Saturday, January 11, 2014

creating a/broad, January 11, 2014

Self-Shock Therapy
by Cameryn Moore

I accept the fact that being off-tour turns me into a bit of a slug, both physically and mentally. Rather, I accept that as a tendency, but I fight it constantly, trying to keep my forward action going, maintain at least a little bit of moistness in the dregs of my reservoir of creative juices. I’ve learned not to fight it with lists and a well-ordered production process and daily affirmations, etc. I could try those things, I suppose, incorporate that stuff more consciously into my work life. Mostly I’ve been relying on the element of surprise.

Yeah, I mean surprising myself. Sometimes shocking the shit out of myself. It’s easier than you might think, which to me indicates that my brain is actually really compartmentalized, with each train of thought or project running on its own track, fundamentally unaware of what is going on in the rest of my brain.

when I sit down and stare at the computer screen, it feels as though I’m seeing the script with those horse blinkers on

So, purely for an example, these days I’m thinking really hard about getting back to Edinburgh, trying to raise funds, contriving ways and means, but my thinking seems to be crystallized around it, and all I can think is “I’m late, I missed this deadline, oh god, I’m never going to do it.” And then out of nowhere I get an email from the producer of a tiny Fringe in the southwest of England, inviting me to perform there this summer. That’s some pretty startling, forces me to get real about getting there, and some pretty positive shit as well, given that up until now I was thinking that I had gotten nothing in the way of concrete leads out of the Edinburgh Fringe last year. But that’s where the director of this tiny Fringe saw me, so my going over there last August actually worked for something. Shocking, right? Floored the fuck out of me.

And that got me thinking, oh, I can ask them for recommendations for other festivals and they can refer me to them, in fact. It’s one more location to put on the virtual tour t-shirt, that’ll help when I approach more people, nah, I’m not too late, this is a little success story that I can use to fuel my supporters’ excitement, BOUNCE KAPOW, a surprise moment knocked me right out of my angsty rut.

Or take my next script. Please. The play is not even going to be touring until 2015, but I’ve got a staged reading scheduled for the end of March, and a director/dramaturge who is waiting to see something for the first draft, and a bunch of friends and a few lovers who have heard me rant about it by now, and are really excited to see how it turns out. (PS: If you’re one of those people, don’t worry, something good will come of it. It always does.)

But when I sit down and stare at the computer screen, it feels as though I’m seeing the script with those horse blinkers on. My vision actually closes in around the edges; I feel restricted and restless and refractory at the same time. I’ve been plugging away, it’ll come, it’ll come, but when I’m in there, it’s, well, tunnel vision is a good phrase for it.

I was looking forward to another month of just chugga-chugga, moving along, keeping the wheels going, getting ‘er done, you know? And then at the Smut Slam last week (it was amazing and pretty crowded, if you’re in Montreal you should come to the next one on February 5 at Le Cagibi!), anyway, at the Smut Slam, I overheard one of the judges talking about a 24-hour play event that they were organizing, and my ears perked up and my mind went SCREEEEEEECH…. Ping! And I was like, WUT. (I hope those sound effects translated properly.)

this feels like the perfect thing to put a crack in my existing, highly pressurized world

The 24-Hour Plays concept is this: playwrights work for 12 hours overnight to create scripts for a 10- to 15-minute play, the directors work all that day, and the plays are presented that night. Just a couple of months ago, I happened to be in Atlanta at the same time that a theatre organization was doing the same kind of thing, and it was stunning, something akin to the Fringe creative experience compressed into one 24-hour burst. Just like at the Fringe, some things can suck, and some things can be amazing, but it just happens, and if you’re on one of the creative teams, you have the deadline and you have no choice: it will happen.

I just sent in my application to be a writer. I don’t think I’ll get in. There are a lot of us writing weirdos around here, and it’s always hard to say, with bilingual events, how they might divvy up their available spots. But I’m crossing my fingers.

Because look, I am smack in the middle of my own script, a script that I want to make the most beautiful thing in the world, and this feels like the perfect thing to put a crack in my existing, highly pressurized world. If not this, then I need to find something else, a homeopathic dose of stress from a different direction, something that is totally unlike the rest of my creative work right now, it makes no sense, don’t know if it’ll work, but BRING IT ON. 

Hey, creative me! SURPRISE!

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