Every time I do the show, I like to share a bit about what this show has always meant for me:
Making a Framework
Completing the framework for Gutless and Grateful was a huge revelation for me when I premiered my show in 2012. These seemingly incoherent pieces of my life – fragments of trauma, nonsensical and illogical events wounds opening, setbacks, disappointment, uncertainty – everything, when strung together within the framework of a musical, made sense. I felt more put together once I had put together this structure of my life. Suddenly, things that just felt like setbacks or sidetracks now had imperative meaning.
Reframing My Narrative
Whatever unfortunate events that had taken place up until this point, was no matter now. Just as my fear, pain and uncertainty had been instantly transformed on my canvas through my paintbrush, the transformative art of theatre was turning my fragmented, detoured life, the vortex of trauma, into a linear narrative. Through my artistic expression, I was creating a straight line out of fragments. My story had a beginning, a middle, an end, a message, a meaning, a mark on this world – which is all I ever really wanted.
The world was going to hear about it now, and I was so grateful.
And that was the title of my show. (Watch the original 2012 promo!)
See photos from New York New Words Theatre Festival here:
Writing a Song
As I was putting together my script, I found notes from an old song I had scribbled the year before, when I couldn’t eat or drink, and as simply waiting for the fistula to heal. There had been a big power outage in my town, and now I didn’t even have my coping mechanism of killing the day going from store to store, mindlessly passing the day. Now, I was stuck in my house, standing over my table in my art room, with no windows and no light. With no motivation to paint, I sat down, and I lit a candle, feeling so hopeless.
And then, I wrote a song.
CORNER SONG – 8/29/11
“DAY AFTER DAY IS A WAR TO GET THROUGH.
HARD TO FEEL WONDERFUL, HARD TO FEEL NEW.
STRUGGLING THROUGH MY TIME RESOLUTELY
DIVERTING MYSELF FROM THE POINTLESS “WHY ME?”
LIFE IS LONG
ENOUGH TO SING MY SONG
AND I KNOW I WILL GET MY TURN
I KNOW THIS CANDLE’S BOUND TO BURN
AND I WILL HAVE MY TIME TO SING
I WILL, EVEN IF IT’S ANYTHING
THERE’S GOT TO BE A REASON I WAS BORN HERE
IT’S TIME TO CRAWL OUT FROM THE DUSTY CORNER.”
And then I wrote four more verses.
I wrote that song with a thick, turquoise washable marker on a piece of white computer. I remember starting to write one verse, and once I finished, I just couldn’t stop. Stanza after stanza, I was convincing myself with the empowering belief that I would not just be something forgotten, lost in the corner.
And now, this was a full circle moment. I was finally reincorporating that scribbled on piece of paper for the first time, into a production that would be seen by others. I was finally reclaiming my place to at the forefront of the stage.
And now, I get to sing it for all of you…could I be more GRATEFUL?
I’m still touring the show to colleges and theatres and conferences. I even started licensing out my show for other people to perform, believe it or not – why not? All it is is a story – and we all have a story!
It’s a share – and every day brings a new promise of another story to tell.
What story do you have to tell today?