- Late Summer Telegraph Hill in San Francisco
I’m just home this morning having left Liverpool, England after a few days off following the Shrewsbury Street Performers Festival. It has been a robust summer of travel and change. I was speaking by telephone with Jennifer Bain a long time friend and painter. We were both interested in the inner anxiety that comes with making a new piece of art. In her case it is a painting on canvas. In my case it is making new material for my show. The core inner experience we focused on in our conversation was fear. Jennifer said that it was a requirement of the creative process to be bound by some sense of fear, and that the feeling of fear is a sign that the creative process is underway. In the grip of this emotion we often lose our orientation and we forget that there is no other way to get from the old show to the new show without going through this emotion.
So, after 35 years of shows, after all this experience, once more I was there at the very infancy of the new, the birth of new material, and so it goes, from shows in the Napa Valley of California, to the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival in Alberta, Canada to Whistler’s Summer Performing Arts Series, in British Columbia to finally appearing in Shrewsbury, England at a busking festival over Labor Day…all this travel and experimentation, all the anxiety and fear, plotting and planning, all of this churning and driving and flying, finally landing home with autumn near I have made it! And the show seems in very good order! I drew good sized audiences, the material while in places coarse and unpolished is revealing itself to be headed more in the right direction than the wrong direction.
And I’ll leave it at that, but to say there is more material to be created, more fear to feel, and that’s as it should be. I am attempting to blend the narratives in my novels with the non-narrative challenges of variety show, that one might in some way inform and speak about the other. This is the whole of the task at hand, and it is my template going forward, to do show, to write book, to blend show and book, joke and soul, heart and mind, all this into something new! And I am scared because I am completely and utterly out on a limb, of my own making, wondering if I can interest my audiences who read my books in my show and those who see my show into exploring my books.