I think –
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
Lots of people got in touch following the show to request a reading list of the various…