Sunday, September 11, 2005
Sunday, September 4:
Onstage, in the lights. After 20-plus years of working on stage, the lights are old friends. I am deeply comforted by being in the light, my first time actually performing. What a surprising discovery. I know the deep intricacies of the PAR 64s blasting on me from 15 feet away. I know the physics of the little Leko pointed at my banner behind me. It is a small venue, but it has lights.
Marvelous mercies, these lights. I have been rattled about this performance for months. I can do anything, I've always thought, except maybe this. I will go through the arduous work of writing and building and creating the book, I will work all night and pack my days so full they scream from overload. I can work; I know that. But this...? My resolve falters when I think about actually being in front of people and performing.
I get up there and yes, I'm shaking. Yes, the lights are bright. Yes, I have 50 pairs of eyes watching my every move, analyzing my hair, my jeans, noticing the quaver in my voice. But the lights are there, too. The lights obscure almost all the faces. The lights are familiar. I've been looking into their filaments and burning my retinas with their intensity for most of my adult life. I am bathed in their heat. I am safe in their radiance.
I hear my voice speak and it's someone else's. It's someone who is confident, soaring, in command. I hear this voice channeling my words.
People stand and applaud when I'm done. It's over. I step out of the light and back into my life. It's different. It's been seared and scarified and refined. Same life; different life.
Monday, September 5:
A girlfriend and I take the kids to the beach. My life is now logistics and driving and packing gear. The kids in my car and I listen to music all the way out. It is Labor Day. We are part of the mass of working people granted a 24 hour reprieve. There are cars, traffic, kids to manage.
I stand for fifteen minutes or so in the waters of the Pacific. Feeling the sand erode under my feet. I think: we have to always keep moving to keep the ground solid beneath us. Sad irony, but true. If I stood rock solid on this sand I'd eventually lose my balance and fall. The only way to stay still is to move subtly, gently. The dream of finally finding a rooted, motionless peace is illusory.
Tuesday, Sept 6:
I arrive at the airport too late to catch my flight. This is very very bad. I have spent the last hour calculating every minute. The logistics have failed me. I am 3 minutes late to check in and board.
I accept my incompetence and call the office. I tell the office manager to call my VP, safely in his first class seat, and tell him I basically fucked up. I will be on the next flight.
I go to see when that next flight will be. The fourth woman I talk to says hey, if you squish your bag down into a carryon, we can get you on your original flight. I open my bag, cinch down the zipper, smash everything in it as much as possible, and zip it back up. Done.
She calls the gate.
She runs me up to security. Gets me through. I race down the concourse. I check the boarding pass she's given me. It's to the wrong airport. I hear my name over the loud speaker. Katherine Doughtie to Gate 77 please for final boarding.
I take my two unwieldy bags and my screaming shoulder and race through the people. I skid to a halt in front of the counter. I get a correct boarding pass. I check my bag in at the door to the plane, and board.
The VP is in his first class seat, with his six feet of leg room. I grin at him, my hair in my eyes, still out of breath. 'Nice of you to join us,' he says.
He gives me shit about being late for the rest of the day.
September 7, New York City.
I'm up at 4:30 a.m., eastern. I am so jet lagged I'm backwards. It's 1:30 at home. I'm wide awake.
I write long emails. I feel the city pulsating outside my window, even at this hour. The later it gets the less possible it is to go back to sleep. My shoulder is better today, barely.
My room is crap. I pride myself on not being a prima donna, but the room is crap. I've had to call down for them to unplug the toilet from the previous guest (ew). I call for a luggage rack, and then a blow dryer. There are no drawers for my stuff. There is no counter in the bathroom. The ceiling is cracked. The bathroom hardware is falling off the walls. The shower takes five seconds to go up the pipe and out the showerhead. The decor is bad-acid-trip rock 'n' roll 80s. Bright primary colors and harsh edges.
At 6:00 I realize I'm up for the duration. At 7:00 I go to the yoga studio around the corner. I've been there before and they remember me. I'm the insane woman who shows up after flying in, totally jet lagged and full of wild non-zen ragged energy. They love me.
I'm the only one who shows up for class. For $18, I have my own private class, tailored for jet lag and shoulder spasms. It's extremely cool, and scary, to have all the focus of the teacher. She takes care of me, pressing her hands on my forehead during the final resting period, smelling of cool lavender.
During the day my office back home complains vehemently to the hotel. When I come back after the meetings, they have sent me a fruit basket and water, and move me to a deluxe suite. I now have two rooms full of bad-acid-trip rock 'n' roll 80s decor. I have a counter. I have drawers. I am overlooking the street instead of ductwork. It is still ridiculously bad, but bigger. It's so bad it's great. I work for the music biz. I'm SO rock star.
That night we go and have dinner at a place where the salad alone costs $27. We drink wine and talk about life in the UK, New York and LA. I drink enough wine that I start feeling sassy again. I want to drag my co-workers dancing, on carriage rides through Central Park, down to TriBeCa to people watch. They bow out. They are tired.
I sleep until 5 a.m. Again, I wake up and am wired. Like an adamant lover, this city does not let me sleep.
I take a walk up Broadway to the Park. I traverse the park, through the baseball fields and past the green duck pond. The fun zone is closed. I want to bring the kids here so badly.
Sleek, toned women jog by me. Businessmen stroll by with briefcases in hand. Packs of cyclists whiz by with a hum of their wheels. The sun rises over the skyline of the East Side.
This place never fails to take my breath away. It inspires, amazes, rocks my world.
I have lunch alone. My coworkers and I are all sick of each others' faces. We splinter off at lunchtime.
I watch people.
A pigeon excretes a large volume of green, fibrous stuff on me while I'm waiting at the street corner to go back to the office.
I'm SO rock star.
VERY early to JFK. Even though I'm traveling back alone, I have over an hour to kill. The taxi cab ride out is like being put into an osterizer. I feel like my nostrils are going to suction onto the inside of the windows, the outside world seeing my buffetted body attach, suction on, and then get wrenched back to the other side of the cab as the guy jerks to another violent stop.
I am woozy, headachy, spaced. The connection with the keyboard grounds me, returns me to myself.
When I get home I'm driving straight up to San Luis Obispo. My friend Cindy (famous for the facehugger and other blogs) is going to accompany me. She can drive if I can't. She will take care of me if I start really fading tonight.
Tomorrow is the Central Coast Book and Author's Festival. I am speaking at 11:30. I will be back wearing my author's face, rather than the corporate mask. I will be back in the light.
# posted by Katherine Doughtie Nolan @ 11:14 PM
Comments: Hi Blogger, I was just blog surfing and found you! Wow, I really like this one.
It’s such a pleasure to read your post …. Interesting! I was over at another site
looking at lighting
and they didn't go into as much detail as you, but nonetheless interesting. # posted by Cornie : 8:19 AM Post a Comment << Home