Back in the rehearsal process for Burnish, simultaneously filled with ideas, paralysis, fatigue, and excitement. I get to work with awesome folks on this project, and, with them, extend upon the deep work the original cast and the casts at UMD (High Violet) and Emory University (Double Chroma) forged with me. DANG. DANG. DANG, but also DANG can we all be in the same room together? Being together? Tis the season right?
As I think about the process, the whole of it, there’s a tinge that keeps poking at my heart. Shit. I keep recalling Deke Weaver’s insightful and supportive feedback on my thesis work. That the work is there, but perhaps I played it safe… hidden from the realllllllll personal stuff the research surfaced. Stories of my mom. Stories of my siblings and our mom. Stories of young death and loss, and life going on… kinda. I began to (re)look at the work and its beauty; the fondness that I have for the movement and the gorgeous people doing it. I (re)watch it and wonder if I am hiding behind the abstraction… just like how “your poetics sometimes obfuscate your point” said another insightful mentor, Dr. C. O., in reference to my writing. Shit. That tinge. Truth stings.
So, I wrote this in the back page of my notebook, beneath a to-do list that has nothing checked off:
Abstraction allows me to suspend the belief that everything and everyone is okay. It affords me safety in the beauty, emotionality, and expression in a way that I escape claiming. It puts me at arm’s distance from the work I need to do. And this can be helpful. It can help me gain perspective and not unravel, but the perspective means nothing if the work… the deep personal and social work… doesn’t follow. Doing the work will reveal bigger truths, perhaps truths that are gross, rigid, phobic, and unbeknownst to me. I might be embarrassed. If I stay at abstraction alone, the work allows me to think “that’s the work presenting the problem, over there, it’s not me with the problem.” And, of course, I must love this… thinking the problem lies elsewhere and not with me. I can feel like I’ve done my part by saying “I did a work about that,” but the work was just about and I still have yet to do the work. And this isn’t just me… it’s you… and us. All of us.
And, then I read Miguel Gutierrez’s “Does Abstraction Belong to White People?” in BOMB Magazine. Big Tinge… more like a pierce. (https://bombmagazine.org/articles/miguel-gutierrez-1/)
And, watched John Leguizamo’s “Latin History for Morons.” Pierce. Pierce. (on Netflix).
Get back into the work, kp. More.