Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

by John Paul Sharp November, 2011

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Table of Contents:
1. Effing Facebook and the Damned Internet 2. Best Performance and Broke as Hell 3. Addictionʼs a Bitch and So Am I 4. I Hate Amateurs. 5. Iʼm Getting Fat! 6. I ♡ Owen Pallett 7. Car-less is not Clueless 8. #occupypolitics 9. A Noose or a Gun Gets the Same Job Done. 10. I Hope I Get It! 11. I Blame Skyrim. 12. I Blame Skyrim. 13. I Blame Skyrim. 14. The Desire to Escape. 15. Men ʻn Me 16. Reverse Racist! 17. Online Bad-Asses Are Anything But 18. People Arenʼt Disappointing, Are They? 19. My Brainʼs On Fire 20. Things Iʼm Grateful For 21. Make Your Own Kind of Music 22. Only in My Dreams 23. 2012 is Gonna Be CRAZY 24. Iʼm Stuffed Like That Turkey 25. My Heaven Has Cats 26. Looking Ahead to the Next Year 27. So Proud of Myselfs 28. The End of the World 29. My Obituary 30. Silence is Golden

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day One: Effing Facebook and the Damned Internet
Iʼm taking a hiatus from Facebook, Google+, Twitter and all those social networks that Iʼm connected to. I tend to do this every year around this time. Thereʼs something about November that brings me to a place where Iʼm just fed up with the personas that people, myself included, put out there in the great world wide web. Usually what triggers my hiatus is that Iʼve pissed someone off or they have pissed me off about something. If thereʼs anything that social networks do, they show you how disappointing people can be. Let me tell you what started it this year. I was rather active on Facebook yesterday. I posted lots of random thoughts about how I almost left the house with slippers on and how sunny it was and how Iʼd listen to RuPaulʼs Champion music album. I also happened to post another simple, random thought, which happened to stir up some emotions within a specific person, a former music professor of mine who Iʼve worked a lot with over the last few years. I stated the fact that I didnʼt care if singer Chris Brown hated gay people and that I still thought his voice was yummy. My old professor commented on my status update: “Ummm, he also thinks itʼs okay to hit women.” Uh-oh. I had forgotten all about that. You see, I recognize the media has a tendency to oversimplify events and situations that occur between celebrity figures. This, in turn, allows me to easily forget fundamental issues the media decides to cover that donʼt necessarily have a direct consequence for me. Chris Brown hitting Rhianna doesnʼt directly affect me as much as his anti-gay comments he keeps putting out there. My response to her comment was an attempt to explain Chris Brownʼs violent behavior. I believe that Chris Brown is probably gay himself and because heʼs steeped in an extremely homophobic community and held to a higher standard much like bacteria under a microscope, violence is his way of acting out. My former professor responded with something to the effect of: “No. Sorry. You canʼt rationalize hitting a woman. Itʼs unacceptable whether heʼs straight or gay or whatever.” My attempt to explain his actions were construed as a way to justify his actions and that was not what I was trying to do at all. In my mind, she was saying to me that I should not find Chris Brownʼs voice to be yummy and at the very least, I should not be posting on the Internet that he provides anything of value to the world because of an incident of his domestic violence that the media blasted for months.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Before I read her response, I had also posted another status update about how I need to fulfill one hundred hours of volunteer work in a counseling-related capacity and whether anyone had any ideas of a good organization I could work with in Seattle. During all these interactions, I was actually on the way to the admissions department of Antioch University as Iʼve been seriously considering getting a second masters degree in Drama Therapy. The one hundred hours are part of the minimum requirements of becoming admitted to the college. I received a response to my inquiry almost immediately from someone about how I should volunteer for a domestic violence helpline. I didnʼt put together the connection that this other person responded because of my Chris Brown conversation held just minutes before this status update. It wasnʼt until I got home that I saw my old professor liked this domesticviolence response that I made the connection that the person who offered the suggestion was also reacting to the Chris Brown conversation. Itʼs so easy to forget every little thing you post on Facebook is truly being broadcast to hundreds of people, especially when you have 2500+ persons on your friends list like I do. I responded to my former professors comments about how she felt I was rationalizing hitting women. I bluntly posted that I did not find violence or hitting anyone, regardless of gender, was an acceptable situation at all. Realizing that I might have pissed her off even more by implying that women and men should be treated equally in regard to violence, I became ever more frustrated with the dayʼs online interactions. I then posted a rather intellectual and passive-aggressive statement on my Facebook and Google+ page, because, yes, thatʼs what we do when we donʼt want to just be direct anymore, isnʼt it? It went something like this: “As a life-long learner, I have been trained to view events and situations from several, almost unlimited, angles. Because of this, I think I am misconstrued as someone who is overly accepting and not able or willing to take a stand on important issues. While this may be true, to an extent, I find it difficult to follow black and white reasoning when I suspect there might be color involved.” I think what I find most frustrating about social interactions on networks like Facebook and Google+ is that black and white reasoning truly trumps any type of explorations into the more colorful aspects about anything. In some ways, these social networks are a reflection of what I believe is a move away from critical thinking on behalf of society and people in general. After all, this was just about Chris Brownʼs yummy voice. I can easily separate his personality and personal life from his artistry, but I realize many others cannot and wish not to tolerate others who do. My natural instinct is to feel defensive and possibly come up with a list of all sorts of artistic personalities that

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

are immoral, but whose work my former professor might enjoy - just to say something like, “You know Frank Sinatra was said to have ties to the mafia, but I bet you donʼt care about that, do you? Even though the mafia kills people for some of the most trivial reasons! Lots of people praise his work, regardless of this fact, donʼt they?” But then, whenever I actually take the time to look up that information, I lose energy with the whole thing and just feel dejected. What follows my feelings of dejection are the more logical thoughts that tell me, “Wait a minute. Letʼs see if we can fix this.” I then decided to send a direct message to my former professor with an apology. “Iʼm sorry if I offended you today! That was not my intention! I tend to separate the personality from the artist, but you are right. What he did is unacceptable.” I just left it at that. After all, I have admired this person for many years and have always wanted her to think well of me. Also, we have done business together every year as I have transcribed and arranged music for her choirs. This amounts to at least five hundred dollars of income doing something in the realm of music and that is also very, very important to me. Within minutes of sending her the direct message, I saw that I had received numerous likes to my passive-aggressive posting about having a hard time following black and white reasoning. I immediately regretted it, thinking that she would most likely see this posting if I were to keep it up - if she hadnʼt seen it already. I decided right then and there that I needed to delete everything: the chris brown conversation, my passive-aggressive posting and even my inquiry about volunteer opportunities in a counseling-related capacity. Though, Iʼd say that last one was deleted due to my own embarrassment attached with the entire dayʼs interactions. When all the content was deleted, I made up my mind that it was time to take a hiatus from all the social networks until at least Thanksgiving, so I posted an announcement stating my decision. I would take the whole month off, but I have to promote my theatre shows in December about a week before hand. After all, my main reason for social networking has always been about promoting my work as an artist. I just wish, sometimes, that was all my only purpose for having a persona online. If your head is spinning after reading all the words above, donʼt worry. It should be as my own is. Itʼs the reason why Iʼm taking a hiatus, because when all is said and done, itʼs just a bunch of unnecessary nonsense and drama that can be as preventable as not expressing or acting out online in the first place. I think many of us who use Facebook multiple times a day are simply addicted. I knew before I made the decision to take a break that it would be difficult. Within an hour of signing off and removing the social networking applications from my phone, I was already wondering how many notifications Iʼd

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

received or if my former professor had responded to my apologetic direct message. When I woke up today, I had to fight the urge to open my laptop and check all the sites. I check my Facebook more than I even check my e-mail most of the time. Just in general living, there are moments every now and then where my actual brain thinks in terms of status updates. Itʼs like my thoughts are sometimes formed in how they can be posted online. I know, as I have done this in previous years, that the more days that go by that I donʼt check, the more Iʼll find other, better things to do. But, like any addiction, there will be a period of angst, a detox of sorts, that must take place. Unfortunately, Facebook isnʼt like some illegal drug out there where complete removal is the best course of action. Eventually, I will need to get back on start posting again. As a performing artist, the only good way to promote a show these days is by making others aware of my events online. However, by taking this three week break, Iʼll have more time to do other things and perhaps rework my brain so it doesnʼt feel so attached to checking in. Hopefully, when I come back, I will be refreshed and more thoughtful about the comments and status updates I put out there in the world. Hopefully, Iʼll come to realize it is not so crucial to post every little thought that pops into my head. I want to relearn the idea of holding back and only posting quality over quantity. Not everything that comes into my thoughts and experiences needs to be shared. Some moments hold more value when they are kept to myself and held sacred through their isolation. Instead of posting random thoughts and experiences online this month, Iʼll write my thoughts in the more structured form of essays. Perhaps, in this new method of reflection, Iʼll come to a better sense of self; a self that is more careful - not out of fear of offending anyone, but through the strength and solidarity of having learned more about what I want to share with the world. Thirty thoughts in thirty days. One down, twenty-nine to go. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Two: Best Performance and Broke as Hell
Last night, I went to the Writers and Actors Reading and Performing (W.A.R.P) group for their “Bumper Night.” Every Tuesday night, they meet at the Odd Duck Studio in Capitol Hill, Seattle, where budding playwrights bring their scripts to be read and critiqued. I ended up being involved in this group when I went on my first audition after moving here. I chose to audition for their Halloween show because it only involved cold readings and I wasnʼt in a place where I wanted to memorize a monologue yet. They cast me in four plays and the experience on the whole has been great. Let me explain the Bumper Night. All the playwrights brought one to five minute scripts to be read by their chosen actors. Iʼd say about five of us were there simply to act and not have any scripts read. I ended up having six scripts in my hand and one of my fellow actors only had two. I went ahead and gave him a few of the scripts that I had which did not call out to me. When all the scripts were passed around, the titles were called out and someone wrote all of them down. Once they were noted, someone would call out a random title and the actors would come up to the black box stage and coldread the script. After all scripts were read, there were about twenty of them, everyone in the audience voted for their top three scripts and their favorite actor performance. I had four plays in my hand. One was a one page script between two turkeys. Another was a longer script between a cat and a mouse. Then I had two monologues, one being a guy writing a poem while waiting for a Roger Daltry concert to end and another being a man explaining to an officer what happened at his familyʼs Thanksgiving dinner. I have a process that Iʼve developed when I do cold readings like this. I read the script and figure out what type of voice my character has. I believe this is the difference between myself and a lot of other actors. While others might think about what type of personality a character has, I do the same, but I do it by determining what type of voice the character has. I had a specific, theatrical, almost British voice for the cat. I chose a garbled voice for the turkey. I decided the man talking to the officer had a southern, slightly redneck dialect and a deep voice. The only one I couldnʼt put a specific voice together for was the man writing a poem. Itʼs probably because there wasnʼt enough information for me to gather about what type of man was writing this poem, so I did my best to have a neutral voice for him. Surprisingly enough, the neutral voices are the hardest for me to pull off because in some ways, I struggle to relate to the characterʼs experience in whatʼs written for the script.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Needless to say, you can probably deduce the fact that I received the Best Performance vote from the crowd last night. The person counting the votes said I blew everyone out of the water. All the scripts that I read, with the exception of the poem writing script, were in the top three, as third place had four scripts tied. My southern rednecked voice helped put that particular script into first place. I ended up getting a big bag of Mars bars as my prize. As I was leaving at the end of the night, the guy who wrote the top winning script asked me if I was going to stick around. I responded with, “What - right now?” He said he meant to ask whether Iʼd be sticking around for the long haul. I shrugged and told him that I probably would. Iʼm pretty sure I know why he asked. W.A.R.P. is a great group and Iʼm grateful to them for giving me my debut theatre experience in Seattle. However, most of these playwrights are in their sixties and not all of them are the best writers. Also, in my experiences with the many, many rehearsals I had, not all of them are the best directors either. I can understand why people with great talent end up moving on because they get better roles in more professional venues. Most of my rehearsals for W.A.R.P. were in peopleʼs homes, not an actual theatre. I believe Iʼll always do my best to stick around with W.A.R.P. when I can, not only because they gave me my debut experience but also because one of the directors paid me $25 at the end of the Halloween show. Thatʼs something I have to respect because it is such a rare thing for actors to get paid anything when it comes to theatre. In fact, I have no idea where the paying jobs are for theatre. The only way I could fathom getting paid to act in theatre is to 1) write your own show, 2) be the only actor in your show and 3) take all the money for yourself after paying for the venue. Having written and produced my own shows, I know how difficult it is to just break even, let alone make extra money. My first musical, My Big Phat Gay Musical, raised over $1000 for one weekend, but thatʼs after paying $600 for the venue, $100 for the sound guy and I did not pay my actors at all. Of course, I did not make $1000 either because it was all for charity. Itʼs frustrating for me, because out of all the things I can be really successful at, so few of them actually earn any money for me. How can I be such a great actor and be unemployed and living off of school loans? I like to think I have a lot of skills that people could benefit from, but every job I apply and interview for leads to rejection. Every audition I go to leads to a new show that I donʼt get paid to act in. I keep hoping that if I just dive into acting, eventually it will lead to paid positions. I think, in the back of my mind, this line of thinking of probably a pipe dream - but I donʼt know what else to do, really!

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

When I went to Antioch University the other day, to investigate with their Admissions department as to the probability of me getting admitted to their Drama Therapy program, I had a conversation with a woman in charge there. I mentioned to her that I had been unemployed since May of 2010 and that I couldnʼt even get a job as a barista with Starbucks. She looked taken aback and basically told me that I shouldnʼt even be applying for those types of jobs with my education level. But what jobs do I apply for, then? I have a bachelors degree in Vocal Performance. Iʼm about to finish a masters degree in eLearning implementation and design. All the jobs Iʼve seen for eLearning require that I have so many years of experience designing instruction or training in specific fields. Most of these jobs require that I have a bachelors degree in anything but vocal performance. Part of the problem is the economy, I think. There probably arenʼt enough jobs to go around for employers to take a chance on someone like me. The only people getting jobs today are the people who are 100% fits for the positions. Also, I am an actor and I canʼt be available 24/7 for any top of job. I need to work during the day time because rehearsals and performances are always at night. I donʼt want to apply for a job and tell them Iʼm completely available when the simple truth is that Iʼm not. The employers Iʼve applied to and interviewed for arenʼt hiring people who are less than 100% available, day and night. What am I supposed to do? Give up theatre so I can have a job? If it were even that simple, what type of job can I have in this economy? Iʼve even applied for jobs that I said Iʼd never work again, like waiting tables. Still, not hired. So, will I be there for W.A.R.P. for the long haul? I guess it all depends on how long I can keep paying rent. For the last few years, Iʼve been paying rent with school money and unemployment. Unemployment runs out before 2011 is over and eventually, Iʼll graduate. Iʼm thinking that Iʼll do what I can to get admitted to Antioch University, though the obstacles for this are somewhat high. I need to fulfill one hundred hours of volunteer work in a counseling-related capacity and I also need to take Abnormal Psychology and Theories of Personality before I can even attempt to apply. If I do all these things, including recommendation letters and essays and financial aid, Iʼll be a therapist by 2015 or 2016. If I thought that I could make this a reality, Iʼd actually do it. Iʼm not sure if Iʼm the best person to give therapy, but I am talented as a writer and actor and I could see myself having a job and a career where Iʼm helping people. However, I have to take into consideration that Iʼd be in school for ten years by 2015 and Iʼd probably be about $120,000 in school loan debt. I just donʼt know what to do anymore when it comes to a career that could provide any

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

type of sustainability for myself or my family. I know my mother is tired of waiting to hear that Iʼm getting a paycheck of some kind. I honestly donʼt know what to do. For now, Iʼm just following my heart and going where my successes seem to be. So far, in Seattle, my success seems to come from acting. Iʼll just keep on going to auditions and do as many shows as my schedule will allow. Iʼll keep living off of student loans and apply for jobs that I think I might be good for. Iʼll just pray that someday, everything Iʼm doing will make sense and pay off in a way that will provide some sort of financial security. But most of all, I think Iʼm learning how to embrace being poor. I just donʼt want to be so poor that I donʼt know how Iʼll pay rent from month to month. I want to find a way to make enough money to just take care of the essentials. That would be much easier if I didnʼt have a mountain of school debt and credit card balances, but then, that is another thought for another day. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Three: Addictionʼs a Bitch and So Am I
Iʼm only on day three and Iʼm struggling to decide what thought to drive into the ground. I have a lot of options Iʼm thinking about, but I wasnʼt sure which one to go with next. I suppose addiction had to come sooner or later, so why not get it over with? Iʼve spent my whole life being addicted to stuff. I donʼt know if Iʼm to blame my DNA, my parents or, quite simply, myself. In regard to blaming DNA, from what Iʼve heard, both my grandparents on my fatherʼs side were alcoholics and pretty much died from it. My Aunt Mary has done pretty much every drug under the book and my father has had his own run ins with beer and DUIʼs. Even my sister was said to have had a drinking problem in the six months leading up to her suicide. Addiction is definitely in our blood. I, myself, have never had a drinking problem. Well, I had a drinking problem for a month or so when I was 18 years old. But I got so sick from drinking countless shots of Yukon Jack that I never really was able to get a tolerance that would allow for something like a habit of drinking. My addictions have almost been exclusively related to smoking. If I could smoke it, Iʼd make a habit out of it: cigarettes, weed, meth, coke, etc. Anything I could smoke. My parents divorced when I was three years old and all throughout my childhood, I craved attention and love from anyone who would give it to me. This is probably how I became a good actor in life and on stage. Itʼs also probably why I ended up having sex with hundreds of men from my teenage years until my early 20ʼs. Of course, this behavior led to massive drug use, or perhaps, more accurately, sex and drugs came along, hand-in-hand. The older you get, the more you just have to blame yourself for any addiction. After all, once youʼve recognized the fact that you are indeed addicted to substances, you eventually have to acknowledge that you are the only one with the true power to stop yourself from continuing the cycle. While that is easier said than done, the truth of the statement does not falter in anyway. Only the addicted can break free. Iʼm a person that has never been known for temperance. I am a man of extremes and itʼs a curse and a blessing. My extreme personality explains why I earned a 3.94 GPA for my bachelor degree. It explains why I ended up singing the National Anthem at my own graduation. It explains why Iʼve done as much as Iʼve done in my late 20ʼs. Of course, it also explains why I earned a 2.67 GPA in high school and it explains why I ended up in the hospital in my early 20ʼs with psychotic paranoid delusions due to a six day meth/marijuana/crack bender. It explains how many times Iʼve put myself in situations to be raped and it explains how I survived all those incidents.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Iʼve survived a tremendous amount of traumatic moments in life and I can honestly say that I willingly put myself right into each and every one of them. I donʼt blame my DNA - well, maybe a little bit. I certainly donʼt blame my parents hell, if I were to go in that direction, I might as well blame their parents and their parents and so on. No, I just blame myself. So, how addicted am I these days? I havenʼt touched meth in several years. Iʼll be reaching ten years without that stuff pretty soon. Iʼm actually pretty amazed that I was able to smoke as much meth as I did and come out of it with my life, my mind and my general health. The one permanent damage that meth scarred me with is my wonderful H.P.V. Yep, thatʼs right. Iʼve had anal warts for ten years. The anal warts were a gift from a Vietnamese man who basically raped me in his apartment. We hung out for an entire weekend and I even hung out with him a little bit after he raped me. He decided he wanted to fuck me hard and I decided it hurt and when I tried to push him off of me, he just kept going even harder and harder. I eventually left my own mind because I couldnʼt take the whole thing. I donʼt know what you would call that. Itʼs some kind of defense mechanism. I just remember him pulling off of me when he was finished and I was laying there on the floor, unresponsive, watching a video game in my mind. Ahh, good old meth. A day or so later, I went to the clinic because I couldnʼt poop. Everything down there had pretty much shut down. I felt like I had to poop and Iʼd sit down and push and nothing would really happen, except for some small bleeding. The doctor at the clinic told me I had such a chronic form of HPV, with torn fissures in my ass, that Iʼd never be able to get it under control. I mean, no one ever loses HPV once you have them, but my warts were not just on the outside, but inside as well. Iʼd have to have major surgery and it wouldnʼt even guarantee that they stayed away. After all, itʼs a virus. This is not a big problem for me. It does affect my sex life. As a single man, I rarely put myself in sexual situations with men again. Even in my relationships before my current boyfriend, I never told them and never allowed them to put their thing in my behind. Needless to say, that leads to awkward questions that remained unanswered for my exʼs. My current boyfriend knows about them and doesnʼt care, but I know heʼs probably a little disappointed since he loves to eat ass and my ass has a few warts winking back at him. Letʼs just say, he doesnʼt try to eat my ass. I donʼt even let him put his thing in my behind very often because heʼs got a big one and Iʼm a small guy and itʼs just not the most pleasant experience for me. Itʼs not totally terrible, but itʼs not something I would want to do every day or even once a month. Itʼs more like once in a blue moon. The poor

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John Paul Sharp

guy - but he loves me anyway - and for that, Iʼm eternally grateful. I try to please him in other ways, but we have a ways to go on our journey of sexual enjoyment. I was a major weed smoker for several years. I like to think I transferred my addiction from meth to marijuana. Even in Denver, I had a medical marijuana card and used to drop an easy hundred bucks every week and a half. Oh, my credit card balances are as awful as they are because of a good six month fantasy world where all I had to do was go to the store to get my drugs. In some ways, I miss those days, but for the most part, Iʼm glad I moved because who knows how much farther I would have dug myself into debt from all the marijuana I was buying. It wasnʼt until this past summer - just a few months ago - that I finally quit buying marijuana. Because I could not get a card here in Seattle, or at least, it was really difficult and expensive, I made it my summer mission to find a marijuana dealer who could supply me the way I used to supply myself. For a few months there, I did find someone, but he dicked me around so much that I eventually gave up and decided that I was no longer going to let my peace of mind be dependent on a drug that was becoming harder and harder for me to access due to the new 2nd class status of having to deal with stupid, goddamned dope dealers. Donʼt get me wrong; I love marijuana and if I were rich and had lots of access, Iʼd probably get high every day like I was doing for so many years. This is not the case, though, and so, as a man of extremes, it pretty much had to be an all or nothing kind of thing. A nothing kind of thing, really. And Iʼm happier now that I donʼt smoke weed every day. I get out of the house more often. Iʼm doing more shows. Iʼm heading somewhere in my life because Iʼm not so agoraphobic. Yes, Iʼm kind of a bitch sometimes, a little more intolerant than normal, but in general, Iʼm happy. And on the occasions when someone else happens to have marijuana on them and offers to share, itʼs so much more exciting when I partake. Itʼs like an actual, real treat! Plus - I can remember my dreams now. Iʼm dreaming every night and I think my brain is coming more alive. I seem to have no problem memorizing large amounts of lines that Iʼm not quite sure Iʼd have such an easy time with had I not stopped smoking like I did. So, now, all I have left are cigarettes and soda. I drink way too much soda all the time. I canʼt help it. But Iʼm not worried about soda as much as I am cigarettes. The cigarettes have got to go and sooner than later. Iʼm trying not to stress too much about it right now because I did just quit marijuana. One step at a time. Iʼm getting there.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Like anything in life, your own situations and life circumstances are, as I mentioned earlier, both your blessing and your curse. The goal is to make them more of a blessing as you get older and older. I think Iʼm getting there. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Four: I Hate Amateurs.
Iʼm really not trying to make this book full of angst-ridden vents, but when I think of what I want to write about every day, the things that come to mind are the matters which are currently affecting me the most. As of today, itʼs amateur theatre people. Ugh, they just get under my skin! So, as of right now, Iʼm in two theatre productions: 1) Herb & Jennifer (H&J) and 2) Sweet and Decent/Dark and Twisty (SD/DT). I was cast in H&J first and I have the principal role of Herb in this 45 minute play. I also have the principal role of Roger in SD/DT. Both shows are at the Ballard Undergound theatre back-to-back. I had a feeling it might be stressful, but I thought perhaps I could juggle both shows. Iʼve worked very hard on my role for Herb. Iʼve memorized the entire play before the second rehearsal because I knew I might get cast in the other show. Whatʼs truly frustrating is that I received my rehearsal schedule for SD/DT before H&J decided to get theirs together. This may not appear like a big deal to you, but let me try to explain it. When I was cast in SD/DT, I told them right off that I was already cast in H&J and that the only major problem would probably be in time conflicts. Lucy, one of the directors of that show, let me know that it was fine with them and they would work their rehearsal schedule around the one I had for H&J. Only problem is that H&J never got a full rehearsal schedule to me so I could only send Lucy the tech, dress and a few other rehearsals that had been scheduled. So, Lucy scheduled me for SD/DT around what I had at the time. I sent my rehearsal schedule to the stage manager for H&J, who is supposed to be in charge of figuring out everyoneʼs schedule. She knew, if she bothered to read the e-mail, what my full rehearsal schedule would be for SD/DT. Well, yesterday, I finally get an e-mail with the schedule for H&J and almost every new rehearsal is schedule back-to-back with my rehearsals for SD/DT. This is a problem because I canʼt magically go from point A to point B in a few seconds. I also take the bus, so it takes at the very minimum thirty minutes to get from point A to point B. Now, Iʼm in the awkward position of telling Lucy that Iʼll have to leave 30 minutes early or be thirty minutes late to about four rehearsals. Thatʼs not even the main problem either, because the folks at H&J donʼt even know where all their rehearsals are going to be - so I donʼt even know how long itʼs going to take me to get to a point A or point B that has yet to be determined. Iʼm doing everything I can to be accommodating for H&J, but they are so disorganized, that they are making it quite difficult for me to do so. Of course, I could have always said no to SD/DT, but since I am unemployed and Iʼm

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

supposedly diving into the theatre, I should be able to do both shows. Itʼs so ridiculous! I have every weekend nearly completely free. Itʼs almost like they decided at H&J to purposely schedule rehearsals right after and right before all my rehearsals with SD/DT! They even scheduled one rehearsals right smack at the same time as one I already have. I could probably safely assume that the stage manager never read my e-mail or glossed it over without comprehending anything there. Itʼs just so confusing to me. Why have a director, a stage manager, a producer, and all these people to do every little thing, if you canʼt even get a rehearsal schedule together or figure out where rehearsals are going to be? Itʼs amateur and I hate it! I keep hoping that these free acting gigs will lead to better opportunities, but at the current stage Iʼm in, Iʼm just so frustrated. Itʼs not like SS/TD is totally professional either. Half of their rehearsals are in one of the directorʼs homes. Just once, Iʼd like to get into a play or a musical where all the rehearsals are actually at a theatre. Wouldnʼt that be something? Iʼd love to be cast in a show where the rehearsal schedule is made *before* casting! Doesnʼt that make sense? And, of course, it would be totally amazing if I could just get into a show that paid their actors something - anything! Then thereʼs the production companies who hold auditions for shows they donʼt even know are happening for sure. Yes, Iʼm serious. I went on an audition for a musical called Bare that was supposed to benefit some LGBT youth suicide prevention organization. Oh, it sounded so legit - so professional! The auditions were held at a gay bar called Neighbours. I should have known from that point that there was something fishy going on. I auditioned two songs that they had sent sheet music for ahead of time. They played the music on a CD player and asked me to sing the parts three feet in front of them. I had no problems doing any of that, but after I auditioned, I asked them when their performance dates were. Thatʼs when one of the guys explained that they are still looking for funding and sponsorship before they secure a venue. Are you kidding me? I should have stopped them right there and said, “How dare you waste peopleʼs time having them audition for a show that may or may not even happen!” But, of course, I didnʼt. About a month later, I got an e-mail saying that they didnʼt want me for any roles. That pissed me off too, but I was mostly relieved. I mean - how could I say I would agree to perform in their show when they donʼt even know when and where the show will happen? What would I be expected to do? Keep my calendar open indefinitely? Ridiculous. Amateurs. I hate them!

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

You know, the more I think about it and the more I bitch about it, I begin to wonder how much of an amateur I must be. I mean, after all, most of my experiences with theatre over the last few years have had some type of amateurish thing going on. If, after two years, I canʼt seem to get myself into a more professional group, perhaps that says more about who I am than the groups I keep getting involved with. I think the key is to just keep my attitude positive. I have to remember that I am the one who auditioned for two shows back to back. In some respects, Iʼve asked for this headache and perhaps, Iʼm bringing that headache to others. Itʼs easy to blame everyone and be super critical, but itʼs less easy to blame yourself and see how you can find solutions, rather than focus on whatʼs not working. Iʼll just keep doing these shows and perhaps keep going to W.A.R.P. on Tuesday nights when Iʼm free. Iʼve also been invited to check out my friend Tomʼs Seattle Theatre Readers on the third Monday of every month. That sounds like a great time, especially because there are no rehearsals! The performance dates are set every month and thereʼs no need for any kind of scheduling. You just show up, read through a script and then perform it in front of an audience! Sounds like my kind of acting! I also want to write another musical for 2012, but Iʼm just not sure how thatʼs going to pan out. A young guy named Bryan has approached me to collaborate with him and his friend to write one, but from the sounds of it, his idea is in such an early stage, Iʼm not sure if it will happen or not. Iʼm getting pretty close to just doing it all myself like I did the first time when I wrote My Big Phat Gay Musical. Hell, I could always just do that show again, too. The only problem is coming up with the money, time and energy needed to secure a venue, get a cast and a rehearsal schedule and space. I do know all of that is akin to hell on earth and so after all this bitching, perhaps I should remind myself how difficult it was to produce a musical and be a little more tolerant of the crews Iʼm working with now. Weʼll see. I mean, after all, I have done it myself, so I do know whatʼs involved. In some ways, that gives me a right to be a critical bitch, right? Right?? Iʼll just figure out how to get through these two shows, go on some more auditions and then once Christmas hits, I think Iʼm going to put on the breaks a bit and really figure out what the hell Iʼm going to do with my life in 2012. I keep playing around with this idea of becoming a Drama Therapist and the more I keep doing these shows, the more I feel this urgency to get myself on track for some type of career. No oneʼs going to pay me much money to act on stage and so while the experiences Iʼm getting as an actor are probably good, they are not the end-all for where my life should be going -- not unless I want to be homeless someday.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

So, I guess the next logical step is to figure out how to get these one hundred hours of volunteer work in a counseling-related capacity realized. Part of my soul-searching must including finding that demographic of people that I want to help. I think Iʼll cover that thought tomorrow or the next day. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Five: Iʼm Getting Fat!
Iʼm starting to get that super-pudgy belly. Well, starting is wrong - Iʼve got it now. Iʼm not getting fat, like the overly dramatic title states, but if I donʼt start exercising more and eating better foods, I probably will get fat! Iʼve always enjoying seeing old boyfriends and classmates I hated from high school on Facebook. Most folks who stayed in Wichita, Kansas did nothing but have babies and get fat. Itʼs always been a pleasure for me to see that one pictures that says, “Uh-oh! You got me! Iʼm fat!” and thinking to myself, Thank God thatʼll never happen to me. Well, the older I get, the more I can tell that being obese may not happen for me, but being chunky and holding on to blubber-like skin is definitely in the cards for me. I can tell right now when I look down and see this ugly belly staring back up at me. I want you gone! I yell to myself, but know that the fuckinʼ thing is gonnaʼ stay there until I proactively do something about it. As I type this, Iʼm watching that Fork Over Knives movie. You know, I used to like these types of films. I used to think these documentaries were out there to reveal all the truths that the media and other sources try to keep us from knowing about. But really, over time and documentary after documentary, Iʼve come to realize that they donʼt reveal mysteries weʼve never heard of, they tell us a bunch of stuff we already know but refuse to care enough about to do anything. And, a lot of the time, doing something is easier said. This movie says, “Stay away from animal-based foods! Stay away from processed foods!” Iʼd like to say to myself that starting tomorrow, Iʼll only eat plants and vegetables, but then I realize how expensive vegetables are and how much time it will take to cook and prepare everything and then I just order a pizza from Pizza Hut. (Which, coincidentally, I have actually done this evening!) The last time I ate Pizza Hut, I literally ran to the bathroom and expelled water from my ass. I do that more often than I think is probably a good thing these days. It makes me think I should go see a doctor and get a general physical. After all, I havenʼt even had a physical in like ten years. Iʼm easily due. But then, do I really want to go see a doctor? I know I should, because I finally just got on my boyfriendʼs health insurance as his domestic partner. If there was ever a time to see a doctor, now is probably it. But, I worry, if I go see a doctor, Iʼll only find out about health problems I probably canʼt afford to fix. Even as I write that thought, I call bullshit on it! Those worries are not strong enough to not do get a physical. I suspect what keeps me from doing it right now is how lazy I am to do other things when nearly every evening, I have to be at a rehearsal somewhere.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Most likely, Iʼll keep drinking coffee laden with half and half and sugar, or even more likely, aspartame. Aspartame is something I definitely want to cut down on, but I have preferred it over much of any other type of sweetener, even more so than regular sugar! In fact, I bought some of that expensive blue-agave syrup with low-fat half and half and my coffee just tasted like watery shit! I hated it! Then thereʼs the soda. Soda for me is a real, living addiction. Itʼs nearly up there with cigarettes. You know youʼre addicted when 1) you drink soda straight out of the 2-Liter, 2) when you see that youʼre on your last 2-Liter and itʼs running low, you get anxious, thinking that youʼre not going to feel ʻrightʼ if thereʼs no more soda left in the house. Then you make a trip to 7-11 and bring two 2-Liters home and you suddenly feel a hell of a lot better. Sad, I know, but itʼs the truth and Iʼm not here to type 50,000 words to feed you a bunch of bullshit and lies. Iʼm here to type the truth and hopefully learn more about myself in the process. Iʼve tried to buy other things instead of soda. For a good month there, I was only drinking sparkling water with less-than-natural flavors. Somehow, in my mind, I thought it was probably better than soda, but really itʼs no better. Less sugar, but still riddled with aspartame. Also, I was watching that other documentary about how bad plastic is to drink out of and that was really making me feel sick about my addiction as well. And please tell me how in the world are we all supposed to stop drinking out of plastic bottles when just about everything is sold in plastic bottles these days? It feels like, in order to do things right, you pretty much have rail against societyʼs rules and conventions every living, breathing day of our lives. Also, Steve Jobs died of cancer and he was one of those guys who believed in healthy foods and holistic health. Part of why he died was because he refused some kind of surgery in order to seek holistic options. You know why I think he died of cancer? Because of all those electronics. Iʼm sure these smart phones, laptops and tablets are all exuding cancerous radiation as well. I mean, just about every where you look, thereʼs some normal, regular, daily practice that is suddenly discovered to be killing us slowly. Itʼs enough to make your head spin! I wonder if Facebook is cancerous too? Ha! I wouldnʼt doubt it has some type of psychological cancer. You know, being pudgy is really not all that big of deal. Not until you start watching shows like The A-List: New York, or even worse, The A-List: Dallas. Itʼs sickening to see how materialistic and physically-driven all those gay guys are. But, as sickening as it is to watch, I have to admit that simply watching it is nearly contagious in that after 45 minutes, you begin to look at yourself and surrender to the idea that you just simply would not measure up to those guys and would never be considered in a circle like that. Even if you donʼt care for the circle,

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

youʼd still like to think you could be accepted into it. Sad, I know, but thatʼs America, ainʼt it? Thereʼs so many things out there that weʼre supposed to be worried about, I tend to always come to that idea of, “Well, everyone is going to end up dying of some type of cancer or some damn thing that we have such little control over, so why not just live life how you want to live and not worry about it?” Of course, even that idea is easier said than done. Sure, itʼs easy to go around and eat everything you want and smoke all day and drink bunches of soda, but at the end of the day, you find yourself looking down and seeing an angry, ugly belly staring back at you. So then, is that really living life how you want? The more I think about it, the more I wish I hadnʼt have eaten those three (maybe four?) pieces of pizza. Thereʼs that familiar heavy feeling in my stomach, as though I just ate a small boulder and itʼs sitting there. And the best way I know how to fix that feeling, albeit, temporarily, is ... wait for it! ... Smoking a nice, long cigarette! And maybe a nice hour or two laying down on the couch, watching television. Oh, youʼd think I was just a big hot mess, and maybe I am, but really, I think Iʼve got a decent head on my shoulders. Iʼve just got some issues like every other American out there. Maybe tomorrow, Iʼll stop eating meat and dairy. Maybe Iʼll stop drinking aspartame laden drinks. Hell, maybe Iʼll even quit smoking! But the truth is, I wonʼt stop any of those things. Iʼll just keep doing what Iʼve always done, except maybe, Iʼll do a little less every day until I get to a better place health-wise. But Iʼll be damned if I eventually become the healthiest person in the world and then find out at age 60 that I get cancer anyway. Isnʼt that how the world works? Whatever the most ironic situation is what you get handed to you at the end of the day. Even my grandpa, who ate plenty of meat and even smoked for several decades before quitting as a young senior, didnʼt have his first known heart attack until he was in his late nineties. Although, they did say he probably had some minor ones and just never did anything about it. Still, he seemed to live life how he thought he should live it and heʼs still alive at a grand old ninety-eight years of age! Iʼm not sure Iʼd really want to be that old. Not a whole lot of great things happen to you at that age, I donʼt think. But I also donʼt want to die some terrible, slow death at age sixty-something either. Whatever age I am when itʼs my time to go, I just want to be able to close my eyes and go to sleep and then make my way to through the solar system peacefully. Or if my death has to be painful, I hope it is so quick, I barely knew what happened. Actually, I want to know what happened, but I hope itʼs quick. I hear if you donʼt know what happened, you become stuck like a ghost and that seems like a real drag. Iʼd like to know Iʼm

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

dying so I can make my way to wherever Iʼm supposed to go, but I donʼt want it to be hellishly painful (as if I were creating some choice by typing these wishes!) Well, Iʼm not getting fat, but Iʼve gotten a belly. Maybe by next year, I can say that this belly has gone away. Wish me luck! BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Six: I ♡ Owen Pallett
I spent the last two hours attempting to get to Ballard from my home at 18th and Union in Capitol Hill. It is Sunday, so Iʼm hoping and praying thatʼs why it took so ever-loving long to get here. Otherwise, weʼve got a real effing problem over the next few weeks as I attempt to be at two places nearly at the same time, thanks to the H&J show scheduling all their rehearsals right around the SS/TD show. Ahh, Iʼm trying to keep it positive, god damn it! I had plenty of time to listen to my tunes on my iPhone as I waited for and on all the busses to get to Ballard. First, I listened to the new Björk album, Biophilia. Geeze, I just love her work! Itʼs the kind of music that you can listen to over and over and nearly every time youʼll hear something new. Thatʼs my kind of music. Owen Pallett is very much similar in the sense that there is always something new to hear when you listen to his music, whether itʼs on one of his self-named albums or on his former pseudonym, Final Fantasy. All of his music is heavily orchestrated with an emphasis on the violin that he plays. A lot of what you hear in his music is repeated violin lines that he translates to stage performances when he tours, employing a repeat pedal. The first time I ever heard him, I had discovered him by searching out Final Fantasy game soundtracks. I absolutely love all the music thatʼs created for that video game franchise, especially all the stuff that Nobuo Uematsu composed. If youʼve never heard any of it, you should definitely look it up. Youʼll be happy if you like modern classical music. What Owen Pallett does is he creates these large, original classical works and he sings to them in such a way that it becomes the perfect balance between singer/songwriter, pop and classical. Heʼs not afraid to use and play with a large amount of dissonance, which is probably what makes me so happy. Iʼm just not one of those guys who likes to listen to a song and be able to understand everything from the first listen. I like a song to be so complex, whether subtly, or outright, that I have to listen to it at least thirty times before I feel like Iʼve heard everything. I mean, donʼt get me wrong, I love a simple song too, but the ones I come back for are the recordings and compositions that are intricate and, I guess you could say, high-level. It drives me crazy when I profess my love for artists like Owen Pallett and Björk and if Iʼm lucky enough to be speaking to someone who has actually heard their work, I usually get responses of disgust or even confusion. In fact, a few weeks ago, I was talking about Björk with a good friend of mine who is what I

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John Paul Sharp

would consider a Top 40 connoisseur, and he said he listened to Björkʼs new album and said it was pretty boring. I was like, “What? Are you kidding me?” But, I guess, different strokes for different folks. I think her work was painstakingly thru-composed and her efforts have not gone unnoticed with me. Itʼs just a shame, I think, that someone with so much musical experience would not recognize the quality that comes from the newness of her music. After all, sheʼs offering something you havenʼt heard before - not something thatʼs been rehashed and rehashed by countless artists over the years. Thatʼs what gets me so much about Lady Gaga. All these people think sheʼs so innovative and artistic. Iʼve heard her stuff and every one of her songs reminds me of something Iʼve already heard before. She offers nothing new in terms of musical or lyrical concepts. The first and last time I heard her album, I was on a road trip to San Juan Island and the whole time, I kept thinking, Is this an homage to the 80ʼs and 90ʼs? I was sincerely confused as I could swear she was borrowing hooks from a bunch of songs from the Top 40 of the last few decades. Several months ago, I had mentioned to this same friend that I really loved Owen Pallettʼs work. He told me he thought he was good and everything, “but can you really remember anything heʼs ever done?” He was insinuating that Pallett has no memorable hooks or sense of pop. I, of course, would be to differ. But then, again, different strokes, right? I can hear the pop hooks in both Owen Pallettʼs and Björkʼs songs. They are not immediate. You may not pick them up on the first listen. They become obvious after the third, fourth or even fifth time of listening to a song. But when it clicks, you canʼt get them out of your head. They are absolutely intoxicating to me. I love music that demands more out of you than passive interest. I love music that says, “I donʼt care if you donʼt get it. Youʼll have to try harder.” Any kind of music that shocks me or confuses me or makes me ... gasp ... think! Thatʼs my kind of music. Listening to Owen Pallett today inspired me. It made me want to go straight back home and work on my own music. Of course, I canʼt do that. Iʼm at Ballard writing this message and waiting for 4:30 to come around so I can start another rehearsal for H&J. Actually, I just got a text saying rehearsal was cancelled because my co-actress may have gotten glass in her ear and might need to go to the hospital. Maybe Iʼm just a stickler for grammar, but if you ask me, if you may have glass in your ear, you should go to the hospital. Otherwise, how does one know you truly have glass in your ear? I guess I should stop being such a bitch, but Iʼm

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John Paul Sharp

a little annoyed that I made a two hour trip up here for no reason. I guess I could go shopping for some clothes - as I do desperately need them - but Iʼll probably just finish my thought for the day and head back home. I probably should be worried about my co-actress. I surely hope there is no glass in her ear. As I was saying, Owen Pallett inspires me. Björk does too. Whenever I listen to their music, it makes me want to go home and make amazing music too. My self-confidence says, “You could never put together anything like they can!” And reality says, “Technically, thatʼs true.” And then the optimist in me says, “But, you never know! People have made some amazing music with very little resources or updated equipment.” I havenʼt actually sat down to record a serious album since this past summer. This may seem like recent times to most of you, but for as prolific as I used to be, itʼs like a world away. Iʼve got that itch to sing and make new songs. Iʼve spent so much time in what I call straight theatre (theatre without music), Iʼm starting to feel claustrophobic and boxed in! I do have ideas for some songs and musical concepts. I got one great idea from playing Myst the other day. Remember that game? Ha! Itʼs on the iPhone now. Thereʼs one clue in the game that shows a musical interval pattern starting at low C, then an octave up, then to the Eb, then Low F, then down a fifth to the Bb. My musical memory is so good that once I played the intervals, they were immediately stuck in my mind and I did not need to refer to my notes later when needing to use that clue in the game. I played the sequence on my keyboard to memorize it and it sounded to beautiful with harps that I wanted to tuck the idea away in my head so later I might be able to use it. Since my rehearsal was cancelled, maybe I will just go home and see if I can make any magic happen. My boyfriend is supposed to be home all night tonight, but I wonʼt let that stop me. Iʼve let it stop me before, as often my dear boyfriend can make a lot of sound around the house. Itʼs just part of his own personal music, making sounds, interacting with the world in clunky, resonating way. I also have my friend Sabrinaʼs music to work on too, which is what I probably should focus on instead. Sheʼs sent me 12 songs of hers that sheʼs been working on for the last year or so. Before I moved to Seattle, I told her Iʼd produce some of her tracks and she finally took me up on it. Iʼve already worked on one and it was truly a fun experience. Itʼs too bad I havenʼt heard back from her on it, but Iʼm also not surprised. She participates in NaNoWriMo every year and sheʼs probably on 70,000 words by now. Ha! At any rate, thereʼs no hurry, but I suppose if I were to have priorities with making music, her tracks should come first. I donʼt want it to be 2013 by the time I get them back to her.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Well, I guess Iʼd better get the hell out of this stupid Starbucks and see how long itʼs going to take me to get back home. Then I can worry about what Iʼll actually do with my time when I get there. Until tomorrow ... BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Seven: Car-less is not Clueless
It was around the year 2004 that I decided to sell my car and stop driving for good. What sparked my final decision was a mixture of things, but I always think of these articles I kept reading in the New York Times about global oil peak. Something inside me said I might as well stop driving now before it really got crazy. Also, I was experiencing problems with flat tires and getting to work anyway, and I just thought it was high time I figured out how to get around without depending on a car. My good friend John Maxwell, who helped me buy the same car, and spent a few thousand to fix it up and get it roadworthy from Wichita, Kansas to Denver, Colorado, ended up buying the car back from me. I should have just given it to him, but he was always wanting to help me and at the time, I was always wanting help, so it worked out for me. It all seems a bit ridiculous now, when I look back on it, but oh well. What can I say? Such is life. I ended up learning how to ride a bike to three miles to work and back about five days a week for a good six or seven months. I remember realizing that if there was a bit of mist outside, it probably meant that Iʼd be soaking wet by the time I got to work. I ended up losing a good amount of weight and having my legs get super strong. Most of the time, I felt really good about having sold my car. Then I got into an accident. It was not my first tumble, but it was my most devastating one. I was only a few minutes from my home too, flying a good twenty miles an hour through a curving road in Cheesman Park. The bus in front of me was heading right into my part of the lane, which forced me to head over closer to the curb. I had my iPod and earbuds in, listening to Eric Carmenʼs Make Me Lose Control. (How fitting, right?) Well, when I edged closer to the curb going downhill as fast as I was, the tire on my bike ended up hitting a deep groove in the curb and my front tire immediately turn and I flew several feet. I had no helmet on and Iʼm lucky that I didnʼt die or end up with severe brain damage. What saved me? A six-pack of 20 oz. Diet Pepsi in my backpack. Somehow, due to some type of physics I still canʼt understand, my backpack ended up swinging me around and it took the majority of the impact. I remember being completely shocked. Luckily, it was a Saturday afternoon and there were lots of people at the park. One guy saw me and asked if I was okay. He had that sound in his voice like he knew I probably wasnʼt okay, but I, being so proud, said I was fine. Then I felt my shoulder and knew, by the unnatural indentation, that I was not okay. I said back to the man, “I think I need an ambulance.” And boy, did I ever. I had severely dislocated my arm right out of it socket. Within six minutes, I was in an ambulance and on my way to the hospital.

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John Paul Sharp

There were lots of doctors. They ended up giving me morphine, which totally freaked me out. As long as someone was talking to me, I was fine, but as soon as people left my field of vision, my heart would start racing out of control. Eventually, they gave me some drug that didnʼt put me completely out of consciousness, but it did something so that I would not remember what was going on. I remember waking up and seeing several doctors above me. I asked them if they put my arm back in and they all chuckled and doctor said, “Well, we tried, but you put up a pretty nasty fight. Weʼre going to try it again.” Apparently, I was not having it. I blacked out again and then came to later. My friend Elizabeth came and helped to take me home from the hospital. I was extremely emotional and weepy and nauseous. When I wasnʼt puking, I was crying. I think it was the morphine. It was a crazy time for me and I never rode a bike again. If I ever do ride a bike again, which I may, I will always have a helmet on. I know for sure that a bunch of soda saved me from dying most likely. But I digress. My thought today is about being car-less. For the most part, I prefer this lifestyle. I donʼt have to pay insurance or a monthly parking space. I have no maintenance to pay for, no oil changes and no accidents. And perhaps, the biggest thing is that I donʼt have to pay for $4.00 per gallon gas. I canʼt even imagine how people can afford to do that. It totally blows my mind and from what I can tell, it will only get more expensive with every new year. Iʼm thrilled that I donʼt have to be a part of all of that. However, on nights like tonight, I just wish I had a car. Iʼm currently sitting in this Decent community center waiting to perform at an audition for A Chorus Line with the Seattle Musical Theatre group. This community center building is smack-dab in a large place called Magnussen Park, which is located in the deep northeast section of Seattle. I left way too early to get here because I had no idea how long it would truly take me to arrive. I had to take two busses to get here and I was leaving during rush hour, and being very early is much better than being a little late. Well, I ended up being a whopping hour and fifteen minutes early. I arrived to the park area in the dark and it took me awhile to find where I was supposed to be. Because I was so early, I decided to take a walk around the soccer fields and watch these young kids practice. As I continued to walk past them (there were no seats, so I thought it was weird for me to stand there, some Decentr dressed in black, watching kids at night!), I ended up getting lost in some Decent field area. I kept walking, thinking Iʼd eventually find a cut-away road to get me back into the direction of the community center, but no. I ended up turning around and finally came back to the community center about forty minutes early.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

I still wasnʼt even sure I was in the right place. Thereʼs nothing here that says, “Theatre this way.” But then, I realized, “Of course not. Iʼm so early that the theatre people arenʼt even here yet.” And I was right. They finally just showed up a few minutes ago and Iʼve got about fifteen minutes until I have to go up there and sing a few 32-bar songs and perform a one-minute monologue. I just have nights like tonight where I kind of wish I had a car so then I could have just driven up here on my own and instead of leaving my house at 4:30 so I could get here by 5:45 - waaaay too early for a 7:05 audition that will literally last about five minutes long. But then, in reality, I am really glad I donʼt drive. And at this point, Iʼve whittled down my lifestyle to the point that I could not even afford to get a car, let alone keep it for very long. Of course, it would definitely help my acting career if I had a car. If I had a car, I could do mystery dinner theatres for private parties. Or, I could go around and teach kids stuff and entertain them at schools across the city. Or, I could promote products for different businesses in the region. Those are all paid acting gigs - all of which require that you have a car to get around as every gig is in a different part of the metro area. But, I still believe that global oil peak is a reality we will all soon have to deal with. Iʼm glad to say that I proactively kept myself from contributing to the mess which is Americaʼs oil addiction. Sure, Iʼm still going to have to pay exorbitant prices for regular food and every other cost which is attached to oil, but at least I wonʼt be paying $10 for a gallon of gas. Iʼll just keep paying my $2.50 per trip. UPDATE: Well, itʼs 8:00 p.m. now and my audition is over with. It went really, really well! The audition was held in a small gymnasium, which made me really happy because you can really hear your voice with the acoustics bouncing all over the place. I sang both of my 32-bar pieces beautifully and my monologue was okay too. The monologue was okay because it was the first thing I did and the director lady who was right in front of me did that thing that makes you so nervous: she sits there with her body perched forward with a big, planted smile on her face with eyes that never moved away from your gaze. Because my monologue is such a conversational piece, there was little room for me to look anywhere else but right in her face. My goodness, it started making me nervous for sure and itʼs so hard to stay focused on what youʼre doing when the only person you can look at it is not looking away from you for one moment! The first 32-bar piece I sang was from the musical Bare, a song called Best Kept Secret. Itʼs not my favorite piece and not even that amazing for an audition, but it was something I had just memorized for the other stupid audition I had about a month ago - you know, for the show that still didnʼt have dates or a

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

venue? Ugh. Well, I figured I might as well sing it because it is much different than my other piece. The second 32-bar piece was something I wrote myself from my first musical, My Big Phat Gay Musical. Itʼs the song, Gut Feeling and Iʼll probably always use it for auditions because itʼs full of in-your-face belting and most of the time, I can sing it really well and I definitely did tonight! As soon as I finished, the director said, “Well, there you are!” Ha! It just felt so good to sing again. Itʼs been way too long since Iʼve gotten to sing like that. That is my real passion, singing! Iʼd be poor for the rest of my life if it meant that I could sing on stage every weekend. Someday. Someday. And I take back wishing I had a car. I figure that Iʼm just working my way to downtown shows. Eventually, Iʼll start getting shows that have paying gigs. I just have to keep at it. Before you know it, Iʼll be singing on 5th Ave. Just wait and see! BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Eight: #occupypolitics
You knew it was coming. Eventually, Iʼd have to plumb the depths, or more accurately the lack thereof, of the ridiculous circus which is known as American Politics. Lately, I canʼt help but make correlations in my mind about the way supposedly less sophisticated countries behave and how our country is starting to behave. As far as I can tell, we have no viable candidates on the Republican front. Herman Cain does not exude intelligence or meaning-making in any of his conduct with news media. All I get is one sensational byte after another, but Iʼm not hearing anything from him about how weʼre going to create jobs or fix the economy. While most of what comes out of his mouth is at first thought funny, really itʼs all oversimplified and terrifying. He doesnʼt know much about how the constitution works, nor does he know a lot about foreign policy or modern world history. It seems like heʼs most concerned with protecting human fetusesʼ rights to be born, but he doesnʼt seem as interested in making sure that the quality of life for future generations will be much worth living. After all, once youʼre born and in this world, his motto seems to be: “If youʼre not rich, blame yourself!” I donʼt even really know much about the other candidates. What I know about Rick Perry is that he seems to be cracking under pressure. Rick Santorum completely went off the media map. Michelle Bachman is supposedly a crazy bitch with an in-the-closet husband who, together, attempt to harm children by ʻmaking them straight.ʼ Then thereʼs Ron Paul, who, frankly, is far too old to be running my country. Sorry. By the way, Iʼm also totally pissed at the idea that Obama is our only choice on the Democratic side. I really feel our country could use a lot of options right now and while Obama isnʼt a terrible option for president, I donʼt feel like heʼs the ultimate candidate either. Donʼt get me wrong, heʼs done plenty for the country, but I also feel our country is in a place where we need more than plenty. We need a hero! I wish we had someone vying for the presidency who is a real balls-to-thewall person ready to shake up the system and fix the broken parts of our government. Perhaps someone with a little Shirley Chisolm energy, mixed with some Steve Jobs ingenuity, but someone who cares about our country and not just making personal profit. I wish our country would view the idea of finding alternative energy sources with the same type of energy that we used to put a man on the moon. America could be on the forefront again if we were able to find a way to produce sustainable energy. Why couldnʼt it be a race to never need oil again?

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Also, itʼd be real nice if we were to put more resources on creating better transportation systems for our larger cities and creating systems that donʼt depend on or cater to drivers. Our neighborhood need to be self-sustainable, meaning that no matter where you live, you can walk to get your food and you can take a bus to get to work. I want a president who demands that corporations put limits on how much influence they can have on government. I want a president who is ready to change how senators and legislatures are brought into office. I really do like Warren Buffettʼs idea that if our countryʼs budget is in a deficit, any current senators must step down if they cannot find a way to get us back on track. I suppose we mostly have ourselves to blame for getting into the mess that weʼre in. After all, itʼs us, the American people, who vote these idiots into office. Itʼs us who keep them there. Itʼs us who would prefer to stick our heads in the sand and not pay attention to the fact that people are getting arrested all over the country for protesting on behalf of us. I donʼt watch much television news. I only watch three programs for the most part: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and Countdown. It seems to me that the one news program that really follows the occupy protests is Countdown with Keith Olberman. Otherwise, I donʼt think Iʼd know half of what was going on with that movement. I am excited for the protestors. There have been many moments over the last month or so that I wished I had the balls to get out there on the streets and join them. I mean, itʼs not like I have a job. Iʼve been unemployed and living off of unemployment and school loans for the last year and a half. If anyone should be out there protesting, itʼs me - but Iʼm afraid to join them. Why? ʻCause Iʼm afraid Iʼd go off the deep end if I did. And knowing my luck, the one day I got out there with a protest sign, Iʼd end up getting interviewed or plastered on some local news station or something. Iʼm afraid of the repercussions involved with being labelled as a protestor. I do want to work someday and I have been trying to get a job here and there. The only problem is that no one seems to want to hire me. Either I have too much education to be a barista or retail sales person, or I donʼt have enough experience and the right education to be a project manager or other higher level jobs. And Iʼm 32. I really donʼt know what Iʼm going to do career wise. Iʼve spent so much time in the last ten years being the best artist that I can be that I didnʼt stop and think about how the hell I could fit myself into this deteriorating economy. While Iʼm very grateful for all the experiences Iʼve created for myself, unfortunately, none of them ever panned out to create any type of sustainable income. Iʼm your regular, average, unemployed artist. The only thing

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

thatʼs kept me afloat is unemployment and school loans. Iʼm a slave to government money. Sooner than later, my unemployment will run out and then Iʼll be left with just school money. I absolutely am going to have to get some type of job by next summer or weʼre gonnaʼ be in real trouble. I have no idea what to do either. Iʼm currently finishing an M.A. in eLearning Implementation and Design. I have no idea how this will get me a job. Iʼm creating this portfolio that will basically consist of a small educational website as well as some other educational and technological projects. Most of the jobs Iʼve seen related to eLearning are positions like, “LMS Manager” or “Instructional Designer.” LMS management usually wants a few years of experience managing learning systems that Iʼve never managed before. Most instructional designer jobs want me to have a bachelor degree in science or math or english. My B.S. is in Vocal Performance. (Wah, wah, wah, waaaaaah) In this economy, itʼs totally an employerʼs market and if you donʼt fit these higher level job descriptions to a tee, youʼre probably going to get shuffled down to the bottom, where no one cares and no one offers jobs. I feel like I have extremely good technical skills. I can usually manage my way through any type of computer program rather quickly. I can type 90 words per minute on my best day. Iʼm personable, for christʼs sake! I am an actor, yaʼ know! But no matter what job I apply for, I end up getting rejected. My friend Tiffani showed me some positions at her job that I was interested in, but most of the qualifications on the jobs I donʼt exactly meet. Like, for example, one wants me to be proficient with Microsoft Sharepoint. While Iʼve never used the program, I feel pretty confident that I could figure it out - but is that really the kind of thing youʼd want to say on a job interview? No. Also, the jobs are in Bothel, WA and while I donʼt exactly mind commuting that far, Iʼd pretty much have to give up all the acting Iʼm doing and Iʼm not sure Iʼm really ready to do that just yet. Sorry to say, I want it all. I want to continue to work on my craft as a performance artist and I want to work in the Seattle metro area. I donʼt even care if I have a 20-hour per week job making $10 an hour either. I just want something to sustain my family after my unemployment runs out. It seems to me like in order to get a job today, you have to lie. At least - I do. Like, for the barista job, I should have removed all my education and said that I got a GED or something. Then, I should have said that I could be available to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I think, then, I could have gotten a job there. But instead, I told the truth and showed my level of education and said I couldnʼt be available at night because Iʼm an artist. Sorry. I may be an actor, but Iʼm not a liar!

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

So, the drama continues. Will I ever get a job? Will I ever have some sort of career? I have no idea. I just hope I donʼt lose my apartment and end up homeless someday. I suppose when that happens, I really will have to join those protestors - but for now, Iʼll just focus on school and acting and hope that something good comes out of all of it - and pray that we donʼt end up with a president who will throw us all into the dark ages. Keep your fingers crossed! BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Nine: A Noose or a Gun Gets the Same Job Done.
Well, itʼs technically day ten already. Itʼs 1:11 a.m. and Iʼm finally just sitting down to start typing. The time I had allotted to do my daily writing was originally reserved for the hour or so that I had before my H&J rehearsal tonight. Just as soon as I began typing in Starbucks, my Co-Actor, Ali, showed up and saw me. I thought it was Decent that she happened to come to Starbucks so early, since she does have a car. For whatever reason she came early, we ended up chatting. She apologized for the fact that we did not have a rehearsal last Sunday because she thought she might have glass in her ear. Sheʼs a waitress at a breakfast/lunch joint and I guess one of the bussers there stacked hot glasses and one of them exploded right next to her face. Yikes! She told me she went to the ER and had her ear checked and flushed and luckily, there was no glass in her ear. But that was not the only news she had. Unfortunately one of her close friends from San Francisco lost a younger sister to suicide. Because this friend is like a second family to Ali, it was clear that she needed to leave town for the funeral and be there for her friend. While itʼs completely tragic that this fifteen year old girl hung herself (for reasons I was not told and did not ask about), I was actually relieved that our rehearsals would be cancelled for the next week. I was scheduled in back-toback rehearsals and now I wonʼt have to be late or leave early and can just go to one rehearsal at a time. It saves me stress, but I am deeply sorry to hear about the news of this tragic suicide. Thereʼs really nothing good about that at all. I myself have had experience with suicide. My only sister shot herself in the head when she was thirty years old - on the day before my 28th birthday. I clearly remember being at work and seeing my father call me. I rarely ever pick up my phone when my dad calls, let alone when Iʼm working. He left a message, I checked it and I heard something Decent, but I didnʼt understand what it was that I had heard. I called him and we spoke for a few minutes. It was all very confusing to me. I had never experienced it before - when someone tells you something and it just doesnʼt register in your mind. I got off the phone with my dad and continued to wait tables for another thirty minutes. I was completely distracted. I remember customers getting snotty and impatient with me because it was like I was walking around in some type of dream, like I wasnʼt even really there. I donʼt know what it was that triggered me to finally let the fact sink in, but I finally went to my coworker and told her that I thought I needed to go because I thought my sister was dead. As soon as I let the words escape my own mouth, I completely broke down. I sat down outside in the alley behind the restaurant and just cried for a

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John Paul Sharp

good half hour. I remember how the bread vendor tried to console me and how my coworker, who I happened to hate and despise, attempted to console me. I hadnʼt seen my sister in years and we talked on the phone under the most random moments - probably three or four times a year. She used to always call me at the bar because sheʼd want me to talk to one of her friends so they could hear how gay I was. My sister came out as a lesbian when she turned twenty-five years old and because my dad is also gay, I have a feeling that this was probably a common topic, how gay her family was, so when she called me at the bar to talk to one of her friends, I acted as a validator for all of that. Other times she would call me was on Motherʼs Day. Those were the worst conversations and they never lasted very long. You see, my sister had a baby in her late teens and gave it up for adoption to the babyʼs fatherʼs parents. My sister would be raging drunk on this holiday and when she called me, I had a hard time understanding the words she was saying. All I could really hear from her voice was confusion and pain. She was trying to reach out incoherently. Because I was younger and always consumed with my own life and my own bubble, I always felt at a loss as to how to help her. I donʼt think I ever made her feel better after those Motherʼs Day calls. I spent my 28th birthday making lots of phone calls. I spoke to my mother, my friends and some family members. I was trying to figure out what I should do. I had no idea how I could afford it, but I eventually decided I had to go to Reno, Nevada to figure out what happened to my sister. At that time, we didnʼt really know that she committed suicide. In fact, we still donʼt totally know if thatʼs what really happened. Her current girlfriend at the time was with her when it happened. There was a fight and a scuffle. I actually spoke to this woman, Kathy, and she told me exactly what happened, less than 24 hours afterward. She sounded so emotionless through the whole recount of the event. The only time she started getting emotional was when she started talking about how she wanted to keep my sisterʼs stuff - because thatʼs all she had left to remind her of my sister. She said that my sister and her came home from the bar and as they were heading to bed, my sister grabbed her gun and calmly told Kathy that she would be taking her own life and sheʼd be taking Kathy with her as well. Apparently, Kathy tried to get the gun out of her hand and they scuffled and then I guess my sister shot herself in the head. Iʼm still not really sure and I really wished I had recorded that phone call. Apparently the story was good enough for the police because Kathy was never viewed as a suspect at any point. Of course, the cops did not treat this event like you would see in CSI. There were no photographs for us to see and the police did not give us a lot of information.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

When I arrived in Reno, I interviewed several of my sisterʼs friends, in the tens of them, really. Many people suspected Kathy killed her because this woman had been convicted of nearly beating a girl to death several years previous. I know I sure thought she did it because she came to one of the memorials riding my sisterʼs motorcycle with some girl on the back. I thought it was rather quick for this Kathy woman to have a new woman consoling her less than a week after it happened. I even had a few female police officers who were friends with my sister who told me they would do whatever they could to investigate the situation, but nothing ever came of it. I honestly believe everyone just moved on a few weeks after she died. After all, thatʼs what we do. Itʼs what life does. We all just move on. Most of her close friend said that when my sister started a relationship with Kathy, she stopped communicating with a lot of people and started drinking more heavily than ever. Whatever relationship they had was extremely unhealthy and whether or not my sister did indeed commit suicide, Iʼm pretty sure that Kathy was so emotionally abusive that she helped bring my sister to that dark place. In the end, if my sister is the one who pulled the trigger, she only had herself to blame. We suspect my sister was bipolar and had been suffering from some type of mental anguish most of her life. She was always very private and internalized her emotions. If anyone could have ever helped her, she rarely reached out and asked for anyoneʼs help. She would be too proud and frankly, too distrusting of most folks to ask. Sheʼd had her run-ins with abusive men for much of her younger life and that may or may not have had any influence on her coming out as a lesbian. Iʼm still not sure to this day. It does explain to me why she may have spiraled as when she turned to women to have relationships, not much changed in regard to how she was treated - I suspect because she was never in a good position to have a healthy relationship. Whether she killed herself or Kathy did it matters not much anymore. Either way, sheʼs dead and thereʼs nothing to be done about it. I have a feeling that no matter what, Kathy will be haunted by this event for the rest of her life, no matter how much she may try to justify or rationalize the experience. If she was guilty in some way, it will eat her alive and thatʼs enough justice for me. Losing my only sibling was hard. It doesnʼt quite get easier, but I find myself becoming less affected by her death as I reach my birthday every year. The first three years were pretty difficult because as summer came along, I would become quite infatuated with the idea of her death and the reminder of my own birth. In some ways, her death was a gift to me from God because as I get older

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

each year, I now have a reminder of how precious life is and how easily we can all just disappear - and how easily people can move on after youʼve died. It reminds me of the urgency of now and how I should try to do whatever I can to make the most out of every day. Her death really inspired me to take my performance art to the next level by writing and producing three musicals and acting and performing in countless theatre shows and composing for film projects. I was so hardcore about trying to make an impact on this world that I nearly burned myself out as an artist. As more time passes, I think Iʼve learned to take a little more time with everything and not press my own sense of urgency on others around me. I really became intolerant of people who complained about little things or people who say they want to do something and never actually try and see if they can. I still have to work on being patient with those kinds of people, but itʼs not quite as bad as it was when my sister first died. No, life is a little easier, but the hole my sisterʼs death put on my heart will never go away. I find myself really feeling the pain of this loss unexpectedly in moments where Iʼm either really happy or really lonely. Itʼs those moments when I think and say, I wish she could be here with me now. Itʼs those moments when I think I almost hear her voice or I wake up from a dream in which we were hanging out together and I temporarily forgot that she died. The fact that she probably shot herself in the head doesnʼt help me sometimes either, especially if you believe in souls. You can take it two ways: either her soul is watching over me and helping me in my life or her soul is stuck in some type of purgatory as she haunts the house she shot herself in. I prefer to think that she watches over me, but I still canʼt help but question it from time to time. Someday, Iʼd very much like to visit the house she died in to see if I can feel her presence or meet with a medium to see if I can get messages from her. I still have a tough time watching those types of shows on television because it makes me crave communication with her. Until then, Iʼll have to come up with my own messages. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Ten: I Hope I Get It!
I got a call from the folks at Seattle Musical Theatre today. When I picked up the phone, I got silence but then I had a voice mail. Thanks, AT&T! I found out that I made callbacks for A Chorus Line and that I should be expecting an e-mail today with more instructions. Iʼve been watching the Opening of the musical on YouTube because I knew if I were to make callbacks, Iʼd want to have an idea of what we might be doing - which is a lot of dancing! Iʼm the first to admit that I am not the best dancer, but I would never let that stop me! A few years ago, I was in the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It had a lot of dancing and singing and I must admit that Iʼm not sure I ever got those dance steps right. Of course, we were dancing in a very small space with a lot of chaos around us and I think that might be why - other than the fact that musical theatre dancing is not something Iʼm accustomed to. If Iʼm going to get cast for this show, I had better get these steps at least rudimentarily for the callbacks. Iʼm not going to lie. Iʼm a little terrified. Iʼve been working on doing the steps for the opening number and while I think Iʼm getting it down, Iʼm not sure Iʼll have it down enough by Saturday, which is about 24 hours from now. Also, Iʼm super clunky and not that graceful. Itʼs a little difficult to see exactly what these dancers are doing from YouTube videos, but I figure if I keep working on it, I might be farther ahead than some others who show up. Perhaps if the director sees that Iʼve already taken efforts to figure this opening number out, she might have the confidence that I can get it together by opening night in February. This is all assuming weʼll be working on the opener for callback (though, I have a feeling we will be.) Because dancing is so difficult for me and because it is such a challenge, I now want to be in this musical more than ever. I tend to get bored very easily and quickly. If Iʼm not being challenged, Iʼm not growing and when Iʼm not growing, I feel like Iʼm wasting time. I know this is the right show for me. Also, if I were to do well with A Chorus Line, that would increase the chances of getting cast into further musicals with Seattle Musical Theatre. I believe there is a chance that the actors will receive a stipend for this show and thatʼs all the more reason why I should try to work with this production company. Paid shows (however small the pay might be) should lead to more paid shows. If Iʼm going to dive into theatre like Iʼve been doing, I need to be focused with my goals and make sure I continue to move towards shows that pay something anything! When pay comes so rarely to actors, our time truly becomes our most valuable asset. Thatʼs why itʼs so important to choose which productions you

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John Paul Sharp

involve yourself in. If youʼre not getting paid, youʼd better be learning new things and continuing to hone your craft. Otherwise, you truly are wasting your time. So what Iʼm going to do is go over this opening number over and over again until Saturday morning and just hope for the best. A lot of my friends in Denver just finished with a production of A Chorus Line and from what I can tell, they werenʼt the best dancers! Ha! Perhaps I do have a chance with this. I have a feeling if I put in enough work now, it will pay off. The director told me at the original audition that she saw me for the roles of either Bobby or Greg. Bobbyʼs character uses jokes to disguise the pain behind his conservative, slightly wealthy upbringing in Buffalo, New York. I actually saw his monologue on YouTube and I thought it was really quite hilarious. I found the script for the show and have printed out his bit so I could rehearse it before callbacks, yeah, ʻcause Iʼm crazy like that! Gregʼs character is a sassy jewish gay man who talks about the first time he made out with a woman. Itʼs pretty funny, but not as funny as Gregʼs piece. For someone reason I could not find Gregʼs part in the script I found online, so Iʼll have to look harder and see if I can find it somewhere. Somehow, though, Iʼm probably going to end up working on Bobbyʼs part a lot more anyway. This could work out for me if there was no one else at auditions that she saw for Bobby, but if thereʼs anyone else there that does his character better than me, Iʼll probably have wished I spent more time on Gregʼs part! By the way, if youʼre practicing dance steps at home without any shoes or socks on, make sure your toenails are well-clipped. Ha! Iʼm so clumsy that I accidentally sliced skin off of one my little toes cause one of my snarky toenails ran into my other foot. Ugh, silly me. I now have toilet paper sticking out between my pinky toe and itʼs newly defaced neighbor. Sigh. Either way, if I go to this callback and end up failing miserably, I still have another audition this Tuesday for the production company Quietʼs entire 2012 season. I know they are doing some musicals as well, so if I donʼt get into A Chorus Line, I still have some options to get into another musical in 2012. Iʼm just more interested in A Chorus Line because it seems so much more challenging. I really like how the show truly is an ensemble show. Thereʼs rarely any parts that Iʼve seen which are more or less than others. Thatʼs a good thing sometimes because it forces you to try and be cohesive as a group, rather than trying to shine when itʼs your turn. I have actually never been part of a chorus or ensemble in a musical as Iʼve always been cast in principal or particular character roles. This would be a good thing, for sure! The only disappointing thing about this show is that there really arenʼt any amazing singing roles for men. One of the reasons why I am hoping to get into more musicals is to sing, but the challenge of the dance is what intrigues me

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John Paul Sharp

most. Iʼm sure Iʼll find other musicals in the future that will give me great singing parts. For my other audition, I have to prepare a 32-bar song and two monologues, one contemporary and one classical, both only 90 seconds long each. For my classical monologue, Iʼm doing a condensed version of Luciferʼs monologue in Lord Byronʼs Cain. I really love these old pieces because the words are so articulate that it feels like you are painting as you speak. Each word comes out so deliciously! I only hope I can do the monologue justice in 90 seconds. Somehow, Iʼve got to channel Satan at the flip of a switch, basically! Ha! For my contemporary monologue, Iʼm just going to keep doing the Group Therapy and the Undead monologue for the gay vampire James. It seems to do well for me, so why fix something that isnʼt broken? And on the same note, Iʼll be singing my original musical song, Gut Feeling, as it seems to be a real hit with my auditions. I figure I can sing my own music better than someone elseʼs, right? So I just finally got my callbacks e-mail and they have all the sides and the music in PDF form for me to print out. At first, I only printed out what was pertinent to Bobby, Greg monologues and music and the ʻAll Chorusʼ stuff - but then, I realized that there might be some chance that they ask me to sing or speak for other characters, so I went ahead and printed out all the other male roles as well. The last thing I want to happen is for me to get called to perform something and completely fall apart due to being unprepared. They have a warmup at 9:30 a.m. and then dancing from 10 - 12. Iʼm glad we get the dancing out of the way, right off the bat! I just hope I donʼt fail so miserably at the dancing that it completely destroys my ego for the rest of the day. God, the more I think about it, the more I want to just keep running that opening instead of sitting here typing away! I guess Iʼd better get to it. Until tomorrow! BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Eleven ... Twelve ... AND THIRTEEN!!: I Blame Skyrim.
Well, lordy, lordy, look who left nanowrimo behind and stopped writing for the last few days. Thatʼs right - me! I blame Skyrim, the new Elder Scrolls video game. It sucked me away for a few days. I wasnʼt even going to buy the thing. I was going to be sensible and wait until sometime next year when everyone else had forgotten about it and the price dropped down to something more reasonable than sixty some dang dollars. Iʼm also so busy with writing, rehearsing, auditioning and performing that I really donʼt have a reasonable amount of time that I know playing that type of video game would demand of me. But then everyone on effing Facebook was chitty-chatting about how fun it is to play and how they are so glad they are playing it and by 2pm the day it came out, I found myself walking to the nearest GameStop to surrender to the consumer blitz and spend nearly seventy bucks that I donʼt really have on a game I donʼt really need. Ahh, America, God shed her grace on me. The game has been pretty fun so far. Itʼs just like the last one, except the graphics are cleaner and more updated in terms of design. Itʼs one of those games that you can play for awhile and then you blink your eyes and you think, what time is it? And you look at the clock and five hours have passed by. And you think - I should stop playing ... but I donʼt want to, so Iʼll keep going and then you blink your eyes and look at the clock again and another three or four hours have wasted away and you think - I should be much farther than I am. Ha! Playing these games are fun, but they probably are a lot like smoking too much weed. You start preferring not to leave the house and you donʼt really want to engage in any types of conversations with anyone who isnʼt actually a character in the game. In fact, today, I did not want to leave my house to go to rehearsal at all. I just got really grumpy about the idea. Then I remembered I was so behind on writing these daily journals that it was probably a good idea for me to get out of the house, get into a Starbucks and start typing. So, here I am! I think what Iʼll do for this journal entry is write through three different thoughts or topics for todayʼs entry. Iʼve got a lot of catching up to do, but thereʼs no way in heck that Iʼll be able to write five thousand words about one single thought. Itʼs just not gonnaʼ happen. Not with any quality, anyway.

Thought #1: Whoʼs My Demographic?
So, like Iʼve said before, Iʼm seriously considering the idea of applying for Antioch Universityʼs M.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on Drama Therapy.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Why? Because I have no idea what kind of career I can have where Iʼm 1) helping people, 2) meet some kind of demand that 3) fits for someone like me. Iʼm an artistic person. Sorry. I just am. I have lots of education and Iʼm really great at school. I graduated with my bachelorʼs with highest honors and ranked #4 out of 100 some students. However, when your B.S. degree is in Vocal Performance, it basically makes you unemployable. Iʼve followed many of dreams. One of my dreams was to become a singer. Before I started my B.S., I could not tell someone I was a singer and feel genuine about it. By the time I graduated, I could definitely do that - heck, I even sang the National Anthem at my own graduation. If thatʼs not complete validation that Iʼm a singer, I donʼt know what is! And that is totally worth the thirty thousand dollars of school loans I took on to complete the program. I also had a full-ride scholarship my senior year, which wasnʼt bad at all! I also fulfilled dreams I didnʼt even realize I had - like writing and producing three musicals. However, fulfilling dreams does not always equate to filling up your bank account. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. When I graduated from school, I had zero credit card debt. Two years later, I had over ten thousand dollars in credit card debt. A nightmare, I know, but most of that money went to 1) buying musical equipment, 2) producing musicals for the stage and 3) marijuana. I fully take the blame. Also, several thousand dollars of that credit card debt went into moving expenses in Denver and to Seattle in this year. Iʼm one of those fools who thinks, donʼt worry about all the reasons why you canʼt or shouldnʼt do something - go ahead and do it anyway. And thatʼs why Iʼm broke and up to my neck in school loans and credit cards. In 2010, I decided to start the Educational Psychology program at the University of Colorado Denver. I did this purely out of fear, because I realized if I kept going on my artistic train, Iʼd be homeless. All the time I spent not being paid to act and sing and dance was really putting a toll on my part-time waitress job and my cash flow in general. Because I am so good and school and my academic background is so stellar, it got me into the program without any trouble at all. The only problem is that the decisions I make are all the more important. It took about six months for me to realize that Educational Psychology was not for me. The main thing that triggered this realization is when I was in a multicultural diversity class and we had to fill out a survey on the first day that asked, “What is your sexual preference?” I was so shocked because I hadnʼt heard that term used seriously in at least ten years. I began to see that much of the educational psychology field literally is about ten years behind the societal climate of today. Becoming an educational psychologist is very much like putting

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John Paul Sharp

on a military outfit, grabbing a gun and heading into a war. Thereʼs a huge battle ahead for people who are gay in that world and I wasnʼt really ready or willing to be part of that battle. Eventually, a couple friends of mine from school chose me as their subject for their senior music marketing class. I was so surprised and honored that anyone even cared that much about me or my music career. A few months later, they both determined that Iʼd have more success and opportunity if I moved to a city that had more of an international scene. Hearing them say that was all I needed to know that I wanted to move away from Denver and start over. This is easier said than done. There arenʼt a lot of cities I would move to in America. Iʼve lived in San Francisco before and I truly loved it there, but I knew how expensive it was and it would have been impossible for me to move there with my boyfriend and our two cats and me with no job. It just wasnʼt going to happen. I hate L.A. and New York City is even harder to move to. I had almost considered NYC when I was in the process for applying to the Tisch School of the Arts. After many intense discussions with my boyfriend, I ended up backing out of that whole thing and I have a feeling I may regret that decision every day for the rest of my life. Or not. I mean, I could have left my boyfriend and my cats behind to struggle in NYC and that all could have paid off, but itʼs not really what I wanted. I love my boyfriend and my cats and I wanted to be able to do whatever it is that I would do with them, not without them. So, Seattle basically was the only other option I was considering. After realizing that I had a lot of friends there who used to live in San Francisco, I decided that was where I would take my family. And in late March of 2011, thatʼs exactly what I did. This whole move is what led me to get out of Educational Psychology and start the eLearning Implementation and Design program at the Information and Learning Technologies department of the School of Education and Human Development. Itʼs a mouthful to basically say, “This degree is about as useful as Vocal Performance.” Iʼm not sure what kind of job I can really get with this degree. Iʼm sure there are jobs out there, but I have no idea if someone with my background can really convince an employer in this economy that Iʼm absolutely the right choice for their eLearning implementation needs. Most of the jobs Iʼve seen out there want you to have a bachelorʼs degree in something reasonable, like math or science or marketing or human resources. They want you to have a bachelor degree in whatever classes or materials they want you to implement into a distance learning situation. Unfortunately, thereʼs just not a lot of companies or schools who are desperately seeking anyone to create eLearning for vocal performance. No, the whole reason someone would

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John Paul Sharp

get training in singing is for the personal, face to face instruction. Sure, there are online classes out there to teach people how to sing, but basically that market has already been tapped and I donʼt know how or why I would want to try and place myself in that world. But, Iʼm going to finish this M.A. anyway. I mean, even in my application essay to the school, I basically said I wanted to get into the program because Iʼd already dumped thirty thousand dollars in the Educational Psychology M.A. and I couldnʼt just walk away and not have a degree. So, by the end of Spring or Fall of 2012 (Iʼm still not sure which yet), Iʼll have an M.A. in eLearning. Woo hoo. But no career as of yet. So, now Iʼm Seattle and Iʼm still jobless and still following my artistic dreams while I depend on unemployment to keep me afloat. I still need to find some type of career and the only thing Iʼve seen that remotely suggests Iʼd be a good fit is the Drama Therapy program. I mean, Iʼve spent so much time in theatre that I might as well find a way to make this work into a career of some kind. There was something other than fear that attracted me to psychology. Iʼve been in therapy before and I do think Iʼd be a good therapist if I could get the training for it. It seems like I could make it work somehow! When I met with the admissions lady, I asked her about the minimum qualifications to get accepted. They ask for 100 minimum hours of volunteer or paid work with an organization in a counseling-related capacity. I have zero hours like that. I asked her if I could mention that all my years as a waitress and teaching people how to sing is very personal growth oriented. She said thatʼs a no-go. No, I have to actually work in a counseling-related capacity that is overseen by someone who helps to train me to help people in crisis situations. In fact, one of my recommendation letters should come from someone who oversees me while fulfilling these one hundred hours. Yikes! I asked her what type of organizations are out there for me to get these hours accomplished. After some discussion, I basically learned that she cannot tell me what organization to check out or try for. I need to pick a demographic to work for. My demographic will tell me what organization to approach. I made the small mistake of telling her that I didnʼt really care who I was helping - as long as I was helping someone. I guess thatʼs a no-no. She said if I were to apply to the school and say something like that, I wouldnʼt be admitted. As a therapist or someone in the helping industry, I must have a demographic that I specialize in and there should be some type of reason as to why I do this. So what demographic should I latch on to? The first thought that immediately came to my mind was gay youth and teenagers. I could apply to work for the Trevor Projectʼs helpline. They have an intensive training with

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John Paul Sharp

someone who oversees my work and would definitely be able to give me a letter of recommendation. But - do I really want to help that demographic? After all, I was a gay youth and I know what that whole world is like. How can I help those kids who are suicidal? Do I really want to work with a demographic that is so close to my own identity? I guess to some people that would definitely make sense, but for me, Iʼm not so sure. It kind of feels like I would feel boxed in or claustrophobic about my work. I also know how convoluted the gay teen world can be and as a gay man, Iʼm not sure how quickly Iʼd want to jump into that whole world. Lots of trouble can come your way by helping that demographic. Iʼm actually more interested or curious about working with veterans. I figure there are so many men and women out there who have fought these senseless wars and they need as much help as they can get. They are leaving Afghanistan and Iraq and coming back to an America with less jobs than when they first left. They have traumatic experiences they now need to process in the safety of their homeland. Iʼd be working with all types of people who join the armed forces and yes, some of them would be gay, but they would be all different kinds of people with different stories. But what kind of organization is out there to help veterans that could train me to act in a counseling-related capacity? Thatʼs the big question. I also considered taking seniors and/or the terminally ill as my demographic. I think it would be a great thing to help people process their end days. Then I thought about how absolutely draining that might be. Iʼm just not sure. One thing I am totally sure about is the amount of thinking I have to do before Iʼm really able to pick a demographic that I feel comfortable with. I would like to help veterans, but how do I know that I have a background that would work well with that demographic? I suppose the only way to know is to try and give it a go. I guess Iʼve got a lot more to think about than I realized. Itʼs not as easy as just trying to apply for a school. Iʼve actually got to try and live a lifestyle before I can say with genuine honesty that Iʼm ready to get the training needed to become a therapist. Antioch does make me very excited though. The open house I went to made me wish I was student there so badly. For one, you know that the closer you get to graduation, the more youʼre actually practicing the work of therapy. Youʼd basically have to be a complete idiot not to find a job after participating in their one-year minimum internship. The idea that I could go to school and be on my way to having a career sounds so completely amazing to someone like me, where the closer I get to the graduation, the farther I get from actually having a paid job. Ha!

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Thought Two: You Canʼt & Shouldnʼt Be Amazing at Everything!
Yesterday, I did something I had never done before in my life. I straight up walked out of callbacks for A Chorus Line. I had such high hopes for myself and this show, but those hopes were not grounded in much reality, unfortunately. I felt so bad the entire day - I was a QUITTER! What? Me? The insane over-achiever? How could I ever walk out of anything? Ugh. I just felt so sick about it. But hereʼs the thing - there were like sixty dancers at these callbacks and at least 95% of them had actual, real dancer shoes and dancer outfits. I was in cheap pleather dress shoes and some sweats. All these other dancers were actual dancers. They were doing the splits and caught onto the dance moves about as soon as the director showed them. About halfway through the initial dance we were learning, I had decided I would leave and it was just a matter of figuring out how the hell I could get out without being noticed by anyone. The director kept saying through the first dance, “Okay, now this one is easy, so Iʼm going to want to see a lot of precision!” Precision? I couldnʼt even figure out what I was supposed to be doing with my feet for the whole 32 bars, let alone what I was supposed to be doing with my arms and hands. I had no precision to offer whatsoever. So after we practiced the first dance and we were given a few minutes before breaking up into smaller groups to actually audition the dance, I grabbed my bag and my jacket and I headed for the stairs and hoped no one noticed me. Every passing minute as I was leaving, I kept saying to myself, “What are you doing? Are you sure youʼre just going to walk out? Arenʼt other people like this and not someone like you - someone who follows through and doesnʼt quit, even when the going gets tough?” I found myself calling my boyfriend and then calling my friend Paul because I needed to be able to talk through the decision I was making of leaving the callbacks. I needed to be able to rationalize and justify my actions. Of course, my boyfriend and Paul could not tell me that what I was doing was right because they both werenʼt there. I could only tell myself that. When I got home, my boyfriend kept wanting to hug me and by that point, I was like, “Whatever.” Ha! But really, I was feeling super guilty and didnʼt want to feel like a loser. And I did feel a little bit like a loser, unfortunately. I decided to go to Trader Joeʼs with my boyfriend and stock up on a bunch of food so I could perhaps eat my pain away. So much for me losing any weight! As soon as I got home from that, I emailed the director and explained to her what had happened:

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Just wanted to say sorry for disappearing today!  As I was practicing the beginning dance, it was just painfully obvious to me that I was not at the dance level needed for this particular show and so I thought it was best if I not waste any more time for either of us and took off!  I was going to tell someone but there were so many people around that I didn't want to take away someone's attention just to tell them I was leaving.  I normally don't do that kind of a thing, but I was having trouble just getting down the footwork, let alone knowing what to do with my arms and hands - so I would have had no precision whatsoever.  That being said, I actually did enjoy the experience and hope I might be considered for future musicals - perhaps some that aren't so dance heavy.   I'm also considering taking some dance classes as the movement was enjoyable.  Sorry and thanks again, JP I then went back to playing Skyrim and after a few hours, I began to feel very tired. I fell asleep and had dreams about being a disappointment to people. I woke up and checked my e-mail and I had gotten a response back from the director: Oh, thank GOODNESS! I thought I was going insane.  I knew I had seen you!  Well, I am sorry I did not get to read you for Bobby.  I know you would have had fun with the part.  Dance is important in this show, but singing is, too.  And the show is nothing without real people in it.  Courage, my friend! I really enjoyed meeting you and do hope we get a chance to run into each other again!  I am directing Forever Plaid later this year at Second Story Rep.  It's a fun show! Thank you for the note! Boy, was I relieved! I was just terrified I would be blacklisted for just walking out. But, it seems to me that she wasnʼt upset by it and was actually hinting that I should try out for Forever Plaid. I love the show and I would totally audition for it when it came up, but I did see that the show is east of Seattle, on

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John Paul Sharp

the other side of the water, and I have no idea how Iʼd get there for rehearsals and performances and also get back to Seattle. Still, I thought the director was a neat, professional and passionate woman, so I might consider it if I can find a reasonable way to make it work. If anything, this whole experience has shown me that yes, it is important to try new things and to push yourself and see how far you can go - but when you see a wall coming, itʼs not necessary to run right into it, either. We donʼt have to be amazing at everything we try and itʼs okay if Iʼm not an amazing or even particularly good dancer. I am a great singer and I know Iʼm a great actor and that can absolutely be good enough for right now. And itʼs not like I didnʼt enjoy the dancing. I think moving around like that is fun, but because I was in an audition rather than a dance class, I felt like it was best if I not follow through the whole way, especially in the company of so many other real dancers with experience and training. But - all is not lost. My boyfriend wants me to check out some dance classes and see if maybe we can do some together. So! My audition actually inspired him and well, thatʼs totally worth it to me!

Thought Three: I Like to be Disturbed.
Oh yes, I like to be disturbed! But only through film, in the fantasy medium. Because I have access to a large database of movies, over the last year, Iʼve made it kind of a habit to find out and research all the most disturbing films ever made. And oh, youʼd be surprised whatʼs out there! There are all kinds of disturbing films out there. The most recent one that came out that was really disturbing was A Serbian Film. Itʼs about an aging porn star who gets reeled into ʻactingʼ in one more film so he can get more money for his wife and child. What happens is so beyond anything I myself could ever imagine. But thatʼs why I watch these things - because I could not imagine them myself and itʼs just so shocking! Thereʼs an older film from the seventies that is pretty effed up too: Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom. With a title like that, how could you not be disturbed? Well, I had no idea how disturbing it truly was until I watched it with my boyfriend. Every ten minutes, my man would look at me and say, “You really love to watch this kind of stuff, donʼt you?” Yes, yes I do! And itʼs not just limited to crazy sexually disturbing films, but really, any film or television-based program that features real-life horror. I am fascinated by tales of people surviving the most horrific situations, whether itʼs getting lost in the mountains or stranded in the oceans or whether itʼs people getting slashed in the throat by random Decentrs or raped in their own houses.

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John Paul Sharp

Iʼm really not a sick psycho-path, I promise! Iʼm just fascinated with this kind of stuff because 1) I feel like the more I learn about these type of stories, the more I know whatʼs out there and what to be careful of and 2) perhaps if I am ever stuck in a horrific situation, I might know what to do to survive since Iʼve learned how other people have survived before. So, in case youʼre like me and you love to be disturbed by films and television, I have some great suggestions for you: Films: A Serbian Film - mentioned earlier. Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom - a bunch of aristocrats, including the president of the nation, gather up a bunch of teenagers and abduct them for a long vacation at a mansion where storytellers initiate insane acts of abuse of different kinds. It doesnʼt end well. Martyrs - a film about revenge, child abuse and torture. Cannibal Holocaust - one of the first forms of ʻmock-umentaryʼ set in a jungle. Obviously, itʼs about cannibalism, but also, there are other crazy things that happen. Men Behind the Sun - this is a film about real experiments that were done on people during World War II in Japan. One of the hardest parts of this film is what happened to the poor cat. Irréversible - a french film about the realities of seemingly senseless violence. And boy, does this film get violent. Itʼs gripping because of how real it seems. High Tension - not so much disturbing, but it is such a good scare, I had to mention it. Well, on second thought, itʼs probably disturbing for some people. It very much follows a Dean Koontz type of psychological horror, but it doesnʼt skip out of the gore either. Megan is Missing - if you find yourself watching this crazy effing movie, you might actually find yourself terribly bored and confused through the first seventy-five percent of it. But let me tell you, the last twenty-five percent nearly made me pass out. Television:

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John Paul Sharp

I Survived ... - This series is seriously hard to find, but sometimes they have episodes on Hulu. I canʼt wait until it comes to Netflix. These are stories from people who have survived horrific situations. I like to play these as I go to sleep. Okay, maybe Iʼm crazy! Wicked Attraction - I kind of like these stories from Investigation Discovery. Itʼs a lot of stories about couples who go on crazy killing sprees. I Shouldnʼt Be Alive - These are usually stories of people surviving the wilderness under miraculous struggling. It would be better without the dramatic reenactments, but alas, it is made by the Discovery Channel, I believe. There are way more films that I did not mention and thatʼs mostly because I canʼt remember all the titles. But, I figure I named enough to get anyone started on their journey through some of the most disturbing images and stories ever told. Youʼre welcome. Donʼt judge me. Oh, and if you thought Scream 4 was scary, Iʼd avoid seeing anything Iʼve mentioned above at all costs. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Fourteen: The Desire to Escape.
There are often times that I catch myself wanting to escape. When I was younger, it was much more of a prevalent feeling. Now, it just happens every once and awhile and especially when Iʼm listening to music that inspires me. Itʼs not that kind of wanting to escape where you wish you werenʼt in your life or anything. Itʼs more of this feeling of wanting to be enveloped into a whole other world - one in which physics and the conventions of nature are not part of reality. Itʼs hard to explain, but I felt it yesterday when I was on the bus. I was listening to one of my favorite artists, one who Iʼve mentioned already in my writings this month: Owen Pallett. When I listen to his strings, I can imagine them being physical forces that have shapes, almost like wings, but perhaps more like broad strokes of a painter. These shapes have color to them, almost metallic or neon gold and I can imagine myself using these shapes to fly across the city skyline. Itʼs like that type of escape. What I love about great music is that is sparks this feeling within me. Sometimes, itʼs more simple. Iʼll be listening to the song Pluto by Björk with my iPhone with my earbuds in and Iʼll find myself stomping along the street, as though Iʼve become this other, more powerful person that perhaps is a character of a film. I like to escape in my own imagination as I go about my daily business. I think itʼs this escapism part of me that has given me the dream of someday being a filmmaker. I think I could make some pretty cool films, but I have a feeling they would rarely have dialogue. What really moves and inspires me are images set to music. I think music says more than dialogue could ever say. One song in particular that always gets my visual imagination going is Radioheadʼs The National Anthem. I remember the first time I ever heard it. I was walking around the streets of San Francisco and when it came on my earphones, I became so excited and lost into my own imagination that I found myself running and probably making guttural sounds. Iʼm sure I looked like a crazy person to everyone around me, but the nice thing about San Francisco is that the Decentr you act, the less likely people are going to pay any attention to you in the first place. I had a similar experience the first time I heard Björkʼs Selmasongs: Music from the Motion Picture Dancer in the Dark. The music for that film is so highly creative and imaginative, it was easy to get completely lost in the experience of listening. Even her new album, Biophilia, is similarly fantastic in the way it can create an atmosphere far removed from the dullness of my daily routines. I could probably spew and profess my love for her work until the cows come home.

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John Paul Sharp

Thereʼs a recent film that just came out that truly stole my heart and I think it speaks to this sort of escapism. Itʼs called Melancholia and it was written and directed by Lars von Trier and starred Kirsten Dunst and Kiefer Sutherland amongst some other folks. The whole opening lasts several minutes and is accompanied by music from Roger Wagnerʼs prelude to his opera, Tristan und Isolde. There are a lot of slow motion actions and stills with the most beautiful imagery Iʼve seen in a long time. Oh - did I forget to mention that Lars von Trier also directed Dancer in the Dark? Thereʼs a reason why I like this guyʼs work so much! The film is science-fiction drama with the premise that a sister planet was discovered to be orbiting the other side of the sun and could possibly be heading straight for Earth. Itʼs not your conventional sci-fi and it is actually a very touching piece about mental illness and the struggle to cope in our world. The last part of the film is so gripping in an emotional way that I am truly surprised I havenʼt seen more people talking about it. But then, thatʼs America, right? I swear, if a movie doesnʼt have formulaic bits and pieces neatly tied up at the end, Americans just donʼt care for it. Then again, I am American and I absolutely adored the film. I loved it so much, just talking about it makes me want to watch it again. If I were to be a filmmaker someday, I would probably be a mix between the imaginative and creativeness of Lars von Trier and the darkness and intensity of Darren Aronovsky. Hell, there might even be some Sam Raimi in there for goreʼs sake. I do love some shocking gore, after all! Until then, Iʼll just keep listening to my songs and escaping in my mind. I keep hoping that the more I work on my own music recordings, I can create imaginative atmospheres like the artist I love to listen to the most. I donʼt think Iʼm quite there yet, but Iʼm not worlds away either! I know I can do it! So, before I go for the day (I am trying to make todayʼs thought a littler shorter and sweeter than the thoughts for the last three days or so), I thought Iʼd post some artists and albums that really get my imagination going and inspire me to create truly fantastical music. And without further ado: Björk: Vespertine, SelmaSongs, Medulla, Biophilia, Homogenic Radiohead: OK Computer, Kid A Kate Bush: Hounds of Love, The Dreaming, Aerial The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Owen Pallett: A Swedish Love Story, Heartland

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John Paul Sharp

(as Final Fantasy): He Poos Clouds, Plays to Please, Spectrum, 14th Century Aphex Twin: Drukqs Dot Allison: Afterglow Enya: Watermark, Shepherd Moons, The Memory of Trees Imogen Heap: Ellipse Ira Stein: Bach Improvisations William Orbit: Pieces in a Modern Style And pretty much anything by composers Bach, Elgar, and Satie. Ok! Happy listening! BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Fifteen: Men ʻn Me
I was inspired by a fellow G Plusser who posted a short message about his experience with feminism. It made me think about my own conceptions as Iʼve grown into the person I now am today. Iʼm not sure Iʼve ever quite identified with feminism, but I have had a pretty severe distrust of men in general, which, of course, is not the same thing. I grew up without a father. I never developed a relationship with the man who is my biological father until I was about 22 years old. Ten years later, itʼs still a struggle to maintain contact and to even understand what type of relationship I have with this man. I donʼt really know what it means to have a father and son relationship as the idea seems so foreign to me. By the time I hit puberty and became a teenager, my experience with older men became sexual at best. My first experience with an older man was a guy who lived someone in my neighborhood who I talked to on AOL or eWorld or one of those online services in the mid-90ʼs. He came over to my house, we jerked off and then he left and I never saw him again. Iʼd say this man was in his mid to late 40ʼs and I was about 14. Today, weʼd probably call him a pedophile. I know I sure felt weird about it. My next sexual experience was with a man from the military. He was also in his 40ʼs and I was nearing or had become 15. My mother used to go on conventions all the time and would be gone for two or three days. By this time, my sister had left the house for several years and so I was accustomed to doing my own thing since I was about 12 years old. I used to chat this guy up on AOL and then on the phone, usually later at night when my mom was asleep. He used to ask me all these questions about my body and I remember being so nervous and wondering why he was so curious about how developed my ʻpecsʼ were. I had no idea what those were and I remember struggling to answer most of his questions, but still being intensely curious and wanting to meet him. Sooner than later, I let him know my mom was going out of town for several days and he decided he was going to come to Wichita from Fort Worth to visit me. I remember he kept saying how happy he was that he had several days with me. Oh, was I nervous! That was my first anal sexual experience and it went on for quite awhile. I donʼt think I would call it rape because I consented to the whole thing, but I might say that I was heavily manipulated into situation altogether. I remember how painful it was. After he left, I did not want to see him again and I was deathly afraid of my mother finding out. He would call all the time and I wouldnʼt pick up the phone. If

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

he called when my mother was home, heʼd just hang up on her. He eventually came to see me at my bussing job and I said hello, terrified, and he tried to ask me why I wouldnʼt talk to him and I just said that I couldnʼt talk to him anymore because my mother found out. That was all he needed to know and I never saw or heard from him again. By the time I was sixteen, I was messing around with all types of guys who were twice my age. I had a fake ID that I had made myself and would go to the gay club, Our Fantasy Complex, quite regularly. Iʼm pretty sure everyone knew I was underage, but I donʼt think most of them cared. On my sixteenth birthday, I brought one of my girlfriends with me to the club and she was in her early 20ʼs. She was very aggressive about ʻfinding me a man for meʼ that night and she did find a guy from Kansas City. He was a horse jockey and was very good looking. I ended up going to his hotel that night on the east side of town. Iʼd say this was my first experience with rape. It was consenting to the degree that I let him put his thing in me, but because it hurt so bad that I was screaming and he wouldnʼt stop until he was done and he was quite rough, Iʼd say that there were elements of rape there. He was nice enough to take me all the way back to the west side to my girlfriendʼs house, but we mostly rode in silence. By the time Iʼd even had the opportunity to have a ʻnormalʼ or ʻhealthyʼ relationship with someone remotely close to my own age, I was pretty screwed up. I was head over heels for this 18 year old kid from El Dorado and we had a few wonderful months together, dating and doing those things that teenagers do when they date. However, it was doomed because I was this guyʼs first boyfriend and he had just come out of the closet and by the ripe age of seventeen, I was doing crazy things like cocaine and getting tattoos and stealing gas for my car. This poor kid did not know what he was getting into when he was getting with me and after we started going to the club together, he got the single bug again and cheated on me with some other guys and then dumped me around Christmas time. Needless to say, I didnʼt handle it well - especially because he ended up moving to Wichita and entered as a senior at my high school. Oh, I did all sorts of mean things to him. I spread rumors that he used to hit me and I told people that he thought about having sex with animals. I did whatever I could to make his life a living hell and in the end, I think I just made myself look like a crazy person. Iʼm pretty sure he thinks Iʼm crazy to this day, but hey - I was an at-risk teen with at-risk aspirations. I did apologize to him about a year ago when I found him and added him on Facebook. Most of my truly traumatic experiences with men took place in my early 20ʼs when I lived in San Francisco. After losing my job with PlanetOut, I developed a seriously intense addiction to smoking methamphetamine for about a year and half. During that time, I had sex with countless men of all different

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

ages and backgrounds. Most of the time, I had no idea who they were or what their names were. All I knew is that they had drugs and wanted to have sex and I wanted drugs, so I would have sex with them. My first real experience with insanity was when I hung out with a Philippine man who dealt all kinds of drugs. I stayed at his apartment for over five days and did not sleep the entire time. He fed me all kinds of drugs - meth and crack and other stuff that I didnʼt even know what it was. He was extremely manipulative in interactions with me and I was in a very vulnerable position in my life. There came a point on the second or third day where I felt scared to leave. Donʼt ask me why as the whole experience is pretty blurry to me now, but by the morning of the sixth day, around six oʼclock in the morning, he had me smoke some weed out of a homemade aluminum pipe. As soon as I took a few hits, I began to hallucinate. I was hearing several voices in my head and seeing these wild, electric hieroglyphics in my vision. Something triggered inside of me and I bolted out of his apartment, ran down Market street to the BART station, got into a train, hid under the seat, and when I made it to Daly City, I caught a cab up to my apartment and laid on the floor for a few minutes before I grabbed my roommate who was in the shower. I told her I needed to go to the hospital because at that point my heart was thumping so hard and fast that I was scared I might have a heart attack. Oh and did I mention that this entire time I thought the man Iʼd been staying with could hear my thoughts and see what I saw and was tracking me down to come and kill me? I spent the next 24 hours at the hospital after having a doctor tell me, “If you keep entertaining thoughts like you have, you may lose your mind forever.” And then shooting something in my ass which made me pass out. I woke up the next morning and just left the hospital on my own. I remember my head felt like a ton of bricks and being zombie like for the next week. While many of these encounters were emotionally disturbing to some degree, I would say there were only a few times I was raped. One man that I remember in particular was an intense Vietnamese man who hung out in his apartment all the time. He used to message me on the computer all the time and I finally met up with him. We smoked meth and chilled all day long and when we finally went to have sex, he was extremely rough and hurt the hell out of me. That was an experience I would call rape because I told him to stop and I told him to get off of me and it just made him go harder and faster. I remember him pulling off of me and I just laid there on the floor, my mind had drifted off somewhere, unable to process what had just taken place. These were the worst of my experiences as a young gay man in San Francisco. There were other times when I connected through drugs and sex with all types of men. Some of them were pilots, some were millionaires with multiple

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

companies, some of them were fucked up kids like me. In most of these encounters, I often found myself taking on a paternal role. Many times, these men found themselves dumping their emotions on me, crying with their heads on my chest. In some ways, this was part of my addiction. But I rarely maintained contact with any of these individuals, save a few of them that I happened to stumble upon from time to time, even online in my late twenties and early thirties. Eventually, I realized if I didnʼt leave San Francisco, I was going to die. I came back home to Wichita and underwent intense weekly therapy for nine months thanks to the fact that one of my motherʼs life-long friends took a sincere interest in me and payed for the therapy out of her own pocket. I would also have lunch with this woman mostly once a week and she would ask me lots of questions about my life and what I wanted. I really owe much of my growth to this woman and I should call her way more often than I do now. I began to see my father more often and our initial gatherings usually involved me going to a bar with him and drinking lots of pitchers of beer. He took me to my motherʼs house (thatʼs where I was staying at first) and I was so drunk that I puked all over the bedroom floor. This just goes back to how the men in my life have always seemed to lead me into trouble and the women in my life have always tried to lead me out of it. It wasnʼt until my mid-twenties, living in Denver, that I actually started dating men in a healthy way. Even the first three boyfriends I had were what I would call emotional stunted and intimately unavailable. It wasnʼt their fault and they never really did anything wrong to me, but I was finally in a place where I wanted and expected more out of a relationship and I ended up dumping all of them for different reasons. The first cheated on me, the second had a bad attitude about life and the third, well, he was just all over the place and unable to be a boyfriend. He needed a mother and a father. Finally, in my late 20ʼs, I visited Wichita for Christmas and I ran into this man that I used to have a lot of attraction for in my late teens. I never got the opportunity to get to know him because he was always on the outside circles of my friends. Little did I know he had been fascinated with and attracted to me as well. When I saw him at the club, something in me became very aggressive and I gave him my phone number. We had lunch that weekend while I was in town and we talked for hours. As we left, we hung outside of our cars and then started making out for a halfhour. The day I left for Denver, he had breakfast with my mom and my good friend (or perhaps more accurately, my ʻgod-friendʼ) John. It was like I subconsciously knew that weʼd ended up being together for many years and I wanted him to meet my family as soon as possible.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Within a few month, he ended up leaving his life behind and moved in with me in Denver. A few years later, we both packed up our lives and left for Seattle and weʼre still together today. It hasnʼt always been the easiest relationship and it hasnʼt been completely perfect, but it has been the best relationship Iʼve ever had with a man. My man is someone I can trust. He doesnʼt lie to me and he isnʼt manipulative. Iʼm not sure I would even appreciate him as much as I do had I not spent my entire life dealing with men who were completely the opposite. However, sometimes I think I could show my appreciation even more than I do. He inspires me to be a better man. I could myself growing old with this guy. He has an emotional intelligence and a sense of loyalty that is hard to find in most people in general, let alone guys. I look back on the rest of my life before him and see myself as a totally different person. Iʼm forever changed and for that, Iʼll be forever grateful. I still distrust a lot of men out there - especially, those who are in positions of authority. I try to keep it in check, like I try to keep lots of toxic thoughts in check, but it can be hard. After all, the majority of my experiences are that men want to 1) have sex and 2) be in control. I know not all men are like this, but one only need to watch the latest national news to know that it is a common thing ... Herman Cain anyone??? BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Sixteen: Reverse Racist!
Along the same vein as my last entry, Iʼd like to explore my own reverse racism. For many years, I have not been comfortable in situations where I am in a room with mostly white people ... even though Iʼm white myself. Throughout my twenties, I was extremely untrusting of white people, even though Iʼm white myself. Let me explain. I grew up in Wichita, Kansas as an overtly effeminate boy. My mother used to take me to garage sales and I would try on womenʼs hats and check out the barbie dolls. I loved ʻgirlyʼ things and I loved being ʻgirly.ʼ This led to a lot of traumatic bullying for me as soon as I passed the third grade. Also, because the public school system struggled to place me based on my learning abilities, I had other strikes against me. I was labelled as having a behavioral disorder and then I was labelled as gifted, then I was labelled as normal and then labelled as gifted again. I ended up in a ʻtransitionalʼ first grade class and later ended up skipping fourth grade altogether. By the time I was in the fifth grade, I had lost any friends I had previously. I remember being seriously bullied by two kids that would follow me and taunt me all the way through high school. Most of the white kids in my classes treated me horribly. But there were these four black girls in fifth grade that took me under their wing. They liked me because I wasnʼt normal. They like the fact that I ʻtalked like a girl.ʼ They thought I was funny and we used to hang out during recess and I found protection from them. No one messed with me when I was with these girls - in fact, it was really quite the other way around. A lot of the kids who were picking on me were scared of these girls because they were unafraid when grouped together and enjoyed themselves, being loud or being goofy or whatever. I did not realize at the time how much this would shape my attitudes about race. All throughout my childhood, I found comfort in black women - though, my experiences with them were never at home, but in public institutions. I had a gifted teacher who was a black woman and she really believed in me, but was also stern with me when I needed it. I looked up to her so much because when other authority figures were confused or complacent about my education, she always seemed to know my potential and expected more out of me. I think what made me learn to distrust large groups of white people were hearing some of the things they seem to be unafraid to say when other people of different races arenʼt around. Iʼve had white people say some of the most racist things to me simply because I was also white - as though there is were some

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

unspoken rule that being racist was okay as long as non-white folks didnʼt hear us. Because I was separated as ʻdifferentʼ from the rest of the group early on, I might as well have had a ʻgay skin colorʼ instead of white. I didnʼt get the full privileges that white males normally receive because as soon as I opened my mouth, my peers and authorities immediately saw me as a gay child and reacted to this. So, I identified more with racial minorities who received similar treatments that I received. This whole distrust thing has not gone away as much as I would like it to. I realize that being a reverse racist is not better than being a normal racist. Both views are pretty ignorant and they can create feelings of toxicity that are just not conducive to living a life that is without fear or unnecessary limitations. However, I am still more comfortable in social situations where there is a good mix of diversity. Iʼd probably be uncomfortable in any group that had too much of any race, to be honest. But the whole thing where white people say bad things because thereʼs only white people around still happens all the time. Just a week ago, I was in a rehearsal where there happens to be only white folks in the show. I think the director might be mixed, but mainly, the group is full of white folks. One of the girls made a comment about how some scary black man came to her place of work. She didnʼt say anything outrightly racist, but itʼs the way she said it that makes you know she would never have said it the way she did had my partner been in the room. Even during my baccalaureate education, I had two situations in which a white male said the “N” word and no one did anything but laugh nervously. When I made a fuss about it, thatʼs when everyone got really uncomfortable. Because I demanded that we all have a conversation about why itʼs not okay to use that word so casually and why those two men would not have used that word so casually in the presence of a black person, the rest of the group were uncomfortable with the idea that they may need to examine their own reasons for not being upset with the whole situation. I was so upset with both instances that they led me to tears. The tears were out of frustration that no one else felt as passionately as I did about it. It happens all the time. When I was a part-time waitress at The Delectable Egg in Denver, Iʼd have conversations with the Mexican-American busboys about how you canʼt always tell where someoneʼs background comes from. My partner looks black, but his mother was Mexican-American and his father was from Puerto Rico. When I would explain this to the busboys, they would always say, “Heʼs not latino or hispanic. Heʼs just a n*****.” If they ever wanted to rouse me

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

up or get me upset, that was usually their first way of doing it - because they knew how much that word upset me. The manager of this restaurant would always seat me black customers, because she knew my partner was black. There were times when weʼd be busy and it would look so Decent because all the black people were in my section. Iʼd have times where my customers would even ask me what it was about. I could never say why, but I think they knew. Itʼs one of those things you can tell without having to ask. Racism is still well and alive in todayʼs American social climate. Donʼt fool yourself. Itʼs all over the place. The real challenge some of us have to face is not to become reverse racists. We have to learn how to treat everyone as individuals and not avoid others or cling to others because of the color of their skin. At any rate, I try not to judge someone too much because I hear them say something like, “a scary black man.” Though, I will say that those types of comments will make me more wary about someone. I try hard not to judge them, but I also get excited for the day when I will get to introduce my black partner to them. Hopefully when that happens, they might be forced to ask themselves if theyʼve said anything around me that they might regret. However, I doubt people are as introspective about their words and actions as I think I am about myself. So I guess my point of todayʼs entry is for all of us to ask ourselves: “Am I a reverse racist?” And if you think the answer might be yes, think about how you can moderate those thoughts so that they donʼt control how you live your life or who you choose to associate with. Our beliefs should not control us so much that we miss out on the beauty of others and the potential for relationships. Even if you do meet a racist or someone with slightly racist beliefs, you never know how much you might be able to influence them to turn their thoughts around. Also, if you see yourself as a reverse racist, you never know how much someone might surprise you. We all have such a tendency to judge before getting to know each other and the slightest comment could easily be misconstrued or even misunderstood. Give each other a chance. And one last parting idea that I must get out is this: If you do see someone who makes a racist comment or says a horrible racist slang word simply because everyone in the group is of the same race - say something right away! My biggest regret is that in most cases where this has happened, Iʼve said nothing at first. I always let the situation stew in my mind and then I would have to do something about the next day or a couple of days later. Oneʼs objectives lose power and steam the longer you wait before you say something. In those cases in my college days, if I had said something the moment it happened, it would have had a much greater impact. Instead, I waited and then tried to mediate with the teacher in both cases. By the time any issues

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John Paul Sharp

were addressed, most of the attention was put towards me and my own frustrations rather than on the person who made the comment in the first place. So, yes, say something right away if you feel it is serious enough. In the case of the young woman who said, “scary black man,” well, I didnʼt say anything because it wasnʼt overt enough for me to make a big deal out of it. However, if any other comments were to come out of her again, I would definitely say something. Youʼve got to fight the right battles and the battle should be big enough that you donʼt just cause a stir that people arenʼt going to understand. But if someone says something serious enough and you do speak out, youʼll probably be speaking out for others who feel the same way but canʼt find the courage to say something themselves. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Seventeen: Online Bad-Asses Are Anything But
Okay, so last night (or, really, a few hours ago) I was reading +Sterling Kʼs rants about how the media was not covering the Stop Online Piracy Act and everyone on Google+ was ranting and raving about their music beta site that just went public in America. I figure he has every right to be angry about it as corporate media outlets often overlook the stories the American public should be aware of. But instead of venting that frustration properly, he tends to use words like f***** and n***** and tells everyone to eff off. Because I have agreed with some of his views and feel he is a pretty intelligent guy, I have loosely followed him and sometimes respond to his posts. While his online persona is rather aggressive and overtly aloof, I tend to gravitate towards people like that because they keep me entertained to a degree. But the ʻnʼ word is where I draw the line. Now, if he was black and using that word, itʼd be one thing. I mean, he uses the ʻfʼ word a lot and that doesnʼt bother me because heʼs gay and I feel like heʼs got some room to use it. But, sorry, youʼre only allowed to use words that are used against you - not words used against others - to make your point. I just feel like people who try to be super bad-ass online are really probably rather pathetic people in real life. I have always used my real name in all my online social networks for the past ten years because I feel like if Iʼm going to have a persona online, it needs to represent who I am as much as possible. When using your real name, you are forced to stand up and stand by everything you put out there in the world. When youʼre anonymous, you can pretty much say anything you want without fear of consequences. Being an American, we have the right in our constitution to say pretty much whatever we want without fear of being jailed or put to death. I fully realize that other people in other countries are not afforded these rights and so they should have the protection of anonymity in order to express real truths that are pertinent to their lives. But this Sterling guy lives in Hawaii and does not really need to protect himself this way. He spends a lot of time talking about how brainwashed everyone is and how if you donʼt take a stand on anything, youʼre a waste of space. He talks about how the majority of the population is full of stupid people. While I think there might be a dash of truth to these resentful statements, ultimately, I think they are the opinions of a privileged white man who has probably had his way for most of his life and therefore has little tolerance for differing opinions or views. Itʼs probably also why he thinks itʼs edgy or smart to use extremely racist and ignorant words meant to bring harm to people who are and have been

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John Paul Sharp

oppressed. In this sense, he is no better than the people he thinks are such idiots. When I shared his post about “Why is everyone in Hawaii a f****** n*****?” it was meant to expose his behavior to other people he might not have intended and to perhaps show him that this type of expression is unacceptable. Do I think sharing it was entirely effective? No. But, I stick with my last post about how if you see something thatʼs wrong, you should point it out right away and make it known. Yes, I could have un-circled him and just pretended that he didnʼt exist like some others have stated they did in response to my share, and I understand the point behind that is to make the choice to see what youʼd like to see and ignore what you donʼt. But, I feel that not saying something or not putting some light to it is, in a way, saying that it is acceptable. The silence says, “Hey, itʼs not for me, but some people might like it.” People should be shamed for using those types of names. Public figures who use words like that lose jobs, lose business and have severe consequences for being idiots who vomit unproductive negativity. Why, then, should any of us be an exception? Just because youʼre online, doesnʼt mean you should be able to spout out hate speech. I do believe in Karma to the extent that we put out energy through our thoughts, spoken word and our actions. In that energy, we are putting out to the world messages which in turn bring us responsive energies. Just because youʼre online and you are using an anonymous name doesnʼt mean you are safe from the response to the energy youʼre putting out there. You never know who is out there reading your stuff. You never quite know who out there knows who you are and who you might actually meet someday. If you spend much of your time putting out seething, hateful messages, you really have to be careful to make sure that your online persona remains anonymous because otherwise, the consequences could be irreversibly damaging. If the only way you feel you can get your point across is by calling people hateful names, youʼre really no smarter than the people who bother you so much. In some cases, youʼre probably dumber than the people who bother you, especially if who youʼre angry at is someone youʼve never met or donʼt know. This guy is so angry about corporate media, but what he doesnʼt realize is that the people who are in power who really are out to control what we receive are counting on people like him misdirecting their anger. People who are unable to process their emotions appropriately are easily controlled by their own emotions. What would be more powerful is to take all that energy and direct it to more productive outlets to find real solutions to the problems of our world.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

If people could learn to put their ideological difference aside for the great good of mankind, there would be no stopping the power of the people. Competition is a healthy way for people to get out their aggression and frustration of opposing views. Cooperation and compromise is an even better way for people to get together on the issues that affect all of us, regardless of our views. So many people out there get focused on democrat or republican and if the powers that be really are connected and chained to corporate greed, thatʼs exactly how they want the American people to be. They want us to to treat politics like sports and root for our side or our team, regardless of whether anything gets done in Congress. If weʼre more concerned with identifying as a Democrat or a Republican, we become less concerned with the future of our country. Debates that are centered in this dualistic type of thinking absolutely lead to nowhere. Mostly what happens is both parties get upset or angry by the end of the ʻconversation.ʼ Iʼve seen it happen a million times because thereʼs no way to win when thereʼs only two sides to an argument. Real life has more than two sides. Every instance of reality has at least three sides, if not more. We live in a three dimensional world where everything has different shades of colors. We arenʼt living a two dimensional, black and white world - so why in the world should we treat politics that way, especially when politicians tend to have so much control over the quality of our lives? So, I guess what Iʼm saying is that if you feel you need to use words like f***** and n***** to get your points across, perhaps youʼre looking at life with black and white spectacles. Take those glasses off and see the world for all the colors it has and maybe you wonʼt be as angry as you think you are. Maybe youʼll actually see how you can be a positive contributor to the world and not just a misdirected reactor to the world. Reactions are great, but they donʼt go far enough to bring us all to a better place. Just sayinʼ. An online bad-ass is probably anything but. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Eighteen: People Arenʼt Disappointing, Are They?
Iʼm sitting on the 2 bus, stalled at Broadway and 10th Ave. Thereʼs some sort of car wreck in front of our bus and I guess the bus driver doesnʼt make adjustments to his routes. I think weʼre going to sit here until the wreck gets cleaned up? I sure hope they get it done quickly. I mean, I could just get off and walk a few blocks down and grab the 11 or another bus that will get me downtown. I did, of course, already pay bus fair and donʼt feel like getting out. I was planning on going to Starbucks early before my double rehearsal day today to get my writing done, but I thought, what the hell - Iʼll just get it done right now, while Iʼm on the bus. Iʼm feeling a tad stressed out today. I have a three hour rehearsal for H&J in Ballard and then Iʼm going to be thirty minutes late to my next rehearsal at 85th & Aurora. I donʼt like being late to anything and I do not like people having to make exceptions for me, but I did tell SD/DT that this was going to happen. I tried to ask my co-actor if she could give me a ride to my next rehearsal, but she has plans to go see a movie and so, itʼs gonnaʼ be the bus for me! Part of me wants to hate her, but then, really, itʼs not her fault that I am double booked today and itʼs no oneʼs fault that I donʼt have a car, so I just push down those feelings and move past it. Iʼm working on being more positive even though Iʼm mostly upset with H&J for scheduling so many rehearsals back to back with SD/DT. If they were both at the same building, itʼd be fine, but theyʼre not. Even if I did have a car, this was going to be a huge issue. But Iʼm trying to work my immediate feelings of negativity and turn them around into positivity. Both shows are going to end up being fantastic and hilarious and Iʼm sure Iʼll feel great about the whole thing when itʼs all done and over with. Itʼs just the whole thing with getting *through* the whole thing that can be so difficult. I think one common thing I go through in all my shows is that I tend to detest the rehearsal process. I think I get super critical about how the whole thing works and I focus a lot of my energy to how my time doesnʼt seem to be valued or how my time seems to get wasted by otherʼs sense of disorganization. This is something I really need to work on because in most cases, by the time the performances come, I really love being involved with shows and I donʼt necessarily regret the time spent rehearsing. I try not to put a lot of expectations on other people because I find myself becoming extremely disappointed with the results. I know that sounds horrible and thatʼs probably because it is horrible. Weʼre not supposed to think that way. There are, however, so many times when I expect people will try their best and I

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John Paul Sharp

guess it is Murphyʼs Law that dictates those experiences to always seem to fall flat. I figure if you donʼt expect anything from anyone, when they do well, you are all the more happy about it. Of course, the problem is that when you donʼt expect anything from anyone, you have to work really hard to do everything yourself and life kind of sucks when you canʼt depend on others for help. I know, ʻcause Iʼve lived that kind of life for many years and itʼs just not fun. Life is brighter when you have folks around that you can depend on and expect help from. Having said all of that, I think the key to being happy with people is to find some sort of balance where you hold a minimum level of expectations from those in your life. If they canʼt ever meet them, donʼt get upset, but make note of it and focus your energies around people who are helpful and reciprocative to whatever is going on in your life. Also, itʼs important to examine what youʼre doing to help the people around you as well. If youʼre not there for folks or not helping them, how can you expect others to help you? But then, I guess I also want to say that you should never help other people thinking itʼs some type of investment for when you need help. Thatʼs is a sure way to disappoint yourself unnecessarily. Sure, it seems like a reasonable idea, but it is really not reasonable to expect other people to be available, physically or emotionally, at some undetermined point in the future. Just help people to help people. Because itʼs the right the thing to do. That has to be enough. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Nineteen: My Brainʼs On Fire
Well, I have a bit of catching up to do again. Not sure what it is about these weekends that makes me stop writing so much. Itʼs not like I have a job or anything. I think itʼs because I donʼt have as many rehearsals closer to the weekends and I start playing that effing Skyrim game and before I know it, itʼs a couple of days later. My best, or rather, most productive writing happens when I leave early for a rehearsal and I head to a coffee shop, usually Starbucks, and I just sit in a public place and type away. When Iʼm at home, I have too many options for distraction, namely the television or my cats, ʻcause, yaʼ know, they are just so cute and starved for attention. So, my brain is on fire lately. Iʼve been in all these theatre shows and they are fun, but Iʼm kind of getting that producing bug again. I really want to write and produce another musical and perhaps try to raise money for a local organization here in Capitol Hill, Seattle. My boyfriend just got started to volunteer for Gay City Health, which I believe helps people with HIV/AIDS. Iʼm not really sure, but it sounded like a good organization to promote in producing my first Seattle show. I never try to make money or profit from producing shows. Why? Well, because I rarely have made enough money from a production to pay actors or anything. If you can make sure to get enough ticket sales to pay for the actual venue, you should count yourself lucky. Usually, the case is that the person responsible for putting the show together ends up paying a bunch of money out of pocket just to see it happen. Iʼve been thinking about it and part of me wants to put My Big Phat Gay Musical back on stage. If I were to do something like that, the show would need to be completely reworked to where it was truly an ensemble show. Because I originally did it for my Senior Recital for college, my character had to be singing in most of the songs. I think it could be really hilarious if a few songs were cut and some new ones were added to give all the rest of the characters more depth - like the Bitch and Customer #1 and even Savala the Cook. Because Iʼve already done the show and know how it goes, I think it would be pretty easy to pick up where I left off and just evolve it a little. But then I keep thinking about a new musical too. I have this idea for a Drag Queen Murder Mystery that could be tremendously funny. The scene setting for the show could be at a gay bar with basically two different set ups: 1) backstage and 2) the stage for the show. The dressing room tables could be reworked into patron tables when switching between scenes. It would require some logistical thinking to make it work, but I donʼt think it would be impossible.

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John Paul Sharp

So the story would have a bunch of drag queens getting ready for their regular weekend show. Thereʼs an MC, some drag queen whoʼs been there for years - and its her last night doing the show. Perhaps there is another queen who is supposed to take her place and ... oh, I just donʼt know. Itʼs so hard to figure out a plot in my mind for murder. Iʼm just not sure. What about if thereʼs no murder, or how about we just put murder to the side for now and perhaps I could do like a Drag Queen Chorus Line show. Perhaps Itʼs the MCʼs last night and they are going to have a competition to pick her successor that night. Then all the queens could have their own songs and the plot wonʼt have to be such an integral part of the show. Every night of the performance, a random queen could be chosen to be the winner, so each night, the show is never quite the same. I wonder what kind of queens we could have. Thereʼd have to be one who was a hot mess and not very well put together, but never stops doing drag because her heart is so invested in it. Then there could be a rookie queen and it could be her first night and everyone gives her conflicting advice and perhaps treats her like a dog or something. Thereʼs definitely gotta be a ʻbig-girl.ʼ Another queen could be the ultimate bitch whoʼs slightly dangerous and likes to throw ashtrays when she gets wasted. Another queen could be high out of her mind. Oh, and a backwoods, country girl. With the MC, that would make up seven girls. Maybe add a gothic girl - oh, and definitely a slut-whore! Canʼt have a show without one! If you take out the whole murder mystery aspect, it could easily be a show with a different song for each queen, where she explains why she should be the next MC. Of course, there would have to be some type of secondary conflict happening underneath the basic premise. Perhaps two queens really hate each other and keep getting on each otherʼs nerves until a big fight ensues at the end of the show. On top of that, there could be two queens who like each other and finally end up making out at some point. Perhaps the MC is secretly sleeping with one of the contestants and that ends up being a huge scandal. This person could be randomly chosen each night as well, since the person whoʼs sleeping with the MC should probably be disqualified. Itʼs not a bad idea at all and could be really, really fun to put on. It would, of course, take a lot more time and work to put this type of show on and I already have so much groundwork done for MBPGM, where I already know the set, the characters and would just have to do some editing and adding. This other show idea would be completely from the ground-up. I also already know how funny MBPGM is and how much people loved it. Of course, I also want to release a new album in 2012 and I donʼt know how Iʼm going to do all of this. But, I figure I donʼt have a real job and my school

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work load next semester is going to be a lot less than it is this semester. I donʼt have any shows planned for after December, so Iʼll definitely have time to work on some stuff. I already have some songs going for my new album. I wrote a fair amount of songs that I never officially released this past summer that I want to rework and rework until I am completely satisfied with them. I want to take a lot of time to make them special songs. Iʼll keep them all to myself all the way up to the albumʼs official release date. This time, Iʼd like to release it like regular labels release music: by hyping it up and not letting anyone hear anything until it officially releases. Perhaps, when everything is finished, I can pick one song to be a single. Either way, I donʼt plan on releasing it until late 2012 and my process for finishing it is just visiting the songs here and there, fixing one thing here, adding something new there. Iʼm making myself ʻsitʼ with the songs so that I become extremely familiar with them by the time they are released. In the past, Iʼve always released songs just as soon as I put them down into recorded form and while I think thatʼs a fine way of being a music artist, itʼs not exactly the most profitable way to get music out there. When people have instant access to everything you do as soon as you do it, youʼre probably not putting out your best work all the time. Also, people are just a whole lot less likely to buy your music when they have such easy access to everything through Facebook and your website. I put all these musical theatre ideas out there on Facebook today and got some great feedback from my friend Woodstock. She said that I should focus on this new idea because it is so exciting and because, since Iʼve already done MBPGM, I could always pick it up again and the longer I wait until I do, the more perspective Iʼll ultimately have for how it should be done. Iʼd agree with that and plus, a whole gaggle of drag queens sounds like such a great time! Of course, finding a bunch of drag queens who would be able to commit might be difficult, but Iʼve never let that stop me. Thereʼs so many other things to think about too - like which venue to go with and how to do the music. Iʼd love to get a small band and do live music, but Iʼm just not sure how feasible that would be in regard to the budget and rehearsal time. I donʼt know how Iʼd coordinate all of that by myself. Of course, with drag queens, they would all have their own makeup and costumes, so thatʼd be a whole lot less to worry about! Anyway, my brain is on fire! Iʼve got a lot of stuff to keep thinking and dreaming about. Until then, Iʼve got a few performances coming up that I should also focus on. I donʼt want to spread myself too thin mentally at this point. So! More on all of that later.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

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Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Twenty: Things Iʼm Grateful For
Well, youʼd think Iʼd run out of thoughts to think about, but somehow, I keep coming up with them. Itʼs a good thing too, ʻcause I still have ten more to go after today. Phew, this project is turning out a little tougher than I thought it would be! Iʼve been thinking a lot about how Thanksgiving is coming up. Itʼs slightly ridonkulous, but I actually have a rehearsal on Thanksgiving day. Yes, I know, really? Even my friend Alan, who invited my boyfriend and I to eat dinner with him and his partner, said, “Effing really?” Ha! Yeah, I know - but my fellow actor had to leave town for several days and we missed a few necessary rehearsals, so weʼre having to make them up where we can and I guess Thanksgiving day is one of them! Anyway, I donʼt care about doing regular stuff that day. Thanksgiving and Christmas have rarely been normal holidays for me anyway. For so many years, I waited tables on Thanksgiving. I remember that was always a good money day at Village Inn. My last restaurant always gave us the day off and sometimes, Iʼd attempt to cook food but most of the time, I think I just stayed at home and smoked weed. This is the first year in many that I wonʼt actually be going to Wichita, Kansas for Christmas. Honestly, Iʼm relieved. Traveling to Kansas has never been easy or cheap. Most of the time, Iʼd end up renting a car and driving Paul and Jeff down and Iʼd find myself stressing over I-70 because there would usually be snow or sleet or something scary to deal with. And then, once Iʼd get to Wichita, Iʼd find myself having to go to so many different places that the biggest stress would be juggling my schedule between my mom, my dad, my godmother and my friends. No one would ever be at the same place. Everyone would be talking shit on each other. Just stressful ... and expensive! This year, weʼre just going to stay in Seattle and do our own thing. It sounds like weʼll be having Thanksgiving dinner with Alan and Patrick and that sounds like a great old time to me. Itʼll be nice to just relax and kick up our feet. So, Iʼm leading to wonder what Thanksgiving really means to me. I remember hearing on TV the other day that originally, the puritans (I think thatʼs who they were) who celebrated thanksgiving actually did not eat a bunch of food like todayʼs modern consumer-driven Americans. They fasted! Yes, imagine that! I could probably do with some fasting myself. Iʼve gained too many pounds and my body has become soft and just not what I had ever hoped for. You can grab on to too many parts of my torso and my skin will collect and bunch up. Itʼs just nasty. Anyway! I guess Thanksgiving is a time to be extra-grateful for the things we have and whatʼs going on in our lives. Since I have made a point in my own life to be

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John Paul Sharp

grateful for what I have every day, it seems a little redundant to me, but heck - Iʼll just go with it and try to come up with a top-ten list of things Iʼm super-grateful for. Okay, ready? Here we go! Number Ten: Unemployment. Jeeze, I tell you what - the unemployment I have collected since June of 2010 has kept me right over that line of falling into the financial hole Iʼve been digging over the last several years. I donʼt know how we do it, as Americans, but it seems to me like life without some type of debt is nearly impossible. I mean, if you think about it, the only way you can get a house is if youʼre rich and have lots of cash or if youʼve got a job and are willing to pay it off for thirty years. Most of the time, you canʼt even qualify for a loan unless youʼve already got a regular history running up and paying off debt. Consider someone like me - I have an amazing credit score because Iʼve been steeped in debt for years, yet Iʼm never late making payments on anything. The credit companies love me because Iʼm not afraid to become a slave to their credit limits. I donʼt know how many times Iʼve had a credit card company bump my line up to $6,000 all the way up to $10,000. When that happens, you think - how crazy! Why would I ever need that much of a credit line. Well, before you know it, you end up using it and using it until you realize thatʼs how they get you. Iʼm just thankful that Iʼve had unemployment for as long as I have. I know itʼs almost up. Iʼm just hoping that it doesnʼt kill me that I wonʼt be getting that extra $340 every two weeks. But itʼs probably a good thing. Hopefully it will force me to get some kind of job. I think Iʼve been too picky because Iʼve been able to count on that unemployment to keep me afloat. Eventually, Iʼll probably end up a part-time waitress again, god forbid, but for now, I can focus on theatre and just be glad. Number Nine: School loans and the ability to go to school. I have always enjoyed being a college student. Iʼve technically been in school since 2005, with about a year break in 2009. I didnʼt really start racking up the loans until 2010 when I started my M.A. degree. My senior year in college was a full-ride and I didnʼt take out any loans then, but now, Iʼm taking twenty grand every year. I think Iʼm up to 80 grand now and thereʼs no job in sight. So ridiculous, but I can say that I am a much different person than I was in 2004. Now I can proudly call myself well-educated. Too bad no one pays you to be smart. I am grateful for the privileges Iʼve had in regard to going to school. Iʼve learned how to sing and act and be a great performer. Iʼve learned a lot about psychology and instructional design. Iʼve been able to get computer software and equipment at great deals because of my student status. Iʼve met lots of people and made great relationships with them. I have a lot of great memories from my time as an undergrad too. I fulfilled a lot of my personal dreams through college.

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John Paul Sharp

Number Eight: The ability to move my body. Iʼm glad that Iʼm able to physically do things that allow me to act in theatre. Itʼs easy to take movement for granted. You donʼt realize how valuable or even seemingly essentially moving your body is for most daily routines. Not until you lose that ability. So, for now, Iʼm absolutely grateful. Number Seven: The ability to sing. They say singing is the highest form of spiritual praise. I can say, for sure, that when I sing, I think Iʼm the most spiritually connected than at any other time in my life. I love being able to sing and Iʼm so happy that Iʼve learned how to sing in a way that other people can appreciate. This gives me opportunities to sing on stage and continue to work on my craft as a singer. Number Six: Not having some chronic or terminal disease. Iʼve met and had friends who suffered from diseases that really affect their daily lives. The mental and emotional toll this takes is perhaps the greatest challenge for them to enjoy their lives. Itʼs hard to say if we are strong enough to deal with this type of life situation and for now, Iʼm just grateful that god or the great cosmos above have not given me an opportunity to find out if I am strong enough or not. Number Five: Having a roof over my head when I sleep at night. Paying rent has and probably always be my greatest priority financially. I never take any chances as to whether or not I will be able to pay rent. Being homeless sounds like the most terrifying way to live a life. There was one and only one time in my life where I was late paying rent and the person I was subletting to made my life a living hell until I could get the money to her. I went to so far as to ask my mother for help, which is something I never ever do and will never do again. While I would never wish any harm on anyone, I can probably say that I hope the decision that woman made to make my life a living hell still haunts her to this day. I have a feeling, though, that it probably doesnʼt and that sheʼs mostly forgotten about me. Karmaʼs a bitch, but sheʼs also flaky sometimes. At any rate, I am always aware that I could lose shelter at any given month if Iʼm not careful and so Iʼm always very grateful that I havenʼt struggled so much that rent couldnʼt be paid. I do, however, chalk that up to the fact that Iʼve made it such a priority in my adult years. Number Four: My friends. Who are you without friends to love you and miss you and want to know how youʼre doing? I think if I never had any friends throughout my life, I wouldnʼt have much of a sense of identity. I know what my best and worst qualities are because of the interactions Iʼve had with my friends. My friends are responsible for who I have become and so if I love myself at all, I owe much of that to the love of my friends. Friends are what keeps you from

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feeling invisible - from feeling like if you disappeared, there wouldnʼt be a void where you left. Number Three: My cats. My cats are like my children. They keep me stable because I have them to care for. They give me a sense of responsibility much like those who have actual children, except my cats rarely talk back and rarely get themselves into trouble. Well, okay, Sylvester likes to find unique ways of getting into trouble, but itʼs not like Iʼll ever have to pay for him to go to college or get piano lessons or anything. They are simple, soft and usually always ready to receive love. I also like that they are different from dogs in that you have to earn and maintain a sense of trust with your cats. You canʼt expect your cat to always be around for you like a dog will. Dogs will take attention no matter what, but a cat, you must continuously respect. I like that about them and Iʼm very grateful to have them in my life. I canʼt imagine what itʼs going to be like when they pass on. I just canʼt think about that at all! Number Two: My family and my boyfriend. Even though my mom can be unassumingly overly critical about my life and even though my father can be unassumingly neglectful about my life, Iʼm grateful I still have them alive today. I may not always agree with either of them, but Iʼll always appreciate the fact that I can pick up the phone and talk to them. I love how night and day they are. Itʼs an amazing thought that they ever got together, had sex and bore me. I think thatʼs what makes me so interesting is that I come from two starkly different individuals. Iʼm also completely grateful for my boyfriend, of course. Heʼs like my husband except I have troubles calling him that since we canʼt legally get married. But if anyone were to be anything like my husband, it would be him. Weʼve been through a lot together and are still in love. I canʼt imagine what my life would be like without him. I know I would not be as happy and would probably be getting into a shit-pile of trouble. Being single was never a great thing for me and my man makes me whole. I just hope I can be as good of a boyfriend to him as he has been to me someday. Iʼm eternally grateful for him. Number One: My life. Without this life, there wouldnʼt be anything to talk about. Iʼd be an energy particle or a salmon or a stepped-on spider. Enough said! BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Twenty-One: Make Your Own Kind of Music
Well, here I am, sitting in the Seattle Center House and trying to catch up on nanowrimo again. I donʼt know if they picked November because it seemed convenient for them, but having participated in this for my fourth year, I can honestly say itʼs one of the most horrible months to try and accomplish writing fifty thousand words in thirty days. My Novembers have always been jam-packed with activities and deadlines. This year is no different. Iʼve got my masters work which is taking more time than I would like - as in, itʼs actually taking time to do. Ha! I spent the majority of the day today trying to get the content together for my edWeb, or educational website. This whole eLearning degree is really strange for me. I donʼt necessarily know how Iʼm going to make this degree work out for me. All I can really do is just do my best. Iʼve probably talked about this before, but a lot of the jobs Iʼve seen for eLearning require that you have a bachelor degree in some type of basic field like math, science, marketing, etc. Thereʼs just not a lot of vocal performance majors who end up meandering to eLearning like I did. But screw it. I got myself into this mess and by God, Iʼll make something shine out of it. Iʼll just keep working on my edWeb and try to make it look as good as possible. Iʼll get my portfolio together and perhaps someone will hire me to do something related to eLearning. At this point, Iʼm just ready to have a job! I was looking at my bank account today and gritting my teeth. Iʼm so close to not having enough money to get me through to the end of January. December and January are always tough months since Iʼve depended so much on student loans to get me through. If I keep getting unemployment (itʼs supposed to run out any time now), then I should be okay. Otherwise, we might be late for rent in January. Fun times! Iʼm not blaming anyone. Iʼve gotten myself into this whole mess. I just keep telling myself that all the decisions Iʼve made were made for some good reason or another and that I shouldnʼt be so hard on myself. Iʼm not some vagrant or anything. Iʼm a hard working, highly ethical individual who just wants to do the best I can at whatever it is Iʼm supposed to be doing. But that, my friends, is the rub - what am I supposed to be doing? Yes, Iʼm talented at acting and singing and I can write a good tune. I have a lot of potential in the performance world, but Iʼm just not sure how to make it work without a day job. And if it were as easy as just getting a day job, I wouldnʼt have anything to complain about. Iʼd be like everyone else - doing something Monday through Friday and then living my dreams in the theatre on weeknights and weekends.

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John Paul Sharp

I could do a bunch of stuff. I could start a nonprofit theatre organization and just do my own shows. Of course, with no income other than stupid school loans and unemployment, thatʼs way easier said than done. It is, however, a great option to think about when I finally do get out of school. I hear if youʼve got a nice nonprofit going, it can help you if you donʼt have the money to pay off student loans. And Iʼd be helping the community! So, I was all excited about downloading Kate Bushʼs new album. I finally did a few nights ago and I gave it a listen. I can say that it was about what I expected, but not quite what I was hoping for. I suppose that when we reach a certain age, we kind of stop making intense music. Kate Bush has always been great for making intensely imaginative, dream-like music. This album does that, but in a much slower, soothing and atmospheric way. Itʼs not exactly attention-grabbing. Itʼs the kind of music that would best be heard in the background, really, and I canʼt hide my disappointment. I wanted so much more! And what is it with my favorite artists bringing their kids into the mix? Tori has her daughter singing on her new album and Kateʼs got her son singing on hers. Both of their childrenʼs voices are really quite beautiful and it makes me more excited to see if these kids will blossom into their own music journeys. Of course, they have such big shoes to fill, I wonder if they would really go for it in the end. Who knows how much their mothers dragged them into it! So, I donʼt know if itʼs older age or having kids that does it, but both those ladies put out some rather sleepy songs this year. Iʼm a little sad because Iʼve been craving new music by them and was so happy and surprised when I found out they were. I guess you canʼt have everything. At least Björk put out some amazing work this year, though, I might say, it was also a little sleepy in comparison to her previous work. But still - her music is wildly awesome regardless. The more I think about it, the more it makes me look at my own music that Iʼve made. I havenʼt released anything in 2011 and wonʼt. I have a gaggle of unreleased songs that Iʼm not totally happy with. My goal is to get them reworked and in a better place so I can release them next year. I also want to take more time to perfect the overall sound and make some touches that show maturity and skill in recording. In the past, Iʼve always released music as soon as I put it down. It was always good enough for me because I was in the frame of mind that I had to prove to myself and others that I had what it took to not just write some songs, but to be prolific. And prolific I was. Twenty albums in five years is no game, but I can tell you there are a collection of songs in those twenty albums that I probably could have and should have kept to myself.

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John Paul Sharp

I do look at those five years as a documentation of sorts, like a journal of my musical journey. So, in some ways, every one of those songs should be out there for the world to hear and see. You can listen to my music chronologically and hear a real progression in my work. Thatʼs been fine for five years. Now, I want to do more. Now I want to work on an album that Iʼve sat with for at least a year. I want to spend so much time on it that I know the music backwards and forwards. I want to rerecord vocals over and over again until I get that one magic sound. I want to build the songs up, break them back down and build ʻem up again until I come up with a sound that I am truly proud to share with the world. And Iʼm going to keep all this music to myself. Iʼm not going to listen to outside perspectives and opinions, though I know they are valuable. I want an album that reflects my own perspective over the course of years. I want to create a masterpiece of sorts. Something I could possibly tour with - you never know! These are the things I think about as I wait for rehearsal to begin. Sometimes, I feel like I spread myself out so thin that Iʼll never get anything done in my life. Iʼll just be known for trying a lot things, but perhaps never known for being really great at anything. I mean, who has a wiki that says, “After he produced three original musicals, he began his journey in eLearning?” Really? BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Twenty-Two: Only in My Dreams
Ever since I stopped smoking marijuana several months ago, I have been having vivid dreams every night. Thereʼs really not a morning that I donʼt wake up and remember whatever dream it is that I had. I suppose thatʼs a good thing. Iʼm not really sure if it means anything at all, other than the fact that my mind is probably more aware than it has been for several years. I suppose life without good olʼ marijuana is better. Iʼm not going to lie. There are some rainy days when I donʼt have anywhere to be and I get that itch. But itʼs not the kind of itch that absolutely has to be scratched. I donʼt get all crazy about it - I just kind of think to myself, “Thatʼd be nice,” and move on with other thoughts. I have dreams with recurring characters, most of them from my childhood. A lot of the time itʼs my long time friend, Jeff, or his father. My mom and my own dad often show up in my dreams. Then, of course, thereʼs brief visits from my sister. Those are the stranger ones because during the dreams, I kind of forget that she died. Itʼs not until I wake up and a few minutes pass that I remember and take a sigh of disappointment. I then try to think about what stuff we talked about or what happened in my dream because I wonder sometimes if thatʼs really her spirit visiting me. A lot of the time, my dreams deal with some type of guilt. Usually Iʼve done something to get myself in trouble and Iʼm trying to work a way out of the problem. Those arenʼt my favorite types of dreams. Other times, I have these incredible dreams where Iʼm on a plane that almost hits a building or Iʼm on some strange roller coaster that flies off the rail. I love those kinds of dreams. I remember another dream where the Earth had lost its orbit and was heading towards the sun. That was pretty darn amazing, but also had this feeling of sadness as I remember I was trying to find people to be with for the end and, of course, you know the way dreams work - I wasnʼt able to do that. Itʼs funny how in our dreams we have these goals and objectives that always get derailed, whether itʼs because something else happens or because the dream itself changes entirely. I guess dreams represent real life that way. If I had more wherewithal, Iʼd totally do what people say you should do: make some kind of conscious decision to dream about something, go to bed, then wake up in the morning and write down everything you can remember. Thatʼs fine if youʼre one of those people who can focus and develop habits easily, but thatʼs not me. Iʼll do something like crazy for three weeks, burn out and then move on.

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John Paul Sharp

You know, I was watching The Dead Files from the Travel Channel. Itʼs not the best show Iʼve ever seen, but it is interesting. This lady named Amy walks through houses and talks to dead people and then some cop guy does his own independent investigation. Then they come together and see how much they find out and what similarities were discovered. There was this one episode where one of the clients of the investigation said that she speaks with all these spirits in her dreams. Amy told her that before she goes to bed at night, she should tell the spirits that itʼs okay to talk to her, but not through her. I thought that was a real interesting thing and wondered if I might be able to do it myself. I think maybe tonight, Iʼll say something out loud about how spirits can visit me in my dreams and talk to me - but not THROUGH me! Ha! Iʼm not trying to get possessed or anything. It would be fascinating if it worked. If it does, I probably wonʼt tell anyone for fear of people thinking Iʼm absolutely bonkers. But I sure as heck would write those interactions down! It makes me wonder what types of spirits might be in my apartment building. Iʼm not really sure. I donʼt think I could sense them the way our apartment is now. Thereʼs far too much electricity running and other noises that would, I would think, make it hard to sense a spirit. One time, last year, when I was still living in Denver, the electricity went out in my entire block while I was shopping at the grocery store. I came home to absolutely deadening silence. I found myself staying outside on my balcony because for some reason, I was too freaked out to actually sit inside my apartment alone. There was something about the air in there ... it seemed very heavy, not to mention extremely warm (it was during the summer, if I remember right). I think the apartment we live in now has been around for at least forty years. Thatʼs plenty of time for people to have died and stuck around, so Iʼm sure thereʼs probably some spirits somewhere. Heck, I might just give it a try. Of course, I should probably think of what I might talk about ahead of time. Iʼd hate to invite spirits for a chat and then not have any questions prepared for them ahead of time. What could I ask? I suppose the first questions, beyond the normal hello, how are you and whatʼs your name, would be something like, “What happened to you?” Perhaps something more specific, like, “What happened when you died?” I hear that spirits want their stories told, so thatʼs probably the best way to get a conversation started. If I could speak to any spirit, Iʼd love to speak to Nina Simone. I had a dream several years ago that I was sitting with her on the back porch of one of her houses in the South of France. She was giving me a bunch of advise on life and men and I remember being so happy in that dream. Iʼd love to visit her again,

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

whether it be her actual spirit or it be a figment of my own imagination. I always thought of Nina as kind of a mother figure in my mind. I learned so much and developed a lot of my philosophy on life through the lessons learned in her music and her life. Of course, Iʼd love to talk to my sister too. I suppose Iʼd like to talk to my grandparents, though I did not really know any of them. I know my motherʼs mother for a bit - before she got Alzheimerʼs - but I donʼt think she really cared for me. I have no idea if she would even approve of my gay life. I wonder how that works - if spirits do exist and the soul lingers after life ends. Because social standards evolve over time, how to folks that were alive even just fifty years ago deal with watching their descendants change? I wonder if the spirits themselves also change their attitudes about gender, race and orientation? I know that Amy lady from The Dead Files mentions a lot of these male spirits have a tough time with women who are independent and stuff. Does that mean my grandmother or great-grandmother or great-great - you get the picture - does that mean those people would not like me or want to visit me because I represent modern ideas? Itʼs interesting to think about. Iʼve always been jealous of those people who say they have lucid dreams all the time. I rarely get the opportunity to realize Iʼm dreaming in a dream, let alone the ability to start making decisions and doing what I want in a dream. Just think of the possibilities! If I could do anything I wanted to in a dream, geeze, Iʼd probably make a bunch of money, get some hookers, do a bunch of blow and gamble! Ha! No well, maybe - for one dream anyway. I suppose if we could do anything we wanted to in our dreams, weʼd do more substantial, spiritual activities that come from a higher plane of pleasure and not the more primitive desires that are more present in our conscious lives. And just like a dream, I feel this journal entry today is totally meandering and slightly pointless. I know in my own dreams, I have little control over what happens or what I end up doing. I feel like Iʼm always being guided by my emotions and traumas from my life when Iʼm dreaming. They say thatʼs what we do when we dream: process the pain and doldrums of our daily lives. Perhaps if I can remember my dream tomorrow morning, Iʼll try to quickly get it down and make it part of my entry tomorrow. Iʼll even do that thing before bed where I ask spirits to talk to me, but not through me. Who knows - maybe Iʼll end up visiting someone real interesting. Maybe Iʼll end up talking to Ozell, the cat I had for a few months before he died of Baby Kitty Leukemia (thatʼs the non-scientific name). I always wondered if our cats and dogs would be with us after we die. That would be nice. I do wonder, though, if those crazy cat ladies on Hoarders would have like 200 cats

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

waiting for her after death. Iʼm not sure if that would be the best thing to happen, but I suppose if the lady hoarded them in her actual life, she probably wouldnʼt mind hoarding them in the afterlife either. I wonder what kind of afterlife is out there for poor Ozell. He didnʼt live very long at all. His last month or two before I put him down was probably filled with unspoken misery. Me, having not been the best mommy, did not even realize he was sick until the last week or two when he was totally lethargic. If I could talk to him in my dreams, Iʼd tell him that Iʼm awfully sorry I had him waiting around to die like that. I still feel pretty guilty to this day about the whole matter. I also feel terrible that I did not stay with him when they put him to sleep. My friend Patrick said thatʼs what he did when he put his pets down. When it happened to me, I was so distraught over the whole thing that I just paid for it and left, crying uncontrollably as I drove home. I let the poor guy be put down all by himself. Maybe one of the vets was with him. I dunnoʼ, really. Maybe heʼll come to talk to me in my dream and let me know. The poor thing. Anyway, itʼs high time I put this entry to a close. If your head is spinning after reading this, itʼs okay. Mine is too. Ha! Iʼve got some work to do on my stupid edWeb so Iʼd better do some of that before it gets to be too late. Goodnight and sweet dreams! BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Twenty-Three: 2012 is Gonna Be CRAZY
Am I the only one who think 2012 is going to be one helluvaʼ crazy year? You know, I watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann and it seems to be the only news program out there that actually keeps a real eye on the Occupy Wall Street protestors across the country. Of course, I donʼt really watch many other news programs, so maybe the rest is too, but somehow I doubt they are giving it as much coverage. I donʼt mind the program so much. I do feel like Iʼm being informed, but sometimes I feel it has too much of a liberal bias. Iʼd really like to watch some news that is absolutely balanced. I want to hear about the problems on both ʻsides.ʼ At any rate, I was watching tonight and they were showing a clip of President Obama speaking to a highschool in New Hampshire and he was distracted and interrupted by the Occupy Wall Street folks who were yelling “mic check!” The prez even stopped what he was saying and listened to them. Of course, what else could he do? Since at least September, Iʼve been keeping my own eye on this protest movement and I have predicted that they will only get larger. I honestly do feel that we are on the precipice of a social movement like our country had with the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. The only big difference is that we have so much technology today that weʼre all easily distracted and, quite frankly, bored. Also, our media outlets and the way we get news can so heavily condense whatʼs happening that we may not be totally understanding of what is actually going on in the streets of our nation. Do people realize that over 4,000 arrests have been made in the last several months? Do people actually care? Another thing thatʼs interesting that the program mentioned was that people who watch Fox News are supposed to be less aware of whatʼs going on in the world than people who donʼt watch any news on television at all. This was from an article that came out in the New York Daily News: http:// www.nydailynews.com/news/fox-news-viewers-informed-current-events-don-twatch-news-study-finds-article-1.981257?localLinksEnabled=false. Of course, this was a poll taken in New Jersey, so it may not reflect people in America as a whole. I do think it points to some truth, however. I canʼt believe our government or some other type of official people hasnʼt tried to do something about the amount of disinformation that channel is putting out there. Perhaps thereʼs disinformation happening on CNN and MSNBC as well. Itʼs just insane, really. I hope these Occupy Wall Street protestors can bring this movement to a place where we, as citizens of this country, are able to make the necessary changes to media and the government - changes that will help improve the

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John Paul Sharp

quality of lives not just for us but for the future generations ahead of us. A bunch of these protestors are smart kids who have graduated from college and are stacked in a bunch of student loan debt and have no jobs. I totally understand their frustrations, having graduated summa cum laude and having a hell of a time trying to find work myself. Of course, I did get my B.S. degree in Vocal Performance, so Iʼm pretty much responsible for all the damage Iʼve done. Ha! Itʼs funny. I graduated with a 3.94 GPA for my bachelors and I have a 4.0 for my masters, which is nearly finished. Yet, Iʼm applying for jobs where it makes a whole lot more sense for me to lie and say that I got a GED. I really do think my level of education works against me when it comes to trying to get some type of a job. Starbucks didnʼt even want me and I think I would have been a great daytime barista! Of course, I wonʼt lie ... Iʼm kind of relieved Starbucks didnʼt hire me because I didnʼt think I was going to be able to wake up at 3 oʼclock in the morning - heck - thatʼs when I go to bed sometimes! Also, I was going to have to walk from the top of Capitol Hill all the way to downtown around 4 oʼclock in the morning. Do you know how sketchy that is? 4 a.m. is when all the craziest, most serious crimes happen. Knowing my luck, Iʼd have gotten that job and would have ended up a statistic in a few months. What Iʼd really like is a nice day job. Nothing too serious or stressful that I wouldnʼt be able to continue my craft as a performing artist. Just something where I can come in, make some people happy and then be on about my life. But what kind of jobs out there allow for that? The first thought that pops up into my mind is breakfast/lunch waitress. I did that kind of work for seven years and it nearly killed me - well, it nearly destroyed my soul. I promised myself Iʼd never do that line of work again after I left and so far, Iʼve kept my word. The longer I think about it, though, the more I keep thinking I should just start applying to those breakfast/lunch places. They are great jobs in that you get up early, but not so early that you canʼt take a bus to work. You come in, make some money for four to six hours and then you have the rest of the day and night to do whatever it is you want to do in your life. The more I think about it, the more appealing it becomes again. But then I remember all the stress and drama and conflict and innerstruggle that comes with that kind of work. People treat you like shit. People run you into the ground. Bosses constantly make you feel like youʼre dispensable. Of course, that was seven years in Denver, working at a small chain for a super conservative group of owners. It could totally be different here in Seattle. I always liked working for UNOʼs in San Francisco. That was good money and my bosses werenʼt totally mean or crazy - though there was a hell of a lot of drama. Oh yes, much drama was had at that store. But I chalk a lot of that up to

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John Paul Sharp

the fact that I was in my early twenties and was dealing with drug and sex abuse problems. Iʼm sure most of the drama I had back then was mostly driven by mere existence! Ha! My actor friend, Ali, works at a place called Portage Bay Café. Iʼve thought about going and applying there and then I start talking to her and she always seems so stressed out about her job. I wonder, though, if I applied and just worked 15 to 20 hours a week, if it would really be all that stressful. Thatʼs assuming they would hire me. Whether I end up finding a job in 2012 or not, yet, dear God, I hope I end up finding something next year, I think the year itself is going to be crazy. I hope these protest continue to grow, but I hope they donʼt end up getting more violent. The moment these protests get violent is the moment our country steps down from being a civilized country. I do fear that we are becoming more representative of ʻthird-worldʼ countries who have extreme economic inequality and violence on the streets. If we can keep our protests nonviolent, I think it will be more powerful and positive changes can come from them. Violence begets violence and honestly, nothing good can come out of it. I just hope the American people and the powers-that-be are willing to open their eyes, ears and hearts and see this movement for what it is: a time for change. Whatever happens, I think 2012 is going to be very interesting. I just hope it ends on a better note than 2011 seems to be ending on. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Twenty-Four: Iʼm Stuffed Like That Turkey
Well, we just spent the last several hours eating a bunch of food, drinking a bunch of wine and enjoying the company of our good friends Alan and Patrick. Ahh, we had a great, relaxing time and I am definitely thankful to have them in my life! It was nice to spend the day with my boyfriend too. So often when I go spend time with friends, my man ends up having to work. Well, thankfully, he did not have to today. He will be working around 2 a.m., however, because I guess he volunteered to help decorate Trader Joeʼs for the Christmas holiday. I ate so much effing turkey, stuffing, cranberries, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. We had some delicious champagne with cranberry juice (great idea, by the way!) and then we drank some wonderful Chilean County, Washington wine. I think Iʼd be good if I didnʼt eat for like three days, Iʼm so full. But, Iʼm happy. Oh, I totally forgot to mention the apple pie made from San Juan Island apples with homemade whipped cream and the homemade pumpkin pie, which, I politely declined for fear of exploding right there at the dinner table. I had a four hour rehearsal today too. Can you believe it? Theatre rehearsal on Thanksgiving Day? Yeah, I know, it sounds crazy, but it happened! Because my co-actor had to leave for San Francisco for a week recently, due to a personal family loss, we ended up losing a few rehearsals that we could only reschedule for today. I think it went pretty good. At least the first half. The second half seemed rather strained. I donʼt know if it was because we were a little tired or because it was Thanksgiving day or what - but that last hour seemed to be a real struggle for us. While I feel honored to be a part of this production and I truly am excited for the performances at the beginning of December, I think Iʼll be really glad when itʼs all over with. Some shows go smoothly and others are a little rougher. This one feels a little rougher, for sure. Either way, I think weʼll get a lot of laughs and really, thatʼs what weʼre there for. Tomorrow is my only day off for quite awhile. After tomorrow, Iʼll be in rehearsals every night until next Sunday. Itʼs great to be so busy, but I sure picked a bad time for it. Iʼm supposed to be finishing my edWeb for my masters degree and Iʼm not gonnaʼ lie. I have at least eight major tasks to get done before the first week of December if I want to continue to be the Type A personality I am usually so proud to be. Worst case scenario, I could get about two of those tasks done by Monday and then get another two tasks finished by the next week and Iʼll probably still walk away from the class with an A. What I would prefer is that I get all eight tasks done on the deadlines that Iʼve chosen for myself. The more I can get done now, the better my graduating portfolio will be. If I donʼt finish my deadlines, I may

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

easily end up procrastinating on them over the next year and who knows how that will look for my portfolio at the end of the day. No matter how it all goes down, I truly am grateful to have these types of concerns in my life. My future might not be completely obvious at any given time, but really, who wants that kind of life anyway? Sure, a little more security would be nice, but I think I like the fact that I donʼt know what my life will look like from year to year. It probably makes my mother sick to her stomach and I know my own turns from time to time, but Iʼm an artist, for goodness sakes. Arenʼt I supposed to be poor with a sense of fluidity for my lifeʼs journey? Shoot. Iʼm probably right where I need to be. Lately, Iʼve been thinking about starting a 501c3 to produce my own theatre shows. Yes, I know it sounds like a terrible amount of work, but what the hell else am I going to do without a job? Acting in shows and getting an M.A. degree is great, but what good am I doing for the community? At least with a nonprofit, I could expand on my theatre talents and really find a place for myself with people here in Seattle. If I really do end up getting another M.A. in Drama Therapy at Antioch, I could easily tie in a nonprofit organization into my work. Itʼs definitely on my brain, but it will take a lot more research to really make an informed decision is thatʼs the right direction for me. I just want to find ways to spend my time that will help others, allow a place for someone like me to do the things I do best, and to, hopefully, some day make enough money to provide for my family. I may be fifty years old before I figure it out, but I figure as long as I am able to keep a roof over our heads, I think weʼll be okay. Yes, Iʼm perfectly fine with the way things are going. Iʼm perfectly happy with the set of friends I have and the circumstances God has put in me in. I love my kitties and I love my boyfriend. Hell, the only thing that keeps me from calling him my husband is the fact that itʼs not legal for me to have one. Iʼm not one of those people who can just pretend that we do have rights when we really donʼt. And Iʼm also not the type of guy to go have some civil union ceremony either. That all seems false to me. I get why people do it. I mean, we should have some way to celebrate our love and all that stuff, but for me to have a ceremony? It would be like a slap in my own face. The whole thing would just be a big statement that says, “We canʼt legally get married, so weʼre having a civil union which is different from marriage but supposedly a decent alternative.” Thatʼs just not my style. If I were to have a civil union, Iʼd demand that everyone wear blood red clothes or perhaps ruin their clothes by throwing blood on them. Then we could all gather around and scream and yell while the ceremony progresses. That would be my kind of civil union because it would be making a statement that a

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John Paul Sharp

civil union is in no way an acceptable alternative to marriage. Marriage is marriage and nothing else will do for me. Of course, Iʼm probably also one of those people where if marriage were legal, Iʼd probably prefer not to do it. Not for at least ten good years. I figure if two people are together for at least ten years, they might as well get married. Maybe fifteen years is even better. These folks who get married after knowing each other for less than a year are just plumb crazy if you ask me. I think one would have better luck if they went to Las Vegas with their life savings, honestly. And donʼt even get me started on that Kardashian wedding thing. Oh, the hypocrisy of it all! What a slap in the face to all people, gay or straight or whatever. But, you know what? Itʼs effing Thanksgiving and I shouldnʼt be wasting my thoughts or energies on the likes of that whole mess. I think the longer I do these daily writings, the more twisty and turning my daily thoughts become. Could I be running out of things to think about or is it just that Iʼm losing my ability to commit to one specific thought or another? Who knows. All I know is that Iʼm just going to keep writing and putting my thoughts out there ʻcause all I have are seven more days and seven more thoughts. And you know what? This is the first year out of four years Iʼve participated in nanowrimo.org that Iʼm actually going to accomplish the goal of writing fifty thousand words in the month of November. And whether my thoughts are discombobulated, I really donʼt care! Iʼll still feel like Iʼve accomplished something Iʼve tried to accomplish for many years. Technically, Iʼm not even following the rules, but I still donʼt care. Technically, the rules are that youʼre supposed to write fictional novel of fifty thousands words in the month of November. Iʼm not writing a fictional novel, Iʼm writing about thirty thoughts in thirty days. Thereʼs no plot and thereʼs not much fiction either. Itʼs the just the thoughts and feelings I call my own by putting them down into written form. Maybe next year, Iʼll try a fictional story again. I did it the last several years. I wrote one story that ended up being a good forty or fifty pages long. Itʼs actually a great start to a story, but it just stops. Thereʼs no conclusion and thereʼs not much of a body either. Itʼs just a really great setup that could probably be condensed. It was a horror story called Patience, named after the main character, a woman who lost her family to drug abuse and domestic violence. She ends up homeless a year later and gets caught up with a strange man who takes her to a cabin in the woods, holds her hostage and rapes her. The ghost of her youngest daughter helps her escape into the woods and thatʼs where the story ends.

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John Paul Sharp

Where I had planned on taking it was Patience was going to end up finding a hidden bunker. When she tries and fails to enter it, she encounters strange beings and is surrounded by bright lights. She passes out and wakes up in a jail cell. Then these mysterious beings open the door and she, with the help of a random young man who is also in the cell, make their way through strange rooms and tunnels. I donʼt know what happens during this part, but I figure there were some puzzles and battles that had to take place for them to make their way out. I was planning on having them leave the tunnels and either 1) find themselves in the DIA airport (Denver), or coming out into an entirely different world. The story has potential, but Iʼm not sure if itʼs a horror story or a sci-fi/ fantasy novel. Itʼs probably a mixture of both. Well, anyway, if itʼs meant to be, itʼll happen! Okay, thatʼs enough random thoughts for you all today. I hope all of you have enjoyed your Thanksgiving days and I hope youʼve all spent some great time with your family and/or your friends. Thatʼs what life should be about. Spend every day being thankful, not just one day a year. Tell everyone around you how much you love them. Eat, drink and be merry. Our problems are never fixed. Everything is fluid and so are the gifts we have. Appreciate them every day. Thatʼs it! Love you all! Goodnight! BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Twenty-Five: My Heaven Has Cats
I was listening to Tryst With Mephistopheles by Owen Pallett on my way to Ballard today and it nearly made me cry. Could it have been the glass of wine I had just an hour earlier? Or was it the two coronas I drank shortly after that glass of wine? Of course, it could have been the empty stomach which received these beverages. It could have been the overcast weather too. Thereʼs just something about his music that I connect with so strongly. Its just so effing amazing! Okay, enough vomiting my obsessive love for his music. We get it. I love it! I just want everyone else to love it just as much. Todayʼs been a busy day so far. I was accidentally 45 minutes late to my first rehearsal today. I think Iʼve learned that I canʼt trust my own mind most of the time, as I thought our rehearsal was starting at 1:30 p.m. when it was really noon. I had it in my calendar on my iPhone at 1;30. This isnʼt the first time Iʼve mixed something up in the last month. Last time, I thought we were meeting in Ballard for my other show and it ended up that we were supposed to be in TPS at the Seattle Center House. I thought, perhaps, that it wasnʼt clearly communicated to the cast, but after I checked e-mails, I see that the director mentioned it three separate times. Yeah. Itʼs my mind. I was just thinking that it is strange how music can make me so emotional more so than the emotions of other people, I think. Iʼm not sure, but I wonder if that says anything about it me at all. Something along the same vein as people who care more about animals than other human beings, which slightly describes me as well. Itʼs not that I donʼt care about people, itʼs just that my cats are easier to love. Ha! Even when they are causing trouble and things, I still love them to pieces and have never really gotten angry with them. I think Iʼve been frustrated with Leighlia before as she was peeing on the carpet a lot there for awhile, but I never really got angry with her because I knew it was my fault that the littler box wasnʼt the right kind and it was not cleaned enough. I say she had every right to pee on the carpet because back then the litter box was in such a condition that I wouldnʼt even pee on it. In my opinion, cats are even better than dogs. Why? They can take care of themselves for the most part. You could go on vacation for several days and the only thing someone would need to do is check to make sure there was still some food in their bowls. Thereʼs really no need to ʻwalkʼ a cat. Yes, you do need to play with them regularly to keep them happy, but even if you forget or have lapses of laziness (like I do), it doesnʼt kill them. They just get bored a lot. Cats donʼt bark either. At most, they cry a lot, which can sometimes be just as annoying, but mostly, itʼs easy to fix ... or ignore. Sylvester cries a lot when he

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John Paul Sharp

wants to play or needs attention. Most of the time, I just spend a good five to ten minutes having him chase some string or a bird on the stick. Other times, when Iʼm doing schoolwork and I canʼt devote the time, I just put on my earphones and he gets over it. Now dogs - they need a lot of attention and care. Last time I went to San Juan Island with my friends, they brought their dogs. I love both of their dogs dearly and they really are cute as a button, but Iʼm not gonnaʼ lie. By the time we were in the car on the ferry, I was ready to throw the dogs out on the water. Ha! They just got to be so much and I can only handle it for so long. Itʼs not the end of the world, but I think it would drive me crazy to have my own dog. I just donʼt think Iʼm a dog person. If I were to have a dog, I would have to have a house with a large backyard and a secure fence. The dog would be allowed inside, but I imagine it would spend most of its time outside. That way, when the dog gets on my nerves from barking or jumping on top of me, I could just make it go outside and play. No, cats are my thing. I think if I were rich and had lots of space, Iʼd probably have a bunch of ʻem running around. Not as much as hoarding cat ladies, because I think thatʼs terribly sad. Cats should have plenty of space to do their own thing. Whenever I watch those shows, I want to hit those hoarders. Whatʼs wrong with them? Canʼt they see how miserable those cats are, clawing each other and hissing and stuff? Itʼs ʻcause theyʼre all feeling claustrophobic. Sometimes those shows end up revealing cat skeletons under piles of newspapers. Sickening! How does someone not notice or smell a dead cat? I love how they have a psychologist to help them clean their house when what they really need is a police officer with cuffs to arrest them. I bet if hoarders were arrested for that kind of thing more often, theyʼd not repeat their behavior. Sure, a psychologist does some good, but Iʼm not sure those shows really give these people the consequences to train them to stop being so selfish. A good 48 hours in the clink might show grandma that itʼs not okay to hoard animals. In fact, itʼs just plain wrong. I have great moments with my cats and they definitely have strong personalities. Leighlia is the quiet one who waits for ʻher timeʼ to get attention. Usually, itʼs when I go to the bathroom and sit down on the toilet that she comes running up to me, knowing full well that thereʼs nothing for me to do there other than give her attention. Leighlia likes to get what I call ʻbear-hugs.ʼ She doesnʼt mind a good squeeze and will stand there and let you do it for as long as you like. Rarely does she ever cause any problems. There are the few times when sheʼs feeling a little ornery - you can tell ʻcause she starts swinging and whipping her tail around - and sheʼll start coming up to Sylvester and sort of challenging to

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John Paul Sharp

do something about her presence. She knows exactly just the kind of thing that will get him chasing her around. Most of the time, though, she doesnʼt need to do anything. Sylvester will just chase her around, stalk her, watch her while she pees, etc. I think there are some instances where she decides to turn it around on him. Leighlia has always been a mystery. When I first adopted her, the clinic thought she was about four years old. A few years later, when I took her in for a check-up, they thought she might be closer to eight or nine years old. We have no idea what her birthday is or how old she is. Oh - and did I mention sheʼs a black cat? Very mysterious indeed. Sheʼs got what I call ʻmoon-eyes.ʼ They are very big and wide and she likes to stare at you. Sheʼs really quite beautiful. Then thereʼs Sylvester. Iʼve had him since he was just a little baby. He was rescued by my friend Paul in Wichita, Kansas when there was a huge flood. I was in Europe with my god-friend John. When Ozell had to be put down from Kitty Leukemia, John decided that Sylvester would be a great addition to my home. I donʼt know how he knew, but Sylvester was really the perfect kitty for me. Iʼm pretty sure that Leighlia was not happy about his arrival. Theyʼve been at odds with each other for the last six and a half years or so. Itʼs probably because heʼs a tuxedo male and needs a lot of love and attention. He likes to be dominant over most areas of the house. And as I said before, he gets his kicks out of chasing and stalking Leighlia at any given moment of the day. If any cat were a handful, Sylvester is it. It took him four years to learn how to jump up on the counter, but when he did learn, he made it part of his daily existence. Now, he spends a lot of his time scrounging for food bits from the sink or trying to get into the trash. Heʼs my little street cat, born from the ghettos of Wichita. I always say, “You can take the cat out of the streets, but you canʼt take the streets out of the cat.” And that isnʼt more true than it is with Sylvester. Iʼve come to start calling Leighlia grandma. I figure if sheʼs about ten or eleven or somewhere around that age, whatever kitties she had before I adopted her have probably had their own by now. Most likely, sheʼs a great-great-greatgrandma. Who knows! But I like to think of her as the older, wiser female perspective in the house. When everyone else is confused, Leighlia probably knows whatʼs going on. And then thereʼs Sylvester. Even though heʼll be eight years old in April of 2012, I still think of him as my little baby. Whenever my boyfriend complains about him being naughty, my immediate reaction is to tell him, “Heʼs just a baby!” I think itʼs funny. My boyfriend probably thinks itʼs annoying. My boyfriend and Sylvester have always had a bit of a time getting to know each other. At first, we thought maybe Sylvester was racist. But the, I realized that Sylvester is technically mulatto himself, so that canʼt be it. Eventually, I

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John Paul Sharp

realized itʼs because my boyfriend is so tall and his voice is so deep and booming that it probably scares the crap out of him all the time. Sylvester used to bat at him all the time when heʼd come up to say hello - and my boyfriend would say, “You need to control that catʼs behavior.” and I would say, “He a man, ainʼt he?” Ha! Anyway, thatʼs my little entry about my darlings. I have loved them for years and I will love them until the terrible day when they pass away. Iʼm totally unprepared for this and I imagine when I do lose them, Iʼll have to take a month off from reality to mourn their loss. I know itʼs wonʼt be easy at all. I canʼt bare the thought of them leaving me. I hope that their spirits do indeed wait for me when I pass because I want to be in heaven or wherever with my little babies. Heaven wouldnʼt be heaven without them. BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Twenty-Six: Looking Ahead to the Next Year
So here I am, waiting at Starbucks for my next rehearsal. Itʼs been a full, rich day for sure. I even have a good-bye party to go to after this, though I donʼt think Iʼll stay for long. Iʼm ready to get back home, play a little Skyrim and then hit the hay. Talk about Skyrim, that game is just far too addicting. I could be doing so many other things than playing that game, but as soon as I sit down with it, I end up playing for at least a good three to four hours. Thereʼs been times where Iʼve purposely kept myself from playing it just from the pure fact that I donʼt want to get caught into it. Thereʼs just something about the gorgeous graphics and the selfsatisfaction that comes from the infinite number of quests and tasks your character gets the opportunity to achieve. And then, thereʼs the achievements and/or trophies (depending on whether youʼre playing on a PS3 or XBox or even both). Thatʼs what really gets me in. My Type A personality demands that I get all of the trophies and thatʼs probably what keeps me playing after several weeks. But I would like to devote more time to making music. I just donʼt sit down and record music like I used to. I think part of it is because I just donʼt smoke marijuana at home anymore. When I would get high, it would be easy for me to sit down and get wrapped up into a new composition or song. I could sit there for hours and keep going until I got it all down. That is part of the problems of my previous work though. Because Iʼd sit there for hours and work on the same recording, I donʼt think they are as good as they could have been. Oneʼs ears do get tired after awhile and you stopped being able to hear nuances. Itʼs most noticeable when you step away from a recording for a day or so and listen to it again. You hear so many horrible flaws and you say to yourself, “I had no idea the bass was so overwhelming!” Of course not, because you worked on the song for five hours and couldnʼt tell the difference by hour three. Now that Iʼm totally sober every day - with the exception of being lightly buzzed from alcohol randomly - I have the opportunity to work on music with a very careful ear. I can patiently work on a song and let it evolve over time. This is something Iʼve mentioned before and am very interested in following through on. I listen to artists like Owen Pallett and Imogen Heap and others who seamlessly blend electronic and classical elements and thatʼs something Iʼd really like to do. Itʼs the kind of music work that is very detailed, meticulous and requires a great deal of vision to pull off correctly. You have to come up with themes and find different and interesting ways to arrange them around a voice. It

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takes more than just playing around on a keyboard and singing on the fly though that style is perfectly fine and something Iʼve done for many, many years. No, I want to create masterpieces of songs. I want to have an album and listen to it and think, “Bach would have done something like this if he were a singer/songwriter.” Thatʼs the kind of album I want. Something complex that is pleasing to hear but also demands more of its listeners than just passive participation. I want to demand my listeners actively listen. This kind of dream takes more time, focus and dedication than Iʼm giving it right now. Most of my time is spent rehearsing and performing in theatre. When Iʼm not doing that, Iʼm working on my eLearning stuff or my masters degree. And when Iʼm not doing that stuff, Iʼm watching reality television or playing stupid Skyrim. I think it might be a good idea for me to make some new yearʼs resolutions for 2012. Usually, I avoid that kind of thing because I think itʼs ridiculous. After all, we should be focused on our goals throughout the year and the new year doesnʼt somehow change that. But because it is coming up and I am a little discombobulated, it could probably benefit me to get my goals renewed and revisited on paper. My first resolution would absolutely involved becoming more physically active. I have some pounds that need to get lost! Iʼve popped buttons on pants and have changed to a whole new size. Itʼs just unacceptable and itʼs nasty. So thatʼs my first resolution for sure. Start running. Join a gym. Something. Something that gets me sweating on a daily basis. My second would be to quit smoking cigarettes. Iʼve come so far in becoming the victor over my life-long smoking addiction. The only things I smoke these days are cigarettes. Iʼd like to be completely smoke free by my 33rd birthday. Having started smoking by the time I was about fourteen years old, I think the last 18 or so years have been terrific, but I donʼt want to hit a 20-year anniversary for being a full-time smoker. Deep down inside, thatʼs not who I am. Most people who meet me donʼt even realize I smoke. Most of my friends are nonsmokers. Itʼs my dirty little secret that I want to become my dirty little past. I think quitting smoking and becoming more physically active could go hand-inhand, donʼt you? And the third resolution that goes right along with those two is eating better and learning how to cook. My boyfriend likes to eat late at night and I think thatʼs the main culprit to my weight gain. Thereʼs really no need to eat anything after 8pm and there are times when we eat at like midnight or even later. Our bodies donʼt do anything to process this nutrition. It just becomes fat cells. Since watching all these cooking shows, Iʼve become more fascinated with learning how to cook and enjoying food. Itʼs so much easier said than done, but I

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bet if I put my head to it, I could get a habit going. The toughest thing is that actual food that isnʼt totally processed is so much more expensive to buy. It also takes time to buy those groceries and it takes more time to prepare and cook them. Itʼs not easy, but I think itʼs something I want in my life. Hell, you never know, maybe I could be one of those folks on Top Chef or Masterchef or whatever. That would be a fun experience! I think Iʼll keep them at three resolutions. Once you add anymore, youʼre just totally fooling yourself. We canʼt keep track of more than three new life experiences, in my opinion. No, if I were to accomplish those three resolutions through the year 2012, that would be totally fine with me. Iʼd call that a good year. Then my goals for 2012 are pretty simple to describe, but pretty difficult to actually make a reality. Nothing is impossible though, and Iʼve outdone myself before, so Iʼm sure I could do it again. I want to release a new album next year. I want it to be like Iʼve described earlier. Electronic with classical influence. I want complex musical themes and mostly thru-composed. I want to create something that has pop sensibilities but could never be played on the radio due to length and variety. I want someone to listen to it and be totally amazed and engrossed. My goal would be to release it for the holidays next year. My other goal is to write and produced a new musical. This would involved starting my own production company and Iʼm considering and looking into making it a nonprofit arts organization. Iʼd like to either 1) pay my actors and everyone involved or 2) raise the money for a great local organization. I could do either, really, or even both, perhaps! I could give the actors a cut of the door and whatever is left after the bills are paid would go to Gay City Health or something. Something to think about! My last goal for 2012, other than graduating with my first masters degree, is to actually find a frickinʼ job. Iʼve gottaʼ find work before this summer or Iʼm just not going to feel right about myself! Plus, Iʼm sure my boyfriend is sick of living with me after having not worked a ʻrealʼ job since May of 2010. Two years is too long to go without making real money, especially at my age! Iʼm all about being a late bloomer with some things, but this is really totally ridiculous. Iʼm so much smarter than being an unemployed student for life. I need to get my street smarts back together and find something that will work for me. Other than all of the above, I think the best thing I can do is try to keep 2012 simple. 2011 has been really stressful, complex and full of drastic changes. Itʼs been poor and struggling. Donʼt get me wrong - itʼs also been really fabulous too. But I think next year could be even better with a perspective of simplicity. Alright, before my head explodes, Iʼm going to call it a day and end my entry. So just to review, for 2012, I want to quit smoking, work out, learn to cook

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and lose weight. I also want to produce a new masterpiece of an album and write and produce a new musical under my new, possibly nonprofit, arts production company - and get a job. Sounds simple enough, right? ... right? Ha! BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Twenty-Seven: So Proud of Myselfs
Itʼs pretty amazing what you can accomplish in thirty days. I might be a little ahead of myself, as I havenʼt completely finished my fifty-thousand-word goal for NaNoWriMo just yet (I have a little over six thousand words to go), but I feel pretty confident that Iʼll be able to get this done. Iʼm very proud of myself as this will be the first time, in the four years Iʼve attempted this, that I will have come so close to accomplishing my goal. I definitely plan on following through, though it wonʼt be easy because I am just entering tech-week for my first show in December. This has been a pretty amazing season for me and I did not realize I would be attempting so much. From September to December, Iʼll have acted in three shows, playing seven different roles. Iʼll have participated and hopefully got Aʼs in 9 credits worth of masters level college. In fact, Iʼve pretty much just gotten over the hump of the hardest part of my M.A. degree. The last two semesters are going to be much easier compared to what Iʼve done this semester. The hardest, perhaps most confusing part will be the COMPS, or the portfolio which will demonstrate my competencies. Iʼm not gonnaʼ lie - itʼs been a little frustrating in this degree about whatʼs expected of me. Iʼm still not sure what my competencies are or how Iʼll show that I have achieved them, but I can say that I have a 4.0, so it shouldnʼt be that hard, right? I mean, how can I have not achieved competencies and gotten straight Aʼs? ... right? I was originally going to try and get this degree finished by Spring of next year. But, since I donʼt have a job and any other source of income, Iʼve decided to spread it out over two semester and will try to graduate by one year from now. That means a measly six credit hours per semester, so I should have the extra time to make my portfolio perfect and possibly work on other projects too, like the album and a new musical production. Or, I could keep acting in shows. I donʼt know about that though. Iʼm not sure I want to keep acting in shows that Iʼm not getting paid for. Donʼt get me wrong - itʼs totally fulfilling and I get a satisfaction out of the entire process. But, it can be rather time consuming and exhausting. Iʼve felt rather stretched over the last three months and yet Iʼm not finding a way to bring in any income. This current show that Iʼm in - the one where weʼre starting tech-week - is particularly exhausting. Itʼs a great experience for me as I believe it is a real “actorʼs play.” I mean, if you look at my script, there are so many notes that you can barely read the original lines. There is heavy blocking and there are tons of things the director has asked me to think about during the course of the script. While Iʼm glad that Iʼm being challenged in a way that a director has not

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challenged me before, I canʼt help feeling mentally drained from the process. Iʼll be really glad when two weeks have passed and Iʼll have finished performing this show. The other thing that is slightly draining is the slight discomfort I feel acting as a straight man in a relationship-heavy show. The entire fifty or so minutes that Iʼm on stage, Iʼm interacting with a woman. There are several moments when we are close and she is trying to seduce me or vice-versa. During the same show, Iʼm also trying to break up with the girl. Itʼs awkward for me, but not impossible. Itʼs just a little tiring after awhile. Emotionally, there are several places I have to find transitions to during the play. There are times when Iʼm indignant, times when Iʼm overly dramatic, times when Iʼm upset, etc. Also, there are times when Iʼm playing a fictional character that my character hides behind and times when the ʻrealʼ face of my character is revealed and I go in and out of those faces. Itʼs exhausting, I tell you! Iʼm sure that when itʼs time to actually perform the show in front of audiences, it will be a great experience. Itʼs just all the rehearsing up to that point that is hard to get through. Itʼs all that mental and emotional work that makes me nearly, but not completely, dread every rehearsal this week until the performances. Iʼm definitely looking forward to the end of December. I have no shows, no school, no job, no nothing for about a month. I pretty much plan to use that time to relax, sleep, maybe develop an exercise routine and play the shit out of Skyrim. My big goal is to get all the achievements for that game. Ha! My life-long friend that Iʼve known since I was four years old, Jeffrey Bennett, will be coming to town the second week of January. Heʼs going to check out Antioch Universityʼs open house and also get to know the city a bit as he hopes to move here sometime next summer or fall. I think it will be a lot of fun having him around and Iʼve come to miss my old friends from Denver and Wichita. It will be really nice. Iʼm not sure what to show him. I should probably start planning that next week. I want to be able to take him to some fun events that show the best parts of living in Seattle. Iʼll definitely have to take him on the Underground Tours since weʼre both students, I think we can get discounts. The underground tour is fun and funny and a neat way to hear about interesting history from this city. I think it would be cool to find an interesting band that Jeff would like and maybe see if we can catch them while heʼs in town. Thereʼs always people playing music in this town, so Iʼm sure we could find something cool that heʼd like. Also, thereʼs probably some kind of cool theatre thing to take him to. Iʼll probably have him come with me to Writers and Actors Reading and Performing

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on the Tuesday night that heʼs here. I donʼt know if heʼll love it, but heʼll probably have a good time. I hope he does move to Seattle to get his masters degree. It will be nice to have a family friend living in the same city. I miss having Paul around too, but Iʼm not sure weʼll ever live in the same city again - if we do, I think itʼll probably be a good ten years from now. Maybe if Jeff gets involved with the Art Therapy program, it will be all the inspiration I need to get involved in Drama Therapy. Either way, I think heʼll like this city because heʼs got the kind of personality for it. You know, heʼs that kind of guy who can be life of the party, but heʼs also very internalized and can easily fall into the abyss of his own thoughts. All this wet, rainy weather in Seattle would be just the kind of thing for him. That, or heʼll end up committing suicide. Ha! Not really though, I think Seattleʼs wet weather is much easier to live with than Portlandʼs. Now Portland in January just seems so musty and mossy and well, kind of depressing! Seattleʼs weather is different somehow, more open. It has a metropolitan feeling that makes me feel a little more alive. I love it. (Of course, talk to me in five years and ask me how much I love it! Ha!) But even if he does decide to not move here, Iʼll be okay too. Heck, he might decide that California is where he wants to be. After all, thatʼs where his sister now lives. I have to admit that Iʼve also considered moving down there, after several years of experiencing Seattle for all it has to offer. Iʼm the type of guy who doesnʼt want to live in the same city for thirty years. I like the fact that Iʼve lived in a total of four major cities in my life. I feel like Iʼm more well-rounded and cultural than other folks who donʼt get to experience pockets of America like I have. I have to admit my friend Paul is much braver than I for having moved to Atlanta. I think heʼs really getting a unique perspective of American society living in the south like he is. I thought about moving there - really, I truly considered it! But I just donʼt know if I would be happy there like he is. Iʼm not sure that there would be opportunities for me in Atlanta, but then again, Iʼm not even sure what kind of opportunities Iʼve had here in Seattle either. One thingʼs for sure, Iʼve gotten lots of opportunities to act! I think the south is just too scary for me. As far as I know, they still hold old misogynist values and that just doesnʼt bode well for someone like me. It usually means the more manly men get the jobs and Iʼm left to stay a waitress or maitrede or some subservient, serving role. I think for Paul, itʼs probably easier, ʻcause heʼs tall and most of the time people canʼt tell heʼs gay. The world is just different for me, ʻcause people can tell Iʼm gay before I even say anything.

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We all have our different struggles. Iʼm sure itʼs not easy having to pick a time to come out to coworkers and friends. Iʼm not sure as Iʼve not had to deal with that in my life. My sexual orientation has always been assumed by everyone, so coming out is not something I really do. If anything, I confirm what people already suspect - but itʼs not even really like that either. People just know. Come to think of it, life is probably easier for me because I donʼt have to have those awkward moments where someone discovers theyʼve hired a fag. In my case, someone has to be pretty dense not to know. Anyway, I better close this entry before it turns into any more directions. Geeze Louise, I just donʼt know how to write three pages about a single thing anymore. I guess it goes to show that writing in a focused way becomes very difficult when you do it every day or every other day. Not easy at all! BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

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John Paul Sharp

Day Twenty-Eight: The End of the World
One of the more exciting things about 2012 is that weʼll get to see if all the end-of-the-world nonsense that has sprung up over the last several years will come true. You know, the Mayan Calendar and other supposed prophecies that the History Channel is all too excited to present to us in hour special after hour special. Could be global warming that does it. Could be the solar storms that come from the sun. I hear weʼre supposed to be getting much more solar action next year and it could disrupt communication satellites and other technological functions that our society has come to depend on. I hear we could lose all our electricity if those satellites go down, though Iʼm not sure how or why. I know sure as shit if we lose electricity and people canʼt watch tv or cellphones, our world is gonnaʼ crumble real fast. Iʼve always been jealous of those crazy rich people who have bunkers and systems set up just in case society falls apart. I wish my boyfriend and I had something like that going on. I know Iʼd sure feel a lot more secure. I have no idea what we would do if society fell. Weʼd probably have to leave the city and go toward the country. Of course, since Iʼve moved myself 1,300 miles away from friends and family in the midwest, Lector and I would just be stuck with ourselves. Weʼd probably just have to let our cats out of the apartment and wish them the best - how sad! I canʼt even think of doing something like that, but how could we seriously take care of two cats and try to forage for food and stuff? We donʼt have leashes for them and they wouldnʼt even function well with them anyway; and thereʼs no way we could possibly carry two kitty-carriers and try to find a new way of life and try to protect ourselves from crazy killers. Also, Iʼm not sure how weʼd find any space to just live anyway. Most of the country would probably be protected by gun-carrying farmers who wouldnʼt let us stay there. Weʼd have to make our own type of shelter and end up dying in the cold, wet rain. Really, the more I think about it, we should hope that whatever cataclysmic event takes place will just wipe us out. Iʼm not sure weʼd really want to be on the surviving end of that stick anyway. ʻCause when shit goes down and stuff effʼs up, peopleʼs animalistic and cruel sides tend to come out. It happened all over the world during World War II. Them Japanese and German folks experimenting on people in all kinds of sick ways. Then when Hurricane Katrina came, all hell broke loose for those poor folks in the South, with people dying and no one able to do anything about it. Just terrible!

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If we had any real warning of the end of the world, like if we knew the atmosphere would be vulnerable and dissipate for a number of days - I think Iʼd be one of the first ones to grab my husband and grab my cats, set down a few lawn chairs and let ourselves fry up. In some ways, thatʼs like having real control over the disaster. In some ways, itʼs saying, “Yes, youʼre going to make life miserable for us, but not if we let you kill us.” Sneaky, sneaky, eh? Though, I would have to say that dying would be the less interesting way to go about it. You never know, we could survive and I might finally understand my purpose and value in society as a food-gatherer or, perhaps, better yet, a bard. I could go around singing songs and people would feed us. That kind of life has a bit of a simplistic appeal, really. I wouldnʼt mind it so much, assuming that we werenʼt all terribly disfigured by radiation or something. Iʼve watched my fair share of Survivor on CBS. It doesnʼt seem all that hard to stick around, especially if weʼre around water. I think, if anything, weʼd want to travel south, so we could put ourselves in a more temperate climate. Even San Francisco would be far too cold. San Diego would be best, I think. We could make some shelter and then go out in the water every day and kill and eat fish - that is, if the water hasnʼt become spoiled by radiation or masspollution or whatever - and we could live out our last days in peace. I wouldnʼt mind that, I guess. Some folks say that itʼs not the end of the world that weʼre going to be facing next year. They say itʼs the end of the world as we know it - meaning that weʼll all be experiencing a huge shift in our consciousness. Perhaps it will be the evolution of our global consciousness, where we all become somehow psychically attuned to a mother brain of some kind. That could be a very good thing, if you think about it. Or maybe weʼll discover another planet Earth out there that weʼre able to communicate with to some degree. I bet that would really change the way we all perceive our lives and the meaning of our existence. We might just stop trying to kill each other in favor of trying to look like more civilized beings to this other planet. You never know, we might just be shamed if we were to interact with a different Earth that was more peaceful than us. More likely, I think what will happen is that weʼll all run out of resources and money wonʼt have the same power as it has. Those who have been powerhungry and greedy for money will suddenly lose the hold thatʼs over them and weʼll all have to look within ourselves to remember whatʼs really important: food, water, shelter, friends and family. We may lose the internet and mass-media. We may look back on the idea of a global community and laugh, knowing it is all very much water under the bridge now.

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John Paul Sharp

Iʼve always wondered what life would be like without electricity. Very difficult in many ways, I suppose. After all, electricity helps us do most of what we now do in todayʼs world. I bet the silence is golden, though. Iʼve probably said this before, but Iʼve always thought that people who lived in earlier days without electricity probably were more attuned to spirits, if spirits do indeed exist. Iʼm sure when life is so quiet, you are able to hear more and get yourself into your surrounding space better. With all the electricity around us all the time, itʼs impossible to really be in silence. Even in remote parts of the world where it is very quiet, there are still technically satellites and space just floating up above. Our planet is pretty loud these days and Iʼm not sure thereʼs a real way to escape it other than leaving the atmosphere completely. But, really, I am kindaʼ glad I live in todayʼs world. I mean, if I were around a hundred years ago, Iʼd probably be a recluse or end up married to someone who hated me. Iʼd have to pretend to be straight or become a priest or something. Gay rights? Gay people technically didnʼt exist in conversations and community gatherings. They were tarred and feathered and hung with the witches. At least today, we have a shot at a happy existence. And I like having T.V. and the Internet. Sometimes, I think our lives would be better without them, but for the most part, our lives are tremendously better because of technology. Iʼm not sure weʼre all supposed to be living until weʼre 100 - as Iʼm not totally convinced that the planet was made for that kind of thing but Iʼm mostly glad Iʼm alive in todayʼs world. Iʼm not sure Iʼd want to be alive like a hundred years from now or even two hundred years from now. For some reason, I think life in future times are gonnaʼ get real crowded. I wonder how many civil rights are going to go down the toilet just for the fact that there will probably be less space and less resources for everyone to share. I think freedom only exists as much as reality can supply it and if thereʼs not enough room to move around or enough food to keep our bellies full, freedoms must be sacrificed in order for there to be a maximum amount of happiness for all involved. I wonder if weʼre starting to experience some of that now. Well, not we, the American people, but maybe some of the folks in India or China, who are now dealing with overpopulation? This all makes me think of something that Deepak Chopra said shortly after 9/11. It was something to the effect of, “The best way for the world to heal itself is for each of us to look within, individually and as each of us evolve within ourselves, the world then evolves as well.” Thereʼs a good reason why this guy has sold so many books. Heʼs a pretty spiritually smart kindaʼ guy. I think it is true though. Imagine if we all took the responsibility to make our individual lives for the better. Would it not be possible that the people of this world make some type

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of shift of consciousness into a world that is not full of fear but a world that is full of love and wonder? This will be my hope for 2012. I will try to work on making my life better so that I can be a better person for my community. I think itʼs RuPaul who says it best: “If you canʼt love yourself, how the hell you gonnaʼ love somebody else?” Can I get an Amen? BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Twenty-Nine: My Obituary
John Paul Sharp was a talented performing and recording artist who lived all over the United States. He was loved by many, some of whom he never got to know. He grew up in a small city called Wichita, Kansas, where people did not understand his flair or his feminine wiles and playfulness. His first eighteen years were spent in that windy city, surrounded by beautifully flat plains and a heavy, oppressive thickness in the air. The people of Wichita preferred simplicity and John Paul Sharp could be a lot of things, but simple was not one of them. As a child, he learned how to play the piano, write music, act on stage and sing in the city-wide honors choir. He acted out quite a bit and mostly it was because he was just looking for attention and love from anyone who was willing to give it to him. He was the victim of a divorce between his parents. Being the offspring of a woman who grew up on a farm in Nebraska and a gay man who never quite came out from under his own oppressive town in Iowa, a divorce was in the cards no matter if this boy was born or not. However, the word victim is probably not the most accurate as the divorce was sort of a saving grace for this kid. If his parents had never divorced, life could have been much worse - far, far worse, really. For when two people are not really supposed to be married and living together, the best thing that can be done for the children involved is to separate. Staying together keeps the drama toxic and the last thing children need is toxic drama from their parents. His mother did the best she could under the circumstances. She found her own sense of peace in the professional work she was involved in and she basically dove right in, head first. This meant that John Paul Sharp and his sister had plenty of time to get into their own adventures and there were some days and nights spent at the house alone, left to their own bidding. Brother and sister fought. They fought a lot, really, but deep down inside, they truly loved each other and were only trying to cope with life the best way they knew how. In some ways, though probably misguided, John Paul Sharpʼs sister tried to protect him. For when he turned twelve and she was fourteen, she demanded that he learned how to smoke cigarettes because he needed to be tough and cool by the time he got into high school; tough and cool like she was. Sometimes sheʼd take him around when she was a teenager so he could see what being cool was all about. One time, she and her friends were drinking vodka in their plaid flannel shirts and driving around the northwest part of town while listening to bands like Pearl Jam and Judas Priest. That day, she was going to beat some girls ass and she did. John Paul Sharp thought she was pretty cool,

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but he knew heʼd never be tough like that. Cool, maybe, but not in a position to beat anyoneʼs ass. The public school system of Wichita, Kansas did not really know how to handle him. He was shipped from one to school to the next and put into one program after another. He was labelled lots of different things: smart, stupid, weird, etc. While this worked out for him up past the third grade, things got pretty tough socially thereafter. Because John Paul Sharp never really had a father figure, he looked for fathers in the men he was romantically involved with from the time he turned fourteen. This led to many tragic, traumatic events in his life and it wasnʼt until his late twenties that he found a way to move past it. Drugs were a big part of his life from his teens to late 20ʼs as well, for it wasnʼt until he reached his early thirties that he learned how to be completely sober every single day. This wasnʼt easy and it didnʼt come quickly. In fact, the decade of his twenties were a slow process of removing addicted behavior out of his life. His meth and sex abuse in the late 90ʼs and early 00ʼs were probably the most extreme form of addictive behavior. After transferring his addiction to marijuana for several years, he finally was able to stop needing anything to make him feel normal by the time he turned 32 years old. There were many redeeming moments from his twenties. It almost seemed like he was making up for all the lost time he spent in his youth, being scattered and without focus for so long. When he moved to Denver at age 23, he really began to accomplish dreams by eventually getting a degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Colorado Denver and writing and recording several hundred songs in the space of seven years. He ended up graduating at age 29, summa cum laude, placing 4th in a class of 90 some people. The only Bʼs he got was 1) in a stupid Audio Production class taught by some stupid self-righteous “professor” who didnʼt even stick around for more than a year, and 2) in a stupid Natural Hazards class taught by some stupid “professor” who thought he was comedian and didnʼt let any of his students know what their grades were in anything until after the semester was over. John Paul Sharp suspected this last professor handed out grades based on who laughed at his jokes and JP was not one to laugh at something unless it was truly funny. The only A- he ever got was one he truly deserved in a class taught by an amazing professor with eyes that went into two different directions. It was a philosophy course on ethics and morality. He worked extremely hard and struggled like hell and an A- was the best he could do. He was always proud of that A- and was grateful to have achieved it. Unfortunately, these experiences are what kept John Paul Sharp from ranking as 1 out of 90.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

He did get an award though - Outstanding Graduate from the College of Arts & Media. And this was probably due to the extracurricular work that he was involved in. For his junior year recital, the folks at the King Center Performance Building had to create new rules after his performance - one of them was mainly that glitter would not be allowed in any performances. I guess they had a lot of trouble getting glitter out of the carpet after several students were instructed by John Paul Sharp to throw them at the audience during a particular song. That year, Sharp had a line of people asking for autographs to be signed on their CDʼs and Song Books that he had published and given out for free. By his senior year, John Paul Sharp decided that he would write and produce an original musical that was a self-referential and slightly cathartic work. After enlisting all the people he truly believed in at the time, he ended up selling out three nights and raising over a thousand dollars for MaxFundʼs No-Kill Animal Shelter. This is the kind of stuff that earns an “Outstanding Graduate” award. But it does not lead to riches or wealth. Other opportunities were afforded to him while he stayed in Denver for the next two years. He went on to act in other productions and collaborated with other playwrights to produce two other original musical productions: one a sci-fi slam poetry musical and the other a modern adaptation of The Velveteen Rabbit. Thanks to the Dean of his university, as well as his good friend LeighAnn Gould, he was also able to compose music for short films. All these experiences were truly wonderful and a blessing, but the longer John Paul Sharp participated in them, the less money he was earning in other ways and eventually, he felt stifled and unsure of what to do next. Out of complete fear for what he had been doing, he decided that getting a masters degree was his ticket out of insecurity. He got right back in with the University of Colorado Denver as an Educational Psychology student. This, in combination with a few terrible experiences in attempting to compose music for a nonprofit organization, which shall remain nameless, that had no respect for John Paul Sharpʼs time or effort, finally drove him to leave the state. Actually, it was the support of two of his former classmates, who chose John Paul Sharp as their subject for their Music Marketing class - that decided his best move was to go somewhere else with more of an international community - that really triggered him to make the move. And the move was a good thing. For one, he was able to stop smoking marijuana every day because he no longer could walk into a dispensary and buy any. His access became rather limited in Seattle and after dealing with one stupid and childlike drug dealer, he finally decided that enough was enough. Besides, he was tired of depending on other people and a stupid drug to make him feel content. And it was not like he really felt content anyway. He was starting to feel

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

like a complete loser, living off school loans and unemployment. Who can enjoy marijuana anyway, when they really canʼt afford it? No, he decided enough was enough. So he got completely sober and things started improving. Mostly, what he noticed was his ability to memorize lines improved drastically. He found himself able to memorize large amounts of text in a matter of weeks! This, in combination with his impeccable work ethic and punctuality, was what really made him shine as a professional performer. And so, he continued to perform in one show after another and found himself getting cast left and right. He continued to work on his masters degree and was astounded to learn that he could actually find work - the kind of work that would allow him to continue to develop his craft as a writer and performer. He would go on to write more musicals and more music albums. He even went on to write a few novels as well! All it took for him to become a real writer was to keep participating in the National Novel Writing Month until he eventually passed the fifty thousand word goal on his fourth attempt. He ended up writing an autobiography, a sci-fi fantasy novel and several series of horror paperbacks. And John Paul Sharp said he always owed his success to the love and acceptance he found from his husband, Lector Morales. Who knew on that fateful Christmas evening of 2009 that the two would end up living together for the rest of their lives? Only God, I suppose. It was so unfortunate when he passed that thousands of people all over the world mourned his death. He died in his sixties, rich and content with all the work heʼd done in his life. He was always said he did everything in the name of his sister, who passed far too early in her own life. Everything he did he did for all the years that she no longer could. For every minute that his sister could not cherish her life, he cherished his twice as much. As everyone knows, he died from being struck by lightening. Thankfully, his death was quick and painless and he probably didnʼt even realize what had happened until his spirit saw himself from above, at the cemetery. When he passed, he was visited by his sister and all the cats he took care of over the years. His sister thanked him for embracing his own life so much and she let him know how much she appreciated his love. She only wished that she could have stuck around longer to be physically present for all his wonderful milestones and achievements and even the other moments of quiet content and peacefulness. She was sorry for not being able to be there for all of it. John Paul Sharp had a few regrets, which we were able to find out after reading an ominous note left in his now famous writing desk at his estate in the South of France. It reads as follows.

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

“If I were to die, like say, from being struck by lightening, or something, Iʼd want people to know that I felt every moment of my life and embraced every day as though it were my last. I did not, however, live every day as though it were my last. I lived every day as though I wanted it to be a better place for future generations. I lived like I thought my grandchildren, had I ever had them, would have wanted. I regret not getting to know my father more. I think we would have had a lot of fun if circumstances had been different. I regret not spending more time with my mother too. I only wish that I could have taken care of her as much or better than she took care of me - for if she hadnʼt have been around, I wouldnʼt have had any kind of parent growing up. Even if she was gone much of the time, she was there more than anyone else and she fed me and paid to have my teeth fixed and tried to make sure there was food in the house most of the time. I regret not spending more time with my sister before she died. I should have called her every week. I should have gone to visit her more often. I didnʼt do any of those things. I just lived my own self-absorbed life until she was gone. Because of her death, I began to see my own life with a much wider perspective and for that, Iʼm eternally grateful. I just wish she didnʼt have to die for me to learn how to appreciate my own life in the way it should be appreciated. I regret not being a better man for my man. So many times, he spent his hours and days supporting what I wanted to do with my life. I should have been a better supporter of the things he wanted to do in his life. So much of the time, it was about me making the decision to move to a new city and me making the decision to take risks. I think I should have found better ways to let him lead towards directions in our lives. But really, I donʼt regret too much. Iʼm glad things went down the way they did. Iʼm glad I found the man of my life when I did. Iʼm glad I struggled with addiction because I eventually learned how to appreciate just being clear and sober. I learned how to be alive and sober - which some people never quite manage to do. Iʼm glad my parents got divorced because it made me such a great performer. Iʼm glad that the citizens of Wichita, Kansas treated me like a sinner bound for hell because it gave me so much motivation to experience the rest of the world on my own terms. Iʼm glad that everything worked out the way it did because I would not be the person I am today. I wouldnʼt have written so much music and sang so many songs. I wouldnʼt have auditioned for so many plays and I wouldnʼt have tried so hard to act well in them. I would have just been some anonymous person who no one remembers and no one cares about. I wouldnʼt have touched any lives.”

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

And so, we now say goodbye to John Paul Sharp, feeling sad, but also happy that he was able to make this world a better place after having been here. Now the world has over thirty albums of his music, ten wonderful musicals and several handfuls of novels to read over and over again. He really put his mark on the world and for that, weʼre all grateful and will remember him as the years continue to move on and pass us all by. In his passing, weʼre left to wonder what we can do to make our own marks on this world. We may not all be writers or singers or performers, but weʼre people. His passing makes us think about what type of meaning we have if we never affect the people around us. Is it not true that other people are what makes us real? What can we do, as individuals, to make sure that our presence is known through other people? Is it a major event or is it the smallest, simplest things in our every day lives that will make others remember us after weʼre gone? Perhaps itʼs a smile, or a thank you or the act of reaching your hand out to help someone who might have tripped and fallen or perhaps looks lost and canʼt find their way? Is it those moments when a homeless person asks us for a cigarette or loose change? After all, when we die, will those trivial things mean as much as they did when we had the opportunity to give them away? Sometimes people say that death is depressing, but if you think about it the right way, death can absolutely, positively be an inspiring, life-changing and life-improving subject. What do you want people to remember about you after youʼve gone? BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Day Thirty: Silence is Golden
Sometimes no thoughts are better than having any type of thought at all.

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Thirty Days and Thirty Thoughts

John Paul Sharp

Notes on the Author
John Paul Sharp is a writer, songwriter, singer, actor and performer currently living in Seattle. He has lived in four major cities during his lifetime: Wichita, Kansas / San Francisco, California / Denver, Colorado / Seattle, Washington. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Colorado Denver with highest honors in 2009. He is due to complete his Masters Degree in eLearning Implementation and Design at the same university under the Information and Learning Technologies program at the School of Education and Human Development. You can learn more about what he is up to by checking his Facebook or Google+ page, or simply going to his website at http:// www.johnpaulsharp.com. When heʼs not busy doing a bunch of things all at once, or playing Skyrim on the PS3, he is spending quality time with his husband and two cats.