Thursday, May 03, 2007

I dreamed
of a woman who walked away
after I had responded sharply
to her stupid question.

I called
to her with apology on my face
and explained I hadn't been
feeling myself lately.

I took
from her the cup she handed
to me, half full of coffee
all pale with cream and cooling.

I watched
as she smiled in sympathy, patted
my hand and walked away again, gentleness
in her stride.

I sipped
at the creamy sweetness, marvelling
that it changed in my mouth
from lukewarm to icy cold, dark and bitter

just the way I like it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lessons in HTML, 1

The Great American Novel

(I have a 'head' tag and a 'title' tag here, embedded, with closing tags, but Blogger doesn't seem to recognize them, and also insisted that I remove my 'html' opening and closing tags. Hm. And now Blogger is making me remove my 'head' and 'title' tags. Double Hm.)

The opening of The Great American Novel needs a great hook. I'm no hooker, but I've caught a fish or two in my time. So I go to my tackle box (you could say it lured me) and found a hook with allure.

(My 'body' tags are also unacceptable.)

Chapter One

The chapter begins beneath the horizontal line Horizontal lines are defined by the 'hr' opener followed by size designations. This one reads 'hr width=50% size=5' Closing the 'hr' seems to not be necessary.

This is the BODY, with 'h1' tags.

Here is an example of a heading, centered, with 'h3' tags.

The paragraph begins with a 'p' tag for paragraph and now the bold text ends because I closed the tag. If I want underlined text, I type a 'u' inside my tag and end it the usual way. I thought I had learned strikethrough strikethrough, but perhaps I was wrong. Ah, it looks as though I was right. Now. Blogger accepts an 'em' tag as an italics code, but the tutorial indicates that the letter 'i' should be a workable tag as well.

So what happens to my paragraph if I do not include the 'p' tag? Nothing at all?

No, the text is slightly different. I wonder what it means that Blogger won't accept my 'body' tags, but it seems to like the ones for underline, strikethrough, bold, and both tags for italics (they don't look different from one another just now) plus the headings, and the horizontal lines.

I read as far as how to change the size of the type, but haven't really grokked it yet.

This is a work in progress.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Since switching from 'old' Blogger to 'new' Blogger, I haven't played with any of the new 'options', fearing that 'experimentation' might 'screw up' my longstanding blog, CrushWorld.

So here we are, and Totally Perspective gets to play the part of bloggie-pig.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Falling Mime

Tuesday, October 10, 2003
Mimi Takes a Break

I'm standing on the front gate wall at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival, blowing bubbles from this twelve or fourteen foot elevation. Leaning over to redip my bubble wand, I stumble, lose my footing and start to go down, holding simultaneously in my mind three thoughts: 'I don't believe this is happening to me'; 'well, here we go' and 'grab the wall.' I make a desperate reach for the wall on my headfirst way down, managing to turn myself right side up, leaving my left foot to take the brunt of the impact against the asphalt.

I raise my face from the pavement, thinking, 'I hope someone saw this and will come to my aid, because I am NOT calling out for help. And I don't think I can get up by myself.' Within moments, a PARF performer is at my side, reassuring me, telling me he's already called First Aid and that they are sending the cart around for me. He says they'll wrap me and splint me and ice me. It is just ten o'clock, and I wonder how quickly this can be done, as I have stage shows at ten thirty and noon. I have been on duty half an hour. When the First Aid team arrives, the performer has gone, replaced by a member of the Production staff, Nate, who holds my hand and hugs me when I start to shake. First Aid suggests an ambulance, and I shake my head, then quickly put my head between my knees to combat the blackness swimming across my vision. "If you pass out, we're required to send you to the hospital. You hit your head," First Aid warns. I hold my fingers apart a small distance, and wave away concern for my skull, for my head hit last of all, and I am more worried about my wrist and ankle. They offer oxygen, and I shrug, thinking, 'this will mess up my makeup.' Nate and the others lift me to my foot and help me into the cart. I want ice, elevation and compression for my ankle, but do not raise it outside the cart until well out of sight of the children streaming in for this School Day. I turn my face away, not wanted them to see Mimi in an oxygen mask. Aside from feeling stupid for falling, I feel guilty for being an inconvenience when everyone has so much to do.

At the First Aid station, we are met by my friend Brian, who says that he's got my stage spots covered. I ask for my shoes, cardigan, bag of stuff. He promises to see to it, hurrying off to get props from his car. They lie me down and get me out of my boot. It's bad. An ambulance is advised again; "this looks like a break," and he points to a certain lump on my leg. I ask them to remove the other boot for comparison. There is a matching bump on the other leg, but they still advise x-rays, and can't wrap the ankle when there's any doubt about breakage. They call Cliff, who's a doctor, for backup. Cliff is the performer who first helped me. Cliff also advises x-rays. I hesitate, then mention my uninsured status, which is not an uncommon state among full-time performers. An ambulance will simply be another expense, I fear. And there's no way I can drive myself. Within a few minutes, while icing my ankle and splinting it with a pillow, they have a driver for me, if I'll agree to go to the hospital. Alex helps me go to the bathroom, as it's not easy to struggle out of a unitard with a bum wing. She removes my costume, and wipes away the remnants of my white makeup after I've done my best with her jar of Vaseline.

My ride is here. I meet Lynn, who paints signs for the shire. It turns out that Lynn is going to stay with me the whole time, as my advocate. It turns out that the van, the lush, leather-lined van I'm riding in, belongs to Chuck, the owner. He has loaned it for my benefit. It turns out that the whole fair will be waiting for news of my condition. On the twelve mile ride to Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon, PA, I begin making calls to rearrange everything that I had planned past two-thirty. I do this some more from the hospital, where I have a surprisingly comfortable five hour visit. The requisite hospital bracelet is snapped on. "This means I can drink free all night, right?" I ask. The front desk attendant seems unused to wisecracking emergency room visitors, and looks startled before she laughs.

This cannot go under Workman's Compensation, as I am a private contractor. I sign a Hold Harmless agreement along with my contact with PARF, just as I do at every other Fair I work. I am listed as Self Pay, which I determine to not fret over right this minute. It is determined that I have three fractures: right elbow and wrist, and left ankle. (Later X-Rays will prove that this is inaccurate; I have actually fractured both of my leg bones just above the ankle, for a total of four breaks, a damaged rotator cuff, damaged ankle ligaments and multiple sprains.) I am slung, splinted and 'scripted, with the advice to get the scrip filled in PA; it may not be good across state lines. Lynn and I return to the site, where someone waits at "my" stage to load my things into the car that I manage to drive across the site with my right foot and left hand. It's Nate. Ginny, the Assistant Director, who is in charge of Independent Acts, checks up on me, gives me her cell phone number, hugs me, as does Dee, wife of Chuck, and Director of Operations. I thank her, ask her to convey my thanks to Chuck for the use of his van. "We'll see you next year," everyone promises. I express surprise to Ginny at this outpouring of kindness, since I'm just here on School Days, and this is only my third season. "You're one of our own now," she tells me. That's a very nice feeling.

The worst bit is waiting for my mother and my sister to arrive, so that one of them can drive my car home. Across the site is all I could manage, and probably more than I should have attempted. Physically, I'm quite comfortable in the car, because it's a temperate evening, and I have a cooler with food and drinks. But the site is closed and deserted, so I'm all alone. Which I don't mind, except:

I have to pee.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Real to Reel

Reality Isn’t Pretty at the Chesapeake Arts Center
By Ghadime Taccless

Reel to Real, by C J Crawe
At the Chesapeake Arts Center’s Studio Theatre
194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, MD 21225

This weekend, August 26-28 Friday and Saturday 8 PM
Sunday 3 PM
Tickets $12.00/members, $10.00/non-members

This past weekend marked the opening of the Chesapeake Arts Center’s contribution to the Baltimore Playwright’s Festival, which runs every summer at this time.

Mary Baker, it seems, is dying of cancer (the show is non-specific) and determined to face it with humor and a weird sort of narcissistic display: she’s invited a reality television show into her family home to film the whole process. Ghoulish? Yes. Hysterical? At times.

CJ Crawe, the play’s authoress, hopes her newest offering will be dubbed ‘schlocky melodrama.’ “Judy Rousuck described the last show I did as ‘overly arty,’” she shudders, “and it just drove me crazy.”

The show is just under two hours long, including the fifteen minute intermission, so no one should feel too tortured for too long. The official blurb and the character of Mary Baker both say she’s lived the American Dream, a ‘fairy tale,’ but the set is a nightmarish shade of Pepto-Bismol pink, though thankfully devoid of sparkling unicorns and iridescent winged godmothers.

Instead, popping in and out of scenes is surly eldest son JB Baker, played by Darrin Culvert. At one point, he delivers the line “Mom, I AM NOT GAY,” with such vehemence that this reporter suspects a touch of homophobia. Prat McFartin, as Mary’s long-suffering husband Jack, waffles and apologizes his way through several scenes. Syrup with that waffle, Jack? The show’s star, Le Dew Heart Burn, credits her stage success to her mother’s constant support. “She was the ultimate stage mom,” she says, “and I felt like Shirley Temple just all the time.”

Hippie Shakesit says of her role as TV personality Paulette Marinara, “It’s good to be a bitch. Usually, I have to pretend to LIKE people, and it’s a release to be able to let it all out.” Of playing cameraman Bryan, Mork Tyson, a lawyer in real life, did not feel at liberty to comment at this time.

Mike Wanker of Thinlickum was worried about playing smart-alecky son Collin Baker. “Usually, I’m pretty quiet,” he mumbles. When asked about working opposite a teenaged boy as his twin sister Colleen, Ashlee Thompkins of Essex says, “I like making out with him between scenes. I mean, it’s not like he’s really my brother, okay?”

Playing the trashy next-door neighbor, Helen, Sybil Palmero’s main claim to acting ability seems to be her cleavage, which may not even be real. The talented Yam Son plays Mary’s home nurse, Alice, but objects to being called an Oriental actress. “A rug is Oriental!” she screams. “I’m Asian!”

Jackson Krimble directed this farcical tragedy with a limp-wristed hand. “I’d rather be dancing,” he lisps, “but the chance to work with women in wigs was too good to pass up.”

The show runs through this Sunday.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Untitled Fiction

She looked at him.

"I don't know how to answer that," he said, flushing and blanching several shades of uncomfortable. He squirmed under her unblinking gaze. He felt like a specimen. Perhaps he was.

"You don't have to answer. It wasn't a question." She tilted her head, assessing him with her eyes. Had he once thought those eyes lovely? He couldn't imagine. She continued.

"You don't need to answer, explain, or make excuses. You've already used the 'my life is complicated' line, and the 'I'm going through a weird period' one, and the one that goes 'I'm a solitary person.'"

She was going to make a scene. Oh, God, please, not a scene. Anything but that. He glanced at the floor, hoping for a hole that might swallow him, but the unfortunately colored linoleum was relentless in its solidity. He tried to forestall her.

"Have I offended you? Because if I have, I apologize." She shook her head.

"Listen, Alex, I get it, okay? Okay? I've just been blown off in all the classic ways, plus a couple of new ones, in the space of one conversation. I've made you uncomfortable, because people don't love people without wanting something from them, except I do, and I'm sorry you don't understand that. I get that 'I'm really pretty busy these days' means you'd rather not hear from me. And your 'list of people I need to make time for'? I get that I'm not on it. It's okay."

Alex shifted in his chair, lips tight. No, he didn't understand her, and didn't think he wanted to. He wished he could disappear. He wished she would.

"So, I'll see you around, maybe, which, in case you wondered, means 'goodbye'. It's not a difficult word. No, don't get up," and she touched his shoulder. He struggled not to flinch. She kissed his forehead and he congratulated himself that he did not recoil. The door chimes jingled as she pushed through the door, leaving behind an empty paper cup and the scent of her hair.

Alex sighed and picked up his pen.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Working Overtime

Dry earthy clay mixed with gritty gravel dust invades my nostrils and throat as I make my way onto the site. Mark has not yet come out with the water truck to wet down the rutted road. Bounce and jounce of car into Participant Lot is a familiar waking lullabye. Dry grass chafes at my legs, my feet as I trudge past pungent elephant camp. Gravel sounds beneath my shoes, twisting my ankles up the slope to Lyric Stage. Cinnamon and coffee greet me nearby, but I send my body onward to the breakfast booth, reveling in aromatic bacon, eggs, potatoes and syrup. The perfume of Victor's herbal tea floats lightly atop these heavier scents.

Stretching muscles warms and flexes me, tips my face up to the green and gold ceiling of leaf-filtered light. Muted conversations and gravel crunching feet pass by as I prepare my body. I open my case, am greeted by a puff of powder and familiar creaminess of white greasepaint. It slicks across my cheeks and nose, a kiss of protection against curious eyes.

The touch of rough stucco and weathered wood greet my naked palms as I climb onto the entrance wall, dipping my hands in slick soapy water to create monstrous bubbles for the shining eager faces below me.

Inadvertently trapped inside a group, a gaggle, I feel gentle press of bodies against mine, bumping, steadying, nudging, grasping, tugging at the tail of my hat. I break free and breathe deep, relieved to suck in grass and dirt along with air.

He carries two beers. He smells of sunshine, sweat and Old Spice. I frown at him, and take one beer. I run my tongue around the rich malty sip that I have stolen, and repeat the gesture with the other cup. They are identical, but I pretend to prefer one over the other. He grins and walks away, two sips lighter, as I furtively lick foam from my lip.

At the bottom of the hill, parents wait, but none for me. I ride the slick smoothness of the slide as much for scent of polished wood and feel of furry mat against my wrist as for the stomach dropping slopes and bump-and-grab by sturdy teenaged workers at slide's end.

Ladder wobbles reassuringly as I climb it, long cotton knit socks in hand to protect my smooth tights from snags and slubs inflicted by rough wood of unsanded stilt. I strap on my long legs, snugging them into hugs around my calves and ankles. Up, up I rise, looking down, down on little people, small as children. Off onto the site, battling branches and cobwebs that others, even the Smiths, never see.

Scent of smoked turkey legs reaches me on my journey; they must be cooking a fresh batch. The sweet cookie smell of newly baked waffle cones makes my mouth water, but no one will ever sell me just the waffle. By the time I’m ready for chill creamy sweetness of mint chip ice cream, the cones have cooled and lost their charm.

Rorik's forge makes creates a hot scent of wood and iron, distinctly different from the hot brick and glass scent of Foster's glassblowing booth. Neither of them hold the odor of elderly grease, which most of the food-booths do, despite acrid bleachey measures taken to assure cleanliness. Now sweetened spiced nuts assault my nostrils…I have a weakness, but no money and no way to carry anything up here on my stilts. The ground is spongy, and I tug at my leg to release it from the small rectangular 2x4 hole I've just created.

Disjointed notes from harps and recorders, bells and voices, waft around me as I walk. On very quiet days I can catch the whine-click-whirrrr of a camera with a powerful lens, but usually not. On days when it is most quiet, the wind whispers secrets into the leaves, into the branches. I bump onto the boardwalk, enjoying the thunk my wooden feet make against the board planking.

As the season progresses, the scent of leaves alters along with the change in their colors and sounds. When we begin, satin swish of green on green on green wafts rich lush perfume all around. Slowly, as days grow shorter and rays of light more sharply angled, the leaves release their moisture, rubbing papery against sounding bark.

A storm races up, whooshing and shushing. People rustle wildly as they gather belongings and hurry to the cramped perceived safety of their vehicles. Hard rain drums on shingled rooftops. Folk huddle together under eaves, creating sweaty steam, watching the work of Nature’s forces. I spread my arms and tip my face to the sky, catching fierce full drops upon the surface of my skin.

Call it sensory immersion, if you like.

I call it a typical day.

RenFest 9-11

"Will the Faire even be open?" was the Big Question. "Of course it will be open," I told less seasoned cast members. "We operated during hurricane Floyd, and just after Isabelle. Those were events that actually had direct impact on us. So yes, we will be open."

All that week, people had wandered around in a numb state of disbelief, our complacency shattered, our indomitability challenged. We performers had our instructions, however. We were not to refer to the tragedy or wear ribbons, as patrons had come to forget. If they wanted to remember, they could stay in front of their teevees. It was all terror, all the time, for twelve weeks, until George Harrison died.

Some of our attendees were less cooperative, wearing hastily emblazoned 'Never Forget' tee shirts, and handing out tokens and prayer cards. One well-meaning woman pinned a ribbon to me. I waited until I was backstage to remove it.

We did spiritual work that weekend, and for the rest of the season. If memory serves, the weather remained as bright and beautiful as it was that previous Tuesday when stolen airplanes drove into the country's most iconic buildings.

I did just what I always do, which is to bestow love from the safety of inside a costume. I did it with the same level of passion and commitment, trying to uplift each person, one by one, for a moment, perhaps a moment to last all day, or even beyond. Exactly the same.

People simply needed it more, and recognized that they were getting it.

Not only from me. From all of us.