Bono

I frequently have dreams that feature Bono, the lead singer of U2. But it’s not what you think, you dirty-minded fools. Usually we’re on a basketball court, and Bono is shooting hoops. I just stand there (I’m useless at basketball). Bono does the talking, and I know he’s imparting important information. Unfortunately, when I wake up I usually can’t remember a thing he’s said. Sigh.

Sometimes the god Hermes is there, too. Just to emphasize the communication aspect, I suppose.

But I haven’t had a Bono dream in a while, and then last night I dreamt about being at a concert and waiting for U2 but never got to the point where I actually saw them. I’m thinking there may be too much going on in my life at the moment, externally, and now I can’t hear myself think any more. I’ll admit to having felt confused lately, though what about exactly I’m not sure. Overwhelmed, yes, with the move . . . And I have a lot of projects going . . .

Bono, I need you! Come talk some sense to me and make things clear! Bring Hermes along if he’s available . . .

The Backup Singer

I’ve always kind of wanted to be a backup singer. I like to sing, and I’m not terrible at it, but there’s something in me that prefers a supporting role. Like in school, when I chose to help choreograph the dance team rather than perform. (Though I have truly enjoyed the times I’ve been on stage in theatre productions.)

I took a test once that labeled my strengths as both “service” and “leadership.” At the time I thought those results were at odds with one another, but I know better now. A good leader is a support structure. It’s both demanding and tiring as a role, being a pillar for others to lean against. But rewarding, if you can take the pressure.

The Romantic (or, The Secret Lives of Writers)

I’m a romantic at the core, although a lot of people find that difficult to believe. That’s because outwardly I tend to be honest, practical, logical, and efficient, even to the point of being brusque or blunt. I always realize later that I should temper my blades, but it almost never occurs to me in the moment. I’m still learning on that score.

But writers—and I don’t mean to speak for all of them, but I think many would agree—have vivid internal lives that are often very different from their outward personalities. I hesitate to say one is “truer” than the other; all are parts of a whole, though that whole is weirdly segregated in its being.

It’s tough to catch me in a romantic moment because I have a “shields up” way of dealing with people and situations that make it tricky to get at my core (if you’ll forgive the geeky Star Trek lingo). It can be done, but only through the most deft sleight of hand.

I put a lot of my romanticism in my writing. That’s my outlet, really. That’s how most writers work, I think. It’s almost like slowly bleeding to death, though. Something is going out, but if nothing goes in . . . I need a transfusion.

Hoodies

I am a writer who inhabits places that can become chilly and/or wet at a moment’s notice. So while I’m not proud of it, I do wear hoodies.

I don’t like hoodies. It’s just that they’re so damn convenient for places that may be windy or misty, or for going from cold to warm and back. It’s this convenience that keeps hoodies in my wardrobe. I’m not proud of it. I prefer to wear nicer clothes, and on days when there is a likelihood that I will be seen by other living human beings outside of my immediate family, I do try to pick something more chic. A “summer sweater” or a neat little jacket or whatever. But as a writer, there are plenty of times when I could be dead for three days before anyone realized it because I have been closeted with a project. Under those circumstances, if and when they do find my body, I’ll probably be wearing a hoodie.

On the flip side of this, I do insist on wearing a little makeup every day. It’s part of my morning routine. I’m pretty convinced that if I don’t at least put on some eyeliner and lip gloss the world will implode. It’s not a risk I’m willing to take.

Strange Gravity

There is a strange gravity between bodies.

It is the force that causes two people standing near one another to sway towards and lean in.

It is the force that causes two people facing one another to embrace or kiss.

And like all heavenly bodies, some have more pull than others.

Some spin faster.

Some shine more brightly.

And some collapse inward, pulling everything around them down and into the darkness, the black hole.

There is a strange gravity between bodies. It is the force that causes them to collide, and to sometimes consume one another.

Event: An Evening with BAFTA Winning Costume Designer Ray Holman

From the Drama Association of Wales:

In a couple of weeks time, we will be holding an event that we thought you may be interested in. We have included all the details below:

DAW Presents An Evening with…
Ray Holman
BAFTA award winning costume designer is back in Cardiff for one night only.

BAFTA award winning costume designer Ray Holman whose recent work includes BBC’s Silk, Torchwood, Doctor Who, Law & Order, and Sherlock is coming to the Kuku Club in the Park Plaza Hotel, Cardiff on Friday 3rd February .

Ray will take the audience through how his career began, how he made the choice between acting and design, how he made the move from TV to Theatre and back again as well as winning a BAFTA, working on the socially driven drama adaptation The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper and most recently working on the renowned and cult favourite Doctor Who.

Past credits include Pobol Y Cwm, Band of Gold, Sea of Souls, Peak Practice, Rab C Nesbitt, Born and Bred, Law & Order, and Torchwood.

Join Ray Holman in association with the Drama Association of Wales at the Kuku Club, Park Plaza, Cardiff for an intimate evening with Ray, a question and answer session as well as showcasing sketches, productions shots and the real work.

Ray graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 1984. Since then, he has gone onto work at the BBC, Granada, Carlton, Yorkshire Television and ITV.

Tickets range from £10.00 – £15.00 and can booked via the Box Office on 029 2045 2200 or online*

*online sales carry a small transaction charge

If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact me Harriet@dramawales.org.uk

FAQs

I thought for the last day of the year I’d maybe address some of the questions people e-mail me via the contact link.

Q: What does the “M” stand for?

A: This is the question I most get asked. The truth is, the “M” stands for a lot of things, chief among them:

  1. Methos. A nickname I acquired in college. It refers to a character from the television series Highlander. I’m not entirely sure how I became christened with the name, but the quote, “Now we have Methos, and now we’ll have a plan” had something to do with it, I think. Methos is the oldest Immortal, if not the wisest, but I’m not the oldest of my friends, so . . . Has more to do with his/my cunning as I understand it.
  2. Morningstar. As in “Lucifer Morningstar,” which I think was taken from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics? Basically because I’m the one who gets called in when everything’s gone to hell. As a general rule, you don’t want to ever get to that point, and you don’t want to have to deal with me in Morningstar capacity.
  3. Manda. This is, in fact, my actual name. But very few people use it.

Q: Is Sherlock a Voodoo doll?

A: I’m not sure why I get asked this question so often. I suppose he does look a bit like a Voodoo doll, and the fact that I’m French Creole might lend itself to the idea that I’m doing something nefarious. But no.

For one thing, Sherlock isn’t an actual person, he’s a character. For another, I have no especial reason to want to torment either him (though, if you read his blog you must realize he would probably disagree) or the actor who portrays him. And finally, even if I did want to torment, well, the actor (since it’s impossible to torment the character outside of fiction), there would be much easier ways to go about it.

Q: When are you going to finish “The Hanged Man”?

A: I don’t know. That’s a crap answer. Sorry. Um . . . I have a lot of legitimate work piled on me at the moment, so that has to take priority. If and when I dig myself out, I do plan to finish it.

Q: Which shows/movies have you worked on?

A: I’m not terribly comfortable talking about these things (a) because of the touchy nature of some of the individuals involved, and (b) I’m not authorized to speak on behalf of any of the shows. The industry is kind of a funny place, and it doesn’t take much to upset things, so I stay out of it as much as I can and just try to do my job. That means in large part not talking out of turn. And writers at my level don’t get a turn.

Which is why on this site I focus only on my personal projects.

Q: Is M Pepper Langlinais your real name?

A: If you mean, “Is it your legal name?” then the answer is no. It’s one of a few professional names that I use. I live and travel and so forth under a different name. I sometimes write and work under other names. Though the M is right and true enough.

Q: Have you ever dated anyone famous?

A: I’ve gone out with famous people, a few of them more than once, but I wouldn’t have called any of them “relationships.”

Q: What astrological sign are you?

A: Really? Do people still ask this? I’m a Sagittarius (you can probably tell by my recent birthday posts), but my rising sign is Aquarius. Lunar Gemini, Venus in Scorpio . . . A lot of other stuff I can’t remember . . .

That covers the majority of the questions I receive, I think. If I didn’t answer something you want to know about, you can click the “Contact” button and send me a note.

Dreams

I dream vividly and often. But there are two distinct types of dreams that I have. Most are so much fluff, the strange mixture of memory and other subconscious elements swirled together as my body powers down. Sort of a broth, thin and not terribly filling, even if tasty. But now and again I have a dream that feels heavy, and dreams like that always mean something. Either they’re prophetic (like the one I had on 11 September 2001) or, I don’t know, connected in some way to something larger. Has something to do with my lineage, I think, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I’ve been having a lot of heavy dreams lately. But while I can usually work them out, these ones are a bit beyond me. In one, I was at some kind of school. Benedict Cumberbatch was there, and I stole his keys so I could get into a locked wing. I was trying to get to his office—I don’t know why he had one at a school—and I was even careful to lock the door again behind me to slow him down a bit when he realized what was happening. It was strange, though, because on the other side of the door everything was grey and empty except for a tram like the kind you find in some airports. I got on, and the tram stopped at this kind of atrium, also grey and empty. There was a skylight, and either the glass was very dirty or it was cloudy out because the light was weak. But there was one bit of color: a red sign with yellow letters that read “Popcorn.” I was even considering getting off the tram to get some of this popcorn, but I didn’t want to lose any time, either. I actually don’t know whether I did or not because I woke up after that.

Popcorn in a dream usually means some kind of truth is being presented to you, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what this one was about.

Another “heavy” dream I had was about the moon. I don’t remember much more than that. There were students of some kind, I think—high school or maybe college freshmen. Maybe it’s the school angle I should be looking at in these dreams, though in neither case did that element feel especially important. I just know I was with these students, was some kind of counselor maybe, and we were sitting on a hillside at night and looking at the moon. Shooting stars, too, and the sense that something big was about to happen. Maybe even dangerous. But at a distance, sort of like a faraway city being bombed. It’s bad news, yes, and may even affect you indirectly, but at least you weren’t there when it happened. Anyway, the moon seemed to be the important thing in this dream. A crescent moon. Maybe even some kind of lunar eclipse.

And then there was a dream about a city. Seemed to be some combination of Boston, New York and London. I was wandering around it, but there was something about the cars . . . They were parked in the middle of the roadways. Blue and white cars. (Colors are often important in dreams.) And they were all a little bit old and a little beat up-looking too. Chipped paint. With the headlights that lift out of the hoods and such. The cars were the important figure in this dream, along with the signs all around, sort of like Times Square. I didn’t or couldn’t read any of them, though. I was just aware of all the lights.

Finally, a dream about a house on a hill. A Queen Anne, I think. A bed-and-breakfast, but the house needed a bit of work. I only saw it from the outside, and from lower down on the hill, so I don’t know if the inside also needed some TLC, but the paint on the outside was faded, the porch sagging. Houses in dreams usually represent a person, but I don’t think this house was me; I don’t know who it was supposed to be. But the correlation of the chipped paint on the cars and that of the house is not lost on me. Though cars usually represent one’s life journey or something. There was another part of this dream about oysters and crackers and me playing checkers with a young girl. The checkers seemed important. It wasn’t a normal game, but a very convoluted one. Even the board didn’t look like a normal checkerboard, and the rules were more like chess.

As I’ve said, the meanings to these kinds of things are usually quite obvious to me, or else looking up a few keywords can often help me piece together what the cosmos is trying to say. But I can’t make heads or tails of any of these. I have some ideas about bits and pieces of them, but nothing cohesive about any of them. I’m sure they’re not meant to go together. I think whatever or whoever is trying to communicate something to me is trying a lot of different ways to say the same thing. Empty places, places and things that are showing signs of wear . . . Games in which the rules seem arbitrary or don’t make sense . . . And bright signs. And popcorn.

Well, I do like popcorn.