What Have I Done So Far 9 months into 2018?
It is a question that has been all over twitter and people in my feed sharing it with thier answers fill me with anxiety and a feeling of total failure. There are so many successful people I know. They are successful in the way that I define success for myself on a very personal and creative level. In short I am bombarded with people who are further along in their writing career than I and who are much younger. I take a deep breath as I obsessively read all the milestones and then put my phone away. I decide to try and make a list of my own accomplishments so far this year. It might make me feel better?
January is hot and the apartment has no air conditioning. I have a deadline for my commissioned piece for the amazing Wild Tongue Zine’s second edition. The zine is created and edited by Timmah Balls and Azja Kulpinska The theme is How Should An Artist Be? It is an oppurtunity to write candidly about the pit falls and hurdles of creating maintaining an arts practice. I hand write mine in a heat fevered frenzy. Each contributor to the zine is given 6 pages. I include two hand written poems and an illustration. This is a collection of writers from the margins: writers with disabilities, writers from different and varied cultural back rounds, writers who do not have wealthy parents paying their rent or writers living in a house owned by thier parents. January also is the month I try and get relatives to engage in a discussion about racism and white priveledge. It does not end well. The white tears come flowing fast and my partner and I end up leaving my cousin’s wedding before the food comes out. I still mark it as an accomplishment in effort.
Febuary my zine collaborator and I are invited to be a apart of an art exhibition at Counihan Gallery on Sydney Road in Brunswick.
16 March – 15 April
Opening Thursday 15 March, 6 – 8 pm
Agency Ink: The Personal and Political in Print
Curated by Catherine Connolly
Agency Ink offers an intergenerational look at women* in alternative print forms. With a focus on local artists, printmakers and zine-makers the exhibition provides a glimpse into the highly productive print, zine, poster and paper forms activated by women* from the 1960’s to today.
Fuelled by prints’ accessible means of reproduction and distribution, the exhibiting artists have utilised paper, posters, print presses and photocopiers alike as an affordable means to produce, reproduce and distribute their works. Whether created in bedrooms and on kitchen tables, or professional studios and print presses, the gathered artists have ingeniously employed the democratic form in works that bring both the personal and political to the page.
As well as starting work towards this project I finally start writing some things just for me things that I hope can be published.
March Is the actual art show opening and Saturday afternoon the 24th is the day I have to give a talk about the art and zines. Miranda and I stand in front of a group of art lovers and explain ourselves as best we can. I never thought I would be discussing my writing in an art gallery setting. I get quite the kick out of it. In addition to this I continue writing for myself. I see plays in an attempt to get ready to start writing my own. I go to a comedy night at a friends house and do some of stand up about various pet related tragedies that occurred whilst growing up on a farm. Outsider comedy is the best. I get some exciting emails. I get invited to take part in a writing residency for two months. The residency involves having a space to write all my own. I am offered the two months of April and May. As soon as I accept I know what I will work on: the first draft of my play.
April I get the two trams from Abbotsford to my writing space in Brunswick almost every day. I work on my play about being in hospital without really knowing what Im doing but I do it any way, scene by scene. I eat a lot of snacks. I drink a lot of coffee. It is great.
May I get knocked out by terrible depression that has me flat on my back and silently screaming in fear and desperation. I do not go to my writing space. I am excellent at the art of faking it. My partner has no idea about my depression and the dire extent of it untill i call him from emergency. I’m the strong one you see. I am always the strong one. Staying alive and watching a lot of netflix is my accomplishment during this month. I see a psychiatrist who tells me I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I read up on it like a nerd and re watch Crazy Ex Girlfriend. The diagnosis makes sense. It makes more sense when I use the book voucher my partner left for me to find accidentally while he was away overseas on tour with his band, to buy two books about the disorder.
June I am involved in some events at The Emerging Writers Festival. The panel discussion called Writing Live involves myself Jacob Boehme, Tania Cañas, Michele Lee and Rajith Savanadasa who write for performance, discussing what that is like. I fight imposter syndrome as I candidly explain that I am very new to play writing but not new to writing about my own life and how that has got me into some trouble from people I write about. Writing from life is not without risk.
The other event was called Small And Loud
Small and Loud is a scratch night for new live performance works in development. It’s a chance for artists to road-test their ideas in front of a receptive and switched-on audience. This edition has a special focus on solo performers who write and perform their own work, co-curated by winner of the Best Emerging Writer Award at Melbourne Fringe, Emma Mary Hall. With Roshelle Fong, Jess Knight and Bargryana Popov
On the day leading up to the event I change my mind on what I want to perform and write something completely new. I have wanted to tell this particular story for a while now and it hits me that day that I am ready. It is a risk that pays of. I get wonderful feedback. There is a thatre producer in the audience who emails my dramaturge who is helping me with my play and says how good I was doing my rough and unpolished performance. I am told I was up on stage for forty minutes and that the audience wanted to hear more. I am told that i only need twenty more minutes or a bit less for a full length one woman show. I have visions of what I want it to be. A mix of Tracy fromChewing Gum and Rebecca Bunch from Crazy Ex Girlfriend and the show I saw at The Malthouse during the comedy festival Fleabag.
Im still fighting my terrible anxiety and horrible violent intrusive thoughts that had me calling a number in tears. I am told to see a GP even though my one is not available and get a valium prescription. My first ever. I buy a 400 dollar rug that is too big for my apartment. It cannot be returned. Dont look at rugs when deep in depression.
July I perform poetry at Hawthorn Library. I work on the stuff that I plan on performing for The Red Dirt Festival. I write this blog post https://gremlinface82.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/july-and-jess-have-the-same-amount-of-letters/
I have a writing day with my friend Sarah. She comes over to my apartment and the plan is for us to work on our projects. What I end up doing is reading Fiona Apple interviews from the 90’s.
August I go to Alice Springs to be a performing poet and writer in The Red Dirt Poetry Festival. It is exciting to have flights and accommodation paid for. I have never been to this part of Australia before. https://gremlinface82.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/red-dirt-poetry-festival/
August is also the month I get published in the amazing online publication SCUM Mag. I am thrilled. You can read the memoir by clicking on this link http://www.scum-mag.com/rebel-girl-you-are-the-queen-of-something-deep-inside/
September so far has involved me watching and re watching Schitts Creek, having meetings about creative stuff and applying for grants with trepidation and fluctuating between hopeful optimism and defeatist complete lack of hope and optimism.
Thats it so far.