Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: writing (Page 2 of 17)

In Her Shoes

I have just submitted my novel, my second attempt at writing a long thing, to a publisher.

This is the most intense combination of complicated feeling, even though it is not dissimilar to performing a one woman show.

Chapter 1 – There is a feeling when you decide to submit it, and then at least twenty push me pull you feelings arrive to make you question whether you are ready, whether the publishing house is the right one (they are the only ones actively asking for submissions at this time), whether you are delusional and have no talent, whether they have a newbie on the submissions desk, whether the time is right, whether you are too old, whether you are too funny/not funny, whether your work is derivative and if it is, who it derives from.

Chapter 2 – The overwhelm, when you have to make sure you have all the supporting documents they need, and you double check the manuscript and you count the chapters and see a mistake, and get caught up in some internal grammar dispute with yourself, and you suddenly question a character’s name, and you get self conscious that the work isn’t long enough, or that it isn’t original enough, and then you re-read a paragraph and you really like it, but the one next to it seems weak in comparison, and you want to go to an arbitrary page and check for consistency but you are too scared to leave where you are and forget what number you changed the mistake to.

Chapter 3 – You are reading a book, a brilliant book, about a writer in his 50s (like you) and his angst, and self doubt, and disbelief that he was any good, and his bleary neediness, and every brilliantly selected word feels like it is written for you, about you, and reminds you of what you are trying to do, only so much better. (The book is Less by Andrew Sean Greer) , and you watch stuff on TV, and it has your themes in it, from your one woman show you just did, and everything feels like it has been done before, only better.

Chapter 4 – The talking to. The pep talk. You give yourself the lecture, the mantra, the vision manifest, and the whole time you are remembering the criticism of the last thing you did – not all the brilliant things that were said, only the bad, and you get the paralysis.

Chapter 5 – You throw caution to the wind, and, like drunk WhatsApp, you press send before you can change your mind, and then you are deeply, irrationally embarrassed.

Chapter 6 – Five minutes later you are already in anxious waiting mode, even though they completely and repeatedly admitted that they would take at LEAST two months to get back to you.

Chapter 7 – in continuum. You write about your feelings, and publicly declare them on your blog, on the internet.

The Deep Red Sea, part 14 – making it to shore

Last night was the final performance of our 5 night run of The Deep Red Sea at the Alexander Bar. I loved getting the piece onto stage, and am absolutely convinced it has a life beyond, and now I need to start thinking about what that looks like.

A 5 show run is literally a chance to test the water. And because the Alexander Bar space is in flux, it wasn’t the smoothest time for the show technically, so after those five performances it feels like we are now ready for a full run.

Tandi Buchan, my most generous, innovative and clever director could feel it too. A longer rehearsal process would have given us a chance to fine tune the piece that is already so fiercely determined by the poetry of the words.

But, Jane Rademeyer definitely raised the bar with her original compositions for the soundscape. She also came to the rescue and operated sound for the show, in a space that needed more hands on deck.

I was touched by how touched people were by the show, particularly the writing, and it has given me licence to think about how to take it further. Festivals? Overseas? All of this needs to be thought about. And I am excited.

I would love this post to be an interactive space to talk about the show, if you saw it. What did you think? What would you like to see it become?

About to get in my head, again

I have completely neglected this space which used to be a place I loved. I want to fall in love with it again, and am going to commit to writing here every day for a month, from today until the 9 December. I am going to use it as an Albert Dumbledore ‘pensieve’; a place to put down in words the noise that occupies my mind. I am going to treat it as a discipline, so I can make things, instead of shout back at rubbish on social media. I am going to use it as a platform for me to get off social media a bit too. I am also going to use it as a place to reflect on the things that are meaningful and important to me at the moment, in no particular order, and I hope that this will become a place where I can be seen, and engaged with, in a more complex and nuanced way than on social media (a necessary, addictive and completely dangerous and amazing space).

It feels like there is a lot going on, personally, and in the word; everything influencing everything else and thoughts, ideas, feelings and actions are all jumbled. One of the unavoidable dangers of social media is #whataboutism and I suffer from it. Am I more vegan than anti-racist? Am I more feminist than environmentalist? Am I more concerned with  international politics than I should be? When I suffer #whataboutism I get stuck, and very unproductive.

So, I want to go back to a thinking about and thinking up and thinking out space. A creative, improv-positive, dynamic space.

What do you think?

 

Art as Life

As an artist who plays in many different forms – performance, writing, directing, marketing, facilitating, teaching, I am always preoccupied with whether the work of the arts can make a real and powerful difference, and can bring about fundamental, systemic change.

Art, especially theatre, can be a potent way to deliver commentary on the human condition. The arts change, often with the use of emotion, how audiences think and feel about many things. It’s what happens to those thoughts and feelings afterwards that I am interested in.

This current version of the world is full of distracting fake everything. It is a rigmarole to find out who really said what, and when a thing happened if it, in fact, ever did. It is distraction of the highest order and it makes us feel bogged down, immobile, and also unable – dis-abled. In art we are unburdened by whether something is a fact; we are made to believe the ‘what if it were true?’ notion of things, and then we see the consequences of it, as if it were true.

We test things out in this artist space. We examine these ideas – and they can be anything, from how to rise above childhood trauma, to the apocalypse, to politics and their intersection into community. We rewrite the common view of history, we invent people to go through hell on our behalf, and we make radical choices and ask our audiences to make decisions based on what feels right. The theatre, the gallery, the darkened cinema is an emotional dissection space where politics, science, history, psychology, and the deeply personal are portrayed in a such a way to elicit a response.

This is powerful stuff. This stuff is the emotional juice of any revolution. It is the potential glue of genuine uprising. It is how Vaclav Havel rewrote the history of the Czech Republic. It is how Woodstock was the expression of a shift in the new world order and a total discarding of the old narrative.

Right now fake news on social media, manipulated by big business politics, is our greatest distraction because it keeps us locked into an outrage that feels both helpless and impotent, and then we suffer outrage fatigue. I believe ostrich head in the sand or even true despair and depression come next. We don’t see the point of voting, participating, or even telling people to pick up their litter. In this state they have us where they want us; we are consumers. We consume their information and their products.

This is where art – theatre, film, literature, stories can be the great shifter. Art can introduce a new possibility. It is the least we can do.

 

What Audiences Want

I know this has been a recurring theme in my work and writing. I asked the question more boldly when I was young. The Return of the Rhino Woman asked it directly, with me as performer refusing to come out of the dressing room until the audience declared their interest and commitment to the performance. I have been posing it differently since then, and more subtly, but I really do want to know this more, and better.

A result of wanting to know this has been me switching from writing about theatre I see, here, in my deeply personal and uncensored way, to writing about theatre in a more official review style for Weekend Special. My writing there has a much broader audience, especially since it isn’t only people who know me and my blog. I believe the WS readers are mostly Capetonians who want to find out about good theatre in the city, and productions who can use positive words and phrases for publicity. But is it? Are they?

I went to see The Cenotaph of Dan Wa Moriri on Monday night and wrote about it immediately when I got home. It was a most beautiful piece of theatre by an incredible performer. I loved everything about it. All I wanted was to do the piece justice and to make people want to see it. My review went live on Wednesday morning and I can see it has been read a fair number of times. But has it made a difference? Have people read my review and gone to see the show?

If you are reading this, and you read my review, did you go? Have you made a plan to see it? Please let me know.

Lost Property in Jersey City

Finally, after 17 days of squirming, my Thundafund campaign is live. It has been a long, uncomfortable wait but now I can confidently ask for help to get me to the USA to be there in person when my play Lost Property has a reading at this little play festival.

I am so proud of this work, and I have to be there in person because I wrote the play very specifically to be performed by me.

I need $1500 to make this trip real, and I need it before I leave on the 22 May. I am offering some fun and fabulous rewards too, so please take a look and then help. Every tiny bit helps.

Go to this link www.thundafund.com/project/lostproperty and please contribute, and share to anyone you think may be able to help.

With love and gratitude.

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