Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I can think of a Billy Joel song for a lot of situations...

Ask my cousin's 1-year-old son, Anthony. I have been singing him "Movin' Out" ("Anthony works at the grocery store...") since I first met him when he was two days old.

Sometimes as my train approaches the city and I see the skyline, "New York State of Mind" runs through my head.

When my nephew Andrew was brand-new, I used to sing him "Piano Man" on repeat. (That song in no way relates to a newborn baby...I just liked singing the "la da da da de da" part to him over and over.)

But, I definitely am a big Billy Joel fan. (Now that his last marriage has ended, I think he should go back with his first wife. He wrote "Just the Way You Are" about her! How could that not mean they would last forever?)

And today, I had a long conversation with a friend of mine...a close male heterosexual friend that I've known since the 4th grade. (I don't have many male friends that are heterosexuals, or ones that I've known since the 4th grade...he's the only one.)

I talked with him about stuff I couldn't exactly figure-out and needed a second opinion on...

And he gave me his opinion...the opinion of a heterosexual male who has known me for a very long time. I came to him with a certain dilemma, he read through emails I had written, I filled him in on other things.

And he told me what he thought...the opinion of a heterosexual male who has known me for a very long time and who cares about me and wants me to be happy and is giving me tough love.

He told me I joke around too much...I use humor as my defense mechanism, and I end-up giving-off mixed signals, even though I accuse other people of doing so. I expect people to understand exactly what I am trying to say and to take me seriously...even though my communication is anything but serious.

And then I realized something.

I am a walking personification of Billy's "Leave a Tender Moment Alone."

(Disclaimer, I am not currently "in love"...but the rest of the lyrics certainly seem to fit.)

I know the moment isn't right
To tell the girl a comical line
To keep the conversation light
I guess I'm just frightened out of my mind

Yes I know I'm in love
But just when I ought to relax
I put my foot in my mouth
Cause I'm just avoiding the facts

After talking to my old friend, I think I'm afraid of rejection and getting hurt, so I veil everything in jokes so I can say, "Well, I was just joking, anyway!" when things don't go the way I was hoping they'd go.

I think I AM a funny person and witty person by nature (well...I am...) and it has helped me a lot in life...so I end-up using it too much.

I expect people to interpret exactly what I am trying to say and to take me seriously...but if I'm not being serious myself, so how is that fair to them?

I'm surprised that I needed somebody else to point this out to me and am grateful for this very old friend's (and I still remember the day he moved from California and joined our 4th grade math class) honesty.

I intend to face tomorrow with a new outlook.

Thank you to my old friend Nick and, of course, thank you Billy Joel...

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How come we don't always believe our friends and family...

...but we believe total strangers?

People are always surprised to learn that I'm pretty lacking in self-confidence. I always have been. In fact, the main character in the play I just had produced is also lacking in self-confidence...but she's also happy and friendly and bubbly and bounces-off of walls...just like I do.

A friend who was helping me with my play told me I had to get to the root of her character...WHY was this girl so insecure, when she comes-off as anything but?

I told him if I was able to figure that out about a fictional character which I had created, I'd be able to figure it out for myself...and my life would be a lot easier!

Last week, I got a push from a person I had known for a half-hour to do something I normally would never do.

This random person I had only known a half-hour told me I was funny and smart and gorgeous with beautiful hair and that I had to be braver because I really had nothing to be so insecure about.

People who love us tell us stuff like that all the time...but we feel like they're telling us it for that very reason...because they love us.

But what did this random person I had only known for a half-hour owe me?

Nothing, really.

The fact that this person had all of this to say about me made me think maybe it's true! Maybe I have a lot of things to be confident about and there's no excuse to ever have any kind of Josie Geller 1989 outlook of life.

I feel like we meet people at exactly the right moments we are supposed to in life...and perhaps I needed to meet that person that night. I needed to hear all of that. I needed that push.

Diana Rissetto

It's been a busy summer...

I haven't had much free time this summer, so I haven't had much time to update over here.

I can now add "Off-Off-Broadway Playwright" to list of Things That I Am. I am also a former Barnes and Noble clerk (and the best Hermione that store had ever seen), a native New Yorker, a theatrical publicist, a dogwalker, a hopeless romantic, a very devoted aunt and, I'd like to think, a nice person.

And now I'm an Off-Off-Broadway Playwright.

I realized how incredibly lucky I am that I am doing what I always said I wanted to do and what I was going to do. I remember writing that I wanted to be a playwright whenever they'd give-us those "What Do You Want to Be When You Grow-Up" things at school. I'm somehow doing that...and that's pretty crazy to me.

I still don't quite feel like a grown-up...but I'm starting to feel like some kind of a playwright.

This entire process has been incredible, and I also learned a lot of lessons the hard way and also learned that I, amazingly, have a lot of people in my life that I can depend on throughout pretty much anything. I realized I had a friend that was willing to calm me down at 3 AM and tell me that everything was going to be okay and that "we'd" figure everything out. I met wonderful people who dove into this project with me, despite not getting paid much and having to give-up a few weeks of their lives in order to submerge themselves in my story.

I watched weirdos that came-out of my own mind come to life on stage and people that didn't know me sit in the audience, follow their journeys and care about them.

I'm glad there is still a place for writers like me in this world. (Actually, I'm glad there is still a place for people like me in this world...)

In the midst of everything, on the night our show opened, somebody from my past also danced (I always prefer to say danced) back into my life after several years. I thought about the 18-year-old girl, insecure and hopelessly romantic, I was when I first met this person and compared her to the person I was that night...a writer at the New York City premiere of her new play, with about fifty friends and relatives cheering her on.

However, part of me will always be that insecure, hopelessly romantic 18-year-old girl when this person is concerned.

I have been feeling withdrawal symptoms since the show closed, but there are no words for how grateful I am for this experience, and for the people it's brought into my life. I am ready and excited for whatever is next...you never know...

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

High School reunions can be tricky...

I had mixed feelings when I started getting notices about my upcoming high school reunion.

"Why on earth would I want to go? Everybody I care to keep in touch with, I am in touch with."

"It would be kinda fun to go and see everybody in the same place at the same time."

"I have Facebook...isn't that the same thing as a reunion?"

"Well, I know that a lot of my friends are actually going...so maybe I will go..."

"Will I feel weird going alone? Should I bring along a date so I don't feel awkward?"

"I DO look okay that I can feel confidant going?"

"Wait...do I even LOOK any different than I did in high school? I probably should..."



I even had a dream about my high school reunion.

In my dream, our reunion was at the beach (which isn't that strange...we lived near the beach), but during broad daylight in some kind of a cabana.

I kept leaving and changing my clothes and going back.

(When I told my friend Matt...who will be reading this shortly after I pres "publish post"...he asked me what I was wearing because it could have been the key to understanding what the dream was telling me.)

There was also a rule at this reunion that we weren't allowed to use cellphones...because nobody had cellphones when we were in high school. (And life was simpler before cellphones and text messages and Facebook! So much simpler!)

This dream wasn't hard to analyze...I felt uneasy about going to my reunion and about how quickly time has passed on by.

I started to think, "Maybe I WILL just go to this reunion, as long as I promise to be as friendly and pleasant as possible and not come home feeling badly or inadequate in any way."

Just when I was deciding that I should go, I got the schedule for the new play I am doing...and realized there was a performance on that very day.

I found that I had something else to do besides go to my high school reunion...and it was a bit of a relief to me...I legitimately had something more important to do.

Maybe that girl changing dresses who didn't have a cellphone needed to hear just that...

Diana Rissetto

Monday, August 2, 2010

I am really happy...

...in less than two weeks, I am making my full-length New York City theatrical debut.

And not only that, this full-length play is a sweet, happy, dorky, sentimental romantic comedy.

Last night, I watched our two adorable young romantic leads and realized that I really HAD authentically written a sweet, happy, dorky, sentimental romantic comedy...I have watched those things my entire life!

I will never turn-off the likes of Never Been Kissed or Circle of Friends...stories of nice girls that are often overlooked until things suddenly turn-around for them.

It makes me so happy to know that there's still room in this world for nice girls and nice stories!

Knit scarves play an important part in this show, and the scarf MUST perfectly match the romantic lead's eyes...so, why wouldn't I wander around the craft store with this young man's headshot in hand, trying to correctly match the shade and getting approval from the cashier before I did so?

While recounting this story hours later, I realized that I had, indeed, lost it...

But I'm glad to be losing it...I'm glad to be having this experience.

Diana Rissetto