I haven't posted much this year... I've been on kind of a sabbatical. I've still been making art, but my focus has been in a lot of directions.
The chain of events went kind of like this: I woke up one morning to find all three of my remaining chickens had been eaten/mauled by something (bobcat? fox? Something smaller than a coyote). I had lost many chickens over the past few years to illness or predators, so the mourning felt almost constant. I REALLY loved my chickens - they were pets, and I became very attached to them. I still had the goats, but frankly, they're a lot less affectionate. I felt broken with the chickens gone, and I faced a decision - should I start over and get more, or is it time for a change?
I was feeling more and more isolated living out in Joshua Tree by myself. I would go days without talking to any humans, and that was fine for a while - the animals were pretty good company. I had pretty much accepted the fact that I was on the fast track to becoming a crazy desert lady. But I started to wonder... is it a little too soon for that? After five years, I started to feel like I really needed a change. I needed to get out of my shell, and stop being a hermit. I had been renting out my place in LA on Airbnb regularly, just coming into town for a day or two here and there. But I started raising my rates or blocking off days, so that I could spend more time in the city. And going on Tinder dates. I started looking for a new home for the goats.
While this craving for change was in my head, I randomly came across something online about improv classes at UCB in LA. I had seen a show at their theater years back, but doing it myself had never occurred to me. I signed up for an intro class. I was so nervous when I took that first class that I had intense stomach cramps the entire time. But it was fun! Most of the other students were much younger than me, so I felt kind of out of place, but I still really enjoyed it. I was physically ill from nerves going onstage for our final performance, but it went well. I signed up for Improv 201 and increased my search for someone to take the goats. I found another crazy desert goat lady a few miles away with tons of goats and space. She was willing to take them, and said I could always take them back whenever I wanted. That was perfect, as it was so hard to let go after raising them from babies.
I kept taking improv classes, and my classmates encouraged me to try stand up. That was a whole other world. I signed up for a stand up class at Second City with Dan Tefler. I started going to open mics regularly, which were mostly soul-crushing but with occasional highs that kept me at it. Once I started, I really wanted to give it all I could. I went all in. I've been booking small spots in clubs, not really sure where I'm going with it. I just figure that I can't help but grow if I do what scares the shit out of me.
My improv 201 teacher at UCB was the amazing Brian Finkelstein, who is a regular host of the Moth shows in LA. This got me interested in storytelling, and I've done a few Moth shows.
So has all this experience onstage with comedy and improv cured me of my shyness, awkwardness, etc? NO! I don't really feel like it has! But surely it's changed me, maybe in ways I don't see. Now I can get on stage with a microphone by myself and bare my soul, withOUT getting sick to my stomach. Well, just moderately queasy.