Stillness

Our society is uncomfortable with stillness.

We are always trying to move on, get over it, work through it, tackle, run, push, stretch, jump, fight, overcome.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of stillness this past week as I grieve the sudden loss of a dear friend. During this unintentional experiment in stillness I have learned a great deal about how truly uncomfortable this makes people.

I’ve been greeted by anger, frustration, indignation, incredulity, suspicion , anxiety, aggression, seduction, accusation, and bewilderment all from perfect strangers. It puts people ill at ease to see someone not actively engaged in doing something, anything, so long as they are perceivably busy.

I’m in no place to try and guess why this might be. It is simply an observation from the past week that I have noted.

Maybe I am the one that is disoriented and perceiving things incorrectly. I certainly feel like it. Grief is it’s own kind of creative process. My body is the conduit for it, not made up of it, for there is certainly more than my small frame could hope to contain.

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Artist Crush: Joey Comeau

I’ve had a big, fat artist-crush on Joey Comeau since I was fifteen.
He is the writer and wit behind a softer world and overqualified among others.

I used to fantasize about traveling out east and running into him in the street, or on a bike somewhere, and smashing windows and writing poetry together in the street. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

His prose are explosive, raw, chaotic, and also adorkably sentimental at times. I discovered his work at a time when I thought all Canadian literature had to be polite, subdued, and restrained. Darkly humorous and instantly relatable; I quickly read everything by him I could get my hands on.

His voice is crystallized in the age of internet sensationalism, 24/7 connectivity and mass loneliness, drunk texting, cultural commodification, zombies and reality television. A Canadian Jack Kerouac, his stories capture the restless, tense, heart broken energy of a generation of skateboarding skids and indie hipster kids.

I don’t “follow” a lot of authors, but Joey is someone I bite my nails over, worrying that his creative well could dry up at any minute, and also thrilled that he could just as easily spew forth forty new works over night.

Joey’s writing reminds me that reading is suppose to be fun first and foremost, and threatening second. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but it has to be smart, and sometimes that includes jokes about sex and farts. The awkward moments can be soothing, and vulnerable moments scathing. His darkly sardonic narratives are oddly hopeful and invigorating. Like an open ended dare, the challenge is to get out of bed in the morning and live another day, because why the fuck not?

I hope if you get nothing else out of this post you go check out asofterworld.com right now, and I strongly encourage you to go buy all his books and share them with your friends. It will be totally worth it I promise you.

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Visual poetry

I want to create visual poetry this summer.

I’m missing filming and editing and I’m looking for a way to get back into it and to explore “sampling” real life for my various performance pieces.

The plan is to collect a lot of footage of everyday things while exploring different kinds of light, colour, composition, texture, and tempo. Then, I will take samples of this footage and edit them into a wordless poem, whose shape will literally emerge from the source of inspiration captured on film, for easily digestible pieces of media art to be consumed as you would a painting, or a Lyric, rather than a full narrative, as is traditional in the medium.

I might use these pieces further, in Dear Devotion in particular, but mostly it will be an experiment in composing images with no specific end product in mind.

I plan to invest in a cheap camcorder in June to begin collecting the footage. I’ve yet to decide whether to begin editing immediately, or to enjoy the collection process and worry about curating the actual poems later in the fall when the mind is more crisp and clear rather than hazy with summer.

If you are interested in being a subject in this project let me know in the comments, no acting experience necessary, think of it like live life drawing modelling only with more clothes on.

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Fierce

Today is the kind of day to throw an entire bucket of paint at the wall and roll around in it.

Today is the kind of day to squeeze a passion fruit in my fist just to feel the juices run.

Today is the kind of day to smash a stained glass window to make new patterns on the pavement.

Today is the kind of day to cut open my own eyeball so that the other can see what is inside of it.

Today is the kind of day to holler new verses from roof tops, and imagine new ways to out run tomorrow.

Today is the kind of day where my creative energy presents itself with such urgency and aggression that if I don’t find a way to channel it into the work it will burst out the seems and start brawling in the streets.

It is days like these that make me understand why so many artists have taken their own lives, or become addicts trying to cope with the consequences of living with too much of a passion and not enough of an outlet.

It is a creativity so fierce it is enough to drive a person mad.

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Dear devotion: thoughts

I have a question that has been eating me alive with this project: is it too personal?
At what point is a piece merely public masturbation for the artist? How do you determine if these ideas are valuable to the wider community? How much self are you allowed to have in a piece as an artist before it becomes irrelevant introspection and therapy?
I’m not sure I have the answer yet.
All I can say is the more time I spend contemplating this piece the more “about me” it seems to become and the more terrified I am to do it.
But what is an artist with out a voice? How would I expect to give shape to the piece with out a perspective? Why am I afraid to be seen in my work?
These are the hardest questions I face creating the piece so far, and some days I fear they will choke out the actual work like a weed.
This is my process I have to accept. Question everything. Try something small. Tear it apart. And build it bigger. Question everything again.
To love your work is to burn it.
To love your work is to be consumed by it.
Sometimes I think to love your work is to be tortured by it.

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New idea

I want to make a video of a hundred different girls and women and ladies and femmes and tom boys and broads and hags and lasses opening up jars of pickles.
It would be a tight shot of just elbow to forearm twisting the lid off of various jars of pickles, maybe some peanut butter or tomato sauce for good measure.
It will play continuously on the wall in my fantasy art exhibit that I am building in the back corners of my mind.
The fear it is over coming I think is obvious: every woman has (at least) one thing that they are mortally afraid they will never be able to do with out assistance, and that this one short coming will cause them to shrivel up and die if ever they are unsuccessful at securing a husband.
Or maybe this is just me?
At any rate mine is opening jars.
I’ve done it many times successfully but I still panic every time I’m on my own and I have to do it. I worry that maybe this will be the time, the time I die alone and hungry in my apartment because I can’t open the jar of pickles.
Now that I say it aloud I feel silly and maybe I really am the only one with such irrational spinster fears.
But I want to make the video anyways.

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The beginning: Dinner Tables

I am writing a play called Dinner Tables.
Tonight.
I have one shot to hash out a rough draft in 24 hours, and by golly I am gonna do it.
The play will be a series of vignettes (12 or so) that feature different scenes that take place over dinner.
Sharing a meal forms such a central part of so many aspects of our lives it is the perfect window into family life, power dynamics, social norms, politics, faith, culture, it all happens around a dinner table.
The final play will take place in a restaurant with the audience seated at their own dinner tables. Together they will watch the show then afterwards break bread together to discuss.
I’ve been sitting on this idea for over six months and I thought it was bloody well time to hash something out.
Thus enters the 24 hour playwriting competition. The perfect event to kick my ass into gear.
Follow my Instagram for lots of deranged writing posts over the weekend, and come out to the underground cafe Sunday for the final reveal of the winning plays.

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