Through the Craic
Through the Craic
I will be serving up some “verbal appetizers” during the opening of The Dinner Parties: art & agriculture, Wednesday, April 10, from 5 to 7 pm, at the Porter-Sesnon Art Gallery at UCSC. If you are in the mood for fun and to see some unusual and moving art, and if you’d like to talk food and appetizers with me, please come by for the opening. If you can’t make the opening, try and get by and see the show: it is on until May 11.
For more information about the opening and the show please see http://art.ucsc.edu/galleries/sesnon/current.
Saturday evening, January 16th, 2013, from 7 to 8:30’ish pm, in Santa Cruz, a beloved friend, Ellen Greenfield, will be reading from her debut novel, entitled, To Come from Nowhere. I will be presenting one or two of my short story/monologues to complete the evening. The event is free but seating is limited. For more info re: where etc. or to contact me, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. See also www.ellengreenfield.com.
I am excited to be able to present, “My Lunch with Sophia Loren,” as part of the Tell It On Tuesday, East Bay Solo Performance Series, to be held Tuesday night, September 25th @ 7 pm. (Ah, Sophia, Sophia!) This is one of my favorite series. There is music and four storytellers to make it a fun and worthy evening. Come on out and enjoy. Here’s the details:
Tell It On Tuesday
Marsh Arts Center
2120 Allston Way
Music @ 7pm, Stories start @ 7:30 pm
Tickets: $8 – $ 15 sliding scale.
HI Everyone: If you were invited to a party with Sophia Loren, Irish faeries, and a reluctant young sci-fi writer, what would you bring? Well, come to the party and find out. I am performing, My Lunch with Sophia Loren & Other Stories in the Santa Cruz Fringe Festival, which begins July 13th 2012. Come on down for the fun.
Click image for JPG flyer:
I will be performing My Lunch with Sophia Loren & Other Stories in the first ever Santa Cruz Fringe Festival beginning July 13th. If you’d like more info please contact me at email@example.com. Here’s the flyer. Hope come and bring a bunch of friends.
In my recent show, Starting from the Wrong Place, which I am happy to say, sold out and was a satisfying success, Neal Hellman and Adam Stanton were musicians who joined me in the second monologue. Their music brought a deepening and beauty to my words that enhanced and enriched the piece without overwhelming it.
But it didn’t start out easily for me: I usually work alone, so this was a new adventure. I remember one of the first rehearsals: Neal had worked hard and written a great deal of music, and I thought I had my piece memorized. But when I sat down next to Neal and he started playing, the dulcimer was loud and only about two feet away from my left ear and suddenly I couldn’t remember my lines, and the music seemed jarring and threw me off and I couldn’t see how it was going to work and, and, and . . . I started getting anxious and frustrated. Well, what to do. Well, of course, take it out on the dulcimer. Interior monologue: I hate the fucking dulcimer. Well, if you saw the show, you know it all works out fine in the end. And if you didn’t –– well it all worked out fine in the end. More than that. I came to love what Neal offered to my work. I/we just had to get past that first day, and I had to sit further away, and learn to interact with the music, not pretend it wasn’t there. The minute I understood that, everything started to work.
And then we added in the sax. And, damn if the same thing didn’t start up all over again. At first I couldn’t see how it was going to work and I was ready to pull the plug. But then, suddenly Adam’s music connected with Neal’s and then they both connected with my words and suddenly a little magic. And we were all surprised that a sax and a dulcimer could be so beautiful together. Who knew?
Be patient with yourself. And, I was reminded over and over by my director Bill Peters, to enter into a relationship with the music. To turn to it and interact. How often in our creative work, do we just want it to work out without having to deeply engage somehow? It’s odd, because that deep engagement is what is so satisfying, but we live in an age and a time when we are constantly being pulled into “continuous partial attention,”(http://lindastone.net/qa/continuous-partial-attention) and it is harder and harder to settle down and settle in. At least for me. But the moment we get quiet within, and ENGAGE, then the magic can happen. And that’s what worked here.
Which brings me to point #3
Sometimes it is important to get help, especially in the areas where you don’t shine. It’s ok not to know and understand everything. I can’t design flyers to save my life: I am a good artist, but have no design sense on the page. So, I hire someone who is good at that and let her take over and then I can go about doing what I do well.
I had a professor at UC Irvine (the late Robert Blanchon), who said to me once: Your job as the artist is the have the ideas–you don’t have to have the expertise in every technical part of executing the final product. This was a new concept for me and it has been so useful. If you bake terrific cakes, it doesn’t mean you also have to know how to grill well. Someone else might help you with that. Or, if you want to try it, be prepared to make messes, to throw some of it away ‘cuz it doesn’t always turn out well. But get in there and try things. Muck about. Be surprised. And let yourself have fun. By the way: I love the dulcimer now. And the dulcimer with a sax—oh yum.
“Starting from the Wrong Place”
I will be performing two of my most recent monologues/stories, on Saturday night, March 3, at The 418 Project, in Santa Cruz, CA. Show starts at 7:30 pm. Here’s all the info:
First the news:
For all of you who have asked where you can read some of my current work here you go: My personal essay, “On Reading Anne Carson’s, Nox,” will be published in this month’s (December, 2011) issue of “Poetry Flash,” which will be available on-line and in print soon. And my performance story, “Way Out West,” was published in “Generations: a journal of images and ideas,” Vol 2, Spring, 2011. Also a reminder that a version of my performance story, “Dinosaurs & Haircuts,” appears in the excellent on-line journal, “TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism,” Issue 11, October, 2010.
Now the meanderings:
Ah, the light, the light. Love the winter light. Get out the cameras and take portraits. It is the best light for portraits. Long and low and soft. Shadows short and sharp. Time to go deep inside and find out what’s wanting and needing your attention. Maybe more sleep, or perhaps just more “noodling” time. Chop wood and carry water time. Time for that pensive music: perhaps some Bach solo cello concertos, Russian choral music, or a quiet piece by Anoushka Shankar or . . . well, we all have our favorites.
Rest and quiet and dark nourish our creativity as much as sun and fire and rock n roll. Consider two kinds of creativity: active and receptive. In one, we go out seeking. We write our thirty drafts, work hard, do our research, make those phone calls, feel our energy directed outward –– active creativity. In another, we kick back, take a long hot bath, stare into space, “do nothing” –– receptive creativity. In one we work hard. In the other, we don’t work at all. When we are receptive we listen, we receive. It is in this doing nothing that our right brains can show up with their gifts. The poet, Jane Hirshfield once talked about intentionally going for long walks without pen and paper when she was stuck on a poem. One has to be committed to receptivity.
And the shorter days, longer nights, the darkening cave time is an invitation to receptivity. This does not mean you can’t be producing, (I am busy getting my new solo monologues ready to put up on stage which is a lot of work), but it does mean there is a turn of intention. Inward. I am sleeping more, lighting more candles, making all those wonderful cold weather foods, the soups, the stews, the root vegetables. I warm to the dark and the cold. It is a good time to listen: to your dreams, to stories. A good time to be close. Happy solstice to you all.
Events in our life happen in a sequence of time, but in their significance to ourselves, they find their own order…the continuous thread of revelation.
–– Eudora Welty
How are you doing with banality? What? You know, your daily encounter with your ordinary banal self. You want to write a truly good poem, bake a great red velvet cake, create a subtle layer on your encaustic painting and it just doesn’t work out: the poem is clunky, the cake falls, the wax cracks. And there you are, face to face with yourself and your ho hum-ness. Do you despair, give up, throw away your pens, your paints, turn on the tele? Or do you take it in stride, go for a walk and get on with getting on? I hope the latter.
I have been trying to finish a particular poem I wrote five years ago. At the time I was inspired and I see the inspiration of the poem and I see also, that it doesn’t quite work yet. I have tried forcing the ending out of impatience. I have tried chucking the entire poem into the “I am a lousy poet” file. But I keep returning to it because something in it is alive and I want to be true to that spirit. Today, looking at this poem, I feel what the poem is asking for and am “suddenly” able to write it and to give the poem the ending it needs. Another writer might not have taken five years to discover what their poem needed, but I did. That’s just how it works sometimes.
One of our greatest challenges as artists, as human beings, is always going to be facing our banality. (Jane Hirshfield has written about this concisely in her marvelous book, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, but I can’t find the reference right now.) Despite moments of startling clarity, insight and depth, I never get over the pain of encountering my limitations, my profound dullness. But I have learned to just keep plugging along. Sometimes I need to lower my standards (thank you, William Stafford for that one); sometimes I need to raise them. Most of the time I need to show up (Woody Allen–”80% of life is showing up.”) — showing up over and over again. And every now and again, I have to throw something new in the works and see what happens to lift myself out of the horizontal, out of flatness. I remember the writer, Grace Paley telling one of her workshop participants, that whenever she (Grace) got stuck in writing a story, she would just drop someone horrible in the story and see what happened (thank you, Grace Paley).
Well, that’s what was on my mind this morning. Time to run some errands, look at some art (it’s Open Studios here in Santa Cruz), and come home to try and finish that other poem I stalled out on.
Be brave and keep showing up. Bye for Now.
Speaking of Poetry — Coming Up
I will be reading, Nov. 17, as part of the “Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts” series the third Wednesday of every month held at the Santa Cruz Art League, 7-9 pm. For more info check out these two websites: http://www.sparringwithbeatnikghosts.com & http://www.scal.org