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This blog is moving to Vorofuzzy

Hi Mom! (and anyone else who's still stopping by occasionally) the rss feed on this blog has been broken since I moved it to Squarespace two years ago, and also I would have to pay them more money to distinguish it visually from the Nebunele Theatre website, so I gave up and migrated all my content to a blogger blog: I am officially abandoning this URL and will continue my personal blogging over there. So...see you there!




Out of the nest, alone

I’m away from my baby for the first time. He’s a month old! And I am a few blocks away from home at Victrola Coffee. My husband’s taking care of him, and he’s got plenty of pumped breast milk to eat. (I get a milk let-down just thinking of it.)

This is, I believe, the second time I have been alone since Zephyr was born. The first time was a week or so ago, when Mike insisted I go outside and get into the hot tub. That experience was kinda crazy—the moon was almost full, the night was quiet, wind was rustling the leaves of the hedge, and I watched Halloween-style clouds glide past and realized that I only had my thoughts to be with. It was almost like vertigo, but pleasant. This time is less weird, maybe because I’m in a coffeeshop surrounded by people, so I still feel sociable. But that last time, last week, I realized that I mostly only get good ideas when I’m alone. And while hanging out with my son in the quiet den when all my housemates are at work and he’s nodding off at my boob is a lot like being alone, it still isn’t, quite, because I’m not free to move around and, you know, have movement. Of body and thought. And even when he’s asleep in another room, I’m responsible for him, and some part of my being is always straining to hear him in the next room instead of reflecting in a leisurely way.

So. Alone time for Alissa. This is sort of an experiment. That last time I was alone, I was just outside the house, and I could still hear people talking indoors and occasionally my son crying, so I felt pressure to wrap up my solitary thinkin’ and go see if my kid needed to eat. But this time, I know he has plenty to eat, I have a set amount of time I’m allowed to sit here, and I can’t hear him or any of my housemates. So I’m writing, and for the first time in a month, I don’t feel the pull of responding to my kiddo. For the first time in his life. I miss it, a little bit. But it’s also nice to have a beer and know he won’t be drinking my milk before it leaves my bloodstream. But then also, I haven’t had dinner yet and I’m a lightweight now with all my pregnancy-and-breastfeeding moderation, so halfway into this beer I’m already tipsy. Maybe I won’t finish it. I don’t have that long here, after all.

Am I different now that I’m a momma? People have been askin’. Meh. I do have this overwhelming love for the little buggo. But I suspect that this change, like aging, is going to be a gradual one. He’s sort of a little animal right now; hard to think of him as a human, or as a being who will ever have reasoning powers and opinions and the ability to take care of himself. I imagine that boy, and place him in my hypothetical future, but he seems totally divorced from the little froggy-piggy-adorable-bug I seem to be responsible for right now.

The first couple of weeks I wept all the time, despite being blissfully happy. I cried for silly things like being sad that Mike had left the room for 15 minutes while I felt stuck with the kid, and I cried for existential stuff like feeling deep and profound grief for Zephyr’s inevitable descent from mysticism (babies are utterly mystical) into mundanity. I couldn’t sing without crying. I have been so, seriously intensely, in love with Mike, which I always have but I think some of the oxytocin from the birth spilled over onto that relationship too, which I’m grateful for. We make a great team, and he works so hard, and I’m incredibly grateful for that dude.

I notice having some competitive feelings about other peoples’ babies. I wish that weren’t so, but I feel proud when he does things that make him seem like a “good baby” and ashamed when talking about his less-than-stellar moments. And privately in my head, I compare him to my friends’ babies. That seems wrong and counterproductive and kind of evil, and I don’t know what to do with this tendency except observe it and see what I can learn from it. There will always be babies that are greater and lesser than my son. In fact, the same baby will have both comparative attributes. I think of the Desiderata and try to humble myself.

But seriously, he is obviously the greatest baby ever made. :-p


Things people ought to do but don't


back up their data



Banging on the cage

I was talking to a new friend yesterday, Joe Edelman, who asked me to design a tiny piece of an ambitious and awesome interactive experience he’s working on down in the Bay Area. Asked me to do something “personal and real and true”, and when I expressed a hope that I could meet such a standard he said, “Sure.  Just keep not quite thinking of yourself as an artist.  I think that might be the trick.”




I went to a concert tonight: They Might be Giants, the first famous band I ever saw live when I was 16, still around, still playin’, still puttin’ out records. The sound mix was bad and too loud and my ears are still ringing. The show was fine, we all bopped around, we all love the songs but magic wasn’t happening, at least for me, until the encore.


There’s this funny charade that we of North America (and maybe other places too, dunno) perform in which musicians who are well-known play their “last song” and leave the stage, and then we the audience demand that they return and play more for us and they do, and then they leave again but we know that if we ask hard enough they’ll come back again and they do, sometimes not even bothering to pretend that they’re surprised or flattered because we all know the script, we rehearse it every time. I go back and forth between finding this hilariously phony and elegantly polite. A whole roomful of people agreeing on the right way to conduct a complex social interaction is impressive.


Anyway, I was thinking about this while we hollered for them to come back the first time and they did; they started playing (and, kind of, looking for the first time all night like they were having fun) and it clicked, the music lifted me, and I joined the crowd, once an aggregation of discrete mildly obnoxious geek-hip individuals, now a sea of flesh and a wave of noise I was awash in. And I remembered what it meant to be a molecule of crowd, faces turned up to the too-bright lights, letting the too-loud music pound in our chests and our abdomens, flinging our bare insides before the band and begging, please, please let us forget ourselves. We love you. Take us away and leave the world behind. Please, gods of music, take us. We’re on your side, whatever side that might happen to be. And the reason I haven’t been to a live show in ages is because I forgot I was ever looking for that release, it’s been long enough since I felt it that I didn’t remember it was a thing you could feel. And shit doesn’t matter any more, and we can’t stand still and we don’t care who knows, and the boundaries of our flesh dissolve, and we occupy the whole room to the ceiling. Let me clarify that I was flat sober. I dissolved in that room. And what’s more, I think I used to do that more often.


And that brief, one or two-song glimpse of freedom stands in stark contrast to the way I am otherwise. It’s like turning on the light and realizing that the room I’m in is much much bigger than I thought it was when I was huddling in the dark, not daring to move for fear of bumping into walls.


There aren’t walls for miles.


And I think: Music. Fuck theatre. When a mediocre live show by a tired and long-touring band can thus lead me to the wild joyful edge of the selfhood cliff (and I can’t remember the last time a play did that for me) I realize a little of why I’m drifting away from the theatre. I don’t want to be told stories any more; I want to be scooped up, pulverized, and sprinkled on the moon. And all the trappings of life—home, job, friends, and especially this business of being an artist—seem just like that, like traps, like anchors holding me to the safe and loathsome ground.


This may or may not be a productive or healthy frame of mind.


But an angry, sad, frustrated, recently re-invigorated animal scratches at the inside of my ribcage. I want to go on retreat by myself for six months. Learn to really sing. Dance to actual instruments every night. I’m dying slowly in front of this goddamn computer screen. Let me out. Let me out. Let me out.


Hey look! I gave a talk!

Okay, so this is kind of an experiment. This is the first I've posted it on my personal blog since I've moved it over to Squarespace, and I haven't taken the time yet to figure out how to make it its own site instead of having all the nebunele wrapper, so ignore the trappings if you're visiting the site directly. I'll get around to that.


But hey, check it out! I gave a talk at Ignite Seattle in December and they just posted the video of it online!


You can't see my slides real well, but they were mostly stolen images anyway so it's probably just as well...