THIS SHIP IS DOING CRAZY THINGS
Nah, it’s not, it’s just sailing, innit? But the next time that I am beating myself up about my lack of dedication to my work (which is a common occurrence to be honest) I will think back to myself in this moment, listening to my cosmetics being smashed apart inside various cupboards, sitting between two beds, clinging to my laptop for dear life as the ship I was on sailed through ‘the remnants of a hurricane’ – the captain’s words, not mine – and I will give myself a break.
I’m back at sea, as you have probably guessed!
This is what I expected from the Atlantic, I have to be honest – the Ocean is wild, unpredictable, and if it’s not locked away in a cupboard, it’s going to smash. The water looks freezing cold, everything is breath taking, in the most literal way – breath snatched from your throat as you step outside, when you look out the window, as you hurriedly pick tea, kindle and sugar bowl off the table, as you watch every chair in the room slide towards you.
I realised – about three hours ago – the absolute depth of my overwhelm at the minute, and the colossal size of the task ahead of me – that the past two months need to be distilled in a show that is two hours long or less. I’ve been trying so hard since Friday – it’s Sunday now – to just work, just please, please do something – there is so much to draw from – and I’ve been trying to do this morning pages thing that Maddy set for me – but it’s just too much, it’s just too much. I don’t know where to start.
Where I was that led to this project – ship one – Ghana – the flight – Jamaica – travel to North Carolina, and North Carolina itself – and now this
OH MY GOD WHAT WAS THAT I SWEAR TO GOD SOMETHING CRACKED
When I was flying to Atlanta from Kingston, I was sat beside a 72-year-old lady who had never left Jamaica before (‘why would I?’) and as such had never flown before. We had a little turbulence during the flight, so the captain asked us to put our seatbelts on, and Mrs Miller said ‘I don’t know why he’s asking us to put our seatbelts on, when it’s very obvious we’re all going to die’ – she was absolutely certain that this was the end, but so very calm about it. I couldn’t stop laughing for a while, and she told me that was ‘a good response to death’. But we didn’t die – and she clapped the loudest when we landed. I think that’s a Jamaican thing, clapping when the plane lands, it happened when I arrived in Kingston too.
So yeh, all that to say that every now and again, I’ll shout to no one in particular
‘OH MY GOD WE’RE GOING TO DIE’
And then continue to get on with what I’m doing.
Where was I… oh yeah
FORGET THAT I JUST LOOKED OUT THE WINDOW OH MY GOD THIS IS THE END DIVIDE MY BOOK COLLECTION BETWEEN JAMAL AND TONI MY SISTER GETS EVERYTHING ELSE AND TELL MY MUM AND DAD THAT I LOVE THEM SO VERY MUCH AND THAT IF I HAVE TO DIE AT 26 I’M GLAD I GOT TO SEE THEM ON SKYPE BEFORE I GO WHAT WAS THAT BANG
I’m listening to Satisfy My Soul by Bob Marley as I type this – and it’s one of the many songs that my Dad used to sing to me when I was very small, so I just assumed he had written it, and was so surprised when I heard it at the Bob Marley museum, akin to when I was six and realised that Sam Cooke was not in fact Delroy Thompson, he was a totally different man.
I was panicking about turning all of this into a show wasn’t I? I mean to be fair to myself, whilst there is a lot to come to terms with in the past couple of months, it’s not like I am in the middle of a peaceful space of contemplation, this stormy water makes me a bit giddy (haaaah, can you tell?) and it also means that as you do one task, you are also doing other ones – balancing, holding your laptop in place, going to tape or strap things down, trying to get a shit dryer to work, mopping up the tea that spilt earlier when my flask hurtled across the room – the steam was rising from the carpet, and I really, really had a huge exhale of gratefulness that it was the carpet it was raising from, not my calves.
I’m recording the view from my window for an hour every morning and every evening – iphones are a marvellous thing – there’s another artist on this ship, which is lovely too – he has a bit of a Libertines haircut, but I’m not gonna hold that against him.
The question with the show, I think – is what do you keep in, and what do you cut out? What is the narrative I want to shape? How personal do I want it to be? If the death of my nan has permeated every step I’ve taken since I got on the train at Gravelly Hill (there was frost on the ground) and is still causing me to collapse into tears every time three little birds comes on (like this morning) at what point is that grief overshare in the work, and at what point does omitting it leave a void within it?
But all of this might be beside the point, because AT THIS RATE I’M JUST NOT GONNA MAKE IT HOME
Emma, delete my browsing history and you can have all the booze in my bedroom, and the £2.47 that I have in savings (which I think is pretty impressive for an artist),
Adieu, Adieu, my favourite thing about being alive was eating, skin care, reading, spending time with animals and plants, speaking to people I love and having hugs,