Block 706: June 30, 2015


Taking the day off! Last day of the season to use my leftover vacation days!

I’ll probably still go in today for an hour or so…

Date: June 30, 2015

Crane: 706

Days Spent on Project: 861

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Mikhael G.

Last summer, in the whirlwind of finishing up The California Project, spending a month in Arkansas designing a show, and then a rapid two week period where I moved across the country and left my freelance design career behind in New York City, I came across a series of articles on Howlround.

Howlround is a website dedicated to starting conversations about theater, the making of it, the practice of it, the experience of it, and so on. I get their emails everyday, and am frequently excited to read the articles they post.

Last summer, strangely in tune with the work I was doing in Irvine, Mikhael started to write a series of articles about performing and practicing immersive theater. As I was undergoing my own lessons in Irvine, I’d read and re-read what she wrote, excited to learn about other people who were partaking in this style and trying to understand what it could do.

When I moved to Portland, and found myself with some free time last summer, I read one of the articles again, and looked her up online. I found her website, which had an email address for her. Taking the next step, I reached out. I introduced myself and explained my fascination with the style and the work, and hoped to find a way to start a conversation about the genre with her. I wanted another ally.

I was surprised when she replied, and then when she mentioned that she was also in Portland, OR… but only for a day or two more. We made tentative plans to get in touch (coffee, please?) over an upcoming weekend. I was excited! Could this be someone to work with soon?

But just as strangely and timely as things seemed to be, we strangely could never find a time to meet up and discuss. I was actually sad about it for a while.

Just another reason, looking back, for me to realize that I don’t need to wait for another person’s approval or support to get something started. Jump in. Jump in. Jump in.

Music I listened to while sewing: Found a song called “Redefined” by tyDi. It has been on repeat for over an hour now…

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: When will I learn that if I want to start something, I should not allow myself for someone else to give me permission to do so…

When I actually started this project, back in February 2013, I had actually been thinking about starting or planning on starting or figuring out how to start for a few months. I had figured out the pattern, the how of putting it all together, and I had even bought a few fat quarters from City Quilter. But it took a little over two months for me to bite the bullet, sit down at my sewing machine, and start piecing these triangles and trapezoids together. Something about the enormity of the project (1,000 blocks. Each block has 17 pieces. 17,000 pieces total to cut and stitch an press and quilt and bind and so on…) daunted me. I kept putting it off.

Until one day I didn’t. Maybe it was boredom. Maybe I just realized that 1,000 days of quilting weren’t going to start until I just put myself down and committed to it.

And that was now 861 days ago. I’m still cranking these Cranes out and making progress. I’m still trying to figure out the end game of this entire project. I’m coming to terms with the realization that this *will* take years to finish… and that it should take as long as it needs to to finish.

So, as I sit here, in an incredibly overly hot Portland, thinking back on the work I did for The California Project last year in Irvine and all the writing and research I’ve done on it since 2013 (2013 really was a year for starting personal creative projects, wasn’t it?), I’ve noticed that I feel I need to wait for someone else’s approval to get me started.

I know I can’t do it all alone. I know I’d need a team in place to do this. So, yes, when the time is right, I will need a group of people to help pull all this stuff together.

But, in the meantime, there’s no reason why I can’t start assembling the team or feeling people and their interest out. What would it actually take to do THIS again? What are the IDEAS that I want to focus on the next time (design and immersion)? How could I experiment with those ideas? What do I want to do?

Why not now?

Why do I feel I need someone’s hand to hold before I can make the next step?

And, I’m aware that I’m still an outsider in Portland and its theater community. If I knew more people and had a previous (working) relationship or reputation here, it would be easier. But it’s not impossible. I just have to start the work.

I just have to start the work.

And starting the work means getting out there and talking.

So much to do.

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