Saturday, November 13, 2004

Late night after the show

I am in my kitchen with a planned splurge of food: two glasses of red wine and a lean cuisine. Oh! My life is so exciting. Actually, it makes me a little scared how excited I am for this and how I planned it so carefully.

I have been so high (I guess of adrenaline, as I gather from my reading) after the shows -- not because it went so well or something, even though, I have to say the show did go pretty well -- but because after any show, good or bad, I am just jacked up so high I cannot sleep for hours afterwards and I have been spending this excited time EATING. Which is not good because, because that is not healthy and not good. So I am trying to plan for how I'm going to feel after a show and what I will do and what I will eat. So, here I am with a very expensive bottle of pinot noir and a Lean Cuisine and frankly, I couldn't be happier.

It's weird to be an actress like the kind that I am, doing these monologues. I now have been through this three times and now I kind of know the drill. How spectacularly thrilling and exciting it is, and how completely lonely it is. I kept thinking I might go out with people after the show, but I am so wound up from the show I can't really concentrate on all that much except the show. And that means I am glazed over on any subjects that are not about MY SHOW. And that is a spectacularly ego-filled maniacal state to be in, one I'm sure that is not condusive to regular conversation. So to be polite, I make sure I am alone. But being alone means being with myself with all this energy! When I did God Said Ha! I thought I never knew such depths of aloneness and high off performing-ness. But then, back then, oh those eight years ago -- before all the travels and the big break up and the adopting of Mulan and all that changed, back then it was kind of romantic, this whole life I led -- so alone and so connected. But now, it's begining to feel routine. And that feels good, and not-so-good at the same time. I'm older. It's not so starkly beautiful now, and I don't have a God in my life to make me feel good or bad or anything about it. It's just

So here I am. Eating a Lean Cuisine and having a glass of pinot noir. And this is what I'm thinking about: I am reading this amazing book: "Don't Think Of An Elephant." by George Lakoff. It's a lot about how progressives need to deal with conservatives in our country. And to accomplish this, he describes the world view of many conservatives and I feel so enlightened. And I understand so much better now! And I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all this information, what I can do, but it's very fertile stuff. In any case, he talks a lot about how conservatives view the world in a frame of family (as do progressives, by the way) and the frame that conservatives use is the strict father frame of viewing the world. Their brand of Christianity is the strict father type and the progressive view is of the nurturing parent brand.

Well, first of all, if you haven't read this book, it means that you must read it immediately. Conservative or progressive, you must read it. It's really amazing.

But it has caused an explosion in my mind of re-examining who this God was in my life that I have now let go of. And I realize that the God I believed in was a compassionate god, a friendly god, a loving god -- not at all the strict father God that so many people believe in or have rejected. I began to notice this a few years ago as I workshopped my show -- that many people's Gods (that they rejected) were punative and judgemental. And I would say, "Wow, the God I believed in didn't do all that much but just love me." And still, I rejected him!

Then I thought about my own dad. My dad was never a strict diciplinarian in any way. In so many ways, he was like a friendly uncle who lived with us. My mom was the one in charge and my dad just went to work and tried to be friends with us. I know now how untraditional this type of family system is, and I can see what is not good about this -- it made my mother have to be the heavy and my dad clearly abdicated so much of parenting to her and I think she was not prepared for this in any way. But besides all that, the fact is that the God I had constructed in my imagination was very much like my father. Like a super-human version of my father. A confidant, a friend, an all-knowing daddy. Which, in some ways, made it harder to let him go. Because what is the downside? For me, it became the facts, the psychological and scientific facts that were so at odds with this imaginary friend. But I can see that people who have a "strict father" frame of the world may not at all be able to understand what I'm talking about when I talk about God. I mean, it doesn't mean God is any more or less real because of our fantasy about him, but it does mean that the people who would never be able to relate in any way to the experience I have had will probably never be albe to. Not that I thought they would. It's just all so...interesting. That's all.

When you can imagine whoever you want to be God, then God can be anything. So to talk about "God" is almost impossible. Everyone has such a different set of needs they bring to the table when it comes to talking about God.

In the end, it's just reality that is happening and not our ideas of abstract notions. People are dying in Fallujah tonight. Or barely not dying. Or thinking they might be dying.

There's so much pain in the world, so much excrutiating pain, sometimes I cannot bear it.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Stepping forward, finally

I feel I'm gaining my perspective back on the world. Although it all still looks very bleak. But from some letters I've read and some articles I've read as well, it looks like the moral superiority that so many people claimed the Bush had over Kerry -- it seems like it could be overplayed. And that a bigger reason may have been fear and a misunderstanding of what is happening in the middle east. It's so disheartening that the statistics show that those who are least informed about world affairs dominate the bulk of the Republican Party. But then, when you look back at the history of the Democratic party, it is also filled with preachers and priests taking bus-loads of people to the polls, people who also probably had only a tenuous grasp of the issues. It all comes down to good information and accurate reporting and an educated public.

I have to say, one of the unexpected outcomes of the election, for me personally, is an increased interest in sending Mulan to a public school. I don't want to stay away from the secular public. I don't want her or me to be living in such a rarified environment. I am more skeptical of sending Mulan, even to an Episcopal school -- which I am still considering. I feel a bit angrier at religion now, and more interested in participating in our still-secular school system.

I don't know. Another part of me wants to move away. I am feeling the need to make a big change. I'm not sure what. The show is doing very well here, and it appears I could take the show on the road -- we have an intriquing offer to go to Toronto for two months. And I would love to do this show in New York. And then last night I let myself have a spit-second fantasy of going to London with the show. And like a bomb, it exploded into a full blown elaborate dream. Mulan would be in kindergarten next year. And she's practically reading already. I feel if I were going to take off for a year, next year is the year to do it. Maybe we could go to San Francisco, Seattle, and then on. Who knows. Would it be awful? I think it would be hard for Mulan, she likes stability and routine, in some ways more than I think the average kid likes it. It's hard to know, being a person who is happy to take off with a back pack for six months at a go. I don't know if I expect her to be more flexible than I should be expecting. But hmmm... Hmmm... The time seems right. In some ways. My ability to make money is probably greater here in L.A. Theatre is hard to make money at, and I like to keep ticket prices low, and the subject matter isn't exactly broad and it may not work well outside of certain urban centers. And it takes a while to get the word out. Like we've had this show up for about two months now, and just now the word seems to be getting out. I think it takes about three months to do a proper run.

Why am I musing about all this on my blog? I guess I just wanted to get some entry on the site that wasn't about me about to end it all over the election. I have to say, Joe Conanson's article in Salon last week was a big help.

Here's a section: "In the dark post-election mood that lingers, the defeated should find history both restorative and instructive. Restorative because the past reminds us that both victors and vanquished tend to mistake the dimensions of the immediate event, whose true significance cannot be known until years or even decades later. Instructive because the past tells us so much about how the conditions of our present distress came to exist -- and, most important, how we can change them.

So for the moment set aside the triumphal proclamations from the Republican leadership and their echoes in the media, along with the petty recriminations against John Kerry, who has devoted his life to public service and deserves admiration for the honorable campaign he waged against unscrupulous opponents. As a presidential candidate he had his virtues and flaws, which obviously differed from those of George W. Bush -- and will surely differ from those of the next Democratic nominee.

A longer perspective is more pertinent and more relevant to the future than listening to televised imbeciles maundering about the "death of liberalism." (Had the Democrat won by three points and a couple dozen electoral votes, nobody would be touting the "death of conservatism.") Progressives and reactionaries in America have both survived much sharper electoral rejections than this one. Both sides tend to overreact to such rejection in an election's emotional aftermath."

Oh Joe Conason! And I got a lot of letters from people along the same lines. See what a little perspective does! I feel better. Much better.

Friday, November 05, 2004

It's not getting better

I am not getting a perspective on this election. I am not getting back my knee-jerk hope for America. I'm just stunned. I listened to Bush this morning outline his plans for this presidency. He was cocky and arrogant. He told a reporter that now that he had political capital and he was going to spend it, that was his "style." And that’s what he had after the 2000 election. Then he snickered. It's so cruel and indecent. Can you imagine Kerry saying something remotely like that? Really, I feel I am living in a nightmare - like I'm going to wake up and this will not have happened.

The topic of the day on the news was how morals and family values swayed the election. I just don't understand how people can think that preventing two consenting adults from making a legal agreement to each other, how that offends someone’s morality? No one is forcing them to join in a homosexual union. Do they think that if gay marriage is not allowed that homosexuality will not be practiced? How is it moral to prevent a marriage between two people who want to commit to each other? How is it moral to force a woman to have a baby when she cannot provide for it and when the world is already vastly overpopulated? How is that moral?

I can't bridge the divide in America by coming closer to their point of view on these values issues. It’s frankly immoral to me that they hold such picayune, small minded issues to be ones of morality. When they mask a deep immorality. Bush said the top things on his agenda were reforming Social Security and the Tax code, both things that have deeply dividing, immoral consequences if done the way he wants them to be. Democrats have to take back the corner on "morality" and "values." What a convoluted distortion of truth. What a misunderstanding of what morality is. It's like our populace is ethically bankrupt. They cannot distinquish between ethics and religion. They think being religious is being good. It's so desperately sad that this is what so many people think.

For the first time I am glad my father is dead. On the whole run up to the election, I wished every single day I could call him and discuss something. The debates, we would have talked and talked about the debates. But my father would have been so deeply disturbed by this election. I am glad he is spared of it.

The reports keep saying that ministers in church's helped tremendously in getting out the moral values vote. I am filled with anger at these people. They have been so badly used and they think it's in the name of God! They have cheapened spirituality and led their congregants down a dark tunnel where they can concentrate on small issues that do not effect them, and while they are feeling "good" about being so "moral" their preachers are allowing them to be robbed and their children to be robbed of their future. I wonder if this can be rectified.

I just want to move to Hawaii. I want to live on Kauai and just look at the sky every night and have a garden. And I want to move to D.C. and do something about this horrible mess. I am so disappointed in the Floridians. And the people of Ohio – my goodness. This is just very, very sad. Things can change dramatically from small wrong turns.

I keep thinking I'll get some grounding, some perspective. But I just can't. And obviously I keep saying the same things over and over here. But I just can't get far enough away from the dissapointment and hurt and anger to get some clear grounding yet. And I want to.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


I am so sad. And angry. And surprised. And embarrassed. And worried, so worried. My eyes sting from crying. My back aches from constantly watching TV and reading the internet and I want to be around others and I want to be alone and I want to talk to those who are as outraged as I am about the election results and I am also tired of talking to people who agree with me and I want to rush to a red state and just force them to see the world clearly! Yes, yes, how arrogant of me, right?

Also, I have a writing assignment and I have to write and I just want to turn the clock backwards and have it all happen the way it was supposed to happen! The way it should have happened!

These are the things I'm thinking about:

1.) People like me should not have moved away from the small towns we grew up in to big cities where our ideas are ghettoized. Washington State overall is liberal and democratic, but in Spokane, it's like Idaho. Very conservative. And yet, of course, I moved away. To be around other people who thought like I did. And so did millions of us. That's what people mostly do. And yet, it would probably be better for our country if we stayed in our small conservative hometowns and kept talking, talking talking. Teaching, reading, writing letters to the editor, etc. I mean, I know plenty of democrats in Spokane, outspoken democrats, but there's a lot of misinformation too. I just was in Spokane the weekend before last and I kept hearing over and over how Spokane was such a great place for kids to grow up. But is it a good place for a kid to grow up where morality is measured in religiosity? Which brings me to...

2.) morality vs. religiosity. It makes me so deeply sad and frightened that people in America think that being moral is being religious. My friend Jim Emerson said to me that he didn't think morality was even possible if you were religious. At first I scoffed at him, but now I think he's right. Religion requires submission to a higher authority and an abandonment of reason for faith. And that act in itself is immoral. Because morality is not about obedience but about looking clearly at the real hard facts and making choices that take those facts into acoount. To me, that is what morality is. And yet, most people who voted for Bush voted for him because of what they consider to be his higher values and morality. It's so simple minded, and it's such a blatant disregard for true deep morality. Morality isn't doing what you are told to do, being obedient and well behaved. Morality is acting in ways that benefit the common good after taking into consideration the facts. Morality is not allowing yourself to succumb to the wishes of big business or the government that supports it unless it can be demonstrated that it effects the good of everyone. That's what government is supposed to do. In a way, it's genius the way big business got the average american to believe that the moral choice was to go with them!

And I can't stop thinking about the Supreme Court. This may not be undone in my lifetime. I looked at Mulan sleeping this morning and wondered what kind of world she was going to live in. What kind of world we would both be living in.

I just want to look at the stars. I want to lay outside in the dark and look up at the stars and remember how small we are. How little and unimportant we are. Even though I know we are amazingly precious. And we may be squandering this accident of us, the wonderfulness of us to our deep irrational fears and excesses.

Today I drove behind a large black SUV with a Bush-Cheney bumper sticker. It was like driving behind a wall of black steel. How cocky. How arrogant. And now they have the American people behind them. The Republicans have a blank check -- the House, the Senate. My word, they can do anything they want to. It can all change so quickly, our long fought democracy, our freedom of speech, our freedom of privacy, our freedom of worship. There's a tipping point where it could all be squandered very quickly.

This is the darkest day in American politics that I have ever known. As I walked on my hike this morning, I passed by people who were laughing and talking and I wondered how anyone could be laughing about anything? At least before the election the world didn't hate the American people because they knew that most of us didn't agree with George Bush or even like him or even vote for him. But now, all that is changed.

Oh dear, I think I'm going to cry again. DAMNIT. This is so bad. This is the worst possible scenario.