So.... This is a story that starts how some stories start....
Woman, activist, artist, writer, living and working in Yorkshire feels compelled to write. Not only compelled, possessed, gripped, the words come out and keep on coming, then songs, then lights, then a visual world is created around her. She starts saying the show out loud to people, they say its good, and because its people she respects and admires she believes them. She is asked to do it more, she obliges. The show is first seen in Halifax, then in America, then in Paris, and then back to Hebden Bridge. She has had good responses from all over the world so she keeps going. She applies to local festivals, she is not admitted. She applies to smaller projects, she is not admitted. She applies to the bigger projects, and in a twist of irony, twist of fate, she is admitted. She thinks of the joke, the quote, "Well... You don't do things by halves..." and what that might mean. She accepts. She thinks about not doing it but, but She has been working solidly for two years to self-subsidise. Luckily that has led to more work, and more work, and now the other work is subsidising this work, and if the work was not very good then surely people would have told her by now (she knows a lot of honest and brilliant people). She almost cancels. When she is at home on her own, wondering, as many women do, whether she is of value at all, let alone is her work of value. She remembers the remedies for this, love, speaking. The company of others and that keeps her going. She does not cancel. She says yes. She has to sell a minimum of 250 tickets to break even. Thinking of when she works with her community, of how that would be easy, and how in fact the show she directed simultaneously will sell that,and make money for an amazing charity.She wonders what that says about audiences, and how important it is to be connected to something real. She is filled with hope and continues. She does not sell 250 tickets. She may not break even. The show hasn't started yet, and will not give up before the journey is finished. She feels a little in over her head.
London is very big. There are a lot of artists and a lot of activists and somehow instead of feeling more together she feels a bit more alone in a way. Not in a bad way, but suddenly diluted into the ether of many. She is trying to connect with as many women as possible when she is here. Not just women, but friends. Comrades, Colleagues in art. She messages individually everyone she knows on Facebook, and Instagram to tell them about the show. This is thousands of people in her personal realm. Some don't respond but thats ok, we are all just doing our best and sometimes especially at the moment it can all seem really hard. Some do, and it is so nice to hear their voice in the echo chamber of the internet. Some people say, I can't make it, but keep going so she does. Some people say I am going to be there, I love you, keep going so she does. Mostly she wants to connect with people. That is why she makes work. She connects with as many women's organisations as possible, She offers some of them free tickets because mostly she just wants them to be there. Thats all it is really. Realising that yes the work can happen without the others in the room, but really, she just wants them to be there. Wanting what most artists want, what all artists want, and thats really to translate the world into feeling, so we all know in a way we are not alone.
She works with students in her old school and connects with them, talking to them, knowing that 6 years ago I felt my heart on that floor in the same way, and now I'm where I wanted to be, come with me. And they say they will.And that is so lovely. The past and the future collide for a moment and this feels wonderful and strange and beautiful. What sweet jokes time can play with us when we least suspect it. She messages venues across London, and producers, and reviewers and bloggers, and programmers, and all the people involved in the business of it all. They don't all respond but thats ok. One says I can try, and I can't promise and she thinks either way thats lovely because your honesty is all I really ever wanted. She realises that there really is never a right time to invite people. If your not from London you do it much earlier, If you are from London its 3-4 weeks in advance. But sometimes even thats too much time, and then maybe you have to remind them a week before. She remembers that time plays sweet little jokes on us some times, and decides that whoever is meant to be there will be there and thats really all that you can do, and time is confusing all over again.
She keeps going. She meditates, she runs in the early morning and feels the sunrise, and senses great artwork in huge buildings and remembers why it is she is here really. that somehow, these words, in the echo chamber of the world, of the internet that someone will hear the story she wrote and feel free. Someone will hear the songs she will sing and feel free. The same way when you see a painting that knows you and weep. Someone will hear the story she's dreaming and dream with her and together we dream the world better. That even if that is 5 people in 100,000 that is worth more than gold. She picks up her laptop to try and understand how to sell part of herself on an email, a tweet or a video and forgets. She picks up her laptop and writes instead. She writes all the things that have happened so far and remembers that writing is how she found her way in and its her only way through and remembers that time plays little jokes on us sometimes....
She thinks of this week. Of what jokes time may play on her. Of what can truly happen. Of what it feels like to be one small woman in a room on a hillside and one small woman in a giant pulsing city and really how its all the same. How somehow the world might swallow you whole and chew through your thoughts and your bones, but it is the 5 or 500 people in the room that she is looking for that will for a moment dream together. The ones who found their way there for some reason who knows. The ones who will find their way there and feel free. And sing our way through the mountains to freedom.