Thursday, November 29, 2007

narratives

My mother has a blog! (http://chuahguateng.blogspot.com) In her entry, On Eastern and Western Story Arcs, she responds to the notion that there are different story arcs in Eastern and Western narratives (way to go, mom).

This got me thinking about narratives as revealed by different records. For instance, if you read all the text messages you have saved to and from any one person, a certain story is told. But is the same story revealed when you look through the emails exchanged with that same person? Or letters, if there were letters? Extrapolating from this, I wondered what kind of narrative would emerge if I recorded as scientifically as I could, in chronological order, my visual memory of this person. After spending a large part of this afternoon doing this, my little green book ran out of pages before I could get to the end of my exercise. Thus, the story that got recorded read like a little tragedy due merely to the random fact that the little notebook I bought had only 100 pages instead of say, 120. Or that my handwriting today was not smaller.

Apparently, Jean-Paul Sartre, as a young man in Hamburg or somewhere, wandered into a pub and spent an evening chatting and drinking to a woman. At some point, she excused herself to go to the bathroom. In her absence, he imagined the evening unfolding towards the inevitable sexual encounter. He imagined the farewell the morning after, followed by the exchanges of letters that might come afterwards. Suddenly, he had an existential epiphany that life need not be made up of narratives such as he was imagining, but was in fact, just random moments strung together. He then got up and left and never saw this woman again.

(I told this story to David, who said, he was just chicken)

Are the stories real, people ask of [storm] or of my solo. They are all stories. Linda Putnam says we are paid to lie but in order to lie we must live as truthfully as possible.

I told Sébastien that I wanted to love him without a story. Is this possible? Or is the quest to find a lie that is closest to the truth, which is always formless and in motion?

Monday, November 26, 2007

letting go

I might have to cut a section of the writing for the solo that I am quite attached to. I see the logic of it. But it pains me.

preparing

In a few hours I will be doing a run of the solo, trying out a new order. Kugler and Jesse will be there. My body suddenly feels incapable of doing anything except lying in bed all day. I look ahead at all that I have to do in the solo and feel crippled by it. The solo feels like a long journey across difficult terrain and I don't know if I can make it.

But I know this place, of course. It is the familiar place that comes before every performance, every dance. This place of unpreparedness despite the weeks, months, years of preparing. The feeling that you might actually die before you make it to the end of this self-inflicted rite of passage.

And I know, also, of course, that I will make it. That somehow, the dance gets danced.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

embracing neurosis

Over lunch with Caroline Liffman the other day, we talked about the parts of ourselves we present, embrace and the parts we judge, hide. I said that I judge neurosis in people and had cultivated a persona for myself that was as far from that as was possible: calm, grounded, organised. But really, I can be completely neurotic. Caroline said she had no problem embracing her neurosis.

Well, I am trying out this neurotic thing.

So on Friday, after my 10th attempt at my knitting project started to unravel just as I almost got to the end, I hurled myself into a fit of anxiety about ridiculous things. Such as, how was I going to pack for two months in France in winter/spring and then a month in the equator in Malaysia, take my cameras, my computer, my hard-drive, my costumes, my props, my knives, my corkscrew, my wine glasses, my sword...AND travel light??? What if French people HATE my solo? What if I can't even make it through my solo (because suddenly, 70 minutes seems like an eternity), never mind perform it AND Body-Scan in the same night for a week. What MADNESS made me to agree to TWO world premieres in one week???

David rolled his eyes and told me to shut up.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

refuge

After a week of putting up with the rest of world and all their needs - grant deadlines, panels, roundtables, insecure presenters, never mind performing (imagine that! performing!) - I went back into the studio today.

Aahh..the joy of being alone. Free to indulge in my own beauty. Free to strive for beauty without worrying about other people's bourgeois fears.

the artist and the audience

Sometimes (more often than you wish, actually) you sit in the audience and see them go crazy over something you, well, hate. And you think, why would I want to make work for them? Because you want to give your gift to someone you love. How then to love an audience that you think is stupid?

Conversely, sometimes (more often than you wish) while sitting in an audience you think the artist is stupid. How then to receive a gift from someone you think is stupid?

Thus we discover the myriad ways in which our bodies harden, our minds harden. If we do not use our values - what we like, what don't like, what we think clever, what we think stupid - as markers of our identity who are we? Who is this fluid self? How do we avoid being annihilated by other people's rigidity, how do we avoid being annihilated by our own rigidity?

Monday, November 19, 2007

beauty

I am mistrustful of beauty. It can wake you up but it can also anesthesize you. Our longing for beauty - is it to wake us up to the myriad possibilities and power in the world; or is it a desire to go to sleep - avoid the pain and ugliness around us.

How can dance - an artform that is intrinsically connected to beauty - wake us up?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

sayang

I wonder if there is a relationship between saya and sayang.

I, slave, beloved.

Hah!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

solo

Today I felt the loneliness of the solo space that I had anticipated last year.

The ritual of preparation. The journey alone out there on stage. And afterward: the lonely hunker in the dressing room.

Even though I had David and James before-hand to support me with sound and lights. Even though I had David afterwards to listen to me rage and sob.

saya, me, moi

whoa! I just discovered, via fellow-blogger, writer and film-maker Amir Muhammad (http://amirmu.blogspot.com/), that "saya" - I, in Malay - comes from "sahaya" - slave. (in Arabic? Sanskrit?)

Very cool.

For some strange reason, that has cheered me up considerably.

aftermath

The day after opening night of Dance In Vancouver. I danced a 30-minute excerpt from my solo to the dancerati.

I am in a rage.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

lovers and teachers

I don't know how to love without hurling myself off a cliff over and over again. So, as I find myself here at the bottom, crawling about amidst the debris of my pride (never mind the bits of organs), I ask myself what I am supposed to learn from all this.

Or is it all just fodder for the art machine?

Monday, November 12, 2007

how to give without expecting anything in return #4

I am having a bit of crisis in my faith that this is possible. A snag in my quest.

The other day, in class, we were working on giving. Making sure the gift had been received before you move on to the next thing (of taking nourishment from the earth and the sky, and creating more gifts to give away). I noticed in myself a tendency to take back the gift. Not really give it away. Someone in class said that sometimes when the gift came back to you it was a shock to the system.

I said, that the flip side of giving was to receive. It seems that it is hard to truly receive. Without judgement. Without mistrust.

Is it possible to love if one is not loved back?
Or is it enough that the gift is received?
But to receive seems to be such a difficult thing, how then to give so that the gift is light?

It all seems impossible.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

pig skin

I love hu pe. Pig skin. Stewed with lobak and fishballs. Mmmm. It reminds me of grandma even if I don't remember ever eating hu pe that she cooked. Did she even cook it? Probably. She cooked pig brains, pig kidneys, pig liver, pig stomach, pig intestines (filled with egg), pig trotters...she must have cooked pig skin.

the fucking long tassel #3

Today my long-tassel sword went very well. I almost got to the very end feeling quite connected. And the goose-landing move of the big palm actually is flowing very well.

Thank god it's possible to learn things despite oneself.

I realised that last year I was full of resistance about the long-tassel sword. No, it's not possible. I can't. No, that can't be right.

But this fall, I have felt myself submitting to it. And the tassel is obeying me more and more. Or maybe I am obeying the tassel.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ghent

I have been thinking about Ghent: sometimes you think you are opening yourself up, when really, you are just showing off. You think you are revealing yourself but really you are presenting yourself. When the you that is being presented is ignored you think you are not being seen. But really, maybe your beloved, the Other sees the you that is closer to the truth and that throws into question all you think you are.

Sébastien said that I have a hard time relinquishing control (and at that time, I thought he was full of shit and my body and mind hardened without my realising it)

David said this morning, why don't you just try being vulnerable.

Adrienne said last night, sometimes you put yourself into situations and relationships in which you are forced to unlearn old habits and learn new ones.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

er..

ok. no. I think I'm ok.