Saturday, December 31, 2011

Coach match!

Amanda Rogers. She lives in LA. She has been an actress, a producer, a director, and is most currently a playwright and screenwriter. Her ex-husband has a very successful one-man show. She said she was very impressed and inspired by the letter that I wrote (Shannon forwarded the letter to her). I explained my needs and goals to her and she responded by saying,
"Ok, this is great! When do you want to workshop your piece?"
"I don't know, I was thinking like, this summer?"
"Um, I was thinking more like, March. I think you need to push yourself a little if you want to get the ball rolling. So go ahead and find a theater, book a date before March 15th and let me know!"
"Whoa. Um, that's really soon."
"10 weeks is plenty of time."
"Great, talk to you next week!"

I hung up a little stunned. But motivated. I googled local SF theaters and started emailing inquiries. Just heard back from the Phoenix Theater today. They have March 17th available.
March 17th is it!

Now off to croak my way through new years eve gig...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Coach fail, and editing

Still sick. I feel like I've forgotten how not to be constantly on the go...

Mwd and I have the piece 75 percent strung together and omg, it's just so so much flippin' writing. I am going to start performing parts of it at a weekly performance space that Mwd has put together which means more memorizing is imminent, which means the writing should ideally be as pared down as possible. The past few days I've been laying low in bed and editing my piece like a madwoman on a word rampage. I have been cutting and cutting and shortening everything. Will read the work to mwd in a week or so. Things are better between us; I apologized. I realized that I have issues around not paying her and trusting that she is still going to work at the level she was when I was paying her. I also worry that I am going to have to "pay her" in some sort of emotional way, like going out of my way to do this or that. But these fears are all projections based on the last relationship I had with my mentor, "N" (yes, the one that dissed me at my first performance). I feel I gave way too much time and emotional regard to her because she was letting me take her classes for free or a trade. Plus, I just really looked up to her because she had "made it" as an artist and I wanted to absorb as much of that as possible because that's what I wanted to do. But mwd is not "N". I just have to trust that it's going to be different this time around. But I still don't have a good feeling...

I interviewed my first potential coach today. She is a rep at a talent agency in NYC. I told her about my plans for my piece. She told me that because I was a "nobody" that I should not count on a thing happening with my piece. She told me that she thought it was therapeutically beneficial for me to be writing a piece about rape and wondered if I just needed to get more therapy to heal and move forward with my life. Then I learned that she had been brutally raped when she was 13 and her story was a public spectacle in Florida. She wasn't sure she wanted to be a part of making my rape story a public story because hers was so traumatizing. I got it. Her story shook me up though. I have been experiencing a lot of doubt about my piece since talking to her. But I have to separate my rape and my piece from her story.  I have to keep moving forward. I'll try out the other coach tomorrow.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Coach search

Vanessa, my sister from another mister, has been encouraging me to look into getting a (omg am I really admitting this) life coach. She's been seeing one for a year now and swares by it in terms of meeting goals and getting shit done in a timely manner. Since my anxious flutter meltdown to mwd, I've been thinking it might be helpful to have someone to check-in with about my project and keep me on track. Vanessa suggested that I try out her coach, Shannon Ratay. Since the trial session was free, I decided to go for it...and...I loved it. It was not new-agey, it was not cheesy, it was not airy-fairy; Shannon was very down to earth, direct, encouraging, and responded enthusiastically to what my goals were. She called me back the next day and said she would love to work with me BUT she felt like there was a coach who was a better match for the goals I had in mind. She put a search out to her "coaching community" (is that what it's called??) and got several responses. So let the trial sessions begin...this is really weird.
Oh, I have gotten $400 dollars in donations from my mom's cousin and two other adult friends from my childhood. Woohoo!
Winter break, and I am as sick as a dog. Total bummer because I have to sing at this new years eve gig and my voice is completely gone. I hope it heals in the next week but I'm sensing that would be a christmas miracle. In the meantime, I am literally on forced rest.

Monday, December 19, 2011

First Response!

...from a good friend's mom. It made me cry.

On Dec 19, 2011, at 8:03 PM, Julia Brayshaw wrote:

Dear Heather!
Shivers are running through my body as I read this and feel your passion and conviction through your words. I am so very honored that you included me in this! I bow to your powers of transmutation and your courage, and I whole-heartedly believe in your deep healing. And I am so grateful to you for saying yes to the big work of alchemizing this trauma... thereby offering it to all of us for our collective, transpersonal healing. I am grateful to you for the mirror that you are holding, reflecting back my own powers of transmutation...for the mirror you are holding for all of us revealing this place of deep conviction and the depths of our true power.
Of course I am contributing to this. How can I answer your giant yes - to life! - with anything less than a YES!? The work you are undertaking is so, so, so, needed (has been so needed for so long) and its time is now!
Your writing is beautiful...I will watch the video...
whoa, I was feeling like I was about to go to sleep before I read this, now I am coursing with electricity.
Heather, may I remind you that you are in the middle (right now!) of your Saturn return -like Dayna, like Camillia - and like for the others in your amazing little "soul group", this is no small thing because Pluto (the dark forces, raw evolutionary force, death/rebirth, the power of transmutation) is part of this also (as is your path of destiny and it is co-inciding with a big, big time for us collectively, and, and...I could go on and on...but, in short, I'm amazed to see how you are undertaking this huge rite of passage...). So, I just had to include that little footnote in case you wanted the astrological perspective. ;-)
Ok, so that's all for now; you can count on me to be making a contribution, and to be cheering you on and holding you in my thoughts and prayers.
With love and respect,

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Letter to the peeps

Ok I just sent my email out to 35 of my people. So now, it's like, real. I'm really doing it. I'm making a piece about rape. *#@#%! We shall see the response. Here's the letter:

Hi everyone,

I’m writing to only a few of you. You are the ones who have been there for me at one or many points in my life; you are the ones who are still there for me; and you are the ones who believe in me.

As many of you know, on May 16th, 2010, I went to the San Francisco Bay to Breakers race where I was drugged, then kidnapped and raped by a stranger. This was followed by a 4 hour hospital exam where I was scraped for evidence; put on post-rape HIV medication for 60 days; enlisted by the SF sex crimes unit for a do-it-yourself investigation and confronted with the shame and isolation of victim blaming and self blame. It was a strange, difficult, and complicated time.

Last October, 2010, I went to the Bioneers conference where I heard a woman give a speech about violence against women in India. It was a fine speech, but it was scholarly, statistical, and impersonal. I got a fiery knowing in my gut that I could do better and that I needed to perform about my rape. This performance was a way I could contribute my strengths as a performer and writer towards a greater and much needed cause; this was MY work.

In the past year, I have put in countless hours writing, performing, taking performance classes, rewriting, performing more, and so on. The piece I have written is about my rape and it raises awareness about rape against women. But it is equally about the complexity of being a human. Universal themes have emerged through the specifics and uniqueness of my story: self-doubt; shame; need; suffering; forgiveness; healing; and love.

I have exhausted my finances in the initial stage of this project. The writing is done. It is an edgy, fearless, moving, humorous, and strong piece of work. The next steps are crucial. I financial support to work with my director and dramaturge in order to transform my writing into a high caliber piece of theater that I will tour at colleges nationwide and theaters in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. I am a solid performer.  My director and dramaturge are highly talented people who are deeply invested and believe strongly in me and my piece. With their direction I get better and better and my piece shines brighter and brighter.

FYI: Once the piece is further along, I am confident I can get financial backing from foundations, organizations and a producer. If you happen to have contacts in these worlds, or contacts of anyone who might want to support, that would be very useful to me as well.

I'm including a link to video clip of a recent performance in its most elemental, work-in-progress stage.

I’ve also included some text from the piece in the body of this email as well as attached it.

To sum it up, my piece is going to make change. And I'm impassioned, devoted, and oh so gratefull to be using my gifts towards it. I'm not stopping with this piece, like I said earlier, this is MY work in the world.

Thank you so much for reading.

Please contact me if you have any questions at all. I didn’t want to overload you with information. This is just the bones of it.

Please know that whatever you choose to do, I am so grateful to all of you for your love, your friendship, and your support.



Donation Options:

One time payment via Paypal:

By mail:
Heather Marlowe
1333 4th St. #5
San Rafael, CA

Writing Samples by Heather Marlowe

The Beast Women and Me

“Heather tell me your dream from last night,” my therapist says. I have the red fleece blanket around me. It smells like incense in her office. My eyes are closed and I can see my dream unfurling like a scroll.

"I am a carrying a torch and I am in a cave. I am leading half beasts/half women through the cave and we are running."

"And what happens next.”

“I know exactly where I’m headed. There is no doubt in my mind. We run and I start shouting. I can see him ahead.”

“Who can you see, Heather.”

“The king. Now I am roaring and the beast women have fallen behind and it is just me. I’m  running towards the king in my bare feet. And when I reach him I stab my hand into his heart and he starts to scream. Then I start pulling it from his heart.”

“Pulling what.”

“It’s my loss. I am moaning and seething and grunting and pulling and ripping it from the king. Then I turn around and run out of the cave, holding it above my head as it tumbles out. It is a golden, shimmering river and it twinkles and glows and illuminates the dark cave. The other beast women run with me in silence while I carry the river high above my head. And it just keeps coming. My sparkling loss keeps coming out.”

The Perks of Being Raped

1) Friends take you out for sympathy rape dinners and buy you treats. But it only lasts for a couple weeks tops. I got free Puerto Rican, pho, Chinese, Mediterranean, sushi, and ice cream from Bi-Rite.

2) If you’re in a shitty living situation, you can break your lease because you got raped. I left my shithole apartment immediately.

3) You can get out of late fees from parking tickets. You still have to pay the base level ticket but they will wave the late fee on the account that you were raped. I saved myself $356 dollars.

And that’s about it.

I did think about calling my chiropractor and asking if there was any kind of discount I could get if I’d just been raped.

Then I got to thinking about other things I could use that would make me feel better. Like, they really should give you a rape goody bag with these items:

Free massages and chiropractic adjustments, not done by a man

An on-call personal bodyguard for up to 6 months

A drastic haircut and color plus a backup wig

A gun of your choice

Some sort of Rape Bible -- like a be-all, end-all resource

A lifetime membership for self-defense classes, specifically the classes with the mock assailant so you can get your rage out in a contained, productive manner

Cooing my Bruises to Stay

For a week after the rape it was easy to understand that it wasn’t my fault. When the rape doctor took pictures of the bruises all over my inner thighs, my inner arms, my butt, my back. When I saw all the marks I understood. That there was a struggle. When she measured the bruises -- purple and blue blot evidence that something violent happened. The vaginal tears, the anal tears, the sharp pain in my pelvis. The semen all over my belly. All evidence that something wrong happened to me. Even though the rapist told me, that he raped me because I wanted it. The bruises were proof that it didn’t want it. That I tried to fight. That I was held down. I remember sitting in my friend’s shower hours after the rape examination and rinsing the rape off of my body. I didn’t want to wash it off because the stench, the grime, the fluids -- I wanted it to belong to me forever as proof. I soaped my body and I stared really close at my bruises. I remember kissing them and caressing them and cooing at them.  You are so pretty, I told them. And please could they just stay. Please don’t heal. Don’t go. Because when they go then it is just me left over. With no memory of anything. No evidence of anything but the words from the rapist saying, “you wanted to have sex.”

The same with the drugs, I wished I had taped the rape doctor saying, “oh honey, please let it all up. Just let it all come up. There you go. You were drugged, this is what drug facilitated rape looks like. Let me get you a pill for the nausea.” I would listen to that tape over and over.

Titles of some other segments of my piece:

I only know what I know

Hipster Invasion of Privacy

Stumbling and Vomiting through Geary Street

Sid the Vampire

Genki Ramen Rebirth

Waterbottle Drugging

Detective Work on my Own

Drug Rape is a New Crime

It’s my Fault because I had a Mimosa

Just my Hands go to 4th and Anza

Mining Rapeland

Tina says Get a Grip and Get a Job

Steely Sleep Retard

Seven Labyrinths of Hell

My Rapist Suckled Breast

How Comforting when the Rape Hotline is Busy

Why can’t I be a Straight A Rape Victim

My Maybe Rapist is Cute

My Daydreaming Body Parts

Rape isn’t a Big Deal

I’m my own Private Rape Detective

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The hustle and flow

December has been so hectic and busy! I have the all-school Christmas concert in 5 days and all the teachers are on edge with getting it perfect for the parents. I have been non-stop rehearsing with the kids for a month now and they are so beyond sick of singing the same songs over and over again. I can't wait for the concert to be over and to have two weeks off! Meanwhile, I've started up another babysitting gig with my buddy Alex Alouf. Her parents are going through a separation and Alex could use some extra support. I don't really have the time for it but I truly adore this girl. I've been with her for almost five years now and she doesn't have that many close friends at school so I want to be there for her. My private lesson clientele has also increased and now I am teaching ten kids. Oh and band practice has picked up! Did I mention I'm in a band? Winchester Revival (not too stoked about the name). Think Mazzy Star meets Radiohead meets The Police-ish-ish-ish. I play violin, write lyrics and sing. So I'm now rehearsing 4 days out of the week: 2x with my band, 2x on my show. Gotta hustle to make it all happen and somehow still pay the bills. This artist lifestyle is not so glamorous as evidenced by the pile of dishes in my sink piling ever higher...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stringing it togeths!

We are starting to put the piece together! We are, we are, we really are. I have archived the writing I don't like and the remaining writing is now to a complete enough place that it can be strung together. I mean, I think it could definitely use some editing but my director said not to worry about this right now. My director asked me if I could describe imagistically what I saw my piece looking like. The first thing I saw was an accordian opening and closing. Then I saw one of those flip-down pamphlets where the pages keep unflapping. I want my piece to be strung together through different glimpses and flavors of my rape while following a central story arc. My director said she didn't know anything about story arc which makes me a bit concerned but we agreed to have a first pass through and go from there. This is how the process goes:
Director: "um what about this part going first?"
Heather: "Ok, yeah, I was just thinking that."
Director: "Ok cool. Does any blocking come up for you."
Heather: "Yeah, what about this."
Director: "Yeah, I was just thinking that."
Heather: "You were not!"
Director: "Yes I was."
Heather: "We are such freaks. Ok, so what about this part going next?"
Director: "Ok. I was just thinking that too."
Heather: "You were not!"
Director: "Shut up. Yes I was."
On a financial note, I have totally used up all my extra money paying her for her services so I'm going to write a letter (and include a link to my most recent performance) to just a few friends and family to ask them if they would be interested in supporting my show through donations. I told my director about my plans and she kindly offered to edit the email as well as edit trailer of my video. She also told me that she felt like this show was going to be a success so that she was ok to work on spec for now and get paid back later. Ugh, I hate owing people money. It really puts me on edge.  So I am struggling with the fact that I have to trust that there is going to be a financial return and that I will be able to pay her back at some point.