Saturday, March 20, 2010

Janet is still a friend of mine too. She won't go away. Come take her.

Our last night on the road was spent in Oklahoma City at a Days Inn. I thought for a moment about going back down to the memorial at night to see it lit up and maybe check out the museum, but then i thought i would spare all the guards having atticus throw rocks at the iron gates again. the gates that were placed there to remind everyone not to be violent. poignant, i know. sorry to bring it up again. i am a little obsessed with the place. i know why and i don't know why. it is like going to a place you thought only existed in a story. or you forgot existed. i am not explaining my self well. i wish we all had special brain/mind/thought recorders like in the Kathryn Bigelow movie Strange Days, then i could just upload what i am thinking and trying to convey here and you could all download it into your heads instead of me vomiting from the fingertips for 6 paragraphs trying get across a portion of what is going on upstairs, in my head. here is an attempt.

The okalahoma city bombing happened toward the end of my senior year of college. i remember it vividly because i was in rehearsals for a production of Macbeth. I was one of the witches and we were in tech week. it was a technically challenging production. they beheaded Mac on stage and the witches came up from the orchestra pit in a billow of smoke and light, big battles, a cauldron that looked like a huge mastodon skull, you name it, we had it. so, there was a lot of down time while they were figuring that all out and we would sit in the halls outside of the theatre in Horrabin Hall and talk, do homework, run lines, what have you. and they had these tvs hanging in the corners at the end of every hall. that evening at rehearsal, they had all the tvs on the news, covering the blast. i remember being horrified and intrigued at the same time. it was all anyone could talk about of course and no one could take their eyes off the images on those tv screens haunting our rehearsals. The world Trade Center bombing had occurred only little over a year before this, but that seemed different some how. that was New York City, where things like this were supposed to happen and the terrorists were middle eastern Muslims and were supposed to hate us. this was somehow displaced, hard to get your head around beyond the obvious tragedy of destruction and loss of life. At that point in my young life, i don't think i had ever been to Oklahoma City or even thought about it that much. It wasn't that far from me really. I was in Macomb, IL at Western Illinois University, but it might as well have been a million miles away. like it wasn't real because it was just some mythical place that things like that don't happen at and i never saw it with my own eyes.

so why babble on again at length again about Oklahoma City? i don't know, i guess it is the idea of a memory becoming a reality again. putting a face with a name, even if it is 15 years later, and the inevitable emotions and nostalgia that are attached to it like a long, rickety line of boxcars being pulled. time and the passage of time is just weird and scary to me and this was another unexpected reminder of that to me, i guess. enough about Oklahoma City. it goes back on the shelf.

so, the picture up top is of the Plexiglas portraits of Janet reno and harriet tubman. behind them is eleanor roosevelt, betty crocker, madeline albright and lena horne i think. they are still on my front porch. another piercing reminder as i drove up to my house, you can't run from your problems, janet reno will still be there. 3 of my neighbors have for sale signs in their yards now. i wonder if they would appreciate me moving these before they have an open house? maybe i will wait until one of them asks me. seriously, what do you do with these? i know i just need to throw them out, along with all the other casualties from ending my theatre company sitting in my living room and get on with my life. they are not needed anymore. although what they were used for was an important part of my life and will always be, that time has passed and it is time to stop holding on. i have a real problem with that i have discovered. i guess i have always known, just never wanted to admit. i hold on to the past, live in it almost, to an unhealthy extreme and it is stopping me from moving forward and that just has to end. what is even worse than that is that i get caught in the "what ifs?" if only i had done this or if only i had done that. that's about as useful as sole less shoes. but i find myself doing it, spending countless hours of my days and weeks thinking, replaying scenarios in my head. The great George Bernard Shaw wrote one of the greatest plays in the world about the greatest human being ever, St. Joan. In the play Joan becomes fed up with the gasn' and crabbn' coming from the men around her who are all talk and no action and finally says "aahhhh, if! if! if ifs and ands were pots and pans, there would be no need of tinkers!" if you know me, you probably have heard me quote this line quite often. it is time i start to practice what i preach. "Par mon martin!" an actual Joan quote i should follow a little more if i am going to say it too. it literally means "By my staff or sword" which joan probably meant literally, but i need to lead by my so called convictions and stick to them. just like her. more on my devotion and obsession with La pucelle in another post. a lifetime devoted to a an illiterate french girl who died at 19 because she refused to give in, give up or say if.

the other picture is johnhenry and atticus playing checkers outside of a Cracker Barrel in Joplin, MO, because a road trip really isn't a road trip without a stop at a cracker barrel. i took this trip to get away, to think, to spend some time alone with my boys, to figure some things out. even if i didn't get the answers i wanted or thought i would, i still did do all of those things. i had a lot of time alone with my boys. maybe too much. i discovered spending 24/7 with a 3 year old, even if he is mine, is not something i enjoy, and i have to come to terms with the fact that that is who i am. i am not super mom. i tried to force it on myself and it didn't work. i have a lot to work out. i will be unraveling the lessons learned on this trip for awhile. just because i am not literally still on the road with johnhenry and atticus, doesn't mean i am not still on this road with them and my older son Dane and everyone who crosses my path as i roll along this crap shoot called life.
johnhenry went back to school today, his teacher is way pissed dude, but fuck her. all of his school work is done. atticus is still sleeping at 8:30 in the morning because his schedule is so off. i started romeo and juliet rehearsals yesterday. it was actually just a first fight rehearsal. i am crossing off one of my "always wanted to play" roles from my list, Mercutio. it is going to be kick-ass. plus it is good incentive for johnhenry to get his homework done. i have promised him he can come to rehearsals with me to watch the combat only if all his work is finished. life is going on, day by day and that is how i have to take it. trying to think or plan to far ahead will make anyone crazy. for now, get johnhenry through the 4th grade, get through R&J and then a much needed break from the stage for awhile. my sewing machine is repaired, i have a new laptop, all my paints in the basement, a movie i want to start working on and my friend meg and i are going to plant a vegetable garden with our children this spring. i have plenty of ways to keep expressing myself, just need to keep on keepin' on. artists man, it sucks sometimes. why didn't i want to be a banker? or anything else that was a little less narcissistic and a little more lucrative.
i'll be back. like i said, just because i am not "on the road" doesn't mean i am not on the road. i have lots to say and i like saying it. excuse me, i believe Janet needs my attention.


  1. Brooke, your writing is fantastic. I look forward to reading your "stories of life". I think what you say and how you say it is great! Just wanted to let you know

  2. I hope you'll let the rest of us travel the road with you...