September 2023

Spiral walk

Claudine Jones | Scene4 Magazin

Claudine Jones

Well gosh darn, I've officially gone off knitting. Let me back up and tell you why.

This is another one of those grim late-night screeds it seems appropriate to barf up—at least a soup莽on—as a toxin release. The Paradox is always that it is probably so much better to use way fewer words and yet verbose as I am it all comes sort of streaming out. (Streaming. How that word has changed.)

Here is a bit of the chronology of the last week: according to cursory email from director, there's a wheelhouse issue with the choir I recently auditioned for, and my response came out of the chute just a teeny bit defensive but also a little bit passive-aggressive to the effect that I really don't like using a handheld mic anyways, I prefer wireless—privately I'm remembering Grand Hotel the Musical of course when I played Greta Garbo which I think is the only time I've ever used a battery pack.

It's okay. The choir wasn't a good fit et boof! c'est fini.

As the memory begins to fade, at some point in the next few days I sense I'm more receptive to messages from the Deep; a spate of bingeing will help with that because you're on autopilot. Can't be certain. But that's the thing about having your antennae out: you pick up a signal and boom there it is. A call comes in from Catherine the new knitting lady, so…cool! off I go to spend a Sunday afternoon with these ladies and it passes pleasantly enough but it also reminds me of a particular mustard yellow cardigan I was knitting when I was in the south of France the last time my dear departed Tante Jeanne was alive. 2017. That's the last time I ever saw her in person. When I got on the bus we hugged, which the French never do. Later we Skyped, but it is a crappy substitute.

So back from a lovely experience, what do I do? I go jack up my courage and open the big sweater drawer which I've been dreading, in the room where the old man died, and predictably I have a 50/50 chance of moths. Unfortunately it comes up tails. Could have been worse: only two complete disasters, including the yellow one, and four minor repairs. Now I'm going to have to look up sweater repair YouTubes. And possibly tell my knitting ladies, which is going to be humiliating.

Nah. What they don't know won't hurt them.

I'm getting my timeline screwed up. When did I get the email from Donna the Meetup lady of the group I abruptly quit. That might have been before Catherine the Knitting lady. Feels like that's an important detail because it has to do with building momentum as it were. And then sister-in-law Lucia actually called for a tea date like she said she would; it is almost unprecidented for her to follow through.

Throughout all of this, I have little random impulses to contact my old friend Joan again. I check the calendar--it's been 7 weeks since that nasty encounter after my concert. I could simply still be pissed off at her. My new bravery around just picking up the phone is still in place, however there's an added component, which I think is reliable, and that is it's not so much fearlessness now as it is identifying appropriateness/value/signal strength. All of which adds up to less a sense of fear and more of power in any given situation. That kinda feelslogical true. So no. Exerting privilege, I have not texted or called or anything on that situation. I had texted call if you want to talk. That has to be truth.

Amidst all of my audition stress (there's another one in the pipeline) coupled with appreciation and certain amounts of joy at people reaching out, there's the little bits which again I can't put into words. I'm aware they're just a instant when everything drops away effortlessly. I'm coming to sort of love those moments. And then they become artifacts and they themselves demand the honor of not being exhorted or pressured into reanimation and hoisted on a pedestal.

A useful label for the feeling could be free.

Like, instead of buried in a dark drawer, now I see those two miserable, chewed up sweaters, away somewhere, serenely composting.



I just want to record this before I forget since I spent such an awful day. In the wake of 3 hours sleep followed by 3 zoom hours with 34 spiritual wounded strangers, during which I felt by turns numb/empty and ragingly pissed off for reasons that still mystify me. So let's address The Pissed Off part.

I'm sitting here thinking in retrospect, I agree.  You can't control things. I totally get that. Any attempt toward that end is doomed to failure (see results of auditions). What I don't get is how I could have gone from being on a relatively even keel, a little bored maybe (see sleep deprived), to losing it in front of everybody in the name of authenticity, vulnerability, this is a safe space and we can reveal ourselves blah blah blah.

I frankly don't give a fuck whether this is coming from my head or heart, it seems to me it's not entirely paranoid to feel this is a bit of a setup. I mean what else do they gonna do? Sure it's voluntary, sure you pay as you can afford in my case lower end of the scale, but even so. We all show up as good little soldiers having had this dangled as a relatively cheap way to get some insight into what has been advertised as now I don't remember what it was it'll come to me, something about courage in the face of being wounded. Healing your Core? Core Healing? Doesn't matter.

If you are in fact willing to put yourself out there, unless you're an idiot you also have to be cognizant of how much it's potentially going to roil things up. Can't avoid it. Certainly have experience of that at the retreats. And yet we're exhorted not to try to fix anything, we're not broken we don't need fixing. What we acknowlege is need for community and permission to speak about our concerns. Waiting your turn with the bloody hand icon stuck up there and your mic muted.

Maybe I'm upset because at present without the option of another retreat anytime soon, I just don't see how you can subject yourself to revelations that are so painful in this distant Zoom two-dimensional clinical flat screen form. I might even go so far as to say it seems dangerous. Like…method acting. Accessing your fucked up core.

Then again historically people do it all the time; they go to a professional's office and they sit for 50 minutes and blather on and pay ridiculous amounts of money and oftentimes spend years doing it. I don't know what to add; I had the kernel of an idea and it's vaporized. I was already talking about fear and empowerment, and I'm not ready to go back to Ms Meetup's Women's Empowerment Group for various reasons (repeated instances of conspiracy lady showing up late, then chastened, arrives on time but with yet a new theory). Even considering the option means I am ignoring my signal not to involve myself in these Zoom things which seem chronically unsatisfying.

Yet you might as well say don't ever make a phone call, for the same reason. Perhaps the frustration lies in expectations. Everybody knows the old clich茅 that if you lower your expectations you're less likely to be disappointed. Simply go into phone calls or emails or letter writing—or sometimes people get crazy with texts as well—with inspiration rather than fear. Don't see how you can lose. Be bored possibly, but not afraid.

So maybe today was about a recurrence of fear based on losing touch with the [recording ends].



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Claudine Jones | Scene4 Magazin

Claudine Jones has a long, full career as an Actor/Singer/Dancer. She writes a monthly column
and is a Senior Writer and columnist for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2023 Claudine Jones
©2023 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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