Voyage #6 – This Sunshine Ain’t Free

I think – 

As soon as I sat down to write this the kettle boiled, one minute – 
(sorry, but  I keep not drinking enough water, and I’m dehydrated all the time, so I’m trying to schedule drinks to fix it)
my favourite part about being in Jamaica – in this flat anyway – is that by about 5:30am, the little studio is just filled with light and the sound of the sea, like the island is saying ‘get out of bed, look how beautiful I am, open your eyes’ 
It took me a really long time to figure out that it’s currently going dark really early here – the sun is down by about 6.30pm – so I need to find a way to make the rhythms of work fit with that. My experience of Kingston is feeling very, very safe here – but being told – by locals, and people at home alike – that it is not safe – and I am, of course, alone – so I try to be back by the time that it is dark, writing, reading, tending to mosquito bites.
I do love driving through Kingston at night though – little bars and arcades and people playing pool, people dancing on their own outside, men sitting and watching the cars go past… it feels dreamy. I’ve not met any tourists at all, in my time here – other than when I was at the Bob Marley Museum – but I made friends with the women who were on the tour with me, who were from Jamaica. I think a lot about slipping into one of those bars in the evening, just to sit in the corner, have a drink. Maybe I should. I’ve said it out loud, so there is a good chance I will now, don’t tell my mum.
I’m in dialogue with Maddy Costa, remotely – and the last email she sent me was a glorious one – so I’m going to think about it a little bit with you, as I’m aware that the last blog  I wrote to you was a little mundane, and I am,after all, making a show, and the show is more interesting than me.
This is the bit that has rolled around in my head a lot, and when I was speaking with Shana, the sound artist that we are collaborating with, she felt the resonance of it too:

SE: All of our stories, not just refugee stories, but your parents’ stories are your fairy tales when you’re little.

MC: Leila [my daughter] is constantly asking me why her dad and I married, she’s trying to construct –

SE: – where she’s come from so she knows where she’s going. That’s a brilliant question that she’s asking.

MC: I’m pretty sure I answer it differently every time.

SE: Then she’s rewriting, that’s lovely. Anyone’s parents stories are myths, then you claim it and write it and write your way out of it. I keep thinking about the TS Eliot line about shoring my fragments against my ruins: you’re constantly trying to build something out of whatever you’ve got. I think theatre’s really good at that because it’s about improvisation and things turning into other things and belief and what you can do with belief and shreds and patches, all sorts of things. It’s really good at myth-making and myth-rewriting and writing your own story.

When these words – especially the ones about myth making – are swirling around in my head (I do this thing now, where I head down to the beach, and just stand with my ankles in the sea for about an hour, and I guess it’s meditating, it feels like meditating but successful, I do it twice a day) – I think about 

my tendency for the literal – I am v v literally writing myths about my biological parents, my journey, my nan’s journey

about something Saidiya Hartman wrote about the history of the enslaved person being an absence with 1 or 2 precious details – which of course, necessitates myth making, so much of Lose Your Mother is her doing just that, because as she travels, she finds absence

how much more exposing a writing task that feels! Myths are elemental stuff – simple words and ideas with great power, dancing on the edge of cliché at all times, in dialogue with the most integral ways in which we learn about the world as children.

How does one write a good myth? What is a good myth made out of?

My head is still quite higgeldy piggeldy, and there’s a load of stuff I’d like to do today – so I’m going to love and leave you here.

Have a good Sunday, Monday, whatever day it is when you read this


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