Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ugly girls work hard and pretty girls are stupid

Newsflash to all my fellow spinsters:  if you find that you are single and successful in your career it's not because you actually wanted to pursue your dream it's because you decided long ago that you simply weren't pretty enough to land a man and so chose your career as the consolation prize.  At least this is the case according to a study done recently at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

To quote, "And among college-age women surveyed as part of the experimental portion of this research, those who rated themselves less attractive to men were morelikely to claim to aspire to a high-paying career."

...or maybe pretty girls are just stupid or more likely to be lazy?

Right.  This article by J. Maureen Henderson of Forbes.com breaks down the flaws of the study rather well including the assumption that the only reason a woman would choose to pursue a career is because if she can't have the security of a man taking care of her (because she is a hideous hag that no man wants) she really has no other choice than to do it herself:
"Tying career aspirations to not-so-thinly veiled evolutionary biology arguments takes self-actualization out of the mix, disregards that a woman might have 99 good reasons to become a computer programmer (and an inability to hook a man ain’t one) and assumes that our need to be attractive trumps our ambition. Maybe we’ve just figured out that we’re great leaders and want to exploit that?"
Oh wait, you mean some young women might actually want to follow a path that doesn't include marriage and children?  And wait...they might actually be happy doing so...oh, well we didn't even consider that.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Quiet Sunday Morning

It’s a Sunday morning, almost afternoon, and I am sitting on the futon with my windows wide open and a cup of fresh coffee in my hand.  The spinster pride is scattered across the window sills chittering and meowing at the birds in the trees outside.  In the distance I can hear a dog barking. 

This is a rare quiet time for me.  I have written so many times before about how busy my life is and this past week was no exception.  I do have plans today, a paper to write, this evening my performance troupe has auditions after which I am meeting a visiting friend for conversation and a drink, but the next couple of hours are mine to do with as I wish. 

Right now, I am thinking that my wish will involve a blanket, a shady spot beneath a tree, a thermos of coffee and a book. 

First though, I should probably put on pants. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Alright, just to get it out of the way, this post is not about the bosom heaving, sighing away the hours in the arms of a talented lover with whom I have such intense physical chemistry that I lose time and a sweat away a few pounds kind of passion. THAT is N.O.Y.B and while what is written below might contain enough sentiment* to be written to just such a lover, it is about a very different sort of passion...*you've been warned...it's full of it, and some parts are downright gooey, but I do mean every word.
I always sort of thought that if I ever managed to be lucky enough to stumble across my passion, it would be in the pages of a novel I was writing or on a canvas I was painting.  I thought maybe I’d find it somewhere hidden in a mountain cabin after months of quiet, contemplative solitude.  Instead I found it smack in the middle of the town square, the air filled with the sound of a half dozen beating drums, shouting at the top of my lungs to a crowd of a hundred people, with dancers, jugglers, singers and fire spinners standing behind me waiting to entertain them, “Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight we present to you....”

Passion is a difficult thing to explain. It is different than obsession with its all consuming nature, taking without any sort of return.  Obsession depletes but passion gives back.  Passion is at once a feeling and a thing.  It is symbiotic; its energy is increased by its self fueled creation.  

It is this passion that drives me to stay up late at night rewriting a press kit, updating a website, entering name after name into a mailing list database or negotiating a booking contract.  It is what brings ideas into my mind for show themes, scene introductions, or skit ideas and it gives me the commitment to write them down, flesh them out and eventually bring them to life on a stage.  

Passion gives back.   It is in the joy I feel when a performer pushes their limits and succeeds at something they never thought they could do.  It is in the excitement that comes with hearing music played and realizing that this unexpected grouping of musicians has become a band.  It’s in that thrilling moment when the lights are dark, the crowd is waiting and I know that with the next breath I’ll be stepping out on to the stage.  

I wonder sometimes what exactly made this so different from the other places in which I have sought passion or purpose.  I love to write and do so often, but if it’s late and I’m tired or frustrated I’ll eagerly put it off until another day so that I can climb beneath the covers and snooze.  Yet two nights ago, with little sleep the night before, I was up until nearly 1:00 in the morning, happily working out set lists. And is isn’t that I don’t have moments of exhaustion, frustration, or doubt.  Oh, I have them, I do; but they are just that, moments...and moments pass.  

Maybe it’s in the people who are a part of this.  When I step back and look at this creative and talented group of performers that have come together to make this idea come to life I feel awe and inspiration.  They dance, twirl and juggle their way across the stage bringing music and song to life and in response the audience laughs, stomps their feet, claps their hands and sometimes even arises to dance themselves.  I’ve had the pleasure of watching many of them grow in their art, step outside of their comfort zones and try things they never thought possible which has in turn, pushed me into new creative territory.  

It could be in the creative exchange.  The sharing and mutual development of ideas and the room for them to grow. Music that is written for a particular performer, a skit that is written to bring out another’s talent for physical comedy, space that is provided for a solitary dancer to tell the story in her heart, or a musician who finds himself brought from the behind the scenes to center stage and unexpectedly finds he is comfortable there.

We are still very small in so many ways, but we have come far.  What was once just a street show has made it’s way to the stage and beyond.  Though we are not very well known outside of our state, that is changing steadily. We are traveling to three other states for performances this year.  This is something that back in 2008, when this all began, I’m not sure would have even occurred to me as even being possible.

...I have this vision sometimes, many years in the future, where a group of us who were here now but much, much older, are standing at the back of a theater watching the house lights go down over a full house.  It won’t be the first time we’ve done this, watching a show from the audience side of the stage; we will have passed the performing torch on to others many years before but we are still here, still involved.  How could we ever stop really?. Yet, though we may not be on the stage, as the lights dim we still feel that familiar pause in our breath, that quiver in our stomachs that says, the show is about to begin.  The spot light will come up and solitary figure in a top hat will walk out, he or she will be younger than most of us are now, and begin to tell the audience of the journey they will be taken on that night...

You can be sure that I’m not doing this without a plan, and yes, I’ve big hopes for us, but in many ways I’ve no idea where this is going to end up.  I know that I am terribly lucky to be a part of it and I know that I’m on board for however long it lasts. And I do believe it is going somewhere great.  Where ever this passion brings me, and where ever we may end up, I’m so very, very grateful to be here now.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Where oh where have I been?

"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” - Leonard Bernstein

Where oh where has Spinster Jane gone?  Where oh where can she beeeee….???

Actually I’ve not gone anywhere; I’m still here, still living solo with three kitties and far fewer houseplants.  The houseplants all got some sort of fungus and one by one began to die off over the past month.  I did manage to save a few clippings and the pathos in the bathroom, which seems to have escaped the attack, continues to thrive.  I do miss them, but I admit to feeling some relief that their demise was something beyond my control since it is likely they would have died from neglect otherwise.

Spring has brought a whole new kind of busy into my life.  I am midway through the semester and I confess to not having been as attentive a student as I could have been.  If I continue this way I’m likely going to finish the semester with grades somewhere in the range of average.  If I do my usual second half of the semester push, I might end up with solid B’s.   Being as much a creature of habit as anyone, this is likely what will happen.  

I’m still juggling two jobs which, after the semester ends, will become easier to manage but right now it means that I’ve very few moments to call my own and what little time I do have left has been spent on finalizing the summer engagements for the performance troupe I manage.  Coordinating multiple events for a troupe of 17 people is not easy but I’m near to the point of having everything ready.   Of course this means that just as the organizational part settles down, the performing begins! 

I’ve also managed to somehow squeeze in a social life, though even I wonder some days just how I manage to get myself out of bed each morning.  I should be…okay, I AM exhausted, nearly mentally wiped out and pretty close to broke most days, but I can’t say that I’m unhappy. 

Single people have been in the news quite a bit over the past year and one of the common themes has been how full their lives tend to be.  I definitely fall into happily fulfilled category and while I like to imagine I have some sort of Get It All Done superpower, I don’t and so every once in a while something falls through the cracks for a bit, as has been the case with this blog. 

I am finally back.  It’s only been just over two weeks since I last posted but it feels like forever.  I’ve missed writing regularly and I hope that at least a few of you have missed me.