Hello My Darling,
How are you? Sorry I haven’t written in a while, I have been working a lot – with collaborators, oooooh! – and there has not been the space in my head. But I have thought of you often, and my room is tidy, and my belly is full, and I smell like home and cosiness, so now is a very very good time to write, I feel.
What was the last thing I told you?
I was still making Dark and Lovely, and I wrote you a list.
OK, let’s rattle through.
We did Dark and Lovely. It was exactly what it said on the tin. Children came and buried themselves in hair, women that looked like my grandmother sat in the middle of the action and obscured everybody elses view, women that could have been my aunts talked all the way through it and drank too much rum, and told me that they “thought it was going to be shit, but actually, I loved it”. It made my heart feel warm and good inside. When myself and Emma (still my producer, still the very best of a friend and of a partner in crime) talk about it, we both pull silly faces like ducks, because it made us, makes us happy. We built a tumbleweave of hair and willow, it sagged everyday. The brand of hair we used was called ‘only one african dream’. A man bent down so I could touch the chemical burns on his scalp. A little girl buried herself in hair at the bottom of the tumbleweave and sort of fell asleep. I’d like to facilitate those kinds of naps. THESE ARE MY PLANS.
Was there a break? I can’t remember.
I made another show – I’ve barely spoken to you about it, probably because it’s the show where all my insecurities live – it was called It Burns It All Clean. It was about the job centre, unemployment, anger. It was a game, which was new. It was a co commission with the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Fierce Festival which was new. It had other performers, which was super new, and three designers, more new still. It was all manner of new. It was a monolith, so big to me, it made me feel small. It is still a monolith to me, I can’t really see it, to think about it, write about it, explore it properly. I hope that holiday time will allow me the necessary steps back to see it properly. But I do know that I learnt a shit ton doing it – sharp, steep, invaluable learning curve – that I loved the people I got to work with, and that if nothing else I can say “God damn it, I pushed myself well out of my comfort zone”. And that is the very minimum I want to ask of myself as an artist at all times. Exeunt wrote a review of it that made me nod happily:
As fierce as it is funny? Yay! Like a hippo.
At some point, I’ll tell you more about Burn. But first of all, I need to go on holiday.
What else to tell you?
From next month it is all guns blazing with our big community project in Easingwold, which we’ve (finally) christened The Monument. It’s about celebration, and dreaming, and the beauty of tiny, personal stories. At the moment I am filling my head with as much reading and picture looking as I can, so that when I return from Holiday, I can start leading a heady descent into the making of something beautiful and dreamy.
I am also working on a little work – it makes me so happy! – for a symposium about Lorna Simpson. I am reading up on her, she is beautiful. her work makes me want to run across the sea, and sit and drink tea at her feet. We went to the Baltic today to look at her exhibition. It’s mesmerising.
There is not so much else to tell you, love. I am working, and it is filling me up with happiness and stress and stimulation. I am dreaming, dreaming. My feet are itchy, itchy to travel and dance, and live somewhere else – but I will be sensible.
Mostly, I am just trying – myself and Emma make the concentrated effort, as I think in a workworkworkworkNOPLAYworksomemore sense, we are similar – just trying to enjoy my life, it will not always be like this. But it is lovely and busy, the aches in my legs remind me of this.
I’m tired, can you tell? Dreamy, dreamy.
Big love to you, call me, I miss you
Lots of people got in touch following the show to request a reading list of the various…