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summer

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Leo Ascendant

Summer festival with You Are So Lucky and Cirque du Nuit

Summer festival with You Are So Lucky and Cirque du Nuit

It's summer, it's Leo season. With the new moon this past Sunday the 23rd, we entered a time of fire and strength, a time to start new projects with great ambition.

 
Dark Moon Leo Ascendant Reading

Dark Moon Leo Ascendant Reading

 

Astrologically speaking, Leo is my rising sign, the qualities of which tend to show themselves most when operating instinctually in response to stress, or meeting new people. Those with Leo ascendant in their charts like to make things happen and make sure they are at the center of it. Now is a great time to harness the fiery energy of Leo, whether rising or not, to take a leap, make a splash, explode onto the scene like the star you are.

The eight major arcana in the tarot - Strength - traditionally prominently features a lion (as seen above), a creature that can be playful, or deadly. Strength is always a card that has featured prominently in important readings for myself and others, and is one of my favorite cards in the deck.

This seemed like an opportune time to get new headshots to reflect my new look, and to update my website accordingly. Check out my new headshots here, as well as sharp new shots throughout the site. This is a fresh start for LindsayHopeSimon.com and for Lindsay Hope Simon herself!

Please click around the website and stay tuned for further updates!

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Finishing the Play

 
 

I did the thing. Under pressure of a deadline for a playwriting fellowship application, I finished my play. After four years of on-again-off-again writing and research, in the course of a week I watched a documentary, read several hundred pages of books about Ed Snowden, American surveillance, and constitutional law, and I wrote an additional forty pages of my script. My little play that I was once able to edit into a thirty-minute one-act became a full-length work. I dove in way over my head with my research and shut myself in my room for hours on end, writing and rewriting. (Check out a new excerpt, available here!)

Thanks to all the work I had put in over the last six months, I was able to generate a lot of material very quickly to meet the deadline I found out about at the last minute. And I figure, even if I don't get into the program, at least the deadline got me to finish the work. I finished editing one last scene and submitted the play on a sunny Sunday afternoon, my first day off in a couple weeks.

And then, I wasn't sure what to do. For my entire life since I graduated college, that play has crept around in the back of my mind, scratching at the back of my neck, reminding me it was unfinished and that I should stop rewatching Parks and Rec and get to writing. Most of that time my excuse was how much I was working, or other projects I was a part of, or more recently, the research I still needed to do in order to do the story justice. But now that the play was finished, I didn't have anything I needed to do. It's almost like not having homework for the first time, ever.

Of course I'm immediately throwing myself into other work - I'm in a show that's going up in early July, I'm working on assembling a team for a staged reading of the play, and a friend and I are hoping to collaborate on a new work about the Israel-Palestine conflict (because I'm a masochist who wants to be mired in complex research forever, apparently). Still, it's a bit of a strange feeling, now, to have my paper baby out there. The creation process was so long and involved that letting it go is challenging. I'm excited for the next steps, but sharing the work is also terrifying.

I have a good feeling about this year, though. I turned twenty-six a couple weeks ago, and it's almost as if since my birthday, things have just started falling into place. I finished the play, I got the acting gig, I have some cool auditions coming up, and I'm leaping into situations I might not be quite prepared for, just for the sake of adventure. I'm going to play guitar at an audition, folks, which I would never have imagined doing six months ago. If that audition works out, it could be the start of my career as a professional musician, which would be hilarious and amazing (and essentially what I want more than anything right now). I just want to have fun and be happy and make art that matters, and at the moment I feel like I'm on track to do all those things.

I have a summer ahead of me where, for the first time, I have time to actually enjoy the city. I may have finished the play, but I haven't left the arena. I'm still here. Still ready. Still fighting.

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Sixteen Going on Seventeen (Or, Falling into the Oubliette)

In addition to all of my theatrical pursuits and time spent traveling or obsessing over rock music, I'm also a tarot reader. It's something I do mostly for myself, but occasionally for other people, and it's a way for me to get guidance on where my life is headed or how to move things in a certain direction to achieve a certain goal.

One of my birth cards (figured by adding the month + day + first half of year + second half of year together, and then adding the numbers in the answer together) is XVI - THE TOWER

 
XVI - The Tower, from James R. Eads' Prismavisions Tarot

XVI - The Tower, from James R. Eads' Prismavisions Tarot

 

The Tower, card sixteen of the major arcana, has already been speaking to me a lot in 2016. It is generally interpreted to mean being on the precipice of change. Sometimes the artwork shows the tower being struck by lightning, indicating that the impending change may be swift, sudden, and unwelcome. Here the tower awaits sure destruction by crumbling into the sea below.

2016 began, for me, on the precipice of many things. Three days into the year I left the country to spend ten days on a Spiritual journey in Israel. I came back inspired to do the work needed to align my life with my self. I feel on the edge of leaving old jobs and pursuing my play with even more heart. Some days I'm tempted to dump my entire New York life and move to Berlin permanently.

Last week I had a tough conversation with my director from NYRF about last season and expectations for this season. I went through a tough summer last year, and for a number of personal reasons felt I might not return to the Faire this year. After that conversation, I felt that way even more strongly. So fine, I made a choice, helped along by some others' choices, that's good, right?

If only it were that easy. Even the changes we choose can be tough. The card that follows The Tower is XVII - The Star, the card of free fall when the ground below the tower finally crumbles into the sea.

 
XVII - The Star from James R. Eads' Prismavisions Tarot

XVII - The Star from James R. Eads' Prismavisions Tarot

 

The Star, for all its elegance, can be a scary card - the unknown, emptiness, nothing solid around or under you. The tendrils of the flowers in this artwork remind me of the "helping hands" scene of Labyrinth in which Sarah, lost and trapped, falls down and is caught by hands (Jim Henson's puppet hands, formed in may ways to look like faces). The hands ask her which way she wants to go, up or down. Sarah chooses down, and is dropped into the oubliette - a dungeon at the bottom of a tunnel, whose only exit is at the top, or so it seems. But nothing is quite what it seems in the Labyrinth, and Sarah is helped out of it by her friend Hoggle, who finds a door where there seemingly wasn't one.

Though The Star may seem terrifying for its uncertainty and chaos, feelings that sometimes leave me feeling trapped, there is also freedom in it. With all the trappings of old habits, traditions, and routines fallen away, I am left to create something new. In the case of potentially not returning to NYRF this year, while it's a sad thought to leave a home and family I built there, I am faced with an exhilarating freedom I haven't had in four years. As I stare at an empty summer calendar that would normally be filled by weekends of rehearsals and performances in the woods, I try to focus on all the incredible activities in the city that could fill those little squares on the page. I see hours of uninterrupted writing time, walks in the park so close to my home that I have only ever run through, nights in new bars, sunsets by the Brooklyn Bridge, shows I haven't dreamed of being a part of yet. I let each of those flowers in The Star card be a possibility coming to catch me as I fall through uncertainty.

An oubliette gets its name from the French word "oubliette," which literally means "forgotten place." But I will not let myself fall into a forgotten place. 2016, XVI, may be crumbling into 2017, XVII a little sooner than I might have expected, but the helping hands are already reaching out to me. I'm making summer travel plans with my best friend to take a trip I could never have taken during a Faire season, and wholeheartedly enveloping myself in other creative endeavors to fill the NYRF void. And Sterling shall not be a forgotten place either; I just need some time beyond the Goblin City for a while.

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