Lately I’ve been hearing voices — not the multiple-personality or go-forth-and-murder kind. More like, the doubting kind, the criticizing kind. Origin: high school. These voices of should-I, shouldn’t-I, what-will-they-think? were all conceived in a petri dish and tranferred to a vat filled with equal parts shame, algebra and cheap cosmetics known as high school, when second-guessing was the second step in a nine-step guessing process about who you should sit with at lunch, where your college applications should go, what your Converse sneakers said about you.

These voices crop up most when I’ve got artistic projects on the line, as I do now, with Second Story this week and the new grant burning a hole in my proverbial pocket.

Anne Lamott says: “Left to its own devices, my mind spends much of its time having conversations with people who aren’t there. I walk along defending myself to people or exchanging repartee with them, or rationalizing their behavior, or seducing them with gossip, or pretending I’m on their TV talk show or whatever. I speed or run an aging yellow light or don’t come to a full stop and one nanosecond later am explaining to imaginary cops exactly why I had to do what I did, or insisting that I did not in fact do it.”

She suggests: Pretend that each of these voices is actually the voice of a mouse. Imagine dropping these chattering mice one by one into a mason jar. And then seal the lid.

I’m working on that part.

Spring skirt

I’m wearing a spring skirt. It is sort of ugly. Nylon. Flowy. Knee-length. Black with tiny blue and white flowers. Reminds me of junior high skirts gone by. But you know why I’m wearing it, punks? Because it’s SPRING.

Yesterday to celebrate spring, I picked up a baguette at the bakery, and some strawberries and nutella at the Jewel, made myself an au lait, and went for a walk in the sun.

Maybe that was more accurately celebrating Paris.

Actual news

I just received my very first grant to create a piece of art. At $700, it is one of the tiniest grants that the land ever birthed, but it was given to me by the City of Chicago, and so I shall look upon it as a stroke of fortune from the city that usually gives me nothing more than parking tickets and pollution-induced allergic reactions.  (The backstory: I applied for a CityArts grant to produce a longer version of Inside Fighter, the 20-minute play I created about the late, great, Phil Muscato, boxing legend.) And shockingly, several months past the supposed notification deadline, I received a fat packet in the mail with a ton of acceptance paperwork.

Wouldn’t be the city without paperwork.