Published originally Nov 15, 2016
Day 11 – Taking a break feels like wearing a suit on Sunday with a thick coating of starch grabbing hold of each wool fiber and squeezing tight. A highway system of hay and wire. It is someone sitting on your chest. I’ve got a happy mind when there’s a puzzle to solve – happy. A forced day of stopping is my body numb while Superman flies in circles around my brain trying to make the world go backwards and turn back time. I love to make work. That can be peaceful to me. It’s the body…it’s the actions that need the rest. And they abandon my spirit on rest days.
But then the next day I am full up and ready to make things. Anything seems possible again. The resting was a disgusting medicine that today I am grateful for.
I’m heading over to the Gibney Dance Studios to shoot with a dancer from Parson’s Dance Company named Eoghan (pronounced Owen) Dillon. When I get there, I see there has been an evacuation of the building and there’s a line of people waiting to get back in though security. I wait in line and when I get to the front, the security guard has never heard of Gibney Dance and the elevator doesn’t go to the floor I think it’s located on so I take the stairs.
I exit on floor 2 into what is obviously the set for a David Lynch film. It feels like a makeshift hospital ward strewn with abandoned wheelchairs, skewed into fugitive angles and tall crates with stenciled illegibles.
There is no one here.
This is the calm in The Walking Dead before a troop of zombies corners me and eats my face. All of the signage connotes that this place is about collecting body fluids…body fluids…and I get a rush of adrenaline when it strikes me that this is a trap. I bolt back down the stairs past lines of returning evacuees and the other security guard tells me that I’ve come in through the wrong part of the building and that Gibney is next door.
I have worked with Parson’s Dance before, but not with Eoghan. The company tours a duet I made during the summer company of Trey McIntyre Project called Hymn (and will be performing Ma Maison at The Joyce Theater and on tour in 2017). I am very excited that they perform it with both a male and a female cast. Eoghan is a fireball and clearly enjoys making photos with me. He is literally bouncing off the walls. He sneaks out onto the construction overhang, just outside the window and we get a few shots with the government building in the background.
We finish the day and have to clean footprints off the wall. Eoghan and I make plans to do this again in the future and I can look into that future and tell you it will happen. It has been a tremendous week for me in terms of what I learn I am capable of accomplishing. The metaphor I keep returning to is this idea of succumbing to a river is an accurate metaphor for both how powerful and how natural and harmonious this trip has been.
It may be easy to interpret this as also succumbing to fate and letting what was meant to be, be. There is certainly a lesson to be gained in accepting the natural “flow” of life and what is, but that process is full of choices and it is ultimately those choices that determine our lives.
I can stay in the river. I can swim to shore. I can panic and drown. I can twist my body this way and that. I can swim backwards.
I can watch New York from the window. I can step into the middle of it.
I can feel small because of other people’s accomplishments. I can can feel big because of my own.
I can succumb to the fog of shame over our bodies or our sexuality. I can help people feel empowered through my work.
I can feel broken by loss of creative flow. I can discover the potential in all states of being.
I can be angry at the dog barking next door. I can join with strangers to help look out for strangers.
I can live in a fog of my past demons and injuries. I can fight to be the wise human who was improved by them.
I can sleep an hour later. I can get up an hour early.
The choices are what brought me here and my fate is the inevitability created by making those choices.