I am in South Orange, New Jersey. Tonight I am doing my show, “Letting Go of God.” I am really excited to be here, and the space is fantastic. We have a big audience for tonight and I am thrilled. I had two shows scheduled for Connecticut, but they were cancelled. I guess they hadn’t sold very many tickets. Like almost none. Which I have been mulling over whether to talk about in my blog. People have been emailing me and asking if anything was wrong, like a personal emergency or something. I could make up a big story about some catastrophe, but I am the worst liar. I can keep it up for like ten minutes and then I am too lazy to keep the lie going and I spill the beans sometime when I least expect it. That is my pledge of honesty, I am honest because I am too lazy to lie! Ha. I never thought about it that way before. In any case, one of the two shows, the one in Ridgefield, Connecticut has been rescheduled for June 1, 2008. I’m not sure why I sold so many tickets in New Jersey and not very many in Connecticut. I noticed that they were billing me as “The Comedy Of Julia Sweeney” on one of the sites, which I should have corrected. On the other hand, maybe they were too weirded out saying, “Letting Go of God.” Wow, if someone came to hear the comedy of some vaguely familiar commedienne and ended up, instead, watching me perform my two hour days-journey-into-night about science and religion, I think they would be very surprised. I should be more on top of that. Anyhoo – I am trying to be. I am so sorry for anyone who bought tickets to those shows. There are so few of you I could have probably called you individually, but I am not going to. In any case, I will be in Connecticut, and in June, a wonderful time to be there. I am already planning on bringing Mulan with me, which will be less stressful in one way and more stressful in another. I am going to be part of this big Science Convention (it’s so big, it gets capital letters!) in New York City in late May, and I’m doing my show, “Letting Go of God” there as part of it, so it seemed like a good time to do the Connecticut show. Also, that leaves enough time for us to really promote it well. I am also doing “Letting Go of God” in Portland, Oregon on May 28th, part of a one-person-show festival or something, but I have to get the information specifics for that one, so stay posted.
I have a new performing philosophy for this coming year, so I don’t get caught up in lots of random shows here and there which make my life constantly chaotic. And my new philosophy is this: outside of a few performances I already have scheduled, I will only make dates to perform “Letting Go of God” around the time I am doing the show in Iowa City on Oct. 25, 2008 up to two weeks of shows. This will get posted on my website, but if you or someone you know wants to book “Letting Go of God” into a mid-sized theater, call or have them call my booker for this type of thing: Brian Swanson at Monterey International, 821-625-6300. I’ll have all this up on the website too.
So that means, I have two “Letting Go of God” performing times in 2008, a week at the end of May to June 1, and then probably or maybe a week or so surrounding the Oct. 25th date in Iowa. And then I can plan the rest of my year accordingly. Whew. I feel so organized!!!!!! Before I felt like I was a bit of lint flitting up and back on the winds of sometimes doing the show and sometimes not, and now I know what I’m willing and want to do. This is fantastic. If I could just apply this attitude towards my house and the book I am trying to write, and then extend it towards my house and my daughter and my fiancé, everything will be perfect.
The show with Jill Sobule on Tuesday night at Largo went really well. I mean, some of my stories thudded but overall, I had a good time and I think the audience did too. God, it is so fantastic to be onstage with a band. I mean, it is just… peak life experience time – people! Jill and I are thinking we will develop the show further and maybe open in a more regular way in February. Possibly. On Wednesday this week, (the day after our second Largo show) Jill and I are getting some headshots together for a CD we are working on and also I’ll get new headshots for my website. Right now I have the brunette me on there, when in real life I am the gray me. I had let my hair go “natural” before and then I thought maybe I was aging myself so I dyed my hair brown and not only did nothing different happen for me, casting wise, I really began to realize how expensive it was to have that hair color and I didn’t even really think it looked all that good on me. Then Michael (fiancé – boyfriend, life partner) said he liked my hair gray better. And it was like I got a get-out-of-jail-free card! What a dream-man he is!!!! So, I am back. And I am changing the way I spell gray too – gray with an “a” seems sad to me, when grey with an “e” seems lively and upbeat and REALISTIC about life. So, I am grey. Grey, grey, grey. And soon my picture will be more accurate.
On the plane ride here I read Katha Pollitt’s book, “Learning To Drive and Other Life Stories.” It is fantastic. I mean, it’s really good. I made a fool of myself laughing on the plane. People turned around to look at me, I was laughing so hard. And it’s so poignant too, oh you’ve just got to read it. In her story, “I Let Myself Go” she wrote something that is apropos to my hair color wishy-washy-ness.
She writes, “When I was married I didn’t pay much attention to my looks and when I got divorced I paid even less. I wore my favorite gray T-shirt until you could see through it, like a spider web. You might say I trusted in my powers of conversation to charm and beguile, like a man, or you might say I abandoned the field completely rather than engage in a degrading beauty contest that I felt sure to lose. I would picture T.S. Eliot living like a monk in that rectory, forty-five going on sixty, and it seemed like a sensible choice, to give up intentionally what you are going to be forced to relinquish anyway and to move on to the next stage, some Zennish way of being, but with meat. And yet, I would rage at the way women were sidelined sexually as they got older. T.S. Eliot got a second wind and married his secretary. Why couldn’t America be like France, where older women are seen as attractive, like Charlotte Rampling in Under the Sand? Maybe the difference isn’t the men but the women, my boyfriend said, dryly. Maybe Frenchwomen make more of an effort. Yes, I thought bitterly, they probably do. The slaves.”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. There is so much to love in that one paragraph! “…but with meat.” That made me laugh out loud, real loud. And then “…the slaves.” God she is so brilliant! This is going to be my Christmas gift this year, this book and also “The World Without Us.”
Katha Pollitt gave a speech at the Freedom From Religion Foundation conference that I attended in Madison in October. She gave a wonderful speech. And she mentioned something about how religion gives people this worldview, this permission maybe, or this reasonable opinion to believe that each and every one of their small decisions in life has great moral implications. It makes the most mundane things seem significant, it infuses this God who is watching each and every moment and into each and every decision we make. And the truth is that our individual decisions are probably not that important. But if you are a believer, you can believe that they are. Or something like that. Anyway, I was so blown away by that comment. Of course, that is true! Yes, it is so true. The narcissism that you can indulge in as a believer, but it’s so seductive too and it’s so sad to me, of course we all want to think that our choices and challenges are all significant, but really – the hard truth is – they probably aren’t on any bigger scale, not even on an individual life’s scale.
What else is new? Oh yes, a new website for me is being discussed. No more flash. That’s what we’re talking about. Simple. Not-flash. Grey haired Julia. Clear performing schedules. Okay…
Now I am going to go eat lunch and then take a small nap and then run the entire show before the show tonight.