Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Early Morning in May

It's 6:15 a.m. and I've been up for an hour. Oh me, oh my, I haven't written a blog in so long. So much has happened. My dad died on March 20; a little over two months ago now. I just realized the last blog I wrote was on March 15. I had no idea he would be gone in the next five days. He had been terribly ill, of course. We were waiting for him to go, actually. It was excrutiating, watching him be in so much pain, so frail. My poor mom hadn't been able to leave the house for a year without finding someone to be with my dad. It was hard. I feel very sad to lose him. I miss him a lot. In a way, it's gotten sadder for me in the last few days. At first, when he died, we were all so relieved. We were terribly sad of course, but we had been so concerned about him. His death meant that we could stop worrying about him and begin to just miss him. So, I've been missing him. Last week was a particularly hard week. It seems like every couple of days there's something on NPR's Morning Edition that makes me want to call my dad. We used to speak about three times a week about the news, and sometimes every day. Today I wanted to call him about Bush's speech yesterday so we could fret about the state of the world together. Then I wanted to talk to him about all those Boston Catholic Churches closing. He would have been sad about that.

I'm going to make a tribute page to my dad with a slide show that I showed at his wake: pictures that I was able to gather together in a day at my parents' condo. I'm going to put in a letter I wrote to my dad a year ago and a letter a co-worker and dear friend of my dad's wrote to me (and my brothers and sisters) after he died.

Since the funeral I have been here in L.A. working on my monologue and working on my book. Right now it seems like I work on it all day, every minute I can, and I get nothing done. I have to turn in the first draft of my book on June 1st. I will make that deadline, but barely. Oh, there's so much work to do.

I am so excited. Yesterday was a big day. I rented a theatre for my show, "Letting Go Of God." It's at the Hudson Backstage. I was going to rent the Court Theatre, my favorite small theatre in L.A. But it's very expensive, and I would have to bet on my show being a hit in order to break even. I don't want to have ticket prices be greater than $20. So, my accounting hat has been on, figuring out how it's going to work on every random piece of paper around the house. My assistant Pam Keller is going to produce, and I'm going to put up the money, which is the first time for me. It's scary, but I really am excited too. So, yesterday Pam and I went over to the Hudson and sat around the theatre and tried to imagine my show there. At first, it seemed like the worst space. It's not an intimate setting at all -- brick walls, it's 42 feet wide, the stage is not raised. It's a rather imposing, downtowny type feeling -- not at all what I was looking for. But, it has these five big flats on wheels that can be part of the set, and my mind began to imagine images that could be projected onto those flats. Also, when I sat up in the back seats and looked at Pam on the stage, she looked so small amongst the flats (which are about ten feet high, I think), and suddenly, I realized that this was exactly the feeling I wanted. I could project things like Biblical passages onto the flats, and I would look so small amongst the books or the passages from the books, or the images. It's a more in-your-face feeling, but I really think it might work. Now I have to keep working on the script and begin to assemble the images. It's so exciting, I can barely stand it. My head is exploding with ideas. This show is going to be so much different than my other two shows, much more visual, I will move a lot more, it'll be much, much, much more physical. I will have more music in the body of the show. It's going to be a feat getting all the images I want organized and on a central computer system. Last night I went to bed at ten, but then got up again at midnight to reread the first act and imagine music and imagery and it was like coming out of me so fast, like a symphony, I couldn't stop it. That is such a rush. I hope it turns out okay.

My show will go into previews in the third week of August. I believe I'll have two weeks of previews and open the show on Sept. 10th.

Wow, Mulan is still asleep and it's 7:15 a.m. I have been up for amost two hours. I better go get her up. We put up her bunk beds this week, and she's been sleeping in her top bunk surrounded by all her stuffed animals. It's so cute, you could almost explode when you see her up there. She comes into bed with me about three or four a.m. usually. But last night she stayed in her own room.

I have been up late at night the last couple of nights, scouring the internet for the Catholic Church's view of the Bible, how the Church justifies it's sacred nature. It's all very interesting. It turns out that at Vatican 2, in the mid-sixties, the Church made a big leap forward, (in my opinion) and accepted officially the historical nature of the Books of the Bible. But now it's all changing as Cardinal Ratzinger, (the Karl Rove of the Vatican) drafts all these encyclicals that reinstates the inerrancy of the Bible. The Church is getting so much more conservative from it's intellectual hey-day of the sixties. It makes me wonder what some priests must think. I would be very disillusioned and depressed.

10:30 a.m. Okay, now I am back home after taking Mulan to school and then working out for an hour and a half. I have to rework my first act of the show today. I am trying to get a dialogue going that's funny -- how the priest tries to tell me how you can read the Bible historically AND see it as inerrant sacred scripture at the same time. I remember the priest who taught me at the Bible Study class kept saying, "Well, if you look at the Bible with historical, modern eyes, then of course, it's very disturbing." Like historical modern eyes were some CRAZY MIXED UP way to look at the Bible. But then he wanted the flip side too, he wanted to be all informed and understanding of the critical literary nature of the Bible, telling me how the books were put together, and the "P" writer and the "E" writer and "J" writer. I remember it was very confusing to me at the time, and now I'm trying to remember it and make if funny.

I am doing Weight Watchers. So far I've lost about ten pounds. Well, about eight pounds in about eight weeks. I am a slow, slow, slow loser. When I do my big workout, I usually treat myself to a scone (which is six points) afterwards. I get it at Susina Bakery which has the most amazing scones. I figure, if you're going to splurge, then have the best. I get to add 6 points to my day if I work out for an hour and a half. So it's a swap: 1 1/2 hours of sweating for one delicious scone that takes about ten minutes to eat if I really eat it...s l o w l y. Hmmm... Tonight I am going out with my friend Bob Blumer, who is a chef. He's on the Food Channel, his show is called The Surreal Gourmet. I was a guest on his show a couple of years ago and I may be one again this summer. He shoots the show in Toronto and now he's headed there for six months or so. Oh, I will miss him. I'm not sure where we are going or what we are eating.

Oh my, this blog is so chatty. I am wondering about this whole blog thing.

I keep having to pinch myself, because I feel so lucky to be working on this book and this show. I feel so fortunate to be able to concentrate on the topics that are the greatest concern to me. For so many years in my working career, that was only a dream.

Every week that I've been doing Weight Watchers, I make this zero-point soup -- it's a vegetable soup and it ends up not being zero points because I roast the vegetables in a little olive oil before I put them in the soup and I add garbonzo beans and kidney beans. Anyway, last night I had Mulan be my sous chef. She picked up all the chopped vegetables and put them on the roasting pan and then sprayed them with oil. She was so happy with her job that she said she was going to change her name to "Sue."

I have to read more about Cardinal Ratzinger. He sounds really scary. Except first I have to write. Then eat vegetable soup. Then write. Then go to a meeting at three. Then pick up Mulan. THEN I can read about Cardinal Ratzinger. (I can't believe his name is "Ratzinger" -- it's like Edward Gorey invented him. It's like, if you were inventing a name for a character like his you couldn't use the name Ratzinger because it would be too obvious. The studio exec would say, "Come on...Ratzinger? Too on the nose..."