Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Somewhere deep in my head is some kind of guardian that maintains even my imaginary integrity. At some point in this entry, maybe I’ll even give it a name.
I had a dream in the wee hours of this morning that involved myself and my friend Arthur  having a conversation with Jennifer Love Hewitt. At some point, Arthur left and I found myself in the unbelievable situation of literally charming the pants off of Ms. Hewitt. Do I remember what I said? What I did? No, but it hardly matters, since this was but a dream, and this was not really Jennifer Love Hewitt. Everything I’ve read about her leads me to believe that she would not, based on this short conversation, offer to go somewhere private and do things to me only hinted at in her films. I will say, to my shame, that it took me all of two seconds to say yes .
Which is where this guardian, who for now remains nameless, comes in. Ms. Hewitt and I were in some kind of ancient community center. When we stepped into the bathroom, it was filled with people, several of whom seemed to be there for an intramural basketball game. We found a crowded movie theater, could find no broom closets, and then I woke up, thereby preventing my dreaming self from committing an act of unfaithfulness. I will say, to my shame, that for a few minutes I tried to get back to sleep and return to this dream, before realizing that the act was ridiculous and said something very unsettling about me.
In other news, a short story that won me $750 a few months back has now also won me $500 in another contest–and this time, the prizewinning  entry is being published, in Glimmertrain Press’ monthly short story anthology .
I have an audition for the Steppenwolf theater in two weeks, for next season’s Chicago production of Tony Kushner’s “Homebody/Kabul.” The ad asked for men of my regional descent; I made a phone call, spoke to the casting director in person, and was given an audition time without even having to mail off a headshot. I must now get over to the theater and read a pair of short sides for character work. The sides are in Arabic, and written out phonetically; I must learn at least a semblance of how the lines should sound coming out of the mouth of a native Afghan . The opportunity I’m being offered here is astronomic. With the possible exception of the Goodman, the Steppenwolf is the most lucrative theater in Chicago; and I would argue that it gets more respect than the Goodman–it’s like the indie rocker to the Goodman’s more mainstream operation.
I also find–with a sort of sadness–that I’m viewing the possibility of being cast as some kind of further bridge between myself and my parents, for several reasons. One, the sheer scope of the opportunity would assuage their fears of me making nothing of myself along this path, and two, I’d get to ask them for help with the pronunciation, and thereby involve myself a bit more in my mother’s culture, from which I have been estranged for some time. But the sadness comes because I shouldn’t have to be presented with this opportunity to earn their support. And it comes because I have to remember that I’m still not sure I’ll ever be good enough for them.
I think I’ll call him Kirby.
 While I won’t say anything for sure, I’ve seen Arthur hanging out with a new girl quite a bit, even though he lives with his longtime girlfriend. I don’t know Arthur well enough to say that he’s leaning towards jumping from one relationship to another–so I won’t–just that if it happens, I certainly won’t say that I didn’t see it coming.
 There’s a five-person celebrity list game, popularized by an episode of “Friends,” in which you and your significant give each other a list of five celebrities you should be “allowed” to sleep with, if the opportunity arises, without it being considered infidelity. First of all, neither Donna nor I have elected to play this game with each other, and second of all, Jennifer Love Hewitt, as attractive as she is, would not have made my list. 
 This is the second time that the story has won the 2nd place award. In most contests, 2nd place gets money, but 1st place gets both more money and publication. When I thought about it, it seemed to me that 2nd place was actually a better deal if you were only in it for the money…published items can no longer be sent out on contests. Perpetual 2nd prizes meant that not only could the story keep making money, it would be making the most money possible without being removed from the running of other contests. However, the note I got from the publishers of Glimmertrain told me that even though I didn’t win the top prize, they still loved the piece enough to request publication rights. That’s flattering. That’s emotionally more satisfying than a string of 2nd-place cash prizes.
 And furthermore, if they ever decide to re-anthologize the story in a “Best Of,” I get an extra $300. Tax time is going to be interesting next year.
 The casting director mentioned that she was less worried about getting everything right because she herself didn’t know the correct manner. When I consider it, I suspect that the lines may not be in Arabic–being as the play is set in Afghanistan, which is several lands away from the “Arab” countries and closer to the Indian subcontinent. I suspect that the lines are in Urdu, which is even better for me, since that’s exactly the tongue my parents speak.
 For the record, in no particular order, my list of five–at this moment in time–would be: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gillian Anderson, Janel Moloney, Alicia Witt, and Nina Persson. Kirby is on guard.
Current music: MP3 list, Fatboy Slim, “Weapon of Choice”