lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Personal Proposal March 9, 2019

At the theatre company I work for most often, we do a thing called a Curtain Speech. Basically, before the show starts, a couple of actors go out on stage, read a list of birthdays and anniversaries, talk about upcoming shows, and warn people against the evils of taking pictures during the show.

I’ve done a lot of curtain speeches, mostly because they don’t scare me and I don’t really mind doing the work. But there is one curtain speech that will forever live in infamy.

I was sitting backstage at my dressing room station when, of all people, the lighting guy came backstage to tell me there was a very special curtain speech announcement. He handed me a paper and told me to read it after the anniversaries.

I looked at the paper, thinking it was going to be like a retirement celebration or something, but the card said (something along the lines of):

“And Charlotte, Richard wants to know if you’ll marry him.”

What?! (more…)

 

When the Free Book Beguiles February 25, 2019

Being an actor/author isn’t always the easiest path. There is so much rejection and self-doubt there are times when it just doesn’t feel like it’s worth trying to tell your story.

And then you upload your rerelease of a book onto Amazon and reach number three in your category without even promoting the book.

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The Talented Eye Roll February 1, 2019

I love Ireland, I love Irish music, and I love Guinness.

Guinness at Raglan Road in Disney Springs

I would love to hop on a plane right now and run away to Ireland for a little escape, I don’t care how mucky the weather might be. Unfortunately, adult things like having a job meant I couldn’t go to Ireland for my day off this week, so the husband and I did the next best thing and went to Raglan Road in Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney).

I love Raglan Road. There’s Irish step dancers during the dinner hours and amazing live music at night. The husband and I curled up at our corner table with our pints. The band was great—lead singer, guitar, bass, drums, and fiddle. The fiddle player was definitely the stand out performer of the act.

She was this tall, lanky woman who looked so far in the zone when she played you weren’t really sure if she was an android or not. They way her fingers moved was just amazing. And then they got to The Rattlin’ Bog. (more…)

 

The Trouble with Taxes January 25, 2019

I have never claimed to be the best at adulting. There are several areas of basic skills that I’ve never mastered. I’m a hazard in the kitchen, I don’t know anything about cars, and the only way I know to fix household appliances is to call a repairman.

I am, however, used to being smart enough to understand things. My brain is currently failing me.

For the past several years, I’ve done taxes for the husband and me. Not exactly the most glamorous chore, but I liked getting everything done. Each year, things got a bit tougher. We started getting 1099s, we had more specialty acting deductions. But I muddled through, with a ton of help from the husband, who was tasked with tracking receipts.

Then I arrived at this year’s taxes. I knew the code had changed, so I started doing a bit of research… and fell down a black hole of doom. Most of the tax write offs actors used to have—classes, show makeup, dance shoes—were gone. I had figured that much out just by listening to my fellows freak out about how to pay for everything if it wasn’t going to be a write off. But then I got stuck on one simple question, how does standard meal allowance, or M&IE (federal meals and incidental expense) work now? (more…)

 

A Little “Nighttide” Music December 11, 2018

I adore my husband. If you’ve visited this blog before, that much is probably clear.

Aside from our co-dependence as humans, we also work together as performers and have been known to collaborate on fun projects. Together, we created the music for Second Chances: The Thrift Shop Musical and Princess Camp: The Musical.

Most recently, I decided to write a short story that includes music. Weird, I know. But think of it this way: there are books where people bake pies, and at the back of the book the author puts in the recipe for the pie you saw the characters baking. Only in this story there is no pie, there’s songs. And for those who are musically-inclined, there’s sheet music available to go with the songs.

Why, you may ask? Because I love collaborating on music with the husband, and no one would want to eat any pie I created the recipe for.

Will everyone who reads the story be interested in the sheet music, or be able to read or play music? Not at all. And the story doesn’t hinge on being able to hum the melody.

I just really like insider extras, and music is something unique I can offer my readers.

The story is titled Song of Nighttide and is available for free download here.

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And as for our little song, please enjoy this clip of the husband’s performance.

 

 

A “Real” Job November 27, 2018

I’m an actor and an author. Those are the two things I do with my life. They are both horribly time consuming, desperately competitive, bound to shatter your heart, and I would never give up either of them.

But a lot of people don’t consider either to be a real job.

I’m an adult. Not like just out of college and think I’m a grown up. I am actually a full-fledged adult who likes to gripe at youths who aren’t concerned with being politically active. But some people still somehow think that I’m going to outgrow these strange pursuits and choose something sensible to do with my life.

My favorite comments include:

  • If you keep practicing, you could really be an actor someday.

Counter balanced by

  • You’re so talented, have you considered acting professionally?

 

There’s also the gems of (accompanied by thoughts like):

  • So what do you do for money?
    I sacrifice goats to the gods. Would you like to come to the next ceremony?
  • What are you going to do—you know—when you’re old?
    Be a cooler person than you.
  • You should be on Broadway. Why don’t you live in New York?
    I like disposable income and hate the smell of pee on the sidewalk.
  • Don’t you want to do something more with your life?
    I tell stories and make people happy. I may not be curing cancer, but escape and joy are important, dammit.

(more…)

 

A Spark of Joy November 23, 2018

There are a lot of hard days in musical theatre.

I know. Crazy right?

I spend most of my time singing and dancing for a living. Most people barely consider what I do to be a job (I’ll go into more detail on this gem next time), but performing is hard. It’s tiring and repetitive. Not only are you asking your body to do strenuous physical activity, you have to sing and look like it’s easy too!

There are days—when you’re sore, and tired, and you’ve rammed your face into a set piece, and your fake eyelash is jabbing your eye, and you have a bobby pin that’s trying to impale your brain—when you’d really just rather not. Not go on stage, not have lights in your eyes, not try and entertain strangers.

We all have those days, and it’s okay. I’m constantly having to tell fresh performers that it’s okay. Having a day when you have to force the smile on your face while you tap dance on aching feet is okay. You’re not a terrible actor. You don’t need to quit. Our job is hard.

But every once in a while, a very special audience member comes along who makes the hard job a whole lot easier. (more…)