If you think my starting a blog in 2023 is some sort of late-pandemic existential crisis, I'd tell you you're probably right...but then again, what do we think all my patches and pins are? (To be fair, I started dressing like that before the pandemic, during a previous existential crisis.)
At this point in my life and career, like a lot of performing artists across the globe, I am trying to get my sea legs as we navigate new audience habits, deepen our understandings of equity, inclusion and cultural humility, as well as re-examine our own relationships to our work.
We've all had to do a lot of growing over the past three years, that's for sure. And the last time I seriously sat down and wrote a blog or opinion article was almost a decade ago.
But we all have memories and Facebook status reminders from our less graceful years. The cringing lets us know how much we've grown, I've heard.
A decade ago I was living in and loathing the South. Any queer person in the South can tell you a lot about loathing. I had grown up in Arkansas, was attending undergrad in Oklahoma and would eventually spend four years in Dallas, Texas: I guess I was going for the Yee-Haw Triumvirate.
I said and wrote some things in that time that came from a place of college angst and anger. I still stand by many of the beliefs I held then, just no longer in that tone of voice.
Fast forward to 2020, and if you're a white person or a predominantly-white organization with any shred of conscience, you ought to be doing some personal reflection and considering racial literacy.
But that's not what this blog is about. As a matter of fact, you and I both have no idea what this blog is going to be. I have a general understanding of what it won't be. It won't be perfect, it won't be consistent, and it won't be a cooking blog. I need an outlet, this website needs some SEO, and you're still reading, so you need...something?
After I lived in Texas, I ran away to clown school in northern California (see "crises" above). For better or for worse, I watched the pandemic, racial unrest and political upheaval play out from the dorm room of a small hippie MFA program in the Redwoods.
One of the most fundamental principles we learned at clown school was the idea of "bouncing." Whenever a clown messes up or drops the bag, they have to bounce back. One of my teachers challenged us to perform "in the ascendant."
That's what I want to put out into the world in 2023: art and projects that are ascendant. Work that is kind and just and thoughtful and progressive. A lot of ridiculous with a little sublime.
This blog is one of my first steps in trying to put that kind of work into the world since the pandemic began. I still don't know what I'm doing. But at clown school we also learned to "live in the unknowing." And maybe that's enough.