Ever get annoyed? Ever feel like someone needs to be told where the dog died? Or handed a crowbar and a tub of Elbow Grease to help them pry their head out of their arse? Congratulations--you've come to the right place.

And when I'm not commenting on the latest thing to piss me off, I'm trying to figure out my own twisted life. Because, hey, I'm like that.

On a gentler note: for anyone dealing with depression, anxiety, and other assorted bullshit: You are NOT alone.

And if you're looking for a laugh, search on the key word "fuckery." It's just my little thing (as the bishop said to the actress).

Who made YOU Empress?

A very Good Question. 

And it has an answer:  Kristin Linklater.

If you don't know who Kristin is (and I suggest you do a Google on her), allow me to introduce you:  she is an incredible acting teacher who codified the Linklater Method, first developed, embraced and espoused at Shakespeare and Company.  Kristin was one of the founding members, with the incredible Tina Packer, of a Shakespeare company that brought English training methods to American actors.  Kristen's method began from her studies with English acting teacher, Iris Warren.  She has written two books--Freeing the Natural Voice, Freeing Shakespeare's Voice--and teaches at Columbia University.  I had the privilege of taking her Shakespearean Acting course when she was the head of the acting program whilst I was at Emerson College.

That was one of the ugliest times in my life:  I was dealing with the aftermath of a miscarriage and an uncaring boyfriend who left me to go through it alone (I miscarried my daughter one week before Christmas in 1994; I spent the next six months on the verge of suicide--I was also dealing with untreated thyroid disease, PTSD, & anxiety disorder).  Kristin, while a strict and demanding teacher, is also an incredibly compassionate and amazing woman.  Her class challenged me and moved me and kept me going during a time when all I wanted to do was lay down and die. 

But how did you become The Empress?!?!? You're digressing again! Get on with it!!!!
OK, OK.  There is an exercise that Kristin does called The Elizabethan World Picture.  It's a visualization exercise, and during it, she talks the actor through the structure of the Elizabethan world--the hierarchy of humans, animals, etc. At the end of the exercise, she directed the class to go to the place in the room which best denoted their status, their place, in the hierarchy.

This class met in what was known as the Fireplace Theatre in the Brimmer Street building (which Emerson has since sold).  This was a huge, long room with a ginormous Victorian fireplace at one end, bleacher seats at the other, and lined down one side with deep windows with long, red velvet curtains and deep window seats. The fireplace was the lowest place--Hell, so to speak, the bleachers the highest.  Well, I ended up at the highest point on the bleachers.

I don't remember clearly getting there... I remember listening to Kristin's voice and drifting forward, steadily, feeling the light of the late morning sun, and slowly mounting the steps up to the top of the bleachers and turning.  Two steps below was one of my best friends (and the only friend I have left from my own Emerson days, Keith).  Beyond that... no one else had aspired so high.  The next clear memory is Kristin announcing to the class, "Well?  Bow to your Empress."

The title has stuck.  For a lot of reasons.  And I'm good with it.  I think you will be, too. 

And if you're not... well, close this window and find someplace else to hang.