Stillness in motion

Tracking backwards these past four months of 2019:

  • Finished two weeks of creative development with Latai Taumoepeau for a work we are making for Refuge at Arts House. Spent time dreaming about waterways – salt water, fresh water, and creeks we no longer see. It feels like many of my previous projects merging into one another.
  • Things to celebrate: SK!N won a Green Room Award for Innovation in International Collaboration. Very proud that Next Wave’s Ritual, of which I was a participating artist also won an award for Innovation in Curatorial Contribution and Programming.
  • Supported TNA in submitting our four-year funding EOI.
  • Been rather ill with a virus – three days in bed with a fever, chills and lethargy, and then a second burst, this time with hives. The last time I was down this bad was two years ago as per my Chinese doctor records. The herbs have now done its job.
  • Between being ill and overall busy times, I managed to see some Dance Massive shows, and spoke on a panel with Luke George, Kate Sulan and Ashley Dyer. I do enjoy sharing my practice very much.
  • Shared my practice in a chat with some third year students at VCA together with the beautiful Tim Stitz, thanks to my dear friend and colleague, Xanthe Beesley.
  • Caught up with my amazing producer, Ling in person in Melbourne.
  • Over the past months, I’ve had four sessions with Alex Walker and some of the children from House of Muchness having a play on what I can now announce as The Little Old Cooking Club That Could.
  • I’ve also been working with Ling on getting The Little Old Cooking Club That Could out there, and making sure it does have a life (while we wait to hear about our development funding that is).
  • Did a strategy day with Western Edge Youth Arts, talking the future of that organisation.
  • Begun scoping a potential new project out in Shepparton.
  • Officially started my role as a Board Member with Multicultural Arts Victoria.
  • Hosted two International Women’s Day dinners. One an intimate and gentle affair with a small group of incredible women of colour working in the health sector, the other a rambunctious potluck evening with 80 women from all walks of life.
  • Had my family visit and stay in my little apartment – saltwater swims, and a lot of food, and hang times with the nephew who is just too cute. The week was emotionally complex but the nourishment was also very much needed.
  • Dan and I finished our last Next Wave/UniMelb New Student Precinct workshop, and the surprise participants made my day!
  • Submitted both Australia Council for the Arts and Creative Victoria project grants for The Little Old Cooking Club That Could.
  • Hosted a dinner for community participants for Yesterday Tomorrow Here Today in Adelaide. Squeezed in a few good swims. And savoured whatever time I had with special friends like Lou and Dave, and Grant and Wendy, and Liz, Jess and Jane. I must say, Adelaide has really charmed me.
  • Took a dear friend skincare shopping as he embarks on a new regime.
  • Did a site visit to look at some beach boxes.
  • Went on a few dates that mostly left me underwhelmed.
  • Was in Sydney for the Circus Forum as part of Sydney Festival. Good hang times with mates and good swims on top of some good work done.
  • Overall, tried to see friends and loved ones as much as possible, and even managed a few catch ups with old, old friends. Finished bingeing on an epic 76-episode Chinese period tv series that had equal parts humour, lightness, drama and tragedy.
  • Oh, and keeping up with work at TNA.

At the chat with the VCA students, someone asked me how I manage to maintain clarity and focus working between the different streams of my practice. I said, sleep. Getting 7-9 hours is what keeps me clear-headed and seamlessly moving between the different things in my calendar and my to-do list – switching head spaces between the artist, the manager, the producer, the person.

However I now realise that I wasn’t being honest. I gave that response in a week when I wasn’t doing 7-9 hours. I was busy and exhausted, but needed to unwind each night and stupidly started on that series, which only added to the cycle of funk – of non-activity that which isn’t rest. And I needed rest.

With being ill though, I haven’t had much choice but to rest. But as you can see from the list above, things just seem to keep moving right along. My ambitions do not know what pause look like.

What’s interesting too – as noticed by my colleagues as well – is that the more hectic things around me get, the calmer I remain. Perhaps it is my body’s way of conserving energy. Perhaps it is my stress management response. The body at rest.

I am recognising the ways in which many things have landed for me in the past year or two. And in these recent months, this sense of landing has truly begun to anchor itself. There is a certainty and a confidence that comes with it. But at the same time, deep in my belly, I feel myself at the cusp of something that is about to accelerate very quickly. For myself, and for everything bigger than me.

I don’t yet know what it is. But I am thrilled and scared and ready all at once.

A change is gonna come. And when it does come, I want to be well-rested to join in that party!

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