My Birthday Thoughts & Gratitude List

Today I thought to myself, “Wow I actually made it to another year.” I also said it the other night all maudlin and stuff.  I’m still not sure what I was all up in arms about but hey, It’s my birthday. I’m getting closer to the end of another decade. I’m human.

Yet, when I woke this morning I really felt an amazing sense of gratitude.  The autumn-touched trees laid against the most perfect morning sky. The cat didn’t screech in my ear, “WAKE UP, YOU HAVEN’T FED ME IN 10 HOURS! Ian didn’t steal all the covers. I can’t really explain it. But I know you know what I mean.

The last year started off on a weird note. Everything I thought I knew about myself…yep not so much. I started to slip into a woe is me (an oh too familiar place that at one point led me down a dark road). Whenever that happens, other unwelcome guests decide to join me. I call them the my guardian Zombies. Once alive and kicking now just undead and annoying. Ready to destroy me. 
Yet, my guardian angels always manage to step in and save me…from myself. And I start with my gratitude list.
And that’s what I am doing. Life is life. The betrayals and forgotten memories of the past year are just that. In the past. I move on and remember all the amazing moments of the past year.
I am grateful for:
  • An amazing and loving family that continues to make me laugh and make me crazy at the same time;
  • The opportunity to work with an amazing group of artists. Thank you for entrusting me with your words, your work, and your secrets;
  • All the places I visited this year: Trinidad, Myrtle Beach, Montreal, Chicago and my upcoming trip to Raleigh;
  • Theatre Beyond Broadway – probably one of my best ideas;
  • The guy with whom I share my birthday;
  • And all the painful moments that were huge lessons this past year.
 I’m not perfect. I’m just a girl in the world who is a work in progress.
In progress indeed.  My next three projects are next month. I am wearing my Producer hat on all three.  I know crazy town!
1. I am raising $1500 for Pieces for which I am one of the lead producers.  (Kristen Penner and Lorelei Mackenzie, book & lyrics; directed by Shaun Peknic (assoc. dir. of “Once” on B’way).
Pieces is a musical about Tabby Morgan, a woman struggling with Dissociate Identity Disorder, trying to maintain a normal life while coping with the scars of her past. Click on the above link to see all the cool perks you will receive with your donation!
2. Come see Black Henna’s Runo Rimac in the EstroGenius Festival. Once the BH website is up, we’ll email you.
3. Come see the EstroGenius Festival. We are running from October 15th through November 10th. We have productions, reading, one woman performances, dance, visual arts, the works!
And thank you !!!!!

Josh & I Talk Gospel, Dreams, & Being the Messenger

the_gospel_josh.joshua_rivedal-400x257This week, Josh Rivedal, answered some of my tough and hard-hitting questions about his one-man show and it’s transition into a book. The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah will be released on September 24th. During this exclusive pre-release through the 23rd, 15% of the sales goes to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Centre for Suicide Prevention in Canada.

And without further ado:

Malini: Josh, you know I love your book. I devoured it one night the way I devour a bowl of pasta. My readers know that I respect those who share their truth. It is difficult to do that. Who really wants to admit their shame or expose their vulnerability? And you’ve shared your truth and vulnerability in two forms: performance and the written word. What was the catalyst in writing the book version of the show?

Josh: Great question. I really wanted to make this story more accessible. In three years I’ve reached about ten thousand people with the show version. But I can only do so many performances in a week or month. With the book it’s low cost and able to be consumed at a pace that suits the audience member. It’s much more easily shared as well. You can hand someone a book but I can’t live in someone’s pocket and put on a performance at a minute’s notice.

The book is also loosely structured as a three act play. It has one more act than the one-man show version. During the final act, the book shows my own spiral into clinical depression and suicidal thoughts a few years after losing my father to suicide. Additionally it shows my recovery from depression and bouncing back from rock bottom. In society we are constantly presented with pictures of people who are struggling but rarely are we shown someone in recovery. I wanted people to see someone who is in recovery and living a well-adjusted and productive emotional and professional life.

Malini: One of my favorite parts in the book, without giving anything away, is the use of voices and dreams. I found that they really enhance the story. How did you come up with that concept?

Josh: Thank you and… damn, that’s a tough question!

First on the conceit to use of dreams. I was having dreams on a consistent basis about my father for over a year after he died. I could understand things he was saying and these dreams drove me, in part, to write my one-man play The Gospel According to Josh. However these dreams were freaking me the hell out and it contributed to my deteriorating mental state. I thought I was going crazy (not true) and didn’t talk about it for a few years. The dreams were also a way for me to say goodbye to my father, something I never got a chance to do.

The voices. I think it came to me one day early in the writing process. I was taking a shower and was trying to think of a way to break up the exposition and give insight to my inner thoughts. We all talk to ourselves throughout the day, sometimes aloud, and often when we think no one else is listening. It’s more normal than you think. My thoughts often sound a little ghetto fabulous. I also quote Bible verses at myself because of my Evangelical youth. And I swear a lot in Spanish in my head. In the context of the book, these three voices (religious, ghetto, Spanish) are my friends and enemies. They’re vulgar, compassionate, needling; and they break up and lighten what can be some serious subject matter. They’re probably the most risky part of the book (as a writer) but they’re my favorite part too.

Malini: You discuss your first performance in the book and you are still touring the show, which I think is great. What has shifted for you, if anything, as you continue to carry your message?

Josh: I think the thing that’s shifted is that this message, carried out with compassion and humor, is snowballing. People are embracing it all over the U.S. and Canada. It’s taken a few years but it’s happening. And I’m somewhat known as “the suicide prevention guy” which is interesting. Not something I ever thought I’d be known as when I got into show business ten years ago. But here we are and I’m totally cool with it.

And there you have it! You can get all the info here as well as on Facebook. Or just click on any of the links above. Buy the book. It’s really a fantastic and inspiring read.