Monthly Archives: November 2012
Writing a new show is scary.
I remember tearing my hair out when I was starting what finally became “An Unexpected Variety Show”, namely cos the whole process was just so damn messy that it left me wondering (more often than not) whether it was EVER going to actually look like anything other than a bunch of disconnected index cards covering the floor.
My sister came over yesterday and between dissuading toddlers from swallowing Christmas ornaments, we talked through the new show (which, if you’ve been following along, you’ll know the Betties are in!) and had a creative breakthrough.
It was just what I needed. Not that all problems are solved, but I think when you’re working on a major project and are plagued with self doubt, sometimes that’s all you need. Not to solve the whole Rubik’s cube, but rather, to have just the odd leap of progress to give you hope that you are indeed, gonna get there.
If You Want To See This Show of Which I Speak:
You can pledge for tix and/or a DVD of the show (you don’t need to have dates, etc. worked out, either, we sort out details later) right here on our Pozible campaign page!
So as you may have heard, I’m putting together my new show about all things awesomely ridiculous and ridiculously awesome and I would love, love, love YOUR story to be a part of it!
During each and every show I will be reading out a letter from somebody – YOU?! – sharing a story about something fabulous, wonderful and/or awe-inspiring that has happened in your lifetime.
It can be about a place, a person, an act of random kindness, it can be hilarious, it can be heartbreaking.
Whatever your story is to share, it just has to be:
- true; and
- about something that made you feel – even for a split second – that the world was a wonderland.
I first got this idea of sharing audience-generated stories when I lived in Canada and was introduced to the work of Stuart Maclean of The Vinyl Cafe, who does this often at his shows and I immediately fell in love. Another massive inspiration to me on the power of storytelling is the fantastic work of The Moth. I highly recommend checking out both these links if you’re in need of some inspiration!
The plan is to record these stories at each show, upload them online and then send you the link (hopefully we will have you there in the audience on the night to enjoy it for yourself too, but worst case, you will get a copy of the performance!) plus we’ll send you a little pack of goodies as thanks!
Keen to be part of Wonderland? Email your story here! And please let me know when you write if you’re planning to be at this year’s Woodford Folk Festival, or next year’s Adelaide Fringe or Brisbane Comedy Festival. (Note: you do not HAVE to be at any of the above to contribute, but if you are planning to be at any, let me know so that if your story is shared, we can tee it up so you’re in the audience that night!)
Wanna be part of it but just wanna share something short and sweet?
Share a short moment of awesome on my Facebook page or tweet me @jennywynter with hashtag #wonderland
Your post or tweet might be featured during the show too!
Woohoo! Yours in wonderlandish-storysharing,
When it comes to weight and body image, I constantly flit between “If I’m gonna be in showbiz, I’ve gotta be slim!” and “Bugger it. Look at Adele!”
The thing is, I don’t want to be somebody who’s constantly unhappy with their body. I don’t want my daughter to grow up seeing me criticise myself for not being in the shape I think I ‘should be.’ I don’t want to wish my life away dreaming of the alternative ‘me’ that exists out there in some realm that I could reach if only I wasn’t so lazy and undisciplined.
But…there’s a fine line between that mindset (all of which I still stand by) and justifying a descent into chronic unhealthiness.
Early this week I noticed on facebook that one of my Adelaide cabaret chums had accepted a bet on Dietbet. Intrigued, I followed the link. Basically the deal is you chip in some $$ into a prizepool, each of you committing to lose 4% of your body weight in 28 days. ANYBODY who does so wins a share of the pot. Meaning of course, that if all of you in the bet achieve your goal, you get your money back. If only one person does, they score 100% of the winnings. And so on. Being my insanely competitive self, I decided to give it a whirl, but in a pretty half-hearted “oh well, this could be interesting!” kinda way. It was only when I did my official weigh-in that my mind boggled at how far I’d let things slide. It wasn’t just the number on the scale (though of course, that was the major thing staring me in my shocked little face). As I stared at that number, I sadly thought about my body and just how CRAP I feel on any given day. Tired. ALL THE TIME. Achy. ALL THE TIME. In pain ALL THE TIME (though in fairness, that is injury-related). As I stepped off that scale, my motivation finally kicked in. It’s now or never. GAME ON.
I truly cannot believe it can be true, but perhaps my body is just adjusting to this new plan of attack in a massive way? I stepped on the scales this morning – I think 5 days after I started – and I have already lost 3kg. Truly. I’m questioning if my scales are broken. (My hubby checked and swears they’re not). I’m so thrilled…SOMETHING’S WORKING.
There are a ton of amazingly healthy people in the world to be in awe of, but honestly, the one who’s inspiring me the most right now? Pink.
As a performer, seeing how her physical form translates into her being able to give 110% of herself to her audience (talk about your body being your instrument!) and really allowing her to totally fulfil her potential onstage…I don’t think anything has inspired me so much to get in shape EVER as this:
I’m also a long-term follower of Sarah Wilson’s blog (note below one of my major tactics in this quest is to cut out sugar, in no short way inspired by Sarah’s indepth explorations of the topic), and am in real life, inspired by my friend (and fellow Betty) Kate Mackie who lost a ton of weight (I think it’s well over 40kg?) through Michelle Bridges’ challenge. AMAZING. I need to know it is possible!
Cut out sugar. Replace with stevia. I’ve also been told rice malt syrup is awesome, haven’t been able to find it at my usual shopping haunt but will hunt it down and give it a go!
Cut out wheat (which is recommended for my thyroid condition anyway).
Replace softdrinks with mineral water with lemon and mint.
Stretch as often as I think of it.
Drink water as often as I think of it.
Focus on protein and veges at each and every meal.
Eat often (snacking obviously on healthy alternatives, celery and cottage cheese is my go-to right now).
Any more complicated and I give up.
Knowing my WHY:
I’ve realised how important it is to sustain any motivation whatsoever, that I am clear on the WHY of this undertaking. Why bother? Why make the effort? Why get healthy?
I’ve really been mulling this over and over in my mind these past few days and I think I’ve got it down to this:
I want to fulfil my potential as a performer, as a mother, as a human being. I want to wear whatever I want onstage and off, I want to be able to have the energy, stamina and flexibility to do what I want onstage and off, I want to make this engine run at its full capacity.
Since my car crash I’ve had to come to terms with pain and its presence in my everyday life, as well as the limitations that are now just part of my body. BUT…that doesn’t mean I can’t still make the most of what I’ve got. I’m still walking, I’m still standing, I’m still here, damn it. And to do all the crazy shizz I’ve got in mind in this lifetime I really need to have at my disposal a clean and firing-on-all-cylinders body.
So yes. Unexpectedly – but excitedly – I shall be henceforth blogging this new journey as part of our regular CM updates. To help keep me accountable and hopefully sharing some lessons learned along the way if nothing else!
If you’ve got any inspiration, tips or advice, please feel free to hurl it towards me, I am one of those people who LOVES reading umpteen health magazines (and usually expecting to feel fitter by osmosis) but point is, I really dig the motivation that comes from hearing other people’s thoughts.
I really want my kids to grow up knowing that they are incredibly privileged even just by way of having a roof over their head, food in the cupboard and a family that loves them and can be there for them and that they thereby have a responsibility to do what they can for people who aren’t so lucky.
As such, each year before Christmas we get the kids to:
a) donate a good chunk of their toys to local op shops; and
b) do something that’s not about THEM! (Note, no moral highground to claim here, we do more than our fair share of shameless spoiling with far-too-much-crap as the next person!)
This year we’ve opted for the Kids in Care Christmas Appeal. It’s such a small thing to do, but I think, a hugely important one. For the child on the receiving end obviously, but also for our own kids to be part of.
Amidst the insanity of all the Christmas sales displays, we wandered into our local shopping centre and I explained to them that they were to pick out a present they thought would be awesome, and that it would be going to a child we would never meet but who it would mean a lot to, given that their life was pretty tough right now. They seemed to take it in, asked a few questions and finally agreed on a dinosaur playset (pictured above). Rock.
I really hope it sinks in.
If they grow up to be people who think, care and try to help out others, then I will be boasting from a rooftop. You know, if I can be bothered climbing up on one.
You can find more information on the Kids in Care Christmas Appeal and how to donate here.
So Caleb (my 8-year-old) came and saw my show for the very first time (at the Judith Wright Centre a coupla weeks back). I gave him a pretty good pep-talk in the week leading up to it, explaining that he had to show me he was mature enough to handle the fact there’d be some adult words and ideas, and that just because he heard them didn’t mean he was allowed to go ahead and use them!
Anyway, besides it being such a total rockstar joy to see both my kids’ beaming faces in the crowd (and Caleb cracked up particularly loudly, so will be forever noticeable on the resulting DVD!) one of my favourite parts of the whole experience was that they both got to feel like mini-celebs after the show. The post-show buzz was high, everybody was milling about, coming up to us, saying nice things, talking to the kids as well…Caleb beckoned me down so he could whisper in my ear: “Mum. YOU’RE FAMOUS!”
When I asked him if he liked the show, he nodded and said to me, “It was very emotional.”
So sweet. And since then, he’s been saying things to me about how the show made him laugh so much but also made him so sad, because it made him think about Diane (my mum) and how it’s so unfair that he will never get to meet her because he wants to, because she’s his grandma.
It was only a couple of days ago when I was talking to my sister about it all that I really let go and had a big cry. It’s probably been coming for a while. As we hugged each other, I blurted out “When does this ever stop hurting?”
I remember a few years back when I was in Boston doing solo improv coaching with Daena Giardella, this amazing woman. For some reason – probably a combination of jet-lag, missing my kids like crazy, having never been away from them before, plus the intensity of doing what was essentially a one-on-one masterclass in acting – I was an emotional wreck that entire week, with all this heavy grief stuff about my Mum coming up. I couldn’t believe it. I was so angry at myself. Because come on, wasn’t I over this by now? It was so long ago!
But then Daena said to me: “Grief isn’t like a staircase where you work your way up and that’s it, you’re on the upper level now. It’s an elevator. You’re constantly moving up and down the levels, you might stay up at one for a long time but it doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you find yourself back down a few!”
I’ll always remember that.
On the plus side, I know living with grief has made me focus on making the most of life while I’m here, a huge part of which is making sure that I appreciate the time that I have with my own kids, knowing that it’s more than she had with hers.
It does have its ups.
But it never stops hurting.
Found this last night in my daughter’s school-book as she did her homework.
I never really thought about support in those terms before. It was timely. It’s been on my mind. Support. Namely cos I’ve never really felt so supported – nor indeed, have I had to ask so much for it – as I have this year. Truly. I am sick of the sound of my own cyber-voice. Honestly. I want to scream at myself “ENOUGH ALREADY! People can only take so much of your incessant call to arms!”
Stopping me from stabbing myself in the tongue with a pitchfork, however, is:
a) the reality that I don’t even know whether pitchforks actually exist anymore; and
b) the awesomeness of peeps actually getting behind this crazy campaign. Despite the fact I just spent the past two months screaming at them to support the charity fundraiser.
No kidding. Over the weekend, thanks to a bunch of you guys pledging in one hit, we managed to make the “Popular” list on pozible, and as I type this we are sitting at the 44% mark of our goal. I’m madly thinking up some extra surprise goodies to give to you guys, just to say thank you.
By the way, if you haven’t yet checked out Pozible, you really should. Not just cos of me. There are SO many amazing projects on there, it really is something else. I’ve already pledged some $ myself to some highly worthy projects, including:
2) a friend’s doco about gay marriage; and
I also just found out about this ROCKING project to record a new CD called Choristry, directed by a new cabaret friend I made this year, the scrumptious Trevor Jones.
Do I sound cool now? COS DAMN I FEEL IT!
Truly. Try it. Instant self-esteem boost: support somebody.
Doesn’t matter who. Hopefully not a wench or a war-lord. But my point in writing this post is not to say “me, me, me!” (I’ve done enough of that to last me a lifetime in the past week alone thank you very much), but to just point out that in general, it is a rocking thing indeed to get behind folks who are attempting grand acts of creativity. We need cheerleaders. Champions. Financial and otherwise. And it feels good to BE a cheerleader and a champion.
It’s like being in a moshpit (full disclosure: haven’t been in one since my heady teen Pearl Jam days) and you’re part of the living mass of hands holding up a crowd-surfer. Even though somebody else is up there riding the wave, feeling the adrenalin rush, you are still part of that trip. Your hands combine with those of masses of strangers for those few short seconds, to create a ride that otherwise would just be some random smashing their spine on the floor while you look on with shrugged shoulders. But they’re not. And you’re not. For those few moments, you are all part of something.
Or you are just holding your arms up desperately hoping to avoid a boot in your eye.
Either way, you’re still keeping somebody from falling. And holding them up.
Cutting to the chase: If you don’t have time to read this post in full, the bottom line is that if you are thinking of supporting our Pozible campaign, PLEASE do so either today or tomorrow! It would help us HUGELY! Thank you! And slow down or you’ll tear a ligament.
So by now you’ve heard about my Pozible campaign to get my new show up and running and down to the Adelaide Fringe – or not. Goodness knows my head has been spinning so hard lately to keep up with all the plates round here, I wouldn’t blame you for missing that crucial nugget of news. Here’s the video of me explaining the whole deal (deliriously exhausted shooting it at 2 in the morning no less) if you wanna play catch-up.
Anyhoo, point is, if you are at all thinking about getting your hands on any of the rewards (see our neat little poster below outlining some of these goodies up for grabs & YES I can ship internationally, just check out the campaign page for details) PUHLEASE don’t hold off in taking action: because you can help seriously rock this campaign’s casbah if you PLEDGE TODAY OR TOMORROW!
So…why today and tomorrow? What’s the big rush?
Well, here’s the deal. We are on a mission to get as many pledges as we can over the next 2 days in the hope that this crazy influx of support may get us to the Pozible homepage as a featured project. (They calculate it based on which projects have scored the most support over the past coupla days, you see.) If this works, this means our campaign will be in front of the eyeballs of a GUTLOAD more people than we could ever be scanned by otherwise. So if you’re already thinking of supporting, but haven’t gotten around to it yet, please pretty please could you click over and pledge today to help us try to make the homepage?!
The cool part is that WHENEVER you pledge…you don’t pay a cent. Not one. Not until the campaign is successful (it’s due to end in December) so you pledging tomorrow or Saturday makes ZERO difference to your wallet, but a HUGE difference to helping us make this thing happen.
Alrighty. Here endeth the plea.
This is Jen “self-promo slorry” Wynter signing off, hoping to report back with some rocking “we made the pozible homepage!” news early next week.
Thank you and salada!
I’m so chuffed that in the craziness of this past month, a craziness which resulted in me forgetting to even organise anybody to take still photos for the show, the kindness of strangers has reigned surpreme, by way of an audience member sending me through these rather lovely shots of last week’s show.
We had a time.
What a time. My eyelids can barely keep themselves up as I type this, so will keep it brief, but just wanted to write and say a huge WISH YOU WERE HERE! I adore travelling and luckily, it turns out, I love doing so by boat. Especially when said boat contains umpteen all-you-can-eat buffets, hot tubs and stops at delicious islands. Oh man. Even when I’ve hit the challenging parts (missing my family terribly, slight bouts of nausea, technical hitches with gigs), I’ve still reminded myself what an insane privilege it is to be paid to do this. Seriously. I am SO GRATEFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have learned:
- it’s okay to indulge in the buffet if you commit to taking the stairs at all times. It’s probably less so if you commit to the stair plan, only to back out on day 2.
- when you get off a ship, you still feel like the world is swaying. When does this feeling end?
- the cruise ship scene is highly reminiscent of college. The crew live together, work together, play together, party together…I really cannot understand why nobody has written a sitcom about this yet. Cue lightning bolt of inspiration.
- I can climb a mountain. Even when I think I can’t.
- My kids are made of rainbow dust. BRING THEM TO ME.
One more sleep! Tickets are selling, rehearsals are all but dunzo, the camera guys are getting the set-up sorted for the DVD filming, plus I have set myself a rather insane task of writing a NEW SONG for “An Unexpected Variety Show” today. Yes, I know. Ridiculous. I am. Absolutely ridiculous. I kinda disgust myself. Ugh. But as some of you know, there is one cover song in the show and I have been meaning for ages to replace it with an original, so of course, it is only once the finish line is in sight that I am prompted to get off my butt and write it. I’m not the only one like this am I? Am I? Hmmm….
We had our last Betties rehearsal last night and by golly gosh, what a bunch of fine ladies I have the privilege of working with. Seriously. Love these girls. I can completely screw up the choreography, lose my kazoo, lose myself in my kazoo choreography and they love me still. And I them.
Bottom line, tomorrow night, whatever happens, it is gonna be so much fun. And we will smell like hairspray for weeks.