Hello friends and readers. I'm having one of those days today where many things seem confused, and I cannot seem to get clarity on what to write, who I am in relation to my work, etc. I really don't want to admit this at it seems a colossal failure of nerve somehow, but I suppose if I'm going to be honest about this process, then to not mention the confusion part would be pretty well dishonest.
Because I was working yesterday to collect work for what will become a performance/art project, that put me back in that frame somehow, and when that happens I can feel the emptiness of the space where my theatre company used to be. I am being diligent I think in not racing to fill that space, as I think that's the moral equivalent of jumping from one failed relationship into another one in hopes of avoiding the pain of loss. So consequently, I am feeling that loss today. And my biggest concern is: did I jump out too quickly? Was there something else I could have done to make that situation work? And then when I think that through, or more accurately, feel that through, I realize: yes and no. Yes there were steps I could have taken to allow the company to continue and they may have even led to the company thriving but no, I was not willing to do that work, again, for free. I am tired, very tired of administrative/producing work and it was having a vampiric effect on my energy and spirit. But as with any important relationship and/or piece of identity, what have you, the loss still needs to be grieved. And, the truth is, I fucking hate that. I would much rather glide on through to the next challenge and talk about how wonderful it all is.
Also, grieving leads me to a sense of shame and then confusion. I remember someone telling me once that she felt shame in her pain, and I did not know precisely what she meant at the time. I do now. I think this may be one of the many legacies of abusive/alcohol-fuelled childhoods (speaking of which I am struggling fiercely right now with how much of this childhood I should or not write about here - what are the ethics of speaking one's truth when it may cause another harm? Especially if that other person was in one state then that differs greatly from now? Must I remain silent? Must I write about it anonymously?). But whatever the cause, it is true, and I have a hard time showing you or anyone else my real vulnerability. Is that wise anyway in this world of facebook/twitter/blogging etc.? Should I just settle for the public face and come up with an adequately humorous persona of some sort to present to you? Is that the more acceptable angle? Sometimes I think it is, but I resist it nonetheless.
Why am I so drawn to the rough edges? Why must I always seek out the cracks in the framework? Is this some kind of disease in and of itself? Or is it, to mangle a quotation from Cocteau about artistic innovation, an attempt at another form of realism? See, this is the struggle, always with my writing, my theatre work, anything: how can I show what is as it is? 'As it is' meaning always shifting, changing, becoming, dying, re-becoming, morphing again and then showing itself as a new thought process or emotion (and what are those words anyway - hopeless, clumsy: 'thought' 'emotion'...etc...as if they were different, as if they can be pulled apart from each other and there is some 'platonic pure thought' or 'real feeling' etc...I am haunted by the memory of a Greek friend in Italy - another in the long list of gay men I fell hopelessly in love with throughout my 20s - who accused me of thinking with my heart and feeling with my head... and I wonder now: is that so bad? Isn't that what we all do?)
So, how do I show what is as it is becoming? In my stage texts it is through a kind poetic cut-up language, which both addresses things directly and indirectly - pulling from my own thoughts, ideas, memories and found text, ideas, memories, dreams, rants, raves...Here, in this new beast, I am following my thoughts wherever they go, trusting that somehow this communicates to someone somewhere besides me, which so far it seems to be...and I suppose even more importantly that it is somehow moving towards a way of seeing/feeling/becoming that communicates the world as I see it in hopes that someone else may also see the world this way and feel slightly less alone, which is how I feel when I read writing I love. This writing can be fiction or non-fiction, but there is a sense of intimacy of hearing a thought articulated and/or a feeling or even a way of seeing rendered that resonates either with something I've thought, saw and/or felt but maybe have not been able to articulate or that offers a new way of seeing/feeling/thinking about some part of life. And I think that's interesting - these two simultaneous impulses - one towards a kind of recognition and one towards an awakening to something new. But are not these awakenings to something 'new' in a way recognitions as well, in other words 'recognizing' a perception or a way of thinking as true or resonant that had not been conscious but had perhaps been present. I remember this feeling quite distinctly with - of all things - poststructuralist philosophy - in struggling with the idea of the 'truth' and its existence or non-existence. When I understood, in what seemed like a flash, the ultimately subjective nature of what I had before considered truth, it was a revelation, but one that obviously resonated with experience.
What I do know: I am grieving the loss of my theatre company. I am still working out how much of the past and the present I should be putting in this blog along with everything else and I'm scared to death that this makes me some kind of cosmic loser. The phrases 'Never let 'em see you sweat.' and 'Smile, smile, smile!' come to mind...not to mention the dance mentioned a few posts ago I tried so hard to learn at boarding school to keep up with the rich kids, namely: do well but never appear to be trying. Clearly 'trying' to learn that should have been a tip off to the fact that I was constitutionally incapable of it in the first place.
Some people never learn.
Oh, speaking of which I had an interesting series of discussions about class with Hazel from Southend yesterday when working on the new piece. And if the class system can seem horrendous in the US, I think it may be worse here. To paraphrase what she said 'whenever I speak in a room with middle class people, I get the sense they feel something unclean has entered the room.' Translation for Americans: middle class = upper middle class, and from Southend means Essex, means working class and/or aspirational working class (i.e. chavs with bling). There are many gradations and subtleties within this, but you get the idea. She is an art student/artist and so the world she will be entering is quite upper crusty and because of her accent, she will have difficulties based simply on the assumptions that will be heaped on her the moment she opens her mouth. While it's different for me being American, I have a whole other set of assumptions heaped on me here, too. Interestingly, in working class Britain (e.g., where I live in East London), my accent is taken on the whole as a positive thing whereas in middle class (upper middle class) Britain it means I am intellectually deficient or an incomer. Hazel was amazed when she went the US that the moment she opened her mouth there, everyone was thrilled to meet a British person.
Ahhh class....the never-ending prejudicial fun fair with free, astonishingly repetitive rides for the whole family!