I feel a need to ramble. So here I am. Ready to ramble. Stay tuned. Or not. Your choice.
Every night this week I have dreamed of my play. Or my actors. In my sleep, they perch on my book shelves and cupboards like curious birds, watching me potter about my house and asking what is for tea. I carry it everywhere with me, my play. 13 year olds, 15 year olds, 20 year olds, dissatisfied, lonely, expressive, brilliant, witty, angry, frustrated, trapped, updating their facebooks, commenting on a blog, listening to their parent's fighting. I carry it very literally, in a big folder full of words and pictures and dreamings and more words. I work with the theory that, if I have it with me as a physical manifestation, ready to be added to at any moment, then perhaps I will be able to leave it outside my bedroom door at night and thus keep my sleep to my self.
I have what I call 'a problem of chronic story telling'. This is what makes sleep difficult. My mind races, jumping between countries and deep into the earth, onto the stage and out through the camera lense. At night, I count and must forcibly restrain myself from making up stories about being up to the number 54 or the plaster of the walls.
I am doing better lately. I have set myself a rule not to think about theatre after 11pm and this seems to help. Once again, it is a question of forcible restraint. Lately, I've been drawing at night. I have never been very good at it but I love colours. I have a set of 240 soft pastels I brought as a 15 year old, back in the days when I could still express myself with my hands. I love the feel of them and the colours they leave on my fingers and then (subsequently) the cats. I order and re-order them. As a child, my favourite toy was a wooden board with 25 coloured pegs on it (5 red, 5 orange, 5 yellow, 5 green, 5 blue) and I can not tell you how many hours I spent creating patterns with these as my bemused parents looked on. My most recent set of dyslexia tests had me do a similarity activity and when I happily sped through it like a penguin returning to water after a brief spell in the desert, the psychologist was flabbergasted. 'I've never seen anyone arrange coloured blocks like that! It was incredible!' I swear, her eyes were almost teary. 'Ahh,' I thought 'that is an exceptionally useless life skill.' But I do enjoy arranging my soft pastels.
I feel useless at a lot lately. Things like knowing how to meet new people or how to call a friend without needing a 'work' justification or how to flirt or even get dressed up. I can count the times I have worn makeup this year on the fingers of one hand. Half of those times were for self-portraits in my bedroom. I move from rehearsal room to production meeting to planning a rehearsal to pastel stained fingers to rehearsal room. I love what I am doing so very much. The play is growing into a beautiful, heartfelt, witty, tragic beast. Next week I perform in a cabaret where my character becomes a-sexual and marries a man specifically because he lives in Sweden and has no plans to move. I get that a bit.
I can arrange colours.
I can tell stories, fast, fragmented stories.
I can take photos and make theatre and express things with my body and other people's bodies and breath and love.
I can heal people with my hands by touching them. I can take away their fear and anxiety. I feel it travel up my arms as their breathing slows. The trick is to stop it before it reaches my own cheast.
I can listen to stories without judging. I have been told I am the easiest person to 'come out' to about anything. Nothing surprises me.
I can balance books on my head whilst climbing our garden wall.
I can pat dogs. Very well. I know how different dogs like to be handled and have surprised many owners who say that they have 'never seen her like that with a stranger before'.
I can cook wholesome, beautiful vegetarian meals. Meals which nourish and warm the soul.
I can grind my own garma sala, curry powders and spices mixes.
I can pin up my hair with just five bobby pins.
I can cry during any film.
Things I can not do:
I can not do maths. In truth, I can barely count. This skill left with my school uniform.
I can not look neat or 'professional'. I have tried. At the last minute I always find myself walking out the door with wacky tights or a tape measure in my hair.
I can not forgive myself for wanting to be loved. I find it hideous that this independant, feminist artists carves a partner so badly.
I can not forgive myself for not being loved. I see ex-boyfriends with new partners and am genuinely happy for them and wonder what is wrong with me.
I can not walk past a butcher's shop without grimacing.
I can not find regular work.
I can not memorise phone numbers.
I can not read more than half of 'The Lord of the Rings' without getting bored and having to stop. I can not help but think they were written by a creator of worlds and language rather than a story teller.
I can not 'deal with' huntsmen spiders. That is all. Thank you for reading.