Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Everything's got an origin story




For many reasons, most of which I've kept off the Internet, writing has been sporadic - I hope that someday soon I can explain why, which means hoping first and foremost that my big mysterious project has been successful. The project you don't yet know about. I'm sorry.

But where my writing has taken a hit, my brain's been off the damn wall. Sometimes it's an effort to corral it into something that makes sense to other people - a problem on the best of days, a fairly large one if you purport to be a writer.

I used to be in the arts. Not as an artist, per se, as I was a dancer and performer, but not exactly a natural collaborator. The process of mounting a performance always tested my patience, trying to get everyone to commit their schedules and creativity and effort to one project. But I found that I adored analyzing art - hence the degree in dance theory from a London university, the year spent buying £8 tickets in the upper slips of Covent Garden, attending the International Mime Festival, and writing a manifesto arguing that performance doesn't need theaters, tickets, or even live bodies. Surviving mainly (and quite happily) on Tesco salmon sandwiches.

Hence the infested flat I shared with a sociopath, a boy with unacknowledged OCD, the former deputy minister of education for Sierra Leone, and a metalhead with Asberger's, who is still one of the most genuine and curious people I've ever had the honor to know.

Hence the anger. At Britain's attitude toward immigrants - which helped me see the U.S. more clearly - and at the man who I loved, but who wouldn't invest in my (rather bright) future there. Anger at the chilly Londoners who wouldn't make room for me on the sidewalk.

But I also had time. Time to spend in the art library at the Victoria & Albert Museum, leaving my bag at the old leather-topped table so I could walk through the familiar collections unburdened by my student-ness, my giveaway commuter's bag that sold me out as "not from here." Time to work in the museum's dance notation collection, rescuing old ballet scores from fading into blankness. Time to explain to my family the difference between grilling and barbecue, and try to convince them that Mexican food is really comfort made universal. Time to get to know my cousin, who, because of intellectual disabilities, I was terrified would have forgotten who I was.

And it gave me time to start this website properly. I read other people's work voraciously, learned basic web design, researched the TSA and realized that travel is so full of social identity politics that if I didn't write about it, I wouldn't be able to rest easily with myself.

Dancing led to teaching led to studying, moving, lecturing, moving again, and marketing. Hopefully, I'll be able to share the next step with you soon.

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