A friend on social media was offering to draw single cards for people, no interpretation and as a fun sharing. This is the card I was given, we both laughed as Octopus is shown with a quill pen in each tentacle, and I am a writer. I also looked at this card and saw my own tendency to try to do too many things at once and to generate 8 new ideas from each one I have.
At this point in time rather than rushing ahead, I am trying to take a step back. I apologise if I don’t catch every message, I am dealing with the basics, to the best of my ability to make sure I have some kind of income, remain housed, have utilities. I see a lot of people busy putting their work online, offering courses and so on… maybe I will get there. In the day to day I do a lot of online meetings to continue to be part of a recovery movement. I make a lot of calls either for work or to socialise. I started to do some gentle exercise indoors and hope to build up my fitness. I organise a small improvised kitchen for myself.
Yes, I have started to make a new film, I started that before C-19 really hit and it is cool to have a purely non-work related creative project. I continue to try to find money for several projects I had underway: a book, a tour for the ‘Resilient and Resisting’ project and another social history collaboration based in the kink community. I have to laugh that this is my idea of paring back!! I spend a LOT of time resting, letting myself do it, trying to get a sense of how I am. I know I have been tired, burned out beyond burn out many times over. In Austerity Britain there have not been many choices about stopping because we were done. I feel very fortunate that how every meagrely and precariously I CAN STOP or at least slow down.
Here I am, trying not to rush ahead, or even to ‘keep up’ anymore. I wanted to share this image of wildly over busy Octopussy and talk about taking a step back. I would also like to send loads of love to the all frontliners who are out there ……where I am not…..including my FAV CHECK OUT CHICK, who is a champion!! 💞💗💞💗💞
The horizontal artist: me propped up on pillows typing away while in bed.
Progress is slow, I try to keep in mind that finding funds for Resilient and Resisting took eighteen months. There is LOT of new artistic work in the wings but ZERO money. After R&R finished and I’d done all the report writing, I un/wisely spent the next few months living off of a credit card and finishing a third draft of my book. Now far more slowly than I would like, I’m writing proposals for a number of projects. Austerity x my health means I’m beyond being able to just go out and get a casual work while managing to work this other unpaid job at the same time. I did that for many years!! Now I am working from bed, sometimes laying, sometimes sitting, sometimes propped up, sometimes with company, I’ve even done a rehearsal with three other people crammed on my bed!!
Even if being a horizontal artist is frustrating I can still watch the weather from my window. Hoping to have good news to share about things happening soon!!!
Over six months into the ‘Resilient and Resisting’ project. That sounds weird to say, as it’s not a ‘project’, it’s not something I see as a finite piece of work. It’s an expanding series of relationships, events, conversations, crossovers. What I’m trying to frame by using the word ‘project’ is this experience of having FUNDING. Having some resources, being able to put on events without having to worry about how to pay for things, having the weight of the words ‘Heritage Lottery Funded’ to add to my hustle, it.helps. At the same time it has been an *interesting* experience to work with official bodies and institutions, some (the vast majority) have been amazing, people using their powers for good. Forget that one pointless blister. Everyday, no matter how stressed or tired I feel, I am SO BLOODY GRATEFUL to be able to do my work.
A huge part of this, not at all down to money is about the improvement in my health over the past 2 years. I can get out of bed and hustle those opportunities, I’m not able to do that everyday. But there is SOME energy, something to push with, and I’m able to have many beautiful, enlightening, moving and empowering conversations. With those who tell me their stories, those who come to events, those who read or transcribe, who share in some way. I have always tried to make work that WORKS. Writing/performance/actions that place themselves at an intersection of community, political events, need. Work that helps us to see each other and ourselves more clearly, where we can reflect each other in positive ways that the outside world does not give us. This feels like a very private kind of work, because often what feel like the most important parts of it seem to happen in people’s homes, in bedrooms and living rooms, around kitchen tables, or in small gatherings. Catalyst conversations, feelings, recognitions, where WE share and feel our own value. Moments where the action of speaking and listening to our shared brave secrets causes a welling up of power and emotion.
A Long time ago I started to keep a semi-private diary on a now defunct site called ‘Transfriendly’ the blog titled in a bitterly ironic way ‘Stone Femme Shoes’ contains a lot of material on my creative work with Queer Beograd, my thoughts on Femme and gender, plus other issues of illness/abuse/relationships/queerness. I stopped keeping the blog in 2015, but I’m going to start retrospectively publishing some of this material online over on my ‘Blood and Circuses’ Blog spot.
There’s YEARS of material so I’ll try to post something on there regularly and then link to it through other sites and social media so people can find it. If you’re interested in the minutae of Queer Beograd collective, the creative process and what ever I was thinking of at the time, then check it out.
This weeks posts are all set in Belgrade, 2008, hanging out with Queer Beograd Collective, working on the cabaret, crazy collective meetings, closeted Eurovision winners, burned embassies and buying T over the counter. Stone Femme Shoes Archive
My short story ‘Walking With Alice’ is published in this months Litro magazine. Big ups to Juliet Jacques as guest editor for the Transgender issue of the magazine – follow the link for stories by CN Lester, myself, Sanam Amin, Raju Rage, Barney Walsh, Mark Brown, Scott Esposito and Juliet.
It’s been a LONG HAUL… the kind of circuitous process that makes me wonder how in the hell people ever manage to get their work out there and to marvel at my own sheer bloody mindedness. Thanks again to everyone who helped along the way.
Last week I finally recieved a few boxes of books from Athens containing the new Queer Beograd Border Fuckers Script Book and had the pleasure of holding the book IN MY HANDS, flicking through it’s pages, admiring the fantastic job Ola Pogorska has done on the illustrations and design. That and having my room fill up with that ‘new book’ smell. Other boxes of books are heading their way to Beograd and Sarajevo to be distributed in the region and a box stayed in Athens to help raise funds for the local queer space.