She could see why Baby preferred Mia. It didn’t matter that Charlie wad the one that had found her, didn’t matter that without Charlie, Baby would undoubtedly be dead on Shuck Street, or, best case scenario be wandering the giant building’s halls living on food scraps and sleeping with feral dogs. It didnt matter that Charlie had introduced her to Mia, cautiously, to protect her.

Within hours of meeting, Baby was trying to sit in Mia’s lap, curling tiny fingers around Mia’s thick black tendrils of hair with curiosity. Mia was instantly and without hesitation warm and motherly. Charlie was mesmerized by her transition into a cooing, baby-talking mommy, all smiles and shushes, delicately pulling Baby’s fine hairs out of her face. She could have sworn Mia’s breasts even grew into more voluptuous, and more comforting, as she snuggled Baby into them.

Drawing in a breath of cool air, she watched them sleep. The orange glow of the dying fire made both of their faces look flushed and young. Mia looked almost as sweet and tender as Baby. Maybe that was the kinship they had. Maybe Mia seemed so young that she felt like a sister.

Baby’s face intermittently puckered as she sucked her thumb in her sleep. A bead of drool collected under her protruded lip. Mia’s hair fell around both of their faces, peaceful while they slept.  Charlie pulled the surplus jacket she had kept for herself tighter around her shoulders.

Had it been a month? The weather hadn’t changed much from hot days and warm nights, but the light hours were shrinking. In a month she had become almost an outsider from the two people she felt responsible for.

It would be getting cold soon. Unless they were further south than she thought. The landscape had turned from a dirty city scape into a trash strewn, barren landscape. They were following an old highway, but in some act of nonsensical vandalism, every sign had been removed. A few had been moved to the wrong location (thankfully it was obvious in each instance.)

And some days, particularly when Baby was cranky, they only made it what she guessed were a few miles. Other days it felt like they covered five times that, alternating carrying Baby every few hours. But as every day became more similar they all started to blur together. It was impossible to gauge how much ground they were covering, and at this point, she wasn’t even sure how much time had passed.

But they were headed in the right direction. The pull of The Compound was stronger every day. Mia swore she couldn’t feel it. But Charlie felt it like a swelling in her chest and throat, sometimes it made it hard to catch her breath. And she thought Baby could sense it too, in ways Mia didn’t notice. It seemed likely that Baby was modified like Charlie. She didn’t want to bring it up, but that would be an issue they would have to deal with as they drew closer to the border.

But for now, she was wrapped safely in Mia’s warm arms. Turning to the sky, she slowlybdrifted into a restful sleep.

Better Parenting Through Humiliation


Well, I almost didn’t go tonight. Anxiety has been at an all time high this last week, for a few reasons, and I spent every moment today talking myself in and then out of dragging my chicken shit butt to this workshop. The roads have been terrible, I was tired, none of my clothes fit, my PMS is welling up like volcano erupting… And of course, did I really want to spend three waking hours drenched in adrenaline pumped, nervewracking, looking like an idiot in front of a bunch of strangers?

Ed and Rose were painfully encouraging, Eddie actually sitting on my bed and giving me a stern pep talk about how it was important to be around those more talented then we are because it urges us to challenge ourselves to do our best and get better. Rosie even gave me a ‘You’ll be great, mom. Here, take my fedora and sparkly scarf.’

In the end what I realized was simple: I have been forcing those two to confront uncomfortable situations and challenge themselves for years. If I didn’t go, they would know I was full of shit. They’d never let me live it down. And more importantly, they might take a cue from me and feel just slightly more comfortable bowing out of opportunities that weren’t easy or familiar.

At least when they flake out later in life, I can feel *slightly* less responsible. I’ll shake my head at them, clicking my tongue, reminding them of how brave I was when facing difficult situations. I’ll wipe away a year of pity and mutter that they must be lazy chickens because of their father.  Not me.  Such a shame.

Anyway, I went, and it was just as bad as I expected. For such a bold and boisterous lady, I turn into a trembling, red-faced, blubbering bag of incoherent mumbles when I’m in front of a crowd. If you took an awkward looking baby giraffe and taught it how to talk but also gave it a drinking problem/anxiety disorder, it would probably still remain more composed and coherent in front of a crowd. I was shaking so badly that I could barely take a sip of my water after I sat back down after doing an exercise.

Hugh is unfailingly supportive, so I have zero idea of how bad I actually am. My imagination promises me that I am painfully awful.

I’ve decided that this week I’m going to make the kids watch me perform improv skits and record me so I at least have some experience and a better idea of what I must look like whilst making a fool of myself. This should also enforce the idea that personal growth requires stepping out of one’s comfort zone. And I think I will be sufficiently uncomfortable in front of even a phone camera enough to emulate the workshop experience. And this is what they get for encouraging me. Now we ALL have to suffer.


Y’all need to pray for me. I have six more weeks of this.

The Chicken Within


Tonight was the Open House at The Actor’s Loft. I got to meet Hugh and hear about all of the workshops they offer, including the one Nick signed me up for as my Christmas gift, The Fundamentals of Acting.

All of the workshops sound amazing, and I’m so excited to start next week, but it quickly became apparent sitting there that I am going to be the biggest fish out of the most water. A whale in a desert.

The screenwriting workshop instructor (Charles) nearly had me salivating as he described the protagonist’s necessary journey through conflict and to glorious resolution that he would be helping the writers to understand. I was literally on the edge of my seat considering sinking my teeth into a good screenplay idea. It felt so natural to consider! My constant state is running storylines through my head for believability and appeal.

The improv workshop sounded fun and interesting and attainable. I know it was a million years ago, but as I described in a previous episode of, I took improv classes in my youth. And they were great. I like to think on my toes and bounce ideas off of a partner.

The actual Acting class sounds so foreign. It became obvious that it’s going to be all new to me. And I realized sitting there that I have an some major insecurities I’m going to have to deal with moving forward. Shall we list the things? We all know I like to list the things:

  • I have the grace of a corpse when I am nervous. My mouth will keep doing the moving and spitting out of words. But my body will take on jerky movements not unlike those of a zombie from literally any zombie movie. You know what I’m describing.
  • I like to think I’m not horribly unattractive. On film, this disillusionment becomes obvious. Whatever beauty or grace I *may* possess is due to skilled chin angling and proper hair swingimg during conversation. This illusion disappears the instant I’m on film. (Whenever I doubt this I let someone try to take a good picture of me. Their increasing frustration as they ‘adjust the angle’ and eventually angrily direct me to do smoky eyes and pout at the lens until they sigh, defeated, and say ‘look how white your teeth are, so… pretty’ is all I need to remind me to avoid the camera.) This class is all about working the camera, my old foe.
  • I know nothing about ‘The Craft’
  • There is A Craft
  • I had no idea
  • Guess I will be doing some homework
  • I have no future in this stuff, at least not in the immediate. I have almost zero time to do anything. I know what a time requirement something like this is. My working availability is at ’20 seconds per bathroom break every six hour’s level right now.

So I guess the biggest actual fears are that I am wasting everyone’s time, and in doing so, I’m going to make a complete fool of myself.

Acknowledging this actually makes it seem far less scary than it did earlier.

I regularly look like and idiot AND waste people’s time. And the sun still rises every morning. So what is the worst that can happen ?