6 Ways To Rock In Theater And In Life

A 180-degree switch has happened with how we approach ENDURE. This tour has asked us to build entirely new muscles and I've since come to see these muscles ARE AWESOME. We are going to be great in the UK. I suspected it before, but I know it now, especially since our shows at FIGMENT NYC last weekend rocked so bloody hard.

How do I know we're going to rock? Six reasons. 

Reason #1: We go into the problem
When I trained in Suzuki Method with SITI Company here in New York, they used the phrase: 'go into the problem' Rather than stay safe or appear perfect, this was a call to dive right into the difficult and messy parts of life and performance. The UK will be chaotic. It will be busy, loud, colorful, distracting. There will be millions of people. In Edinburgh, there will be stilt-walkers and naked ladies with megaphones. People will be doing whatever it takes to get attention. And somehow, within that, we have to create a tender, nuanced and intimate experience for our audience. You can't create a intimacy in the middle of a circus by ignoring the circus. So: we make the circus part of our work. Learn to work with, under, around and through the 800-pound gorilla and his thumping house music DJ booth on wheels. I'm mixing metaphors here. You get the picture. Don't resist problems. Go toward them. Dance.

Reason #2: We do the work
There is also no way to learn theoretically how to stage a show in two days. So you have to just do it. At FIGMENT, we spent four long days on our feet, walking, blocking, trying things, running the show, re-scouting the locations as they filled with performers, sculpture and spectators, re-blocking as giant DJ booths set themselves up on top of our most deeply emotional scenes. As our burned-out garage location suddenly became filled with someone's SUV. I say four long days on our feet because our two performance days were as much about re-staging as they were about performing. We kept walking and adapting, walking and adapting. If I wrote a book about FIGMENT that would be the title. Or possibly: Of House Music and Inflatables.

Reason #3: We are willing to let go
When you re-stage site specific work in a seriously compressed timeframe, perfectionism cannot be present. Did we want a sudden, chest-exploding view of the Statue of Liberty in this iteration of the piece? You betcha. Was it possible to get people across an island festooned with inflatable sculpture, concert stages, drum circles and mobs of humans in any kind of timely and aesthetically relevant way? Nope. So we dropped it. And we dropped dozens of other "perfect" locations because if writing is about murdering your darlings then making theatre is too. This isn't to say what we ended up with was 'less than'...it's that we committed to the truly great locations and we let the rest go. The cocktail party dance number up the steps of a grand turn-of-the-century mansion? YES. The comedic sex scene on and around a giant cannon? Phallicious. Ending in a giant field full of people, sculpture, wide open sky and a bazillion-dollar view of Manhattan? Truly brilliant. Say yes to the truly brilliant, choose your chest-exploding moments wisely and trust that the rest will work itself out.

Reason #4: We make mistakes
The beauty of installing ENDURE in a new location or context is it tests a lot of assumptions about the show. And the only way to find out you're making assumptions is to have those assumptions challenged. This is what I mean by making mistakes. So at FIGMENT we made a few mistakes. With the staging of the beginning/Start Line section. With selecting certain audience members to play certain roles. With training our new crew. We learned a lot about a show we thought we knew implicitly. And thank God for that. I found out last year by taking the show to two cities in Canada that re-staging the show can only make it better. This is why. It's an opportunity to take the thing apart at the seams and find out how it works. To shake ourselves out of the 'this worked last time' mind set. To stop making assumptions and start asking the RIGHT questions: how does this scene really work? What's the purpose? What's the goal?

Reason #5: We embrace uncertainty
Creating, performing and touring ENDURE over the past year and a half has been an exercise in consciously releasing control and actively engaging with uncertainty. For a year I fought with perfectionism, trying to get the show 'right' and it's only the challenges of this tour that have driven me toward a new direction. I had a breakthrough in this regard during Sunday's performance. Earlier in the day, I made the decision to use everything that was occuring around me (from costumed bike parades to ice sculptures to crowds of people) as exactly what I needed for each scene. So whatever I heard, encountered, smelled and saw, even if it was different than what I thought the scene was about, became part of the world of the piece. I responded to anything and everything that happened, allowing it to change my performance and enrich the show itself. The ice sculpture became a moment for my character to cool off. The man pointing a camera at me provided the impulse to escape. The people pointing and staring at me as I staggered blood-soaked down the street fueled my character's terror and confusion. The little girl dancing through the 'Keep Going' scene became the perfect recipient of a pearl. The lock on my iPod deactivating during the Bear Man scene meant I disengaged from the physical embrace and dove headfirst into the act of truly seeing another human being. I danced in the moment on Sunday and it was incredible. Thinking I know something? Trying to be perfect? Both of these things are blinders to the infinite possibilities that are present and available in every moment. 

Reason #6: We have you
FIGMENT NYC was exactly what we needed seven weeks from our departure to the UK. We learned what muscles are strong and what muscles need more work. It was just the right qualifying race to clarify what we'll need for the big dance in London and Edinburgh. We could not do that without our audience and supporters. This show is impossible without you: impossible to perform, impossible to produce and impossible to tour. Thank you to all who were there with us this weekend and who have been with us all along. We welcomed first-time audience members and, it is my utter delight to say this, people who have now seen all three of our NYC productions. More than 50 people have contributed to our fundraising campaign. FIFTY PEOPLE care enough to trust us with their hard-earned money.

The community that has grown around this show is the most valuable gift I've ever received. 

I'd like to call on this amazing ENDURE community to help us end our IndieGoGo campaign with a BANG! We are now 95% of the way to our fundraising goal for this tour with two weeks left to go. If this were a marathon, we'd be at Mile 25...WE ARE SOOOO CLOOOOOOOSE. You can help us cross the finish line - please contribute and SPREAD THE WORD! Help us kick up the momentum and send us to the UK with the wind at our backs! 

And if the message of ENDURE or bearing witness to this process has touched you in any way, please tell us about it. It was my greatest hope that this show would reach people, speak to a place in them that was afraid and give them something...hope, inspiration, validation...that little push that helped them realize dreams arean't about accomplishing something 'out there,' they are about connecting with something 'in here.' That thing is in you. It's in all of us and the more you connect with it – and with the community of other people tapping into that same resource – the stronger it gets. 





Practicing Not Practicing

It's here. After six months of dreaming, hoping, writing, hustling, freaking out, following up, chasing down, letting go and pushing ahead, ENDURE's 2012 tour begins now. 

Tomorrow, my intrepid crew boards the Governors Island ferry at 10am. We have 8 hours to scout locations, map a show route and re-block the show. While we're doing that, more than 200 other art works will be getting installed on the island. Friday, we return for 8 hours of rehearsal and re-choreographing the show on, around and through those 200 art works as well as untold numbers of other roving performance works with unknown routes and unknown timing. Saturday, we open and discover how hundreds of art installations and thousands of people affect the experience of ENDURE: A Run Woman Show.

I know there's something called the Peace Parade. ENDURE might have a Peace Parade right on top of it. Or an air horn orchestra. Or a pile of decapitated teddy bears. A laser-light naked mime dance party. Who knows?

This is our chaos test. It's the pressure test. It's proof of concept for the madness of Edinburgh and the tight timeline of London. In London, we have two jet lagged days to re-stage the show before we open. In Edinburgh, we'll be navigating 2500 shows and tens of thousands of people. This weekend, we'll get a taste of both on Governors Island for FIGMENT NYC. It's the first stop on the tour and it's the dress rehearsal for the UK.

We've got full houses for both Saturday and Sunday's shows. 

I have no idea what's going to happen. The whole preparation process thus far has been about embracing uncertainty and using it as a tool. I have not been rehearsing this show. It doesn't serve me to practice and perfect something that gets torn to pieces and re-made for every new location. Practicing will not help me. Learning to surrender control will.

Rather than resist the unknown, I have had to learn to embrace it. To stop gunning for perfect and let myself feel unprepared. Because there's no way to prepare. My job is to create an experience that fits a place I've never seen. Google maps will not tell me anything I need to know. Learning to trust my work and myself...will.

My job now is to stay present and stay awake. When we restage and reblock tomorrow, each scene will be in a new place. Each new place is a new opportunity to find something new in the work and bring something new to an audience. Maybe it's a path five times longer than before. Maybe it's a burned-out garage. Maybe it's a bus shelter, a staircase, a gnarly old tree. A view of Lady Liberty. New surprises, new delights, new choreography, new moments of connection.

It's strange as a driven person, an athlete and the one who flung herself at the biggest f*cking goal she could think of to now have to sit here and feel under-rehearsed. But I'm going to let myself feel that way. It's the only way I'll actually prove this out. It won't work if I 'cheat' and run sections of choreography in my living room. That's just me practicing perfectionism again.

I need to cultivate the kind of openness that lets me be the best version of myself. The one who trusts in her own artistry and knows that whatever happens, she'll adapt and respond. The one who has learned how to care for an audience and take them with her on ENDURE's amazing journey and the one who knows that caring for people is something that can't be rehearsed. It's just in you or it's not.

That's in me.

It's why I love this show. ENDURE lets me take people by the hand and lead them through the darkest place I know. It's my way of telling them that everything's going to be all right. That they're more magnificent than they thought and they're stronger than they know. That's what I need to remember now. My job is and always was to give people that gift. To give myself that gift. It's all that really matters. 


We've still got a ways to go on our fundraising campaign! Please contribute and spread the word. You can help make this happen! Thank you! XOXOXO



One Of These Miles Is For You

It was already 24 degrees C (75 F) when I left the house at 7:30am. As we've learned, I am not the most graceful hot weather runner. So this was a serious gamble. But people, CONTRIBUTORS, you are worth it.

Mile #1: Maria Pfeiffer
I met Maria at one of the early shows of our Fall 2011 Brooklyn run. I'm not sure how they all got there, but there were three runner-blogger-ladies at that show and we all went for coffee afterwards. The other runner-blogger-ladies were the fierce Amy Cooper and the divine Hilary Lorenz, who you've met on the pages of this blog.

That coffee was seriously one of the most amazing moments of the Fall run. We had an incredible discussion about running, about the show, about that strange obsessive-therapeutic gray area in which a lot of runners dwell. For the first time, I started to realize who this show is for. It's for a lot of people, really, but in these three women, I saw who ENDURE really speaks to. That insight was hugely precious and I came to it thanks to the amazing and utterly HILARIOUS Maria Pfeiffer. If any of you are hosting a party any time soon, you want this woman there. Trust.

Maria's mile was, like Maria, a truly delightful surprise. Even though I "should"have been going into nuclear reactor mode, the heat didn't affect me at all. There was a perfect breeze and my side of the park was perfectly in shadow. I passed that big beautiful lake and I thought (as I always do) of Pildammsparken in Malmo, Sweden where Christine Owman and I would take our mental breaks (me running, her on a bike) while we created ENDURE's soundscape.

Song: It's an all-Canadian playlist today! 'You Are A Runner And I Am My Father's Son' by Wolf Parade.

Mile #2: Colette Hubner
There are only a handful of people who were actually with me during my Ironman year. And by "with me" I mean with me in the trenches on a daily and weekly basis seeing the workouts, feeling the workouts, watching the whole process unfold. Most people see the stop-motion photographs of a process like this: they hear someone has signed up, they hear how the 'warm-up' Half Ironman went, they tease the athlete for drinking Gatorade at BBQ parties and then they hear about the race. It is a tiny group of people who actually see the day-to-day, incremental transformation process of preparing for an event like Ironman. Colette Hubner saw me.

She was in the pool with me three days a week for the whole of 2006. We went for coffees. We went for bike rides. We went for runs. She made me exquisite dinners in her exquisite home. She watched me transform from a marathoner who felt like she dodged a bullet into an Ironman. Someone who understands that no matter how big or impossible something seems, I know will get there.

And then she went and did a bunch of Ironman races herself. She is one of the most fierce humans I know and the CRAZY thing of it is, I'm not sure she knows how fierce she is. Colette 'Spicy' Hubner? YOU ARE A F*CKING MONSTER AND I LOVE YOU.

Song: My favourite, favourite Metric song that I love so much it's crazy. Listen loud, friends. 'Gimme Sympathy' by Metric.

Mile #3: Janet Leeder
Janet Leeder is my dear friend Kristina's mom. Beena (as she is known to me) and I were close, close friends in undergrad. Then we lost touch for a zillion years. Then we got reconnected somehow and now we're email-pen-pals with giant crushes on each other. Janet came to an ENDURE show in Cochrane, loved it, and now we're Facebook friends with giant crushes on each other. 

Janet is basically love in human form. That is what it feels like to have her in my life. 

Janet's mile, in fact all of my five miles, were simple and glorious. This was the definition of a perfect summer run. The park was lively and green. The paths were full of people running, riding, walking dogs, pushing stollers. The sun filtered down through the green of the leaves. The air smelled good like moist earth and flowers. This was a great, great run.

Song: 'Call It Off' by Tegan And Sara (Calgarians! Sisters! Yes!)

Mile #4: Anonymous Contributor #3
Anonymous Contributor makes me think about the fact that ENDURE is anything but a one-person show. Anonymous Contributor makes me think about all the unsung heros that have made this show possible and continue to make this show possible. I'm going to list some of them here and me listing them in no way expresses the amount of gratitude I have for these people. It in NO WAY lets you know how essential and precious their contributions have been. So you are going to have to trust me: whatever you've seen and loved about the show, these humans had a hand in it.

First is Kym Bernazky. She paved the way for me to stay in NYC and has since paved the way for ENDURE to get to the UK. This lady opened up the world for me. She is also giving up TV for a whole year and you will love her blog. Next is the original creative and production team of ENDURE: Michael Buffer (director) and Erica McLaughlin (marketing). I need to include the beautiful Donna Costello here too because some of the best images of the show come from her suggestions, Devin Assuncao whose script feedback changed my life and, of course, the luminous Miss Christine Owman. The thing that needs to be said about these incredible people is that they believed in this show before there was ever a show. ENDURE would not have been made if it wasn't for them.

Two people came on board last summer and have become essential parts of ENDURE's DNA: Jessica Baker and Suchan Vodoor. There is literally no way to measure the contribution of these two people. They have spent more hours working on this show than anyone else. That seven week run in the fall? (SEVEN FREAKING WEEKS.) All Such and Jess. Jess works one zillion hours a week producing Blue Man's new Las Vegas show. Then she makes sure ENDURE doesn't go broke or get sued. THEN she plots ENDURE's world takeover in the form of Canadian tours, North American tours and who knows what else. She invented the term F*cking Monster and she is the Original Monster. Suchan is the show's director and his unsung status is about to change for real. This is the guy who will stage the show on Governors Island, then again over two jet-lagged days in London and then a THIRD time in Edinburgh all the while making ME look good. MONSTER.

Next is my fierce Canadian production duo: Graham Kingsley and Mikaela Cochrane. Graham gets a whole mile to himself so I'll wax poetic about these kids then, but suffice to say: I worked them like DOGS and they are STILL committed and passionate about this show. There's also Stephanie Plaitin who crewed in the summer and tipped us off to FIGMENT and is also my big ole Canadian cheerleader. (And when I say 'big' I mean big of heart because physically she is wee to the power of WEE.) And then there's Tiffani Joy Butler who crewed in the fall come rain and sleet and snow. Brave lady. Fabulous hair.

And finally, I give you Julie 'Howitzer' Threlkeld. When I think about how important this lady is to me now and how I found her by Googling 'Brooklyn women runners' and randomly contacting her through her blog and how lucky I am that she didn't think I was a creepy Internet stalker, I get down on my knees and thank the great magical order of the Universe. She's ENDURE's Associate Producer, Chief Do-er and a wicked writer and storyteller. And that's just in her spare time.

Song: 'Dead Hearts' by Stars.

Mile #5: Anonymous Contributor #4
This time, I thought about you. And me. And how we are each of us the biggest contributors to our dreams. In the middle of the Dark & Lonelies, when no one knows what you're working towards and how hard you're working for it, you are the most important, most anonymous contributor there is. This mile was in honour of you. Your effort, your belief, your silent, unseen trials.

This mile was dedicated to the point in the process where you have yet to see results. Where you have no tangible, outward reason to believe this thing will fly or that you can actually pull it off. The point at which it's all still impossible, but you are driven by that thing that kept telling you to do this, whispering to you, tugging at you until you took that first step that led to another step and another until now, here you are in the thick and the mess and the unknown of it with no idea how you got this far in or how you'll ever get yourself out. 

I ran this mile for you. That you will wake up tomorrow and do one thing to move forward. One thing. Not a million things, not everything. Just one. And doing that one thing will give you the strength to do the next thing and keep holding this vision of yourself and your life that is magical. Wonderful. Impossible. 

Song: 'Weighty Ghost' by Wintersleep. A repeat, I know, but a good working song.


I Love You So Much I Almost Died

I forget how stupid hot and humid it gets in New York in the spring and summer. I forget how, being from the dry Canadian prairies, I am woefully ill-equipped for this time of year. Last spring around this time, I was barfing after runs and lying comatose for full afternoons. I've adapted since then, but Saturday's five dedication miles were MOLTEN.

Mile #1: John P. McEneny
John P. is one of the most generous, heart-forward people I have ever met. He is the Artistic Director of Piper Theatre Productions and a middle school drama teacher and the guy who cast me following my one and only NYC audition in the summer of 2010. Piper presented ENDURE's world freaking premiere and helped fund my travel to Sweden to work with the luminously, crazily talented Christine Owman. So, as far as I'm concerned, we all owe that beautiful music to John P.

John, your mile was magical. The song playing on my iPod was dreamy and watery like the ocean. I passed a stoop sale that looked like a street-side rainbow. Kids played with water guns. A woman rode by on a bike wearing a shirt that trailed behind her and looked like butterfly wings. I passed in front of two warrior-like horses coming from Kensington Stables. They were HUGE and majestic. I was wearing pink lenses in my Smiths (literally rose-coloured glasses) which made the trees and grass appear to be an otherworldly shade of green. I felt, John P., like I was inside a Midsummer Night's Dream...or maybe Xanadu?

Song: 'Porcelain' by Moby

Mile #2: Lynn Hickernell
Lynn is a runner and a former/future actor (as she describes herself) and all I know is we share a mutual friend in Jessica Ammirati (another runner-theatre-chick). The fact that Lynn doesn't know me personally, hasn't seen the show and STILL dropped some bucks just warms my heart to no end! 

Lynn's mile occurred as I waded through everybody and their dog (literally) in Prospect Park. There were a zillion bodies. I welcomed it, though, because it made me feel like I was part of something. It also led to a revelation about the community of artist-athletes this show has collected. Time was I felt like a freak in both camps. I was the weirdo artsy type among my sports friends and the weirdo athletic type among my art friends. No longer! I AM NOT ALONE! I am surrounded by people like Lynn who embrace BOTH weirdo parts of themselves! (And I mean that in the best way possible.)

Song: Speaking of revelations, I give you Florence + The Machine. This song needs to be enjoyed at top volume. If you're gonna go deaf, might as well go deaf to Florence Welch.

Mile #3: Emily Faherty
Em wrote this utterly bad ass review of ENDURE in the Huffington Post last year. She is a bona fide ray of light with the best smile in the Western Hemisphere. When I met her she was training for her first marathon and she sewed her ENDURE pearl into her jersey for her race. The pearl image is central to the show and becomes a symbol of both loss and hope, the small things that keep us going even when we think we can't. 

Em? I rilly needed a pearl for your mile. The heat smacked me in the face and I might have overdone it a teeeeeny bit when the revelation song was blasting in my earholes because I TANKED.

You know the saying 'never let them see you sweat?' Jones women have no choice. We do not sweat. This is not a dainty aren't-we-so-ladylike thing. This is a heat-cannot-escape-the-nuclear-reactor-that-is-my-body thing. My mother, fierce woman that she is, not only ran her first marathon at the age of 50...she did it carrying a plant sprayer. 

Happily, a moment of magic took my mind off the sensation that my head was going to explode. I came upon the starting place of the Prospect Park shows and then, as though I had dropped into the dream world of ENDURE, Christine's beautiful music filled my ears.

Song: The Agreement by Christine Owman, ENDURE's miracle of a composer.

Mile #4: Clare Nolan
I met Clare in 2006. I had started work at an ad agency and we bonded over Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes (or "Pumpkin spooooooooooce!" as Clare prefers to say). That was the year I trained for Ironman Canada, where a good lot of the source material for ENDURE came from and where, on my monster 6-hour bike rides, the nascent idea for the show began to take shape. She was also there when one of the single most embarrassing moments of my life went down. She was nice about it. And she's seen BOTH my solo shows and I love her to bits.

I knew Clare at an interesting time in her life. I bore witness to a heinous breakup and I was one of the first to twig that those long lunches she took with Steve, the other project manager, weren't all business. Clare and Steve are now married and when I think of them I think about how everything's unfolding perfectly. How even the most painful, horrible losses are just stops on the way to gifts beyond your imagination.

But this mile? Still painful and horrible.

Song: The White Stripes, Seven Nation Army. Which has NOTHING to do with Sweet Claresie and everything to do with the pounding in my skull.

Mile #5: Another Jon P....Jon Parker
So I'm passing the entrance for The Great Googa Mooga (what the hell is that?!) and there are fifty kerjillion people including some hipster wearing a 'One Less Car' tshirt by the bike valet and people wearing jean shorts and floppy hats looking at me sideways because they are carrying thermoses of cold pinot grigio and I have an alarmingly red face.

I felt like a bit of a freak, hammering away out there. 

A rarity.

As uncommon, you might say, as a Calgarian in Brooklyn.

Which is what Jon Parker is. He is one the rare breed of Brooklynarians. Calgynites. Calgooklyners. Whatever. Our tribe doesn't need a snappy name. We know who we are.

The Calgookynese have the best of BOTH our hometowns. The salt-of-the-earth friendliness of Calgary. The casual cosmopolitan cool of Brooklyn. I'm speaking mostly about Jon right now. He is way cooler than I am. I'm the weird sister of our Calgooklyn family. Jon is the smart, supportive, wildly successful older brother that everyone likes.

In my life, he is a fixture in the People Who Rock cateogry. And if you met Jon Parker, you'd think so, too.

Song: Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, one of my favourite 2006 Year of the Ironman anthem songs. I LOVE YOU CEE-LO!


Five More Hot, Sweaty Miles of Love

My second batch of dedication miles go out to: Amy Cooper, Traci Paris, Roberta McDonald, Matt Palmer and Brenda Nault. I am LOVING these, by the way. It's like Melanie Jones, This Is Your Life mixed with a telepathic cocktail party...while running! 

I chose the hottest part of the day to run in, but it was fine. It was more than fine. New York in May is the best place to be on the planet. YES this is the endorphins talking and I DO NOT CARE. I was also wearing my iPod this time, so each of you gets a song associated with your mile! 

Mile #1: Amy Cooper
Okay, listen. Some people are just f*cking fantastic and Amy Cooper is one of them. She is teeny tiny and blonde and pretty but DO NOT LET THAT FOOL YOU. She has a mind like a surgical laser. And she will trash talk you into a steaming pile of goo. She had the excellent sense to marry a Canadian (and he had the excellent sense to marry her). She wrote this about ENDURE last fall. She lives waaaaay at the tippy-top of Manhattan and I wish I had a teleporter machine so we could hang out more.

The first thing I see is a big ole speed sensor thing. If Amy were running by it, it woulda said Mach 10. But that wasn't the theme of this stretch of road. Coop, you're not going to like this. Welcome to The Baby Mile. it was stroller central out there. I started out by almost crashing into a very pregnant woman hauling a stroller slantwise across the street. (Why one would haul something that is meant to be pushed, I don't know, but she looked on her last nerve so I didn't quibble.)

And then...nothing. Seriously. Just babies and mommies and nannies. EVERYWHERE. If this is prophetic Amy, you are having six hundred kids.

Or it might be time for a triathlon because this mile was also bike heavy. Lotsa roadies and one guy who was talking on his phone while riding (not advisable) and a woman who forgot she was riding in a public space and almost killed me (also not advisable).

Song: The White Stripes one about girl something something medicine

Mile #2: Traci Paris
Remember how I said some people are just fantastic? I'm two for two here. Traci Paris...wait. Let's stop right here and talk about what a great name that is. Traci Paris. It needs to be in lights. Or on a movie poster or a series of young adult novels. This name made me nervous, actually. Traci came to the show via the insanely great Julie Threlkeld. Julie told me what Traci did for work and I can't even remember what her job was except that it was fabulous and when I put that fabulous job with that fabulous name, I became totally intimidated by Traci Paris.

So when she came to the show, I was terrified.

Which, if you know Traci, is RIDICULOUS because she's, like, the sweetest, most genuine, open-hearted lady ever. She came to the very last performance of our Brooklyn run last fall and she let me clean up at her house after the show because they'd locked down the restrooms at the Picnic House (and I was covered in fake blood...as you do).

That's how not intimidating Traci Paris is. She'll let you use her bathroom!

Trace, m'dear, your mile was uphill and hot and tough and bad ass. I saw a lady jogging with a purse and I said to myself, "No. That's wrong. I'll tolerate the rookie key-jangling people, but this pushes me too far." And then, right at the end of your mile, there was a positively GLORIOUS tree that looked like magnolia but could have been ginormously gorgeous dogwood. Either way: I dedicate that outrageous beauty to you.

Song: This Beck thing about a devil's haircut

Mile #3: Roberta McDonald
Robs has been my friend and part of my creative tribe since something like 2004 or 2005. She interviewed me for an article she was writing on online dating. I made some crack about my 'inbox' and she described someone as 'snatchy' and 'crispy' and that was it: friends for life. She was there when ENDURE was just a twinkle in my eye in 2008. She is just making the delicious transition to filmmaker (yesssss) and I couldn't be more delighted.

Oh Robs, this was SO your mile. It was the perfect Brooklyn mile. First, I stepped in someone's popsicle goo. It was pink. And then I realized that everything was happening. It was a stretch of delicious presence when I understood that there is SO MUCH GOING ON: baseball games and picnics and horses and farmers markets. Hot Asian chicks on longboards. Microscopic pug dogs. Ladies wearing those plastic "weight loss" suits. The whole world living and breathing and doing stuff and I'm part of it. Yeah, it was one of those.

They were setting up the bandshell for Celebrate Brooklyn and the sign said: Music. Dance. Word. Film. So take that and run with it, lady.

Song: The only one I actually knew the title to...Weighty Ghost by Wintersleep

Mile #4: Matt Palmer
You know the kind of people you have in your life who like you and support you massively and selflessly and say nice things about you pretty much all the time and you can't help but think: what's the freakin' catch?! That's Matt Palmer. Matt rocks. Period.

While I'm making weirdo indie art, he's raising a kerjillion dollars for his next documentary project, working to get Richard Branson in on the thing and being so ferociously supportive of my work it blows my mind. He's a f*cking monster (which, here at Team ENDURE, is the highest compliment there is, trust me).

Matt, break out the tiny socks. It's Baby Mile, The Sequel. It was also Curvacious Bootay Mile. So things are looking great for you my friend. Lotta mamas, lotta babies. There was also a video shoot getting set up, so if this mile is a prophecy, you're about to have your hands full.

There was also a shirtless dude. He was much more ripped than Papa Ahab from last time. And I was treated to a sighting of the Barefoot Running Guy. There are quite a few minimalist runners in Prospect Park on a regular basis, but there is only one Barefoot Running Guy. He's like an icon. He has a strange ageless quality about him (he's probably 80) and he's about five feet tall. It's like watching a skinny Yoda scuttle through the park.

Song: That one by Duffy. Could be 'Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.' Could be 'Release Me.' I don't know, but it's cool.

Mile #5: Brenda Nault
There are a handful of people in the world who I feel are watching me verrrrry closely. Not in a bad or creepy way. Just the opposte actually. In the kind of way that makes me feel like what I do matters and how I show up in the world matters. That I can have bad days and even bad weeks, but eventually I have to chin up and get on with this dream-chasing business because, golldarnit, Bren's rooting for me.

Brenda, my dear, today I took the road less traveled. Literally. I've noticed this pair of trails veering off the main road a hundred times and every time I pass them I think, 'Tomorrow. I'll see where they lead tomorrow.' But my friend Brenda – single mom, breast cancer survivor and brand-new realtor – knows that you don't get to count on tomorrows. So I went for it and went off road. 

I'm so, so glad I did. I was completely surrounded in green and it was hot enough and dry enough that I could smell the earth and the plants. It smelled like the forests of Canmore in the summer. Thanks Bren.

Song: 'Pictures of You' by The Cure. (RIGHT?!)

My run finished with these images flashing by as I blazed home like a mofo listening to the Metric song about guns and girls and gold:
– A gaggle of little girls that looked like cute Muslim ducklings
– A gaggle of little Hasidic ducklings about 10 feet further down the path
– What could have been the Hasidic ducklings' great-great-grandfather with the biggest beard I have ever seen
– A rainbow explosion of sidewalk chalk
– Another shirtless guy who looked like he's been injecting something into his pectorals...or he got breast implants 

As I write we are $38 measly ducats away from the half way point of our campaign. Please spread the word and help us keep this crazy momentum going! XOXO