Why Do I Write

The question arises in me. I’ve written since I knew how to write. The hunger was always there. To put the world into words, to lock it in, to understand. To create. To capture rhythms and beat, the steady steps of an absent-minded wanderer, the erratic fly, everything in between that resists definition. I want to create my own kind of beauty – and truth. I want to confront. I want to explain. I want to share.

There was a moment when I did less writing. There was a moment when I had no time. I felt the need burning in me. Still do. Some kinds of writing are more demanding than others. I tend to not begin what I cannot give my focus. The full sacrifice. Somehow I’m always biting down a scream.

Why do I write. Why do I not write. Why do I love it, why does it make me bleed. Sometimes I want to bleed words onto pages, if only it were real. Something real. I got to this point. When life I’m building is beginning to be alive, but it isn’t at all how I imagined, isn’t what was promised. I can’t achieve my goals, half the time I don’t know or understand them. The world is burning but slowly, the embers blink, I don’t know if hope is folly or the only thing that can be. I don’t know at all. I know the words, and before I fall, I’ll throw my breathlessness onto a page. Alongside laughter, desperation, rage. Rhyme, always – rhythm. Arrythmia of feels.

If I still prayed, I’d want something real.

Bravest of the brave

20160204_150055Courage. Take heart. This is literally all I can say to myself, as I:

  1. Take a new, uncertain path in life while
  2. My relationship is falling around my ears.

2. is, at least in part, caused by 1. – I’m fairly certain. We’re both sensitive artists (read: drama queens) and somebody here needs to put a boundary up and it’s got to be me. In an ideal world, I would quit my dayjob and enjoy nothing but mental support from my partner. In this world, it’s really up and down. I do understand – our lives are tied together, and if I don’t do well, financially, WE are in trouble – but truth is, one can process a tough situation in any number of ways, and I’m becoming disillusioned with what’s happening in here. I’m actually getting chances and commissions, there is plenty of pitches to make, applications and things; all I need is to be in sound mental state. And I’m struggling with that. Because four hour arguments, and some words can’t be fixed with I’m sorry, can’t be unspoken.

In other news, I went dancing on the street yesterday. My partner was actually really proud. I was, too. I thought about doing it forever, and now that I have – in the barest, easiest way, without much prep – I’d like to do it again. The bravery of it steals my breath. That’s what I need. I need to do brave things and stretch my body into a bit of pain that is real. This is real and necessary if I’m to actually make things possible.

I don’t need to be bravest of all people. All I need to do if be bravest of all Ritas that ever were. The only one to compete with is me. And that is some stiff competition, to be sure! But I can do it. I have so much love. I’ll spend it all in one place, now: on me. Growing myself up, my Rita-garden, the soil of soul.

Appetite by Holli Dillon: meaningful, silent performance about love and bulimia

This is a #latereviewduetobusy, but I really want to get the message of it out, so here goes: if you’re in Brighton, you need to see this. If you’re not in Brighton, you need to go there first (by train) and then go see this –> Brighton Fringe, 16-19 May. Here is why:

I don’t know much about clowning, but I know what I like. I like: facepaint (tick), old-school music (omg, so much “tick”), translating hard topics into theatre visuals (tick!) and audience interaction (TIIICK!!!). Based on this show, clowning really does it for me: you have a clearly experienced performer, who will use sounds, but not words; the performance is thoughtful, fairly intricate, but still carries an air of spontaneity due to having improvised elements within.

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Appetite (formerly known as Appetite for Destruction) was devised by Holli Dillon and Alexander Parsonage and produced by Holli Dillon and Finger In The Pie. It chronicles Holli’s journey through bulimia in way that is simultaneously funny and touching. We laugh at her stuffing her face and spitting it into a bucket with metallic noise, laugh so hard that we may cry (possibly have cried, I admit nothing!). Her body movement is expressive; her face, eloquent; her eyebrows deserve a poem on their own. The improvised bits I mention are firmly wedged into the overall structure of the piece, and tempered by music: one of the high points came when I saw her play the audience AND hit the beats in the melody, creating a narrative that mirrored the song. This, right there, was a sign of great performance for me. (Plus, she gave me a marshmallow on a fork, I may be biased.)

The best part of the whole thing is – this was still a scratch (I saw it as part of InHouse Festival). I repeat, THIS WAS STILL A SCRATCH. Which means the level is high indeed. A 30-minute clowning performance which is compelling, immersive, easy to stage (set to tour, apparently, which is unsurprising) and immensely watchable. What more to want? Get your bad self down to Brighton, while Ms Dillon is still easy to see on cheap tickets…

Here is the trailer:

… and if this post was triggering or you need further information on eating disorder, seek help via eating disorder charity Beat, or the NHS.

Things Left Undone:

Google searches: How to clean a Vaude backpack

Mood: tense; about to spring into action

I missed a post! As promised to myself and you, I won’t beat myself up about it: Eastbourne was lovely, we took a long coastal walk to Beachy Head (I know, cliffs!) and I didn’t want to even switch on my laptop after that. 🙂 Today I am thinking on things that I didn’t quite do. One of them is – giving library books back.

I first moved out of the area. Then – unpacked, and here they were. It was out of my way, to go there. Time had passed. Library fine happened.

I didn’t want to give them back. I wanted to re-read them! The Complete Stories by Alice Walker proved too difficult for me: I read two and empathized so much with the heroines that I hadn’t been able to continue – so I wanted a second go. I wanted to re-read Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body for the sheer beauty, and Michael Foley’s The Age of Absurdity for sheer wisdom (the reverse applies). Finally I wanted to re-read (and OWN) Joanna Russ’ The Female Man for the insight, rebelliousness and sheer fuck-you-patriarchy. I wanted to adapt it for a solo show.

God, how I wanted. My hunger of the written word is hardly ever sated nowadays. So many books left unread. But then, thus the life goes on, with books left to read still. Meanwhile, library fine reached fairly epic proportions and, for months now, I had organized a notification system for myself – thirty renewals and still going strong. Pathetic? Better than accumulating the fine and feeling worse and worse and worse.

Still. Time for the next stage. I want to read them again. But tomorrow, I’ll call the library. (Can somebody post a comment or something? I need accountability!). This situation should be discussed with a human being. I do not want things to hang over my head. There are things that make life worth living, and there are things that just get in the way. I know which one this is.

(Yesterday’s note, though now skipped, was meant to be about becoming British. Perhaps next time?)

I had a dream about guillotine…

Mood: pensive

Best thing of the day: The Soup (I made Mum’s “power soup”. I expect the cold to clear up soon… 🙂 ) and The Song, described in previous post

Google searches: Can you freeze stock (turns out you can)

I didn’t mean to write tonight (that’s why the quick morning post). But it feels like I had to. Because I really did dream about being beheaded. I woke up with such a clear feeling that I didn’t even write it down, convinced that the image would stay with me forever. It didn’t – I tend to not remember dreams. Makes me wonder whether I’m repressed.

What I do remember is that I was listening to two teachers discussing cutting my head off to make an example of sorts. I was both the student and one of the teachers. They (I) mentioned separating the head from the body so that I wouldn’t reassemble, like a vampire. When it happened, I remember hanging around the classroom and chatting to the teacher/executioner; being lonely enough to stay there, in a bizarre version of post-death Stockholm Syndrome.

The dream feels very literal. I’ve long struggled with feeling disembodied, and the less disembodied I am, the more empowered I become. This is not to dismiss intellectual power; I have nevertheless found that all these thoughts I have are not being expressed or acted upon when I don’t feel like I have a body. I can’t embody my thoughts if I don’t have one, after all.

The dream scared me and I woke up shivering. It had a deja vu aspect, like I had dreamt it before. Maybe I have. My partner and I often talk about being “in the head” – an expression often used in improvised theatre to indicate that you’re cut off from your instincts, stuck in self-consciousness. It is remarkably apt. Being “in the head” is a perspective, and the world you see is the world you act upon (or fail to). Living a life cut off from your needs, instincts, feelings and experiences produces a false vision – it constructs an alternative reality. Reality for your head to dwell in, for your body to withstand.

I remember Ken Robinson’s first TED Talk, in which he mentions that “we educate children from the waist up; and then we focus on their heads – and slightly to one side”. It is such a good reflection of reality. Education is just one, if major, reason why some people pop-out of their bodies, like a limb, subject to blunt trauma, pops out of a joint. There are many reasons. When you live trauma, sometimes you take a holiday from your feelings, like an out of body experience – it can be unaided or helped by medication, alcohol, drugs, internet… . Many people live in that permanent state of out-of-body-experience. They don’t know anything else.

I feel so lucky. Despite my out-of-body-experiences, I always had dance. Singing. And in the end, I can always go back to the body. As I’m doing now… .

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