Friday, April 25, 2008

number the stars

99th post.
365 days of blogging.
90th day of substitute teaching!
21 days until I leave LA for about 121 days...

for the last 2 weeks I have been working with a special education class at Hollywood High and I know this might sound cliche-- but they taught me so much. I spent the first several days feeling like I was going to explode, or lose it, or kill them, or crumble in a crying heap on the floor in utter defeat. But I made it!! And we learned a lot from each other I think. I challenged them quite a bit, demanding a "crazy" amount of work from them, and I made sure they had fun, and respected me and each other and the aides in the room... and now I actually miss them a little bit. The best day was when I brought in the game Taboo and we played that by a very modified set of rules that included being able to say ALL of the 'taboo words' and actually say the main word out loud but in slow motion... They loved it.

Then the past 2 days I have been working with sixth graders in a sort of honors program at a public middle school designed by Richard Neutra. I have gotten to listen to 120 presentations on "Building a Healthy Relationship" where the kids had to make a wheel with 8 sections describing "what you need to have a healthy relationship." Big hits were- "communication," "loyalty," "trust," "love," and "patience." My favorites were: "rememberance-- remembering the things that someone you love tells you and their birthday and stuff," "personal leisure time, or space-- so that you don't lose your mind and you do your own thing because couples who spend all their time together are boring and then you don't have anything to tell your boyfriend or girlfriend about," and "time-- you can't have a great relationship after only 1 day, it takes time, and you need to spend time hanging out, like for 5 years." Those are actual quotes. Wow, 5 years is almost half of those kids' lives.
If only all the confused 20-something year-olds I know could remember what they may have known so viscerally at eleven... what happens in those 15 or so years? It would actually be a compliment to say that some of the behavior is "childish"...

As much as it makes me crazy I am really grateful to these kids I get to teach. Yep, you guess where this is going...
they keep teaching me. SO much.

Monday, April 21, 2008


today's "warm-up"
[I put a quote on the board every day and ask the students to write about it. Really original I know-- but I love quotations and I love asking the students to do short bursts of creative writing.]
"All the world's a stage,
and all the men and women merely players,
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts."
William Shakespeare

now, a real-life line from the play that is my life today:
one student, let's call him Deantoine, just joined the class last week. He tells me he was in prison before. "Okay," I say, "welcome."
He keeps repeating, "this lady I used to know used to always cook me cow brains, cow ass, and cow tongue. The ass was the best. Tasted real good. Blue balls!"

He is switching it up with metaphors about what his cell roommate used to smell like. "Cow shit, cow ass, cow manure." I told him it was good he was using similes and poetic language but that he could "benefit from more varied diction-- word choice." Now he is reading the dictionary.

We have been reading Borges' "The Circular Ruins" which deals with one man fashioning another being of his own design. Hmmmnn... it's kind of like being a teacher. On a good day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

making it

the other day I had a sort of epiphany and I shared it with some friends and they said I should write it on my blog.
I was sitting in one of those high up chairs specific to movie/tv sets and watching four really great actors perform a dance I had choreographed for them. I was watching them dance in person as well as on three small monitors in "video village" capturing the moment as documented by the three cameras that were running through their moves. Several guys were 'gripping' -- hanging and stabilizing lights and the art department was putting the finishing touches on the "Gitmo," "Casablanca," "Kids on TV," and "City Lights" sets. Nearby PAs were hammering out production schedules and milling around the "crafty" snacks. Everyone was even being paid for their talents...
And I realized, wow, maybe I am doing okay after all? I had been worried about how this would come out and whether it would be really professional and stellar or not... and I remembered back to my time working on Grey's Anatomy, during that first season before any of the episodes were aired and we even went on a two-week 'hiatus' (hopefully!) a month into starting production where the network was 're-tooling' the show... and I wondered if Shonda Rhimes-- the incredible creator of that show, felt the same way that I felt on Friday night. If she wondered if it was going to be good or not? If she cared? Or if she just had faith and patience and confidence?
After a great and very full weekend I can tell you I think it is going to turn out great. Three weekends in a row of 'living my dream' ... acting/directing/choreographing. Working at the career I would like to work at all week. But hey, two or three days to look forward to all week is something.
And next time I think I will keep the faith a little more throughout-- believing what you are working on is going to turn out great seems to help not only in fulfilling that hope but also in keeping you feeling peaceful and postive and patient throughout.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


it's that time again, where I ask you to VOTE! Please click on the link below and vote for our video-- you can vote every day until April 15th!
Our video is called "An End of an Era" Livin' the Dream Finale... please click through the videos until you get to ours. Then click on the 'thumbs up' which turns green after you vote.
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Friday, April 11, 2008

april showers

The best way out is always through.
Robert Frost

I had a flicker of this quote in my head all week and searching for it in all of Frost's perfection I came upon a few others I love.

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.

Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.