Saturday, September 14, 2013

creating a/broad, September 14, 2013

Going Down
by Cameryn Moore

What is it like to come down, my editor asked, to deal with the post-frenzy depression? I needed help finding a topic, and that seemed like a legitimate inquiry, given the columns I’ve written about not being on tour, given that he follows me on FB and knows when I hit my lows. And I have heard enough from other people who were in Edinburgh, who are just coming off the Canadian tour, that I know it is absolutely a thing. Post-tour funk. It’s not just manic little me.

But I think—knock wood—I think I’m getting better at it, coming back from a tour. I may not be spending time in that bad place at all.

This is not to say that I am not feeling the effects of suddenly coming to a halt after seven weeks of touring in a foreign country. No. The re-entry shock has been pretty fierce. Even four days after getting back to Montreal, I am still waking my lover here in the middle of the night with entire sleep-talk dissertations on what shows I am bringing to the Brighton UK fringe next year and why. I don’t recognize brand names on the bread wrappers at the store, and spend way too long trying to re-calculate actual costs of food. I have a hard time sleeping past 7am, a pattern I got into in Edinburgh, when almost every morning I would wake up thinking that I should be awake, that I should be up and doing something. But this is just coming-off-tour stuff. This is not, what the hell am I doing next?

Now, the truth is, I am not actually done with my tour, so the jury is still out. Who knows what my head is going to do in early December, when I am facing five months of 14-hour-on-call days and all this fucking snow. I’ll get back to you, because in years past, I had post-tour ennui every fucking time. But I also got disoriented whenever I went for more than a week without a show, and that is not happening this time.


I don’t want to question it, or dance around and be happy, because who knows if it will last. I do feel that it is a significant shift, something around the work flow of my year that is maturing, and I for one am glad to feel myself settling into a cycle that is more sane and sustainable.

I have always known that these “down months”, these off times, are not actually off. I need to use them to push ahead to next year’s plans and contacts and festival applications. Those have always felt like secondary activities, though, not really the real work of being a creator and performer. They’re the administrivia, the necessary evils of being an artist, the stuff that I will push off my plate as soon as I can. This stuff was soul-crushing, the scheduling and the meetings and the timelines and updating the online calendars, when I was doing it in service of other people’s work. It’s only just barely tolerable when I’m doing it to support my own.

Now that I’m building new platforms, new tours in new countries, that work has just doubled up. I don’t have an agent yet, I don’t have a publicist or a producer, hell, I don’t even have an intern yet (APPLY WITHIN, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SOMEONE APPLY). But something has shifted a little, so that rather than railing about how overwhelmed I feel about the piles of shit work, I am finding the pleasure and meaning in it, finding the ways that this work feeds into my larger vision. It’s not shit, it’s actually part of It. 

I try to remember this, and cultivate more patience.

Booking gigs, well, yes, chasing that down has always been a pain, and I’ve resisted it. But now I’ve been around for almost four years, and I know people everywhere, or I know people who know people everywhere. So the process of finding a tech person in Houston, or a theatre in Atlanta, or an interesting group to collaborate with in the UK, is not nearly as involved and time-consuming as it once was. And it is not begging people for their help anymore, it is proposing collaborations with people from a position of “my work is good, and it helps your work, and we should be working together.” I feel a little more secure in this, like I am offering something that people should want to be involved with.

Scheduling, yes, I am learning to roll with it, with a clock that just keeps moving and people I want to talk with, all over the world. What time are you awake? What time do you go to sleep? What works for you? Can we do this by email, or skype? Can we just post a meeting and call people to it without having to reach consensus? The process itself is a micro look at how the relationship moves forward. I try to remember this, and cultivate more patience. These are new connections forming. I have time for that.

I am not getting all woo-woo about this. If anything, I’m trying to keep a certain amount of hard-headedness. Lord knows, I am sufficiently vision-driven about performing my work that in the past I have done it pretty much anywhere I can find a space and a boom box and a tech person and an audience of three or more. I’m steering away from that business model, for the past year. It’s not sustainable.

But neither is all art and no admin. Not sustainable. There will always be something going on all year. There has to be. And now that I’m starting to find the fun in those business fundamentals, I think I’m okay with that.

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