Did I actually do anything besides work, drive, eat and sleep since I wrote the last blog? My diary says I did go out, and I did do creative stuff, but the period between getting home from work and going to bed got shorter and shorter. I’m going to a poetry evening and the theatre this week, and I’m just hoping I can stay awake past 9pm.
Any spare energy I have left over from teaching has gone into writing the play I got commissioned for last year. I’m about a third of the way through, and sent a first draft off last week. I’ve never written for anyone else but me, and I wonder how I even managed to churn out two solo shows. The next deadline looms, and writing this blog has helped clear some debris and get me moving in the past; maybe it will work again.
I’ve begun the application process for a couple of fringe festivals to take ‘Testy Manifesto’ to in the Summer, when perhaps the increased daylight will make me more Social Butterfly, and less Grouchy Bear. Doing those applications triggered a couple of old injuries – just niggly aches – from absolutely nowhere, and I wondered what my body was trying to tell me. I now feel stronger, healthier and more peaceful than I have in years, but that little muscle in my left arm, and the other little muscle behind my right shoulder blade wanted a word about my self-doubt. They’ve quietened down now, and I’m still listening.
I was on the RADIO in November, talking with fellow poets Issa and Damian about lovely ARTISTIC THINGS with host Andy Bungay, this is the mixcloud link if you have a spare few hours to listen! Saturday 27th Nov: Solent Special (extended) ft Victoria Jeu, Issa Loyan Farrah, Damian O'Vitch by Andy Bungay | Mixcloud The conversation was broad and lively, and I spent a lot of it laughing.
The ‘Frontal Lobotomy’ film got finished, and it will be unleashed at some point. It was quite a reckoning watching it back, and I put it off for weeks. I needn’t have worried as I think we met our goal of capturing the show as more than just a filmed performance, and using some of the jiggery-pokery that cameras, lighting and editing can bring to the experience. One of my goals for 2022 is to record an audio version of the book I published last year – then I really will have rinsed that show for all it’s worth.
Speaking of goals, I’ve made a great many for this year, that I will aim to achieve, but with no real attachment to whether they happen or not. One thing that wasn’t on the list though, was something I’ve been practising through my teaching since September. I made the decision to avoid immediately giving my students the answers to questions or solutions to problems when they asked, and give them space to figure it out for themselves. I decided to put my own ego and tastes aside on what I think constitutes good theatre, or a productive rehearsal, and meet them where they’re at. Basically, I stopped trying to control the outcome, and it’s taken me twenty years of being a teacher to get comfortable with that. It means that all the progress is taking longer than I would want it to, but it’s making each day, each interaction, more meaningful.
Last Winter in a therapy session, I said something to my counsellor which I thought was so lame at the time. I said that all the trees and the ground look so dead at this time of year, but that under the surface things were starting to move and grow, and that just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
I wrote a poem based on a Winter photograph not long ago. It has a rather wholesome story behind why I wrote it, but the poem itself could not be more bleak and ominous. I quite like it.
Grouchy Bear xx
Taut trunks elongate
In alien net of hanging breath
The road less travelled
A lone figure makes liminal traverse
A war of two worlds
Silently regarded amidst rotten leaves
Tiny branches imprison
And static web draws the darkening of the dark
Image from Dave Clamp