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On doing it

This time, I’m not writing from the train, though, I basically just got off it and walked up the road the British Library – a grand setting to be blogging in, isn’t it?

For the last few days, I’ve been hiding away in Bristol, with my pals from Residence. We played Bistro on Saturday, and on Sunday, that was it… a few people had received and responded to an invitation, and there I was, having to just get on with it.

This first excerpt/work in progress sharing was made safe – it was for a small group of other artists, half of whom I’ve got to know quite well, and the rest I am gladly getting to know.

I laid the table, put the radio on, prepared the meal…

I spoke the words, and opened the space for a discussion…

The whole thing was a little bit shaky, probably a little bit monotonous…

It was a foal of a show. (Actually, is it even a show?)

I spoke the words from a script, timidly asked my guests to participate, to engage

As the evening unfolded, a few things became really clear…

The piece, first and foremost, is indeed a conversation starter, it is a frame, a lens, an anchor for the conversation that follows.

It will require me to become skilful in being fully present, with my whole body and mind, to every word the guests speak.

I will need to care for the guests, within the limits of my own ability… and I will need to care for myself, to acquire the appropriate support, without which, I cannot facilitate the conversation that the show is, the conversation that I want to be having.

I will need to relax into the performance of it all, the hosting persona I may adopt, will need to become a second skin…

A skin that is very close to my own, real skin, with just enough distance so that I can be safe enough, so that I can create the warmth the event needs, and that I want it to have, with my whole heart.

From this point on, I also need to use every possible opportunity to have guests, and to just get on with it… I need to get out of my head, out of the studio and out into the real world of real people with it.

Having said that, I also absolutely cannot compromise on the conditions within which the piece is being presented. I need to be in control of how the space feels, I need people to know what the invitation is…

My very generous Bristol guests did highlight how warm the setting was – but this feels precarious, and I can’t rest on one successful attempt; the context needs to be delicately crafted, and I need to take full responsibility for that aspect.

I think there’s a bunch of other stuff I wanted to say, about having found a structure I think I can roll with, about wanting to go back to the diary itself and invite it in a little more, about trying to avoid being too clever, or writerly with it… about celebrating banality, letting it be something that’s just on the edge of the everyday.

I also constantly want to say thank you… I can’t quite believe I am doing this, and quite how much support I am receiving for it… I’m bloody grateful.

Next up, a residency at Space Six in Newcastle, where I’ll likely mostly be writing and talking, followed by a residency at the Lowry, where I’ll likely try and work on performing-not performing-hosting-facilitating2015-03-29 17.35.01

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