The Roxy theatre burned down yesterday.

My play Body Language was done there, during NextFest, in 2000.

It was directed by Amy DeFelice, who has since been nominated for five Sterling Awards, and directed Take a Bite for me.  In it were Aaron Talbot, who’s now the Communications Coordinator at Theatre Alberta.  And Shannon Blanchett, who’s in New York City this minute. And Adam Blocka, my stage manager for The Ugly Princess right now! People were posting about the loss of this theatre from New Brunswick, Montreal, and Australia.

I went to see what was left last night.  To see that it was real.

There was an elegant lady in smashing, long coat standing there, also looking at what was left.  She said she’d been a season-ticket-holder for years, and that she had a ticket for Cheerleader!the show that was meant to begin that night.  I told her I’d had a show done there once.

Before she left, she squeezed my arm and said “I’m so sorry.”

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This blog is not a diary.

My grandmother, whom I previously mentioned here, passed away three weeks ago.

I have tried, as much as possible, to maintain this web presence as my public/Writer face. I established this blog and website to discuss theatre, and plug my own work.  WORK, which indeed involves me.  It’s not a place to very publicly whinge about my private life.

Which is why I haven’t blogged recently. My life, and those of everyone in my family, have been consumed by very personal loss.  Even if I could have written about it sooner, it’s not only my loss to talk about.

And, I simply have no idea what to say about it, even now.  It was long – she first became ill in 2005 – and it was slow, for her to go through, and for us to see.

It’d be easy to say she was my grandma – everybody has grandparents, and when they’re gone it’s a hole in your existence. Perhaps, unfortunately – like me with my mom – you didn’t have your grandparents very long, or you didn’t know them at all. Nonetheless, because of them, you’re here. However, if you did know know your grandparents, and don’t have them anymore…then that’s not enough to explain the hole.

I could say factual things: the house of my grandma and grandpa – who died in 2002 – was where my sisters, brother, and I went for EVERY vacation while growing up.  They literally supported me while I went to university. My grandma let me crash with her again when I came back from Scotland.  None of that explains it either.

The best I can come up with is that my grandma was one of my anchors…in the good sense. I almost always hear of anchors as a negative metaphor, holding someone down. Well, if you want the ship to move, and you can’t weigh anchor, then yes. But of course the anchor is also what keeps the ship from floating away randomly.

Without my grandma…practically all of my anchors are gone. She was the major reason I came back to Edmonton in 2008. So… do I just bob around now? Or steer myself somewhere and build a new anchor for myself? I’ve already answered that – and to end cryptically, that’s where my WRITING comes back in…and I’ll talk about that later.

The reason I walked out of a show? Endometriosis.

Brigitte: Are you sure it’s just cramps?
Ginger: Just so you know…the words “just” and “cramps,” they don’t go together.
From the film Ginger Snaps

This is something I had never, NEVER, done before.

I have a condition called endometriosis. (WARNING – description of female biology coming!) Basically, the stuff that comes out during a woman’s period doesn’t all come out…because some of it is growing where it shouldn’t. I’ll provide a link, should you wish to get really squirmy.

It’s hard to say how long I’ve had it, but from the time I started telling a doctor “This isn’t normal,” to a diagnosis took FOUR YEARS.

I’ve had oral birth control, painkillers, and surgery to stop the pain. Each one worked for a while, and then either my body developed a tolerance, or the tissue grew back. In 2010, I had an IUD put in by a gynecologist (I’ve already said this onstage, so online, whatever) which sends contraceptive right to the source of the problem. I’ve been normal for three and half years. But since February this year, the pain has been getting steadily worse. Again.

A week ago tonight, I was at the Citadel Theatre Young Company’s play readings. Brand new playwrights having their work read, out loud, in public, for the first time. And ten minutes into the second play, I had the icy thought –

I’m going to break in half and throw up on the floor.

I had to leave. I had NEVER before left a show, reading, concert, ANYTHING, ever – whether the show was terrible or not, because it’s a horrendous thing to do. It disturbs the audience, it makes the creators involved feel like garbage. I e-mailed two friends later who were there, and who I knew saw me leave, and I just said “I was really sick.”

“Sick” isn’t the word. It’s a consistent grinding in the abdomen. You need your abdomen to walk, to sit, to stand, to pick things up. Before I had the IUD, I was dragging myself to work, because I HAD to work, and then going straight home. Every night. For months. There’ve been two shows I was desperate to see this past week, and now they’ve closed and I didn’t see them because I was terrified I would have to leave. Again. My life is being screwed up by this. Again.

I’m seeing my gynecologist on Thursday, to find out what else I can do. The final thing to try on endometriosis is a hysterectomy. THAT is not happening. But…I am turning 40 this year…

There are so many ways being a woman sucks.

Yes, This Woman too.

Following on from my post yesterday:

The incident in Isla Vista happened in part because a gun was allowed to get into the hands of someone who should NOT have been permitted to own, or keep, a gun. In that instance, and others before, another direct cause was misogyny.

I don’t need to draw anyone’s attention to the #YesAllWomen discussion that happened next.

This is a statistic that gets heard – and derided – a lot: “1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime”.

25 per cent. One quarter. At least one out of every eight people on planet Earth.

I haven’t said anything about what happened to this woman. Me.

In my entire life, I have only told two people about it – two friends, in junior high, neither of whom I’ve spoken to in years. No one in my family, none of my closest friends now, even know.

For me, me, the internet is not the place to do it. I think I’m okay with saying it now, in the right place, which will be in the one-woman show I started last year.

For now, I will say, believe it: one in four women. This one woman is telling you it’s true.

Let’s get rid of guns.

Yes. An insane, impossible idea, and one which brings the trolls to this website, I’m sure.

Three very, very bad events have happened the last two weeks, in California, then in Moncton, New Brunswick (a place not even many Canadians take note of…our radio broadcasters in Edmonton got the capital city of New Brunswick wrong!), and another, just yesterday, in Seattle.

We Canadians take some rather misplaced pride in not having the level of gun violence the US does. I say misplaced because ANY is too much. Despite what this says.

While I was living in Scotland, a police officer was shot and killed in Bradford, Yorkshire, England. This was huge news, gigantic. I admitted to being surprised at how big the news was…a police officer was killed in the line duty – awful but true, that happens. NOT in the UK, ladies and gentlemen. Read this Guardian piece from the time…”more than 160 officers have been ‘killed in the line of duty by a criminal act’ in mainland Britain since 1900.” That was in 2005. Since 1900 ?? Know WHY that is?

Because in the UK, it’s almost impossible for even criminals to get guns. It’s all but impossible for anyone to get one.

So I have a preposterous idea. I’m writing to my (conservative) MP, and requesting that guns – whose purpose is too kill things – be subjected to the same restrictions as cars. Vehicles are recognized as useful, yet potentially dangerous items, and so the use of them is subject to the users proving they can use cars responsibly. THE SAME SHOULD GO FOR GUNS. Rifles of any kind, hunting, recreational in a gun range, doesn’t matter. Anyone who wants to buy a gun has to go through a GRADUATED licensing program. And, at certain periods, gun owners will be required to undergo a test to prove they are still sound and capable gun users. Part of that test will be proving you have done the utter utmost to make certain no one else can get your gun or its ammunition. IF THEY FAIL the test, THEY LOSE THEIR GUN. And, AND, the government could usefully track something: instead of eavesdropping on cellphones, why not use all the technology and manpower instead to track who is building and selling guns, and to WHO.

I’m sick of this argument, which shouldn’t even BE an argument. Guns are for killing – in the hands of responsible people, they kill animals for eating. And if someone breaks into a responsible gun owner’s house, that gun is then apt to get to someone who will kill people. I’m sick of guns getting into the hands of, and remaining with, people who shouldn’t have them, and I’m REALLY sick people being surprised when others are killed as a direct result of those people having guns.

Let’s prove that we are better than the US on this. PROVE IT.

Two performances, and no more…

This past week, a very young Edmonton actor, Adam Cope, died. A memorial is being held for him on Tuesday.

I first saw him play King Mark, the husband of Isolde, in a brand new production of Tristan and Isolde in March this year, at the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre. He was a fairly big, imposing guy, with ginger hair, and when he discovered Isolde was cheating on him–he got mad. Towards the end, when Isolde told Mark she had to leave to find Tristan, he had a great line: “Tristan? Tristan-who-almost-ruined-our-marriage-THAT Tristan?” The whole show was very good. And I remember thinking then “Wow. He’s really good.”

Just last month, I saw him again in Punctuate! Theatre’s clown show, Vice Re-Versa.

And that’s it. I can’t presume to say I knew him. I only saw him onstage twice, he was terrific, and I’ll never get to see him be terrific again. So, so sad.

A public service announcement to all men who hate women

I saw these on Twitter today:

Ahem. To all of men out there who agree with this point of view and argue it’s your free-speech right to say so…this geek girl exercises her free speech to give the following examples of men who disagree with you:

Joss Whedon thinks you’re wrong.

Tom Hiddleston thinks you’re wrong.

And

SIR Patrick Stewart

, Captain Picard, thinks you’re really, REALLY wrong.

Since THESE men don’t think women are stupid slaves who need to shut up, it will be a Canadian winter’s day in hell before I ever believe YOU.

Thank you.

ps Love to Toronto and Lac Mégantic. Stupid world.