Very grateful to the editors at The Lascaux Review for nominating "My Own Struggle, Or an Exercise in Autofiction" for The Pushcart Prize. I'm also grateful to my editor and friend, Camille Griep at Easy Street Magazine, for suggesting I write about one of those cooped-up snow days with a toddler and a puppy that I'd been whining about so much. You can read the essay here.
Yesterday was a cold, rainy, misty, miserable day, and I LOVED it. I had the chance to stay home, researching an essay I'm writing on the poet Paul Celan and worked on a translation of a German poem by one of his contemporaries. Did you know about "nachzehrer", a vampiric undead who suck your soul out of you from the ground, a word for which there is no English equivalent?
See, poetry can be cool! In the background, my toddler watched Barney (turned way, way down), although my initial feelings of hatred for that bloated, purple dinosaur have transformed to shock and awe as he mesmerizes my hyper-active child for an hour here and there. My dog sat at my feet in perfect imitation of the ideal hearth and home. Occasionally, I had to take a break to do some not-too-odious chores. With a sigh of relief, I realized I really do want to be working at home for now.
You see, I went back to acting this summer after losing the 70-odd pounds I'd gained while pregnant, wondering if, perhaps, I'd only given up acting, because I'd become too chubby to book gigs, and not for some other reason, not because I'd personally outgrown it, or, better said, changed in some fundamental way at least. I have many friends who are actors and love it, and I don't want to imply I matured out of their realm. However, there's no denying certain aspects of the professional acting world are incredibly destructive; acting in NYC is an unfortunately looks-obsessed marketplace, and although I tried to always keep perspective about it, I was not immune to the attacks on my self-esteem. Recently, I wrote a blog post here about societal pressure on women to focus on and lead with their looks. I love performing, especially when it's about story and character, and while I hope to work on short films and perhaps another play in a few months, overall, this summer, I learned that I love not focusing on the way I look but on the way I think, and I feel extraordinarily lucky for this opportunity to be home with my child while she's so young. Best of all, I was able to figure out that writing full-time fulfills me in a way that acting full-time no longer does.
Basically, I've realized it's time for that speech. You know the one. Acting, it's not you, it's me.
Still I'm very glad I was brave enough to give it a try, because how else would I have known that acting is a fantasy and fantasizing (on paper) is my reality.
That said, we have our last two shows of Stop Kiss this weekend, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm at the Ridgefield Theater Barn in Connecticut, just an hour from NYC by car or train. Starting Monday, I have a pile of projects that have been lingering on my desk for these summer months and need some dusting off, a not-too-odious chore at all.
Now back to trying to find an English word to describe nachzehrer! xx
I'm excited to share my piece on pornography, poetry, E.E. Cummings, D.H. Lawrence, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in The Lascaux Review with you guys! I love this publication-- fiction, flash fiction, essays, writing tips-- and I was pleased to work with its editors, crafting this knotty piece that incorporates so many topics in less than a 1,000 words.
Please follow this link to read the essay and take time to check out their other excellent articles, stories, and poems.
Interrupt Mag is the brainchild of Cameron Russell and provides a forum for alternative points of view. I recently wrote an article for them about my experience posing for The Village Voice's Queer Cover Issue in 2008, three years before gay marriage was legalized in New York State. Read the article here. And check out her brilliant TED talk here.