29 05 2014

When I moved to Seattle, it was unintended and impulsive. I was 22, going on invincible, and the world was my vegan oyster. I was either really good at living in the moment or just too unaware of the future that it didn’t really hit me how difficult it was to move thousands of miles away from home to a region I’d never been to. But then again, it was sort of accidental.

From a collage I made about my first few months in Seattle.  Making collages is a great way to glue all of your feelings together in one place!

From a collage I made about my first few months in Seattle. Making collages is a great way to glue all of your feelings together in one place!

My uncle in Washington state was selling his Cadillac to his sister in Florida. He asked me if I’d be up for flying out to Seattle and driving the car across the country. It was a no-brainer. My first improv class as a teenager taught me to say “yes;” it’s the only way to have any kind of adventure in one’s life. He bought me a one-way ticket to Seattle; his sister changed her mind about the car; and I fell in love with the city, it’s people, and a particular improv company out there. The rest is part of my personal history.

But even though the decision to move snuck up on me, it was still difficult. I fluctuated between being surprised and not surprised at how hard it was. I missed my family. I missed my friends. I missed being around familiar weather patterns and familiar…everything. But I fell hard for Seattle and truly felt I had found my home. Despite being homesick, I felt more at home than any place I’d been before. Being separated by everyone that knew me, I learned more about myself in that time than I ever had. It was incredible.

As the years passed, Seattle and I grew closer and closer. The thoughts of moving back home occurred less and less. I grew roots, forged deep friendships with amazing people, worked on projects that inspired and frightened me, and could see myself living there forever.

When I moved to Chicago, it was planned out and decided on. I was 32, going on famous, and ready for the big city. I was excited to be back near the center of the country—close again to all of those people I’d missed so dearly when I moved to the outer edge ten years before. But, I’d done such a great job of creating a life for myself out on that edge, that moving to Chicago was just as difficult as moving to Seattle had been. I’d left the security of good paying performing and teaching work, all of my northwest friends and theatre family to once again, go it alone in an unfamiliar land.

My one-woman show about being single and dating.

My one-woman show about being single and dating.

And I don’t think I could have gone it more alone. I was so alone that I created a solo show about being single. And I really fell for Chicago. So many creative, talented, friendly folks living in one place! Despite being homesick for Seattle, I truly found a sweet home in Chicago. I grew roots, forged deep friendships with amazing people, created and worked on projects that inspired and frightened me, and began seeing myself living here forever. It was incredible.

And then, for the first time, I stopped going it alone. I fell in love. I fell in love with more than a city. I fell in love with another person—a person who was also in Chicago—an academic on a three-year contract at Northwestern. But Love doesn’t care if he’s not going to be in Chicago forever—like I thought I might be. When Love sweeps you up, you just follow it.

So for over a year now, I knew that his work would take him to another city somewhere. And I also knew that I would go with him. Despite my years of fierce independence and my disdain for the poorly written stories with one-dimensional characters about a woman giving up everything for a man, I knew that if he had to move, I would move with him. Not because I can’t live without him, but because I don’t want to.

After all of those years of being completely independent and single, after both celebrating and cursing singledom, when my beloved told me that he was offered a job as professor at a university in northern Georgia, it was a no-brainer. And perhaps an all-hearter.

Two goobers in love can do anything together--even move to Georgia.

Two goobers in love can do anything together–even move to Georgia.

When I move to Georgia, I will be 39 going on the-rest-of-my-life. I will still be an “I” but also part of a “We.” Even though I’ve done it before, moving will, I am sure, prove once again to be crazy and difficult and stressful and emotional. I’ve done such a great job at creating a life out here in Chicago, that leaving the city I was once intimidated by, will be just as hard as it was to leave my other homes. I am sad to leave my friends and my work. But I am excited to meet new, wonderful people and continue to challenge and stretch myself as an artist.

Regardless of my track record with having great friends and opportunities no matter where I live, I’m still scared. But this time, I’m not in it alone. And I know it will be incredible.

Valentine’s Day

8 02 2013

I heart U. But I also heart V, apparently.

Valentine’s Day.  The images that might come to mind are cheesy cards from grade school, those chalky-wafer heart candies with flirty or weird sayings (the only thing keeping Necco in business), PDA couples spending way too much money on dinner, cards from your parents, 50% off chocolate at the drug store the next day, bad movies on the Hallmark Channel, and so on….  Or at least, these are the images that came to my mind during my long stint at being single.  I am in a happy relationship right now, but I was successfully single for over six years.  I’m sure that’s a lot shorter than some people’s single streaks.  And perhaps it’s a lot longer than others’.  But for me, it was a substantial time.

In that time, I felt a variety of different emotions about the holiday on February 14th.  I attended anti-Valentine’s parties and cursed it one year, then the next, I’d give cards and flowers to friends and family.  Sometimes, I would celebrate the holiday of love by spending the day simply doing something that I loved.  Sometimes, I would get myself a Valentine’s gift, thankful that I was single and really knew who I was.  Other years, I would watch crappy movies, eat delicious chocolate, and wish I had someone to share my life with.

Since last February, I have met a nice gentleman, so as it turns out, I’ll actually “have someone” on Valentine’s Day.  After being single for so long, I was more than ready to fall in love and have all of the fireworks.  I was surprised to discover how incredibly ordinary it feels to be in love.  Not “ordinary” in a bad way.  It just feels incredibly natural.  Yes, it’s wonderful and fantastic and amazing.  But I guess the most striking thing for me is how a new person can come into one’s life and so quickly become such an essential part of it.

So, this Valentine’s Day will be a little different for me, I think.  In a very good way.  I get to spend Valentine’s Day with TWO of my loves.  My boyfriend and my other love–the one I’ve spent over half of my life with:  theatre.

The Good, the Bad, and the Monkey: full video

14 11 2012

Born out of a silly idea of having very emotional moments with inanimate objects on stage, I wrote and performed my very first solo show, The Good, the Bad, and the Monkey in 2009.  I was fortunate enough to have the very talented, Jen Ellison direct me in this endeavor.  I previewed it on the west coast–in the supportive and friendly theaters that are like second-homes to me:  The Upfront in Bellingham, WA, the Brody in Portland, OR, and of course, Unexpected Productions in Seattle.  A few months later, I had a successful (read: I didn’t lose tons of money and people really seemed to like it) run in Chicago.  I took it to more cities after that (Philadelphia, Austin, TX, and my hometown, Louisville, KY), then back to Chicago for a couple more runs.

Here is that show in its entirety.  As an artist, posting a recording of a live performance is never completely easy or comfortable.  Watching it on a screen is a different experience than in the theater.  Yet, now as I begin working on the staging of my next one-woman show (directed again, by Ms. Ellison), posting a recording of my first one seems right.  It’s good to completely close a chapter before delving into the next.

The Good, The Bad, and The Monkey
Singlehood, Dating, and the Search for Something Real

Amanda Rountree takes a hilarious–and at times, heartbreaking–look at the cycles of relationships and the myths that we tell ourselves about finding a soul mate…..using sock monkeys.


Special thanks to Fuzzy Gerdes for filming the performance!

An Open Letter to My Single Friends

4 09 2012

Dear Lovely Single Pals,

I apologize if I’ve been annoying at all lately.  I haven’t been myself.  Well, I’ve been myself.  But not the myself that I’m–or you–are used to.  I’ve been the “dating someone….oh, now I’m in a relationship all of a sudden” version of myself.  And I’m not used to this version.  I’d forgotten that this version was available to me, honestly….after being so well-versed in the “single” version of myself for nearly six whole years.

To my horror–and perhaps even yours, my single friends–I have turned into a woman that misses her boyfriend when she hasn’t seen him in a day or two.  I know!  I’m that person now!  It’s like it’s not enough that I’ve met a person I really like who really likes me…..I have to SEE HIM A LOT.

Also I want to apologize for something else I’m sure I’ve done in your presence recently.  (And if I haven’t, I’m bound to, so go ahead and take this apology in advance, as well).  You were probably telling me a really great story and after you finished talking, I greedily took over the conversation with some twitterpated story about how wonderful my guy is or–even more goobery–how wonderful he thinks I am…..

In addition, I should beseech your forgiveness, dear friends, for beginning more and more sentences with “We…..”  Please know that this is as much of a surprise to me as it is to you.  Also, know that I am not unaware of all of the times when you invite me to something, that I am more and more likely to ask if it’s okay if I bring a guest…..  Don’t be afraid to lead into an invite by saying something like, “So we’re going to have a LADIES’ night….”  I should still be able to take a hint.

I appreciate your patience with me while I’m updating to this new version.  The rest of me has gone unchanged.



PS:  Oh, but do know that I am really happy and that I’m not just so self-conscious about all of this stuff that I’m not able to enjoy the delight and excitement of new love.  If you are unconvinced, I can tell you some stories.  Like for example, the other night, he said the sweetest thing……..

Online Dating Update

14 06 2012

Just had a guy I’ve never met before send me a LONG email because I mention in my profile that I’m not particularly interested in having kids (as there are a lot of people already in the world).  He tells me he must correct my misunderstanding. He says there are actually NOT that many people in the world.  And that if you give everyone 4 square feet, then all 7 billion people could fit in the greater Chicago area.

He can try to “correct” whatever he wants to.  But do you know what he can’t correct?  The fact that I really don’t wanna be birthin’ any babies.  Also, I don’t know why he thinks 4 square feet is enough room for anyone.  That’s smaller than my bed.  I’d hate to come off as high-maintenance here, but if I’m gonna spend more than an hour hanging out somewhere where I can’t walk around, I’d like to at least sprawl out on the floor.  Four square feet, Unknown Stranger?  Really?  His mathematical calculations haven’t left any room for things like kitchens or schools or gardens or hospitals or ping-pong tables or any of the other grand amenities we humans enjoy.

This guy has CLEARLY solved ALL of the population-related issues in the world.  Apparently, all we have to do is put everyone in a four by four foot cage with no food or water.  His ancestors must have invented factory farms.  You know, what Weird Dude?  If we stack people in those cages, we’ll conserve even more space!


Will someone PLEASE go ahead and set me up with that funny, smart, attractive guy friend they know?  He doesn’t have to be Italian.  But he should have his own place.  And it should be bigger than four square feet.

Well, I asked….

26 01 2012

Me:  Hey, why do you think it is we’re still single?

Me Again:  Maybe it’s because we’re talking to each other.

This post is gonna sound whiney, even if I try not to sound whiney….

23 01 2012

Ugh.  Being sick sucks.  I am typically an optimist.  But when I get sick, that half-full crap goes right out the window.  It’s like I feel like I’ll feel this way forever.  I’m hopeless.  It’s awfully sad.  It’s also short-sighted, stupid, ignorant, and (not to mention) shamelessly selfish. 

I’d like to think that maybe the reason I lose sight of the fact that I’ll be healthy again when I’m sick is because I’m so good at living in the moment.  Ah, that’s not it, though.  If I was truly living in the moment, I’d be simply thinking, “I’m sick.”  Instead, I’m thinking, “Oh, god!  What if I feel this way forever?!”  Haha….it’s pretty ridiculous, really.  But there you have it.  I am (although I hate to admit it) an absolute drama queen, when I am sick.  Fortunately for the rest of the world, I live alone and am usually so exhausted when I’m sick, that I don’t feel like talking to anyone.  So (excepting this post of course), everyone is saved from my drama.

But not me.  I’m not saved by it.  I’m tortured by it.  I get helplessly wrapped up in it.  Blah.  Also, two other unpleasant things happen.

1)  If I’m sick for more than a couple of days, I usually have to cancel, postpone, or find subs for any classes, rehearsals, and shows I have scheduled.  If I had a “day-job” there might be a tiny part of me that thought, “Woo-hoo!  At least I get a day off, I guess!”  But I love what I do.  And I hate when I miss out.  It’s important to note that since this isn’t a “day-job” we’re talking about here, I don’t have paid sick days.  So, in addition to staying home and feeling sorry for myself, I’m out the money I was planning on making.  (Oh, man.  This sounds super whiney)!

2)  I’m a single gal who lives alone.  Now, there are lots of reasons to be in a loving, healthy relationship.  And I’ve got a list if ya ever wanna see it.  But let’s face it, one of those reasons is that you get to take care of someone when they need it and you’ve got someone who will take care of you when you need it.  There are, I suppose, some very good reasons to enjoy being single as well.  But when I’m sick, there’s an awfully big part of me that would love for someone to make me some soup, do my dishes, and cover me up with a blanket.

So, here I sit, in bed, posting a woe-is-me piece for all three of my subscribers to read (Don’t worry, Mom!  I’m sure I’ll be good and healthy in no time)!  I just have a cold/sore-throat/typical winter-y thing.  I mean, it’s not like I went to war and had my legs shot off.  I’m so insensitive and selfish.

But, I have a comfy bed and a cozy home, food to eat and vitamins to take.  And I even had a friend who checked in with me to see if I needed anything.  So, I’m sick for a few days.  Yeah, it sucks.  But, if this is what I have to complain about right now, then life is still pretty damn good.