What a year. What a beginning to 2021...I hope you're safe, healthy and pressing on with all the sanity you can muster. All my best to you and yours right now.
With all the losses and challenges, I'm fortunate that I can look back on some highlights from 2020. Amidst everything, good things happened. Here are a few from my end.
I was about to list some of my losses, but looking back, most of these were related to travel, lost work and household income (aided by grants received), exciting projects put off and important personal events pushed back (like a wedding). I'm extremely fortunate to be healthy, that my family and partner are well and safe, to have a job and a home. I didn't lose close friends or family this year to illness (though it came close) or the violence that came to so many across this country and globe. I'm incredibly privileged, lucky and grateful.
Because most of my 2020/2021 goals were made less possible in COVID times, with hopeful optimism (and perhaps naïve delusion) I'm bringing a couple of them back for 2021 and 2022:
3 Big Goals for the Next Two Years:
Sometimes I wish Octopuses put ink in my cartridges
Sometimes I think the sun will open and we'll return to spring
And sometimes I feel my energy wad up into aluminum ball
Until I take a nap or practice a jig or play with my cat
I remember days I wasn't afraid to open the news
When I could look out the window and think progress
I can still look out the window
I can still make progress
I a giant hunk of wax rolling down the hillside
Picking up buildings, journeying to oblivion
I can surprise myself
I can jump out my feet and far down the canyon into new parachute
These days are mine
Claim them. Reclaim my voice.
A pile of young women enter the lobby with a clang
The beginning of tomorrow
I can write my future
and remember when I discovered who I'll become
I'm falling in love with my process again, the less I try to fill every minute.
I time travel when I read the past.
I see into my then skin, compare it with now.
I learn about where my brain was and where it is.
I've learned that the practice of writing takes time. A long time.
That having patience and cultivating love
for the act of writing is the thing that leads to authentic depth
and realization of voice that can't be forced.
I've learned there is deep value in waiting.
There is no one way to tell a story, to structure a play.
The act of writing daily helps me know how to move my hand
through a story, an idea, a play or a thought
much more than if I wait between projects.
I've learned I have something to say.
I am an adventure.
I work hard.
I can miss things, skip things and the world carries on.
I can fail in big and small ways, that's how I learn.
For me, writing is not about seeking expertise but discovery, opening, humanity.
Vulnerability is the gateway to connection.
Everyone has a creative voice to unlock.
Listening is a difficult art that requires great patience
and ability to resist interrupting, speaking, offering advice.
I've learned that I love to use giant weather-based catastrophes in my work,
often representing some big world or personal event.
I've learned that the personal is political.
That my tendency to assume factors about people and situations
is a habit that I must continue to break.
That as a white person I have extreme advantage that is unfair,
but I can use that agency to open up space for the targeted.
I've learned that we can make something beautiful together through art,
and that I love collaborations even though they are difficult.
I've learned that writing is hard and I will always do it.
Heart is a blubbery mess of whole skin
An aching, frustrated chord on the ukulele
And also piano, guitar, bass
Or a long minor key on cello
Heart wants connection
Shakes for bravery
Sound of a single coin rattling tin cup
Heart sees every color under sky
In the vast universe beyond
We are small
Heart contained in my fist
And massive, oceans deep
Vast, interstellar dreams run million miles
Arrows point in every direction
Hot chocolate kisses spill out wrappers
Heart brushes eyelashes
Sticky hands stuck faces
Watching out windows, radiate sunshine
Reflect back at me the rain off clouds the sugar glass panes
Heart walks grounds where Dad lies
His wife still here, beating
Heart's ears capturing news
Remember feasting lunchtime sandwiches running acres wide
Backside damp from marshland lawns
Blue string knotted tight round finger
Falling forward into forever yeses
A ball of wax slipping through fingers
Blots away cheek tears
Heart is a feverish night
A journey into great beyond
Side-by-side by fire
I can work in a way that I guide the process and the process guides me.
My work helps me stay grounded.
Writing teaches me how to live, how to listen, how to be.
I take time with it. There is no rush.
My work goes against values I dispute --
commercialism, capitalism, unchecked patriotism.
It challenges me.
I can continue all my life and there will always be more to learn.
There isn't a wrong but I will never get it exactly right.
Not about right and wrong.
Writing teaches me what I think.
Shows me what I know.
Brings out memories that don't surface otherwise.
My work gets braver and more specific.
Is beginning to reach more globally, into dangerous territory.
Is starting to connect with audiences and collaborators in authentic ways.
Becoming more about--
That knocked me off guard. That unsettled me. That spoke to me directly.
My work doesn't define me but is a primal factor in who I am.
Me as writer, as playwright, as artist, ingrained into my DNA.
I no longer have to prove --
hey look at me
I write I'm a writer not just prop master or stage hand or sick person,
not that there's anything wrong with that.
But this ink is the air I breathe.
Getting more confident with my experiments, more courageous and bold.
Coming into my true voice that resonates with the young writer me,
what I tried to be/make/sound like.
I still feel very young. Like I know nothing.
But I know something.
And I learn more every day.
stir up from eggs
million wing-beats per minute
TV snow washes away
to bring clarity
heat in legs/heels/ankles
echoes way down deep
in gut a glowing
magma spills out
from cracks below ocean
at the edge of earth's crust
this volcanic self this blaze
late night retro-Japanese horror mouth
large and looming
ghost haunting phantom
from my belly to beyond
I blubbery salamander
working way through creek
transform as I go.
Extend hands reaching out,
form body against algae.
Thank you, bits of green
under toes, soft and wet
your coat of mud
between webbed fingers.
I duckweed up above
shine like granny smith.
Cover the density of me
against water surface
A spidery silken scarf
Beneath my rubber leaves
--that look slimy but are not--
watch frog/tad beauties
and salamander friends
--that are slimy but look slick
Wrap ourselves inside ourselves.
Watch friend salamander
coax down grey rock.
I myself have faster swim.
Spend time in stillness
zip along racing through creeks.
Bend legs and arms
Swish tail, turn bulbous head
burrowing in lacing mass.
One day will emerge.
Spend days on stone on pad.
Rapid plops in/out water,
flash tongue shooting,
will make up for
heavy gust of rain
tongue tied nerves
blustery clouds in spring
fallout days in summer
a pair of dry lips
lost puppy eyes
suck leeches from my knees
watch glacier bits fall from sugar white pastures
those ways are thawing
watch the drip
let out ragged bleats
this morning I rise with full eyes in bloom
a thick loaf of sourdough
a scrunched up forehead
bloated right now
bear fruit out my eyes
giant worms on fish hooks
all we ever seem to do is wake
our names in our chests
that room of stiff bodied people
and wild green outside
flick of lips
when she opened her mouth
and a squeak came out
the charged nature of everything here/now
back bent at screen
blue flowers grew up on either side with little saplings
bombastic voices surrounding park bench
her throat clearing
broad skies and clouds
skinny wisps of white
the building bricks like Marlboro Reds
smoked packs a day those years
something she was good at
Art shows me the world I want to see, reveals how I want to live.
The process of making art teaches me to live better.
Putting creations into the world helps me express
what's going on inside me, in my life, what I observe in this world, my beliefs
when I find it impossible to do so face to face.
By sharing the work I make, I can make myself vulnerable
in a way that opens me up to connect with others through empathy,
and them to each other.
When I see art that inspires me, I am reminded of our condition,
our world, the irrevocable sense of beauty and truth in each moment.
Process notes on a work in progress. This page serves to invite you into the way I work, with intermittent posts to show you the hows and whys on the whats I make, as well as prompts and ideas I bring to certain workshops. There will also be some raw, rough content found in notebooks written years ago, previously posted on: