Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Chili Love

I had a dream last night that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were doing a cover of The Captain and Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together." When I woke up I thought, "Now that's something I'd be interested in listening to." I can't imagine how the Chili Peppers would interpret that particular song, but I imagine it would be very interesting, to say the least.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Recent Musings

I haven't posted in a bit, mostly because I don't really have much to say lately.
It looks like I'll be working in Utah this summer, which I have mixed feelings about. On the plus side I get to spend some time with my family, and I'll be performing, which, of course, is my ideal version of a job. On the other hand, I'm away from Jonah, and while I'm excited to work with some old friends again, the show I'm performing in is not necessarily the genre of theatre I'm most excited to be doing. But, who knows, maybe I'll have a good time. At least I'm acting, which I'm extremely grateful for.

I spent the day with Jonah yesterday. It was good to spend time with him. Like he says, this is good practice for us because our careers may very well cause us to be apart for indeterminate amounts of time. We both feel it will make our relationship stronger in many ways. The thing we are both extremely grateful for is how much we genuinely trust one another. I honesty don't give a second thought that Jonah's heart would stray away from me, and I'm sure he feels the same way about me.

Yesterday we napped in my bed, and it was just so nice to be held by him and to hold him. I just thought as I fell asleep in his arms, "What is so wrong about this?" We made out, and it got pretty hot and heavy, which was fun and exciting, but I'm still not ready to have sex yet. I guess my thing is since I still have one foot in my religion, I know that sex is the line I can't cross without risking excommunication from a church that I love and hold dear. I know it must seem ironic to some that I cherish so highly a religion that is not accepting of homosexual relationships, but I do. I really do. Just as much as my sexual preferences are a part of who I am so is the religion I was brought up in.

I've always promised myself that if I leave the LDS church that I will not become bitter or resentful towards it, like many people sometimes do. They feel the church has somehow wronged them or that they lost time devoted to a cause they no longer believe in or blame the church for their circumstances. I would contend that the Mormon church has afforded me some of the best qualities I have and some of the greatest opportunities and experiences I have known in my life. And I certainly do not feel that I have lost or wasted any time belonging to it. The circumstances of my life, both good and bad, have made me who I am and brought me to this point in my life, and if circumstances had been different, I may have never met Jonah, who has been such a blessing in my life. And, call me crazy, I still believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's true church on this earth. I simply have come to a point where I have tried my hardest to live according to its tenets, and I don't know that I have the faith to do so anymore. And I'm learning that maybe that's okay. I'm here to learn and be tested and to love, and I'm doing all that. What I have felt lately is that God loves me and wants me to live and wants me to experience, and nothing I do is going to change that.

We often have this human understanding of God and can't really understand the full magnitude of his love and mercy. We somehow feel (myself included) that if we make mistakes or if we fail in our human endeavors that God will be disappointed and not love us as much as he does someone else who we mistakenly perceive to be doing better than we are. Does that mean I don't believe that people will pay for the wrongs they have done and not repented of or that some people won't get a higher reward in the eternities than others? No. But I do believe God loves all of us with a love that we cannot even fathom and that he wants us to be happy more than anything else.

I just feel I'm at an odd place in my life where I'm discovering eternal truths in places I never expected to find them. I love my religion very, very much. It is a huge part of who I am, and there is so much good to be found there. There is also good to be found in other places, too, and I am finding some of that as well.

Recently on another blog I read some comments from someone I presume to be an active member of my church. He was snidely berating a fellow member for choosing to leave the church to more fully accept his being gay. As I read the comments, I was ashamed of his self-righteous, callous attitude and thought to myself, "Jesus wouldn't have dealt with his brother in this manner." Likewise, on the same blog, there was a letter from someone who had served as a bishop along with this man. While he still did not agree with this brother's decision, I found the tone of his letter to be much more loving. My brother wrote me a similar letter when I revealed my relationship with Jonah. We don't have to agree with people's decisions, but there is a much more Christ-like way to handle our disagreements than was evidenced in the comments section of this person's blog.

And the bottom line is each of us has to make our own decisions and do what we feel is best for us, and ultimately that decision is between us and God alone, and we will answer to Him and no one else. The Spirit whispers different things to different people. There are times lately when I feel the Spirit telling me things that on the surface seem contradictory to what I have been taught. But what I have to realize is that God sees the whole picture whereas we as humans only see parts, and sometimes what is best for us is not always to be found in your standard "Sunday School answers." God told us not to kill, but there are many examples in the scriptures where God commanded someone to kill for a higher purpose (Nephi killing Laban, for example, or the numerous holy wars in the Old Testament and Book of Mormon). God told Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the earth, but he also told them not to eat from the tree of Knowledge, two seemingly contradictory commandments.

Perhaps I'm rationalizing or trying to justify my own actions. I'm not beyond admitting that. But all I'm saying is that what appears to be the cookie-cutter right answer for some may not work for others, and what God allows a person to do may actually have positive results even if it goes against the grain of what is expected.

I had a really interesting lunch with a friend of mine. I told her about Jonah and me, and she was very happy for us. When I met her seven years ago, she was an active member of the church married to an active husband with an active family. They were doing all the "right" things, but she was miserable. Her marriage was in trouble and she was not happy. She has since left the church and remarried a wonderful guy and has started a new business and adopted some new beliefs, and frankly, I've never seen her happier. I remember being sad when she left the church, but the more I saw how happy she was, the more I was confused by how leaving the church that was supposed to help her achieve a greater joy actually was bringing her more joy (in this life, at least). Like me, she holds no bitterness or anger towards the church. Life is what it is. Am I saying that her path is right for everybody? Not at all. But it seems to have worked out very well for her. Some people find what they need in their religion. Some don't and need to find it elsewhere. There are many questions and concerns that I have that I can't find answers to where I'm told they will be. I have done all the things I have been asked to do, and I'm simply not able to do what is required of me. There has to come a time when you say, "This just isn't working for me. Let me try something else." And perhaps in doing that thing, you will discover what brings you the most joy.

It is a hard thought to think about leaving the LDS church (although I know it will never leave me), but it may come to that. Not because I want to, but because I might have to. I truly have nothing but kind words for my religion. And I know that my relationship with God is still good no matter what I choose to do.

You know, I was thinking about how excited I am to be in this relationship with Jonah. I dawned on me that if Jonah were a woman, I could share this news with all my friends and they would be excited and happy for me. But because this is a homosexual relationship, I know there are some (not all, by any means) who will be saddened and disappointed by the news. And I thought, "What difference does it make what sex a person is?" All I know is I've found the person of my dreams, and I'm happy with him. I just wish all people could see the love and look past what they perceive to be a sin.

I'm getting better at doing that myself. I don't feel as guilty as I once did exploring these feelings I've never allowed myself to previously explore, and I think in time I'm going to realize that all the guilt and fear were needless and didn't come from God in the first place. I'm just glad I've taken everything at a slow, thoughtful pace and didn't rush into anything before I was ready to face it.

I hope all of you in blogland are well and that I haven't said anything to upset or offend anyway. This is just what I'm feeling lately.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Random Thoughts (Truly)

I read this letter in The Salt Lake Tribune yesterday. It pretty much summed up my feelings about President Bush and his administration. At one time I thought President Bush was the worst president in my lifetime. I have now decided that he is the worst president EVER. Granted, I don't have much experience with James Buchanan or Andrew Johnson or Franklin Pierce or Warren G. Harding, all of whom were not great presidents from what I've read, so I admit my view is biased. But I think President Bush is a horrible leader, and I think our country keeps going farther and farther down the drain the more he is in office. I certainly didn't vote for him (either time), so I feel I have license to complain.

I love the TV show 24. I've really enjoyed every season, but this one was especially good. It was so full of surprises and twists, which is what I love about the show. Very riveting stuff, and last night's season finale was quite good.

I saw Mission Impossible: III yesterday. I quite liked it. It was quite an entertaining action flick even if I think Tom Cruise is a little nutty.

There's talk of a Republican named Lavar Christensen running against my congressman in Utah, Jim Matheson. I really like Jim Matheson, not just because he's a democrat, but because I feel he speaks his mind and doesn't always vote according to party lines, but according to what he truly feels is best. I also like how accessible he is and how personable he is. He really seems to care and really tries to get the pulse of the people he represents. He's also not into mud-slinging, which I would guess is one reason his prior opponent, John Swallow, lost the last two races against him. And yes, it doesn't hurt that he is a Democrat in a lone wilderness of Republicans.

When I read in the Tribune about Lavar Christensen, I was immediately turned off. He's very conservative (just what we need in our one-party state), against gay marriage, and a huge Bush supporter. Why should I vote for this guy when I already like the guy we got?

Church was interesting Sunday. We talked about being a good example to others and about how we are like trees with strong roots that can lean too far if we lose our anchors. But we also talked about not judging others when we don't know the situation each individual is in. There were some things that touched my heart. Surprisingly, I stayed awake for all three meetings.

Jonah started his new job. I haven't really talked to him in detail about it, but he seems very excited and happy about it, so I am glad for that. He's making $1,000 a week (that's how much I make in a month; I guess we can surmise who the breadwinner is in this relationship, can't we?)

A friend of mine just got cast in the touring company of the Broadway musical, Hairspray. She'll be playing the lead. I'm excited for her. This has been quite a process. She auditioned quite some time ago and attended 7 callbacks over a period of time before they actually called to offer her the role. I guess patience pays off. She's very thrilled, as well she should be. She deserves it.

I'm trying to eat less ice cream. It's an addiction. If there were a Betty Ford clinic for ice cream addiction, I'd have to admit myself. Seriously, before a week and a half ago I ate ice cream almost every day. It's odd that I'm not fatter than I am. I mean, I'm not skinny by any means, but I don't look too bad. In any case, I have been off ice cream for almost two weeks. Yesterday and today, though, I gave in and had a small bowl. Still, I am happy with my progress. But I was having serious withdrawals today.

I love my mom. I just do. She's so great. She's one of my very best friends in this world. She's going to be 67 soon, and she is not wild about that. She's upset that her arms are flabby and that she's overweight and that she can't get up as easily as she once could and that her memory isn't what it once was. To be honest, I'm not wild about it either because it reminds me that I'm getting older and that with each passing year there will one day come the time when we must temporarily say goodbye to one another when one of us dies. I will miss my mom when she dies (assuming she dies before me), but at least I have the knowledge that we will see each other again in the afterlife.

I have noticed my mom's short-term memory is bad lately. She has a hard time remembering that she's already told you something or thinks she's told you something that she hasn't. My mom used to be an ace at Trivial Pursuit, too, but now she can't remember names of movies or actors even though she knows who they are. I mean, she can describe the whole movie to you or tell you what else an actor was in, but just can't remember their name. It's little things like that, and I see that it frustrates her. It makes me a little sad, too, because I know my mom just isn't as sharp as she was in her prime. But she's still got her faculties and her health, so I am grateful for that. My sister-in-law's mother, for example, is in the last stages of Alzheimer's Disease, and I am grateful my mom doesn't have anything like that. My mom's memory problems are more of an inconvenience than a debilitation. My mom's mother lived until she was in her late 80s, so I hope to have my mother around for a while.

How's that for random thoughts?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Moving Forward

I haven't posted in a bit because I'm staying at my mom's house, and she still has a dial-up internet connection, and a very slow one at that. So I can only post late at night when I know nobody will call us (although if they were smart they'd call us on our cell phones, but they don't). Anyway, I've been back home in Utah for a week, and even though I've greatly enjoyed visiting with my family, I am incredibly bored. It's weird going from being full-time graduate student with no free time to being unemployed and having absolutely nothing to do. I have made use of the time by reading and catching up on some movies I wanted to see.

I miss Jonah, which is a good thing. It reminds me how much I love him. He's been bored without me, too, but he starts a new job on Monday, and I'm pretty sure he won't be bored for long.

As for me, I still don't know what my employment situation is yet. I'm waiting for a local theater here in Utah to let me know if they have a summer spot for me in their schedule, but I haven't heard anything yet. I'm planning on going back to where I was in a week and find a job there if I haven't heard anything by then. This theater job may not work out anyway because I found out I have to be back to school a week before the summer show closes. I guess I'll leave it in the hands of God or fate. I really would like to have an acting job for the summer, but at the same time, I'd like to get back to Jonah.

I got together with a really good friend yesterday (we'll call her Amy). Amy and I are such good friends, and we have another good friend, Rick (who we'll be hanging out with next week). I love them both dearly and we really have a wonderful relationship with one another. I haven't seen Amy since Christmas, and it was so wonderful to see her. She knows about my issues, and I know about all of hers. The cool thing about both Amy and Rick (and me, I hope) is that we really try not to be judgmental (at least of each other). Anyway, Amy's activity in the LDS Church has been waning for a while now. She's a recovering alcoholic who's taken to drinking again. But she still serves in the Primary (the kids' group at church for those of you who don't know Mormon-speak), and her bishop knows about her issues. Anyway, she's a great person, and I love her dearly. It's weird that we're in a similar place in our lives as far as church activity goes. We're still both semi-active, we're both doing things that are contrary to our religion's teachings, we both have positive feelings towards the LDS church, and we also are at a point where we're realizing that life is a journey with many twists and turns and sometimes what we perceived our path to be is turning out not necessarily to be the path we should take.

Although it still isn't easy, the message I feel like I'm getting from God lately is that life is meant to be lived and that one has to move forward, even if one risks making mistakes. The thing not to do is to stay stagnant or motionless. Make a choice even if you're afraid of the consequences. It's better than just standing still. I stress that this is the answer I've been getting in my own personal prayers. I don't claim it to be anyone else's answer.

Jonah and I had a discussion recently that was hard but necessary. Jonah is always making jokes about us breaking up, and they bother me, and I told him so, accusing him of using them as a defense mechanism against the possibility that we could break up. What I failed to realize until after our conversation is that I do the same thing, but in a different way. I regularly bring up how hard this relationship is and how I don't know what the right thing to do is and how it might not work out. I told myself I was doing this to prepare him if things don't work out. But I realized that isn't true. He already knows that. He doesn't need reminding. The fact is it's my defense mechanism against the fear I feel. At first, I thought I was afraid of the consequences our relationship would have as far as my standing in the church (and in the afterlife) are concerned. And while that's true to an extent, I think it's simply out of fear of letting myself love someone so deeply. I have been hurt in my past relationships so many times that I have built up a wall and refused to allow myself to get close enough to somebody to really let them in because I am afraid to get hurt again. I know that's silly, but it's the way I am. Jonah is one of the few people I've met in my life who can see past all the crap I've built around me and loves me in spite of it (or because of it). It actually annoys me how perceptive he is, and yet, it's exactly what I need. It also astounds me how much he seems to love me (and who knows why he does; I would have dumped me a long time ago), and I think that's what I need, too. Sometimes I feel guilty because I wonder if I love Jonah as much as he seems to love me, and then I remind myself that, yes, I do; I just have this defense mechanism that I'm very good at that helps me not feel as deeply as I really do. I'm really good at shrugging off things and pretending I don't care (or even convincing myself that I don't). I'm really good at detaching myself (and yet the irony is I get very attached to people). In any case, I'm learning that I really do love Jonah as much as I think I do. He truly is one of the best relationships I've ever had.

But I'm scared of commitment, and I'm scared of letting go, and I'm scared of loving with all of my heart rather than just pieces of it, and, yes, I'm scared of displeasing God or setting a bad example or what-have-you. And, yet, as I said, I feel like I'm learning that a life lived in fear is no life at all (something I'm paraphrasing from Foxx's website). We're here to live and love and make mistakes and learn from mistakes and have experiences and learn from those experiences. I love my religion. I really do. But one thing I'm learning about religion (including mine) is that often it paralyzes us rather than helps us move forward. God put Jonah in my life for a reason, and I feel like I'm learning that it's okay to love him. It may not be everyone's path, but it may very well be mine.

Tomorrow I'm going to church with my mom and sister. I imagine I'll be seeing my old bishop, who's a very good friend. If he asks about my situation, I'll be candid and honest: that as much as I love my religion, I just don't know that I can fully live it the way I've been asked to. I don't know what will happen (nor do I know what will happen with Jonah and me), but like my friend Amy said last night (and I'm paraphrasing), "Life is not a path that moves straight forward or straight back or straight side to side, but is constantly weaving and circling, and it's okay. All relationships, yours included, have their difficulties and challenges, but it's rare when you find that special someone who makes your life and relationship complete, so when you do find someone like that, it's best to hang on to them."

I admit that although I came to Utah to see my family, I also came here to take some time to think about my relationship with Jonah unencumbered, and I'm pretty sure that Jonah, perceptive guy that he is, knows that. And although I still vacillate, what have I learned? That I miss and love Jonah and am so grateful that he is a part of my life. I may not show it (again that pesky defense mechanism), but it's true. Do I know what the future holds? No. But does anybody? Live. Move forward. Take action. Do something. Be happy. That is what I'm learning.

When I think of my life pre-Jonah, it wasn't bad. I wasn't unhappy. But life seems richer and fuller and more eye-opening now that he's in my life, and I like that. Anyway, that's all for now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I remember one night I was talking to my mom outside on my cell phone, and I noticed the moon. It was huge and yellow, and I was commenting to my mom how cool it looked. I was in a different state, only about six hours drive from where my mom was, but the moon was out in both places, so she went outside to look at it. She told me the moon she was looking at was small and white like it often is and looked normal to her. And here I was seeing this yellow, larger-than-life moon that was extremely impressive to me. I always thought it was so odd that we were looking at the exact same object at the same moment, but were seeing completely different things because of where we were, the lighting conditions, the weather conditions, the area we were in, etc. But the object itself was still the same object; it just looked different because of our perception of it. The moon was still the same moon. It hadn't changed its chemistry or anything. And yet we were seeing two very different things. I just always thought that was unusual.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Future

I've been feeling somewhat nostalgic lately. I just finished my second year of the three year MFA program, and it dawned on me that in just a year from now I will be done with school and trying to figure out where to go from here. Some of my friends have graduated this year and many of us will be parting ways next year, and while part of me finds that exciting, there is, of course, another part of me that is both scared and sad. I love change, but, of course, it will be hard to say goodbye to friends and it will, of course, be both exciting and scary to figure out what I want to do next with my life. Of course, I still have a year before that actually happens, and no matter what, I know the future holds much promise. But the two years I've been here have already flown by very quickly, so I know that day will be here before I know it.

I think about my future with Jonah. As I stated recently, he just got a really good job which pays $1,000 a week. Jonah really wants to move out of his parents' house and get a house of his own, and while we haven't discussed it in great detail, I imagine living with him. The two of us continually get closer, and we have a lot of fun together. We've been to a lot of cultural events this week, and I've just really enjoyed spending time with him, especially since my school schedule and his work schedule haven't allowed as much of that this semester as we would like.

I still carry guilt with me from time to time and still catch myself wondering if I'm doing the right things in God's eyes, but I am managing as best I can. I'm just very grateful for this relationship and am very glad to be loved by someone so much and feel that Jonah feels the same way. I'm getting more comfortable at being "out of the closet." Most of my circle of friends doesn't know the extent of our relationship, though I know most of them suspect, but Jonah's friends all know, and we had lunch at his work yesterday, and while I was nervous meeting some of his friends for the first time, I thought I held my own pretty well.

School's finally over for the year, and I am very happy for a much needed break. I've been going nearly non-stop this whole year, and I'm pretty tired. I still don't know what I'm doing this summer as far as work is concerned, but I will be going back home to Utah tomorrow for at least two weeks just to visit my family. I miss them a lot. My mom is really eager to see me. I talk to her about Jonah a lot. I never refer to him as my boyfriends with her...at least not yet, but she knows the two of us are seeing each other, and I talk about him as much as possible to continue to get her used to the idea. As I said, she does like Jonah, so that's a good thing.

I'm eager to see family and friends back home. I haven't seen any of them since Christmas (except my mom, who came here to see my shows). My nieces and nephews are growing up without me, and I feel like I'm missing out.

My next show next fall will be The Laramie Project, which I thought was somewhat ironic given my situation. I'm excited for it because I get the chance to play five different characters, which is a nice challenge for an actor. One of the characters is Fred Phelps, a homophobic minister who I do not like one bit in real life. I think it will be great challenge to channel that kind of person. I think he's an absolute jerk in real life, and I'm a pretty nice guy, so I think it will be hard to find him in me. But I would imagine Fred Phelps, as delusional as I may think he is, probably imagines he's doing the right thing and thinks he's a good man, so maybe it won't be as hard to play him as I imagine. And I've played unlikable characters before. I just think the venom that spews from his mouth is horrible, so it will be hard to say those things and act like I believe them. I guess that's why they call it acting, huh?

Anyway, I guess that's all I have to say for now. Nothing particularly interesting, but that's all I got right now.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

CJ and Danny

I really like the TV show The West Wing. I’ve watched it faithfully for the last eight years and think it has some pretty good writing. I’m sad to see that it wasn’t renewed, but am happy it’s going out on a high. On last Sunday’s episode there was a rather touching scene (well, it touched me at least).

To give you the set up, the characters in the scene are CJ Craig (short for Claudia Jean) and Danny Concannon. When the series started, CJ was the Press Secretary to the President and Danny was a reporter. They developed feelings for each other, but didn’t really act on them because it could be construed as a conflict of interest as far as CJ’s job was concerned. Over the span of the show, Danny and CJ have become close, but still maintain their jobs, which makes their relationship somewhat complicated. CJ was promoted to Chief of Staff a couple of seasons ago, and lately she and Danny have become much more serious.

Sunday’s episode dealt primarily with CJ as she decides what she is going to do now that the president she works under is leaving office and a new administration is coming in. In previous episodes she has been asked to serve on various boards, and in this episode she is offered a lucrative position by a philanthropist who offers to give her $10,000,000 to fix whatever problems she deems he should use the money to fix. She is also practically requested by the President-elect to serve as an advisor to him for at least two more years in the White House.

The important thing to know is that CJ is a bit of a workaholic and has kind of put her relationship with Danny on the back burner. Danny gets her out of the office for twenty minutes to talk with her and she brings up the fact that she’s probably going to take the job with the incoming president. Danny is surprised that she didn’t discuss this with him, and she is surprised that he thinks their relationship is at that level. Danny reminds her that the two of them are not getting any younger and asks if she even sees a future with him. She doesn’t answer, but he reads on her face that she doesn’t and they part on somewhat angry terms.

Later CJ visits her friend, Toby, and in talking with him, she realizes she wants to take time off to learn to cook and ski and have a real relationship, but she is scared that she can’t do it. The next scene we see her at Danny’s apartment. After a Secret Service agent checks the place, CJ and Danny have the following conversation:

CJ: I missed the window, that’s what’s going on here. I missed the window to figure out how to do this.

Danny: How to…?

CJ: …Share my life with another person, how to be a partner or whatever condescending way you put it this afternoon.

Danny: I wasn’t trying to…

CJ: I don’t know how to do it. Maybe at one point I did, maybe I never did, but it’s over now. It’s too late. This and skiing, it’s too late. It’s not gonna happen.

Danny: CJ…

CJ: You said yourself it’s not an accident that this hasn’t come together. This is who I am. I’m good at my job, Danny. I’m good at working. I’m not good at this.

Danny: You’re right. You suck at it. You’re gonna need a tremendous amount of training.

CJ: You’re not gonna…

Danny: I am, actually.

CJ: Train me?

Danny: Well, I’ll call it something else. That sounds bad, but we’ll deal with it.

CJ: I don’t need training.

Danny: (jokingly) No, of course not.

CJ: That’s not funny.

Danny: No, it isn’t. You’re gonna get good at it. We’re gonna get good at new things.

CJ: You don’t know that.

Danny: I do.

CJ: Don’t make it sound like it’s nothing.

Danny: You didn’t miss it.

CJ: What if I did?

Danny: You didn’t miss it.

CJ: What if I can’t…?

Danny: We’ll figure it out. All of it. (she sighs, scared) You can be scared. That’s okay. But you’re not gonna walk away from me because you’re scared. I’m not that scary.

CJ: (after a long pause) So, um, do you want me to take one of the board of directors’ jobs? It’s only a couple of hours a week…

Danny: Where the hell did that come from?

CJ: I’m trying. You want to be involved? I…

Danny: I want you to do what you want. Take the job at the White House. I just want you to talk to me about it. I want us to talk about what it will mean and how we’ll make it work. I want us to talk like we’re going to figure it out together. I want us to talk…because I like the sound of your voice. I just want to talk.

CJ: (after a pause) Franklin Hollis wants me to take ten million dollars and go and fix the world.

Danny: That sounds like fun. Does that sound like fun to you? (she nods) Do you want to work at the White House? (she shakes her head, crying)

CJ: There’s a typo in the Constitution.

Danny: Well, someone should look into that.

CJ: Toby’s gonna deal with it.

Danny: Okay. What else?


I guess I was moved by the scene because I know and like the characters and know how much they love and care about each other, and I’ve been rooting for them to get together. I guess you really have to see the show and this episode and understand the characters better to really get the nuances and get the full effect.

The scene also reminded me a bit of my relationship with Jonah. Certainly there are big differences between CJ and Danny and their relationship and mine with Jonah, but there were certain parallels. I felt Jonah was more the Danny character and I the CJ character. CJ’s afraid to take a big step in her life and Danny’s kind of the voice of reason. The two really love and care for each other. I’ve always been very independent and somewhat of a commitment-phobe, and my job has always been extremely important to me. But I also know I love Jonah very much, and I think we’re at a good place in our relationship.

School has ended for the summer, and I still don’t know what I’m doing as far as work. I’m still waiting to hear from a theater in Utah that I worked for before. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll stay where I am and get a job here.

Jonah just got offered a very lucrative job here in town. He’s very happy about it and so am I. His current job has not been very satisfying, and Jonah hasn’t been very happy there. This new job will be much better for him, I think. If anything, at least it will be change. Jonah is worried that with our schedules we won’t be able to see each other. I’m confident that things will work out. We’ll make it work…just like CJ and Danny.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Turning Negatives Into Positives

My show closed on Sunday. It was a good run, but it's the end of the school year, and I'm a bit fried. I need a break. So even though the show was a lot of fun and gave me the chance to work with some friends I'd always wanted to work with, I'm happy that we're finally closed.

Local critics have been less than kind in reviewing our show. It's hard to be fully objective about a show you're in, I think, but my fellow cast members and I really felt we had a good show. Is it the best show I've ever been in? No? Is it the greatest script ever written? No. But I think it was a really good production of this particular play, and we all felt good about the work we'd done. We got a D- in one review and one star (out of four, I believe) in another, and I really don't think the show is that bad. I'd probably give it a B (or a C+ at the very minimum). I just didn't think either review was an accurate portrayal of what the production actually was like, and judging from audience response, I think I'm right. I had so many people tell us they really enjoyed the show and even had some tell me it was their favorite show of the season (I don't think I would go so far as to say it was the best show of the season, but it's a nice compliment nonetheless).

Frankly, I don't really care what critics say, good or bad. I lived with a theatre critic for six months, and I can tell you that critics are just people with opinions, and he and I often disagreed on our assessments of shows we saw. But I liked him, and he still remains a close friend to this day. All I know is that I know when I'm proud of my work and when I'm not. I was in a show once that stank to high heaven, in my opinion, and yet audiences seemed to really like it. I would tell my fellow friends (and some cast members who agreed with my assessment), "just imagine how they'd react if the show were any good." And then I've been in things that I was very proud of that just got slammed by the critics. I still maintain that some of my best work was in a show that got panned by a local critic, and nothing she said makes me feel any differently. But as I said, one can't be completely objective about one's own work.

What I do know is that I can't control what is said about my work or how people feel about my acting. Most people seem to agree that I'm a pretty good actor. I feel like I am. But regardless, I know when I'm pleased about my work and when I'm not, and no outside influence can really have that much of an impact on me unless I choose to allow it. I will certainly take the feedback of people whose opinions I respect. If anything, I am my own worst critic. If I'm not measuring up to my own standards, than I'm in trouble. I'm a perfectionist by nature, which gets me in trouble with myself sometimes. But as life has gone on, I am getting better at looking at myself with a less critical eye. I was once told by my mission president that I am the judge, jury, and executioner in one, and I think I've gotten much better at not being as hard on myself.

Anyway, my point in even writing all this was that one of the reviews about my play said some rather harsh things, but the writer was very good at writing, which I don't often find to be the case among theatre reviewers. He was just very clever and witty and entertaining, and I found myself laughing at many of the things he said, even if I didn't agree with them. I decided to write him an email. I wrote, in part, the following:

I just wanted to say that even though I am one of the actors in this production that you panned, I enjoyed reading your review of it. While I am obviously disappointed that you didn't enjoy the show and even though I don't agree with your assessment of it, I do have to give you kudos for being a good writer. Your review was both entertaining and clever.
I'm also glad that I somehow escaped mention in your review. I don't necessarily take that to mean that you liked my performance any better than those of my fellow actors. In fact, I'm willing to bet you didn't. But it's nice to know that I somehow was able to evade the wrath of your acid pen.
Anyway, I don't take reviews, good or bad, too seriously. I just wanted to write to let you know I enjoy your style. I'm just sorry we didn't live up to your expectations and hope that [our next] production...will be a more positive experience for you. In any case, keep up the good writing. You've got a fine talent there.



The critic responded with the following:

You are a class act, [Cody].

It takes a certain character, especially as a member of a cast of a play I disliked, to write to me and say such kind things. I donÂ’t know if I'd be capable of it were the situation reversed.

Overall, I enjoy [your theater's] productions very much; this one just rubbed me the wrong way. And also, it is because I am so rarely let down by [your theater]---which is the group I look forward to seeing the most in town---that my disappointment and perhaps even anger may have been provoked to that degree. The reason you were not mentioned is because after about a half-hour of this play, it was difficult for me to find much to like anywhere in it, but you did good work in what I thought was a sub-par production. And you know that I've talked about you in reviews of past productions, as I believe you to be a genuine talent.

Please accept my gratitude for your lovely note, especially under the circumstances. You can probably imagine that critics aren't often the object of anyone's admiration. You made my day.

I look forward to seeing you on stage again very soon.

Anyway, it was agood lesson to me that one can take a seemingly negative thing and gain something positive from it.

I always say, "We can't control our circumstances, but we certainly can control our attitudes and reactions regarding those circumstances.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My Dream Last Night

It isn't that interesting, I suppose, but I thought I'd share it nonetheless:

I dreamt that Jonah and I were trying to rescue my ex-fiancée, who was being held in a commune of some sort (sort of akin to the pologymous communes one finds in southern Utah). It was up in the mountains, though, and the only way to sneak in was to go through these tunnels. We were under the command on Mike Novick, a character on the TV show "24," which I was watching prior to going to bed last night. He was helping us navigate the tunnels, in order to help us get out and in without getting lost.

Anyway, Jonah and I managed to get through the tunnels and we tried to drive a jeep up a very steep mountain, but were unsuccessful. Eventually we made it inside one of the buildings in the commune, where we told an LDS bishop we were there to talk to my ex-fiancée, who I will call Lisa. The bishop didn't seem to want to tell us where Lisa was.

I looked out the window of the bishop's office, where I could see several dwellings where people lived. You could look through their windows and see inside. The furniture was very luxurious and expensive, and one could see that the living quarters were on some sort of turn table, so that the occupants could rearrange which rooms were on which side of the house.

Eventually we got the bishop to tell us that Lisa was sky-diving outside. Jonah and I went outside, and sure enough, several people were skydiving. Lisa was the third person to land, and upon seeing me, she acknowledged me, but didn't speak to me. Her body language indicated that she was happy living in this commune and was in no need of rescuing. She walked away. I still felt she shouldn't be there, but respected her choice to stay.

Jonah and I then got back in the tunnels to leave. At first, the tunnels were very narrow and sloped downward, much like a water slide, and I was enjoying sliding down them, but soon they became level, and until Mike Novick gave us instructions on how to get out, we were stuck there, and I began to get claustrophobic and panic. Jonah was a few yards behind me and told me to back up to him. I snuggled against his warm body and he proceeded to try and calm me down. I told him I had a premonition that something dreadful was going to happen to us, and he reminded me that all the premonitions I had ever had prior to this event had never come true and that it was clear I was not a very good predictor of the future. That made me feel better.

Soon I called Mike, and although he was very busy, he took the time to guide us out of the tunnels. I made him stay on the line until I was sure we were out and safe. I started crying because I was so happy to be out and free.

I don't know if it means anything, but I liked the dream because of how safe I felt with Jonah. I also thought it was extremely odd that my ex, who I haven't thought much of in a long time, was in the dream as well. Anyway, it was interesting (to me, at least).