Category Archives: work

Which Photo is Best?



Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I’ve been switching out the profile photo a lot lately. I’ve been testing the recent Berkshire Museum photobooth shots to see how they might look on my revamp-in-progress website. My mother wrote this evening: “You seem to be specializing in Tilted Head and Recipes these days. Have you any straight-on vegetarian head shots? …Nice shot of the truck.” Annalena thinks my eyes look crazy in the gazing heavenward smiley photo. Obviously there are more important things to fret about, but I need to turn in one of these to accompany a magazine article this week. Which do the royal we think is best?

To Twitter or Not to Twitter?

There’s a wave of Twitter washing over my world these days and much seductive peer pressure to join the action. Twitter seems like the Facebook status line on steroids, like 21st century haiku, like something I’d much prefer to do than, say, earn a living.

Novelist Tayari Jones posted on Facebook last week that she was cutting back on Twitter. She un-installed the application TweetDeck from her computer, as her life had started feeling like a constant cocktail party (and she loves cocktail parties).

I’m tempted and conflicted. For those of you who tweet, here’s my question: Is there any point to doing it in moderation? Is it even possible to do in moderation or is Twitter heroin for people like us?

Jane Iredale Makeup Makeover Magic and Your Charming Future Horse Farm Home


Yesterday my Shelley Memorial Movie Club friend, Jamie Puntin, who works as a sales representative for Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, volunteered to do the makeup for my new website author photo. I sat on a stool in her sunny kitchen while she worked her makeover magic.

The after shot above is more Barbie than I wish to project professionally, but thumbs up to the dewy glow of the makeup. I wore my glasses for the official portrait session conducted in a photobooth at the Berkshire Museum.

Jamie’s extraordinary home, by the way, is for sale. One of you Californians should trade your insanely over-priced two-bedroom bungalow for her horse farm located just up the road from pristine Lake Garfield in Monterey.

Open Window

Matisse, Open Window, 1905

Today is the first day in at least six months, maybe a year, that I don’t have a freelance magazine article deadline to contend with on top of my regular job and family life. This happened because I said a word I rarely say to editors: No.

The various assignments have mostly been fun and the income welcome, but I’m so relieved to have a break. I googled images tonight to illustrate the feeling: open road…big sky…open window.

The Sound of Music notion of God closing doors and opening windows looms large in my world view. I hope I manage not to say yes to the next thing until the view looks like this painting.

Juggling

“In dreams begin responsibilities.”

– My father quoting
Delmore Schwartz

Next Tuesday is the start of Masha Hamilton‘s 10-week beginning novel writing online class. It’s been a good 15 years since I took a writing workshop that lasted longer than a weekend and I’m both excited and terrified about it. Part of my terror is imagining how I’ll keep up with the assignments in the face of my job, freelance magazine writing assignments, mothering, daughtering, spousing, and dog caretaking duties.

Something needs to give and it’ll probably be housekeeping and this blog. I still plan to post regularly, but I’ll do so as a treat after I’ve finished my homework.

Church, State, Beckett


In general, I think of my job job serving as communications director for this esteemed theatre festival as being work. It’s often extremely fun, but it’s work (as Dave would say, that’s why they call it work). It’s the job that pays my mortgage, separate from my extracurricular creative life — it’s the state, whereas this blog is church.

Today, though, felt more integrated. I threw a press conference lunch for 30 journalists to announce the festival’s 80th anniversary season. 80 years! If you click on the link above you can see the plays — one powerhouse modern classic after the next (Shaw, Albee, Pinter, Beckett). One of the things I like best about my position is being able to ask the directors what interests them most about the plays in order to quote them in the press releases.

I enjoyed what all of the directors had to say this year, but I especially loved what Anders Cato said about the prospect of directing Waiting for Godot. Loved it in a church sort of way, so I’m going to take the liberty of quoting him here:

“The first production that I did at BTF was an adaptation of a Beckett prose piece called Text for Nothing, starring Joseph Chaikin. Joe was a friend of Beckett and the rehearsal process brought me very close to his musical language. It often felt like Beckett was in the room when we were rehearsing, listening, with his eyes closed.

I was thrilled when Kate approached me about doing Waiting for Godot. To step back inside Beckett’s world is, of course, very challenging. You have to step inside yourself and listen very closely. It’s a form of cleansing. Beckett’s rhythmical language helps block out all the distracting noise and clutter that we’re surrounded by, and guides you back to the essential. It is about communicating what can’t be communicated — something absolutely private and universal in the same moment.

Godot is not an esoteric exercise, but a deeply emotional piece. You have to make the audience feel and laugh and be completely engaged in each moment on stage. The questions have to matter. It isn’t a conversational game with clever turns, but a desperate search for solutions and answers, a search for a way out of the predicament that the characters find themselves in. Beckett’s world is physical and emotional. He said in an interview: ‘I’m no intellectual. All I am is feeling.’ I think that’s where you have to start with his plays.”

Isn’t that beautiful? I also think what he says about Beckett’s language would make a fabulous spa treatment.

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