Tuesday, March 27, 2007

No hands!

late march and BAM spring. holy shit. this is it.
this is really it. do you see? i'm not imagining this.

this happens every year? are you serious?
this is outstanding. doesn't always feel this good.

sidewalks rising to meet my feet,
babies shouting out "HI" and doling out smiles.
lovebirds - ACTUAL lovebirds - riding in a buzzy wheelchair ahead.
old white haired men in barbershops, opining openly, sneaking little glances at the skirts strolling by.

adults on bikes, seven years old again.
seven year olds on bikes, proud chins guiding them far far far from those training wheels- never needed them anyway, not really.

and you, who taught yourself. cheeky boy. on your bike alone, falling and bouncing up.
working to that moment when they'd see you- riding fast and furious all at once.
Look At Him Go!- since when does he...? "holy shit" they'd whisper
and say again "look at him go".

faster than i can imagine.
gone. in the best possible way. dead gone. cheeky boy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

On your bike!

First public outing of the script tomorrow.

Okay. Holy shit. I am so nervous for this my fingers are blue at the tips. All of my blood feels like it's stuck in my heart, pounding about like kids runnng wild those first two minutes in a bin of bouncy balls. Funny thing is there are really very few people coming to the reading. Funnier still is that the whole point to this was trying out a development process I hadn't done before, and that is exactly why this is terrifying. Bit of a control freak with the work stuff. Okay, all stuff. To some extent. Fuck. But the point is that it is VERY VERY early to have people in. The point is that we get people in right frigging now so that the audience is always as key a component as the rest of it. Michaela talks to them the whole time- best to have bodies as soon as we can. I know all of this but my sense is disconnected from my swooning courage just now. Holy word.

Thanks, those who can attend tomorrow. So many of my Red Deer College comrades. What troopers we be. Some Fort Yorkies, thanks lads. True it was short notice. Barf, it feels like my birthday- will anyone even care...? And twisted that I'm making it so much about me. I am made up of who I know anyway. Used to have a friend who purported that individuality is just an illusion. That we are all one big beast anyway. This is in harmony with my belief system, and yet I let this kind of fear, self-doubt and insecurity eat my head. Fair play, I suppose. This same friend once poo pooed me when I wrote him advice that contained my version of his words, rephrased through my filters. Hid behind a wall of haughty condescension when the mirror he had loaned me was too much for him to look into. We are the same beast, I do the same.

Good things. Focus on strong points. Well... I have admired Mr. Hollingsworth's ability to serve the story before all else these past two months. Seeing him helm a rehearsal with the caliber of artists he works with is holy shit stupendous. I strive to be more like that. Story above all. I will focus on that to get my juvenile ego to take a time out.

Aw, but good christ, people are scary. Petrifying because of how beautiful, how desirable, how like and unlike me you all are.

I think of the first time I heard Thomas King speak live: it was at one of those Pages Books "This is Not A Reading Series" thingers at the Gladstone. Margaret Atwood was up there talking with him, provoking him, probing him. He admitted, right out to a roomful of adoring (and scary) strangers "I guess I just want to be loved." I felt less lonely with that. Less pathetic. There sat my hero, just as human and squishy as I am. I would never have guessed.

The turnover from partial draft to first outing has taken place over six days. I wish now that I had express-posted the draft to Monica's mom, Madeline. I know that it is the best way to honour her and her experience. I also know that it is she who will ultimately decide whether this play is deserving and so I want it to be in really good shape. The peak of this would be to bring it to her community, my mom's community, where my cousins and aunties live. She and I are working to get my arse out there to do a workshop series with a youth group she juggles. So blessed that a life goal is in the works to be realized. That it should be through collaboration with her is impossibly right. Recently she emailed me this...

"As for a play regarding Miss (Money) Monica I feel that it would be an honour and this would be good for our communities as well."

Still, she has yet to read the writing. I wish she could be with us in the room tomorrow.
Feels that's how it should be.

How to sleep before a day so big?

Ooo, if anyone knows a bike like this one, please let me know. We need it for the show.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Question of Balance

*This post was altered out of respect for a friend.

A big challenge in writing this play and in deciding to go ahead with blogging about it has been this: how to get people to resist the urge to read the stuff a murderer has already posted on the net?

I do not want to bring more attention to the man who perpetrated such deeds, but I know that I would be looking into it and liable to read what he'd posted had I come to hear about his postings through this venue. Part of me wants people to assign her end to his hand, since the courts never did. Most of me wants to cleanse her name of the sensationalized association with a serial killer. Any suggestions?

How do we disappear the enormous white elephant clogging up the room? I don't even want him ignored, I want him to fall away, impotent and powerless as one spending life in the prison system is meant to do. Our society is supposed to be lessening the power given to him and his crimes. There were two people present when Monica died, and he was one of them. How do we seize that from his hands and put it back into hers, when she is not here with us? We use our hands, I know. Hold onto it for her in whatever way we can.

If you're at all in tune to this thing my roomate has gone mad over- the Secret- (worst title ever) then you know that the laws of attraction work against me by thinking on this at all. I've seen the magic Michaela has worked through this laws of attractions thing. It ain't magic. It's goddamn science. Hard to argue with it when you see results leaping into her boat like so many smiling and suicidal trouts. Of course this line of thinking has been around well before the product version of it ever was... like anything that works, it has always been known in some way.


Can I ask you not to read the posting from that other source? It's way outdated anyway. Or do I direct you to it, get it out of the way, and move on? Same deal for the show- how do I field questions about the whodunnit? How much fact do I include? It's all out there anyway, reported vaguely in papers. The girl in this case was never a headline, though some of the others were. (in this moment I struggle with noting that it was the murder of white children that got authorities moving to nail this criminal- is that a point? does this cloud my handling of this whole thing? ahhhhh!!!!!)

I am toying with the idea of including a sort of playwright voice in the script. As it is, Michaela will be addressing the audience directly in character. I may try having her switch out of character and speak as herself to the house proper, noting just such things. Does this diffuse the dramatic power of the story?- a true story of which little is known?

The final moments of [the former play's subject's] life happened without impartial witness, save for the life in the natural world where she exhaled her last air. The Creator being in all things, I cannot discount the land she came from as having been there, cradling her as she crossed over. I have a deep desire to go to the Nicola Valley for months and just sift through the soil there, passing it over me like smudge, lick the bark of the trees, chew on pine needles and drink only river water, in an attempt to absorb what the countryside knows of those moments. To make sure I don't misstep.

I will ask you not to type the name of the other person who was there when one girl died. Not here, please. If anyone feels moved to comment on this journey, I should be honoured. I do ask you to keep that one name from this space.

Think only of the good names. [omitted] Pauline, my mom, who connected me with [omitted]. Michaela, the courageous creature of hulking talent who will enact this play, Andy Moro who will ply his considerable understanding of theatrical storytelling to the design our show. And [omitted.] [Omitted. Omitted. Omitted.]

[Omitted.] Auntie, daughter, cousin, neighbour, niece, granddaughter, friend. Not a saint. Not any one thing. A fully realized twelve year old girl.

a girl

*This post was altered out of respect for a friend.

There was a girl who went missing from a community that neighbours my mom's, way back in the 1970s. Whenever I'd go there in summertime, as a kid, I'd see this picture of a beautiful teenager who I assumed had an enormous extended family. Everyone had her photo in their home. It never seemed odd that everyone knew her, but one day it did strike me as strange that I had never met her. She had that vibe of a teenager who'd be your favourite babysitter, hands down. When I was about nine or ten I finally asked after her.

My mom told me the girl's name.  "She went missing when she was only twelve, almost thirteen. She  just never came home."
I was utterly haunted by the thought of this vibrant glowing girl, out there somewhere, never having returned to her mom. I didn't ask anything more, it seemed too awful.

In 199#, without having to ask, I learned a little more about her. My mom asked me whether I remembered her- I did, though she was vividly present in my head as someone who would never be known to me. The news was that they had found her. Her bones had been identified, stumbled upon by forestry workers up on a Mountain, not far from her home.

There were whispers of a serial killer whose name I had heard. A man who was already, mercifully, in jail. In one day this mystery of seventeen years became the story of a girl who was snatched up and killed by a man who was somehow missing that piece of us that makes us human. That wisp of awareness that helps us to feel that we are all one creature working toward the same thing, no matter how seldom we get along.

Last year, at the age of thirty, I found that very girl was frequently in my thoughts. A quick and rare venture into math made me realize she would have been thirty the day her family had solid news of her in 199#. Had she lived, she would be her version of a thirty year old. Nobody would ever know what that might have been. I felt pissed off and that usually makes me anxious to take action. I rang my ma and asked after her again. My mom had a smattering of small facts, some thirdhand, fourthhand ponderings about her life and abrupt death. I wondered whether I could earn permission from her mom to write of her, having penned a few plays up till now. After we hung up, my mom tracked down the girl's mom. She spoke with my mom and they realized they were second cousins, sharing a great auntie. After a short catch-up session, the woman gave me permission to write of her daughter, via my mother.

Serendipity. Blood memory. The Creator calling the creative to work on what matters... Whatever it was, it had arrived. As of two days ago, the play has been born. A first draft will be read this Monday the 26th.

This entry, the outing of this blog, and primarily the development of this play is my way of celebrating a girl and the community that has treasured her memory. I will continue to write of the process and the play will become a full story, both factual and fictionalized. This is not merely a girl who went missing. She was a girl who loved to babysit. She had an astounding smile, a remarkable laugh and she had been given a brand new bike for her birthday, which was only thirteen days away when she left us.

She was failed by a system, untraceable for seventeen years- how can that be? Her murderer will likely never be charged with her death. He may be serving multiple life sentences now, anyway. I think that's supposed to be enough somehow. I remind myself not to give any energy to him, as he has already taken enough. I wish to avert her connection to him by informing myself and the listening world about the girl she was in life.

This girl grew up to be a radiant twelve year old girl in the Nicola Valley in British Columbia, Canada. Her mom was a [career title] and her sister still lives nearby with her [#] children. They like to go fishing and someday they will attend a play about their Auntie*.

[The play was booked to play in the area, but the family decided they would prefer not to have it do so. Myself, the creative team, Native Earth and my cousin Sharon (who paid to bring us out) altered out plans in order to serve the wishes of the girl's mom. We adhere to the belief that this is the right thing to do. Speak out. Be brave. Report anything you know. Please.]

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Perfect Because...

I am pining for you a little bit,
I hope that that's okay.
I am in love with you a little bit,
well- in love in my own way.
Of course it is worth noting there's
a safety in all this...
There's a freedom in not having you,
in not knowing what to miss.
To know that I won't pull you to me,
Naked and spent in bed.
To imagine all the things we'd do,
but only in my head.
There's a goodness there that comforts me,
in spite of all this craving.
There's a perfection in not doing it,
unspoiled fantasy in this behaving.
Nothing broken, nothing lost, no
fucked up heart.
This heartbreak already over because
it never got to start.
So I'll hang onto that- and pull
that close to me
And try not to think of how it could
have worked out differently

how I might have had
more time with you

beautiful soul
more time with you...
i'd fall.