“She is not just being seen, she is seeing herself and thinking about her own image. The image above, more than jus an image of her body, is a kind of reminder to the artist that she even has a body. That she is not just a mind and that she can’t just live or exist on ideas alone.” – Gabrielle Civil, Swallow the Fish

the solo I can't seem to make

As I was packing to leave for this 10-week adventure, I set aside a small stack of books I wanted to bring (some I knew I loved and wanted to spend time re-reading, others I’d purchased out of intrigue but had yet to read). Once the suitcase and backpack were full of the essentials, I realized I could really only fit two. So without much thought I grabbed one I love: Yoga of the Subtle Body: A Guide to the Physical and Energetic Anatomy of Yoga by Tias Little, and one I had yet to read: Swallow the Fish by Gabrielle Civil.  While I remember having chosen to buy the book out of interest in the author and content, I didn’t recall what the book was about. Little did I know as I slipped Swallow the Fish into my bag that it was exactly what I would need to guide me on this journey of self/artistic reflection. Civil’s book is a beautiful compilation of poems, short narratives, written logs of her performance art, and reflections on life as a female black performance artist, poet and academic. She has been prompting me with each passage I read to evaluate, question, and (most importantly in this moment) embrace what is now. As is one of the most valuable precepts of the loneliest part of here is now, there’s magic at work- Swallow the Fish needed to be in the bag, and so it was.

The reality is, I am not teeming with creative impulse to make this solo. Instead I feel, more often than not, heavy with the desire to be physically still- now is urging me to slow down. Mind racing off into future(s)- body insisting through its apathy towards movement that here is where I have to begin. When Geminelle and I were talking about sound for this solo I have been struggling to will into existence, she offered that she too has been experiencing fits and starts of creative energy lately… the fluxes of overwhelm, disinterest, inspiration and quiet are natural and necessary. Just as Swallow the Fish has been an amazing reminder that it is all art, Geminelle reminded me that sometimes the process is stillness. And so the sound score (and movement score) began to take shape: fits and starts, willing myself both into action and stillness, sounds of conflict resolving into acceptance. When I listen, art happens. Once again, the magic of creative energy meeting us where we are at- a reminder that the loneliest part of here is now comes back again and again to revealing our interconnectedness, togetherness, correspondence. Thanks universe.

“To allow for breath, space and time. To allow also for the body.”- Gabrielle Civil