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(Why am I naming days?)
1/12/15, Day 14,532 (Mercena Day 150): Dinner with Jane and Escape from the Snake of Snakes

These were, thankfully, events separated by the always tenuous wall of life and fiction. In life, I had a wonderful catch-up dinner with my friend Jane (yummy South Indian food at Pongal), and in After Earth, Zhou and her brother are having a heck of a time escaping from the snake of snakes (yes I do sing the hallelujah chorus in my head every time I write “snake of snakes”). The writing on this novel is really picking up, but we’re about to launch into a new area that will require some advanced plotting to get right.

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 178 out of 230 days (After Earth)
Spanish: 149 out of 230 days
Music: 78 out of 136 days
Yoga: 11 out of 20 days
No alcohol: 10 out of 12 days

What small things did I do yesterday to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”
)

photo 2 (3)(Why am I naming days?)
1/11/15, Day 14,531 (Mercena Day 149): Mercena in the Flux Sunday Circle

There is nothing quite like the joy of seeing your 5-month old daughter light up with happiness as she sits in a circle of 20+ theatre-people reading plays. Mercena is a social baby, there is no two ways about it. While she likes playing with her toys, and is getting better at amusing herself (and did so for a solid ten minutes yesterday), there is nowhere she’d rather be than around other people. And that’s a lucky thing, given that her parents do theatre, where the medium is other people!

This was also the first day I played guitar for her, and she was completely fascinated by it. After Flux Sunday, we went out to eat at Quantum Leap because we needed to time her subway ride back just right. She almost always sleeps on the subway in her stroller, so we thought a detour in the city could land us back at home with a happily sleeping baby, right on schedule.

Well, you can guess how that went. Men plans, baby laughs, or something like that. But in spite of the rocky schedule and detours, it was a great day, and I even made some strides on other Flux stuff (check out my update post on New Sanctuary and Flux). And oh hey, three days in a row on the blogging goodness…#can’tstopprobablywillstop.

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 177 out of 229 days (Taina and Marvin)
Spanish: 148 out of 229 days
Music: 77 out of 135 days
Yoga: 10 out of 19 days
No alcohol: 9 out of 11 days

What small things did I do yesterday to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”
)

happy

(Why am I naming days?)

1/10/15, Day 14,530 (Mercena Day 148): Picking Out a Trash Can 

Some days deserve glamorous titles, other days are pretty much about picking up a new trash can. When you have a baby, however, picking out a new trash can is quite an exciting adventure. As it turns out, Forest Hills (well, Rego Park) has some old school mall-age going on, and so we roved from store to store on a surprisingly difficult quest to find the right size trash can for her new cloth diapers (she’s up a size already).

She also had her first baby gymboree class, which she enjoyed, and she showed off her new prowess in rolling over (in just about a week, she went from “I can only do this with supreme effort” to being a roll-over pro). Minus a difficult bedtime (or what we call here in Mercenaville, bedtime), she had a wonderfully active and happy day. I miss her so much during the week!

That night, we managed a surprisingly effective Flux marketing meeting through the powers of Google Hangout and Basecamp. While nothing beats an in-person meeting, I’m gaining a lot of hope for Flux’s future, as the moving away of some of our Creative Partners doesn’t need to spell the end of our collaboration.

So all that felt pretty great…until I fell asleep with so much unfinished work (TCG, Flux, writing, etc) that I found myself today in a kind of low-level panic. I just don’t have enough will-power when I’m tired to push past exhaustion and finish the amount of work I want to complete. Raising a baby is a different kind of energy drain than anything else, and after the adrenaline of the first month or two has past, I still haven’t figured out how to make it all work. I know part of it is the public accountability here, so I’m prioritizing this post in spite of all the pots boiling over…

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 176 out of 228 days (After Earth)
Spanish: 148 out of 228 days
Music: 76 out of 134 days
Yoga: 9 out of 18 days
No alcohol: 8 out of 10 days

What small things did I do yesterday to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”
)

 

Look Out, January

Mercena

(Why am I naming days?)
1/5/15, Day 14,525 (Mercena Day 143): Planning Phone Calls & The Nature of Consensus

I was way less successful this week than I’d hoped at keeping up with this blog and the attached set of daily practices. However, this was in large part because this week was a deep week: At NET, TCG and Flux, major conversations and epiphanies were happening all over, and I needed to sleep in the few free hours I had to make sure I was at my best.

It began on Monday with a significant NET-related phone call that brought me far closer to understanding what’s most urgent as we move forward in 2015.  I can’t say more about that yet, but in many ways, this week fundamentally changed my relationship to NET in ways that are both daunting and thrilling.

I also joined a phone call for Flux’s partnership with New Sanctuary’s Accompaniment Program, where we strategized about our Tuesday accompaniment of an immigrant friend to the ICE office at JFK. Because of the sensitivity of this work, I can’t say much more about it, but will hopefully write more for the FluxBlog.

TCG also held our next Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Workgroup meeting. This Workgroup is designed to make recommendations about internal TCG EDI procedures, and represents a unique cross-departmental collaboration that is creating a new way of working at TCG, one that more closely resembles the equitable, consensus-based decision-making process of Flux. It’s thrilling when all three major organization pieces of my life are not only individually satisfying, but feel like connected parts of an emergent whole!

1/6/15, Day 14,526 (Mercena Day 144): The JFK Accompaniment 

I traveled early in the morning to the ICE office in JFK to support an immigrant friend as part of Flux’s partnership with New Sanctuary’s Accompaniment Program. It was a powerful experience that I’m planning on writing about over on the FluxBlog.

I made it back to TCG in time to participate in an exciting EDI-team call about the Institute. We discussed the 2015 arc for our peer theatres, and how that journey would intersect with the other tools we’re developing, such as REPRESENT. We’re getting a lot closer to a soft launch of REPRESENT, and shared it with the full staff this week for feedback. I can’t wait to share this new tool more broadly!

The day ended with a Flux meeting where we approved new action plans for FluxForward and a new program to be announced soon. We also processed Creative Partner Becky Byers’ move to join CP Will Lowry in South Carolina, but rather than this being a break from Flux, we’re figuring out new structures to keep working together. 2015 is going to be a big year for Flux in so many ways…and perhaps most exciting of all, Mercena slept well at the meeting, and all the way home on the subway so that her sleep schedule was not interrupted. This bodes well for our upcoming rehearsal process.

1/7/15, Day 14,527 (Mercena Day 145): Good-Byers For Now & The Flux Epiphany

During the day, two key Conference meetings moved big pieces forward in our planning process. At night, Heather and I said goodbye (for now) to Becky and Will at our old Astoria haunt, DiWine. (Thank you, Aunt Marnie, for baby-sitting Mercena!)

This was also the day I had a major breakthrough in terms of Flux’s evolving vision. We’ve been working on crafting a vision for several years, hacking away at the Retreat and then nibbling at the edges during the craze of the rest of the year. But the new program we’re moving forward (can’t say more yet) suddenly feel into place as the missing puzzle piece, connecting a series of ideas that felt messy into a clean, compelling whole. It was all right there, but just needed that final piece for us to the shape…though of course, because we’re an ensemble, I now need to convince the other Creative Partners that this is indeed that right assemblage of pieces.

1/8/15, Day 14,528 (Mercena Day 146): Wait, This is the First Week of January?

And then, lo, on the fourth day, he crashed. After another Conference/EDI-focused day at TCG, I came home and crashed completely. It’s a little daunting just how busy and intense this first week back at work has been, but looking over my schedule for the year, I think this is going to be the norm. Deep breath in, deep breath out.

1/9/15, Day 14,529 (Mercena Day 147): 21 Weeks With Mercena

Waking up in the morning, I’m usually able to manage at least a few minutes with Mercena before I leave, and sometimes a whole hour. My favorite part of that hour is when, after changing her out of her sleeper, I carry her skin-to-skin next to my heart around the house. We look out the window and talk about the day. So many things in life fall right when we touch with love, and are touched in return. There is a particular kind of stress we carry when we go too long without that kind of touch. I can feel the difference when Flux isn’t meeting in-person regularly, and we’re not able to hug each other and breathe the same air. We need that time; more than anything, that love holds us together.

At twenty-one weeks, she is an amazingly alive baby. I got home just in time to rock her and sing a lullaby, and she lit up with happiness to see me, and fell asleep gently…though of course, she didn’t stay asleep gently. She continues to wake up several times throughout the night, a phase we’re not entirely sure how to break.

This day also involved a great Audience (R)Evolution meeting where we discussed (among many other things) the implicit ethics in all audience engagement/community development decisions, and that we may have reached a tipping point where more and more practitioners recognize that an ethical approach is an essential step that strengthens the work.

I also facilitated a NET board phone meeting where we discussed an emerging strategic plan and voted on a new slate of board members. It was my first time facilitating a NET board meeting, and I was nervous, because my fellow board members are a rather stunningly accomplished group of people, but I think it went well. More on all of this soon.

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 176 out of 227 days (After Earth)
Spanish: 148 out of 227 days
Music: 75 out of 133 days
Yoga: 9 out of 17 days
No alcohol: 7 out of 9 days

What small things did I do the past five days to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”
)

baby and books

(Why am I naming days?)
1/4/15, Day 14,524 (Mercena Day 142): Laughing & Holding Hands

A big day for the little human. Mercena has laughed before, but she has never been laughing in that multiple giggle wave that our species is blessed to enjoy. Today, Heather was able to set Mercena on her first short roll, and it was beautiful.

Likewise beautiful was the end of a baby brunch with our fellow new parents and childbirth classmates, Liz and Will (and Otto!) Aquino. As we were leaving, a gleeful Mercena reached toward Otto, and he grabbed back. The two of them held hands for a few seconds, suspended in their parents arms and grinning at each other, almost long enough for me to catch it on camera. Maybe this one is better in memory, the image of their tiny hands clasped in surprise and delight…

As for the rest, I had a great NET-related phone call. 2015 is going to be a big year for NET, and I’m excited to be a part of it all–more specific, less cryptic on that subject soon. I also knocked out more Flux work, plotted the next chapter and a half in the book, and continued my undoubtedly brief perfect streak of checking off all my boxes below. Will this momentum crash on the rocks of a full week back at work? Reader, I do not know.

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 173 out of 222 days (After Earth)
Spanish: 143 out of 222 days
Music: 73 out of 128 days
Yoga: 9 out of 12 days
No alcohol: 4 out of 4 days

What small things did I do today to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”
)

  • Ate and cooked local, organic, vegetarian food, and used cloth diapers for Mercena;
  • Asked Speaker Boehner to remove white supremacist Steve Scalise from his leadership position.

Turning Over

(Why am I naming days?)
1/3/15, Day 14,523 (Mercena Day 141): Turning Over

Mercena has flipped from her back to her front only once before, and neither Heather nor I was there to see it. Today, she did it for the second time, and this time, it felt as though it were on purpose (according to Heather, because I missed this time, too). This is especially impressive given the fact that she had a fever from her vaccination shots yesterday and was a little extra tired and fussy. This young human wants to move!

The day was otherwise very productive: I had two separate phone calls with very dear old friends about some new collaborations. I’m continuing to write and plot After Earth, and a bunch of exciting Flux projects are moving into greater clarity.

This blogging is making a difference–I very nearly went to sleep early in the night, but on the off chance that you (yes, you) might read this, I stayed awake to check a few more things off my techniques list, and managed to avoid the siren song of the open bottle of Malbec one more night.

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 172 out of 221 days (After Earth)
Spanish: 142 out of 221 days
Music: 72 out of 127 days
Yoga: 8 out of 11 days
No alcohol: 3 out of 3 days

What small things did I do today to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”
)

Mapping Planets

20 weeks(Why am I naming days?)

1/2/15, Day 14,522 (Mercena Day 140): Mapping Planets

This day is so named because I spent both day and night creating maps. During the day, I returned to the office at TCG, where much of my energies were spent completing a rough draft page of a map of theatres of color in the U.S. It was fascinating to discover so many theatres I hadn’t heard of, and to see their full reach and impact. I hope we’re able to push the page live soon.

My night mapping was somewhat more fanciful: I worked on a map of a future Mars for the After Earth novel series I’m writing. I’ve finished a chapter and a half of this book, but always put it away to work on plays. I’m feeling like I’ve prioritized plays for long enough, and a new year is a good time to focus instead on novels and writing for TV/film. We’ll see how long it lasts; no sooner had I begun writing new pages for After Earth but a new play idea popped into my head (you’ll have to wait, new comic spy thriller).

Mercena celebrated her 20th week birthday by surviving another round of shots at the doctor’s and falling more quickly asleep at bedtime than she has in weeks….although as I write this at 12:48 AM, I hear her stirring…

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 171 out of 220 days (After Earth)
Spanish: 141 out of 220 days
Music: 71 out of 126 days
Yoga: 7 out of 10 days
No alcohol: 2 out of 2 days

What small things did I do yesterday to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”
)

 

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