Saturday, January 5, 2013

creating a/broad, January 5, 2013

creating a/broad
by Cameryn Moore

So. Much. Fucking. Snow.

I’ve spent my winters in Boston for the past eight years, so I am no stranger to the cold white stuff, but this is by far more than I’ve ever seen dumped at once. And it’s handled differently, this quantity of snow. Roads clear slowly, sidewalks turn into barely navigable mountain ranges, and I know for a fact that a small drift has accumulated through a crack in the Deerinator’s window.

My boots have holes in them, insidiously leaking holes, but as long as I stay on the dry stuff, I’m mostly okay.

I’m not driving it again until I get the rear shock absorbers replaced and the latch on the rear passenger-side door working again—and a tow truck in this weather, that takes time. So the car has been parked and I’ve been walking every few days to the store, to the rotisserie chicken joint around the corner, to a bus stop for one of the two lines running very near by, and also, apparently, rather irregularly.

My boots have holes in them, insidiously leaking holes, but as long as I stay on the dry stuff, I’m mostly okay. So I’ve been trudging out there, getting to a burlesque show here, a comedy show there, always trying to get back to the house and stay on call. This is my path, through snow and improbable self-inflicted deadlines and the loneliness of a new city and waiting around for calls to come in. It’s a little tedious, decidedly work-a-day.

I don’t think this is what my editor here thought I’d be doing when he asked me to continue writing from The Charlebois Post. “Tell us about your process, your personal journey, to be here now,” he said. “Tell us what it’s like.” 

What it’s like. What is “it”? 

My editor knows my life through touring, all the travel and excitement that I wrote about last year in Tour Whore. My last show of the 2012 season was November 19. I moved to Montréal December 3. He wants more of that, except here in Montréal, the life of the artist, an outsider’s view of a creative community that I have joined for eight months.

It only dawned on me gradually, over the course of many emails and one Skype session, that he didn’t really know what my life was going to be like here.

It’s complicated, because I partly moved here To Get Out

I am not on vacation, not even an artist’s vacation. I have bills to pay. I cannot swan about at openings and sit in the disco-colored dimness at clubs and hop from comedy club to theatre opening to after-hours party and absorb it, just to come back home and squeeze out the experience on paper. I’m still working as a phone sex operator for an American company, 14 to 18 hours a day on call, if I can. I never get out.

It’s complicated, because I partly moved here To Get Out, to be around a different set of creative types than I was finding in Boston, to be exposed to the awesome variety and intensity of Montréal theatre and performing arts. So I want to go out, I really do! But I don’t have the clothes for it, and anyway, I have my own work to do. A lot of it. I have a staged reading at the Mainline in three weeks, for a show that is being rewritten from the ground up. As of this writing, I am not anywhere near done with that, which is freaking me right the fuck out. I have never had this experience, you see. In previous years I have been much more in touch with my director, and farther along in the script at this point of the game, and clearer about the show. The stuff I brought to the table for this year’s show, my new director here shot it down. I understood his criticism. He’s right, he’s absolutely right, and he spot-on nailed my creative challenge for this play—to work with characters other than myself. So, yay for pushing me face first into my avoidance. But that means my old script is dead, and I need to write a new one, with revisions, in three weeks. Other people have created shows in this manner; I know that it is theoretically possible. I’ve never done it this way. Now I have to. Wait. Pause to re-frame: I GET to. Aren’t I lucky?

I am lucky, I know this! I have the time, between calls, most days, to crank this script out. And I have the mobility to move to a new location, with all the upheaval and excitement and new connections that entails. This is the way I seem to like to operate: I throw myself out there, repeatedly, bodily, noisily, and see where I land. I like to shake things up—shake myself up!—find a new path, and I’m not talking about the shitty snow-covered sidewalk on the way to the bus stop for the southbound 17. 

This path is working with new people, finding ways to be more integrated with the community, asking for help and seeking it out. I’m here through the end of July, working on plays (more than one!), working on a film, working on a book, creating some Bang It Out audio (with musical backing, how very beat!), teaching workshops, attending classes, learning skills. I’m touring, of course, not just around North America, but also TO THE FUCKING EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL (click on the link below to read about that and donate).

All of these projects, all of these endeavors, will happen with other people’s help or not at all. In the middle of my self-imposed solitude, as I look ahead to one of the busiest years of my creative life, I am acutely aware that I cannot stay alone.

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