Tuesday, April 15, 2008

a matter of degree; or, what's the problem?

Last weekend I found myself complaining - to myself because no one else was around - about how busy I was. Why, I couldn't possibly do everything I wanted to do, let alone everything I *had* to do. What was I going to do? I mean I literally couldn't do everything, because there were three events at approximately the same time in three scattered locations.

Then I paused for a few seconds. I thought. I thought some more. And I realized that the dilemma I was having was just exactly the type of "dilemma" I wanted, in a symbolic way, a few years ago. I decided I didn't have anything to complain about and, whatever my decision, wasn't it delicious to have these choices?!! I smiled and sighed. I made my choice. But the point was, I could have done something different.

I did go with the work choice, because it was to watch the play, again, that I would be interpreting on 4/17 with two others and practice my interpretation. "Oh, my," the little sarcastic inner voice comments, "don't make me watch the world premiere production of Sometimes a Great Notion, again!" What a terrible thing to have to go to the theatre again!

I was disappointed to not get to see Ten Tiny Dances #15 in Tacoma (I'd been unable to make it to the Portland performance the week before because I already had tickets to Lucille Clifton for that same night; another "awww" moment quickly quelled). And I knew there would be a Ten Tiny Dances #16, because it's mentioned on the website. While #15 was the collaboration with Seattle/Tacoma performers, I knew #16 would be just as good. I've seen several and knew there was more to come. Below are are links to a few online videos from a wide variety of Ten Tiny Dances performances, as a sampling of what has been done. (note: the tEEth clip is the end of one of my favorites; there was much more leading up to this surprising ending!) There is also an archives page on the Ten Tiny Dances website with photos.

The third thing choice I had last week was to drive to the Bay City Arts Center on the coast for the open mic portion of their weekend of poetry. A member of my recent writing group, David Pickering, was an invited guest for the event. David's poetry is full of life and flows from beginning to end, carrying the reader through the images and sensations. I haven't found much online about him or of his work, but did find this one, Laura adds Botox to her Beauty Regimen, which was published in the Portland Review 2006. He is a "poet to watch for" and I wish I had a link to some of his other work. I think he's submitting a chapbook and I will be one of the first in line to purchase a copy.

So, my dilemma, really wasn't - not once I found my perspective. There have been a couple times in my life where there would be no question about having the resources to make a drive to Tacoma or the coast for a performance or reading. There were times when I was so overwhelmed with just trying to get through each week and month that I rarely thought about getting out to see new performances and listen to poetry readings. And there were certainly times when my work had absolutely nothing to do with creativity of any kind, let alone working with a professional theater on a new play.

I know there are many people who don't have these choices now and there are people who can fly across the country to see a Broadway show, have dinner, and come back home to the west coast. And I'm lucky enough to be in-between. I get to decided if I want to pour money into the gas tank to drive four to six hours to see a performance or reading, or whether I stay near home and do a little creative work. So right now I'm thankful that I have these opportunities and will look for ways I can share this with others who aren't in the same position right now.

Which is one of my reasons for volunteering with Write Around Portland. I know the seeds people planted in me years ago are sprouting and the little opportunities here and there I was given have accumulated into a new view. Sometimes all we need is someone to hold the space for us and let us explore.

Yes, I missed Ten Tiny #15 and, yes, I missed David's reading. But I did see the show and my work on the 17th will be better for it. Perhaps someone in our particular audience will be inspired because of it in a way I cannot predict.

For now, no complaints. Just thankfulness for the opportunities I have and mindfulness of where I've been and where others are.