"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Monday, November 28, 2011


There's a space in time when even a Struggling Actress can feel like there is no limit. It happens every so often.

It's happening now.

Last Monday, my acting teacher coached a client for a series regular role. He emailed me the sides, with "Your people need to get you in for this." I read the three scenes he attached and of course, of course. From the description to the sides, it's so right for me. As if someone was watching me for the last three years and said, "Hey, I'm gonna write a role for you."

I put myself on tape.

I posted on facebook -" I wish I could email this casting director my audition and she'd write to my reps, 'Where has she been all this time?! She's wonderful!'"

And get this - a casting director I've worked with asked me what role and show, and three days later, he asks if the CD called me into her office yet, because he called her himself and pitched me.

Yes, that really happened.

My manager also just emailed my taped audition to the casting director directly.

We might be completely out of the game already - we might be days too late - BUT - with all these people in my corner, it just makes me feel like Okay! I have an entire TEAM behind me, rooting, cheering, trying to get me in there. "She is worth it! She is talented! She Should Be Seen!"

And maybe, just maybe, I will be.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Haps

What happens when I find myself kinda lost?

I make lists! I love lists!

And one of the things that has been on my list for a while is Voice Over. Yes, Voice Over, the thing every struggling actress thinks she should get into because surely, no one else has thought to do this too, and she'll make a ton of money booking work from auditions she can do at her own home!

Now, I've really been paying attention to voice overs on commercials on the radio and television, and really noticing how different they all are. How, if we did any type of voice over work on our scene work, we'd be kicked out of class for being too theatrical.

I've been paying attention to cartoons - kids cartoons and adult cartoons, and noticing the difference.

I'm even taking a Voice Over class.

And I love it. How musical it all is. How "taking your voice and pushing it to the front of your mouth" (whatever the eff that means) can produce another sound.

So my website now has a Voice Over tab where I'll have the small online cartoons I worked on serve as a place holder for the Commercial Voice Over reel I'll have in 6 weeks, and the Animation Voice Over reel I'll hopefully have next year.

The big lesson I've learned this month? When I'm feeling like I have no control and nothing's happening, find another acting skill and learn as much as I can about it. Research, study, make things happen.

Make things happen!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Perfect November Skies

Thank you all for your good thoughts and for those of you who reached out to me via email in regards to my mother. She is back at her care facility, feeling better. Trying to figure out how to prevent further infections will be a challenge, as she won't go to a dentist until she is in so much pain she'll agree to go to the hospital. For some reason, she can't seem to remember the old Mom adage, an ounce of prevention...

I feel like I'm fighting something that might not really be there. Like I'm a hypochondriac battling an infection. That's what life has been feeling like. Unsure, unbalanced, tripping along, hoping I'll be able to straighten my feet out so I can walk again. No more uphill, no more San Francisco streets, just even, Valley, perfectly flat gridded streets.

If only it was that easy, right?

Maybe I'm on a precipice of something major, something huge, and like a dog before an earthquake, I'm uneasy, whimpering.

I prefer the overcast gray skies; fitting my moods. Perfect November mornings.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I've been trying not to mention it. To not go on about it in the real world, because if I talk about it, my throat balloons and my eyes float in high tides. Most people close to me don't know. I've only been telling you.

I walked into her hospital room today and her mouth was slack and she was staring at the television, her eyes open, watery.

I asked her how she was.

Her response was raspy. "I can't talk," she gasped.

I thought about the time in therapy, when I realized the only time my mother touched me was when I was sick. She would put her small hand on my forehead to check my temperature, and I would marvel at the softness, not knowing I had been waiting since last flu season to feel it. That I had been waiting for my mother's magic healing caress.

A child subconsciously craves their mother's hand. You don't know you are until you get it and then inexplicably exhale. 

I sat next to her and put my hand on her forehead. It's okay, Mom. We don't have to talk. I'll just sit with you for a while.

I placed my hand on her forehead, smoothing her hair back down, over and over again.

Let this help you feel better. Let this heal you.

I am here, I am here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


You saw your mother last week, toting your husband, wedding photos, stories and anecdotes, but she was quiet, different. And she was saying things that were odder than usual. After almost a year of her being happy to see you, as happy as she can be, which isn't much, but you take it, gladly, hungry for it, any morsel will do because happy is love and maybe she can feel that she loves you, she is not happy to see you. She is indifferent.

You see your mother two days ago for her birthday.You are with your aunt, her sister, and you drive to the care facility, "The Manor," a little worried because the onsite Nurse has called your aunt saying that your mother has been complaining about her face, and she doesn't look good. But she won't go to the doctor or the dentist.

You are driving, talking to your aunt about what you might say, how best to handle your mother's fears about dentists, their drills, their metal hooks and scrapers. Your mother doesn't want to go to the dentist because she doesn't want false teeth, she has always said. But she never brushes.

If it is an infection in her mouth and if not taken care of, the infection can get into the blood and kill her. And you try not to say, "good, good, this is what she wants, she wants to die," but you think you and your aunt are both choosing not to say it out loud. You think about how if your mother was your pet, you could have said goodbye to her years ago, dignified, the vets agreeing this was for the best.

Maybe if you talk about how the pain medicine is good now, how you don't feel a tooth being pulled, how they numb you completely, maybe she'll understand and go.


You finally arrive. Your mother is in her room and the caretakers open the front door to The Manor already worried. "Her face has been swollen," they say, "it's better today."

You go into her room. She is resting, like you always find her, on her side with the blanket over her head. Tired? Cold? Hiding?

You see her face. The left side so swollen and twice the size when just last week, she was fine. For her.

You are surprised. Taken completely aback, but you try not to look startled.

You have always thought, she needs to die, and if it's an infection from her teeth, then so be it. But you didn't think about the pain. You didn't realize that to die of an infection is to die a very painful death. She is your mother, your mother, you don't want her to be hurting.

"Does it hurt?" you ask, "are you in pain?"

"There is a volcano in my mouth." she says. And you try to catalogue what she just said, as you've been doing, so that you can make fun of it later, turn them into jokes, so that instead of crying, you can laugh. Say something like, well, at least one of the voices in her head is good at imagery, a poet.

But she is angry when your aunt mention the dentist. "You can just leave," she huffs loudly, until your aunt distracts her with, "Don't you want to open your gifts?"

She will come out with you, to Starbucks instead of lunch, because she only wants to eat soft foods and doesn't want to eat now. She orders a warm drink. And she doesn't say much. She stares. You try to include her in the conversation, but you can't think of things to say to her. You and your aunt catch up, and your mother stares.

Your mother asks if you can just drive around for a little bit, and you suggest going to the park, but when you get there, it is crowded. She doesn't want to get out and walk the perimeter. "Just drive around," she says, so you go through the neighborhood and try to find the fun Halloween decorations and point them out to her but you don't know how well she sees them because she won't go to the optometrist. The doctor.

You finish and call it a day, dropping your mother off back to the Manor and try to hug her although she's not interested in that.

On the way home, your aunt and you talk about schedules, houses, selling condos and property taxes, the benefits of owning versus renting because the last thing you want to talk about is your mother.

You are now back home, your aunt driving back over the hill, your husband still in Long Beach. You are alone. And for the first time in years,

in Years,

you think,




Because as much as you want her to die, to slip out of this broken body and be free of it, you didn't count on the pain she'd be feeling when she gets sick.

And your throat hurts, and your eyes water, because she is your mother. In pain. And she refuses to let you take her to get medicine or see someone to help her. You can't help your own mother.

You think about the future, about how your mother will be cremated, like she's asked for the last 22 years, how there will be no funeral, no memorial.

No place you can go to, to grieve, to take solace, to feel like, if you go there, she will know, and stand beside you, invisible, understanding, full of love.

You think about her ashes, how you would want some of them. To take them with you to visit your own sister, and together you two could go and mourn for the mother you never had. To sprinkle them in the wind so that she may be carried off to the sky, up to heaven, and surrounded with light and love and be weightless with no fears, no worries, no voices.

Your mother, in heaven, maybe smiling down at you and proud. Maybe waiting patiently up there so that when you die, she will be the first in line to welcome you home, in arms that hug back, and say, "I am so proud of you, and I know it was hard, but I love you, and you are here in my arms, and home."

And that is heaven: Your mother, free of voices in her head, free of fears, free of all the pain, hugging you tight, saying she loves you.

Happy 66th birthday, Mom.