20 June 2009

Domesticity.


Last week, I embarked upon a great and terrible undertaking, the likes of which I had not attempted in a very long time.
Namely, I am making a skirt. Sewing a skirt? A skirt is going to come of this at some point, and it will not be from the store. Here is what it looks like so far, still pinned to the pattern (and if you look closely, you can see the tips of my flip-flops at the bottom of the picture).

Right, so it’s not very impressive yet. But it was oddly exciting to pick out the pattern, choose the cloth and cut it to the pattern all by myself (and by ‘all by myself’, I mean I only consulted my mother about what to do next, oh, three or four times). I mean, this is a very tangible sort of goal; I’ll be able to put my actual hands around it when I’m done and say, “I made this.” It’s a small thing, but I’m enjoying it.
After cutting out the pieces for my skirt (at this point, my mother had gone to bed and I have absolutely no concept of what to do next!), I made a cake. Baked a cake? It’s not finished yet…I’m writing this while it’s in the oven, although the whole idea of baking a cheesecake is still kind of weird to me. I mean, I always assumed you just chilled it for several hours, like Jell-O. Nope. You have to bake it first. We learn something new every day, I guess.
(I would have a picture of the cheesecake, too, but the batteries in my camera have quite inconsiderately died and there isn’t another good battery to be had in the entire house. I swear, at the rate we go through them, my family must eat double-A batteries; it’s only a matter of time before someone admits it.)
I haven’t really cooked anything that didn’t have a box involved for a long time, but tomorrow is Father’s Day, and I don’t have much money or creative ideas, so I am making my father a cheesecake. He likes cheesecake, so this should go well, provided I don’t screw it up.
The funny thing is, I’d love to be a talented cook, seamstress and hostess. I'd love to have all those pretty little domestic talents that tend to get overlooked now that we ladies, having been liberated from the home, have sallied forth to seek our fortunes with other skills. I just don’t want to be the Kind of Girl who’s a good cook, seamstress and hostess. You know; the shy, na├»ve one with the pearl necklace and high-necked sweater. Maybe I really am a feminist at heart. Or I’m just impressionable. In this culture, what’s the difference?

15 June 2009

consistency is not one of my strongest points.

It tells you a lot about me, I think, to say that I forgot that I even had a blog for the longest time.

(It poured rain and rumbled with thunder and lightning all morning today. Excellent reading and writing weather, especially considering that the last couple of days have been sweltering with the hard-baked humidity that the Midwest so generously bestowes on us. Sadly, the rain was over by the time I had to go to work this afternoon, and we were back to flat heat.)

I've taken up writing again, fairly regularly, if for no other reason than because it was the quickest and easiest thing to fill the hole when theatre was out of my life for the summer. I am, once again, home from university, and not entirely sure whether I actually have a life. To be honest, I have spent a lot of time reading webcomics, daydreaming, skimming through library books, and watching movies on my laptop. I'm itching for a real, solid project to sink my teeth into, but don't seem to have the willpower (or direction) to make it happen by myself.

(By the way, I was hoping to be working an internship in a theater, and/or going on a road trip to the beach this summer. Neither of those things worked out. I am, of course, not bitter at all. Nope. Instead, I am working two jobs and gloating over finding all my textbooks online for wicked cheap.)

It sounds lame, but I have a steampunk novel that I have been allowing to just float in the back of my mind for awhile now. These days, I am hesitantly, carefully bringing it back to the dock and scraping the barnacles off it, caulking the seams, re-planking the deck and allowing myself to speculate on whether it's worth giving the whole thing a new paint job and taking her out for a real spin. I won't go on about the details of the story here--that would be very, very lame--but I have to admit I am hopeful about it.
There is just one general problem that may ground this little sweetheart before she quite makes it out of the bay.
My problem is, a couple of my best friends are writers. They are a) very good, and b) extremely committed. I, on the other hand 1) write as a form of escapism (probably obvious by now), and 2) don't have the drive required to do this for a living. I've seen what they do for their work, what it takes for them to make it the best possible and keep going, keep their dedication to it even when things get ugly. I love my friends, which is why we have such a good relationship. But sometimes, they intimidate the hell out of me.

So...maybe I'll keep this baby tied up at the dock for a bit longer. Hoping no one will notice. I mean, she's not exactly fit to be seen just yet.

(Yes, I do have a tendency to overanalyze everything. I am aware of my uptightness, and still working on it.)

This, by the way, is a large part of why I've hitched my wagon to more of a theatrical star. A quick sketch:
In a theatrical production, there are a lot of people involved who must come together and make a project happen. For better or for worse, it's not just you and the computer screen/paper.
Also, the entire process--from auditions to strike--is, I am given to understand, typically no more than six weeks long. Then you are DONE. Finito. On to the next thing. I can't imagine even finishing a draft of a novel in six weeks, let alone being done with the thing.
Finally, a play is more of a fluid, living thing. It happens more than once, with real people and tangible sets...you can't control all the elements precisely, and each time, it's going to be a little bit different. I find that just plain exciting.

I can wax quite poetical about my dear theatre, but I won't just now. For one thing, I've rambled across quite enough subjects (and overzealous metaphors) for one posting. For another, I'm tired and I want to go to bed. But I'm not tired of this blogging thing yet, so maybe it was a good idea after all.