Saturday, September 7, 2013

creating a/broad, September 7, 2013

When a Young Broad's Fancy Turns to Fringe
by Cameryn Moore

It’s that time of year already. The 2013 Fringe season is still happening, in Vancouver and Halifax and Amsterdam, but applications are already coming due for 2014. I billeted in Manchester with a performance poet who had just come back from Edinburgh Fringe, and had to stay up until 5am in order to submit his application online for the NY Frigid Fringe when early-bird applications opened. 

So, clearly, we are all thinking about it. Most of us just haven’t been able to sit down and breathe and do all the dirty laundry at once. Doesn’t matter: we still have to figure out if we are ready to do it all over again next year.

I feel this cycle acutely. I mean, I will not stop touring until the end of November. I haven’t had time to accurately crunch the numbers, shuffle the tarot cards, consult with anybody—who do I even ask? There aren’t any career counsellors for performer/playwrights! (None that I can afford.) I would love the reassurance, of having someone tell me that, yes, I’m making the right choice. But the truth is, I know what I’m going to do.

I’m doing Europe again next year.

I didn’t eat enough haggis; next year I’m buying some and keeping it in the fridge.

I made the actual decision somewhere in the third week of Edinburgh, down in my venue’s stuffy keg room, with maybe 5 minutes to go before we were rushing into the venue for the next show, and I looked at my tech with bewilderment and said, “I think I’m doing this next year.” Something crystallized in that moment, my stubbornness and ambition and joy in reaching new people, and I knew it was going to be so.

Now, I have my articulated reasons, really I do. Things didn’t happen this year that I wanted to, and I know what I’m going to try next year to make them happen. I didn’t get reviews; next year I’m hiring a publicist (I know, I know, it’s no guarantee). I didn’t meet a lot of festival producers, and get them to my show; next year I’m hitting up the Arts Industry Office BEFORE the festival and sending out the invites early. I didn’t eat enough haggis; next year I’m buying some and keeping it in the fridge. See? I know how to take concrete steps to accomplish my goals.

But I want to dig in a little deeper to the emotions that powered this decision. I want to make sure that I’m really in touch with the core. So over the next few weeks I’ll be doing something I haven’t done in a long, long time. The last time I did this was during another sort of work/career/life focus existential crisis; what I’m planning is exactly the sort of desperately woo-woo measure that you take when you don’t see the way forward but you know you can’t go back. I got this approach from a book called Wishcraft by Barbara Sher. She’s got a number of good exercises in the book, designed to loosen up your mind and consider multiple angles and multiple approaches to getting what you want out of life. And the one I’m going to do is… wait for it… journaling.

It’s specifically journaling what kind of life I want to lead.

Simple. Appropriate for a writer. And one of the best ways I know to really get my dreams out of my head and into the world. Because it’s not just any journaling. It’s specifically journaling what kind of life I want to lead. Sher recommends doing a day in the life approach, where you describe your ideal day, in all the glorious, mundane and glamorous details: what you eat, what you wear, who you are with, where you drink your morning coffee, what do you see when you look out the window. All of it. And then the point is, you find all of those touchpoints in there, all the things that make that future day really sing, and reverse-engineer it from there.

I don’t expect the journaling to be that hard, other than the brute mechanics of handwriting. Because the content… that is something I think about every day. I could tell it to you right now…

I get up from a bed that is wide enough for lovers, wide enough for me to stretch out when there is no lover in it. I drink my hot coffee, my tea, my caffeinated beverage of choice and availability, sitting at a table I know well, or sitting at a stranger’s table who I didn’t know well until last night, when we stayed up until 4am talking about the next shows that we were working on. I check my email; there are offers there for a festival that will make me some money, for a college where they are bracing for administrative protest and the news is going viral, for a performance space that won’t make me much at all, except I’ll be presenting to an audience that saw me last year and is so excited to have me back that they are baking a special cake for me and they want to know what flavour of cake I like the best. 

I sit down to write, and it flows forth, my next play. I check the galleys for my second book, talk to my agent about the stops on my book tour. I go out to a hot tub, to a cold lake, to a large body of water. I want to soak. I have a delicious lunch that I prepare myself, or I go to a restaurant for lunch with a friend, and I can afford that lunch, if I want to. We talk and talk. I don’t have to miss my friends much anymore, because I fly all over the place, and they do too. We find each other, everywhere. 

We come home, wherever home is for me at the moment, and we fuck until we can’t anymore

I rehearse with my director for three hours, and it is hard and frustrating because getting ready for a new show is always that way, but now I have enough under my belt that the frustration is just a sign that the rehearsal process is working. When I look out the window, I see whatever is there, it’s changing scenery, sometimes week to week, but I always take a moment to pin it to my memory, to remind myself, this is where I am. In the future I envision for myself, I have become at ease with my own migratory urges. It is no longer something to fight or regret or cry about late at night.

At night I perform. Or I do my sidewalk smut stand, because that’s still and always ridiculous amounts of fun. Or I go to watch someone else perform, and my lover and I talk for hours afterward about it. We come home, wherever home is for me at the moment, and we fuck until we can’t anymore, or I fall asleep by myself with my cat at my feet, or someone’s cat at my feet.

I’m still working out the details, but … these are the things I want. These are the feelings I want. I think Edinburgh is going to get me there faster.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Please read our guidelines for posting comments.