Like a Pro(crastinator)

One month of the summer has slipped by and I have accomplished nothing, more or less.

As far as my thesis research, I have gotten really good at carrying impressive books in my bag without ever opening them.

As far as my personal health, my yoga mat remains rolled up in the corner where I put it when I moved into this house.

As far as my creative endeavors, one page of my sketchbook has new scrawlings. Continue reading Like a Pro(crastinator)

Advertisements

Processing

The world has been a rather terrible place recently.

First, the attacks and negativity from the presidential candidates fills the spaces when another national crisis or tragedy doesn’t demand headline space.

Then, the Stanford rapist received an unbelievably lenient sentence, simultaneously highlighting the racism, sexism, and classism in society, as well as the massive holes in our justice system.

And those are just events in the United States, not counting the tragedy, war, and violence around the world.

Now, the terrorist attacks at the gay dance club in Orlando has destroyed innumerable lives and families.

I don’t know how to respond. Continue reading Processing

Year (D)one.

This morning, I finished the last of the requirements for my first year of graduate school;  such an event should, probably, be marked with some self-reflection.

The year has been good. Challenging, and frustrating, and confusing, but very very good. Challenges were met, frustrations were overcome, and confusions were clarified. Naturally, new ones spring up immediately, but the obstacles make the journey interesting, so I won’t complain.

When you love something, someplace, or even someone, there’s a natural hesitance to get to know it better, at least for me there is. A year ago (to the day actually), I was ending my time at Messiah–a school I grew to love, but my time there did not start that way–and looking towards starting my time at MBC–a town and school I loved from my first google search. So, when the time came to move and start classes, I felt scared to get up close and personal with something, someplace, I adored from a distance.

My fears were unfounded.

Not to say everything here is perfect–there are plenty of quirks and issues–but the issues that we face are superficial, not integral. The actualities of the program and company might be imperfect, but the people working with and through them are good people attempting to do good things.

Reflecting on this year, the number of amazing opportunities I have had astounds me.

Within a month of starting classes, I performed on the Blackfriars Stage in a staged reading of The False One.

Over the course of a weekend, I heard more brilliant thoughts and met more brilliant scholars than ever before.

In my first semester, I performed as Hamlet, the Gravedigger, and Beatrice.

In the span of two weeks, I helped mount of a full production of The City Nightcap with Sweet Wag Shakespeare.

In my second semester, I directed one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite shows with some my favorite people.

In the course of the year, I have seen dozens of performances at the American Shakespeare Center, all of which make me laugh or cry, or frequently both.

Over a semester, I delved deeply into Macbeth and mounted a pretty freaking awesome production with my classmates.

In ten rehearsals, under the direction of my mentor I took on my biggest (full) role to date, and not only ended up with a decent performance, but had a blast doing so and learned a ton.

Looking back on all of this, I don’t know what I did to be so lucky to be doing what I love, where I love, with people I love. I am humbled and confused and incandescently happy.

Let’s do it again next year, eh?

 

#WhimWord: Meal

The collapse of Faith didn’t start where you might expect. As the Book tells us, Faith needs belief and action and all that, but the crumbling corner was not a lazy apathy or seed of doubt. Faith withered from a point of weakness overlooked not only by pessimists and optimists, ministers and theologians, conservatives and liberals.

The people stopped having meals.

They ate, regularly, three times a day plus snacks, but the hurried distracted routine of quelling stomach pangs does not constitute a meal.

“Do this in remembrance of me” — most think “this” is about stale crackers and plastic shots of juice as a metaphorical (or not) recreation of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. But what if it was more? Not just the end of the meal, but the whole thing.

What if it was not about a few minutes closing service, but a few hours around a table, laughing at bad jokes, spilling food on the table cloth, and drinking more generous amounts of wine?

Sure, “humanity does not live by bread alone but by the Word of God,” but that Word of God as Flesh sure liked bread. He constantly invited himself to people’s homes for meals, provided extra wine at weddings, and even hosted (possibly) the world’s largest picnic.

Too many see it as coincidental that his first and last act of ministry involved handing out wine to his friends, and that his last command asked for them to follow suit.

So, they all carved out time for service, and for the soup kitchen, but they missed communing with others over bread and wine and enchiladas and hamburgers and pizzas and bowls of gumbo and all the other infinitely creative and collaborative meals humanity designed.

Not only sharing table space, but memories, joys, griefs, fears, doubts, dreams, hopes–the aspects of being in His image.

The State of the Finch

This has been a year of beginnings and ends, floundering and flourishing–a year of memories.

The adventures and misadventures of this year:

  1. I visited Mary Baldwin College for the first time, and fell in love.
  2. I developed an entire unit about A Thousand Splendid Suns for my senior students.
  3. I chatted with Michael Attenborough about As You Like It
  4. I was attached by a rabbit and have the scar to prove it.
  5. I met my neighbors for the first (and last) time as well all worked to dig out our cars from the snow.
  6. I got my students really engaged and interested in The Tempest and me, on my second to last day in the classroom.
  7. I called 911 for the first time.
  8. I buzzed the side of my head for an asymmetrical haircut.
  9. I spoke to my classmates about change and identity at the baccalaureate service.
  10. I said goodbye to Messiah College.
  11. I moved home.
  12. I experienced desperation and kindness in the search for a summer job.
  13. I danced like a monster at weddings and had no regrets.
  14. I fulfilled my childhood dream and became a “bologna cooker.”
  15. I said goodbye to my younger brother in thirty seconds as he left for West Point.
  16. I cried looking at the Milky Way in the mountains of Colorado.
  17. I went to the emergency room.
  18. I learned the basics on drumming.
  19. I applied to one grad school, and got in.
  20. I moved to Staunton Virginia, a year after I first visited and told myself I would one day live there.
  21. I was a bridesmaid and cried like a cliche romcom character.
  22. I not only played Hamlet in a scene, but thanks to amazing scene partners and a superb director, I got to explore him.
  23. I saw more lovely theatre than ever before, and have every intention to break that record this year.
  24. I cried listening to a lecture about Bottom in A Midsummer Nights Dream.
  25. I met brilliant Shakespearean scholars and didn’t make a complete idiot of myself.
  26. I shared a meal with two strangers because there were no more tables open.
  27. I was in a staged reading within a month of being in VA.
  28. I found that my classmates were more inspiring, challenging, and affirming than I could have ever imagined.
  29. I had a countless number of lazy days with my better half Alison.
  30. I played Dutch Blitz until I hated my entire family.
  31. I ran into the ocean with my four favorite people on Christmas Eve.
  32. I laughed until my sides hurt at a comedy show in NYC.

This has been an incredible year. For the majority of it, I have felt compelled to remind myself “Yes, this is real.” But more than my situation–where I live, what I study, etc.–the people that surround me take my breath away. The kindness, intelligence, humour, and humanity that I see around me astounds me. Without all of the people in my life, caring for me, checking in on me, encouraging me, this year would not have been the year it was. So thank you to all of those who have been with me through this year; I look forward to the next.

 

Thoughts On Gun Control

(Newly updated and tragically still relevant.)

According to the LA Times, since Sandy Hook there have been 144 shootings on school campuses across the nation, as well as numerous other acts of mass violence not on school grounds. If I reacted strongly to each time such a tragedy happened, I would not make it through the day.

Along with the death and pain from mass shootings, a huge number of people die and are injured in smaller altercations that have no need to escalate to deadly force. And adults and children are accidentally being injured and killed by weapons weekly.

Continue reading Thoughts On Gun Control

Cats and Dogs and #NotAllMen

Dear Man Who Catcalled Me,

Yes, I heard you.

I heard you the first time you said I was “looking good,” so there was no need to repeat yourself with increased volume. I thought my intentional indifference and quickened pace would let you know that I did not find your words flattering, but you still insisted on telling me how “fine” I was and that you “loved” me. Continue reading Cats and Dogs and #NotAllMen

Looking Back and Forward

Revisiting my undergrad for Homecoming confronted me with the reality that I am a college graduate. Wandering through the library (one of the things I miss most aside from the people and where I spent the majority of my time) simultaneously felt like being home again, and like I did not belong anymore. Continue reading Looking Back and Forward

Detoxing the Bard

The Wall Street Journal published an article about an upcoming project by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The project involves updating or translating Shakespeare’s plays, but I am not too concerned with the project itself.

Adaptation and translation are important for interpreting Shakespeare. Perfectly valid endeavors; some turn out better than others; they are nothing to get too excited or upset about. I hope this venture of the OSF goes well, and am interested to hear more about it. That’s all for that.

What does have me fuming is this article spouting illogical at best, and deceitful at worst, information about Shakespeare’s contemporary relevance. Continue reading Detoxing the Bard