Monday, September 27, 2010

I Probably Should Pack Up Instead of Write This

Friday night's show went fairly well. We upped it a notch with lighting and giving me a mike. It was close to looking professional. Maybe it still wasn't quite there, but for me it was some big steps forward. When I looked out into the audience, all I saw were the bright lights and the silhouettes of people's heads. I realized I really haven't done a traditional style of theatre in a long time. It has usually been the simple "get-up-on-stage-and-do-something" kind of approach.

Anyway, it was good time and there was a positive reaction, however, I am a poor judge of the reaction, because even if they didn't like it, they would never say it to your face so any reaction would be under suspect. That said, when I was talking with people, they did mention parts that they really liked which is a more positive sign.

Here was the stand out favourite of the crowd that night. Sam Peterson was one of the highlights for me in this one.

Regardless, I was, like after I finished the last two shows, kind of sad when it was done. You put a lot of work into a show and then in an hour and a half, it's done. I was took a walk after the show to go get some food. I don't usually eat a whole lot on the day of a big performance and afterwards I did not want to make anything. So I went and got fast food. You know. Nutrition. As I was walking down the street, still wearing my suit and heavy coat, reflecting on the show and had that kind of lost feeling in the sense that I was so preoccupied for the last several weeks and now I have nothing to do. That's changing really soon, but there's nothing for me to prepare for and so I am in this strange eye of the storm.

Creative work takes up a lot of time unlike a retail or 9 to 5 type jobs. Sure, they're not usually physically draining or strenuous but they are consuming in a different way. Most of your time is centered around your craft. Some jobs get to leave their work at their workplace, but for me, the show is always lingering at the back of your mind. I know it must of been at least a little annoying for the guys at the Life Together house (along with other random friends) to have to hear about the ideas I had for sketches and videos, but that was what going on in my head. I had to. I am not able to just go and sit and hammer out ideas for a block of time and once the time was done, stop thinking about it.

Now, that the show is done, I was left on Saturday with nothing to do. I suppose I should've started packing up or some such nonsense like that, but I was looking for someone to hang out with because it seems I haven't done a whole lot of that in the light of the fact that I was prepping the show. The funny thing is that I was unsure of who to call. I think I wanted to hang out with someone that I can be comfortable around, just relax with, talk about things that matter, someone whom I would miss. However, most of those people either were busy or whom I assumed was busy. In the end, I spent the night just on my own and walked down to Osbourne. It was sort of nice, but kind of disappointing. So I did the only thing I knew how to do and started working on a new show. It wasn't exactly what I had envisioned for that night.

The thing is, I really can't be too upset about that. That's literally the kind of life I have chosen to live for the next while. One where I am working on shows and scripts. It's kinda like I have decided that the friend I am going to spend more time with is my stage persona than some of these other good friends of mine. In Nelson, I am not sure if I am going to find a lot of friends who are on the same general wavelength as me and my best friend might be my work which I don't know if I'll like a whole lot. We'll see.

As I write this, I have for the first time realized that I don't know a whole lot of people in Nelson. There are some contacts there, but not a lot of long time friends. Not like when I went to Providence or when I moved to the city. The last time I did this, I went to Covenant Bible College and I think the most important thing that happened there was that I got to redefine my life. These experiences may be challenging and perhaps not comfortable, but it may give me the thing I need to push myself forward. Interesting...

"Yeah, runnin' down a dream
That would never come to me
Workin' on a mystery, going wherever it leads
Runnin' down a dream"
- Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream" from his album "Full Moon Fever"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

That's Me Up There

I have less than forty-eight hours until my last comedy show in Winnipeg (for a while anyway) and in less than a week I will be in the town of Nelson, British Columbia. In a lot of regards, I feel like I have not seen too many people in the last few days and probably won't be making too many plans either. Yet, I don't feel too bad about that. I've always felt kind of detached from most people in my life and many times it seems like I have forgotten people who are my friends. As I sit here, I don't know who I would call to hang out with in my last few days here. Why would I hang out with someone that I don't spend much time with when I had all the time in the world? It seems to me, that I should be hanging out with people that I am really going to miss. The thing is since I have returned, I have hung out with most of the people I would frequently see.

Outside of the show on Friday, I don't have some big get together planned. I don't really have the desire to put one together or even go to one if one was planned. I take that last one back, but I do kind of feel like that's all I've been doing is saying goodbye. I said goodbye at the start of summer, I said goodbye throughout the summer as we would leave churches and camps and now it seems like I came back to Winnipeg to say goodbye again. There was no sense of reunion.

That's why I am comfortable with doing a show as my last major event here in my city. It seems very appropriate to end my time doing the thing that people remember me as. The guy on stage. The funny guy. If anything, for a lot of the people in my life, that is where I have been the most honest about myself. Especially the Early Night Show. I've come to realize that I have been putting my perception of things on display up on the stage. Things that I would never tell most people in an average conversation except for perhaps the closest of friends. It's veiled in comedy, but I have been talking about the very core issues of what I am dealing with and putting a laugh track on it.

I wouldn't say that the intention of the show was to delve into my psyche, but as I reflect, it's like the stuff I present is a snapshot of my headspace. These shows are different than when I do specific sketches for church that have a predetermined idea to focus on and that I put my slant on it. The Early Night Show is all up to me. I decide the theme and so I go with the most pertinent, overarching theme in my life at that time. Narcissistic? Yes, but it makes it way easier to write about the subject that is rolling around in your head.

It's funny, because I always bemoaned the fact that most people only knew my stageself and not me the person. However, I have only been disappointed with people and in myself and the safest way for me to deal with my stuff was on stage. If I told people about the visceral stuff in my life, it would remind me how frustrated I was with people, the world, myself and it wouldn't solve anything. It would just make me feel bad. In the end, you have to deal with the issues in your life and find that avenue that works. The stage is mine.

For me, instead of telling a bunch of people what is wrong, I'd rather show it which is the most important concept to learn as a writer. If people don't get it, fine. Laugh. Enjoy it for what it is. You can't solve my problems anyway. Only I can do that. Watch it and maybe you can figure your own stuff out as I try to figure out mine and we can all laugh at the absurdity of it all.

"In all this talk of time
Talk is fine
But I don't want to stay around
Why can't we pantomime, just close our eyes
And sleep sweet dreams
Me and you with wings on our feet
I'm pushing an elephant up the stairs
I'm tossing up punch lines that were never there
Over my shoulder a piano falls
Crashing to the ground"
- R.E.M.'s "The Great Beyond" from the "Man on the Moon" soundtrack

Friday, September 17, 2010


I finally found a space in the day to write a little bit for the blog that wasn't one in the morning or during one of my mid-day writing sessions. I have been keeping myself fairly busy with the show, fitting into the rhythm of the Life Together house, dealing with finding people to take over the apartment, and making arrangements to head out to Nelson. Of course I figured this wasn't busy enough and decided to add in writing a puppet sketch and preparing the wrap-up to my yearlong Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Yes, that's right. I play Dungeons and Dragons. Wanna fight about it?

Anyway, in the whole process of this, I want to still keep some sort of record of the events going on in my life especially as this seems to be the start of the next phase of my adventure. I suppose the challenges in this place of my life is the same challenges I have always faced. I am still putting forth the best effort I can despite the lingering thoughts of self-doubt and pessimism, it's just now I am making bigger life-changing kind of decisions. I have always come out the other side rather in tact and this is going to be the same.

Living with the Life Together crew for the last couple of weeks has been great. I love being in this house and spending meals and devotional times with the guys and I can definitely see the value of this ministry. A quick overview for those unfamiliar: Life Together is a house where folks come together to live in community, encourage each other, reach out to the neighbourhood around them, engage in devotions and Biblical studies and generally build each other up. It's like a spiritual version of a sorority or fraternity. Anyway, I can see down the road wanting to engage in the great opportunity to live with people of like mind instead of an empty apartment by yourself. I suppose I have been reminded a lot recently through various avenues that people are not meant to be separated, but rather we are meant to live amongst each other. Be involved in each other's lives. I am seriously considering joining either the house in Winnipeg or Calgary next year. Actually, I encourage people in general to consider the option. It is something different and very much different than living in dorm. Trust me. It's way better.

The show has been coming along fairly well, which continues to surprise me. When one of these events are on the horizon, it seems at first that there is no way that I will be able to be create enough content, but leave it to the last two weeks for it to pull together. There are some parts I am really looking forward to and I am immensely pleased with the new camcorder that I purchased. It creates a level of quality that makes the old videos look like garbage. I'm optimistic for this show and I hope I can live up to what I imagine it to be.

I only have a couple of things that I am actively concerned about. One of which is finances with being able to balance everything and test the boundaries of what I will be able to handle. That's going to be up in the air until I actually make it to Nelson and find a job that will hopefully get me some traction and push back on the debt. Debt has been a little bit of an annoying part of my life in the last couple of years as it seems like I have been paying for that two bedroom by myself entirely too much and if there was just someone there, it would have helped me avoid the current state of affairs. Alas, I just have to deal and make wise choices.

The other thing I'm concerned about I just have to keep under my hat for now. It's nothing life-threatening, don't worry. It is a part of a bizarre time of my life and I have to balance it all.

Life right now is exciting and full of possibilities and I am looking forward to my tabula rasa and what I could do with it.

"Leaves are falling all around, It's time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
But now it's time for me to go. The autumn moon lights my way.
For now I smell the rain, and with it pain, and it's headed my way.
Sometimes I grow so tired, but I know I've got one thing I got to do...
Ramble On, And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song."
- Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On" from the album "Led Zeppelin II"

Monday, September 06, 2010


I wanted to write a short post on the last day of being in the old apartment. This is probably the first time that I have had to actually do a true move since I was living back in Minnedosa with the family. I say that because the other times I went from one place to another, I could do it in one truck load because I barely had any furniture to speak of. This time, I have couches, beds, desks, tables and a TV to move. What's more, I have five years of stuff sitting here. I was making all sorts of choices as to what was worth keeping and what was garbage to be thrown out. It was admittedly a little strange to hand off my couch at the Jackson Hole and throw out stuff I would never normally throw out.

I know this may sound contradictory to the previous post where I said I didn't care about what was furnishing my place, but it's not because I want all the stuff. It was more that the stuff I had meant something to me or had memories attached to it. Some good, some bad. I could do without a lot of stuff, but stuff also are reminders of times gone by with folks. My memory is not so good some times and I don't remember all the times I've experienced but to see something that wakes up a past event and makes it real for a moment. I think that's why we hold onto a lot of things.

I, however, have to cut out a lot of things because I need to have the freedom to move often and without a lot of hassle. I can't store anything with my family and so I have to choose what stays and what goes. Today, I threw out old letters and thank you notes (after I read them one more time). The most major item I threw out was Dad's old bowling shoes. I did it because I realized that I never go bowling anymore and they are in terrible condition and I had nowhere to put them. When I made the decision to toss them, however, I was stricken with a sharp sadness. As I carted them off to the garbage bin, I was looking at them and remembering how my dad bought them used and had used black marker to draw two little arrows on the toes. I asked him why would he do that and he jokingly replied "So that it points me down the centre of the lane." However, his drawing was a little shaky and the arrow on the right toe kind of pointed off to the left and I pointed that out to him and he said that he'll just have to turn his foot. I am sitting here at the keyboard and can not even word the mixed emotion of it. So I guess I won't.

In the movie "Saving Private Ryan", Private Ryan is talking to Captain Miller about how he can't remember any memories of his now deceased brothers. He can't picture them or hear their voices. Captain Miller responds that you can't just remember without context. When he thinks of home, he thinks of the hammock in the back yard or his wife pruning the rosebushes. For me, the context of some of those memories are in some of the things I have.

Don't get me wrong. This is good for me and I am excited. This apartment holds some of the darkest times in my life, but it's still apart of me and these useless items that I cannot take with me also hold memories.

This move turned out to be a little tougher than I thought.

"I know we don't live here anymore
We bought an old house on the Danforth
She loves me and her body keeps me warm
I'm happy here
But this is where we used to live

Broke into the old apartment
Tore the phone out of the wall
Only memories, fading memories
Blending into dull tableaux

I want them back"
- "Old Apartment" from the Barenaked Ladies' album "Born on a Pirate Ship"