Am I Awake?

For the life of me, I cannot figure out whether I am awake or asleep.

At 6:00 this morning, an alarm interrupted my peaceful slumber.  Still hazy from the night before, I stumbled out of bed.  I figured that it was probably a bad idea to go to work drunk, so I turned off the alarm and went back to sleep.

My phone rang at 8:00.  It was my husband calling to say good morning.  “I can’t talk right now!  I’ll call you back,” I exclaimed before hanging up on him.  The phone rang again.  “Is everything okay?” he asked.  I insisted that I would call him back and hung up the phone.  I screamed as the bedroom door crashed open.  It was 8:30 and my husband was standing in the doorway.  As I sat in bed terrified, he replied, “I rushed home to make sure you’re okay!”  Irritated, I went back to sleep.

I had a dream. I arrived to work at 10:00 and was walking toward my office when a teacher ambushed me in the hallway.  He pulled a table out of his pants and forced me to sit down.  As I sat in front of the office door flipping through a textbook, the walls changed colors.  The door covered itself in bright pastel-colored rectangular blocks.  The dim overhead lights became brighter as grass sprouted from the floor.  The colorful door inspired me to ditch class and get breakfast.  As I wandered toward the kitchen, a desperate mob of people cut me off and fought over a TV mounted on the wall.  Foiled, I returned to the office.

I stopped at the colorful entrance to badge in, but I could not open the door because there was no handle.  Someone had cut a large hole in the door where the handle used to be.  The hole was not large enough for me to crawl through, so I searched for another door.  As I traversed the hallway, my mother called and asked whether I had bought the growth hormone balls to put in the playpen.  I did not have time to figure out what that meant so I hung up on her.

I found a door with a handle.  It led to a secure area so I could not take my phone inside.  Fancy new phone storage lockers commanded attention near the door.  I held down the power button on my phone but it refused to turn off.  Coffee appeared in my hand.  Horrified, I struggled to remove the phone battery without spilling the coffee.  The hallway became very crowded with people entering and exiting the office but no one would help me.  A maintenance worker pushed me as he passed by, shouting at his colleagues to follow him.

As I threw the phone into a locker, a consultant emerged from the office to assist me.  She was short and blond.  When I closed the locker door, it tripled in size and grew steel bars.  The lockers rearranged themselves, moving my phone further up the wall until it was out of reach.  I jumped up at the phone jail but it was futile.

The alarm woke me up again.  It was 9:00 and my head was pounding.  Punishment for drinking a bottle of rum out of boredom.  I had to get ready for work, so I zigzagged to the bathroom.  As I brushed my teeth, a huge roach materialized in the center of the mirror.  I gurgled for my husband to “helf me” as I jabbed my hand toward the intruder.  He grabbed a roll of paper towels and chased the bug around the bathroom, striking the mirror, cabinets and floor until the bug was obliterated.

My hero walked me to the car.  I drove through traffic, weaving around aggressively slow drivers.  Suddenly, two birds flew out of a tree.  One changed direction and eagerly crashed into my car.  My stomach churned as I heard the definitive thud.  My car was an accessory to suicide.  I had a moment of silence for the troubled bird.

At work, I inspected my bumper for signs of impact.  Maybe the troubled bird had merely knocked himself out.  When he awakened, he’d be grateful to have a second chance at life.  He would be a proud survivor and push other birds to believe that life is worth living.  Or maybe he’d torment himself with thoughts of “I’m such a failure, I couldn’t even end myself.”  They were equally possible.

I floated around the office, “working.”  It was difficult to function while the building rocked like a cruise ship on the ocean.  I pondered how I had made it to work while feeling so unstable.  I began to wonder whether I was still asleep.  I typically don’t feel weightless when I’m awake, but everything in the office seemed normal.  Too normal.  I had to know for sure.

First, I would jump on my coworker’s desk and can-can his business proposal to the ground.  Next, I’d knock my boss’ lunch from his hands and smash it with the fax machine.  Then I would barge into the CEO’s board meeting and flip the table, screaming, “THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!”  If no one noticed, then it was probably a dream.  If I beat it, I could wake up from this nightmare.

As I stepped away from my cubicle, I considered the consequences if I was not dreaming.  I panicked as I realized that I’d worn jeans to work again.  Startled, I looked down to confirm that I was in fact wearing business pants.  Uneasy, I sat down without causing a scene.

Things remained iffy until lunchtime, when I ate a bagel that brought me back to reality.  Slowly, the room became clearer and the floor stopped moving.  My paranoia began to slip away as I became mostly confident that I was awake.

How can you ever be certain that you’re awake?

inception

Should I Give Up?

Five days in to NaNoWriMo, I was burned out.  I was tired, stressed out, anxious, and felt chained to my computer.  Every moment that I didn’t spend writing was full of guilt and self-doubt.  Why did I think it would be fun to impulse-write a novel?  2,000 words per day?  What was I thinking?  I normally write a 300-word blog post once or twice a week, if that.  So where were these 50,000 extra words going to come from?

For the first couple of days of NaNoWriMo, I did okay.  I had some momentum from writing a tight prologue to my novel the day before the contest officially began.  The next day, I hyped myself up by perusing the message boards on nanowrimo.org and conversing with other participants.

Then, I hit a wall.  As I started to run out of ideas, I realized that my characters were haphazardly developed.  Where did they come from?  What were their motivations?  Why did they exist?  On day 3, I decided to spend a few hours turning my characters into people.  Afterwards, I forced myself to spit out 2,000 words of story.

As I read over what I wrote, I started to become disappointed in myself.  Normally I consider myself a talented writer, but the sentences and paragraphs I had thrown on to paper were just as haphazardly formed as my characters were.  I had rejected my “short and sweet” writing style in favor of run-on sentences and unrestricted rambling.  I started searching for ways to throw in more words.  I stopped using contractions.  I became wordy.

My main character started to develop ADD.  It took her hours to wash her face in the morning because she just could not stop “daydreaming.”  Microsoft Word’s Readability Statistics dropped me from grade 12 to grade 5 over a matter of hours.  I was officially becoming illiterate.

I hated what I wrote.  It wasn’t my style.  And I wasn’t enjoying writing.  I didn’t feel proud of what I was producing.  So I quit.  I stopped writing.  I took a few days to sit around and play computer games.  I watched television.  I voted in the election.

But now, I feel like I abandoned my characters.  They are begging me not to forget them.  They need love and a place to stay, just like any other human being.  So, I will continue writing my story.

I have, however, determined that the goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days should be reserved only for the insane.  Or at least those who have a lot to say.  If you are the annoying person at work who just won’t stop running their mouth, then you might have a chance at winning NaNoWriMo.  However, if you are naturally quiet and reserved like me, then it might not work out so well.

Is it too late to catch up?

 

 

I’m Not Dead

Wow, those two weeks went by quickly!  I haven’t had time to do much of anything lately.  Between working full-time and yelling at my husband, who has time to write?

I’m kidding.  The real reason that I haven’t posted anything is because it’s hard to write a coherent blog post when you’re drunk.  I decided to stay sober today in an effort to reassure the Internet that Raezyn has not disappeared.  Is anyone actually tracking these things? You can call off the search party.

I haven’t even had time to read other people’s blogs.  There are a few funny writers that I have completely fallen out of touch with.  It is a shame.  Not only am I isolated in real life, I am isolated on the World Wide Web.  But today, I have returned to entertain you, Internet.  Hopefully my friends will call me back so I can go out and do something fun afterwards.  I’m kidding again.  I don’t have friends.

This morning I woke up to a half-full glass of Merlot and an open box of Milk Duds.  Leftovers from my wild and crazy Friday night.  So I had Milk Duds and wine for breakfast.  Given that I was still kind of drunk from staying up drinking until 3 AM, those last sips of wine were all the alcohol I needed to pass out and sleep some more.  I’m not an alcoholic.

I woke up at 2:30 PM with a sugar high.  Go figure.  After scolding my husband for exhibiting man-like behavior, I remembered that I had abandoned my glorious blog.  So, I made myself some coffee and powered up the ol’ laptop.  After surfing the Internet for a couple of hours, I started writing.  I hope this post is satisfactory, because it’s all you’re going to get today, Internet.

I’ve got to start getting ready to hit the bumpin’ comedy scene in D.C.  I don’t have time to edit this post and add pictures and what not.  Do I seem moody?  I feel moody.  I’m a little moody today.  I’m not sure why.

Hmm.

Are Stand-Up Comics Losers?

What motivates you to become a stand-up comedian? Is it that you are a loser?

Last week I attended an Open Mic night. This open mic took place in the back room of an improv studio, inside of a mall at 7:00 in the evening on a Thursday. I knew that it was going to be bad before I got there.

The first question the emcee asked the audience was, “How many of you are not comics?” Five of the 20 people in the room raised their hands. He then wondered, “So why are you here?

The first comic told a story about asking his high school teacher out on a date after graduation. Then he stared at the audience for a few minutes. He was high.

One performer paused after a series of bad jokes and pleaded with the audience:

“Why aren’t you laughing?

How could I make that joke better?

…I guess pedophilia‘s not funny.”

The next entertainer ran on stage singing a lively song about watching bad comedy in a mall. Then he confessed that he’d drank four beers during the show. He could tell that his life was on track because this was exactly where he wanted to be on a Thursday night – telling jokes in an abandoned mall. A few seconds later, he became agitated that the audience had “lost energy” and stormed out of the room.

We were laughing at his jokes.

This open mic was an emotional roller coaster for the audience. More than one unstable “comedian” would abruptly cut himself off and berate the audience for not laughing loud enough or at all.

It was awkward.

HowDone

One guy did his set in a French-like dialect (?). He was the only comic who completed his set without incident. He didn’t care that no one “got” his jokes. He even politely told us to have a nice evening as he left the stage. He was definitely my favorite.

Hopefully, now you understand why I asked my opening question. All of the aspiring comedians at that open mic were high, drunk, depressed, or [insert uncomfortable adjective]. I understand that this was a substandard comedy show, but all comics start at the bottom. It makes me wonder whether everyone who pursues a career in stand-up comedy is fueled by intense psychological issues.

Obviously, I will attend another open mic before committing to an opinion. Probably not the same one, unless I need something to write about.

I Attended a Seminar! And then I Published a Post about it!

I hit Publish!! After a solid 14 day absence, I finally posted on RAEZYN again. I didn’t stop writing for those two weeks, I kept pumping out jokoids. Regardless, yesterday I wrote a thrilling account of my first time on stage!

As everyone is aware by now, I am new to stand-up comedy. I need guidance: How to write jokes, how to structure a set, and how to avoid fainting on stage. So last weekend, I attended a stand-up comedy seminar taught by comedian Joe Matarese. It was well worth driving 2 hours one-way to Baltimore MD.

I met some local comedians that were not only funny, but supportive as well. I had some time on stage during which I was *supposed* to perform my act (read what actually happened). Instead of rolling their eyes at the newbie from Virginia, the comics gave me some helpful suggestions on how to develop my act and they even laughed at some of my jokes!

In order to become successful, you need the support of your peers. And as it turns out, comics are willing to support each other because they’ve all started at the beginning. Experienced comedians know that they wouldn’t be where they are in their careers without the encouragement of supporters. Therefore, this group of funny Baltimore comedians welcomed me, the confused beginner from Virginia.

On Saturday evening, I dragged my husband along with me to watch Joe Matarese headline at Magooby’s Joke House. Paul Spratt had the guest spot and Ayanna Dookie was the feature. Together, they reaffirmed the fact that I love comedy.

Raezyn’s on the Mic

My life changed last weekend! I attended a Stand-Up Comedy Seminar and my 12 classmates were privileged to behold my premier stand-up comedy performance.

The seminar was taught by comedian Joe Matarese. When he called my name, I jumped up and pranced to the center of the stage. I looked up at the microphone, looming in the stand a foot above my head.

After a moment’s consideration, I grabbed the mic and squinted through the spotlight to see the hazy outlines of my classmates.

I spoke.

Hello. This is my first time on stage.

I don’t have anything to say.

I had nothing. So I started rambling.

photobucket

I explained my desire to perform comedy because I hate my job.

I shared my enthusiasm for attending BrickCon and my appreciation for all things LEGO.

I painfully recalled how my dreams of fighting professionally were crushed the day I was beat up by a competitive boxer.

Overly specific details flew out of my mouth and were broadcast throughout the club at alarming speed. As it turns out, I reveal embarrassing information about myself whenever I am on a stage with a microphone in my hand and a spotlight in my face.

It was the smoothest set of my career. Coincidentally, it was the awkwardest, shortest, longest, suspect, winningest, most boring, roughest, intriguing, hostile, best, worst, funniest set as well.

Foursquare

Perhaps in addition to my notebook, I should carry a microphone and flashlight around with me at all times. I would probably earn a friend or two with my newly discovered ability to entertain on demand. Then I could write jokes about the experience.

I may have perceived those five minutes on stage differently than anyone else in the room did. Regardless, the experience taught me that the stage is not a scary place. The mic, the cord, the lights; they are all harmless. The audience is more terrifying than the stage could ever be.

Notes After Dark

In my desperate efforts to put together a stand-up comedy routine, I have been carrying around a notebook to record every funny idea that I have. I write down everything that even remotely strikes me as amusing. At bedtime, my notebook and pen lie within arm’s reach. This is a brilliant strategy because I am most creative late at night, in between dreams.

One evening, I wrote:

Unexpected diarrhea is the best diarrhea.

Followed by:

But that’s the worst, when you look like your act.

I remember writing those comments down. I remember laughing about them. I don’t recall why. If only I’d had the presence of mind to clarify the joke. It’s been a week since I wrote them and I’m still perplexed. Trying to piece together the context of these statements is fun. Over time, I’ll hone my skills to figure out what they mean. If I ever have to solve a crime committed by my evil alter ego, I’ll be ready.

My last note of the night was:

I’m still more sober than some of you have been in years.

This tells me one thing. I am an unnecessarily mean person late at night. First of all, who am I berating here? I must have dreamt that I was an AA group leader and I showed up drunk to the meeting. This is the only scenario that makes sense to me.

If this is the case, then why did I only write that one line? I’m still more sober than some of you have been in years. Brutal. Once I start performing at open mics, I’ll have to convince the bookers to put me on stage early. After a certain time of night, I become inexplicably hateful.