Monday, January 2, 2017

Is Fiction More Personal that Autobiography?

Yay! The holidays are almost over. Just today to go and then the world gets back to normal. Tomorrow, the first full working day of 2017, I get my first of two speech assessments — @ $450/hour, thank you very much.
I hope I learn as much about the mechanics and psychology of speech from them as I have about the mind from Dr. Shoja. Right now it is 6:00 am Monday morning and I cannot force a single word out of my mouth but if I were to go into the hallway and see a neighbour, I would speak without any problem — at least the few words I’d need; I might not be able to comfortably have a conversation. Why?
I have only two appointments this week so I’ll be able to get a good start on the apron and add some finishing touches to the wheat dress. Once I finish the apron I’ll have six dresses finished—half of my objective done.
The apron is not visually striking like my dresses. People react if I tell them the text is sewn; most people don’t realize what it is. Once they know, they are impressed that I, a guy without experience, did it. But visitors who don’t know me won’t get that “punch.” They will see something visually modest compared to the rest of the show.
But I love its story. I think it is the best story in the show so far so I am delighted with the apron as a component of the show.
And I’ve been thinking more about the show. A local company offers 25 books, each with 20 6” X 10” pages—and those are good dimensions for a book about dresses—for $100. That’s four bucks a book—not bad for a catalogue in which I can print all the letters about the dresses and the (fake) curatorial text.
It occurs to me to print a catalogue in curatorial language and then to separately print a “Dissenting Opinion” that is manually inserted into the printed catalogue so as to appear as an afterthought and on it I would write my screed about curatorial language. Such a plan is a lot easier than a script but less fun and I’m not sure I feel good about a show that mocks shows. I like a script that mocks shows better but it is much more work.
Perhaps as I work on the balance of the dresses, I can talk about my options with friends like Dwight and Nicola to help me decide on what to do. What I would dearly like to do, is monetize what I have done in some way so as to recover as much of the costs as possible so that I can then do something else—another project.
Creative projects, I realize, have always been a vital part of my life. All my life I did them for my employers. Once I retired, my projects became voyaging to India and Africa, the longest-held and most desired unfulfilled items on my bucket list.
Then I began doing all the things I’d wanted to do but never had time for when I was working: two books, two plays and one surprise: A screenplay that emerged from one of the stage play scripts. Then I was done; I retired for a second time.
My second retirement came about because I was “finished;” I had accomplished everything I had ever wanted to do and I wanted a rest. There are those around me who believe that decision opened the door to my breakdown—a medical crisis that has rendered me more of a recluse than I have ever been before and, stuck at home, a new kind of project emerged.
A(r)mour: The Defiant Dress is my most unique and personal project. It’s the least practical, most organic, riskiest, most personal project I have ever done—at least it seems that way to me. If you know me, you might think my show Knock Knock was riskier and more personal because it was entirely autobiographical but it wasn’t to me because it was a story I had told everyone I knew already.
Autobiography can be artistic, therapeutic, a public relations exercise or some combination of these objectives. Autobiography does not seem to me to involve the imagination much and that is all A(r)mour: The Defiant Dress is. It’s entirely fictional and that is why it winds up feeling so different, organic, risky and, ultimately, more personal that my autobiographical projects.

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