Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Defiant Dress Progress

I know how weird/ugly this looks. Wait.

What a day yesterday was. I felt blissful all day.
First, the best appointment ever with Dr. Shoja who, I think, felt as I did about the progress I am making — not in getting over my symptoms but in learning how to live with them. I’m learning how to calm myself in a myriad of ways. The best part: I’m feeling ready for a reduction to bi-monthly therapy appointments starting in September.
Then there was yesterday’s weather: Ideal.
And in terms of work: I made considerable progress with the back of the defiant dress skirt. Her armour is padded. (See above.) And when you look at the letters carefully from the front you see “veins” on porous paper lining inside.
Plus I got to page 29 on the re-write of my (forty-page) script. I’ll finish it today and then start on the front of the bodice. I’m going to get the whole front finished if I can, so I can include its photo in the Arts Club script.
Colin’s availability to evaluate the script is adding to my confidence going into the theatre’s competition to be part of their new play series. I’m taking his Yes as an omen.

Colin's In!

Colin, the editor/dramaturge/playwright has time for me. He has June 5 - 7 to work with me. That leaves me good time for re-writing; the Arts Club needs the script June 19, so I’m set. My pitch will go in tuned by a professional.
I’m on page 20 of the re-write. It’s only thirty-eight pages so I can finish it this week and then I’ll keep tweaking it until I sent it to Colin. I’m really enjoying writing in a way I haven’t for a long time — even over dressmaking.
Sunny and 25° for the next week!
This morning, I went to see Dr. Shoja. It was a seminal session. Something happened “inside me” that is very hard to explain. I tried to put it into words for her and we talked about it. It’s been a very good experience. I truly feel reconciled to living with an acute anxiety disorder and I understand what I can do and cannot do. Plus, I am comfortable with staying home and undertaking as many things as possible with an escort.
I am ready to go to her every second week. I am prepared to spend forever here at home as long as I have a studio and a project to work on.
I’ve decided to get a hide-a-bed for my living room if the Arts Club takes my show so that my bedroom can become my studio because I will have to keep my dresses for so long — perhaps two years: one year for the new play series and the following year for production if they produce it. But if they don’t, there’s the option of another theatre and so these ladies will be with me for a long time. There are mice in lockers, so that’s out.

Dad of the year!

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Full-On Summer

At some point later today I am going to put the batting on the back of the front part of the defiant dress and it’ll be one-quarter finished. I have one more word — five letters — to cut and line with paper. It’s taken a month to get this far. 
First I built a metal armature and then I made the structure sturdy with foamcore. After that came a coating of thick absorbent paper to grip the layer of paper mulch I put on next; then came four layers of tissue paper applied with papier maché paste. Then I carved into it, re-applied tissue paper to all the cut edges of the letters (brutal) and reinforced the fragile bits with wire on the back. That’s a hell of a lot of work. It’s a big piece.
And now I have to do the same thing four more times: the bottom back and the two top halves. Pass the Zanex. Three months for one ugly but dress that I love.
This morning I started working on scene two. I’m keen to get at it, too, because I’m approaching an interesting part of the journey of this project — a journey that began with no destination in mind but one that has veered toward the Arts Club thanks to a friend. And in five weeks, this leg of the journey will end in glee or gore.
Now that I’m clear on what I’m doing with the defiant dress I can put dialogue into Charlotte’s mouth about it. That’s what I did this morning. I added that bit into the scene and boy does it work.
I’m back to feeling confident about my project — not over-confident, just a healthy confident and aware of the potential to be rejected. Every hour of work makes me prouder of the whole script/exhibition package.
But before I get down to work again, I’m off on a walk in the sunshine with Cathy.

Seriously: Look at this man!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Almost 1/4 Done

(Perhaps you can see in the bottom image how wire holds the unstable bits in place.)

I’m so close to being finished the front lower quarter of my dress. But jeez, I’m only a quarter done and my hands are aching from the strain of pushing the kinfe. However, I’ve learned a lot and have better tools now so the remaining three quarters should progress quicker and more easily. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this dress.
Dress #10 has a bucket of water with it as well as cigarette burns. It just has to be that way.
Building this dress has given me a fabulous idea for a “bit” in scene two. Tuesday I start re-writing it and had I not built this dress, I wouldn't have thought of the new bit that I love and that I think will add a great deal to the impact of my protagonist’s motivation.
I can’t stop working on this dress I love it so much. It’s all I do when I am at home. It’s going to take at least two more months more to complete. It’s the most time-consuming dress but worth the effort — or so think I.
Next will be the top front quarter so that I can have a photo of it for my Arts Club submission. It’s the most important dress in the show.
I think the best experience of my life was my time in France. It was the most stimulating time of my life because absolutely everything was new to me and I went alone to a city where I knew not a single soul. While there I learned a new language and how to eat.
Tied for second best was the year I built the theatre for the Municipality of North Vancouver and its Arts Council and what I’m doing now.
To get the job to build a public theatre facility (and found an art gallery) was truly an extraordinary opportunity, but I had a dreadful boss who fired me. Then he got fired and I got his job. What I am doing now, I do alone and for myself and its just as powerful an experience.
I’m really proud of this dress. It dress means as much to me as did my screenplay in terms of artistic achievement. I absolutely love experiencing it come out of me — it’s almost as though it’s not coming from an autonomous force and my conscious mind is just the editor. That’s exactly what it’s like.
I’m so moved to be learning, through experience, what it’s like to create objects with your hands. I’ve moved from the frivolous to the profound, I think.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


I’ve found my rhythm. I set myself a writing objective for the day as soon as I get up. Thursday, I decided to re-write five letters and then complete re-writing scene one; Friday’s objective was the remaining five letters and the cover letter to the adjudicators.
Once the day’s writing objective’s set, I get down to it and then when I am finished I feel I have earned guilt-free time to work on my dresses. I like making the dresses more than writing; writing is so sedentary and heady. I want to complete half of the defiant dress. I’m almost finished the lower front quarter. I’m doing do the top front quarter next so that I can include a photo of the entire front of the defiant dress in the script along with the photos of all the other dresses.
But it’s the weekend. Today I carve and tomorrow I read. No writing till next week.
I went to a party last night and Sally was there and it was great. I am so glad I went and that we all had such a nice time. I feel really good about Sally again and I’m really glad.
But going out is really hard. I am phenomenal how tense I am all the time. I don’t really participate unless I’m asked something. I could happily stay home all the time but I am happy to see friends.
And my feet are back on the ground. I realize my chances with the Arts Club are 50/50, at best. I loved writing out my reasons for expecting success and I am glad I did, but I’ve sobered up and am fine with taking the risk without expectations. Boca’s rejection didn’t even make me blink.