You couldn’t have planned that

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Today I was reminded of the importance of meditation. I’m not talking about surrounding myself with candles and clearing my mind and soul, I’m talking about just sitting, switching off, and existing, for even a minute. We can lose ourselves so easily in this busy world. It’s busy, noisy, opinionated and fast. And if we’re not careful, we can get swallowed by the wave of the rest of our lives, and miss the precious moments we are living right now. It’s this wave of frantic activity and distraction that I am beginning to have the sneaking suspicion is the cause of that thing old people warn us of: Regret.

you-couldnt-have-written-thenI wouldn’t class myself as someone who is regretful – as a child I prided myself in not having any regrets, but only having lessons learned. I was either a wise kid, or the most pretentious arse in the playground (I wouldn’t discount either of those options). But recently I’ve found myself getting caught in the rapid wave we call life and ambition, getting hurled blindly through the sea toward some vague goal, surrounded by the bigged up achievements of others that I somehow feel I need to compete with. I haven’t realised until now how much I was actually drowning without noticing. I wasn’t seeing the wonderful scenery or Nemos around me, or enjoying the water massaging my skin along the way. I’ve just blindly been looking for the surface, and haven’t realised I’ve been running out of air. When all along, all I had to do, was enjoy the ride, make the most of it, and trust that I’d find the surface eventually.

As My Chemical Romance as that sounds, I don’t think I’m too alone in this feeling. I can’t be There are so many writers, and speakers, and people striving toward the one solution to this problem. The one thing that will stop me from getting a glimpse in hindsight and wondering painfully why I didn’t say that thing, or do that other thing, or notice that other thing back then. In the moment. What I’m eluding to is this idea of Presence.


Back in university I spent a good three years studying the principle of presence (the pretentious element of my personality garnered in pre-school has evidently survived middle school). It gives you gravitas, they said, weight. What I eventually learned was that it gave you life. When you’re in the moment, there’s nothing that can escape you, and nothing to worry you. When you fall out of the moment and don’t trust that gravity will bring you to the surface and give you the air you need to breath, you get bogged down, you feel dirty and gross inside, and your sight becomes foggy. The blinkers go up and you start to drown, not seeing any of the hands reaching out to you as you fall. This, my wonderful readers, is regret. Or at least where regret harbours.

And it’s so damn easy to not live in the moment! Or even in the very skin you live in! With the world at our fingertips, we can be with our family abroad, or part of the government debate, we can be in space, or fuzzing the fluffy little kittens on the internet. The one place that it’s hard to be is in our own body. Never mind the time or space that our body happens to have found itself in. And, saddest of them all, if we aren’t in our bodies, in the time and space we occupy, how can we be with the people we are around? How can we really BE with the things that matter most? Our lives. We’re so caught up in sprinting headlong toward our own goals, into heated internet debates, or into any place other than the one we are in now, that we miss the present. We miss the moments that give us the most joy. That give us the best memories. We’ll never remember that status Stacey wrote at 3.15 in the afternoon whilst we were having a late lunch with our loved ones. We’ll never remember the plans, or the worries about those plans, that we were focusing on instead of our kids when they ran out of school and excitedly told us about their day. We won’t remember any of that shit. Because that’s exactly what it is: Shit.

But one day, hopefully not when we’re old and can’t do anything about it, each and every one of us will have that moment where our head breaks out of the water for a second, and we’ll realise all the fun we could have had. You’ll realise that the story your kid is bringing up again after six years had an impact on them. And you‘ll have missed that impact.

What I’m trying to say, without the poetics or the verbosity, is that we need to give ourselves the time, patience and forgiveness to live entirely in the moment. If not all of the time, but at least once in a moment, a little more than now and again. Yes, make plans, action those plans and rejoice in the idea of that future, but don’t spend your life living a plan that isn’t happening instead of living the beautiful and magical reality that is your life. Because the saying is right; the most memorable and magical moments couldn’t have been written. So stop trying, and just be.




Jem, Last Minute Business


Any top tips for staying in the present? Any thoughts on listening to the article? Missed the link?

Comment below!

From Pirate Ships to a House of Cards

When you take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival you don’t really notice anything around you in the first few days. Routines are being set, kinks are being fixed, adaptations are being made, and you’re not noticing the building works across town that block your usual route down there (HOW DO I GET TO VOODOO ROOMS NOW!?), or the places that have closed down (RIP Counting House Fest), or any of the rest of the festival and the amazing work being put on around you. You’re working around the clock to ensure you and your show are a well-oiled machine so the enjoyment can finally begin. You don’t notice the changes.

CD after first show
After our first ever performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016. And champagne.

This festival has been a big change for me. The festival itself hasn’t changed one bit: The same acts are here, the same kinds of shows, the same routines… but this time I’m seeing it all through a wildly different perspective. Four years ago I was a bright eyed clueless flyer-er for a small show at the same venue I now find myself at, but this time I’ve moved up the ranks to being the director and producer. I’ve come full circle to find myself in a completely new ballgame.

It’s a ballgame not quite like any I have played before. The rules are the same and I’ve seen some of the players before, but the game is completely different. I learned to direct and produce work from the directors and producers I have acted for. But when you’re an actor you don’t notice the way the game changes when it comes to the live performances. You’re too wrapped up in what you are doing to notice the hire wire act the director suddenly has to play between keeping you on track, improving the show, and ensuring you feel like you’re doing a good job. Then, when you’re in a festival situation, the director also has to balance the sociable with the leading as you’re probably all living together. You suddenly aren’t aware of the fights the producer has to win and the lengths they have to go to to be the magician that makes reviewers and opportunities appear in that audience each night. Nor are you aware how much this creative process turns into a numbers game.

My role in this international festival of art and culture has taken small steps up throughout the past three years, but this fourth year brings one giant leap for this woman. But the environment is still ever changing and I’m still having to adapt in my roles. I’ve gone from captain of a pirate ship to a fixer in a house of cards.CAKE!!!



Last Minute Business


Any tips?! But, seriously. If not, then come along to the show I’ve directed and produced – Cats and Dogs Give the Best Advice – playing every day from now until August 20th 2016 at Spotlites on George Street at 7.40pm. Book your tickets here.


Edfringe Ahoy!

So here we are! The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016!

Cast and Puppets 1

Well, not quite. I’m currently sitting on a train on my way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016, but I’m still going to throw my arms up in joy and shout ‘we’re here!’. After four months of rehearsals and nine months of development, we are finally ducking here. This has been a process of hard work, dedication and a lot of puppet love. My cast have pushed boundaries and I have pushed them further, always encouraging us to make ourselves laugh and be stunned. Hell only knows what our audiences are going to experience going in cold. I can’t wait to find out.

Although I sit here with my mind and my body feeling every sleepless, determined hour of the last year, I am still glowing with satisfaction. I don’t know what the next two weeks will bring for our show and us as people, but I am fulfilled by the remarkable fun and hard work my cast have put in so far. They’re a cast I can rely on and have never doubted, qualities of this familial bunch that will be tested by the turbulent nature of the beast that is EdFringe. But they are strong, and resilient – they had to work with me for four months! – and I have every confidence they’ll take this monster in their stride. I cannot praise them enough.

Yet I won’t praise them too much right now. We’ve still got a blockbuster scale mission in front of us and they might read this, so ‘Oi! Work!!’ I shout. I can’t wait to show them the wonder of the magical place that is Edinburgh in August, and I can’t wait to show them off. I can taste the excitement.

For now, though, I’m just checking in at the start of this journey. I am the captain of a good ship, with a great crew, and a wondrous adventure in front of us that would have even Jack Sparrow stowing away in the hull. It’s all been done with not a single drop of rum so far, let’s see what hell we can bring this beast whilst we’re sipping on the golden nectar of life. Come at me Eds.Director Jemma Rowlston attacked by Puppets



Last Minute Business


Since September 2015 I have been producing and directing ‘Cats and Dogs Give the Best Advice’, a kids’ show for adults. It is now (about to be) playing at Spotlites @ George Street at 7.40pm every night from August 6th – 20th. Come check it out!*


*Only one puppet was hurt in the making of this show.

A Poorly Noted Rhyme with a Big Sentiment

A little something for a few who will know who they are. Thank you my friends…

This is a poem to say thank you
To all those I have come to love
You have filled the holes
In my heart and soul
And shown me to see above
The bad times, the hard times, the tough times.

As the year draws to a close
I hope your hearts are filled with all of those
Delightful things that make you smile
And make your life feel worth while.
Because you gave me that
Once upon a time
And for that I thank you
With this poorly noted rhyme.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Last Minute Business Jem CAKE!!!

Forget Me Not, Myself…

Sometimes you have to hand write something to get it out…

Over the past few months my life has led itself down a path unintended. This unexpected adventure has filled me with lessons, love and unimaginable fun. I am a clearer, happier and better person than I was before. I am also viewed by many, it seems, as something other than me. Or at least, they’re missing an idea of a big part of me. The people I spend my days around – whom I want to spend the upcoming future around – seem to see the things I view as my core merely as the footnotes of me. The things I define myself by are viewed by others as irrelevant.


Because I never showed it to them.


Because I didn’t think it was important.

That, my lovely reader, is my dilemma. At some point in my existence I thought my shiny core wasn’t important in and of itself, never mind important enough to share with other people. I didn’t place enough relevance, respect or love on my true self to make sure everyone and their uninterested mother knew about it.

If I’m honest with myself this has been my fatal flaw for the past couple of years. I’ve lost people, caused havoc, and created a lot of doubt in my world because at some point or another I didn’t show who I truly am. It’s become a tendency, a habit. But never before has it denied me something I deem so intrinsic to myself, and never before has it shuck my world like this…

Life can get fast; a huge tidal wave of excitement that sweeps you away and makes you forget to hang onto a few things. Sometimes that’s your toothbrush, other times it’s your self. And often you won’t realise you left those things behind until you’re looking in the mirror and seeing your un-brushed teeth… or your untrue self, reflected in the eyes of others.

It’ll make you look at yourself and your life choices. And you’ll have that moment where all you can see in the future are people grimacing at your breath or the remnants of breakfast stuck in your teeth. But that moment won’t last long. My anguish at my invisible core didn’t even last to the end of hand writing this article before I had moved on to finding the solution. Because no matter how little the world around you sees who you really are, you are still that person. You can still be that you. You do not need permission or acceptance. And maybe showing those around you that true part of yourself will get you gasps of awe and amazement just like that first time you showed them how great you are.

You are you, no matter what others may deem you as. You just have to remember to hang onto that and always bring it out, and not just as a party trick.


Jem, Last Minute Business

Have you ever needed to convince others to see you as you view yourself? Have you ever forgotten about a part of yourself? Tell us your story in the comments section below and we can all help to see each other a little clearer. 

Cat Video Sunday

So, today I sat down to write an article; a poignant, touching, clever article. I have something to say and I wanted to say it. Then, just as I was waiting for the word document to open, notes in hand, I tabbed over to facebook. Big mistake. At least, usually it is.

Today when I opened facebook I was inundated with cute, fluffly, adorbsable (mainly) cat videos. Every second post was a conversation with a cat, or a massaging cat, or the token flying squirrel. As much as I wanted to write a poignant, thoughtful, funny article, I was completely and utterly distracted by the joy of cat videos and the internet. And that was alright. Sometimes we just have to take a moment and enjoy something that makes us feel fuzzy inside, or things that make us go ‘awh’. Sometimes a week just reduces us to having to do such things for our souls.

So… today…. I present to you fuzzies…

Posted by ViralFeeds on Sunday, September 20, 2015

and happiness…

and cuteness…