to drink or not to drink?

a mini heaven

i didn't know before coming here that no one drinks coffee.

i do drink coffee.

yes, i am a coffee drinker.

it was nearly a year ago that i really fell in love with the stuff.

at a little cafe across from a little house in the little area of sydney known as alexandria.
mochas and lattes. froth and foam. the warm cup in a chilled hand. there was none of the american nonsense of black coffee--it just didn't exist. and each coffee shop was its own. a unique adventure unto itself. nothing streamlined.

and so it was love. and so it went. and so i-was-in-love. with the morning trek across the street and the afternoon respite--sunning in the cool winter air, coffee in one hand, a book in the other.

and then i got here.

and no one drinks coffee.

and i spent a lot of time wondering if perhaps i shouldn't drink coffee. and as all catholics do i thought on the thing waiting for an appropriate amount of guilt to arise and lead me to an answer. too much guilt? let it go. not too much? carry on. and then i realized there was no guilt to be seen or felt or had. coffee is not my vice but my choice.

and so i found a lovely little coffee shop here, finagled a bike from a friend, and each morning i wend and wind through the neighborhoods just off of center street as i slowly and surely make my way to my iced-coffee haven.

it's me and a gang of bikers (motorbikes, that is) and a gypsy of a family (i think) and a whole host of assorted characters. the funny thing is, i'm probably the one who looks out of place.

i knew coming here would be hard. it would be a challenge. but that little voice inside was so sure and so calm and so i allowed it to lead--that voice that promised oh-so-good-things.

but at this moment in time i'm wondering where the heck that voice got the nerve because i can't see those oh-so-good-things. i just see the return of ned. of old habits and older fears. the return of a bloated face and a too-tight-pair-of-jeans.

for a month now i've tried to no avail to climb from this little hole that i've dug.

but today i'm gonna get myself a coffee maker. at wal-mart. or some such. because much as i like the morning bike ride to the coffee shop and much as i'll keep doing it, i wanna wake to the smell of coffee brewing. i want a hold a warm mug. and give thanks over it. and i want that to be the very first thing i do all day. before i mount a bike. before i marvel at all the eclectic houses. before i join the misfits of utah county, i wanna break a few rules in my own little room.

because there is so much instability here. so much uncertainty. and ned really loves those things. and if all it takes is one cup of my own renegade mocha to center me a little, then i'm gonna take it. and thank God for the little lifeboat that it is.

(it should be noted that i have
the utmost respect for people
who choose not to drink
coffee for whatever reason,
religious or not.)

one iced latte, please.

the last time i spoke to tom i said, sometimes, i just don't want to feel so much.

and he said, congratulations, you've just defined what an eating disorder is in a nutshell--the not wanting to feel.

i've been going through this interminable, undeniable period of writer's block.

as soon as i got here: capow, it hit. and i wondered if it had something to do with energy--with the transference of energy.

because, you see, for me...writing has always been an act of energy. of feeling. of seeing feelingly. what i mean is, i don't think it through terribly well. i mean i think it through, but mostly at a level of half-awareness. on a simmer of sorts and when it begins to boil...well, then i write. it's a feeling thing. of taking what i'm feeling and putting it on the page. so that while the reader may not get what i'm saying exactly, it doesn't quite matter, because they've lived in a different place, for just a moment. felt something just a wee bit their own. or not their own. they've experienced some sort of shift. (i think. i hope).

feeling and energy.

this post alone should be case enough to send me back to a school where someone can teach me how to write correctly and articulately and well. and yet, that's not really of interest to me. i want to write in the cracks. in the fault lines. i want to walk away with dirty fingers from sorting through the glorious and renegade weeds of my own life.

and so here i am, suddenly trying to act, and i can't write. and if i can't write, well then...
i always assumed it would be possible to do both. but this acting thing and tapping into emotions disperses and displaces my energy in such a way that the water only simmers. constantly, yes. but no real bubbles. no explosions of air.

and the thing is i'm quite sure that writing saved my life. and so i can't give it up.

how did it save my life? a good and valid question. well, because, if writing is feeling, and an eating disorder is the avoidance of feeling, then writing (for me) is the enemy of ned*. writing is the sorcerer's stone. the silver bullet. the long, sought after spoonful of sugar.

funny, i always thought it would be love.

acting is a feeling thing too. i do it feelingly. and i'm quite good at it. or i was. once. and yet in some ways (and i realized this just tonight) it was only perpetuating my sickness. as actors we are desperate to feel. but we play people who feel so very much that they want all the feeling taken out of them, want to stand barren. as actors we play people who rail against--who laugh when they need to cry--who become silent when the cries of rage overpower.

i thought i stepped away from acting because i couldn't align my health with the realities of the industry. but now i realize it was more than that. it was that it wasn't healthy for me to play people who didn't want to feel. because that was the reality of my life. it was too close.

there are days when i feel the residuals of ned. and suddenly it's as though i can't breathe. i mistakingly step into a pocket of space and time that he has claimed as his own and i am swimming through air, helplessly. and yes, i smile for the camera. and yes, as i do so i feel like a fraud. a liar. and while people kindly remind me of how far i've come, it doesn't feel as though i've taken but two steps from the ground zero of my own invited destruction.

and then just as quickly i step out of that pocket. and i see the many thousands of miles i've traversed. and i see the many miles i've left to go. and it all seems possible.

i don't believe the people that say this will be something i struggle with for the rest of my life. i think they're wrong. i think they don't know. i think that's something that's been said so often and for so long that others repeat it as fact.

i think i will look back on all this in two, ten, twenty years and i will in fact be doing just that, looking back. it won't be a daily battle. and i say all this because even now there are days where i feel so completely, so gloriously, so perfectly... normal.

i started all this rambling by declaring this a period of undeniable writer's block. undeniable might be a misnomer. maybe it's not writer's block. maybe it's just that i've not taken the time to sit down and hash it all out. to force the boil. sometimes words come easily and i've been so very fortunate to experience that. often. and yet there is just as much value in the uphill trek through the muck, the searching for words when words themselves seem impossible.

because this--all of this will make me a better actor if and when i decide that that's a path i want to embark on. writing is not the enemy of acting. and acting is not the enemy of good health. and, well...there you have it.

and maybe love is the answer. love of words and theatre and afternoon bike rides. and coffee, coffee too.

you know, i sat down to write a post on the virtues of coffee and this is what i got.

go figure.

*ned is the name for my nasty little eating disorder.
to read more, go here.

man oh man. fathers.

have you ever heard an actor say, "if you can do anything else [besides act], you should"

well personally, i think that's total bullocks. the best actors should be able to do damn near anything and yet choose to act.

that being said, when you've gone to acting school for four years, it is very easy to feel completely unqualified in a real, working-world setting.

i was telling my father this. and so he sent me the following email.

A while back when we talked, you were upset because you did not feel that you were qualified to do anything. I have been thinking about your concern for some time now and composed the first of two lists. The first list is suitable for printing and putting in a pace where you will see it on a regular basis.

Enjoy, Love Dad.

Sunday, May 18, 2009


I thought about this for some time and decided you are well qualified to:

Be you
Write your own story
Have fun
Be loved
Make a friend
Be a friend
Make dreams come true
Touch a heart
Touch a world

Be seen
Be strong
Be weak
Stand tall
Be independent
Be political
Laugh out loud
Bring insight

Be beautiful
Show compassion

Congratulations, you are qualified to do all of the above, or some, or none, your choice. You are also qualified to add to this list at will.

Love, Dad

Man oh man, am I lucky.

Thanks, Dad. You're so right. I am pretty darn qualified.

And pretty darn lucky to have you.

we're having a real life thunderstorm here in nyc

my absolute favorite kind of weather.

and seeing as how i can count my nyc thunderstorms on one hand (in part because i've never really spent my summer's here) i'm loving this.

usually rain calls for edith piaf and a little dancing.

but today i'm enjoying Coeur de pirate (i read about her fabulous french pop on one of your blogs and now i'm at a loss for which one--remind me, will you?!), cleaning, and getting ready for work...oh how can i got to work when the weather is this perfect? 

ps: there is a soap star who lives on my block. i always see him in pajama bottoms. pajama bottoms. all hours of the day. hmmmm.

image via a cup of jo (paris in the rain)