Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Fire Hazard

Above is my homemade fire hazard. It’s a sauna, the water comes out of the papier maché drying inside. The heat comes from my heater right beside paper. It’s actually my drying chamber. Things have to dry in a certain shape so they have to dry quickly and be carefully supported whilst they are drying.

I hated seeing the neurologist. It was not my idea! He reassured me there was nothing wrong with my brain. I knew that. But there is and that says a lot about him. There is just nothing pathologically wrong with my brain and there’s a difference. He didn’t make the distinction so he winds up giving me that “you have wasted my time” feeling when he says: “There’s nothing I can do for you.” I knew that. I didn’t expect him to do anything. I just wanted out of there and to take a bath and pretend it never happened.
Okay… another lesson learned. Dr. Shoja says that the more I stay inside, the harder it will be to go outside. I’m sort of already noticed that. So point taken. I may try early morning walks when summer the hot weather comes, when it is quiet and tranquil — like at 5:00 am.
As my friend Beth did, Dr. S. cautioned me about “getting my hopes too high” about the Arts Club. Will I be sad if they say No? Probably. Will it last? I doubt it. The thing is, the key voice (the dramaturge) has read a scenario and scanned the first draft and she called it “brilliant.” That was the actual word she used and that word is why I am so excited. It’s her fault.
If the Arts Club does say No, I will ask for insight into its deficiencies if they don’t offer it. Doing so would make the experience productive and worthwhile and ease the pain. But I know that soon my mind will turn to Plan C: finding a co-producer and carrying on or using them in some way as a fundraiser for a charity.
There’s a charity here that gives makeovers to women on the Downtown Eastside who are determined to find a job. The charity dresses them up, coaches them and helps them with a resumé and I think that might be a good fit with my dresses. I could organize a charity auction of the ladies, perhaps, and take a percentage to recover my costs…. It’s an idea.
After a long time thinking about it, I wrote to Boca and told them what I thought of their rejection process. I told them I was writing on behalf of future applicants. Their treatment of me was really insulting; they should have offered some insight in return for all the work I did and I said so. I am certain that their rejection was cut and pasted into all the rejection emails to program applicants.
Three letters to Charlotte came yesterday. It’s exciting to have them to add to the Arts Club package.
This morning, 9:00 am, I’ve an appointment with the new physiotherapist. I am keen to see what he says and does but I am not looking forward to another day of stuttering and spasticity. I’m f**king sick of stuttering and jerking.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Studies in Idiocy

Approaching the End of Phase One

Shit. Phase one of this project is coming to an end.
The defiant dress is a week away from being finished and I have all the materials in place for dress eleven, the fortune cookie dress. Then there’ll only be one more dress to make: Number twelve. Then phase one will be complete, I will have a honed draft of the script, ready for workshops, and all the major properties done.
My plan over the summer is to fix the peacock, wheat and pearl dresses and in the Fall I will start on the accessories: the wheat bouquet, the marble umbrella, the bucket for the defiant dress and I want to find a cheap guitar for the cardinal dress.
Phase two will be seeing if, and how, all this stuff becomes a show or exhibition.
When Steve left me, I was a wreck. It was far worse than getting my HIV positive diagnosis. After living with grief and seeing it reflected in the faces of my friends, I felt trapped in it. I decided I had to stop being “Chris who got left by Steve,” so I went to India for three months and when I came back, I was “Chris who just got back from a long time in India.” It was an awesome trick to change my life for the better.
Well now I’m “Chris who had the breakdown” and my symptoms prevent anyone from forgetting it. I can’t escape this, but I can get beyond it. That’s why the Arts Club decision means so much to me.
If they say Yes, in my own mind I’ll become “Chris who’s got a play in development at the Arts Club.”
I went to a gathering of friends on Sunday and they are all theatre friends but I didn’t tell them. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. It’s something I can only tell close friends, maybe. But it will give everyone something else to talk about with me instead of my condition.
When I talk about my project with people, I stutter at about 20% or lower — not at all with Dwight; when I’m asked about my speech or spasticity, my stuttering shoots to 75 - 80%.
Today I go to Dr. Shoja. Today’s topic: Staying inside all the time, only going out for adventures escorted OR more drugs OR different drugs.
Then I go to my first appointment with a neurologist since my breakdown. He’ll want to ask me a lot of questions and I won’t be able to answer, so I’m taking some things on my app anticipating a couple of obvious questions and a pad and paper.
The rest of the day will be finishing the breastplate. I will carve in some words — just two — and back it. Then there’ll only be one more part to do: The back panel. And then — Wow! — dress number ten will be finished!
Having to talk for two hours today, though, is going to mean I’ll have neck pain in the evening. My talking is not only poor it’s also really difficult to do. I have to put a lot of effort in and that’s why I shake and jiggle. But tomorrow I go to a new physiotherapist. He’ll have questions too but I know what I want to tell him and I will pre-record it on my app.
Dwight comes for lunch tomorrow, too. He’s going to help me figure out how to display the defiant dress. He’s a professional art installer so I’m very lucky he’s my ‘bro.

Monday, May 29, 2017


Hooray! Christy the sleazebag Clark, our premier, is out — and thank God. The Greens just ousted the queen of slime.
I’m done with the script. I can’t do any more. I’m sticking to dressmaking now in hopes of having the defiant dress front done in time for the Arts Club submission — given that it is the most important piece in the play and unlike any of the other dresses. The script goes to an editor on Friday.
Then, next Thursday (June 8th), I start re-writing again after I get the feedback from Colin. Then it goes to the Arts Club on the 19th and I hear if I’m selected for the new play series or not by the end of the month. That’s very quick.
If they say No, I think this theatre will tell me why (unlike Boca del Lupo). And I’ll consider all they say and maybe try again somewhere else — perhaps a theatre company that the Arts Club can recommend. Honestly: I think I can get past this first hurdle, perhaps not the next — it is much tougher — but I think I can do this one.
The breastplate is coming along. I made it Sunday, and felt ambivalent about it yesterday, so I added an “apron” to it — I flared it at the bottom and liked it much better. It’s very odd, for sure, but I like it and I think it will look good installed in a show.

I am a Prop-Making Playwright

I can barely keep up with the changes in my attitudes to the things I do.
Walking, my former passion, is no longer something I like to do — actually, I’d love to do it but my condition makes it too challenging. I used to like watching TV too, with Leon cozy on my chest but that bores the life out of me. Baking and entertaining: Nope. Not any more.
And I feel almost unable to read. Me, who once read seventeen books in fifteen days won’t even read my New Yorkers. I feel driven to activity and reading is just too passive. Even when I’m writing, every twenty minutes or so I bolt from my desk to pee, get a drink or get a snack and just look around. I am constantly taking two-minute breaks.
When I am working on my dresses, I do the reverse. Every half hour or so, I stop and sit at my desk.
Another pattern I notice is how much I absolutely love a still day of writing at my desk after a long day of working hard on a dress. So I realize that a project that involves both writing and making things like Defiant Dress does, is ideal for me. Trdueau was the same because I built the set and costumes for that as well.
So I understand my “calling” and I’ve already started thinking about my next project.
The idea that’s winning right now is to build a dinosaur.
I was raised a Tyrell. I don’t feel like one but it was the name of the people who raised me, and Don Tyrell had a relative who was an explorer who discovered the dinosaurs in Alberta. That’s why the dinosaur museum in Drumheller is called the Royal Tyrrell Museum. (Don’s great grandfather dropped one “R” from their name.)
I like the idea of building all the bones of a dinosaur to scale and writing a script that calls for the dinosaur to be assembled during each performance.
That idea may not last but another will replace it — something like it. I am a prop-making playwright like Ronnie Burkett.

Rare Abalone pearls.