The Art of Asking, part 2, and a rhetorical question about carbohydrates

I am overwhelmed, and thrilled, and delighted, and relieved, and just now maybe learning how to stand up on this crazy surfboard as it rides the waves. The tide of generosity that started pouring forth on Tuesday and Wednesday as we launched my Kickstarter campaign is simply magnificent, and I couldn’t be more amazed. 100% of our initial goal in one day! I am humbled, and proud, and still pinching myself.



The sudden explosion of affirmation, as measured by Kickstarter’s wonderful little jolts of positivity via email, really does feel incredible. Every artist, I don’t care who they are, lives with a constant underlying fear of not being good enough, of being irrelevant or ignored or disliked…and so the slightly Sally Field-ish “you really like me!” feeling? I won’t lie; it is FANTASTIC. It is sweet and euphoric and blissful.

And it leads to an addictive checking. (“Do they STILL like me?”)

And there’s so much to do, to keep and extend that wonderful feeling: hundreds of thank-you notes! Stretch goals! Backer updates! It’s tempting to stay up all night, fueled by caffeine and adrenaline, and feel a certain glamour in the obsessiveness, alone in a dark apartment but connected with the world. I imagine this is how certain start-up creators might feel…or gamers…or hackers.

I haven’t actually stayed up all night, and I’ve mostly written my thankyou notes in a lovely candlelit Village bar with wifi and other friendly humans nearby…but I must admit I feel the pull. Especially because I’m here solo this week, no husband or kid to keep me grounded.

Maybe there’s something about being in New York City at this moment that is heightening and exacerbating all of this. If you’ve been reading my blog you know I’ve been trying really hard lately to be healthy, get stronger and lose the extra weight that has crept on due to recent hormonal changes…

Ain't nothing quite so tempting as a NYC slice.

Ain’t nothing quite so tempting as a NYC slice.

…and man, the moment I hit New York, I just couldn’t help myself. I know there are healthy food options available everywhere too, but it feels like a barrage of sugar and carbs. Delicious pizza by the slice on every corner! Tasty muffins in the coffee trucks on every block! Giant cookies from City Bakery in our rehearsal room! Haagen-Dazs bars in the freezer of my friends’ apartment!

And (not that I’m not culpable here, and yet) why aren’t there easily PORTABLE low-carb low-sugar foods? When you’re race-walking from one rehearsal room in midtown to another in Union Square, dodging pedestrians the whole way, you can’t carry a salad with you and eat it while you walk—but a giant slice of pizza, or a soft bread-enveloped Cuban sandwich? No problem. And every lettuce wrap I’ve encountered is even more messy. There must be a solution.

(Probably the smartest solution is to not race-walk and eat lunch simultaneously, right? Ha.)

Ian Lane (my wonderful trainer in LA, who is probably horrified with me), if you’re reading this, don’t worry—it’s been five days and I’m mostly back on track. Mostly.

Beautiful-Poison-NAMT-logoThe super-charged excitement of the Kickstarter launch has been happening at the exact same time as a different form of super-charged excitement, which is rehearsing our newest musical BEAUTIFUL POISON for the NAMT Festival. Just like with Kickstarter, there are many wonderful little jolts of positivity: the cast rehearses in a very fragmentary manner due to everyone’s complicated/busy schedules (many of them are currently in shows on Broadway), and so short sections of the 45-minute presentation get rehearsed and polished (and they sound AMAZING – what a killer cast and truly gorgeous voices, and incredible band members!! I’m talking about you, Brandon O’Neill, Michelle Duffy, Terence Archie, Jesse Nager, Corey Mach, Chelsea Packard, Sarah Rose Davis, Natalie Belcon, Allen Fitzpatrick, Laura Griffith, Michael Lanning, Shannon Ford, Dillon Kondor).

Every time part of a song comes together, with the power of these beautiful vocals and the leadership of our brilliant music director Ian Eisendrath, our bookwriter Duane and I get a little frisson of happiness. Each one is short-lived, however, since we haven’t gotten to run through the whole thing yet—so we’re still a little jittery.

Interestingly, the moment I’ve been able to be the most calm through this week was when I went with my friend Makaela to see the fantastic play, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.” It’s a funny, poignant, beautifully theatrical story from the point of view of an autistic boy—and just another reminder that it’s a very good thing to get out of one’s own head (in this case, into this boy’s extraordinary one, which was spectacularly realized on stage with deft lighting, projections and sound design). I found it transporting and inspirational.

Ultimately, both “Just Getting Good” and BEAUTIFUL POISON are long-haul projects—this is just the very beginning. And in both cases, as I write in my Kickstarter thankyous, it is all about collaboration, every bit of it. Creating something and making it happen together.

I am not a lone, over-caffeinated night owl hunched over a computer; I am at my best when truly connected, supported and being supportive and thus able to give the best of myself. It’s why I love what I do, and I’m going to take a moment to CELEBRATE the fact that in this first heady week of Kickstarter, and the first heady week of NAMT Festival prep, that connection and support has never, ever been so crystal clear.

So I’m going to spend a few hours offline—practice my singing and violin playing, go work out with my friend Annie, walk in the crisp fall Manhattan sunshine…eat some protein and vegetables, drink a lot of water, and allow myself to be calmly, serenely HAPPY. Thank you for this amazing life, and for being a part of it.

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