Open House #10: Blank Walls at home and in life

May 27th, 2010 → Leave a comment

Explaining to Steven Leigh Morris how my madness became brilliance. Photo: Jen Cleary

I am staring at blank walls in my home.

I have yet to put any pictures up or art, because I’m not sure who I am now in this new stage of life.  I have yet to paint the walls– can’t decide what color I am.  It’s the most uncluttered and undecorated home I’ve ever lived in.  People who’ve known my past clutter come over and they can’t believe how little I seem to own.

I just like sitting here for the moment.  At this point of potential.


I got some bad news.  A young relative of mine (only 13) has what might possibly be a life threatening illness.  I am in denial.  I pray.  She doesn’t deserve this.  No person deserves this.

Life changes so fast. I’m not sure how other people manage to stay married for so long.  People change so much.

I’ve been married to myself for almost two years now, and there were plenty of times when I wanted a divorce.

When I see my young relative, I pray for her, but am so grateful that the rest of family is here and in good health.


This blog entry is a break from the non-stop barrage of angst and self-deprecation typical of my blog.

I want to share the great week I had last week.

I had the honor of being asked to perform “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” for the NEA (yes… that’s right… the NE freaking A!) Fellows in Arts Journalism at their conference here in LA.  Basically, it’s a conference of national theater critics who got a special fellowship from the NEA.   I was the kick-off performance!  I’m not sure if I will ever get to do this show in LA again (need you read this blog to be reminded how much work it is to put on live theater… especially in Los Angeles?) so I got on the email horn and told everyone to catch the show!

And they came.   I packed REDCAT’s house at 3:30pm on a Monday.  I guess free afternoon shows at the REDCAT really draw in LA people who tend to have flex schedules (ie the unemployed!).  I’ve had friends here forever and so many had yet to actually see my shows.   My friends even wrote very thoughtful blogs about the show. Check them here….

Quentin Lee (a wonderful filmmaker)

Michele Guitierrez’s blog with spoilers! (I led a workshop with Khmer Girls in Action when Michelle worked there)

I was pleased to get a full standing ovation at the end!  The Q&A with Steven Leigh Morris was great.  I’ve been reading his articles and reviews in the LA Weekly forever.  It was the first show of mine he’d ever seen and I was honored that he seemed to “get it.”  I felt so high on everyone’s energy.

I feel like my own low-rent version of Inside the Actors Studio during Q&As. And I’m finding myself becoming more and more honest about how vulnerable I was the last few years of making and touring the show.  I caught myself straight up saying, “I’d bring people into my life who weren’t good for me because making the show left me feeling so scared and lonely.”  It’s true.

I will probably always get teary at Q&As depending on how the conversations go.  I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

I’m so glad to see what life on the other end looks like. It’s really amazing to be here.


Two days later, I did an excerpt of the show at UC Riverside.  It was a completely different crowd.  A smaller intimate crowd of students.  And the discussion after focused a lot on mental health.  Everyone stayed to talk.  The counselor who moderated the discussion told me that it’s hard for them to find ways to talk about depression and suicide with students and that she was grateful for this show.

It’s so easy for me to get lost in the craziness of day-to-day survival that I forget why I’m here.  And that my work is important.  And that I came to this life and work for a reason.  And how many people in the world have yet to see what I do.  And that I must continue on.

This week, we finally locked down the sound mix for the Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Concert Film. That’s right.  Finally, some permanence for my work!  The DVD will never match the energy of being at the live show, but I think my director Mike Closson did a pretty fantastic job of capturing the show on DVD.  Can I tell you how totally excited I am that this is coming out?  Can I tell you how grateful I am that Mike Closson came into my life and that he and his wife Nancy believed in me enough to help make this DVD a reality?

Thank you Mike and Nancy.


I’m in an odd place in life now.  It’s weird to own my own home as an artist with such flippy floppy schedules and erratic income streams.    It’s kind of weird to cross over into this stage of adulthood.

But I love it.  To feel worthy.  To be able to take care of myself.  To enjoy privacy and time alone.  I’ve lived so much of my life not having enough, grasping towards someone to fix life for me, always pining for meaning.  That it’s nice to sit for a moment and enjoy this.  To accept this goodness.  To know I am here.  I feel like if I died tomorrow that I’ve done well enough with my life.

And sometimes, that’s the problem.  That if I am this satisfied, what’s left to hunger for?



Category: artist life., Open House, press, the quiet i am screaming for

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