At the beach, the New Zealander asks me, What are your musical influences? I am someone who has just been dropped in a tall well, and coming up for air, finds herself speechless. Influences? I guess I don’t have any. Then I muster a tepid, Bjork? receiving a nod of encouragement. I rack my brain. Kristin Hersch, from Throwing Muses? Her name doesn’t ring a bell for him, nor does the slow trickle of names that take leave of my brain. All those 4AD bands – Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, all that dreamy and gothic stuff I go nuts for. In an attempt at solidarity he suggests, The Cure? Sure, but I’m on to more obscure bands – The Raincoats, for instance. When I mention their Englishness, he starts listing English bands – Radiohead, David Bowie. Yeah, I guess I’m into female voices. Like PJ Harvey, her ability to continually transform herself. Like Bowie, but more significant to me because of her femaleness. Amy Winehouse. I like female artists that stand on their own, that don’t fit into a category because they are a category onto themselves.
I head to my bicycle, then while I twist the combination lock, it hits me. My favorite album of all time, written by a 16 year old New Zealander, Heroine by Lorde. I rush back to the beach to share this parcel, this newly gleaned insight! He’s never heard the record, I gush over it, her lyricism, the coming-of-age perceptive, which lives in me, how Lorde taps into that specific ageless female experience. He struggles to come up with another famous New Zealander. Crowded House? No, it’s Lorde and Lorde alone. He says he’ll listen to the album when he gets home. I pedal away filled with the pantheon of my influences jostling for stage time in my sun-drenched, grateful brain.
Here are a few parameters that help in creative tasks and that occured to me as a result of my current project of filming one song a day, for 26 days, with each song corresponding to a letter of the alphabet, and filmed in a particular outfit.
- Have some elements of your project pre-ordained so you don’t have a chance to second guess yourself. (In my case, the song, the letter, the costume.)
- Make the ritual of setting up the shot and grooming the self be part of your process.
- Have a time limit for the product so you don’t have to deliver a perfect take. (Instagram has 1 minute limit for video.)
- Play with visual elements. (The visual realm is highly gratifying to me.)
- Be able to put the work out into the world at the moment of its completion. (Instantaneousness is gratifying.)
- Design your project to span an arc of time. This way you can gain mastery over a period of days or weeks, which builds confidence.
- Set up your daily creative assignment so that it is a healthy stretch. In other words, set yourself up for success.
The dresses on the left represent the past. The dresses on the right, the future. It’s a way to mark the passage of time, 26 days, 26 dresses. I’m making a song video for each dress, marked with a pin and a tag, A-Z. 26 songs total.
It’s not that I had trouble marking the passage of Time. I wanted to plot an orderly arc through a unruly and vibrant landscape.
On seeing photographs of Picasso sitting and walking amid large canvases and eating from plates decorated wth his drawings of fish, I realized imagery in my work could take up a larger space. . . More and more I tacked up on the wall cards, prints, and photographs, even carried them with me. Finally I took to Scotch-taping my typewritten pages on the wall. It began to make a difference in my work.
Adrienne Kennedy – people who led to my plays
Make sure you gather every piece of clothing and be sure to handle each one.
Marie Konde – The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Isn’t it strange how in this digital, sensorily-amplified, modern landscape, actually touching objects, and interacting with letters, patterns, fabrics, textures, words, is a transformative, even radical, act?
Today I’m inspired by Adrienne Kennedy’s book people who led to my plays. Her headings: Chekhov and my brother; Marlon Brando; Bette Davis in NOW, VOYAGER show that any person (or event or object) can be a place marker for one’s interior revelations. I think up my own place markers: Seattle rain; A Trip to Russia; Ibsen’s A Woman From the Sea. This selection process allows the writer to spin a vast personal mythology.
At the same time, I’m following Marie Konde’s transformative approach to the magic of tidying-up, starting, as she suggests, with clothing and gathering everything into collections: tops, pants, skirts, sweaters, coats, etc,. I had to fetch myriad coats from the basement to ensure that they were all accounted for. Each piece of clothing is held so that I can hear its story – past, present and future – and then release it to fulfill its unique destiny.
Margo Lauritzen’s Transportation as Transformation Tour 2018
March 2 – Seattle, Gallery 1412 with Origami Ghosts
March 9 – Port Townsend, Rosewind Common House with Gary Lilley and Jean Mann
March 14, Austin, TX, OG Friends Fest @ SXSW
March 17, Austin, TX, Carousel Lounge with Origami Ghosts
March 22, Berkeley, CA, The Monkey House with Ariel Wang
April 13, Portland, OR, Artichoke Music – Friday Night Coffeehouse
Girl leaving subway platform: It’s okay, I’m just wandering, I can get lost.
Helpful lady: You don’t have to get lost, your train could be on this platform.
And now ladies and gentlemen. . . we’ve reached the halfway mark on our Love Ride!
And just to show that it’s not all fun and games, I’m gonna drop it down and play a demo I recorded in Fall of 2013. The later version of this song has all sorts of bells and whistles – but I think the early version possesses its own quiet Beauty. And speaking of Beauty, have you ever noticed how those dark moments of the soul become hinges that let more light into your life than you ever thought possible?