24 April, 2013

Earth Day Service

Flag hung over the dais for our Earth Day service.
Hello, dear Readers!

As you all know, this past Monday was Earth Day, and the day prior was our Earth Day service at my UU church, which the Green Sanctuary committee planned and executed. We've been planning the service for about a month, and I'm happy to say it came together well! I was very nervous beforehand, but once it got going, things calmed down a lot. This is not to say it was not without bumps, but I think everyone understood this was not something we were able to have everyone together to rehearse over and over. Someone forgot to get up to read something so we had to nudge them, some transitions took too long, and our play was read more slowly than we had rehearsed it. But overall, I heard from people that lay services (services planned by lay members rather than the acting minister) do tend to run long, and that it was worth it. I counted when we were about to start and we had just about 50 people in attendance--not counting the students and teachers down the hall, but actually in the sanctuary for the service--and by mid-way through I noticed that some stragglers had joined us later. I think 50-60 is pretty usual for a general service, so that was good.

You may be able to find links to the songs and readings online. I'll include the numbers as they relate to the UU hymnal, just in case you can find them. Here is a page where you can listen to recordings of hymns from the supplemental hymnal for educational purposes (as in, learning how the songs go!). In doing a quick Google search on UU hymns to find out if you could find them, I actually came across a few pages saying things like "I hate the words to UU hymns," "I feel sorry for UUs who have to sing those songs, Catholic songs are so beautiful," and so on. There is even an article entitled "WHY I AM NOT A UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST" and the first words showing in the search result reveal that this person is not a UU because they think the hymnal "is a disaster." As though the hymnal were the only reason to be a UU! I really enjoy the UU hymns, not only because there are plenty which do not mention the Christian God, but also because I think they touch on something a lot more. AND I like that they're easy melodies that everyone can sing, even people who don't feel comfortable singing or reading music. Besides, UU hymnals do contain Christian and Catholic hymns, as well as Jewish ones, Buddhist and Hindu chants, Native American music, Pagan music, and more. But I digress!

Marianne's Gaia
One of the women from the choir brought in this lovely statue of Gaia which she hand-crafted. She set it up with the flowers. Our Opening Words reading (#417) addressed Gaia as our home and our mother, and also mentioned the Earth as a "blue green" orb. I picked the reading mainly for that reference, since the play I wrote for the service was inspired by one of our members' devotion to the water and the idea that Earth should be called Planet Ocean and the environmental movement should be called BlueGreen instead of just Green.

Our Call to Worship reading (#502) was more about activism, and the fact that now is the proper time for change and work. We have to plant today to reap in the future. Then we all sang a song called Mother Earth, Beloved Garden (#1067) which is one of the first UU hymns I ever sang, during a meeting of my college's UU club. The song has five verses, each one ending with a calling of a direction/element: North, East, South, West, and finally, Center/Spirit.

12 April, 2013

Keeping Busy

Hey, Readers,

I've been meaning to blog about a couple things, and I think I ought to just do it now so you all know I'm okay! The family calmed down after that night, so much so that I hadn't heard from anyone at all in days! (Aside from Grams, because I live with her, of course.) The morning after the fiasco I overheard plans to kick me out, which were evidently ignored, and I began thinking that perhaps the whole family does not feel this way, and so they were able to ignore the passionate rantings of one person who really didn't understand the whole situation. In any case, no one has said anything to me about anything, until this morning when, walking through my bedroom (it is a thoroughfare between our house and the attached apartment), my cousin and aunt both said "Hey," or something equally quick.

So for now I am still at Grams' house, keeping a low profile, and slowly still going through all my things in preparation for cutting down on my amount of possessions. I thought I would just update you on what's been happening besides.

Last Saturday I spent several hours going through our UU hymnals, playing songs on my flute and looking at various readings, creating a list of many options for our Earth Day service later this month. I came up with about six songs and six readings from the hymnals, plus a few poems from some other books I had: Good Poems, arranged by Garrison Keillor, and Jim Scott's manuscript, Just the Words.

At the meeting on Sunday we narrowed it down to what we would use for the service. We may have too many things, since we are also including a short play I wrote for the service and showing a 10-minute video clip that will make up the bulk of what we want to congregation to think about. If we cut anything, I personally think it should be my play. I'm not even sure the committee really liked it anyway. They were a little iffy when we read it, I felt. But they think that new, original pieces are best to put into the service, so they would probably choose to keep my play and cut some other readings or songs. Readings and songs, mind you, which I also REALLY like. I am writing a chalice lighting for the service, as well, so there would still be an original piece. But we'll see.

Other than that, I applied for a couple theatre positions at the community theatre for the summer. I should definitely get something, since I've worked there before, but this time I'm hoping to be an Instructor's Assistant (sort of like a Stage Manager) instead of just an Intern (Rehearsal Assistant). It's a higher position and also makes twice as much money, which I could really use. I'd like to do multiple workshops if possible--There is a one-week, all-day program in June that I could assist with, and then the other shows I applied for don't begin until later June or July.

Besides that, my mother went to school with a man who ended up working in film in the area, so I've been talking with him and he wants to introduce me to people in the industry and find some work for me there, as well. So far, he has said that there should be a role for me as an actor in a film they will be doing soon (though I have no idea what "soon" means in film-speak, being primarily a stage theatre person so far, and no it's not a "movie" or anything you would hear about!), and that my makeup experience will come in handy for other projects so they could always use me for that.

An interview I did last year, only I was the interview-ee!
This Sunday, I am supposed to be going to an assignment with him so that I can see how they set up for a filming situation rather than live theatre, and they also want me to conduct an interview. You know the style of interview that you see on TV or in documentaries, where someone is speaking in front of the camera but looking off-camera, and the questions being asked have been edited out? That would be me! You never hear me or see me... But my name still goes in the credits, haha. He's supposed to get back to me about a time, and we have to decide where to meet up so that he can drive us into the city and I don't have to drive myself, but that should be cool. I'm looking forward to meeting people and working in different areas.

So because of that, I have been trying to make a list of every theatre-related thing I've done and note whether it was a memorized performance or not. At my college, we do a lot of other things such as readings, script-in-hand performance, and so on. We also did one acts, ten-minutes, and other various forms of theatre besides the usual two-act play or musical.

And that's what I've been up to! On my personal Youtube channel, I have been doing VEDA: Vlog Every Day in April, so those videos are being posted a little at a time as I get them done. There will end up being a video for every day in the month, and they are in a playlist on my channel so you can always find them easily. Right now I'm working on updating my Etsy a little, and I will hopefully be adding brand new items very soon, and that's about it!

Thanks for reading,

P.S. Usually I only like to blog about religious/spiritual topics, here on The Witchy Stuff. So the thing I wanted to mention here was all the preparation for the UU service. But in light of the recent issues, I figured I would add a little more about my life situation because that is very much a part of my spiritual life--It's all my life. Although, this is NOT a blog about my personal life regardless of subject, and it will not become such. Only things that affect the rest of my subject matter will be brought up, because I really do want this to remain focused on its namesake.

08 April, 2013

Back-Pack Back-Up Plan

Hey, Readers,

One of my good friends is a high school teacher, but his back-up plan is to sell everything he owns and use the money to travel the world, carrying only the essentials he can manage, and living at various locations where people provide room and board in exchange for doing a few hours of work each day. Aside from what he points out as the downside--losing the security of having a set income and place to live--I completely agree with this back-up plan. It sounds like a really great thing to do, if you can.

Right now, I'm not sure what's going to happen for me. I can't really stay here, though it was decided as the best option for me, and the other possibilities all have drawbacks of their own. I hope to hear back from the jobs I applied for soon (one sounded very promising, they just still have not gotten back to me, just like every other job so far... I wish people would at least get back to you to say "No"), and I'm sure I'll get a summer theatre position but those workshops simply don't start immediately so I have to wait until the shows begin. But even with a job coming soon, this living arrangement is not going to work for the two more years I have until I can get a place with my significant other, who will have completed his Master's degree by then.

I've only been here since December, and it's only just now beginning to warm up a bit. I have only just begun to be able to use my downstairs living space, to be warm enough without having to bundle up in a clump of blankets, so that I can sit and meditate or walk around my altar/coffee table. The convenience of warmth is only just beginning. I have barely begun to be able to enjoy what is supposed to be my own basement bedroom/apartment (minus kitchen and bathroom which I would still have to go upstairs for). Through the winter, I had to sleep upstairs due to the cold, and keep my clothes and other daily essentials there. I wasn't able to spend time outside, or to perform ritual. The time for that has just come. And now I may have to leave it soon.

I wish I didn't have to choose between someone I love and avoiding people I can't stand. I wish there were more separation. But life is like that. With the good comes some bad, and with the bad, some good. By getting rid of everything I can, I lose some items that maybe had meaning to me or somewhere down the line I find myself saying "Oh darn it, I HAD one of those, if only I had kept it!" (Which is my worst fear about getting rid of clothes that I don't wear daily but which OFTEN have been used as costumes!) But I also lose the feeling of being so stuck in a place that I can't leave it if I need to. By leaving, I leave someone I don't want to leave behind with the rest, but I also potentially gain more independence and general happiness. I imagine that even though selling everything you own and traveling the world as you can does mean a bit of insecurity and trouble to get through when you want to settle back down again, there is also so much to find.

But people like me? I can't even begin to entertain that idea until I get myself to a place where I can fit everything into my car if I need to, and go.

Wish me luck and safe passage.