Spring awakening

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Wow, what a whirlwind 2011 has been so far. This is going to be a long, mixed, rambling post today.

I can hardly believe that we’re in April already – mid April, no less, and I feel like there have been so many things I have wanted to do in this first quarter that I haven’t accomplished. The short story is, I have been insanely busy, and this part of my life is about to draw to a quiet end for a while.

Financially, we’re taking a few steps back with my pay being 11 weeks in coming (oh the joy of changing jobs), and I’ve decided not to renew my dance card for this term, but I’ll be returning to Ballet (and maybe even something else as well?) in the Autumn.

I am however hoping to carry on with dressmaking from next week, as although the council classes have halted for now until September, my lovely teacher has decided to rent a room and run small classes herself for the next wee while. My lovely brother/sister-in-law have kindly decided to buy me a sewing machine for my upcoming birthday, so this means I’ll have my own to take along to classes, and maybe sew at home. My latest project, I think, will be slip covers for the two “occasional chairs” that Ann gave us for our new home, which have been run a bit ragged. I’ll try and do something loose for now, and maybe make something more tapered/fitted later on.

RENT has been spectacular, and despite the stresses with travelling to and from rehearsals twice a week (and early on a Saturday – ugh), I’m still so thrilled that I have been a part of it. RENT has been one of my favourite shows for more than half of my life now, and I still get a shiver up my spine when we sing the finale. I have been honoured to sing the funeral solo (“I’ll Cover You [Reprise]”) and it has been really fun being the overbearing mother in Mrs Cohen.

One of my biggest flaws is struggling with taking a step back in a skill/learning process, and this has been a real learning experience for me, too. It’s my first show being part of the ensemble only (with occasional solo parts), and it has taken a bit more adjustment than I expected. While I have been in amateur productions, I’ve never been less than a lead/a substantial role in the story. I struggled for a while, beating myself up for some sort of arrogance or feeling the lack of status/level that I have been on, but I’ve let it go a little, as I genuinely don’t feel that I’m better than anyone, just that this is something I’ve never done before.

I think starting in the spotlight at age 10 in theatre, moving to commercials, television and short film, concerts, benefits… and being paid for it (and pampered as hell on TV sets – it’s quite ludicrous), you get told how wonderful you are, and how talented you are, and you start to believe it for a long time. You start to feel invincible, powerful and like people should pay attention. When I stopped for a few years and concentrated on “real jobs”, and then moved to Edinburgh, I suffered a massive crisis of confidence, where I felt like I was rubbish, untalented, not going anywhere, and that it was my fault for slipping away from the business. If only I’d kept studying opera… if only I’d gone to drama school… if only, if only, if only.

Starting up my gigs in Edinburgh on the acoustic scene, and having a good response, has started to build that up again, and my depression was lifting, and then RENT came along. I have wanted to be in RENT since I first heard it at 13. I was lucky enough to see it on Broadway at 19, and again at 22. It is so incredibly important to me, and a show I would do anything to be in, that it was initially a blow to my ego not to be cast in a lead, and to be without even a solo in the mix (originally listed simply as “vendors”). This eased when I was offered Mrs. Cohen, and then the funeral solo, but it was a weird feeling. It came at a time when I was trying to build up my strength and confidence again, and get rid of the fear of failure that had dominated me for so long.

I hope I have proved myself to the team and I know I have worked hard. I know I am getting older and I have been out of the loop for a while. So I give myself a big kick in the ass every night, any time that I wish I was out there singing Joanne or Maureen or Mimi. The cast is spectacular; an amazing group of people who all fit their roles so well, and while I am jealous of Sarah, who sings Joanne (the best role for me, really), I love her voice and her talent and she shines every night. She will go far. I’m really proud of this production and while it will be strange to walk away from it tomorrow night, I look forward to the next.

So from next week, I’m available every night except Tuesdays. Amazeballs. Fees + bus money = big saving for a few months! We’ll be getting a car at the end of the month, which is exciting too.

My plan at this stage is to start running/recording all of my new material, and a series of covers. I’ve planned out my Wednesday evenings/Saturday afternoons for this purpose, and can’t wait to share these new songs with the world. Ideally, I’ll be looking to release a new 4-track EP in the first weeks of June, once I have priced out the printing of the covers, etc. I’ll initially be recording at home, but once the cashflow is a bit easier, I’ll be looking at independent studios, as well.

My covers project will include a song from all of my favourite artists, and those who have influenced and inspired me the most. At the moment, I have tunes planned by Barenaked Ladies, Joni Mitchell, Our Lady Peace, Sarah Slean, Sarah McLachlan, Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush, Bette Midler and Rilo Kiley. (More than half of my favourite acts are Canadian. Woah).

I’m also going to spend at least a couple of Sundays organising all of my photos, songs, videos, documents, everything. I have had all the data from 3 broken computers thrown onto 2 external hard drives, and they are a mess. The OCD part of me is rather excited about this particular task! Yeesh, I’m a freak.

And the final things that I really can’t wait to do? Read more books, go to more services at shul, write more stories and posts, play more music just for fun, sleep… and also, catch up on my Google Reader, which I think is now about 6 weeks behind.

We’re still messy as hell, despite our plan not to do this in the new flat, but I’ve put in a system where we do specific tasks each day (split up between us) so we’re not so overwhelmed. I think it’ll work. My weight has ballooned, but I decided not to care for a while (I’ve taken up stress eating!), while I’m in this period of high activity, as I’ll have time to work on that after the madness dies down.

So I’m abolishing the new years’ resolution theory. Well, at least for Januarys. I’m 27 in 18 days. All of the things I want to change and fix and put into practice are going to happen in my 28th year, and I can’t wait.

I look forward to reading all the blogs, tweets and Facebook/Flickr updates from everyone, and getting back in the loop. Spring already. Phew.

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