Amazing how a not even all that serious bug can turn the brain to porridge, leading the generating of even the simplest thought to be a monumental task. So it has been for me this past week or so. Amazing too how easy it is to get down in these times, to be seriously concerned that creativity has flown forever through the window taking with it all ability to do anything (creativity that is absolutely, totally, for sure and certain, never to return.)
Part of this, I think, has to do with the mysterious nature of our calling. We actually don't know where so much of what we do comes from -- those ideas that pop up out of nowhere leading to fresh involvements; those times when everything all starts flowing in unexpected ways. We're not even sure about the day to day stuff so there's always that suspicion we might wake up one morning and find it (whatever it is) has all gone away.
There’s also the role of plain old fashioned exhaustion. We’re so excited by the potentials, we simply run and run. And the running of late has been so good. It's been hugely satisfying to see that the work of 2wp is gaining acceptance; to have helped Flying in the Dark soar to fruition (or some such metaphor); to get The Odyssey rehearsals going and watch the tellers' excitement at their discoveries. It's been grand to see that listeners are now coming to www.jansstorytellingclub.wordpress.com in growing numbers on a regular basis; to celebrate the fact that When Apples Grew Noses and White Horses Flew. Tales of Ti-Jean has made the Silver Birch Express Award list. (You can check that one out at www.janandrews/books/When_Apples_Grew.html)
It’s been good! No, more than that, it’s been great! Still, time is pressing. We have to be gearing up for various other adventures on our lists. Above all, we have to get back to working on Dragon’s Gold which has its premier February 16 as part of the Ottawa Storytellers regular season at the Fourth Stage of the National Arts Centre (www.ottawastorytellers.ca/4th-stage-at-the-nac/). We’ve already mulled extensively; we’ve explored sundry versions; we’ve decided who out of the three of us (the Two Women plus Katherine Grier) will tell which bit, but this is a piece of vast emotional sweep. Jennifer and I are off to Saskatchewan for two weeks of performing and workshop-ing on January 7. We can’t just wait till we return.
We have to find means to take ourselves back in time – back to the days when Odin and Loki and the old Norse pantheon walked the earth. We have to inhabit the battle that gives Sigurd his triumph over the terrible dragon, Fafnir; we have to live with the disastrous effects of the draught of forgetting that deprives Brynhild of all that she has longed for; we must prepare ourselves for the funeral pyre that brings a culmination to the treasure’s curse.
Not exactly Christmas fare, I hear you cry. In a way, you’re right but I think too of what I put in this blog not long ago when I wrote of Pina Bausch – of how through art there may be transcendence. We may walk the darkness in all its fullness; we may know its horror and still come forth thrilled at the knowledge that we are human, we are alive.
If only the porridge would clear! Even as I write that I know I actually have a fair amount of faith in its going. After all, I’ve been down this road before. Who hasn’t? And….and this morning I started re-learning Alan Garner’s The Stone Book for a post-Christmas performance. It’s one of my favourite pieces and there it was – that thrill of anticipation, the tingling of delight that comes with the evocation of a great tale. (www.2wp.ca/the-stone-book/)
Probably shouldn’t ignore the need to rest bit though. Maybe have some sherry, eat some fruitcake, contact some old friends, bask in some old memories, walk in the winter woods, ski if we can just get some cold weather and some snow. In other words…..have Christmas.
Also rejoice in whatever natural phenomena our lake can bring us. Saturday morning the temperature dropped suddenly. In half an hour we went from open water to an ever-growing sheet of ice, rippled and dappled with the wind. We could, quite literally, see the water thickening, we could see the cold catching the ice shards at the edges and holding them firm. Then the sun came out and the temperature rose. The ice began receding. Half an hour later a substantial amount of it was gone. We’ve never witnessed anything like this. Maybe we won’t again ever. All we can do is wonder at the world’s variability – its ever-changing energy and life.
Time then for the good wishes – to each and everyone of you, in any of the ways you happen to need or want.