I’m supposed to be refining my workshops for this weeks Victorian Arts Learning Festival…
Too many tabs open … too many thoughts since 4am … and a soundtrack thanks to my running playlist appearing before the sunrise (Vakula’s Modulations. Doof Doof at the walls of the brain). It was always going to be a fractured start.
It began as it always does with a dream. Eyes pop pop popping with images overlaying the blurry vision of my dark room. He’d been there… and I was choosing a cot for an unknown, unborn child. I could only afford the cheap one. I convinced myself the inexpensive cot was in fact the prettiest one. I tried to sleep in it. But I couldn’t. And then I woke up. And then I heard Vakula’s Modulation 2. And then my to do list took the same rhythm. And then I was making coffee staring out over the blackened balconies of the apartments across from me. And then I was sending texts hoping people had their phones on silent. And then I was working…
Until the ‘phhhhwwwwww’ of the gas cylinders vibrated above my apartment. And there they were. My trusty morning air balloons. ‘Hi everyone. We were awake at the same time’.
I thanked the disruption. It made me a little more present.
Since my 39th birthday and a reflection repeated by numerous friends of late, I’ve been thinking on what drives me and my aforementioned fractured state. Why do I take on so much? When is what I do driven by a ‘should’ (outside motivators) and when is it driven by a natural effervescence and curiosity (an inner desire to play). This thought was echoed last night when my girlfriends and I discussed ‘marks’ and accolades as a measure of worth and how we might feel if we simply ‘passed’. All of us are thinkers and doers (something that inspired me to throw my arms around each of them last night with an ‘I LOVE YOUR BRAIN!’); and successful at what we do.
Between us, stage managers and writers; costume and prop designers for feature films; award winning theater makers come Chinese medicine practitioners; documentary makers; cultural educators and yogi masters; acting coaches and progressive educators… global, curious, playful, generous, thoughtful… busy. Verrrry busy. None of us glorify this business, in fact I would suggest we are pretty good at achieving balance… but, adding balance to the mix indeed makes us… even busier.
One of these glorious women told us last night that she’d recently had a burn. She’d found every. single. award. trophy. highly graded paper. she had ever collected. Why had she kept them? What significance did they hold for her sense of self worth? She burnt them.
In return I offered my yesterday: I am back at uni aiming slowly slowly slowly for a PHD and handed in my first paper two weeks ago. The moment marks were up, I was online… even though I had told myself when I signed up that marks would not be the motivator. Learning and gaining knowledge in a way that stuck would be. Yet here I was looking for my ‘top marks’.
This yesterday had also held a significant conversation in my teaching career. My year 10 Language and Literature class and I paired a quote from ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ …
‘Its an illusion that I – I personally-really exist; I’m just representative of a type’
with our Statement of Inquiry…
Technological development presents new challenges to understanding self and world.
We talked candidly about the ways in which we, like android Rachel, represent ourselves in a way as to control how people see us. We discussed what we choose to put up on Instagram and Facebook; as much as why we do or do not choose to buy certain labels of clothing, why we get tattoos, why we dye our hair…
…why we desire top marks.. Why we push to achieve ‘success’ in our careers… These questions haunted my mind as we talked.
External recognition might take many shapes and forms but it’s consistency lies in the fact it is an ever present for so many of us. A need.
Why? And what impact does that have on what we do…?
It’s been awhile since posts but I’ve been busy.
In the year that was 2018, the seeds I’d planted somewhat bewilderedly in the year previous, grew. I juggled all four careers and added a couple of extras making it an extraordinarily creative, rewarding time complete with deeper (and new) connections and overseas adventures.
In 2018, watering my life as a writer and poet saw me as a feature at multiple poetry events. I also travelled to a remote island in Scotland for a writers residency with New York Times bestseller Jacqueline Sheehan, Patricia Lee Lewis and Jane Mortifee , walking the Scottish highlands after and travelling to The Eden Project in England to see my beloved Bjork.
Publications in VATE’s Idiom, Femagogy, a book yet to be released and a first chapbook ‘Yolk’ launching at Abbotsford Convents ‘Open Spaces’, also career highlights.
The Abbotsford Convent also housed the launch of my project Listening Room and Independent Schools Victoria filmed my teaching practice for a short documentary on progressive educators. I also had the privilege of training with Leisa Shelton and working on feature film Judy and Punch starring Mia Wasikowska.
In 2019 I have begun teaching teachers at ISV and soon to run a series of programs for teachers and students at Victoria’s Arts Learning Festival. This is alongside my career as a teacher, as a writer and a student of life who like everyone else, sometimes falls, sometimes flys.
Standby for more questions than answers.
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