The word that comes to mind as I reflect on 2018 is full. The year was full of amazing and unexpected opportunities for my creative projects. My contact list of other artists around the country has grown full. And my heart is full with gratitude for what came to pass and anticipation for what's next. Here are just a few of the highlights from the year:
Recording sessions for The Four Immigrants cast album
Tagged along on Brad Erickson's Djerassi Winter Retreat to work on Kinda Home
Invited as a Guest Artist to speak to a class at SF Conservatory of Music
The Four Immigrants received 6 SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards
Inside Out & Back Again opened at Bay Area Children's Theatre
Story Explorers school tour began
Austin & Min Write a Musical launched
Developed Kinda Home at the TheatreWorks Writers Retreat
Joined the TYA/USA Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force
Visited Charleston, SC to do research for Kinda Home
Calafia: A Reimagining developed at The Ground Floor
The Four Immigrants cast album released!
Reading of Act I of Kinda Home with Playwrights Foundation
Story Explorers received a Safeway Foundation Grant
Attended CAATA's ConFest in Chicago and met a lot of really cool people!
4-week residency at Djerassi where I also met a lot of really cool people!
Invited as a Guest Artist at Harvard University
Workshop for Gold: The Midas Musical at Bay Area Children's Theatre
Joined the Just Theater Play Lab 2018-2019 cohort
Awarded a residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in March 2019
Calafia: A Reimagining recevied a Theatre Bay Area CA$H Grant towards a workshop in 2019!
Onward to 2019!
Social media feeds can curate our lives in a way that we are really only seeing the most lively, eventful moments in other people’s day-to-day. When people see me in person, they tend to comment on how busy I am. And while it’s true that this has been a very full year, the truth is there are lulls and moments where there isn’t anything Insta-worthy. Here’s what you’re not seeing.
the days when, no matter what I try, I can’t quite seem to churn much writing out
the days filled with responding to emails and admin work
the days of grantwriting
the days I’m sick
the days of self-doubt and wondering again whether I have what it takes (even though I’ve gone through this rigamarole time and time again)
the days when I feel like I have nothing to say, post, contribute
the days I feel overwhelmed by the sadness and horrors in the world
the days when I’m just tempted to play video games instead
I guess I put this here to remind myself that social media is a version of storytelling, where we really only get the highlights. But these normal, tough, boring, less attractive days are as much a part of my writing journey as the successes and triumphs. Keep on keeping on, I guess?
When you've lived
in a cathedralprison
and you stand on a pew
to chuck an offering plate
through a stained-glass window
to bore an escape for yourself
and walk through
the lights are offensive
the sounds oppressive
a sensory overload
causes you to rethink your exit
But give it time:
your eyes and ears will adjust
and you'll remark
"Oh, there is kindness out here, too."
On the Djerassi Resident Artists Program website, one of the banners simply states “Time + Space.” Sci-fi associations aside, I found that during my month at Djerassi (September 5-October 3), time and space were the very things I needed, learned from, grew from. It’s easy to think that a residency will only entail free time to create and create - and indeed it does. But something else accompanied me when I was given time and space: my own thoughts. Even though I take time for self-reflection and self-care in the midst of my day-to-day grind, to have openness of thought for longer than a week, even a couple days, is rare for me. Philosophical musings arise. Emotions long-buried bubble up to the surface. Djerassi for me was as much about opening up to myself as it was to my creative process. In fact, I am more and more convinced that there is no distinction between the two. I am my creative process - which echos the name of this entire blog site: Life is Dramaturgy. Being surrounded by beautiful vistas with like-minded artists is fertile ground for creative exploration. And, it is also an almost other-worldly place where you see yourself, forgive what needs forgiving, soothe what needs soothing, and bolster what needs bolstering. It’s perhaps too early to say, but I feel my residency at Djerassi will prove itself to be a self-, career-, and art-shaping period for me.
I’ll never forget the people or the place
or the gift of time and space.