Voyage #7 – Remember me as a happy fatty

THIS SHIP IS DOING CRAZY THINGS
Nah, it’s not, it’s just sailing, innit? But the next time that I am
beating myself up about my lack of dedication to my work (which is a
common occurrence to be honest) I will think back to myself in this
moment, listening to my cosmetics being smashed apart inside various
cupboards, sitting between two beds, clinging to my laptop for dear
life as the ship I was on sailed through ‘the remnants of a hurricane’
– the captain’s words, not mine – and I will give myself a break.
I’m back at sea, as you have probably guessed!
This is what I expected from the Atlantic, I have to be honest – the
Ocean is wild, unpredictable, and if it’s not locked away in a
cupboard, it’s going to smash. The water looks freezing cold,
everything is breath taking, in the most literal way – breath snatched
from your throat as you step outside, when you look out the window, as
you hurriedly pick tea, kindle and sugar bowl off the table, as you
watch every chair in the room slide towards you.
I realised – about three hours ago – the absolute depth of my
overwhelm at the minute, and the colossal size of the task ahead of me
– that the past two months need to be distilled in a show that is two
hours long or less. I’ve been trying so hard since Friday – it’s
Sunday now – to just work, just please, please do something – there is
so much to draw from – and I’ve been trying to do this morning pages
thing that Maddy set for me –  but it’s just too much, it’s just too
much. I don’t know where to start.
Where I was that led to this project – ship one – Ghana – the flight –
Jamaica – travel to North Carolina, and North Carolina itself – and
now this
OH MY GOD WHAT WAS THAT I SWEAR TO GOD SOMETHING CRACKED
When I was flying to Atlanta from Kingston, I was sat beside a
72-year-old lady who had never left Jamaica before (‘why would I?’)
and as such had never flown before. We had a little turbulence during
the flight, so the captain asked us to put our seatbelts on, and Mrs
Miller said ‘I don’t know why he’s asking us to put our seatbelts on,
when it’s very obvious we’re all going to die’ – she was absolutely
certain that this was the end, but so very calm about it. I couldn’t
stop laughing for a while, and she told me that was ‘a good response
to death’. But we didn’t die – and she clapped the loudest when we
landed. I think that’s a Jamaican thing, clapping when the plane
lands, it happened when I arrived in Kingston too.
So yeh, all that to say that every now and again, I’ll shout to no one
in particular
‘OH MY GOD WE’RE GOING TO DIE’
And then continue to get on with what I’m doing.
Where was I… oh yeah
FORGET THAT I JUST LOOKED OUT THE WINDOW OH MY GOD THIS IS THE END
DIVIDE MY BOOK COLLECTION BETWEEN JAMAL AND TONI MY SISTER GETS
EVERYTHING ELSE AND TELL MY MUM AND DAD THAT I LOVE THEM SO VERY MUCH
AND THAT IF I HAVE TO DIE AT 26 I’M GLAD I GOT TO SEE THEM ON SKYPE
BEFORE I GO WHAT WAS THAT BANG
I’m listening to Satisfy My Soul by Bob Marley as I type this – and
it’s one of the many songs that my Dad used to sing to me when I was
very small, so I just assumed he had written it, and was so surprised
when I heard it at the Bob Marley museum, akin to when I was six and
realised that Sam Cooke was not in fact Delroy Thompson, he was a
totally different man.
I was panicking about turning all of this into a show wasn’t I? I mean
to be fair to myself, whilst there is a lot to come to terms with in
the past couple of months, it’s not like I am in the middle of a
peaceful space of contemplation, this stormy water makes me a bit
giddy (haaaah, can you tell?) and it also means that as you do one
task, you are also doing other ones – balancing, holding your laptop
in place, going to tape or strap things down, trying to get a shit
dryer to work, mopping up the tea that spilt earlier when my flask
hurtled across the room – the steam was rising from the carpet, and I
really, really had a huge exhale of gratefulness that it was the
carpet it was raising from, not my calves.
I’m recording the view from my window for an hour every morning and
every evening – iphones are a marvellous thing – there’s another
artist on this ship, which is lovely too – he has a bit of a
Libertines haircut, but I’m not gonna hold that against him.
The question with the show, I think – is what do you keep in, and what
do you cut out? What is the narrative I want to shape? How personal do
I want it to be? If the death of my nan has permeated every step I’ve
taken since I got on the train at Gravelly Hill (there was frost on
the ground) and is still causing me to collapse into tears every time
three little birds comes on (like this morning) at what point is that
grief overshare in the work, and at what point does omitting it leave
a void within it?
But all of this might be beside the point, because AT THIS RATE I’M
JUST NOT GONNA MAKE IT HOME
Emma, delete my browsing history and you can have all the booze in my
bedroom, and the £2.47 that I have in savings (which I think is pretty
impressive for an artist),
Adieu, Adieu, my favourite thing about being alive was eating, skin
care, reading, spending time with animals and plants, speaking to
people I love and having hugs,

xxxx