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The Opposite of Grief

You know how when people are in the throes of grief, they experience a sort of numbness – a defence mechanism known as shock, as a way of stopping themselves from fully comprehending the gravity of the situation in case they might implode?

Well, I think the way I’m feeling at the moment is the opposite of that.

That is to say, the unbelievably overwhelming excitement of what lies ahead in just over a week and a half, is just so that – unbelievable, overwhelming and exciting – that I can’t even allow myself to really feel it. I’m walking around in this constant state of denial, a protective cocoon of numbness for fear that if I actually let it sink in my guts will explode out my nostrils (insert-your-equally-undignified-action-of-choice), I will subsequently die and thus would end the entire trip of a lifetime.

Or something.

Just look at this itinerary: I mean, seriously.

26th July: I fly into New York. I am under strict instructions from my sister-in-law (a traveller so seasoned she should come with her own beverage) to RESIST the temptation to go out on the town that night, but instead go directly to bed, do not pass go, do not collect $200, just bed, bed, bed! Uh….I’ll do my best….

27th July: I catch a train to Boston – I deliberately went the train option so I could soak up some landscape along the way.

28th July – 4th August: I’ll be working on my full-length show with Daena Giardella, this uber guru who does solo, improvised musical comedy shows. Days I’ll be working with her, nights I’ll be madly writing more material to workshop the following day. And checking out some comedy of course, as well as doing the odd gig. Okay, as I’m typing this I’m starting to get excited…

4th – 6th August: I’m catching the train back to NY via New London, where I’ll be joining my brother and sister-in-law Andrew and Liz for Liz’s family reunion! My ONE and ONLY weekend of the entire trip where I won’t be working!

7th – 11th August: New York, baby, for the first of two intensives with the one, the only, the legendary Second City. Holy hell. And to think not that long ago I was reading about this place in The Entire History of Saturday Night Live… I’ll be doing improv in the mornings, comedy writing in the afternoons plus the odd gig, a radio interview with Fluff in Brooklyn, seeing some shows (it just so happens that the New York Fringe Festival is on at the same time) and trying to squeeze in some sight-seeing.

11th – 14th August: Viva Las Vegas! Doing a musical improv intensive with meistro Michael Pollock in the days, and walking the strip at night, trying to let the muse run wild in all its sequined glory while avoiding stares from the Russian Mafia.

14th – 19th August: Back to New York for the Level 2 Intensive with Second City.

19th – 20th August: Just in case it wasn’t mind-blowing enough, I’ve somehow managed to score some private coaching with this amazing guy: Steve Kaplan. Aside from starting the HBO New Writers Project, he’s worked with some amazing people, from Jack Black to Kathy Griffin to Oliver Platt. Plus my dear mate Paul Osuch has put me in touch with the woman who runs the LA Sketch Comedy Festival so we can hopefully meet up for a chat while I’m there.

Oh yeah, and I’m also going to film some samples for a mockumentary while I’m in all of these cities: I’m thinking of taking my character from my other short film “It’s Time To Go” and doing a TV special: i.e. “Katie Lou takes on the USA!” where we follow her in her shameless quest for celebrity. Or maybe I’ll even put Mrs Sorenson on the case.

21st August: I collapse in a crumpled comedy overdosed heap and don’t open my eyes until my plane touches the ground back in Oz.

Oh boy. No wonder I’m numb.

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