Tenacity and Chewing 101 – Instructor Name: L. Cat

“Just one more layer . . . and then I’m in!”

 . . . rattle, rattle, rattle . . . ripppp . . .  tearrrring sounds came from the other side of the door that leads to our basement. 

When I investigated, I discovered our cat Lexi sitting in the stair-step basket pictured above, filling up on kibble through the hole she’d torn in the bag of dry cat food we keep on the steps for the stray cat we feed. 

I disposed of the ruined bag and placed the remaining food in a tin can, with a lid I know Lexi can’t open. (I hope!) 

I couldn’t be angry with her. I suppose it wasn’t the best choice to store that bag of food on the stairway she loves to go up and down each day. Of course she would be drawn to the scent of food inside. 

She doesn’t act like other cats—we think this comes from a probable mistreated early life. She doesn’t jump up on dining tables or kitchen counters, and she’s never even attempted to lie on top of the piano—which is good—because she would lose that argument.

It tickled me to realize she has some pluck deep down. You would have to witness her frequent timid moments to fully appreciate my stance on today’s unexpected antic. 

The past 5 days have presented challenges for me. I’m a member of cast that is rehearsing for a historical play based on authentic pioneer letters and diaries that we’ll put on next weekend, and I’ve been sewing my pioneer-styled costume for the event. 

Three-hour rehearsals at night after full days are hard work, and last week’s rehearsals just weren’t cookin’ right. I could see it in the director’s face, and hear the exasperation in some of the players’ voices—and I felt worried and tense about it all. The chemistry and timing for all five of us performers needs to be “on,” if we are to convince our audience. 

There’s a massive amount of fussing with small details as the performance draws closer and it exacerbates the stress level.  

So — I’m sewing on this costume and I discover that I really could have cut the fitted vest I am to wear a wee bit larger than I did. It’ll fit, but I won’t be able to button it. The full can-can I will wear under my long skirt is too long for what I’d cut out, so that whole thing had to be pinned up, and I had to run to the fabric store and buy ruffled eyelet to stitch around the bottom of the skirt — whose circumference measures 104.5 inches — to add a bit more length. Back home as I’m stitching the eyelet to the hem—I run out; I’m 10 inches short. Dang it. And about then something wicked inside my head bellows: You know—you’re the opening act to this thing. Are you sure you can pull this off? 

I had a brief melt down. 

So back to the fabric store I went—to find more black eyelet—but I can’t find the same design (of course!) so I buy something else that is close. No one’s going to notice. And I finish the skirt. 

We do costume reviews and I acquire the hat I will wear, but I need to keep it on my head with some elastic banding, but I don’t have any– So I make another trip back to the fabric shop to buy some. 

And then my steam iron dies on me. The thing is less than two years old! If you sew, you have to have an iron, so I had to run out and find a replacement. How long could it take? It took 6 stops before I found something worth buying. I encountered a lot of store clerks who obviously don’t iron much. 

Our play is a bit long so we are continually cutting, editing and rewriting, which then changes some of the blocking (position of an actor at a given point). Not everyone is up on their lines as yet and that adds its own level of anxiety for the whole cast, but ticket reservations are coming in, and we need to make this work. And we haven’t even rehearsed with the musician who will be playing for us yet. 

We have full-dress rehearsals every night this week. I have article interviews scheduled during the week, other stories that I need to pursue so I don’t fall behind, and personal writing project deadlines that I want to submit. Those deadlines hover like a vulture over fresh kill. 

And then today I find the cat chewing through a bag to get to what she wants, and the message materializes: Just keep chewing your way through. You’ll get there. 

It’s not unlike taking on writing that first-ever newspaper article, or picking up the phone to arrange your first live interview, or standing before an audience to read the first story you published. 

When we want what’s inside the bag, all we have to do is keep chewing.

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8 thoughts on “Tenacity and Chewing 101 – Instructor Name: L. Cat

  1. You go, girl!!!

    Karen won’t be up to that long an outing, and Joe and Jennie will be visiting us next weekend (something about a concert here in town they wanted to go to) so I’m not going to be able to attend. But as someone who has been in two whole plays (one while I was in high school and the other while I was in college – and that’s a LONG time ago), I’ll be pulling for you. I know you can do it, and I know you’ll do a good job.

    Jon

    p.s. – I think you mean “sight”, not “site”

  2. Rebecca–This post really resonated with me this morning!! I think you have just stumbled upon a new motivational slogan: “When we want what’s inside the bag, all we have to do is keep chewing.” I may have some t-shirts printed up, or something! Lol.

    • Oh, gee—will I get royalties if sales really take off on the slogan on T-shirts?!! ;-]p

      Glad you liked the piece. It’s been a while since we’ve talked. Hope things are going well out there in C-land for you guys.

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