and broke the ice that had formed in the years between grad school and then. It’s important to note that we were never good friends, close acquaintances, or even colleagues on shows.

Right then and there, he offered me a job working at the high school where he taught “theater” to teenagers. He wanted me to run their shop (which he admitted was a closet), teach sewing AND design, and also design their five shows a season. He offered me 40,000 a year for that. At the time, as desperate as I was for a change, I thought about it. And I did think about it for a time.

I, ultimately and obviously, turned it down as politely as I could. I didn’t want to leave New York for Austin and work for (not with) high schoolers and their parents. That wasn’t anything I was interested in at all. I’m not a tailor or stitcher or seamstress or draper or craftsperson nor an English teacher (because to make the job legitimate, I’d have to teach high school English, too!). Plus, after talking to this friend, I felt like the working situation wasn’t healthy. And I didn’t want that.

So, today, when this same person called me, I was surprised. But, he quickly told me he left that high school job and moved on… and he wanted to apologize for ever offering me that job. And that was the conversation.

And, today, now, I’m struck by how much I needed to leave New York in April of 2014. I was tired and scared and nervous and alone and angry with many things. I did think about taking that job in Austin. I didn’t- and that was the right thing to do- but I did think about it.

And then two months later, after doing The California Project in Irvine, CA and PIPPIN in Arkansas, in June of 2014, I was offered a job in Portland, Oregon, managing a costume shop; I accepted. In July of 2014, I was in Portland, Oregon, trying to make sense of the non-manager who had the job before me; I would no longer be designing, but managing.

And, now, in September 2015, I’m 8 days away from being in New York City on a “business trip” with people and vendors that I used to have immediate access to, and I so incredibly happy to finally “be home.”

Wow, my life has changed.

Always interesting to hear from people you never hear from.

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