Wisdom Teeth – Don’t Take Them Out With an Ice Skate.

If you are in college, or are a dependent on your parents’ insurance plan, get your wisdom teeth knocked out now. Don’t wait until you are a twenty-something pauper living in Brooklyn without insurance.

Think about it:

a.) If you are lucky enough to find a sketchy doctor that will take them out for you with a rock and an ice skate, you still won’t have your mommy around to comfort you with a popsicle and a coloring book.

b.) If you can’t afford it once they start coming in, eventually your whole bite will change, resulting in a funky looking headshot, and quite possibly, a Lateral ‘S’, which sounds funny, and is a pet peeve to casting directors.

And in case you were wondering, I still haven’t gotten mine removed…

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Running on Empty

Besides my burning calves and my sweaty laundry pile that is taking up a huge amount of real estate in the corner of my bedroom, and making me feel like a badass dirty athlete, I am enjoying my daily run. I’ve been doing it for a week, and I can’t say I’ve felt this energized since my days in track and cross-country in junior high and high school. 

I get a strange thrill when I glance down at the thin white line that separates the bicycle/running lane from the speeding-cars-of-death whizzing down Shore Road:

(Speeding-Car-of-Death: noun, a type of car that speeds unnecessarily, very close to and/or within the pedestrian lane. Example: The speeding-car-of-death struck a pedestrian along Shore Road in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 2010 and proceeded to drag his body all the way to the La Guardia airport in Queens.)

So, if I can avoid this macaab ride to the airport, my goal for next week will be a tough one. Though I’ve tried many times before, I plan to officially break things off with my long-time lover, Diet Coke. 

Try drinking one in public up here in New York – no, don’t drink it – don’t even open it! Just pull it out of your bag and hold it.  Approximately 17 people will come up to you and tell you it’s poison. The public humiliation should be enough to make me quit, but I can’t eat anything savory without something bubbly and sweet alongside it. I am helpless against its power. 

It all began my junior year in college when I put myself on the Atkins Diet for about four months in an attempt to lose weight for a show. I survived on romaine lettuce, chicken breasts, and George Foreman-grilled burgers (sans bread.) I am surprised I didn’t die. I’m sure I was rotting from the inside.

I recall my good friend, Miss Texas pageant girl, and inspirational Atkins Diet guru told me I was ‘free to have as many pork rinds as I wanted, because they have like, two carbs per serving!” Sugar-free Jello and chocolate, and diet beverages were allowed on this diet as well, although an ingredient called ‘sugar alcohol’ left me feeling muy gassy.  It was at this point that Diet Coke entered my life, and filled the sugar-free void that has led to an addiction lasting nearly five year. 

I don’t think there is enough conclusive evidence on it to rule it out as dangerous or unhealthy, but I don’t want to find out in ten years that my diet soda addiction cost me a pancreas or the ability to see the color orange.

I don’t know whether I’ll feel more of a health health-boost or more withdrawal symptoms using this cold-turkey approach, but I’d rather drink water and take my chances on avoiding cars.

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Here We Go!

Bridge to Shore Road

It’s now been a week since I decided to embark on this year-long journey. My feelings over the past few days have been the same as every reaction I’ve had after coming up with a decent idea – I think about the realm of possibilities for approximately 3 nanoseconds, and then the doubts and risks start to arise. I can always find a way to make a harmless interest into an evil, smelly, bully monster that takes my motivation instead of my lunch money. I end up feeling silly and talentless. This time, with the aid of my so-called ‘New York cojones’, I blocked out that smelly scene-stealing bully, buckled down, and decided I’m in it to win it. (Insert high five and/or chest bump here.)

So I began planning in mid-April, and used the rest of the month to form my year.  I plan to start with the little things, build small habits, and add more when I am ready.

I recently read ‘The Happiness Project’ and was inspired by Ms. Rubin’s monthly resolutions. And although her project is very different from my own, I thought I’d also begin my journey with fitness and overall health – since I feel outstanding, and can think clearly when I am active and healthy.  Additionally, the art of auditioning requires one to possess a healthy amount of physical stamina that I lack at the moment.

So, starting today, on May 3rd, I am making a promise to myself to run every day. At least one mile, if not two. Running is my form of meditation, as I have to keep moving at all times, and it’s hard to sit in one place for long. Also, I LOVE watching the world around me go by.

So, with that said, let me clear my throat… ahem – One Year to Curtain starts today, on Tuesday, May 3rd!! 

(I celebrated with a diet coke earlier, so that means it’s for real.)

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Now or Never

My name is Claire and I want to be a professional actress.

So, I moved to New York.

Now, I don’t know what I’m doing here.

Three years ago, I moved to Brooklyn with my boyfriend, and started auditioning in the city, and working as a waitress in a bar-b-cue restaurant, (which is funny, because red meat makes me ill.) I auditioned two or three times per week, and got some valuable feedback. Somewhere along the line, however, I adopted a negative rationality about my chances (based on the few auditions I had attended) and a growing contempt for the industry.

Within the year, I grew less interested in auditions, and more worried about money. Auditioning was exhausting – mentally and physically. I seemed to be surrounded by negative people. I convinced myself that I enjoyed performing, but was meant to do something else. For quite a while now, I’ve taken every measure to find out who really am, and what I am meant to do.

In the process, I’ve been an administrative intern at a Broadway management company, a recruiting assistant, a receptionist, a nanny, a telemarketer, a voice teacher, and a waiter. The process of reinventing myself has left me exhausted, confused, and polarized.

To bring you up to date: Yesterday, I was let go from a mundane desk job due to budget cuts. This was survival job number 8. I felt nothing but relief.

Today I went running, and let my mind wander. Where did the old Claire go? I remember running full speed into life, taking advantage of every opportunity with unfiltered creativity. I took on every challenge with an unflinching optimism. I didn’t question my goals. I knew what I wanted. Things just came to me. Did it all disappear when I moved here?

I recently stumbled upon a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson I had never heard before, and it lit a fire under me:

“When you have chosen your part, abide by it, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world.”

I realized with a jolt that the second half of the quote summarized my current situation perfectly. What excuse have I given myself to think i wasn’t talented? Am I weak? Then it hit me – I have never focused my energy on any one thing for an extended period of time. My focus has always been diffused across too many interests and possibilities – which I don’t consider a bad thing, but it was like sitting in a canoe and paddling in lots of different directions at once. It wasn’t getting me anywhere.

I live in a city where people are so focused, they shoot lasers out of their eyes – In my ‘career meandering’, I’ve met some of the most driven people in the world. I’d had enough of this ‘deflated balloon’ feeling.

I decided right then and there that 2011 was the year in which I would learn how to focus my energy.

Since one year goes by incredibly fast up here in New York, and since it’s a blink of an eye in the overall scheme of things, I decided a year-long stretch would be an acceptable unit of time for my little experiment.

Over the next year, I plan to use what I know, and what works for others to discover what it takes to become a working actor in New York – all the while, documenting what works for me, and what doesn’t.

Whether it’s a dance class, a voice lesson, advice from a friend, or a great head shot photographer, I’m going to keep track of it all right here.

If, at the end of my journey, I realize that a career in performing is not the right path for me, I will have the benefit of knowing. If this time does get me closer to my old self, then I will feel better and I’ll gain my sense of direction and purpose. In the mean time, who knows? Maybe I’ll get a show.

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