Block 991: April 10, 2016

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NINE DAYS, EVERYONE!!!

Date: April 10, 2016

Crane: 991

Days Spent on Project: 1145

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: TBD

Music I listened to while sewing: Currently, falling into a Demi Lovato rabbit hole, courtesy of Youtube. She’s awesome; who knew? Enjoying “Two Pieces” on repeat at the moment.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Well, here we go, everyone. The countdown is on; we have nine more days for this project to exist, and it looks like the end date is April 19th. Oddly, that’s also the first day of rehearsal for our 11th and final show of the season at work. I’ll finish this project and have to meet another group of new actors, get measurements, attend a read-through, start rehearsals, and prep for fittings. There might not be much time to reflect on this project and what it meant and what it does mean.

Jeez.

We’re almost done here, and I want to acknowledge to the several hundred people who’ve walked with me on this project for its entirety, for days, for a year or so, or however long you have been with me.

I admit that it has been hard.

While putting these Cranes together has almost become mechanical in its realization (I admit that I always cut out pattern pieces in a certain order, partly to conserve fabric but also to allow me to sew each piece in an order the allows them to go together as simply as they could). I don’t paper-piece these together. I trace out pattern pieces I adapted from Margaret Rolfe’s pattern (you might have noticed the proportions are slightly different; that was intentional on my part). The doing of the sewing has become easy for me.

The living with this project has become weighted. It’s not burdensome, but the responsibility of carving time each day to create the Crane, and then write it, has become a two-sided coin: it’s rewarding, but also a chore some days. It’s something I do because I need to do it, but that need over-reaches personal desire into a daily responsibility. Does that make any sense.

As we head down this home stretch, I admit to being incredibly excited.

I halfway expect there to be sunshine and rainbows and perfect weather and cheers and a parade on April 19th. I will have achieved something. I will have made 1,000 of these Cranes. I will have stuck to it despite periods of poverty and unemployment and depression and over-booked schedules and travels into other states and a cross-country move and an immersion into regional theater work. I have done this.

When the genesis of this idea started coalescing into a need in December 2013 in my parent’s house in Virginia over the winter holidays, I had no idea what to expect. I assumed there would be 1,000 people in my life- I was only 33 at that time in December- that needed to be acknowledged and thanked for my life and existence and survival and my work and my career and my life.

I’m not sure that I ever considered I would ever NOT be able to think of people deserving of thanks. I’m not sure that I ever thought I’d have “run out” of personal thanks to give. But I did. I stopped thanking people on Crane 723. On that day, I finally hit the present day- the people I was currently working with. I didn’t feel like I had an objective stance at that point to start talking about people I saw daily in Portland, OR.

It’s no secret that the move to Portland has been a huge career and life shift. My dreams of living in New York City- working and surviving and thriving there- were dashed (for the moment or forever?). It’s no secret that the shift from freelance designing to managing a costume shop at a regional theater has been a huge blessing- but also an ever larger disappointment personally. I’m now no longer considered a designer by anyone. My dreams (from college? from my adulthood?) seemingly ended when I moved here.

But I have a sense of financial security that I’ve never had in my adult life. I’m no longer frantically always looking for work and paychecks and ways to pay my bills. The freedom from that anxiety has allowed me to feel more human than I have in a long while. As much as I moan about the loss of creative endeavors and stimulation, there is something glorious about waking up in the morning and knowing exactly what I have to do for work. There is something glorious about waking up on a weekend, making myself some coffee and sitting on my balcony with my dog snoring at my feet, and not feeling guilty about the need to do something.

(I do worry that this will make me lazy and less ambitious and less driven. I still do worry about that constantly.)

What else to say today?

Over the course of this project, my perspective on my life and my worth has changed INCREDIBLY.

Today I finally came to the realization that the guy I had been casually seeing for the past month (really?) might have disappeared into the ether. I’m simultaneously okay with that- if it’s true (is it?)- but also disappointed because those feelings were kinda actually great. I’m 37. I’m a gay man. I’m starting to worry. Seriously. I’d still like to date someone actually and seriously and totally.

Maybe I *am* the common denominator?

Anyway… My dog still loves me and is here for me. There’s that.

Work is still work. I’m constantly feeling guilty about how I want to restructure the shop, while feeling like it would be a HUGE step forward for the theater (and me). It’s not the situation/environment I want or feel is conducive to good/better/awesome work. It’s just not. I’m constantly looking for proof now so I can implement change. AND THAT FEELS WEIRD FOR ME.

So… Nine more days, guys.

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